Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

After failing to gain traction in the wearables market currently dominated by Fitbit and Apple, Jawbone has ceased production of its UP line of fitness trackers and reportedly sold its remaining inventory to a third party reseller at a discount. It is not clear whether Jawbone plans to manufacture the fitness trackers again in the future. The company has also discontinued its Bluetooth speaker business and is currently looking to unload remaining inventory. According to multiple sources, Jawbone has been looking to sell its Jambox wireless speaker business. Continue reading Jawbone is Selling Speaker Biz, Puts Fitness Trackers on Hold

Avid Debuts Integration with Adobe Premiere, NEXIS Storage

At Avid’s third annual Avid Connect event, over 1,000 people gathered prior to the official opening of NAB 2016 to hear the company’s chief executive Louis Hernandez Jr. “We’re the most open, extensible company here,” claimed Hernandez. “We invite everyone to join the open movement. We can solve this connectivity problem once and for all.” Proof of this boast was the news that Avid and rival Adobe have collaborated to tightly integrate Adobe’s Premiere Pro editing toolset into Avid’s MediaCentral Platform. Continue reading Avid Debuts Integration with Adobe Premiere, NEXIS Storage

ATSC 3.0: NAB Calls on FCC to Authorize Next Generation TV

In a 21-page petition, a group comprised of the NAB, America’s Public Television Stations, the Consumer Technology Association and the AWARN Alliance is asking the FCC to authorize use of the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard — what the collective refers to as “Next Generation TV” — in order to improve delivery of 4K broadcasting, streaming to smartphones and tablets, personalization features and IP-based services. ATSC 3.0 “will create the bedrock for continuing innovation by the television industry for decades to come,” claims the petition. Continue reading ATSC 3.0: NAB Calls on FCC to Authorize Next Generation TV

NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

NAB and the Entertainment Technology Center at USC are coproducing a Virtual Reality Summit at the annual NAB Show on Wednesday, April 20, from 1:00-5:00 pm at the Las Vegas Convention Center. The half-day summit will address key concepts and lessons learned regarding VR production. Hands-on practitioners will discuss the technical and business aspects of producing content in this emerging marketplace, which some consider to be a new media type and art form. You can register for the Virtual Reality Summit and learn more about the NAB conference at the event’s website. Continue reading NAB and ETC to Present Virtual Reality Summit in Las Vegas

GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

The 30th edition of the Game Developers Conference (GDC) set a record for event attendance, with more than 27,000 game industry professionals at last week’s conference in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. One of the major draws this year was the debut of the Virtual Reality Developers Conference (VRDC), an event dedicated to the creation of new video games, entertainment and technology around virtual and augmented reality (AR), which was held alongside GDC 2016. VRDC brought greater focus to the nascent field of virtual reality development. Continue reading GDC 2016 Tops Attendance Record, Celebrates Past & Future

GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

At GDC 2016 this week, Oculus demonstrated its retail headset with 41 games, 30 of which will launch with the Rift. The headset already has a pre-order list backed up to July, four months past its initial March 28 release. Over four generations, Rift has improved, says one journalist, although the “screen door effect” still exists in games that are heavy in fine details such as “Project CARS” and less so in games with fewer details and more abstraction. The Rift’s head tracking and overall latency was also deemed “spot on.” Continue reading GDC 2016: Oculus Plans to Debut 30 Games with Rift Headset

Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Varun Nair of Two Big Ears Ltd. and Jean-Pascal (JP) Beaudoin of Headspace Studio gave an excellent primer on “Audio for Cinematic VR” at this week’s GDC VR Developers Conference at the Moscone Center in San Francisco. Beaudoin started by making two overarching points: the sense of presence in VR is proportional to the amount of immersion, and it is important to understand the Field of Audition (FoA – the sound space). The session also addressed three key types of sound space designs: diegetic audio, acousmatic audio and non-diegetic audio. Continue reading Cinematic VR Audio Discussed at Game Developers Conference

Pandora Unveils AMPcast Social Audio Messaging for Artists

Pandora just launched AMPcast, which lets a musician communicate with his fans via audio messages that he can record on his mobile phone and post to run in conjunction with his music streams. Pandora, which has 80 million users, is competing in this space with Spotify, which has acquired startups to expand messaging and social networking. AMPcast also competes with Superphone, a new service from musician Ryan Leslie that uses SMS and users’ phone numbers to directly message fans. Continue reading Pandora Unveils AMPcast Social Audio Messaging for Artists

Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

Sony announced the launch of its Future Lab Program, a new research and development initiative “that emphasizes an open creative environment and direct lines of communication with society, through which it aims to co-create new lifestyles and user value in the future.” Sony’s program will share prototypes with the user community during development and welcome feedback to help refine projects. The first project — a hands-free interface that offers a new way to experience audio — will be featured in Austin at the SXSW Interactive Festival. Continue reading Sony’s Future Lab R&D Program to Showcase Tech at SXSW

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

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: Pixar Team Talks Localization, ‘Inside Out’

A team from Pixar talked about the massive amount of work the company puts into “localization” or “regionalization” of every film they make. “John Lasseter, from the early days, placed a high importance on creating content for international markets, without the disruptive experience of subtitles or language they don’t understand,” said Pixar executive Cynthia Lusk. “That’s been a priority for the studio since ‘Toy Story.’” Lusk said that they regard each movie as a snowflake, with a different approach from title to title. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Pixar Team Talks Localization, ‘Inside Out’

Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

Augmented Reality is about to get a boost, not from a new set of glasses, but from ear buds. Doppler Labs, via a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $600,000, has produced Here, live in-ear audio tuners that let the user tweak live audio from the environment or a music event. Each bud has its own microprocessor, and, importantly, there is no latency. Doppler Labs made Here for audiophiles and live music fans, and plans to provide a pair to every Coachella paid attendee, with pre-set filters for every music act. Continue reading Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Amazon is recruiting comedians, radio producers, engineers, marketers and lawyers for almost 100 positions in the company’s growing Audible division. Audible currently offers more than 250,000 audiobooks and plays, but the new hires suggest that Amazon is investing in more original programming. Prominent comedians like Maria Bamford and Jonathan Katz, as well as producers from NPR, WNYC and the radio show “Fresh Air,” have already joined the Audible team. Continue reading Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

Spotify is acquiring Soundwave and Cord Project, two small startups founded in the last few years and known for their design abilities. Soundwave is a social tool for finding, sharing, and talking about music, and Cord Project is an audio-first messaging app for Android, iOS, and the Apple Watch, with a tap-and-talk voice messaging system. Although Cord might seem to be a puzzling fit for Spotify, its founders Thomas Gayno and Jeff Baxter have launched other companies that focus around providing “an audio experience.” Continue reading Spotify, Apple Focus on New Ways to Experience, Create Music

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