Amazon Music to Introduce HD Service for CD-Quality Sound

Amazon is debuting an HD version of its music service, which means its digital sound quality will henceforth be on a par with that found on CDs. Music executives, some who have pushed for different tiers of subscription beyond Apple Music and Spotify’s typical $9.99-per-month, said Amazon’s move is “a sign of the music-streaming market’s maturation.” Although Tidal offers an HD sound service, Amazon Music, at the No. 3 spot by subscription numbers, will be the first major service to offer comparable quality audio. Continue reading Amazon Music to Introduce HD Service for CD-Quality Sound

zSpace to Show Windows Laptop for AR/VR Viewing at CES

At CES 2019 next month, Innovation Award honoree zSpace will show a portable Windows PC laptop that is focused on “spatial content,” allowing users to interact with augmented reality and virtual reality content. Based in Sunnyvale, zSpace’s creators claim it is the first portable Windows PC that “breaks the screen barrier” between users and AR/VR, and tout its ability to foster creativity and collaboration in a flexible, immersive environment. It features patented 3D screen technology and lightweight glasses. Continue reading zSpace to Show Windows Laptop for AR/VR Viewing at CES

Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

Snap’s first version of its Spectacles was not a big hit, and the company is trying again with its second version, stating its commitment to hardware. Snap began working on this second iteration when the first one launched. The form factor of the second version Specs is slightly different: no more yellow rings around the lenses and much thinner temples. The Specs, priced at $150, also come in new colors with two variations on mirrored lenses. But the big changes address all of the criticisms of the first Spectacles. Continue reading Snap Introduces its Second, Enhanced Version of Spectacles

GoPro Launches $199 Hero Camera Targeting Younger Users

GoPro just released a more affordable camera at a price point of $199 aimed at a younger audience and action-video newcomers. Simply called “Hero,” the camera looks just like other models in the Hero line and works with all of the same accessories, but it’s a simplified version. “While it doesn’t have all of the advanced features of the $399 Hero6 or the $299 Hero5, the new Hero does have many of them, making it an excellent budget choice for those eager to start playing with action cameras,” reports Wired.

Continue reading GoPro Launches $199 Hero Camera Targeting Younger Users

HPA 2018: Mastering Features, Content in UHD, HDR & SDR

At the HPA Tech Retreat in Palm Desert, California (produced by the Hollywood Professional Association), a panel of industry professionals described the vicissitudes of mastering in an era of dozens of formats, standards and devices. The conversation quickly became interactive, with attendees asking questions that related to their work in the media & entertainment industry. One question, harkening back to the premium for producing and posting HD material when it first came on the scene, was about the additional costs of working with UHD and HDR. Continue reading HPA 2018: Mastering Features, Content in UHD, HDR & SDR

Intel Plans to Live-Stream Free MLB Games in Virtual Reality

Under a three-year deal with Major League Baseball, Intel plans to live-stream one free out-of-market game each Tuesday in virtual reality. Starting next week, the games, on-demand replays and post-game highlights will be made available via the Intel True VR app on Samsung Gear VR headsets. The “Intel True VR Game of the Week” will provide baseball fans with the option of viewing a produced VR broadcast or selecting angles from up to four cameras. The experience will also feature exclusive commentary and live player and team stats. Continue reading Intel Plans to Live-Stream Free MLB Games in Virtual Reality

NAGRA to Roll Out Secure Platform for Content Distribution

As studios and exhibitors grapple to find a way to alter the movie release window to serve the changing audience for movies, NAGRA unveiled Early @t Home, a new platform aimed at both studios and exhibitors, at CES in Las Vegas. The platform combines NAGRA’s secure cloud solution with purpose-built hardware to enable content creators, studios, and theater chains to use “first release content” to directly connect with the consumer. The platform offers access to real-time analytics and provides a unique engagement opportunity through synchronized extras that could include complementary virtual and augmented reality experiences. The HD and UHD hardware solutions are priced to compete with other media dongles, but do not require specific app development. Continue reading NAGRA to Roll Out Secure Platform for Content Distribution

Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

Retail giant Walmart announced the launch of its free, ad-supported streaming video service called Vudu Movies On Us, which offers thousands of titles available for 1080p HD streaming, and supports Dolby Digital sound when available. Vudu has been selling and renting movies and TV shows for almost 10 years. The new service, however, will not feature new releases or current series. Instead, it will focus on older blockbusters and classics. Vudu considered developing a subscription VOD service, but opted for the ad-supported model since the majority of Walmart customers expressed interest in free or discounted video services. Continue reading Walmart Debuts Free, Ad-Supported Video Streaming Service

TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

Following Rovi’s $1.1 billion acquisition of TiVo and the unveiling of TiVo’s new UX on-screen user experience, the company has now rolled out its latest DVR, the Bolt+ with six 4K tuners and 3TB of storage. While last fall’s 4K-ready Bolt debuted a white chassis and curved form factor, the Bolt+ returns to TiVo’s standard black body. The newest addition to the Bolt family can record 450 hours of HD content and allows users to simultaneously record and stream more shows. The Bolt+ will be available for $499.99 (not including the monthly service fee) starting tomorrow. Continue reading TiVo Introduces Bolt+ DVR with Six 4K Tuners and 3TB Drive

DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Although Super Bowl 50 was broadcast only in HD, now media outlets are beginning to deliver live sports in 4K Ultra HD. AT&T’s DirecTV says it plans to deliver as many as 25 MLB Network games live in the new format this year, although its 4K Ultra HD will not feature high dynamic range (HDR). Sony reports it just accomplished a 4K Ultra HD (with HDR) test broadcast on a February 10 soccer match between Mexico and Senegal, in Miami’s Marlin Park. Last year, about 6.3 million UHD TV sets shipped in North America. Continue reading DirecTV Set to Deliver First-Ever 4K UHD MLB Game April 15

Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

Starting next month, Netflix will increase the price of its two-stream HD service plan by 25 percent for long-term streaming customers. Subscribers previously paying $7.99 monthly will now be charged $9.99 per month for the service’s standard plan. The rate change will be based on subscriber billing periods. Those who signed up at $8.99 per month following the previous increase in May 2014 will experience the jump to $9.99 this October. Netflix members will have the option of continuing at $7.99 for a single stream SD plan or keeping the HD plan at $9.99. Continue reading Netflix’s Two-Stream HD Plan Increasing by $2/Month in May

HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

HPA Tech Retreat’s long-time programmer, engineer and author Mark Schubin, opened the event with his annual “Technology Year in Review,” composed of all the interesting, obscure and wacky news items he’s aggregated over the previous year. One question he asks every year — have we finished the transition to HD? — had the same answer as every previous year: nope. Even as some companies are talking up 8K as the next TV resolution, the nation’s media infrastructure as a whole is still working on completing the evolution to HD. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Technology Charges Forward… Into the Past

SMPTE HDR Report Offers Recommendations for Standards

The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers has published a study group report on the high dynamic range imaging ecosystem, now available for download on the SMPTE site. The report provides a detailed summary regarding “the implementation of HDR in professional media workflows and addresses key questions that will arise for industry members as they move forward in taking advantage of HDR technology.” In addition, it provides recommendations for standardization efforts. According to SMPTE, the report reflects the efforts of 170 international experts. Continue reading SMPTE HDR Report Offers Recommendations for Standards

DxO ONE Camera Turns iPhone into Professional Level Device

A French company that creates image-processing software and an industry measurement for sensor quality just released DxO ONE, a $600 sensor and lens that plugs into the iPhone camera. DxO Labs created the ONE to feature a 1-inch image sensor (that’s six-and-a-half times bigger than the iPhone 6’s native sensor) and the equivalent of a 32mm fixed lens whose aperture opens to F1.8. The resulting 20.2-megapixel images are a considerable improvement over photos taken with the iPhone camera and competitive with those taken by pro level DSLRs. Continue reading DxO ONE Camera Turns iPhone into Professional Level Device

Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

A new 4K Ultra HD movie drive aimed at consumers is now on offer from WD, Western Digital’s storage company. Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment is partnering with WD by offering several movies and TV shows on the drive, dubbed My Passport Cinema. The drive plays back 4K/UHD, HD and HDR on Samsung SUHD TVs and a select range of other Vidity-enabled devices. Vidity is a 4K movie service backed by Warner, Universal, LG, SanDisk, Dolby, M-GO, Comcast and others in addition to Fox, WD and Samsung. Continue reading Fox Offers Titles for WD’s Consumer 4K Ultra HD Movie Drive

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