Mobile World Congress Focuses on 5G, IoT, VR and Regulation

Although smartphones are becoming commodities, the mobile industry operators, developers, and Internet companies attending the 2016 Mobile World Congress aren’t worried. That’s because the focus is on the Internet, especially the upcoming 5G networks, which power not just mobile phones but all connected devices. The show is a hotspot for the new gadgets, licensing and partnership deals, frenzied competition and new entrants driving the industry to create services and devices that work seamlessly together. Continue reading Mobile World Congress Focuses on 5G, IoT, VR and Regulation

Telecoms and Silicon Valley Engage at Mobile World Congress

European telecoms and Silicon Valley giants are jousting again, at the annual Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The major carriers, including Deutsche Telekom AG and Spain’s Telefónica SA are pushing for the European Union to either lift some of the regulations imposed on them or apply similar rules to Internet-based text and voice services, such as Facebook’s WhatsApp or Google Hangouts. At the same time, several telecoms have signed on to Facebook’s TIP project, an open source initiative to design cellular towers. Continue reading Telecoms and Silicon Valley Engage at Mobile World Congress

Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Dish Network’s streaming service Sling TV just added support for streaming broadcast network ABC in select U.S. markets. Sling TV subscribers in metro regions, including Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco can add the $5/month “Broadcast Extra” bundle by calling the company, which has not officially announced the service. According to Dish, these markets represent more than half of the top 10 U.S. market areas, serving almost 25 percent of the population. Continue reading Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Samsung Demos Gear 360 Camera for Virtual Reality Capture

Slated for release in Q2 2016, Samsung’s new Gear 360 is a compact camera with two lenses designed to capture 360-video for its Samsung Gear VR viewing system. At 153 grams, the Gear 360 is one gram lighter than the new Galaxy S7 and includes a pair of microphones for audio capture, a microSD slot for memory expansion up to 128GB, and a removable battery for up to 140 minutes of active use. Unlike the Project Beyond 360-camera, with 16 HD cameras, demonstrated in late 2014, the Gear 360 appears to be aimed at consumer use. Continue reading Samsung Demos Gear 360 Camera for Virtual Reality Capture

Facebook Opens Toy Box and Looks to Make VR More Social

Just before the Mobile World Congress opened in Barcelona, Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg announced a new in-house team, led by designers Daniel James and Michael Booth, tasked with building “social apps” for the Oculus. The announcement comes weeks before the release of the long-awaited VR headset Oculus Rift, priced at $600 as a standalone headset and, paired with a PC, starting at $1,500. Facebook also launched a demo of “Toy Box,” with virtual shared games, all part of a move towards making VR more social. Continue reading Facebook Opens Toy Box and Looks to Make VR More Social

HPA Tech Retreat: Next-Gen Cloud Workflows Hosted by ETC

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC hosted a discussion on next-generation cloud workflows, featuring toolsets and specific technologies. Led by ETC’s cloud project lead Erik Weaver, the conversation began with the real-world case study for post production in the cloud implemented by Los Angeles post facility DigitalFilm Tree. That company’s CTO/managing partner Guillaume Aubuchon led the audience through the workflows put in place to handle productions taking place in “remote parts of Asia and Africa.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Next-Gen Cloud Workflows Hosted by ETC

Apple and U.S. Government Battle Over Privacy vs. Terrorism

The battle between terrorism and privacy has been brewing for quite some time, and the tipping point was the iPhone belonging to Syed Rizwan Farook, who, with his wife, opened fire at an office party in December 2015, killing 14 people and injuring 22. The FBI has been trying to decrypt Farook’s phone, unsuccessfully, and asked Apple to create a “backdoor” code into the phone. Apple refused, and now a court order gives the Silicon Valley company five days to comply. Chief executive Tim Cook is holding firm. Continue reading Apple and U.S. Government Battle Over Privacy vs. Terrorism

NBCUniversal Integrates Data Platforms to Hone Ad Targeting

Comcast’s NBCUniversal opened a new division, Audience Studio, to make it easier for advertisers to use data to target audiences across TV, digital and social media. Headed up by data platforms/strategy executive Denise Colella, Audience Studio brings together four different ad buying products that NBCU has unveiled over the past few years. The company is also debuting a new data management platform, that lets advertisers match their own data with NBCU and third party data to create specifically targeted campaigns. Continue reading NBCUniversal Integrates Data Platforms to Hone Ad Targeting

HPA Tech Retreat: Production Experts Talk High Dynamic Range

A Power Session at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat, organized by Disney post production executive Annie Chang, focused on every nook and cranny of high dynamic range and its application in production, post and even displays. The topic is of such interest to Hollywood engineers and technologists that it drew many of the industry’s top experts to speak on their experiences. The Power Session got a start with a short but important HDR primer presented by OneRiver Media owner Marco Solorio, who defined what HDR is and is not. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Production Experts Talk High Dynamic Range

HPA Tech Retreat: How the Pros Handle HDR in Post Production

In a panel organized by Colorfront’s Bruno Munger and moderated by British Cinematographer magazine editor Ron Prince, a group of executives and engineers tackled the topic of HDR workflow in post production. Netflix production engineer for original content Chris Clark pointing to shows like “Marco Polo,” noting that, “Netflix is obviously really excited about HDR.” The company now sets up a pipeline that enables any production to “flip to HDR” if they want to. “We are all about future-proofing,” he said. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: How the Pros Handle HDR in Post Production

HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

A panel of cinematographers, a digital imaging technician and a camera manufacturer talked about HDR production workflow issues that begin in pre-production discussions. The panel’s moderator, VFX cinematographer Mark Weingartner, asked the panelists if there were “fundamental differences between the ways we have been shooting and the way we need to shoot” for HDR. Cinematographer Bill Bennett, ASC noted that “since the inception of cinematography, we’ve been recording HDR images with film.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: The Production Workflow Incorporating HDR

HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat’s long-time programmer, engineer and author Mark Schubin, opened the event with his annual “Technology Year in Review,” composed of all the interesting, obscure and wacky news items he’s aggregated over the previous year. One question he asks every year — have we finished the transition to HD? — had the same answer as every previous year: nope. Even as some companies are talking up 8K as the next TV resolution, the nation’s media infrastructure as a whole is still working on completing the evolution to HD. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

The huge quantities of metadata generated by over-the-top programming poses an opportunity for new revenue streams, said Siemens executive Steve Wong and media tech consultant Christy King at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Big Data, Big Dollars for Post in an OTT World.” Wong noted that a tremendous amount of data about a production is generated through production, from scriptwriting software through scheduling and budgeting. That’s why it frustrates him that nearly everyone has been served irrelevant ads online. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

Virtual reality was the focus of a panel I moderated at the HPA Tech Retreat, which included Phil Lelyveld, who runs the VR/AR initiative at ETC; Stuart English, head of worldwide sales for presence capture at Nokia Technologies; and Steve Schklair, producer, cinematographer and chief executive of 3ality/Technica. Lelyveld described the emerging virtual reality space, first noting the increasing number of VR cameras, from the consumer level (GoPro, Ricoh Theta, Kodak PixPro) to the high end (Nokia, NextVR, Headcase). Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: VR Experts Talk Cameras, Workflow, Markets

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

In another annual HPA Tech Retreat panel, Jim Burger, a copyright attorney with Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C. gave his “Washington Update.” “We’re talking about Congress and the Silly Season, and it’s crazy,” said Burger, who said he would touch on intellectual property litigation on the copyright side; the FCC and communications; net neutrality; and unlocking the set-top box among other topics. Burger noted that the House Judiciary Committee has held over 20 copyright hearings this year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’