Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

The Immersive Digital Experience Alliance (IDEA) has debuted, with the stated goal of creating royalty-free specifications for all immersive media formats, including light field technology. The Alliance’s founding members include CableLabs, Charter Communications, Light Field Lab, OTOY and Visby. The Alliance has started developing the Immersive Technology Media Format (ITMF), slated for release in 2019, which the group believes will “serve as an interchange and distribution format that will enable high-quality conveyance of complex image scenes.” Continue reading Immersive Digital Experience Alliance Launches at NAB 2019

ETC Panel: USC Students Discuss the Future of Entertainment

The ETC invited nine undergraduate students from the USC School of Cinematic Arts to the December 13, 2018 All Members Meeting to discuss their impressions regarding the future of entertainment. Click here for a six-minute highlight reel from that one-hour conversation, featuring student perspectives on immersive storytelling, social media, content distribution and more. ETC plans to produce student discussions at least quarterly in 2019 — twice at our Executive Board Meetings and twice for our All Members Meetings. We encourage everyone at an ETC-member company to attend (as appropriate) and ask questions at these future sessions. Continue reading ETC Panel: USC Students Discuss the Future of Entertainment

Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

Two Bit Circus is on track to open a “micro-amusement park” in a 40,000-square-foot space in downtown Los Angeles in September. Company chief executive Brent Bushnell and cofounder Eric Gradman said they plan to open more digital/physical arcades, potentially in shopping malls, in the future. The interactive playground has zones, “like an amusement park,” with a variety of different games in each one. The company, which was founded in 2012 and raised $15 million in 2017, will invite corporations to sponsor events there. Continue reading Two Bit Circus Brings Micro-Amusement Park to Los Angeles

Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

According to NPD Group, Epic Games’ survival shooter game “Fortnite” and other PlayStation, Xbox and PC multiplayer games are driving sales of headsets to gamers who like to talk to other gamers while they play. NPD, which tracks the $36 billion U.S. videogame industry, added that sales of game accessories and gift cards have now risen to $372 million. This record-breaking sales number is due to the popularity of multiplayer games, said NPD analyst Mat Piscatella, who pointed to “Fortnite,” which has become a smash hit. Continue reading Multiplayer Games Led by ‘Fortnite’ Are Driving Headset Sales

Qualcomm CES Keynote: 5G Transition to Launch Massive IoT

During his keynote presentation at CES 2018 in Las Vegas, Qualcomm president Cristiano Amon discussed the future of 5G, predicting that flagship 5G smartphones will hit shelves in 2019 and overtake the market quickly. The rollout “will occur ‘very fast’ because of 5G’s 30x improvement in latency, which lets phone makers keep the price of phones down by offloading phone memory to the cloud,” reports TWICE. The presentation suggested that “the 5G transition is going to be faster than the 4G transition, and it will create a ‘massive’ Internet of Things, enabling new business models and making autonomous vehicles a reality.” Continue reading Qualcomm CES Keynote: 5G Transition to Launch Massive IoT

Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season

Strategy Analytics predicts the smart speaker market will nearly quadruple in unit volume this year, bringing the total to 24 million. According to eMarketer, smart speakers will likely outsell wearables in the U.S. this holiday season. “We expect smart speakers to be the gift of choice for many tech enthusiasts, because of their lower price points,” said eMarketer analyst Cindy Liu. The research firm anticipates continued growth for devices such as smartwatches and fitness trackers in the U.S., but slowed growth in terms of usage. Continue reading Forecast: Smart Speakers Will Outsell Wearables This Season

Asus, Dell, Lenovo Unveil Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

At Computex 2017, Microsoft exhibited Windows Mixed Reality headsets from Asus, Dell and Lenovo, weeks after showing headsets from HP and Acer. Asus, which collaborated with Microsoft to ensure speed and power, displayed a headset with a polygonal cover panel. Dell’s headset, designed by the team that made its high-end XPS and Alienware PCs, is being marketed as offering an affordable price, customizable cushioning, a flip-up visor and convenient cable routing. Lenovo’s headset is positioned as the least expensive. Continue reading Asus, Dell, Lenovo Unveil Windows Mixed Reality Headsets

Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Unity Technologies CEO John Riccitiello drew a fresh picture of the XR industry in his keynote address at the Vision VR/AR Summit 2017 in Hollywood this week (extended reality — or XR — is an umbrella term that includes VR, AR and MR). Riccitiello admonished analysts for their overly exuberant prognostications and reactionary pessimism about the VR market. He projected that XR adoption and value calculations will exceed expectations in 2023 if three conditions are met: a price point below $1,000 for all the necessary hardware; truly mobile technology; and content that can be monetized across 100,000,000 devices, at minimum. Continue reading Unity CEO Reframes XR Discussion, Re-Energizes the Flock

Samsung Rolls Out Gear 360 Camera at VidCon to Select Few

Samsung’s Gear 360 virtual-reality camera will roll out at digital video confab VidCon — but only to top YouTube and other digital video content creators. After that event, Samsung will also make the $350 VR camera available for purchase for chosen creators at “select events and activations,” with a rollout to consumers planned for later in the year. With its strategy of releasing the camera to an exclusive few, Samsung hopes to jumpstart the creation of VR content and increase buzz for the upcoming consumer release. Continue reading Samsung Rolls Out Gear 360 Camera at VidCon to Select Few

Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Virtual reality may be the hottest technology trend now, with new headsets, cameras and content in high gear. But not everyone is enthused. Two naysayers have had big audiences for their caveats recently. The New York Times technology writer Farhad Manjoo has dubbed virtual reality “a prison of fantastical sights and sounds.” On Quora, a community-sourced Q&A site, military flight simulator expert Steve Baker wrote VR headsets are a major health hazard that can disorient the human brain and damage the eyes. Continue reading Virtual Reality Naysayers Dub VR ‘Prison’ and ‘Health Hazard’

Advertisers Explore Virtual Reality, Luxury Brands Embrace It

Sales of virtual reality headsets and software are predicted to reach $1 billion this year, and advertisers are paying attention. At this week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, an annual confab for advertisers and agencies, the focus will be on VR. Google executives will talk about the virtual reality platform based on the Android mobile operating system that the company plans to introduce this year, and ad agencies will describe how they’re using VR to promote brands and products. Continue reading Advertisers Explore Virtual Reality, Luxury Brands Embrace It

Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, San Diego-based Qualcomm introduced new chips for connected landlines, wireless Wi-Fi networks and wearables. To expand broadband communications network capacity, the company’s Atheros business unveiled GigaDSL chips that let broadband operators transition away from VDSL technology to Gigabit access. The company is also debuting a three-way radio chip to be used for Wi-Fi wireless data networking as well as a new set of Snapdragon Wear chips for wearable devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

A year after going on record that they would open up their tracking systems to third party developers, neither Oculus nor Valve have done so. So called ‘6DOF’ (degrees of freedom) tracking allows for head and body tracking, as well as mapping of physical objects like handheld objects and furniture, into the virtual world. Oculus’ Constellation tracking system uses a collection of IR-LEDs tracked by an external camera. Meanwhile, Valve/HTC’s Lighthouse tracking system uses photodiodes that track lasers from base stations. Continue reading Oculus and Valve Have Yet to Open Tracking to Third Parties

Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

Vox Media, parent company of politics site Vox, sports sites SB Nation, and technology site The Verge, is about to launch Circuit Breaker, a blog about gadgets. Circuit Breaker will publish news and gossip about technology products and primarily live as a Facebook page, not a separate website, says The Verge’s editor Nilay Patel. The idea of a blog devoted to gadgets is a throwback to sites like Engadget and Gizmodo that, in the early 2000s, focused on smartphones and then broadened to become culture sites. Continue reading Vox Media to Launch Circuit Breaker Gadget Site on Facebook

NAB Panel Addresses Impact of VR on News, Documentaries

“Being There – Virtual Reality News and Documentaries” was the title of a panel on VR journalism at the NAB Show in Las Vegas. Panelists included senior journalists from Sky, RYOT, Condition One, and USA Today Network, as well as one of Google’s lead VR evangelists. Lessons learned include the importance of proximity (e.g. close-ups), making sure that everyone on the team has experience with the key steps in the workflow so they understand the process and can fill in for others, and the need to experiment and fail. The panelists hope that post-production tools improve soon so a greater portion of their time can be spent planning and shooting stories. Continue reading NAB Panel Addresses Impact of VR on News, Documentaries

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