HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Yesterday during the HPA Tech Retreat, NEC Corporation executive engineer Dr. Masayuki Sugawara, who chairs the digital broadcasting experts group (DiBEG) and is vice president of the Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), described the world’s first 8K regular broadcast. In Japan, the broadcast starts at 10:00 am and is transmitted all over the country for seven hours via satellite. “It’s in the test phase, aimed at moving to a commercial phase next year,” said Sugawara, who notes that NHK had its first public demonstration of 8K in 2002.
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SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

Twelve-year old audio recognition company SoundHound just raised $75 million to build its speech recognition AI-based platform, Houndify, betting that voice will become the dominant form of interaction with Internet-connected devices. Although large companies like Apple, Baidu and Microsoft dominate the space, SoundHound has built its own AI technology to identify audio. In contrast to these other companies, SoundHound also plans to offer its voice AI tools to other device manufacturers. Continue reading SoundHound Raises $75M to Advance AI Speech Recognition

Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

At CES 2017, OLED TVs were more numerous and considerably less expensive than past years. LG, for example, continuously lowered its OLED prices throughout 2016; its cheapest model, the B6, initially was priced at $4,000 and came down to $2,000 by October, with another $200 off for Black Friday (although the price is back up to $2,500). Lowered OLED prices are due, in part, to production increasing by 70 percent last year. OLED TVs are desirable for their thinness, improved contrast ratios and wider viewing angles. Continue reading Sony, LG, Panasonic Unveil OLED TVs at Better Price Points

CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Glance Clock offers a visual solution for dealing with daily information overload. The stylish modern clock is linked by Bluetooth for proximity response or Wi-Fi for building wide connections to mobile phones. The device highlights select information as it updates on a smartphone or digital assistant. Calendars break down the day in colorful graphics on the clock face. Users can highlight notifications about to-do items and important events, anniversaries and more. Weather forecasts are announced by colorful animations and related details. As a direct indication of wider scale ambient reach, it also can display responses from Alexa or announce an Uber arrival with visuals and sounds. Continue reading CES: Glance Clock Provides New Uses for a Familiar Object

Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

While smartphones have massively shrunk the size of a credible video camera, sound has lagged behind until now. At CES 2017, New York-based Samson Technologies introduced its soon-to-be-released Go Mic Mobile system, featuring an absolutely tiny onboard professional two-channel wireless microphone receiver that attaches to a smartphone and operates the 2.4GHx band with 100 feet of operable range. It automatically selects the clearest operating channel with uncompressed, low latency audio transmission to avoid audio sync issues. Continue reading Samson Reveals Tiny Solution for Smartphone Audio at CES

Streaming Music Surpasses Digital Downloads for First Time

According to Nielsen, streaming officially became the primary means of consuming music in the U.S. during 2016. “Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016 — a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market,” reports Pitchfork. For the first time, on-demand audio streaming has surpassed sales of digital albums + digital track equivalents. An average day saw 1.2 billion streams, compared to a total of 734 million downloads for the entire year. Rock is the most popular genre, representing 29 percent of consumption (but only 20 percent of streaming), while hip-hop and R&B make up 22 percent of total consumption (but an industry-leading 28 percent of streaming).

Continue reading Streaming Music Surpasses Digital Downloads for First Time

HDMI Forum Releases First Draft of HDMI 2.1 Spec for 8K, 4K

The HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group just released a first draft of HDMI version 2.1, which will support 8K video with HDR at a 60Hz refresh rate or 4K video at a 120Hz refresh rate. The proposed standard, which will be backward compatible with the current HDMI standard, will, says the Working Group, allow for “immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail,” as well as support 10K. Although 8K is years away from being mainstream, the first 8K TVs and monitors have been demonstrated at CES 2017. Continue reading HDMI Forum Releases First Draft of HDMI 2.1 Spec for 8K, 4K

Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

The VR, AR and Robotics Pitch Competition at CES in Las Vegas included three drone-related entertainment tech startups. The Fotokite, from Zurich-based Perspective Robotics, is a tethered drone camera system. The $249 consumer version unfolds from an easy-carry tube and flies like a kite, but unlike a kite it works to maintain its position and camera angle relative to the handheld ‘kite’ tether. Dotterel “takes the drone out of drones” with technology that was developed to make it possible to record audio from a drone without the loud background buzz. And Boxfish Research showed a simple-to-operate submarine ROV with two universal camera mounts for capturing 360-degree video. Continue reading Tech Startups Pitch Innovative New Drone Concepts at CES

Bluewave Showcases GET: 24-Bit Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier

During CES, Montreal-based Bluewave privately showed the first Bluetooth aptX HD wireless headphone amplifier. The high-powered, high-fidelity, 24-bit portable solution allows any standard headset to receive near wired quality of the new aptX HD methodology. It also features an onboard MEMS microphone to add telephone conversations to a favorite production headset with the added boost of Bluetooth portability. The $100 GET is truly portable and ultra-compact (45mm x 22mm x 10mm) and weighs only 30 grams. Continue reading Bluewave Showcases GET: 24-Bit Hi-Fi Headphone Amplifier

Engadget Editors Release Their Official Best of CES Awards

Engadget published its Best of CES winners this evening, and for the fourth consecutive year Razer has taken the People’s Choice Award, this time for its Project Ariana 4K gaming projector. Best of the Best went to LG this year: “It’s rare that a product truly blows us away at CES, but LG’s W-Series OLED TV did just that. At just 2.6 millimeters thick across its entire body, it’s the slimmest TV we’ve ever seen … the TV also supports more HDR standards and comes with a Dolby Atmos-enabled soundbar.” Among the additional winners: UVify’s Draco HD drone (Best Robot or Drone), Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 laptop (Best PC), the Asus ZenFone AR smartphone (Best Mobile Device), Dish AirTV (Best Home Theater Product), the self-balancing Honda Riding Assist motorcycle (Best Automotive Technology and Best Disruptive Innovation). Continue reading Engadget Editors Release Their Official Best of CES Awards

Digital Trends Announces its Top Tech of CES 2017 Winners

Tech publication Digital Trends unveiled its Top Tech of CES Award Winners. Best of Show this year went to Samsung’s $449 Chromebook Plus, which will roll out next month. “Designed with cooperation from Google, the Chromebook Plus is the first Chrome OS device built with Android apps in mind,” notes DT. “The 2,400 x 1,600 panel has a digitizer for built-in stylus support, and flips a full 360 degrees for dedicated tablet use.” Additional winners include Sony’s Bravia A1E 4K OLED (home video), Panasonic’s Lumix GH5 mirrorless camera (photography), Nvidia’s PilotNet (automotive), Dell’s XPS 13 2-in-1 (computing), the HTC Vive tracker (gaming), the Honor 6X budget phone (mobile), Beyerdynamics’ Xelento Remote (headphones), and GoldenEar’s Triton Reference speakers (home audio), among others. Continue reading Digital Trends Announces its Top Tech of CES 2017 Winners

Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

During his CES presentation, Sony president and CEO Kazuo Hirai revealed plans for the company’s future, including an emphasis on creating personal experiences for customers, generating sustainable growth for the Sony brand through continued innovation, and developing new products as “objects of desire.” “When you experience one of our products, interact with one of them, we want to generate an emotional response,” he explained. Hirai recognized Mike Fasulo, president/COO of Sony North America, for his “incredible efforts in this pursuit,” and announced the company’s new 4K OLED offerings, new 4K Bravias and Android TV OS. Continue reading Sony CEO Reveals Plan to Make Products ‘Objects of Desire’

MEMS & Sensors: Still Evolving Capabilities, Not Commodities

MEMS & Sensors: Personalizing Consumer Technology, a CES 2017 conference track presented by the MEMS & Sensors Industry Group, featured leading MEMS manufacturers who discussed the latest developments in the industry. Similar to how the media and entertainment industry now leverages data to personalize the entertainment experience, so MEMS and sensors are helping the wearables industry create more personalized devices. That puts pressures on MEMS and sensor manufacturers to innovate. Continue reading MEMS & Sensors: Still Evolving Capabilities, Not Commodities

Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Facebook’s Live Audio, a complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, launched with a handful of publishers and authors testing out the ability to deliver news radio, podcasts and other audio-based services. BBC World Service, British talk radio LBC, publisher HarperCollins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett are the first to use the service, followed next year, says Facebook, by more “publishers and people.” Broadcasters have a limit of four hours, which will allow a wide range of content. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

Eighty-four million wearables were sold in 2015, and experts are predicting the market will grow to 245 million by 2019. That means that, once again, CES 2017 will be the venue to check out the latest commercially available products and the newest technologies that will power wearables of the future. MEMS and sensors are key to wearables’ capabilities and, Karen Lightman, executive director of the MEMS Industry Group, says CES 2017 will showcase some “exciting” new wearables features. Continue reading CES: Wearables Sporting New Capabilities in Maturing Market

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