New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Sony announced it is introducing a new PS5 shipping in November, timed for the holiday shopping season. The slimmer form factor, which features a detachable Blu-ray Disc drive and 1TB SSD for internal storage, has been reduced in volume by more than 30 percent and is 18- 24 percent lighter, depending on the choice of two models. The PS5 Digital Edition will run $449.99, while the PS5 with Ultra HD Blu-ray disc drive will cost an additional $50. For those who purchase the base PS5 Digital Edition, a $79.99 Blu-ray disc drive can be added later. The new PS5 includes a horizontal stand; a new $29.99 vertical stand is compatible with all PS5 models. Continue reading New PS5 Model Adds Option for Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc Drive

Indie Video Store Tries to Fill Netflix DVD-by-Mail Rental Role

With Netflix ceasing DVD rent-by-mail operations as of September 29, a market opportunity has been identified by Seattle, Washington-based independent Scarecrow Video, which wants to step into the role vacated by the streaming giant. Described as the largest remaining video retailer in the U.S., Scarecrow began experimenting with a rent-by-mail program in 2019, offering DVDs and Blu-ray Discs delivered to mailboxes across the country. While rare titles are excepted from the rent-by-mail program, and applications to participate in the program must be individually approved, Scarecrow has proclaimed the program a success. Continue reading Indie Video Store Tries to Fill Netflix DVD-by-Mail Rental Role

YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

YouTube is experimenting with a higher bitrate 1080p format for Premium subscribers. The enhanced 1080p Premium reportedly provides a better viewing experience. For now, 1080p Premium is only available to a very small group. The existing 1080p HD resolution on YouTube remains unchanged, according to the company. “1080p Premium is an enhanced bitrate version of 1080p which provides more information per pixel that results in a higher quality viewing experience,” explains spokesperson Paul Pennington, clarifying “there are no changes to the existing quality offerings for 1080p (HD) resolution on YouTube.” Continue reading YouTube Testing ‘1080p Premium’ with Its Paid Subscribers

CES: LG Unveils Its Low-Latency Wireless 97-Inch OLED TV

LG Electronics has unveiled a 97-inch OLED TV billed as a “zero connect” wireless solution that is generating praise at CES 2023. Capable of real-time video and audio transmission at up to 4K 120Hz, the new OLED TV M3 eliminates the need for HDMI or AV cabling from set-top boxes, soundbars, receivers or game consoles, requiring only a power cord. The LG M3 TV comes with a separate Zero Connect box that sends video and audio signals wirelessly to the 97-inch screen. Because the box can be located away from the television, the result is designed to be a sleeker, distraction-free viewing environment. Continue reading CES: LG Unveils Its Low-Latency Wireless 97-Inch OLED TV

Nvidia Brings Power Gaming to the Cloud with GeForce NOW

GeForce NOWs six-month $100 tier that let’s players game using the equivalent of an RTX 3080 rig has officially been proclaimed “a big deal” by tech media, due to the fact that the top-rated $700 graphics card is virtually unavailable for legions of would-be purchasers (described as camping out at stores and resorting to truck heists to obtain them). After Google’s Stadia service was shuttered in February, some questioned whether cloud gaming had a viable future. First movers in the game space seem to feel GeForce NOW has provided a quality option. Continue reading Nvidia Brings Power Gaming to the Cloud with GeForce NOW

Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

Movies Anywhere, the cloud-based digital locker and OTT streaming platform that allows users to pull together streaming movies from multiple digital stores into a single hub, is now adding an AI-enabled ability to generate personalized lists of those movies. Users have wanted a list-making capability, which will allow them to streamline their lockers, removing multiple listings of the same movie and funneling them into categories. An AI algorithm will keep track of user behavior and organize the list. The “My Lists” tab will be located next to “My Movies.” Continue reading Movies Anywhere Debuts Feature for AI-Enabled List Making

CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

Sony announced during CES 2021 that its new line of Bravia XR television sets would provide consumers with the Bravia Core platform for streaming select movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company indicates that its Pure Stream tech enables “near lossless” ultra high-def Blu-ray Disc quality. The Bravia Core platform comes pre-loaded on new Bravia XR models including Sony’s 8K LED, OLED and 4K LED models. Access to film titles is based on a type of voucher system in which customers are given credits depending on which Bravia XR model is purchased. Continue reading CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

HPA Tech Retreat: Immersive Audio Standards Ready For Use

Immersive audio standards are complete, said Sony Pictures Entertainment executive director of audio Brian Vessa, and now the task is to encourage widespread use. Immersive Audio Bitstream (IAB) is the interoperable system that allows one mix — the IAB DCP — to play back in multiple immersive sound systems in movie theaters. “For home entertainment, a single mix can be transcoded to multiple deliverables,” Vessa said. Most tentpole movies are already being mixed natively in immersive audio, he added. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Immersive Audio Standards Ready For Use

Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment inked a deal to form a joint DVD distribution venture in North America, for library titles, TV content and new releases. The pact, slated to be operational by Q1 2021, will last through 2031. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham will lead the venture, which will include executives from both studios. The two studios also signed license agreements for DVD distribution in countries outside of North America. Continue reading Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

CES 2020 Showcased 8K TVs But Critics Remain Skeptical

At CES 2020, 8K was much in evidence with flagship TV sets from LG, Samsung, Sony and TCL. The only content these manufacturers were able to show, however, was from YouTube’s 8K demo reels, featuring animal and nature scenes. The question for some attendees was if it’s worth buying a very expensive 8K TV to watch HD or 4K content. Many of these TVs — such as Samsung’s 8K Q950 QLED model — showed another trend: nearly bezel-less frames, something consumers seem to appreciate, and even want in a 4K version. Continue reading CES 2020 Showcased 8K TVs But Critics Remain Skeptical

Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Mobile games and home entertainment were big in 2019. Sensor Tower reported that Android and iOS mobile game players spent about $61.7 billion in 2019, up 12.8 percent from 2018’s $54.7 billion total. Mobile gaming also represented 74 percent of mobile spending for 2019. That year, home entertainment grew 8.4 percent to $25.2 billion, a record-breaking number. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the greatest areas of growth were digital, subscription streaming, and digital movie sales and rentals. Continue reading Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

CES 2020: Panasonic Reveals HDR-Capable VR Glasses

Panasonic demonstrated its prototype of a stylish, steampunk-looking set of VR goggles at CES this week. The company claims these are the first such ultra-high definition VR eyeglasses to offer support for HDR video content. The company envisions a number of applications for the glasses, including new VR experiences such as sports viewing and virtual travel experiences. Panasonic and its partner on the goggles, Massachusetts-based Kopin Corporation, expect to offer a commercial version featuring a compact and lightweight body sometime next year in anticipation of the many applications that will be enabled by 5G services. Continue reading CES 2020: Panasonic Reveals HDR-Capable VR Glasses

UltraViolet Users Are Reminded to Link Libraries to Retailer

Cloud-based video locker UltraViolet, Hollywood’s attempt at a cross-platform digital movie storage service that launched in 2011, is scheduled to shut down tomorrow. To avoid permanently losing access to content, UltraViolet users are reminded to link their libraries of movies and TV shows to an existing retailer such FandangoNOW, Kaleidescape or Walmart-owned Vudu. After tomorrow, according to the homepage, “Your UltraViolet Library will automatically close and, in the majority of cases, your movies and TV shows will remain accessible at previously-linked retailers.” Continue reading UltraViolet Users Are Reminded to Link Libraries to Retailer

Movies Anywhere Ends First Year with Six Million Downloads

Launched one year ago, Movies Anywhere, a Disney-owned app and service for movies in partnership with 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros., has six million users who have purchased more than 150 million movies. The most watched movie was Disney-Pixar’s “Coco.” Among the six million downloaded apps, Movies Anywhere has 5.8 million user accounts, which have watched 16 million hours in the first year. Although those numbers are miniscule compared to Netflix, they also show robust growth. Continue reading Movies Anywhere Ends First Year with Six Million Downloads

New TV Tech at CES to Include LG’s 88-Inch 8K OLED Display

At CES 2018, LG Display will show off its new 88-inch 8K OLED display, which now tops the previously largest and highest resolution OLED display, which was 77-inches and 4K. Much of the compelling technology at CES will be TV-related; such technologies as 4K, curved and bendable TVs, OLED, HDR and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Disc players have previously debuted at the consumer electronics confab. At CES 2018, 8K TVs will arrive in earnest, as well as evidence of trends such as voice control and premium HDR for LED TVs. Continue reading New TV Tech at CES to Include LG’s 88-Inch 8K OLED Display