New Products and Updates: Google I/O Kicks Off Tomorrow

Google’s I/O developers conference kicks off tomorrow with a three-hour keynote from the Moscone Center in San Francisco. During the three-day event, the company is expected to announce an update to its Android mobile operating system and an updated version of its 7-inch Nexus 7 tablet (and possibly a new 11-inch model), while there has been speculation that Google may also unveil a new smartphone from Motorola, a new design for Google Maps, new Chrome features and more. Continue reading New Products and Updates: Google I/O Kicks Off Tomorrow

Boxfish CEO Hopes Second Screen App Will Build Better TV

Palo Alto-based Boxfish released a new Android version of its second screen TV guide app last week. The Boxfish app, which first launched on iOS in August 2012, monitors conversations in real time based on nearly 1,000 U.S. channels in order to make TV searchable via key topics. The data that is analyzed by Boxfish could potentially one day power consumers’ DVRs and cable boxes. Since last year’s iOS launch, the company has been working to perfect the identification of topics. Continue reading Boxfish CEO Hopes Second Screen App Will Build Better TV

Encouraging Numbers: MPAA Releases 2012 Theatrical Stats

The MPAA released its 2012 theatrical statistics report last week. Among the findings, international ticket sales increased 6 percent to $34.7 billion and China is now second to the U.S. in terms of world markets for theatrical films. California and New York had the highest number of moviegoers in the U.S. Per capita attendance may be declining among teens, but the number of moviegoers across all ages was its highest since 2009. Continue reading Encouraging Numbers: MPAA Releases 2012 Theatrical Stats

Wearable Tech Gadgets Put Users Back in the Physical World

New trends in the tech gadget space are returning to a consumer more engaged with his or her surroundings. Whereas smartphones and computers require that people’s attention go toward a screen, pulling attention away from the real world, new innovations may lead to the consumer becoming once again more engaged with the physical world. Many of these new ideas involve wearable devices. Continue reading Wearable Tech Gadgets Put Users Back in the Physical World

Danny Hillis Asks: What Happens if the Internet Goes Down?

At TED 2013 last week, Danny Hillis, an early Internet user who registered the third domain name ever (, spoke on the vulnerability of the expanding Internet. While standing on stage for his talk, he held up a one-inch-thick notebook, which listed every person — including name, address and phone number — who had an Internet address in 1982. By his estimates, that book would be 25 miles tall in today’s world. Continue reading Danny Hillis Asks: What Happens if the Internet Goes Down?

Windows App Store on the Horizon: New Competition for Apple?

  • Apple’s App Store may face some competition now that Microsoft is planning a digital store of its own.
  • “Microsoft has been firming up its answer to Apple’s user-friendly and easily navigable platform for digital computer downloads,” reports TG Daily. “When Windows 8 comes out next year, it will have a standardized outlet for consumers who want to buy direct downloads of PC applications.”
  • The Windows App Store (not a confirmed name) will be offered some time next year, and developers will be able to post free and premium applications for downloads.
  • “As of now, it appears this digital storefront will be focused on new software, so legacy programs and applications will not be available,” indicates the post. “It’s just one of many major overhauls expected out of Windows 8.”
  • Microsoft has a media event scheduled in San Francisco, where additional details are expected to be released.

Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment Opens History of 3D Exhibit

  • Downtown Oakland’s new Museum of Art and Digital Entertainment (MADE) will open its first exhibit “The History of 3D” tomorrow, December 3.
  • According to the museum’s site: “The MADE is a center and museum dedicated to activities that engage participants with all forms of digital art and entertainment. The museum’s primary purpose will be to educate the public about the artistry, craftsmanship and inspiration that go into the creation of videogames and digital works of art, such as programatic visual/audio demonstrations.”
  • ABC affiliate News10 reports: “Using the crowd funding site, the museum raised $20,000 to secure the new location.”
  • The new exhibit will focus on “the history of 3D in games and will feature playable demonstrations of games displayed.”
  • “3D is such a broad topic in video games. Our exhibit creators, Jason Cutler and Nealon Leadbetter evaluated hundreds of games and types of 3D, from voxels to vectors, from pre-rendered sprites to normal mapped polygons,” explains director of the MADE Alex Handy. “They’ve chosen a wonderfully varied set of examples from the rich history of video gaming on consoles and computers. We hope this exhibition inspires the next generation of game developers, both young and old.”
  • ETCentric staffer Phil Lelyveld adds: “This is the seed of a great resource. ETC member companies may want to make product donations!”

Mexican Revolution: Cinepolis Luxury Cinemas Coming to California

  • Mexico City-based Cinepolis, the world’s fourth-largest theater chain, has plans to extend luxury cinemas to Southern California.
  • The luxury chain has seen success in Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia, and has already “expanded to about 150 screens across Latin America,” reports the Los Angeles Times.
  • The company has invested $8 million in its Del Mar facility, “where patrons can kick back in a leather recliner and press a button to order teriyaki beef skewers, sushi rolls or a glass of Thomas Hyland Chardonnay.”
  • The all-digital theater features a lounge area with sofas, a full bar serving specialty drinks, and a cafe with coffee and desserts. Touch screen monitors in the lobby show upcoming movie trailers.
  • Tickets cost as much as $19.50, a hefty premium for this economy, but the concept may become an attractive alternative for consumers looking for a new experience.
  • Three theaters are planned for Carlsbad (under construction), Laguna Niguel and Rancho Santa Margarita, while deals are underway for additional locations in Westlake and Westwood.

Take a Tour Inside Walt Disney’s Los Feliz Home Theater

  • Walt Disney’s onetime Los Feliz residence — a four-bedroom, five-bath, 6,388-square-foot French Normandy-style house — is currently on the market for $3.65 million, the listing for which provides us with a glimpse of Walt’s 1930s era home theater.
  • CEPro reports that: “Inside the 12-room chateau-style house, Disney converted a guest room, bath and library into a home theater to watch dailies and enjoy private screenings of his films and other classic movies.”
  • As ETCentric staffer Bob Lambert points out: “Not digital, but ahead of its time…”
  • “The projector was a 35mm commercial-grade unit built back in the era,” writes CEPro. “There still is a built-in 4×3 aspect ratio film screen encased in a wood wall at one end of the room. There is a large horizontal center channel in-wall speaker above the screen. In the other end of the home theater, Disney had a small separate projection booth constructed. The projectionist’s room had its own toilet and a small bar. The original sink is still there.”
  • According to the LA Times, Walt’s daughter Diane Disney Miller remembers watching “Citizen Kane” and “Gone with the Wind” in the room.
  • For a little taste of history, check out the brief slideshow included in the CEPro post (a gallery of the house and grounds can also be seen here).

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