Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

More people than ever are using subtitles — often in their native language, to help follow-along with indiscernible audio, according to a study by language-teaching app Preply. Netflix released figures indicating more than 80 percent of its subscribers used subtitles (or closed captions) once a month or more. And the trend is not limited to seniors; younger viewers are about four times more likely to turn on subtitles. The prevalence of rear-facing, or downward-directed speakers in today’s ultra-thin TVs has compounded the problem, often resulting in worse audio than the old-fashioned TV sets, which had front-facing speakers. But there are other issues affecting TV audio. Continue reading Subtitles, Closed Captioning Popular Among Young Viewers

Intel Promises 96 Percent Accuracy with New Deepfake Filter

Intel has debuted FakeCatcher, touting it as the first real-time deepfake detector. capable of determining whether digital video has been altered to change context or meaning. Intel says FakeCatcher has a 96 percent accuracy rate and returns results in milliseconds by analyzing the “blood flow” of pixel patterns, a process called photoplethysmography (PPG) that Intel borrowed from medical research. The company says potential use cases include social media platforms screening to prevent uploads of harmful deepfake videos and helping global news organizations to avoid inadvertent amplification of deepfakes. Continue reading Intel Promises 96 Percent Accuracy with New Deepfake Filter

Microsoft, Nvidia Partner on Azure-Hosted AI Supercomputer

Microsoft has entered into a multi-year deal with Nvidia to build what they’re calling “one of the world’s most advanced supercomputers,” powered by Microsoft Azure’s advanced supercomputing infrastructure combined with Nvidia GPUs, networking and full stack of AI software to help enterprises train, deploy and scale AI, including large, state-of-the-art models. “AI is fueling the next wave of automation across enterprises and industrial computing, enabling organizations to do more with less as they navigate economic uncertainties,” Microsoft cloud and AI group executive VP Scott Guthrie said of the alliance. Continue reading Microsoft, Nvidia Partner on Azure-Hosted AI Supercomputer

Meta Says Its AI-Compressed Audio Codec Beats MP3 by 10x

Meta Platforms says its vision for the metaverse will rely heavily on compression technology “to deliver high-quality, uninterrupted experiences for everyone.” With that in mind, it’s trained its Fundamental AI Research (FAIR) lab on developing “hypercompression” solutions. First up is EnCodec, an audio technology it says compresses at 64 kbps, with no loss in quality, and at 10 times the efficiency of MP3. The EnCodec protocol has the potential to  greatly improve the sound and reliability of speech over low-bandwidth (like when your mobile phone is only getting one bar). It also works for music. Continue reading Meta Says Its AI-Compressed Audio Codec Beats MP3 by 10x

TikTok’s New Toolkit Adds Photo Carousel, Allows More Text

TikTok is debuting new editing tools and one of them, Photo Mode, is drawing comparisons to Meta’s popular Instagram app. “For when you’d prefer to express yourself in formats other than video, we released Photo Mode, a new carousel format available on mobile for photo content that’s ideal for sharing high quality images on TikTok,” the company writes. The launch occurs just as Instagram has begun shifting its emphasis to video, to the consternation of many users, disapproval TikTok may have noticed as it seeks to pick up market share. Continue reading TikTok’s New Toolkit Adds Photo Carousel, Allows More Text

ETC@USC Announces RoninX Foundation as Board Member

The Entertainment Technology Center at the University of Southern California (ETC@USC) is pleased to announce the addition of the RoninX Foundation to its executive board. The Japan-based foundation is pursuing a camera metadata interoperability standard and a new 8K streaming protocol for innovative use cases for the open multiverse. The RoninX Foundation is guided by its community of camera manufacturers, storage providers, Internet service providers, infrastructure providers, 5G operators and studios. Continue reading ETC@USC Announces RoninX Foundation as Board Member

OpenAI Rolls Out Open-Source Speech Recognition System

OpenAI has released a new open source AI speech recognition model called Whisper that can recognize and translate audio at levels it says compare in accuracy and robustness to human abilities. Case uses include transcription of speeches, interviews, podcasts and conversations. “Moreover, it enables transcription in multiple languages, as well as translation from those languages into English,” says OpenAI, which is open-sourcing models and inference code on GitHub “to serve as a foundation for building useful applications and for further research on robust speech processing.” Continue reading OpenAI Rolls Out Open-Source Speech Recognition System

Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Spotify is expanding beyond music and podcasts by adding audiobooks. The company is starting out with just over 300,000 titles, available for purchase in the U.S. “This is just the beginning,” says Spotify, promising a geographic expansion. In June, the audio streamer completed its purchase of global audiobooks distributor Findaway, announced last year. The acquisition was designed to make it a major player on entry, competing with Amazon’s Audible, the nation’s biggest audiobook service. Unlike Audible, Spotify is individually pricing audiobook titles and offering them à la carte, not by subscription. Continue reading Spotify Rolls Out U.S. Audiobook Service with 300,000 Titles

Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

Twitter is testing a heightened presence in podcasting, offering a redesigned Spaces tab that includes a podcast option in an announcement that hints at a collaboration with Vox Media. Couched as an investment in audio creators, Twitter says the redesign includes personalized hubs (which it’s calling “Stations”) that group audio content together by specific themes such as News, Music and Sports. Integrating podcasts into Spaces, Twitter’s designated area for audio, is “a simple and intuitive way that allows listeners to simply hit play and go” and compile personal collections of live and recorded Spaces audio discussions. Continue reading Twitter Prioritizes Discovery in Its Podcast Tests with Spaces

YouTube Adds Dedicated Podcast Homepage, New Content

YouTube has added a dedicated podcasts homepage for U.S. users. The page — featuring both audio-only and video-recorded studio shows — went live for some users last month. It appears to be part of a grander scheme by the Google subsidiary to take on pod plays by Apple and Spotify, which it is already outperforming. Both added video podcasts in recent years. Studies say most U.S. podcast listeners get content from YouTube. Last week, NPR announced it is bringing its podcast catalog to YouTube, which is monetizing the podcasting shows with ads inserted by Google and others.  Continue reading YouTube Adds Dedicated Podcast Homepage, New Content

NFL Subscription Streaming Service Targets Fans On-the-Go

The NFL has launched its long-awaited streaming service, NFL+, offering two tiers of live local and prime time regular season and postseason games on mobile devices, and live out-of-market preseason games on any device. Priced at $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year for the basic service, NFL+ also provides live local and national audio for every game and programs from the NFL Films archive. NFL+ Premium offers more live games and commercial-free replays on any device for 9.99 per month or $79.99 per year. Premium will absorb the $99.99 per year NFL Game Pass, launched in 2015, which will no longer be available as a separate subscription in the U.S.  Continue reading NFL Subscription Streaming Service Targets Fans On-the-Go

Warner Music Adopts SoundCloud’s Fan-Powered Royalties

Warner Music Group has become the first major music label to adopt SoundCloud’s fan-powered royalties payout model. Launched last year, the model is designed around what the music streaming service calls “the fan economy,” enabling artists to engage directly with fans for more control and increased monetization opportunities. The audio distribution platform allows every artist to be paid “based on fan listening behavior on SoundCloud,” with subscription and advertising revenue “distributed among the artists [the fans] listen to, rather than being pooled under the traditional pro-rata model the music industry has been using for over a decade,” explains SoundCloud. Continue reading Warner Music Adopts SoundCloud’s Fan-Powered Royalties

Google Launches New Advertising Tools and Creative Studio

Google is adding a host of new advertising features. The Alphabet-owned company has introduced an asset library that makes it easier to organize and access assets across multiple teams and campaigns, as well as a new video creation tool designed to make it simple for anyone to be able to create YouTube-worthy ads. In addition, the company announced that the Google Ads Creative Studio tool for churning out original ads at scale is out of beta and generally available to all advertisers. The company also debuted a new text-to-voice-over feature. Continue reading Google Launches New Advertising Tools and Creative Studio

Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Netflix has tapped Sennheiser to bring spatial audio its global subscribers. Netflix says its AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio will work with any speakers and device to help convey a cinematic experience. “Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by the immersive moments they create through sound,” Netflix said, citing “Eddie Munson’s epic guitar scene in ‘Stranger Things 4,’” the series used to premiere the new technology as part of its development with Sennheiser. “Red Notice,” “The Witcher” and “Resident Evil” are also among the first shows to get the AMBEO upgrade. Continue reading Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Twitch Users Can Soon Ask Guests to Join Their Live Stream

Twitch is rolling out a new feature called Guest Star that allows users to invite up to five guests to join their live stream. Guest Star will at first deploy to a small group and expand to all users by the end of the year. Anyone with a Twitch account will be able to join a stream from their desktop or mobile app. Previously, those who wanted to have guests join a stream had to do it through a third-party platform like Discord. Creators using Guest Star will be able to host their guests directly within Twitch Studio or Open Broadcaster Software (OBS). Continue reading Twitch Users Can Soon Ask Guests to Join Their Live Stream