Plex Inks Deal With Warner Bros. for Movies and TV Shows

Media center app developer Plex signed a deal with Warner Bros. Domestic Television Distribution to add an unspecified number of free movies and TV shows to its app when it debuts ad-supported video streaming later this year. Plex hopes to evolve its app into a “one-stop shop” for digital media, with plans to resell video subscription services and add transactional VOD in 2020. Plex chief executive Keith Valory noted that you “shouldn’t have to go to a lot of different apps to get the content you care about.” Continue reading Plex Inks Deal With Warner Bros. for Movies and TV Shows

Wi-Fi Alliance Plans to Introduce Wi-Fi 6 Certification in Fall

At CES 2019, even though Wi-Fi 6 had yet to launch, manufacturers including Asus, Dell and HP listed support for the next-generation connectivity, in order to future-proof their laptops and routers. The same approach was taken by Samsung, which debuted its Galaxy S10 in February, also with Wi-Fi 6 support. Wi-Fi 6 will offer incrementally improved speed, but its superpower is to handle simultaneous streaming to multiple devices. It’s also the first major upgrade of dual-band support since Wi-Fi 4 (or 802.11n) rolled out in 2009. Continue reading Wi-Fi Alliance Plans to Introduce Wi-Fi 6 Certification in Fall

Vive Cosmos: HTC Offers Details of Next-Gen VR Headset

HTC is set to debut the Vive Cosmos next-generation VR headset that aims to simplify VR for gamers. The PC-compatible Cosmos is portable, featuring a single cable from the left side of the headset. It relies on four cameras located on the headset, one on each side and two on the front, plus two others that can be added via a removable faceplate with cameras on the top and bottom. Removable speakers are integrated on either side of the headset. By being self-contained, the Vive Cosmos can be used in more play environments. Continue reading Vive Cosmos: HTC Offers Details of Next-Gen VR Headset

Hisense’s ULED XD TV Aims to Compete With OLED Tech

Chinese TV manufacturer Hisense just unveiled its ULED XD television, with plans to offer high-end technology at a lower-than-typical price. According to the company’s director of product management Chris Porter, the company puts 5 percent of profits every year into R&D, which has allowed it to develop the set’s proprietary technology — some of which has never been released in the U.S. market. At CES 2019, Hisense showed off the ULED XD, which is essentially comprised of two connected 4K LCD panels, and a proprietary chipset that reportedly offers exceptional deep blacks. Continue reading Hisense’s ULED XD TV Aims to Compete With OLED Tech

Amazon Fire TV Widens Its Lead at 34 Million Active Users

Back in January, Amazon announced that its Fire TV streaming platform had more than 30 million users. Today, Fire TV has grown to more than 34 million active users, according to an announcement made by Amazon this week during a panel titled ‘The Battle for Your Living Room: Sticks, Boxes, and Smart TV Platforms’ at The Pay TV Show in Denver. This indicates that Amazon’s lead over rival streaming platform Roku is widening. Roku grew to 29.1 million active users per its latest earnings report from this month.

Continue reading Amazon Fire TV Widens Its Lead at 34 Million Active Users

Sprint, T-Mobile Detail Plans for 5G Network Debuts in 2019

Sprint and T-Mobile plan to launch commercial 5G networks this year. In May, Sprint’s 5G will debut in Chicago, where it is being beta-tested; and parts of Atlanta, Dallas and Kansas City. The next month, Sprint plans to add 5G service in parts of Houston, Los Angeles, New York City, Phoenix and Washington, D.C. None of the launches will be city-wide. T-Mobile, which is merging with Sprint, said it would launch 600MHz 5G services in the second half of 2019, as it awaits the arrival of compatible devices. Continue reading Sprint, T-Mobile Detail Plans for 5G Network Debuts in 2019

HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

That’s what ROAM Consulting president Pete Putman asked in his HPA Tech Retreat discussion of the apparently out-of-nowhere rise of 8K. But the presentation’s title — “8K: Whoa! How’d We Get There So Quickly?” — was actually misdirection, as Putman showed in great detail how the development, research and plans for 8K go as far back as the 1990s. His advice for those considering a 4K television is that they won’t have to wait long to buy an affordable 8K one. (Although many in the audience preferred the purchase of a 4K TV with HDR.) “CES 2019 was full of 8K TV models,” he noted. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

ETC@USC Publishes Coverage and Analysis of CES 2019

The Entertainment Technology Center’s team of journalists and analysts reported live from CES 2019 in Las Vegas last month. Our extensive post show analysis — which includes video reports, keynote and panel overviews, and coverage of trends regarding products and services that will impact media & entertainment — is now available online. This year’s report examines key areas such as 5G technology, emergence of the Data Age, introduction of commercial quantum computing, advances in cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, AR/VR, smart homes, digital assistants, robotics, and an array of CE products and services related to these growing sectors. Continue reading ETC@USC Publishes Coverage and Analysis of CES 2019

Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Samsung has been demonstrated MicroLED wall-sized TV screens at the last two CES confabs in Las Vegas. Dubbed The Wall, the screen comes in a gigantic version at 219 inches and, now, a smaller one at 75 inches. The latter is only a prototype, but the 146-inch version is for sale, for a price that depends on installation costs. The last new screen technology to be debuted was OLED, on Sony XEL-1 TVs in 2008. OLED now dominates high quality images on TVs and most high-end smartphones, although there are plenty of older LCD screens to be found. Continue reading Samsung, LG, Others Advancing MicroLED TV Screen Tech

Magic Leap, Wacom Debut Prototype of Shared Design Tools

Wacom and Magic Leap, whose partnership was announced last October at the first L.E.A.P. developers’ conference, have debuted a prototype of their collaborative design tools. Two years in the making, the tools consist of a Magic Leap One headset connected to a Wacom Intuos Pro pen tablet. Designers use a separate Pro Pen 3D stylus to control content on a Spacebridge platform that streams 3D data into a spatial computing environment. The system, which was on display at CES 2019, allows multiple people to interact with 3D models. Continue reading Magic Leap, Wacom Debut Prototype of Shared Design Tools

Tablo to Debut Automatic Commercial Skipping in Open Beta

At CES 2019, Tablo, a Canadian OTA receiver manufacturer, announced plans to unveil its Automatic Commercial Skip feature, which makes recorded TV ads skip automatically on over-the-air broadcasts. An open beta for Tablo owners who subscribe to its $5 per month guide will begin in March. The company says the technology is “a cloud-based hybrid of digital signal processing (DSP) algorithms and machine learning.” With it, Tablo apps on Amazon Fire TV, Android TV, Apple TV and Roku will skip ads without human intervention. Continue reading Tablo to Debut Automatic Commercial Skipping in Open Beta

Alienware’s Powerful Gaming Laptop Allows Swappable Parts

At CES 2019, Alienware debuted its Area-51m 17-inch gaming laptop, touting its power and swappable hardware. Co-founder Frank Azor said the Area-51m counters the current trend of less powerful, more portable gaming laptops with built-in obsolescence. Instead, the Area-51m is basically a desktop PC with built-in battery, screen and keyboard and swappable hard drive, RAM, battery, CPU and GPU. Alienware aids the user in taking it apart with labeled guides in the laptop framework and easily removable screws. Continue reading Alienware’s Powerful Gaming Laptop Allows Swappable Parts

Voice Tech Adoption Reaches Beyond Smart Homes to Autos

Together, Amazon and Google claim about 85 percent of the smart speakers currently installed in U.S. households. In the wake of a successful holiday shopping season, the number of smart speakers in the U.S. has climbed to around 119 million. And while Amazon and Google battled for dominance at CES with voice assistant support featured in a growing array of devices and services, a new survey from Voicebot.ai suggests that voice assistants may be more habit-forming in vehicles than via smartphones. The voice tech publication found that 77 million adults use such assistants in their vehicles at least monthly, and companies are taking notice. Continue reading Voice Tech Adoption Reaches Beyond Smart Homes to Autos

Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

Although Apple doesn’t have an official presence at CES, it still made news there, with companies announcing partnerships for iTunes, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The Silicon Valley firm is rumored to be rolling out a streaming video service in early 2019, with content from Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg. At CES 2019, Apple’s integration with third party platforms included TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. The move into content and services comes as Apple contends with lower iPhone sales. Continue reading Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

CES: Cable Operators Commit to 10G Cable Modem Speeds

At CES 2019, The Internet & Television Association (NCTA), CableLabs, and Cable Europe stated their intent to increase cable modems’ two-way speed from today’s 1-gigabit-per-second to 10+ gigabits. According to CableLabs, in 2018, 80 percent of homes had gigabit-per-second operations, up from 4 percent in 2016. U.S. cable operators whose networks pass 90 percent of homes and will enact the 10G initiative include Comcast, Charter, Cox, Mediacom, Midco, and international operators Rogers, Shaw, and Vodafone among others. Continue reading CES: Cable Operators Commit to 10G Cable Modem Speeds

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