CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Seoul-based CJ Group, which operates Asia’s largest theater chain, wants to transform the multiplex experience with its new 4DX theater technology. The conglomerate has signed a deal with AEG to introduce “4-D” cinema to U.S. consumers this summer at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium 14 in downtown Los Angeles. The 4DX tech combines moving and vibrating theater seats with effects such as wind, strobes, fog, rain and scents — all synchronized to the film action taking place on screen. Continue reading CinemaCon: 4DX Theater Technology Coming to Los Angeles

Trial Proves HD and SD Streams Can Share Same TV Channel

Channel sharing trials recently conducted by Los Angeles television stations KLCS and KJLA have determined that there are few technical barriers to two broadcasters sharing the same 6 MHz channel. The report should serve as good news for the FCC, which hopes to auction off a percentage of broadcast airwaves to mobile carriers in 2015. Key to the FCC’s plan is convincing broadcasters that they can efficiently consolidate feeds onto fewer television channels. Continue reading Trial Proves HD and SD Streams Can Share Same TV Channel

Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

Intel confirmed yesterday that it has acquired Basis Science, a San Francisco-based startup that makes a $199 health-tracking wristband known as the Basis Band. The device — which tracks sleep, heart rate, calories and steps — syncs with iOS and some Android devices via Bluetooth. Up to this point, the Basis Band device has used Texas Instruments chips. Intel has bigger plans than merely supplying processors, and the acquisition could be the first step toward entering the wearables market more directly. Continue reading Intel Confirms Purchase of Wearables Startup Basis Science

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Banjo Raises $16 Million, Aims to Become TiVo for Social Media

Banjo Inc. has raised $16 million in Series B funding in its pursuit to become like a DVR for compelling social media content and conversations. Banjo offers a way to view aggregated, relevant social conversations about news and events attached to specific geographic locations or venues, all in one convenient stream. The startup recently released Android and iOS versions of its mobile app with a new Banjo Rewind feature that lets users access a past event to learn what people were discussing about it. Continue reading Banjo Raises $16 Million, Aims to Become TiVo for Social Media

Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

At the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, a collection of tech companies and organizations announced the formation of the non-profit Immersive Technology Alliance (formerly S3DGA), which plans to develop games involving augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D and gesture controls. Members include Avegant, Big Blue Bubble, Electronic Arts, Epson, GameFace Labs, Technical Illusions and others. Earlier reports that Oculus VR is involved in the consortium turned out to be inaccurate. Continue reading Game Companies Announce the Immersive Technology Alliance

USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

In a ceremony at the Ray Stark Theater on USC’s Cinematic Arts campus last Thursday, Dean Elizabeth Daley joined George Lucas in welcoming three USC film professors to their new endowed chairs. Made possible by a generous gift from Lucas, the three new chairs — The Sergei Eisenstein Endowed Chair for Cinematic Design, the George Mélies Endowed Chair in Visual Effects, and the William Cameron Menzies Endowed Chair in Production Design — are now held by Bruce Block, Michael Funk, and Alex McDowell respectively. Continue reading USC Cinematic Arts Professors Installed in New Endowed Chairs

Prime Focus Technologies to Acquire DAX in $12.5 Million Deal

Prime Focus Technologies (PFT) has agreed to acquire DAX in a deal valued at nearly $12.5 million. PFT is known for CLEAR, its cloud-based content and workflow management platform, while Culver City-based DAX develops media asset management applications and cloud-based production software, including the Emmy-winning Digital Dailies. DAX is actively engaged in the ETC’s Cloud Project, sharing both expertise and development resources. Continue reading Prime Focus Technologies to Acquire DAX in $12.5 Million Deal

Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host “Eventually OpenStack” on Monday, March 17 in Santa Monica. The event, scheduled for 6:30-8:30 pm and open to all, will examine how open source and cloud technologies are impacting the media and entertainment industry. Presenters include Yahoo’s Sean Roberts (board director at The OpenStack Foundation), DigitalFilm Tree CTO Guillaume Aubuchon, and Steve Hallett of Symantec. For more information, contact Erik Weaver at ETC or visit the event’s registration page. Continue reading Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

In an effort to attract more U.S. viewers, Paris-based online video site Dailymotion is pushing new original programming that it hopes will help the service compete with Google’s YouTube. Dailymotion plans to initially commit between $3 million and $4 million to produce up to six series this year that will include leading personalities from industries such as food, music and entertainment. The company is also courting U.S. firms as potential investors. Continue reading Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

Following this week’s news of a first-of-its kind licensing agreement between Disney and the Dish Network, DirecTV said it is in similar talks to license the rights to offer Disney channels as part of an Internet-based product. The rights are part of a larger programming deal that would replace a current agreement slated to expire in December. In related news, Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam said he expects to reach a streaming deal with Netflix and hopes to partner with content providers for a broadband-only video service. Continue reading DirecTV in Talks with Disney for New Licensing Agreement

HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

During a Q&A session at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in San Francisco yesterday, HBO CEO Richard Plepler indicated that the company has considered offering a standalone version of its HBO GO service. However, the prospect of offering broadband-only distribution will depend largely on demand, and only a small percentage of subscribers currently use HBO GO. The traditional model is still working for the premium channel, which reported subscriber gains of 2 million in 2013. Continue reading HBO Chief Exec on a Standalone Version of HBO GO Service

Early Oscar Numbers Look Strong, Ellen Breaks Twitter Record

While total viewer numbers will not be available from Nielsen until later today, last night’s telecast of the 86th Academy Awards from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood scored impressive numbers in the major markets, up 7 percent from last year. In addition, host Ellen DeGeneres set a new social media record by taking a celebrity-filled selfie during the broadcast that has been retweeted more times than any photo in Twitter history, besting President Obama’s tweet after he won the 2012 presidential election. Continue reading Early Oscar Numbers Look Strong, Ellen Breaks Twitter Record

Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Amazon continues to expand into the entertainment realm with its delivery of movies and TV via Amazon Prime, the launch of Amazon Studios, its recent acquisition of video game developer Double Helix, and now, the possibility of a streaming music service that would likely be bundled into its Prime delivery option. Amazon has been hiring executives with digital music experience in recent years, and has reportedly been in talks with major music labels for the past few months. Continue reading Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

VFX Industry Plans Oscar Demonstration to Protest Offshoring

PandoDaily and TheWrap are among those reporting that visual effects industry workers are planning a demonstration outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during Sunday’s Academy Awards to protest ongoing efforts to send post-production work overseas. The group believes that offshoring has led to a slow collapse of the VFX industry in the U.S. While there was little the effects industry could do about this in the past, it may now be armed with a new weapon based on the MPAA’s attempts to combat Internet piracy. Continue reading VFX Industry Plans Oscar Demonstration to Protest Offshoring

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