HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat’s long-time programmer, engineer and author Mark Schubin, opened the event with his annual “Technology Year in Review,” composed of all the interesting, obscure and wacky news items he’s aggregated over the previous year. One question he asks every year — have we finished the transition to HD? — had the same answer as every previous year: nope. Even as some companies are talking up 8K as the next TV resolution, the nation’s media infrastructure as a whole is still working on completing the evolution to HD. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

The huge quantities of metadata generated by over-the-top programming poses an opportunity for new revenue streams, said Siemens executive Steve Wong and media tech consultant Christy King at an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Big Data, Big Dollars for Post in an OTT World.” Wong noted that a tremendous amount of data about a production is generated through production, from scriptwriting software through scheduling and budgeting. That’s why it frustrates him that nearly everyone has been served irrelevant ads online. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: OTT Metadata an Opportunity for Post Houses

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

In another annual HPA Tech Retreat panel, Jim Burger, a copyright attorney with Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C. gave his “Washington Update.” “We’re talking about Congress and the Silly Season, and it’s crazy,” said Burger, who said he would touch on intellectual property litigation on the copyright side; the FCC and communications; net neutrality; and unlocking the set-top box among other topics. Burger noted that the House Judiciary Committee has held over 20 copyright hearings this year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

The annual HPA Tech Retreat opened in Indian Wells, California, near Palm Springs. The sold-out event hosts 600 executives and technologists in broadcast, cable, digital and feature film industries. In addition to an “Innovation Zone,” the new term for the former demo room, the HPA Tech Retreat is known for its days-long series of lectures and panels, all of which are a deep dive into technology. All of Tuesday was devoted to a single topic: Snowflake Workflows are Turning into Distribution Snowstorms! Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat Looks at Approaching Tipping Point in Media

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’

Uber Adjusts its Employment Policies and Calls for New Apps

Uber Technologies is tweaking how it does business. In California, the ride-sharing company will no longer reject potential drivers due to a nonviolent or nonsexual offense, such as petty theft or check fraud. It will also tell those rejected why and describe steps they can take to reduce their felony conviction to a misdemeanor. Uber is also now promising drivers more money to work during heavy demand periods, and is inviting smartphone app developers to create customized “trip experiences” for riders. Continue reading Uber Adjusts its Employment Policies and Calls for New Apps

CES: Ford/Google Partnership Highlights Autonomous Cars

At CES 2016, a record-breaking 464 automotive electronics companies will exhibit a broad range of new developments, with trends from VR/AR interfaces to modular infotainment systems. Going head-to-head with Tier 1 auto suppliers are Apple’s CarPlay and Google’s Android Auto, which are targeted for adoption as native interfaces. From automakers, Ford is expected to announce a partnership with Google to create self-driving vehicles, a synergistic pairing that boosts both companies’ fortunes. Continue reading CES: Ford/Google Partnership Highlights Autonomous Cars

Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

In 2016, Google will spin off its driverless car unit, currently part of Google X, as a standalone business under the Alphabet aegis. With more than 1 million miles clocked on public roads, the company already has a hefty lead on competitors, including Uber Technologies, which has raised more than $10 billion towards its own work creating an autonomous car. Google first plans to launch a service, with fleets of large and small vehicles deployed in closed areas such as college campuses, military bases and corporate complexes. Continue reading Google to Spin Off Autonomous Cars as Alphabet Company

Seattle’s United Vote Greenlights Uber and Lyft Driver Unions

The Seattle City Council voted 9-0 to approve a bill allowing Uber and Lyft drivers to unionize. The city’s mayor, Ed Murray, who supports the workers’ right to organize, won’t sign due to his concerns about the unknown costs of administering the collective bargaining process. Even without his signature, it will become law, the first victory for the App-Based Drivers Association (ABDA) of Seattle, the organization of on-demand contract workers who joined with the local Teamsters union to lobby for the legislation. Continue reading Seattle’s United Vote Greenlights Uber and Lyft Driver Unions

AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Movie theaters make their primary living at the concession stands, so it’s no surprise that the next trend at the local multiplex is aimed at making it easier to buy popcorn. AMC Theatres (about 350 theaters) and Regal Entertainment (570 theaters), the largest multiplex chains in North America, just debuted a way for customers to preorder and prepay for food and drinks via a smartphone app. The goal is to reduce what the chains call the “popcorn pinch point,” and reduce or eliminate the line at the concession stand. Continue reading AMC, Regal Debut Mobile Apps to Pre-Order Popcorn, Drinks

Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Facebook, Google and numerous startups are among those actively researching new possibilities with artificial intelligence technology. Japanese automaker Toyota is joining the crusade with a five-year, $1 billion R&D effort. The planned Silicon Valley facility will become one of the largest research labs in the area. Toyota Research Institute will initially open a lab next to Stanford and an additional facility near MIT in Cambridge. Toyota’s plans represent a shift in tech research — a return to a focus on science and engineering rather than a push for tech that would become a specific product or service. Continue reading Toyota Invests $1 Billion in Planned Return to Traditional R&D

Dropbox Unveils Advanced Tools, Seeks Enterprise Customers

Cloud storage company Dropbox made announcements during yesterday’s Dropbox Open conference in San Francisco meant to attract more business customers. The company introduced Dropbox Enterprise, a new tier for its business offering intended for larger companies that require more advanced functionality. Dropbox also announced that it has reached a new milestone: 400 million users and 150,000 business customers. And to continue growing its business side, the company has formed new partnerships with Synnex, Ingram Micro and HP Enterprise. Continue reading Dropbox Unveils Advanced Tools, Seeks Enterprise Customers

InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

InVisage, a California-based startup, is introducing two new technologies to improve cameras: QuantumFilm is its proprietary nano-coating material that, says the company, results in sharper, higher dynamic range images and more naturalistic motion than silicon-coated CMOS sensors which become less efficient at transmitting light at higher resolution. QuantumCinema uses the nano-coating to replace the silicon-coated COS sensors, to offer “cinema quality” and higher dynamic range imagery for smartphone cameras. Continue reading InVisage Debuts Sensor Coating it Claims is Superior to CMOS

Magic Leap Demonstrates Its Augmented Reality Technology

Magic Leap, the Florida-based company that raised $542 million from Google, Qualcomm and others last year, demonstrated how it plans to marry the real world with virtual, computer-generated content. Magic Leap demonstrated its technology at The Wall Street Journal’s WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, California with a concept video that shows the user interacting with a tiny robot gimbal hiding and ducking behind the legs of a real table. The user also brought up a virtual solar system in the real office environment. Continue reading Magic Leap Demonstrates Its Augmented Reality Technology

Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

The line between “fair use” in copyright law and outright theft has often been unclear, but a recent U.S. District Court ruling drew the line on a case involving Equals Three Studios and viral-video aggregator Jukin Media. Jukin accused Equals Three of illegally taking dozens of clips for use in its own YouTube show. Equals Three sued Jukin, saying its actions were protected by fair use, and that Jukin’s takedown deprived it of ad revenue. The Court’s ruling sides with Equals Three on all but one of the videos under consideration. Continue reading Ruling on YouTube Viral Videos Parses Fair Use Versus Theft

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