Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

As online videos continue to become more popular, many viewers are faced with the challenge of navigating a flood of content. Pluto.tv has created topic-based video channels in the hopes of addressing this problem, and aims to give viewers the feeling of watching a 30-minute packaged television show compiled of a dozen or more short video clips. There are about 100 channels featuring categories such as Comedy, Music, Sports, Tech, Education and Kids. Pluto.tv has designed its interface to mimic a standard TV guide. Continue reading Pluto.tv Creates Curated Channels Based on Online Videos

Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Turntable.fm founder Billy Chasen announced that the service is officially closing, “ending one of the most compelling experiments in music discovery to ever hit the Web,” suggests The Verge. Chasen attempted to play by the rules, paying every time a song was streamed, which eventually proved to be too expensive. He believes that the music industry is stifling innovation and digital startups. For his next venture, Chasen is going social with Ketchup, a free app he launched last month. Continue reading Billy Chasen Shutters Turntable.fm, Launches New Social App

Info Sharing: Companies on the Verge of Becoming More Open?

Lee Lanselle of Entertainment Development Group and AsiaParks Partners Limited forwarded us a write-up from The New York Times regarding how the information-sharing habits of open source software may soon become a standard in other parts of business. Many companies are discovering the benefits of exposing things once kept secret to a larger population. The pursuit of efficiency, speed and positive change may soon even lead to companies sharing information among competitors. Continue reading Info Sharing: Companies on the Verge of Becoming More Open?

Cisco Predicts Massive Increase in Data Consumption by 2018

If Cisco’s predictions are correct, wearable technology is about to experience a massive growth spurt. The company projects that by 2018, 177 million wearables will make a sizeable contribution to the amount of data consumed around the world. In its annual report on mobile broadband growth, Cisco projects the 10 billion mobile connections around the world will blast through 190 exabytes of data — 11 times the amount consumed in 2013. Continue reading Cisco Predicts Massive Increase in Data Consumption by 2018

Gaming Community Twitch More Than Doubles Audience Size

Twitch, the live streaming service and popular community for gamers, recently announced that it reached 45 million unique viewers per month in 2013, up from 20 million the previous year. Twitch also noted in its year-end report that its viewing minutes doubled last year to 12 billion per month. Since its debut in 2011, Twitch has become the go-to streaming platform online for casual and pro gamers, thanks in part to the rising popularity of eSports titles. Continue reading Gaming Community Twitch More Than Doubles Audience Size

Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

Google has released a Glass software update that includes some substantial new features. Update XE12 provides users with the ability to snap a photo with a discreet wink, adds a lock screen function for improved security, offers options for uploading Glass-shot videos directly to YouTube, and intros Hangouts integration for messaging and chatting with friends. Additionally, the Google Play Music app is available and the long-awaited MyGlass app for iOS is being rolled out. Continue reading Google Glass Software Update Delivers Compelling Features

NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

The National Security Agency and its UK sister agency GCHQ have been deploying real-life agents into fictional worlds like “World of Warcraft” and “Second Life,” collecting gamers’ chats and even attempting to recruit potential informants, according to documents leaked by Edward Snowden. The agencies claimed that real-life terrorists might be playing and plotting within these games, suggesting that the gamer communities may provide intelligence on terrorist activity. Continue reading NSA and GCHQ Monitor Gaming Activity, Search for Terrorists

Twitter’s Experimental Apps Focus on Fostering Conversation

Twitter has announced a plan to run experiments on some of its users. While there have been rumors of Twitter becoming more involved in messaging, it is probably more accurate to say that Twitter is interested in conversations. With Twitter’s experimental apps, conversation is moved to the forefront. Namely, the way you send and receive direct messages, monitor your friends’ behavior, and participate in public conversations are all a lot more obvious. Continue reading Twitter’s Experimental Apps Focus on Fostering Conversation

Image-Sharing Imgur Wants to Provide a TV-Like Experience

Image-sharing site Imgur wants to create a more TV-like experience. Creator Alan Schaaf believes the site can step in where TV leaves off to provide mindless (in a good way), easy-to-consume entertainment. The site’s biggest appeal is its ease of image uploading, sharing and commenting. Consuming is just as easy to do, and Schaaf thinks it’s equally as enjoyable as TV. Imgur launched a chat feature last month and is shifting from image host to a social community and public destination. Continue reading Image-Sharing Imgur Wants to Provide a TV-Like Experience

Tablet Review: Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX this Week

Amazon’s newest tablet, the Kindle Fire HDX, is a good color tablet with a few improvements, but isn’t as versatile as its current rivals, suggests Walt Mossberg. Its best feature could be the video chat-based tech support, activated by its Mayday button. The latest 7-inch screen version starts at $229. Mossberg describes the tablet as a “hardware gateway to buying digital content from Amazon.” The basic model includes ads, but a version without ads can be purchased for an additional $15. Continue reading Tablet Review: Amazon Launches Kindle Fire HDX this Week

Gamescom 2013: Twitch Live Streaming on Xbox One and PS4

During the Gamescom conference in Germany this week, Sony announced that the Twitch videogame broadcasting community will be integrated into its PlayStation 4 game console when it launches this fall. In June, Microsoft announced that the live streaming venture for gamers would be available on its Xbox One, leading many to speculate that Twitch would not end up on the PS4. Twitch allows gamers to live stream, share and chat about their playing experiences. Continue reading Gamescom 2013: Twitch Live Streaming on Xbox One and PS4

Second Screen Apps: Has TV Become the Second Screen?

Television networks are creating companion apps for their successful shows, social TV startups are developing chats and check-ins for second screen experiences, and others are pushing for new ideas to redesign today’s programming guide. But the second screen trend has thus far been based on the premise that the TV screen in the living room is the center of most consumers’ entertainment. Some are suggesting that this viewpoint is no longer accurate and, in fact, may not have been true in the past. Continue reading Second Screen Apps: Has TV Become the Second Screen?

Gamification: Max Wants to be Your Personal Netflix Host

Netflix has launched a new recommendation service called “Max” that chats with users and plays amusing games to help viewers discover new TV shows and movies. The games center on genres and actors to help gauge user preferences. Available only on the PlayStation 3 for now, the Netflix blog reports that Max will be available for other devices in the future, with the iPad version expected next. According to Netflix, Max is “rumored to be the child of Siri and HAL 9000.” Continue reading Gamification: Max Wants to be Your Personal Netflix Host

Rabbit Hops Into the Game with New Video Chat Program

Startup company Rabbit has created a video chat program in which users can share music and videos in real-time while chatting with one another. Users can have multiple conversations with friends, that all appear in circular bubbles to enhance the feeling of being in the same space together. The new approach by Rabbit could possibly provide competition for other successful programs such as Skype, Apple’s FaceTime, and Google+ Hangouts. Continue reading Rabbit Hops Into the Game with New Video Chat Program

Why is Skype Spending So Much on the GroupMe Acquisition?

  • Skype, which is in the process of being acquired by Microsoft, is purchasing GroupMe, a year-old startup with 20 employees known for its popular cross-platform messaging system that works between smartphones.
  • Skype will reportedly pay $85 million for the company, which GigaOM suggests raises the question: “Why is Skype spending so much money on a relatively small company with a relatively small user base when compared to Skype?”
  • While Skype is a partner with Facebook, it has to be concerned that competition in voice and video communication is becoming intense with Facebook Messenger, Google Huddle and Apple iMessage. (GroupMe adds group messaging.)
  • Skype will still need to decide if it is a product for consumers or a collaboration tool for corporations.
  • ETCentric staffer Dennis Kuba raises another interesting question: “Is voice and video communications becoming commoditized?”

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