Instagram to Slowly Introduce New Algorithm-Based Newsfeed

Following in the footsteps of Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is on the verge of changing its newsfeed. But, unlike Facebook, Instagram plans to roll out its changes slowly, as a series of small tests to a single-digit percentage of user groups. The new feed will be algorithm-based and personalized, much like that found at its parent company Facebook. The result would be a shift away from reverse chronology list to the photos/videos Instagram thinks you will most want to see from among those you follow. Continue reading Instagram to Slowly Introduce New Algorithm-Based Newsfeed

Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

IBM estimates that smartphones and devices related to the Internet of Things will generate 44 zettabytes (exabytes to the thousandths) by 2020. To handle all that information, IBM is looking at storage solutions that combine machine learning and artificial intelligence, both of which excel at finding patterns. Other companies are looking for solutions, including Pure, which is combining flash storage and engineering to create a storage unit that currently holds 16 petabytes, or five times most storage devices. Continue reading Users Seek New Storage and Cloud Solutions as Data Explodes

Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles

Sony’s PlayStation Vue, which recently added ESPN, is offering OTT service throughout the U.S., although most markets still won’t get live local TV programs. The national OTT offering competes head-on with Dish Networks’s Sling TV, priced at $20+ per month, and AT&T’s DirecTV pay-TV packages, slated to launch in Q4 2016. PlayStation Vue’s Slim packages, which start at $30 per month and are on offer in 203 U.S. markets, provide on-demand access to ABC, NBC and Fox primetime content, with CBS on board later in some markets. Continue reading Sony PlayStation Vue Debuts OTT Tiers, Skinny to Full Bundles

Twitch Debuts Tools to Encourage Developers to ‘Stream First’

Twitch, which has been successful with “Twitch Plays Pokemon,” just launched an initiative it’s calling “stream first” with the goal of encouraging game developers to integrate Twitch functionality. To make that easier, Twitch is also debuting development services and three “stream first” games that show off the possibilities of Twitch functionality. One of those is Schell Games’ “Wastelanders,” in which teams led by different broadcasters are lead into battle in a post-apocalyptic wasteland. Continue reading Twitch Debuts Tools to Encourage Developers to ‘Stream First’

Apple, WhatsApp Cases Focus on Law Enforcement vs. Privacy

Although President Obama finally stated that he sides with the Justice Department in the ongoing battles between law enforcement and Apple over encryption of the San Bernardino shooter’s iPhone, U.S. citizens aren’t so sure. A Wall Street Journal/NBC News survey revealed that 47 percent of Americans believe Apple shouldn’t cooperate with law enforcement. The government is not just facing a difficult battle with Apple but another, even more crucial one with Facebook’s WhatsApp popular messaging application. Continue reading Apple, WhatsApp Cases Focus on Law Enforcement vs. Privacy

Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Shaping the Future

Although up until now, augmented reality has had an inauspicious debut — think Google Glass — it’s poised to transform how we interact with computers in the next two decades. AR now has technical limitations including a narrow field of view, less-than-ideal resolution and latency issues. Furthermore, the only way to interact with AR is via bulky glasses or helmets. But many experts believe that we are in the midst of a speedy evolution to the point where AR will enable us to project a virtual screen on every surface. Continue reading Augmented Reality and Artificial Intelligence Shaping the Future

Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Snapchat has been making hires and acquisitions in augmented reality that may signal development of smart glasses. The company has brought in key people from Microsoft HoloLens, PTC’s (formerly Qualcomm’s) Vuforia and Eyefluence, an eye-tracking technology company. Snapchat’s interest in AR dates back to March 2014, when it quietly acquired Vergence Labs, maker of glasses with an embedded camera, for $15 million. At the time, the acquisition seemed out-of-place but now appears to be part of a larger AR strategy. Continue reading Snapchat Working on AR, Gamer Developers Turn to VR Titles

Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Last year, the motion picture box office surpassed $11 billion for the first time in history. But that hasn’t kept distributors and exhibitors from guarding the traditional 90-day window between theatrical release and home entertainment. When major studios attempted to shrink that window five years ago, theater owners fought back. Now, Screening Room, a startup backed by entrepreneur and former Facebook/Napster executive Sean Parker, as well as some Hollywood heavyweights, is trying again — and may succeed by offering anti-piracy tech and revenue sharing. Continue reading Screening Room Proposes Bold Day-and-Date Release Model

Vimeo Unveils New Slate of Original Content, Updates iOS App

Vimeo introduced its second slate of original films and programs, including its first feature film and first concert film. Last month, YouTube also introduced original programming on its YouTube Red ad-free subscription service. But Vimeo’s slate is clearly aimed at an older demographic than YouTube’s, which features YouTube stars such as PewDiePie. Vimeo also upgraded its iOS mobile app, with a new interface that organizes videos into categories (such as Music, Documentary, Travel) to distinguish them from personal videos. Continue reading Vimeo Unveils New Slate of Original Content, Updates iOS App

OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

INRIX, a Seattle-based company that offers connected car solutions, just purchased OpenCar, which describes itself as an “updateable application platform and developer ecosystem” for the auto industry. With both solutions on board, INRIX can compete head-on with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, both aimed at auto manufacturers interested in integrating smartphone functionality in their vehicles. Ford, Volvo and BMW have confirmed they will integrate Apple and Google’s solutions into new models of their vehicles. Continue reading OpenCar Poised to Take On Apple CarPlay and Android Auto

MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

French startup MovieSwap has a new way for users who own DVDs to stream and swap them online. The company, which has a 200,000+ library of DVDs, says subscribers who own DVDs can send in their physical DVD collection and then stream them online, “swap” movies with other users, or pay to receive DVDs that they add to their digital collections. MovieSwap is not alone in creating models that skirt Hollywood studios’ copyright infringement laws, but so far the trade group that represents Hollywood studios, MPAA, has no comment. Continue reading MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

FCC Will Regulate Cable, Wireless Companies on Data Privacy

In a shift in the status quo, the Federal Communications Commission will take over the Federal Trade Commission’s power to regulate Internet access providers regarding customer privacy. The FCC already proposes new rules to shield users from unwanted use of their Internet data. Impacted cable and wireless firms are protesting that the rules would target them unfairly, putting them at a disadvantage against Internet service firms such as Facebook and Google, which will continue to be regulated by the FTC. Continue reading FCC Will Regulate Cable, Wireless Companies on Data Privacy

FCC Chairman Talks Net Neutrality, Privacy and Opening STBs

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has a lot to say about net neutrality, zero rating, privacy and Silicon Valley companies, among other topics that he’s been facing over the last months. Although net neutrality passed a year ago, a lawsuit still challenges its legality in court, with Senate Republicans issuing a report that President Obama “inappropriately and secretly influenced the FCC” into regulating broadband providers as common carriers under Title II of the Communications Act. Wheeler begs to differ. Continue reading FCC Chairman Talks Net Neutrality, Privacy and Opening STBs

Amazon Pursues Indie Film, Streaming TV and Virtual Reality

By foreseeing how the Internet would dramatically change the retail business, Amazon became the digital behemoth it is today. Now the company has turned its sights to the entertainment industry, volatile due to technology changes, and is taking a deep dive into prestige films, online shows and virtual reality. Amazon recently became a major player in independent feature distribution by spending top price for films at Sundance and elsewhere. Now it’s debuted a streaming TV show and is forming a team to build a VR platform. Continue reading Amazon Pursues Indie Film, Streaming TV and Virtual Reality

Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape

The advent of digital acquisition has made long-term storage more complicated for media and entertainment companies, which up until now have been dependent on tape-based solutions. Now, Sony has unveiled Everspan, an optical disc technology it guarantees will last for 100 years. That 100-year guarantee would relieve companies of the expensive, time-consuming need to migrate libraries to new technology. Each disc stores 300 gigabytes, and Everspan uses up to 64 drives to read data at extremely high speed. Continue reading Sony Introduces Optical Disc Archival System to Replace Tape