Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

The latest step in the paid password-sharing strategy Netflix began testing earlier this year allows users to purchase add-home subscriptions in select countries. Expanding on the “add extra member” feature previously deployed in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, subscribers in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will begin in August to be able to “add a home.” Members on the Basic plan are permitted to add one extra home, Standard up to two extra, while Premium may add three. Each additional home subscription includes travel access via tablet, laptop or smartphone. Continue reading Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

When it comes to vacuuming-up consumer data, there is no distinction between that which is “personally identifiable” and that which is not, according to recent media reports. Data collection firms are reportedly hiding behind a false notion of privacy in order to keep Congress on track to allow the industry to police itself. This would enable the companies to continue mining personal information and selling it, whether to those trying to influence election outcomes, pharmaceutical firms trying to boost sales or insurance companies sniffing around for preexisting conditions. Continue reading Lawmakers Troubled About Rampant Sale of Consumer Data

Lens Fest: Snap Reveals New Augmented Reality Possibilities

During Snap’s annual Lens Fest event, the company introduced new features and upcoming changes to its Lens Studio creation suite. Snap touted updates involving the integration of outside media and data in addition to a collection of new augmented reality features intended for future glasses, including its own AR-enabled Spectacles. Creators will be able to add audio clips and licensed music to Snapchat Lenses. The company is working on delivering real-time data such as weather info from AccuWeather and cryptocurrency prices from FTX. Developers will also have the ability to embed links inside Lenses and send Snapchatters to different websites. Continue reading Lens Fest: Snap Reveals New Augmented Reality Possibilities

Next Generation Smartwatches: From Fitness to Full-Service

In less than 10 years, the smartwatch has reached a tipping point, able to oversee many meaningful aspects of life. From home security to keeping tabs on your biometrics, wearability and design distinguish smartwatches from other devices — the closest approximation to cybernetics within reach of the average person with $300 to spend. Prices range from about $800 to $1,170 for Montblanc’s Summit 2+, a collaboration between Verizon, Qualcomm and the German luxury goods firm. An array of brands, including Samsung, Apple and Garmin have made it their business to redefine the smartwatch. Continue reading Next Generation Smartwatches: From Fitness to Full-Service

GoPro Releases New Wireless Remote, Firmware for Cameras

GoPro launched a new wireless remote with free firmware updates that is designed to control the company’s cameras even if they are far away or mounted somewhere hard to reach. Priced at $80 — the same as the previous Smart Remote — it is compatible with the Hero 9 Black, Hero 8 Black and Max cameras. Improvements in design include a larger display and an even bigger Record button on the front, ideal for use with gloved hands. Dubbed the miniature Remote, it is also waterproof up to a depth of 16 feet. Continue reading GoPro Releases New Wireless Remote, Firmware for Cameras

Chinese Cities Invest in National Campaign for Advanced Tech

China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology will invest at least $1.4 trillion in the next five years in advanced technologies; more than a dozen Chinese municipalities this year pledged 6.61 trillion yuan ($935 billion) to achieve this goal, for projects on artificial intelligence, data centers and mobile communications. The country’s BeiDou navigation network will be complete this month when the final satellite goes into orbit. Premier Li Keqiang said the campaign is the Communist Party’s top priority. Continue reading Chinese Cities Invest in National Campaign for Advanced Tech

Apple and Google Offer Contact Tracing Tech to Developers

Apple and Google unveiled jointly developed contact tracing technology to help the government track the spread of COVID-19. The app notifies a user if she has been exposed to someone who tested positive for the coronavirus. The technology’s protocol relies on the phone’s Bluetooth signal to identify those who have been near an infected person. So far, North Dakota, Alabama and South Carolina in the U.S. and 22 countries have asked for and received access to the technology. The app was previously released in beta. Continue reading Apple and Google Offer Contact Tracing Tech to Developers

FCC Backs Ligado Plan to Develop L-Band Spectrum for 5G

In opposition to the Pentagon, Federal Communications Commission chair Ajit Pai backed Ligado Networks’ plan to develop the L-band spectrum of airwaves for cellular service. In his draft order, Pai stipulated “certain conditions” that would protect against interference with Global Positioning System technology. Opponents say the company’s usage would interfere with military operations and weather forecasting bandwidth. Ligado, originally known as LightSquared, went bankrupt in 2012 when its business plans were rejected. Continue reading FCC Backs Ligado Plan to Develop L-Band Spectrum for 5G

HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Outlines Adaptive Production Projects

ETC’s director of adaptive production Seth Levenson described the USC think tank’s array of projects under this umbrella, which include archiving, blockchain, and visual effects standards. The working group on archiving, co-chaired by Paramount Pictures senior vice president asset management Andrea Kalas, is developing best practices for cloud preservation. Levenson pointed to the white paper on “Guidelines for Digital Audio-Visual Assets in the Cloud,” which in part focused on fixity, or getting out the same assets that were uploaded. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: ETC Outlines Adaptive Production Projects

Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

Tech startup holoride has teamed with Ford Motor Company and Universal Pictures to create an immersive VR experience called “Universal Monsters Presents Bride of Frankenstein holoride.” The complimentary ride is being offered during select dates from October 14 to November 9 at Universal CityWalk Hollywood. “They are rolling it out at the theme park, but it could be featured anywhere because it is GPS-based,” explained ETC’s Phil Lelyveld, who recently previewed the ride with colleague George Gerba. “It adjusts to the location and the route. So it could be a touring experience, could be offered at store openings, etc.” Continue reading Holoride, Ford, Universal Partner for In-Car VR Experience

Analyst Predicts Apple’s AR Headset to Launch in Mid-2020

According to a recent note to investors written by analyst Ming-Chi Kuo, who is known for frequently having inside information on Apple’s product plans, Apple could begin mass production of its augmented reality headset by the end of 2019 and unveil it as early as mid-2020 — although he admitted the timeline is optimistic. In May 2018, however, Loup Ventures founder Gene Munster predicted we wouldn’t see the Apple AR headset until late 2021. Kuo stated his belief that Apple’s first AR device will only be a display, with the iPhone performing all the rendering, data connection and GPS. Continue reading Analyst Predicts Apple’s AR Headset to Launch in Mid-2020

HPA Tech Retreat: Drones, Photogrammetry as Useful Tools

Singularity Imaging founder/chief executive Eric Pohl discussed how drones and photogrammetry methods can be used to extract 3D information and create large point-cloud scenes. Uses include previsualization for production, content for set extensions, VR/AR and gaming applications. Pohl noted that, at last year’s HPA Tech Retreat, a presentation showed how the Unity game engine could be used to map and plan a production. “Mapping and remote sensing are quite mature, but drones bring something new to it,” he noted. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Drones, Photogrammetry as Useful Tools

Augmented Reality Drives Need for New Cloud Infrastructure

The potential of augmented reality is massive but despite software development kits including Apple’s ARKit, Google’s ARCore, Amazon Sumerian and Microsoft’s Mixed Reality ecosystem, actual implementations have been limited. That’s because the current cloud infrastructure constrains actual consumer-facing AR projects. The popularity of “Pokémon Go” in summer of 2016 was an example of that; at the first Pokémon Go Fest in Chicago, 20,000 players experienced slowdowns and outages due to constrained network bandwidth. Continue reading Augmented Reality Drives Need for New Cloud Infrastructure

Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Huawei, in partnership with Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC), debuted the Kirin 980, the first mobile chip fabricated on a 7nm process. The Kirin 980 features 6.9 billion onboard transistors, about 1.6 times the number on the Kirin 970, while shrinking the die size down from 10nm. The result offers a 40 percent reduction in power consumption, and a 20 percent improvement in several processing metrics. That feat took 1,000 senior engineers three years and more than 5,000 prototypes to achieve success. Continue reading Huawei Kirin 980: First 7nm Mobile Chip Amps Up Processing

Court Rules Police Need a Warrant for Phone Location Data

The Supreme Court has ruled that police need a search warrant to obtain data showing the location of cell phone users. Similar to rulings made in 2012 and 2014, the Supreme Court rejected the argument that police should have the same access as investigators do in order to examine business records held in banks or conduct physical surveillance. The ruling stated the “world of difference” between 1970s decisions allowing the limited personal information obtained in accessing business records and today’s digital records. Continue reading Court Rules Police Need a Warrant for Phone Location Data