Adobe Announces Project Primetime: Fully Integrated Video Platform

  • Adobe has introduced Project Primetime, which it claims is “the industry’s first fully integrated video technology platform.”
  • Primetime includes streaming, content protection, analytics and advertising using a single workflow to Apple iOS, Google Android, desktop operating systems and connected TVs.
  • “The first portion of Adobe’s project, ‘Primetime Highlights,’ is available today for the iPad and showcases a video editor alongside the Auditude ad platform,” reports Engadget. Adobe will have additional platforms coming later in 2012.

Over-the-Air TV Breathes New Life Thanks to Cable Costs and Web

  • Broadcast TV is seeing increased viewership due to high cable TV costs and the proliferation of Web streaming options.
  • Companies are including broadcast TV complemented with Web video as a cord-cutting alternative to costly cable TV.
  • “Largely relegated to obscurity decades ago, old-fashioned television broadcasts — over the airwaves and not via cable or satellite — are enjoying an unexpected revival in the digital era,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • On average, viewers can get 30-45 channels over the air. In Los Angeles, they can get 90 stations.
  • Over the past 18 months, the number of pay TV subscribers has not grown while broadband and broadcast TV households increased 23 percent in Q3 of 2011.
  • “TV-antenna seller Richard Schneider of St. Louis says sales at his company are soaring,” adds WSJ, regarding the emerging trend. “Schneider’s Antennas Direct sold 70,000 antennas in January, and he expects to double last year’s sales of about 600,000.”
  • “Every time that Hulu and Netflix enhance their services, our phones light up,” said Schneider.

Will Google Music Compete with iTunes and Subscription Services?

  • Google Music, a download and streaming service serving 200 million Android users, has had a disappointing start. The service was intended to compete with Apple’s iTunes, but so far has attracted just 10 percent of potential users.
  • Google’s managers are telling music companies that they expect more interest when the company starts building its own consumer devices. It is rumored to be building a wireless entertainment system.
  • However, competition may continue coming from a variety of areas. Microsoft, for example, “has held talks with some of the record companies about creating a new digital music store that would serve owners of the Xbox gaming console as well as buyers of an upcoming Windows-based phone. The parties have discussed the possibility of streaming music as well as selling downloads,” reports CNET.
  • Additionally, download services may be out of step today as subscription services such as Spotify, Rhapsody and Rdio gain more attention.

Apple Offers Audio Engineers Guidelines for iTunes Submissions

  • Apple has a new “Mastered for iTunes” section on the iTunes Store that includes recommendations for audio engineers when preparing master files for submission.
  • Original recordings are captured at 24-bit 96kHz. The CD format, which encodes at 16-bit 44.1kHz, captures only 15 percent of the original. The iTunes Plus format captures as little as 3 percent of the original. There is an effort underway to set a higher quality uncompressed audio standard of 24-bit across the industry in the future.
  • Mastering for iTunes requires an awareness of the devices used to play back the music. Moreover, Apple is also aware that high-resolution audio files will become more important especially as the focus changes to the cloud for post-PC devices.
  • Apple is providing some basic tools to help in the conversion, but the process is not automatic and engineers remain an important part in determining how best to make the tradeoffs.

Google Planning to Offer Heads-Up Display Glasses

  • Google is developing Android-based glasses that will stream online information to users and make it visible via a small screen near the eyes.
  • The glasses will identify an individual’s location and examine what that person is looking at to provide related information about location, objects and friends who might be nearby.
  • The glasses will have 3G or 4G connectivity along with motion sensors and GPS capability. Navigation will be motion-based; tilting of the head will allow for actions such as scrolling and clicking.
  • The Oakley Thumps-like glasses will be available later this year for a cost between $250 and $600.
  • Google is looking at the glasses as an experiment in real-time information. They are not yet looking at ways to monetize the technology.

Six Tech Companies Agree to Deal on Privacy Rules for Apps

  • California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris reached an agreement with Apple, Google, Amazon, Microsoft, Hewlett-Packard and Research In Motion that could change how app makers address personal data and the way consumers download apps.
  • The companies have agreed “that California law requires apps to have privacy policies, and that they would begin asking app developers who collect personal information to include them,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • Twenty-two of the 30 most-downloaded mobile apps have no privacy policy. Moreover, most privacy policies are not clear to the average person.
  • The privacy policies will provide a means to prosecute companies which take or use consumer information improperly.
  • “Harris said that she agreed most privacy policies are ‘absolutely beyond the understanding of the average person,’ but that the six companies agreed in principle that app privacy policies ‘are going to be more clear and understandable,'” reports WSJ. “She said simply requiring privacy policies would force app developers to think about what information they are requiring from consumers — and why.”

Mountain Lion and Windows 8 Make the Desktop More Like Mobile

  • Microsoft and Apple are integrating mobile features, interfaces and capabilities into their desktop operating systems.
  • Apple’s Mac OS X 10.8 (known as Mountain Lion), will include notifications, reminders, Twitter integration, iMessage, and iCloud synchronization.
  • Windows 8 will incorporate ARM support, the Windows Phone 7 Metro interface, an app store, improved mobile broadband support and instant-on/off abilities.
  • The moves are reportedly intended to emulate the mobile devices and make it easier for users who want a more mobile and tablet experience.
  • In a related article, David Pogue highlights the new features of Apple’s Mountain Lion: Apple will update the Mac OS X yearly and a free iCloud account will synch Notes, Reminders, Messages and Game Center across your Apple devices.
  • Additionally, Game Center is now available on the Mac so you can play some 20,000 games against 100 million people via their iPhones and iPads. Apple TV users can display their Mac screens on TV at 720p resolution. iWork apps can save to iCloud. Gatekeeper controls which apps you install for increased protection against malware and viruses. Screen-sharing with another Mac allows you to share files.
  • Mountain Lion will be available this summer. Windows 8 is expected later this year.

Seeking Social Media Alternatives: Is Facebook Spying on You?

  • Eben Moglen, a Columbia Law School professor and the founder of the Software Freedom Law Center, observes that Web technologies that help us stay connected include the ability to spy on us. Facebook is his example.
  • How much does Facebook know about you? An Austrian law student used an Irish court to force Facebook to turn over everything it knew about him. The result was 1,222 pages of data that included information he never agreed to give them and data he had deleted.
  • Some 40,000 other people have asked for their own records. In Europe, Facebook’s users are increasingly sensitive to the violation of personal privacy.
  • Developers are beginning to work on alternatives to Facebook which are open-sourced and can be used in a private manner.
  • “I think it’s possible that Facebook will still be around in five years, and even in 10,” Boyer says. “But I’d like to see it recede into only being used for that single, simple purpose that it ultimately serves very well, which I continue to use it for: finding that person that I met a million years ago. The rest of it, we can do better.”

BitTorrent Live to Offer Live Streaming for Up to One Million Peers

  • Bram Cohen, the developer of BitTorrent, has developed BitTorrent Live, a peer-to-peer live-streaming technology that has been modeled to serve a million peers.
  • BitTorrent Live uses the torrent theory and applies it to a live stream. All one needs is an executable file for Windows, Mac or Linux that has been pointed to a site running BitTorrent Live. The result is a low-latency, high-reliability stream that has a 4.5 second delay for up to one million peers.
  • The technology will be rolled out later this year and include an SDK and a website. A freemium model has not been confirmed.
  • “Live streaming is a big challenge that people have been trying to solve,” says Cohen. “We’re hoping that this is a fundamental technology that will change how people use the Internet.”

Global Cinema: Live Theater Productions Enjoying HD Broadcast Run

  • The Metropolitan Opera’s HD broadcasts began in 2006 in fewer than 200 theaters worldwide. The live broadcasts have exploded to 1,600 venues in 54 countries, which earned $11 million in the 2010-2011 season.
  • The Met’s success has other theater producers creating their own HD performances. The National Theater in London will have six shows this season. Some shows will broadcast live and others delayed from hours to weeks.
  • While the hope is for additional income for everyone involved in theater production, there are concerns that audiences will be cannibalized. Moreover, there are still challenges obtaining the rights from all the stakeholders.
  • Still, at least two companies are specializing in theater broadcasts hoping to capitalize on the emerging market opportunities.

The Lines Continue to Blur Between TV and Other Media for Young People

  • “Television is America’s No. 1 pastime,” reports The New York Times, “with an average of four hours and 39 minutes consumed by every person every day.”
  • While viewers 35 and older are spending more time in front of the TV, Nielsen reports that younger viewers aged 12 to 34 are watching significantly less as their attention is divided between traditional TV, Internet videos, social networks, mobile phones and video games.
  • “It has long been predicted that these new media would challenge traditional television viewing, but this is the first significant evidence to emerge in research data,” suggests the article.
  • Moreover, young people have a greater tendency to watch the same shows on computers and phones. This shift in viewing may have large implications for ad spending that could shift from broadcast to streaming.
  • To children, watching video on the Web is no different from watching on the TV, whereas older generations tend to treat television separately from their other media.
  • “According to data for the first nine months of 2011, children spent as much time in front of the television set as they did in 2010, and in some cases spent more,” adds the article. “But the proportion of live viewing is shrinking while time-shifted viewing is expanding.”

Will New Approach by The Pirate Bay Change the Way People Steal?

  • Popular torrent site The Pirate Bay has become less a site that hosts files and more a Google-like guide that links to both pirated and non-pirated content.
  • TechCrunch reports that “the admins are now moving all of the torrent files off the site and are instead offering magnet links. This is an important distinction that will move the locus of general piracy from a single site to any number of sites, reducing The Pirate Bay’s importance as a source.”
  • The Pirate Bay has become the “snarky face on the pirate,” both popularizing torrents and making it a target for the authorities, despite the fact that it has become a guide more than a repository.
  • “The attacks against The Pirate Bay have given it far more popularity than it really deserves and through a combination of excellent branding and nearly non-stop coverage, everyone with an Internet connection knows of that Jolly Roger waving endlessly in the digital winds while the real business of piracy — counterfeiting, fake DVD sales, and fraud — are going on in the shadows,” comments TechCrunch.
  • “Whichever side you’re on, you have to admit The Pirate Bay asks for nothing and expects nothing in return. We feed the beast that is the pirate underground and, no matter how hard we try or how many times we seize a bunch of Swedish servers, we will never tame it.”

Taking on Apple: Google Looking to Expand with Android@Home and Drive

  • Google is developing a home entertainment system that would stream music wirelessly. The device, which would be available later this year, would be Android-based and controlled using a smartphone or tablet.
  • Google is seeking to make Android the operating system for the home that will not only control music — but TV, home appliances, lights, heating and other devices. It’s a vision they call “Android@Home.”
  • “The new Android device, along with Google’s pending purchase of device maker Motorola Mobility Holdings Inc., also ups the ante in its ongoing tussle with rival Apple Inc., which also controls both the software and hardware process,” reports the Wall Street Journal.
  • In related news, Google is nearing launch of a new cloud-based storage service called “Drive.” The service will be free and is expected to begin in weeks or months.
  • Users can use an app to upload files, photos, and videos which will be available from any Web-connected device. The service may be added to Google Apps.

Going to Trial: EMI Request to Stop ReDigi Music Reselling is Denied

  • U.S. District Judge Richard Sullivan denied a preliminary injunction requested by EMI which would have shut down ReDigi, a site that “resells” digital music.
  • The ruling means that this case will go to trial and most likely test the concept of digital reselling that ReDigi claims is protected under the “First Sale” doctrine (the doctrine is typically used for the sale of CDs, vinyl records, DVDs and other physical media).
  • ReDigi scans a user’s hard drive and deletes the music the individual wants to sell. However, the CEO acknowledges there’s no way to know if the person has a copy on another drive.
  • EMI asserts that ReDigi must make digital copies of the music, which is unauthorized and a violation of copyright law.
  • If the court rules that it is legal to resell music, it could lead to the reselling of digital movies as well.

Networking Startup Nicira Unveils Network Virtualization Platform

  • Nicira claims its network virtualization platform (NVP) can create virtual networks in minutes, rather than days or weeks. The concept is similar to creating multiple virtual machines on a single PC.
  • These NVPs are software-based, do not require any additional hardware and can run on any existing network hardware. The only requirement is IP connectivity.
  • “On Monday the company is officially taking the wraps off its plans,” reports AllThingsD. “Nicira — which I’m told is pronounced like ‘nice era’ — aims to be the vendor of a new networking technology that’s built specifically for the age of cloud computing.”
  • AT&T, eBay, Fidelity Investments, Rackspace and NTT are already using Nicira. NTT reportedly used it to switch 10,000 virtual machines to other data centers to deal with blackouts that have occurred since last year’s earthquake.
  • A virtual network would have the potential to significantly impact current network vendors like Cisco, Juniper and HP.