Nearly 90 Percent of World’s Cinema Screens are Now Digital

London-based IHS Cinema Intelligence reports that 89.8 percent of theatrical movie screens worldwide have completed the conversion to digital cinema. The global digital cinema footprint reached 127,688 screens in 2014, a 14.7 percent increase over the previous year. The largest increase was seen in the Asia Pacific region, followed by South and Central America. Additionally, digital penetration climbed to 96 percent in Western Europe, matching that of North America for the first time. Continue reading Nearly 90 Percent of World’s Cinema Screens are Now Digital

Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Energous and Witricity have developed new ways to charge smartphones, tablets and other small devices without needing wires to plug them into an outlet. Energous’ WattUp technology allows users to recharge phones in special cases or receivers that can pick up signals from a transmitter that is plugged in more than 10 feet away. Toyota and TDK are already planning to utilize Witricity’s wireless charging technology in upcoming hybrid and electric cars, and car batteries. Continue reading Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Netflix has reached an agreement with cable companies RCN, Grande Communications and Atlantic Broadband that will allow subscribers to basically access the streaming video service as if it were a cable channel starting next week. Netflix will be added as an app to set-top boxes to provide subscribers with the option of viewing the Netflix content they would otherwise access via computers and mobile devices. The offer is only available for customers of the cable companies who also subscribe to Netflix. Continue reading Netflix to Be Available to 500,000 Cable Subscribers Next Week

Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Amazon announced that it will acquire comiXology, the digital comics platform that had its 200-millionth download last fall. With the sales of physical comics fading, comiXology is developing tech to allow the craft to move online. The company operates a comics store and a mobile comics app, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013. Its library includes 40,000 comics from 75 major publishers. ComiXology also opened a self-publishing platform last year. Continue reading Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

Insiders report that Dish Network Chairman Charlie Ergen recently contacted DirecTV CEO Mike White to discuss a potential merger of the two companies. DirecTV, the largest U.S. satellite TV operator, currently has about 20 million subscribers, while Dish, the No. 2 operator, has about 14 million. Ergen reportedly approached White in response to Comcast’s proposed $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable. However, White is said to be reluctant regarding formal talks out of concern that regulators would block a deal. Continue reading Dish Chair Said to Approach DirecTV About Possible Merger

Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

In addition to its Winter Olympics coverage across television, Web and mobile, NBC is also capturing some of the action from Sochi in 4K resolution. However, since the distribution infrastructure is not in place for Ultra HD broadcasts and only a small number of consumers own UHD TVs, the network is shooting limited 4K content for demonstration purposes only. NBCUniversal’s parent Comcast has scheduled invitation-only viewing parties in Washington DC, San Francisco and Philadelphia. Continue reading Olympics: NBC Shooting Select Events in 4K for Demo Purposes

Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

President Barack Obama spoke about the National Security Agency last week at the Department of Justice in Washington. The President touched on allowing technology companies to disclose information to the public about the kinds of data the government requests from them. However, he did not address issues such as secret government taps on data centers located overseas and encryption standards, two issues of particular interest to technology and phone companies. Continue reading Tech Companies Hopeful for Change in NSA Disclosure Policy

Verizon v. FCC: Federal Appeals Court Rules on Net Neutrality

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia has struck down segments of the FCC’s Open Internet rules. Ruling on Verizon v. FCC yesterday, the court has determined that the Federal Communications Commission does not have the power to require Internet service providers to treat all traffic equally. And broadband providers are free to charge companies such as Netflix and Google higher fees to deliver content faster, a cost which would likely be passed on to consumers. Continue reading Verizon v. FCC: Federal Appeals Court Rules on Net Neutrality

Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

Darcy Antonellis, president and chief technology officer of Warner Bros. Entertainment, will leave her post to become CEO of Vubiquity in January. Virginia-based Vubiquity, formerly Avail-TVN, is a global provider of multiplatform video services. Antonellis, winner of three technical Emmys, has been with Warner Bros. for 15 years, and has held her current position since 2008. She will replace Ramu Potarazu, who stepped down as CEO in March. Continue reading Darcy Antonellis Named CEO of Vubiquity, Exits Warner Bros.

House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Innovation Act yesterday, a bill that intends to help reform the troubled American patent system. The bill, which passed by a vote of 325-91 with bipartisan support, will now go to the Senate (where it expects to pass), and then to the White House. Supporters hope the bill will save the current patent system plagued by low-quality patents and trolls, while others suggest it is merely a small solution for a much bigger problem. Continue reading House Passes Innovation Act: Enough to Save Patent System?

Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

According to Eric Schmidt, executive chairman and former CEO of Google, we may be close to a new “network age” in which Internet traffic will be protected with code, allowing users to communicate and organize socially without the fear of government censorship. Schmidt believes that Internet users will communicate via private channels that are shielded by encryption, scrambling data that can be decoded with a special digital key. Continue reading Schmidt: Solution to Government Surveillance is Encryption

Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Vint Cerf, chief Internet evangelist for Google and co-creator of the Internet’s key networking technology, delivered the keynote address at the Federal Trade Commission’s Internet of Things workshop this week in Washington, DC. Cerf suggested that privacy is a relatively new development that may not be sustainable. “Privacy may actually be an anomaly,” he said while taking questions, noting that privacy was not even guaranteed just a few decades ago. Continue reading Vint Cerf at FTC Event: “Privacy May Actually Be an Anomaly”

Wonderlabs: Google Promotes Devices in Pop-Up Showrooms

Google is opening temporary showrooms in six U.S. cities to display and promote its latest gadgets. Consumers can visit the holiday-themed pop-up stores, dubbed “Winter Wonderlabs,” to check out devices such as the Nexus 7 tablet, Google’s Chromebook laptops and the digital TV receiver Chromecast. The Winter Wonderlab in Canoga Park opened over the weekend. Additional locations include Chicago, New York City, Sacramento, Washington DC, and Paramus, NJ. Continue reading Wonderlabs: Google Promotes Devices in Pop-Up Showrooms

The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

The debate over National Security Agency surveillance tactics has come to Hollywood. Industry heavyweights such as Oliver Stone, Maggie Gyllenhaal and John Cusack appear in a new video alongside Representative John Conyers Jr. (D-Michigan), Harvard Law professor Lawrence Lessig, military analyst Daniel Ellsberg, advocates and government whistle-blowers. The video addresses civil liberties, the right to privacy, and calls for bringing an end to mass NSA surveillance. Continue reading The Debate Over Mass NSA Surveillance Comes to Hollywood

Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

Clear Channel Communications announced a deal late last week with the Warner Music Group through which Warner’s acts will collect royalties when their songs are played on Clear Channel’s 850 stations. This will mark the first time that the music label and its acts — which include Bruno Mars, CeeLo Green, Coldplay and Green Day — will collect payments from Clear Channel. In exchange for the deal and promotion for its acts, Clear Channel will receive a favorable rate for online streaming. Continue reading Clear Channel-Warner Deal Underlines Digital Licensing Issues

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