Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

Amazon just debuted new Alexa features including one that simplifies coordinating multiple voice assistants on a single device using Agent Transfers (AT) and Amazon’s Universal Device Commands (UDC). Using UDCs, Alexa will be able to act on instructions; for instance, saying “Hey Sonos, turn up the volume” to get results for devices with Sonos Voice Control. ATs enable Alexa to transfer requests it can’t unilaterally fulfill — like “Place an order on Uber Eats” — to other assistants that can. Amazon outlined its AT and UDC plans in a white paper on design recommendations for the Voice Interoperability Initiative (VII). Continue reading Amazon’s New Alexa Developer Tools Target Interoperability

‘Fathead’ Case Study: HPA Analyzes Color Grading in Cloud

Content creators who relied on remote workflows through the height of COVID-19 now realize those protocols are here to stay. Centralized cloud-based data repositories are a convenient hub from which to manage the processing of sound and image throughout production. The HPA NET lunch event, “Color Grading in the Cloud: A Case Study” analyzed that critical step from the perspective of the short film “Fathead,” produced by the Entertainment Technology Center@USC. “Fathead” was shot on a volume stage and uploaded from the camera to the cloud, where the entire workflow took place. Continue reading ‘Fathead’ Case Study: HPA Analyzes Color Grading in Cloud

Apple realityOS Headset Reportedly on Deck for 2023 Release

Buzz is heating up on Apple’s new mixed reality headset, with the company reportedly securing “Iron Man” director Jon Favreau to create content for the new platform that brings to life the dinosaurs from “Prehistoric Planet,” the Apple TV+ documentary on which he served as executive producer. The headset, anticipated for 2023 release, is expected to offer both virtual- and augmented-reality experiences, and will run realityOS, or rOS software. Details broke on the eve of Apple’s Worldwide Developers Conference, June 6-10, but has not been announced during WWDC. The device will position Apple to compete with Meta, Microsoft and soon Google in the AR/VR space. Continue reading Apple realityOS Headset Reportedly on Deck for 2023 Release

73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

The Television Academy has announced the companies and individuals that will be honored at the 73rd Engineering Emmy Awards, among them Netflix co-founder and CEO Reed Hastings, recipient of the Charles F. Jenkins Lifetime Achievement Award, and Dolby Laboratories, honored with the Philo T. Farnsworth Corporate Achievement Award. The awards honor individuals, companies or organizations for developments in broadcast technology. The latest honorees — ranging from creators of high-end special effects tools to systems that help maintain distancing protocols — will be recognized at a live ceremony at the JW Marriott Los Angeles Hotel on October 21. Continue reading 73rd Engineering Emmy Honorees Include Dolby and Hastings

Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

Apple Music and Amazon Music are unveiling high-resolution audio to subscribers at no extra cost. Amazon Music had announced that its Amazon Music HD is available to all eligible Amazon Music Unlimited subscribers and Apple revealed that subscribers will be able to access Lossless Audio, “to hear the exact same thing that artists created in the studio.” Apple Music users will, based on their connection, be able to choose music resolution from CD quality (16 bit/44.1 kHz) up to Hi-Resolution Lossless at 24 bit/192 kHz. Continue reading Amazon Music, Apple Music Unveil Hi-Res Audio for All Subs

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Details Its Executive Coffee Program

During the HPA Tech Retreat, ETC Immersive Media Initiative program lead Phil Lelyveld presented highlights from the Entertainment Technology Center’s “Executive Coffee With…” program, a series of discussions between ETC industry members and USC students on a range of topics related to the future of entertainment. To date, executives from Verizon, Universal, Fox, Equinix, Vubiquity and Dolby have posed questions to the USC students, on topics from production during COVID-19 to the future of the theater experience. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Details Its Executive Coffee Program

HPA Announces 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards Winners

The Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) Awards Committee revealed winners of its 2020 HPA Awards for Engineering Excellence, to be given out in a virtual ceremony on November 19. This year will mark the 15th anniversary of the HPA Awards, founded to “recognize creative artistry and innovation in the professional media content industry.” This year’s awards will honor EIZO’s Prominence CG3146 31.1-inch HDR reference monitor; Eluvio Content Fabric for managing and distributing large form content; the Moxion Immediates platform; and Carl Zeiss SBE: eXtended Data (XD) lens metadata technology. Continue reading HPA Announces 2020 Engineering Excellence Awards Winners

CES: Dolby Ramps Up HDR Home Viewing with Vision IQ

At CES 2020, Dolby took its Dolby Vision HDR system up a notch with Dolby Vision IQ, which ensures its HDR settings work for a variety of content, including action sports, feature films and documentaries, and different viewing environments. TV shows and films in 4K HDR are often calibrated for a darkened theater (or living room). But viewers watching video at home in brighter settings found the images were too dark. With Dolby Vision IQ, the Dolby Vision HDR system is automatically adjusted to the room’s brightness. Continue reading CES: Dolby Ramps Up HDR Home Viewing with Vision IQ

CES 2020: From Smart TVs to Intelligent Digital Gateways

Though not the driving force they once were, TVs are still a staple at CES. This year’s show is overflowing with display technologies like microLEDs and curved OLEDs from high-end to budget manufacturers alike. The “Smart” moniker has been just as ubiquitous. Thanks to beefier processors, additional sensors, the cloud and Dolby, however, “Smart” is no longer just an alias for “Internet-Ready.” Multiple manufacturers are showcasing technologies meant to marry personalization with creative intent while establishing a new digital gateway for the home. Continue reading CES 2020: From Smart TVs to Intelligent Digital Gateways

CES 2020: Launch of First ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV Products

The Advanced Television Systems Committee (ATSC) launched 20 ATSC 3.0-enabled TV models. CTA chair of the video division board John Taylor introduced ATSC president Madeleine Noland, NAB president/chief executive and former Republican senator from Oregon Gordon Smith, and CTA president/chief executive Gary Shapiro. “This year NextGen TV joins the roster of new product announcements, with TV stations building out enhanced TV systems,” said Noland. “ATSC is proud to exhibit at CES for the first time — and we’ll be back next year.” Continue reading CES 2020: Launch of First ATSC 3.0 NextGen TV Products

Toshiba Fire TV Model Lowers Price Barrier for Dolby Vision

Amazon and Toshiba are launching a line of Fire TV Edition sets that include support for Dolby Vision. The 4K televisions, which will be sold exclusively through Amazon and Best Buy, come in a 55-inch model ($499.99) that is available today, followed by 43-inch ($329.99) and 50-inch ($379.99) models to be released on June 30. Dolby Vision’s HDR format is regarded as superior to HDR10 because it allows scene-by-scene adjustments to picture quality. The Amazon-Toshiba sets mark the first time that Dolby Vision will be available in more affordable Fire TV Edition models. Continue reading Toshiba Fire TV Model Lowers Price Barrier for Dolby Vision

Netflix Rolls Out Audio Quality Upgrade For Its Programming

After noticing that the audio in episodes of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” wasn’t as crisp as it should be, the company’s internal sound technicians took steps to address the issue. For the past several months, they’ve been working to enhance the sound quality of all Netflix programming, original and licensed. This week and moving forward, subscribers will have access to what’s simply being called “high-quality audio.” The upgrade, which will not require Netflix users to change their Internet service speeds, is optimized for devices that support Dolby 5.1 and Dolby Atmos sound.

Continue reading Netflix Rolls Out Audio Quality Upgrade For Its Programming

TV Broadcasters and Set Manufacturers Promote ATSC 3.0

At NAB 2019 in Las Vegas, a coalition of U.S. broadcasters announced that the new TV standard, ATSC 3.0, will roll out to 40 markets by the end of 2020. The capabilities of ATSC 3.0, which is based on an IP (Internet Protocol) network, include 4K, HDR and over-the-air mobile reception of TV content. TVNewsCheck contributing editor Glen Dickson, who moderated a panel of broadcasters and others involved with the advanced TV standard, noted that the announcement is “a big boost” to ATSC 3.0’s fortunes. Continue reading TV Broadcasters and Set Manufacturers Promote ATSC 3.0

NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

At NAB 2018 in Las Vegas, a panel of Hollywood leaders described the progress of high dynamic range (HDR) as part of the motion picture, TV, and home entertainment pipelines. They also revealed some of the pitfalls that continue to bedevil adoption of the new standard, as well as spell out the changes that need to take place for HDR to be fully embraced. Sony Pictures Entertainment senior vice president, technology Bill Baggelaar noted however that, “consumers have a preference for HDR,” underlining its inevitability. Continue reading NAB 2018: Hollywood Pushes HDR Production, Post – Part 1

HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR

In the ongoing journey to integrate high dynamic range (HDR) into U.S. movie theaters and homes, a panel at this week’s HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California explored the topic from several angles. Everyone knows that HDR is much more than a single format: HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, HLG (hybrid log gamma) all compete in the marketplace. But Pat Griffis, Dolby Laboratories vice president technology in the office of the CTO and a SMPTE fellow, wanted to clarify the basic definition of HDR as more accurately seen as color volume. Continue reading HPA 2018: Panel Discusses Hurdles to Mass Adoption of HDR