Sony’s Cognitive Processor Tech Comes to Next-Gen TV Sets

Sony Electronics debuted the Cognitive Processor XR, a new type of image processor that will be incorporated in its new Bravia XR LED and OLED TVs. According to Sony Electronics president and chief executive Mike Fasulo, the new processor surveys the entire frame in real time, breaking down specific zones to concentrate on — such as realistic skin tone — as a way to mimic how our brains process images. Sony global display and processor expert Kazuo Kii says the Cognitive Processor XR will aid the TVs’ 8K performance. Continue reading Sony’s Cognitive Processor Tech Comes to Next-Gen TV Sets

Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

The Wi-Fi Alliance began its Wi-Fi 6E certification program for devices built to transmit signals on the newly launched 6GHz band. Introduced just before CES 2021, the program comes in time to certify next-generation devices that can take advantage of the fastest speeds ever available with Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi 6, which began its rollout in 2019, adds access to the 6GHz band after the Federal Communications Commission voted unanimously to open it for unlicensed use. Until now, Wi-Fi use has relied on 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6E Certification Program Paves the Way for New Devices

Dell Debuts Features for PCs and Laptops Ahead of CES 2021

In advance of CES 2021, Texas-based computer tech company Dell unveiled the latest in its PC and laptop products. Notable are the Latitude 9420 and 9520 laptops with SafeShutter, which Dell says is the first webcam shutter that automatically opens and closes by synching with videoconferencing applications. These laptops, which are upgraded with 11th Gen Intel Core vPro processors, also have secure mic and mute keys. Additionally, Dell reported that the 9420 will have additional enhancements specific to remote working. Continue reading Dell Debuts Features for PCs and Laptops Ahead of CES 2021

LG Electronics Unveils Mini LED QNED TV Ahead of CES 2021

Days before CES 2021 opens, South Korean tech company LG Electronics introduced its first-ever LG QNED TV, which marks a significant improvement in brightness and contrast. The LCD (liquid crystal display) TV uses ultra-small LEDs as the backlight; these LEDs are one-tenth the size of those used in its previous LCD TVs, which provide a much brighter picture because more of them can be bunched into a single area. The 86-inch LG QNED TV model, which offers 8K resolution, contains 30,000 LEDs as backlight. Continue reading LG Electronics Unveils Mini LED QNED TV Ahead of CES 2021

Dell Unveils 40-Inch Curved 5K Monitor, Other Hi-Res Displays

Dell is unveiling its new 40-inch ultrawide curved WUHD monitor, as one of its range of refreshed UltraSharp monitors, just days before the beginning of CES 2021. According to Dell, the UltraSharp 40, which is priced starting at $2,100, has 35 percent more “on-screen space” than a 32-inch 4K 16:9 screen. The company is dubbing it the world’s first 40-inch, curved ultrawide WUHD 5K2K monitor, based on publicly available data. Another new UltraSharp product is the UltraSharp 38 Curved USB-C monitor, starting at $1,500. Continue reading Dell Unveils 40-Inch Curved 5K Monitor, Other Hi-Res Displays

OpenAI Unveils AI-Powered DALL-E Text-to-Image Generator

OpenAI unveiled DALL-E, which generates images from text using two multimodel AI systems that leverage computer vision and NLP. The name is a reference to surrealist artist Salvador Dali and Pixar’s animated robot WALL-E. DALL-E relies on a 12-billion parameter version of GPT-3. OpenAI demonstrated that DALL-E can manipulate and rearrange objects in generated imagery and also create images from scratch based on text prompts. It has stated that it plans to “analyze how models like DALL·E relate to societal issues.” Continue reading OpenAI Unveils AI-Powered DALL-E Text-to-Image Generator

Discovery Launches Streaming Service on Multiple Platforms

Discovery launched its discovery+ streaming service in the U.S. this week, which can be downloaded from an extensive list of platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Fire Edition TVs, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku, Samsung Smart TVs (2017 and newer), Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S (but not PlayStation 4 or 5), on mobile via Android and iOS, and via the web on Chrome OS, macOS and Windows PCs. TVs with built-in Chromecast or AirPlay support can cast content from the app. The SVOD service launches with more than 55,000 episodes from channels including Animal Planet, Discovery, Food Network, HGTV, ID, OWN, TLC, Travel Channel and others. Continue reading Discovery Launches Streaming Service on Multiple Platforms

TikTok Evolved to Become Major Cultural Platform This Year

TikTok debuted in the U.S. in August 2018 and by April 2020 had amassed 2+ billion downloads. By fall of this year it racked up an estimated 850 million monthly active users. While many people still think of TikTok as an app for children and young people, it has become a “rich social and entertainment network” that has impacted online dance culture, the fashion and music industries, and much more. Thousands of TikTok creators recently recreated Pixar’s “Ratatouille” animated feature in 60-second contributions of songs, dances, set designs and puppets. Continue reading TikTok Evolved to Become Major Cultural Platform This Year

Tech Employees Organize to Launch Alphabet Workers Union

The Alphabet Workers Union was just formed by 400+ Google engineers and other workers. The formation of this union, which is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America (CWA), is the result of years of activism at the Big Tech company focused on new policies on pay, harassment and ethics. The union was organized in secret for about a year and elected its leadership last month. Unlike most unions, this “minority union” represents only a small number of the company’s 260,000 full-time employees and contractors. Continue reading Tech Employees Organize to Launch Alphabet Workers Union

Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

In 2020, many analysts expected a shakeout among the burgeoning number of streaming services. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic led to record-breaking viewing. U.S. subscription numbers are expected to finish the year 50+ percent higher than a year ago, according to data from Moffett Nathanson and HarrisX, whose chief executive Dritan Nesho said “streaming coexistence and parallel growth” were leitmotifs for the year. Newcomers AT&T’s HBO Max and Disney+ also saw a rise in app downloads when they debuted feature films. Continue reading Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

Federal 5G Spectrum Auction Raises Nearly $70 Billion So Far

An auction of wireless licenses, which began December 8 and is conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, has thus far reaped $69.8+ billion. The auction shut down during the holidays but recommenced January 4, meaning the total bids will likely increase. The previous record, in 2015, was the $44.9 billion raised by a sale of mid-range cellular licenses to boost 4G coverage. The winning bidders will not be revealed until the auction ends, but AT&T and Verizon are pegged by analysts to be dominant. Continue reading Federal 5G Spectrum Auction Raises Nearly $70 Billion So Far

Chinese Regulators Rein in Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group

Alibaba founder Jack Ma has long been celebrated in China for his successful entrepreneurship that has made him that country’s richest individual. More recently, however, his troubles with the Chinese government led that country’s media to dub him an “evil capitalist” and “bloodsucking ghost.” Last week, China opened an antitrust probe into Alibaba and is investigating Ant Group, a fintech company Ma spun out of Alibaba. After nixing that company’s IPO, China is now telling Ma to fix its many perceived flaws. Continue reading Chinese Regulators Rein in Jack Ma’s Alibaba and Ant Group

E-Commerce Takes Center Stage as Top Retail Trend in 2020

In 2020, the year of the COVID-19 pandemic, e-commerce went mainstream, with Amazon and Walmart earning top spots as retail’s biggest successes. According to GroupM, e-commerce will grow by “low-double-digit percentages through the next six years,” even after social distancing rules abate. In addition, new services are being offered. Amazon opened its first Fresh grocery store with smart shopping carts and introduced prescription delivery and a hand-scanning payment option. Walmart introduced Walmart+, its membership program and partnered with Shopify and TikTok. Continue reading E-Commerce Takes Center Stage as Top Retail Trend in 2020

ASCAP and BMI Launch New Music Copyright Data Platform

ASCAP and BMI, the top two U.S. performing rights organizations (PROs), partnered to create Songview, a data platform with 20+ million musical works. The effort zeroed in on solving a continuing problem in the music rights industry: the need for a more transparent view of copyright ownership and administration shares for songs and other music compositions licensed in the United States. Vetted by both PROs, each work features a green checkmark to indicate the data is consistent in both ASCAP and BMI copyright systems. Continue reading ASCAP and BMI Launch New Music Copyright Data Platform

Cloud Computing Leads to Growth in Data Center Real Estate

Brick-and-mortar real estate has cratered during the COVID-19 pandemic. The single exception is real estate linked to the significant growth in cloud computing: the buildings that house the servers that enable it. Goldman Sachs is investing up to $500 million in data center infrastructure. Private equity companies Blackstone and KKR also plan to invest in data centers, while, according to JLL, real estate investment trusts (REITs) focused on data centers had returns of 19 percent in the first half of 2020. Continue reading Cloud Computing Leads to Growth in Data Center Real Estate

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