Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

In response to 92 reports of batteries overheating, in some cases leading to explosions and fires, Samsung and the Consumer Product Safety Commission have issued a formal recall of the Galaxy Note7. “Consumers have the option of a refund or a replacement device with a new battery,” reports Recode. “Samsung is offering customers $25 extra if they stick with either a new Note7 or opt to exchange their phone for a Galaxy S7 or S7 Edge.” Replacement devices are expected to be available in retail stores by September 21. Less than 15 percent of the one million Note7 phones sold in the U.S. have been returned since Samsung launched the exchange program two weeks ago. Continue reading Samsung Formally Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phones in the U.S.

Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

Twitter has introduced a new video-centric app available for Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV and Microsoft’s Xbox One as the social platform readies its live-streaming debut of “Thursday Night Football.” The new app “will contain only video, photos and tweets curated by the company,” explains The Wall Street Journal. Live streaming is now a major component of the company’s latest business strategy as evidenced by deals with “the NFL, MLB, the National Basketball Association, National Hockey League and Pac-12 Networks for sports, and Bloomberg News and Cheddar for financial news.” Continue reading Twitter Comes to Apple TV, Fire TV, Xbox in Time for Football

TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

Following Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo and the unveiling of TiVo’s new UX on-screen user experience, the company has now rolled out its latest DVR, the Bolt+ with six 4K tuners and 3TB of storage. While last fall’s 4K-ready Bolt debuted a white chassis and curved form factor, the Bolt+ returns to TiVo’s standard black body. The newest addition to the Bolt family can record 450 hours of HD content and allows users to simultaneously record and stream more shows. The Bolt+ will be available for $499.99 (not including the monthly service fee) starting tomorrow. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Rovi has completed its $1.1 billion cash and stock deal to acquire DVR pioneer TiVo and, in an unusual move, announced that it would rename itself after the company it just purchased. The company also unveiled TiVo UX, its new on-screen user experience that integrates programming options from multiple platforms for a seamless search and recommendation interface. The new UI — featuring TiVo’s innovative Prediction tech — is designed to access content from TV and mobile sources quicker and easier, in an effort to “allow every device to become a primary screen for video consumption.” Continue reading Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Twitter Launches App That Allows Alexa to Read Your Tweets

Twitter has introduced an app that enables Amazon’s voice assistant Alexa to read users’ Twitter timelines and topics currently trending on the social network. The new app is called Twitter Reader and it connects to Amazon Echo smart speakers and other Alexa-ready devices. Twitter Reader will recite individuals’ main timelines in addition to trending topics based on location. Users can ask for tweets that correspond to specific trends — or even ask if they have recently been mentioned on Twitter or if any of their tweets have been retweeted. Continue reading Twitter Launches App That Allows Alexa to Read Your Tweets

Apple Places Emphasis on Fitness with Series 2 Smartwatch

Two years since its initial launch, the Apple Watch has shifted its focus “from a stylish jack-of-all-trades fashion accessory to a personal trainer” with a new emphasis on sports and fitness, explains The Wall Street Journal. The Apple Watch Series 2, announced last week, is water resistant to 50 meters and features a heart rate sensor and a fitness app with 12 workouts. A new partnership with Nike offers “sports-themed watches along with GPS capability that helps the device track hikes, runs and bicycle rides,” notes WSJ. The Apple Watch Nike+ model includes the Nike running app and offers Nike-inspired faces and bands. Continue reading Apple Places Emphasis on Fitness with Series 2 Smartwatch

Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

Intel announced it is acquiring Movidius, the Irish computer vision company that builds processors for drones, robots, VR systems and more. Movidius was an early partner with Google and was responsible for Project Tango’s 3D sensor technology. Intel is planning to move beyond PCs; the Movidius deal is expected to help it expand its artificial intelligence portfolio and build upon its RealSense platform. According to Intel, with Movidius the company “gains low-power, high-performance SoC platforms for accelerating computer vision applications.” Continue reading Intel Acquires Movidius, Plans Next Wave of RealSense Tech

Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

Google recently integrated full Google Cast capability directly into its Chrome browser, a significant upgrade to its previous Cast extension that allowed streaming from Chrome to supported devices like the company’s popular Chromecast. The Cast icon will appear on all sites that support it, enabling Cast functionality from the Chrome menu, no software download required. Cast is also now available on third party hardware such as TV sets and speakers. More than 38 million casts were sent from Chrome in August alone, representing over 50 million hours of consuming media content. Continue reading Google Builds Cast Functionality Directly into Chrome Browser

ETC, Google and Equinix Present Next-Gen Cloud Workflows

The Entertainment Technology Center at USC (ETC), Equinix and Google are coming together to raise awareness of new cloud-based workflow technologies for creative companies. On September 19th at Google’s Venice, CA headquarters, the companies will host an event for industry professionals to learn how cloud-based workflows are changing media and entertainment. The event will feature presentations and an engaging panel discussion to illustrate how facilities large and small can leverage the cloud to decrease workflow latency while increasing security and productivity. Continue reading ETC, Google and Equinix Present Next-Gen Cloud Workflows

Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

During yesterday’s Apple event in San Francisco, the company unveiled its next-gen iPhone 7 and iPhone 7 Plus. New features include the A10 Fusion SoC, IP67 water resistance, a home button upgraded with force touch tech, 25 percent brighter display panels, 12MP camera with new options, and support for wide color gamut displays and photography. In addition, Apple introduced the Apple Watch Series 2 featuring second-gen S2 SiP (System in Package) — also now water resistant and GPS-equipped — and Bluetooth AirPods and other new wireless headphones to make up for the loss of the iPhone’s headphone jack. Continue reading Apple Rolls Out its Latest iPhones, Smartwatch, Headphones

Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

After comparing 5,000 streaming clips from 500 titles using x264, x265, and libvpx codecs, Netflix found x265’s implementation of HEVC to be the most efficient while offering the highest quality. However, “whether that matters in light of compatibility and licensing issues isn’t so obvious,” notes Streaming Media. The study, which focused on VOD rather than live, compared codecs and not specifications (instead of comparing encoding specs, Netflix compared implementation of the specs). “Netflix’s tests clearly show that x265 is 20 percent more efficient than libvpx when encoding premium content using the most stringent settings, and measuring quality with VMAF.” Continue reading Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

LG Expands Smart Home Strategy with New IoT Partnerships

At IFA 2016 in Berlin, LG is demonstrating smart home technology and its expanding IoT ecosystem with new partnerships and collaborations. In addition to connected smart refrigerators featuring sensors, touchscreens and cameras — as well as a host of new IoT accessories such as light bulbs and motion sensors — LG has announced that its SmartThinQ Hub now includes support for Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa. “To chat with Alexa, you’ll have to press a button on the LG hub, whereupon you’ll be able to ask Alexa to amend your schedule, play your favorite song, or check the forecast,” reports Digital Trends. “You’ll also be able to command Alexa via a remote.” Continue reading LG Expands Smart Home Strategy with New IoT Partnerships

CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

CBS has introduced an ad-free, $9.99 per month option for its All Access on-demand service. The new option eliminates nearly all advertising, except for promotional interruptions during select series. The original version of the service, with reduced commercials, costs $5.99 per month. “The addition of a commercial-free plan gives our subscribers even more ways to customize their CBS viewing experience — from which devices to whether they watch in or out of the home, and now with commercials or without,” said Marc DeBevoise, president and COO of CBS Interactive. Continue reading CBS Debuts Ad-Free Version of All Access Streaming Service

Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Video technology provider Kaltura has announced its partnership with Microsoft’s cloud computing platform Azure to offer a new scalable, end-to-end OTT platform. Kaltura has integrated with Azure to encode, store and deliver OTT TV content via the cloud. According to the company release: “Microsoft Azure enables operators and media companies to leverage Kaltura OTT TV to launch OTT services while quickly scaling, with pay-as-you-go services. Microsoft is committed to protecting subscriber data, enhancing control of premium content and privacy.” Continue reading Kaltura to Offer Cloud-Based TV Services on Microsoft Azure

Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

On the eve of Apple’s expected new iPhone unveiling September 7, Samsung announced on Friday that it is recalling its Galaxy Note7 due to a problem with the battery cell that could lead to overheating. The world’s biggest maker of smartphones plans to replace 2.5 million phones shipped to consumers and stores. Reports first appeared online when users posted images and videos of charred phones that had reportedly exploded, often while charging. Manufacturing the replacement phones will take two weeks, according to Samsung, although it has yet to say how much the recall will cost the company. Continue reading Samsung Recalls Galaxy Note7 Phablets Due to Battery Fires

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