Fox Releases Immersive Project: ‘The Martian VR Experience’

At CES in January, Fox Innovation Lab showed its first cut of “The Martian VR Experience.” Now, 11 months later, 20th Century Fox’s Lab has just released the finished product, directed by Robert Stromberg and executive produced by Ridley Scott, for use with HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. “The Martian VR Experience,” which is available to consumers for $19, takes viewers into the world of the 2015 Fox movie “The Martian,” directed by Scott, where astronaut Mark Watney (played by Matt Damon) was abandoned on Mars. Continue reading Fox Releases Immersive Project: ‘The Martian VR Experience’

Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

This summer, Sony will begin shipping the new Z television set series, redesigned from the ground up to combine the best technical features of both LCD and OLED sets. Whereas OLED TVs can show a true pitch-black, they can’t match the brightness of LED-backlit LCD TVs. With the advent of high dynamic range (HDR), TV sets need both the control of individual pixels provided by OLEDs and the brightness of LCDs. Sony achieves that by adding more LEDs in its backlight and focusing their beams for less light leakage. Continue reading Sony to Debut TVs Combining Best OLED and LCD Features

Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

The Dish HopperGO, originally announced at CES, is now shipping, and early reviews deem it a good device for specific uses. About half the size of a smartphone, the tiny device is basically a 64GB USB drive with built-in wireless access that connects to the user’s Dish Hopper 3 or Hopper 2 and offers a capacity of up to 100 hours of TV. The user can unplug the device and then watch four hours on one charge through the Dish Anywhere app. The device’s interface consists of an “on” button and a USB port. Continue reading Dish Ships HopperGO, Mobile Video Solution for Hopper Users

Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

Intel is leveraging RealSense, its 3D camera technology, to develop a wearable headset for augmented reality, say sources knowledgeable about the chip maker’s plans. Those same sources report that Intel is more likely to license its headset design to other manufacturers rather than produce its own branded model. Intel’s RealSense could potentially help distinguish its technology offering in a field that already includes many major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Alphabet’s Google and dozens of startups. Continue reading Intel to Leverage RealSense for Augmented Reality Headset

Netflix’s Unlikely Path to Global Media Success, Minus China

Netflix and Amazon are currently small players in the content business compared to Disney, Comcast and Time Warner. And although there are plenty of reasons why these media behemoths need not be too concerned about Netflix and Amazon, these two streaming services do continue to grow and succeed. Most recently, Netflix’s stock rose 140 percent, making it the best performing of Standard & Poor’s 500-stock index, and the company announced at CES that it will make its content available worldwide (except for China). Continue reading Netflix’s Unlikely Path to Global Media Success, Minus China

Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

The Internet, digital medical devices, blockchain, gene editing, drones and solar energy all found their tipping point in 2015. What will 2016 bring? Some experts predict we’ll see “the inflexion point” in virtual reality and holodecks, the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), autonomous cars, robots and space exploration. Alphabet chairman Eric Schmidt has publicly stated that AI will solve the world’s hard problems, including population growth, climate change, human development and education. Continue reading Coming This Year: AI, VR, IoT, Robots and Self-Driving Cars

Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

The Apple Watch is leading the pack in smartwatch sales. Last year, it captured 52 percent of market share in the 8 months since its April debut. Android Wear, the smartwatch platform behind wearables from Huawei, Motorola, Fossil, Asus and Sony, followed with less than 10 percent of market share. Apple’s domination is making investors reluctant to believe that other companies like Fitbit can compete. While Juniper Research data places Apple on top, the market is still relatively new and a lot could change in the next couple of years. Continue reading Apple Claims Early Lead in the Emerging Smartwatch Market

CES: Zeiss Comes Up with Optics for Superior Smart Glasses

Carl Zeiss — notable manufacturer of lenses for motion picture and consumer cameras — now has the technology for smart glasses that makes use of more than a decade of work on head-mounted displays and two centuries of work on lenses. Best of all, the resulting smart glasses look and feel exactly like ordinary prescription lenses — and, in fact, can combine optical prescriptions and “smart” technology. Zeiss did it by integrating a Fresnel structure into a standard lens, and placing a very small display at the end of the lens. Continue reading CES: Zeiss Comes Up with Optics for Superior Smart Glasses

Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

Since Amazon had a surprise hit with its tabletop, voice-controlled Echo speaker, released in November 2014, competitors have stepped into the space. Amazon is fighting back with another, smaller, portable and lower-cost version, code-named Fox, expected to debut in a few weeks. Echo, which costs $180, must be plugged into an outlet; its Alexa software answers questions, creates shopping lists, plays music and can control connected lights. Originally a voice activation experiment, Echo has become a popular personal assistant. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Launch Portable, Lower Cost Version of Echo

‘The Martian VR Experience’: Cinema, Video Game or Both?

At CES 2016, attendees could be astronaut Mark Watney in “The Martian VR Experience,” accomplishing many of the tasks he did in the movie. Using the Oculus Rift headset and Oculus Touch handheld controllers, the “VR Experience,” executive produced by the film’s director Ridley Scott and “Experience” director Robert Stromberg, is fully interactive and makes use of the Rift’s positional tracking system. 20th Century Fox, Fox Innovation Lab, RSA Films and The VR Company collaborated on the project. Continue reading ‘The Martian VR Experience’: Cinema, Video Game or Both?

CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

According to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), this year’s confab drew more than 170,000 industry professionals to Las Vegas. The show featured 3,800+ exhibitors covering 2.47 million square feet of exhibit space. Attendees represented over 150 nations and 100 delegations, including the first Cuban delegation. More than 6,000 media members attended this time around. The #CES2016 hashtag generated nearly 1.28 million mentions and CTA claims there were 15.2 billion potential social media impressions during CES week. Continue reading CTA: 170,000 Attendees Gather in Las Vegas for CES 2016

NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke did not anticipate the big impact of time-shifting and over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu on the cable business, he said during CES 2016. Instead, he believed cable entertainment ratings would be stronger than they are today. At the same time, he doesn’t consider Netflix to be just an enemy but, rather, a friend and frenemy as well. More puzzling to him is how advertisers discount television in favor of digital outlets, which, he notes, do not have the reach or emotional impact of TV. Continue reading NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

During CES in Las Vegas, Motorola Mobility chief operating officer Rick Osterloh suggested that Lenovo has plans to phase out the Motorola brand. In the wake of news media and analyst confusion resulting from Osterloh’s comments, the company issued a statement to provide clarification, noting that the Motorola name or organization is not being dismantled, but is instead looking to “evolve” under parent company Lenovo. As part of that initiative, the company is looking to “streamline” its products under two brands — Moto and Vibe. Lenovo acquired Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Continue reading Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

Despite a sticker price of $599 for its new Rift VR headset, Oculus VR has already sold out its preorders, resulting in an extension of its shipping date. The headset, over $100 more expensive than originally predicted, also requires the processing power of a PC that costs in the vicinity of $1,000. Starting in February, Oculus will sell a bundled headset/PC for $1,499. The expense of the Rift is justified, say observers, since its quality needs to sell VR to a public that has, in the main, never experienced virtual reality. Continue reading Oculus Aims for High-End Virtual Reality with $600 Headset

Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

CES 2016 had its share of attention-getting products, but some of the most interesting aspects of the show were under the horizon. Companies are beginning to recognize, understand, and explore new opportunities, implications and alliances. Among emerging trends: in VR, there will be real competition. Content on televisions — more than television hardware — drives the market, but demand for UHD is also growing. Big data is a big discussion about use, privacy and security. As ETC prepares its complete report on CES, we’ve compiled a slide show with some highlights. Continue reading Snapshots of CES 2016 Reveal Leading Trends and Stories

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