Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Amazon’s over-the-top businesses (including IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports and Amazon’s News app among others) have grown to 120+ million monthly viewers. The free, ad-supported IMDb TV, which is getting a mobile app, has seen its viewership rise 138 percent year-over-year, making it a rival to similar ad-supported streamers including Fox’s Tubi, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Roku’s The Roku Channel. Amazon’s exclusive rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will begin a year earlier than originally planned, with the 2022-2023 season. Continue reading Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Smartphone Pioneer LG to Shutter Its Mobile Division in July

LG is shutting down its mobile business on July 31. The company announced that, “moving forward LG will continue to leverage its mobile expertise and develop mobility-related technologies such as 6G to help further strengthen competitiveness in other business areas.” Its current mobile phones are still for sale and LG said it will provide support and software updates “for a period of time which will vary by region.” LG just put out an inexpensive 5G phone with the $400 K92, but its global market share dipped to 1.7 percent. Continue reading Smartphone Pioneer LG to Shutter Its Mobile Division in July

TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

Irvine, California-based smart TV maker Vizio had its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange last week, offering 12.25 million shares priced at $21, valuing the company at about $3.9 billion. Vizio chairman and chief executive William Wang, who founded the company in 2002, is focused on the SmartCast streaming platform. Among smart TVs in North America, Vizio is second only to Samsung. Vizio’s platform business grew four-fold from 2018 to 2020, to $147.2 million, with total revenue topping $2 billion in 2020. Continue reading TV Maker Vizio Goes Public on the New York Stock Exchange

Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

Next month, Amazon is slated to launch a new Fire TV interface for its Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube streaming devices. In 2016, Amazon pioneered the “content-first user experience,” which listed rows of movies and TV shows from various streaming apps on the home TV. This idea was picked up by many others in the industry, including Google, Vizio and LG. But, as the number of streaming services has expanded, this model has become unwieldy and chaotic — and Amazon is about to rein it in via a simplified navigation bar. Continue reading Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

CES: Rollable Tech Helps Mobile Devices Change Dimensions

During CES 2021, LG provided a peek into its LG Rollable, the company’s first phone that transforms between smartphone and tablet form factors. One company executive said the LG Rollable — positioned as a strong alternative to existing foldable phones — will debut sometime this year. Meanwhile, TCL is developing a device based on the same approach, but the company reported it is only at the conceptual planning stage. But both LG and TCL did leak some information about the upcoming devices’ specifications. Continue reading CES: Rollable Tech Helps Mobile Devices Change Dimensions

CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

ATSC 3.0, the IP-based broadcast television standard created to improve viewing across future fixed and mobile devices, had a presence at CES 2021 in the form of new technologies and TV sets. Sony, LG and BitRouter were among the companies debuting NextGen TV tech at this year’s show. Sony’s Bravia XR line of LED and OLED sets is ATSC 3.0 compatible, as are LG’s new 4K and 8K UHD TVs. BitRouter introduced a new Linux-based ATSC 3.0 receiver and the company’s ZapperBox ATSC 3.0 set-top box, which will be available for licensing by other brands. Continue reading CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

CES: LG Unveils Transparent OLED Screen for Smart Homes

During CES 2021, LG Display showcased its latest OLED display: a 55-inch screen with 40 percent transparency, up from past transparent LCDs that only reached 10 percent transparency. This OLED display, with built-in Sound Solution technology speakers embedded in the frame, is intended to be placed at the foot of a bed where it can rise up — partially or fully — to show videos while still enabling a view of what’s on the other side. LG is positioning the set as a smart home device, although the company believes the technology has numerous public applications as a next-gen display. Continue reading CES: LG Unveils Transparent OLED Screen for Smart Homes

CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

CES 2021 concluded last week in the wake of a challenging year marked by political unrest, social upheaval and a global pandemic that continues to impact our personal and professional lives. And much like all that we’re juggling in our current COVID world, the all-digital format of this year’s CES presented a number of unique challenges, most notably how to determine which products and services are most relevant to an M&E audience without the benefit of interacting up close in person. We’re still working our way through information from nearly 2,000 companies and will continue to report our findings on ETCentric. In the coming weeks, ETC will also publish a comprehensive overview of the show with a focus on four dynamic themes, rather than trends: Adaptation, Change, Snapback and Opportunity. In the meanwhile, we provide this snapshot of some of the key products, technologies, trends and announcements. Continue reading CES: Snapshot of All-Digital Show’s Announcements, Trends

Google Files First Formal Counter to Justice Department Suit

Google issued its first formal rejoinder to the Justice Department’s charges that the company has used its position, including deals with other Big Tech companies, to maintain its dominance in online search. Google denies, in a sentence-by-sentence rebuttal, charges of violating antitrust laws or engaging in anticompetitive behavior. Evidence was uncovered that Google and Facebook agreed to “cooperate and assist” one another should they be investigated for working together on online advertising. Continue reading Google Files First Formal Counter to Justice Department Suit

Department of Justice Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

As anticipated, the U.S. Department of Justice has filed an antitrust lawsuit against Alphabet’s Google, accusing the company of “unlawfully maintaining monopolies” involving its search and related advertising services. The DOJ is also questioning the terms of Google’s Android operating system, which the Department believes essentially forces phone makers to pre-load Google apps and set Google Search as a default feature. The concern is that the practice unfairly hinders competition and enables Google to generate significant revenue from its search-related advertising business. Continue reading Department of Justice Files Antitrust Lawsuit Against Google

WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

WiSA — wireless speaker and audio — offers the promise of changing and simplifying home theater setups by getting rid of speaker wires and even the A/V receiver. WiSA, which has support from 60+ manufacturers of home theater gear, including LG, TCL, Toshiba, Klipsch, and Bang & Olufsen, is a hardware and software specification for high resolution digital audio. As such, it can send audio wirelessly from a sound source to up to eight powered speakers within the same room, using 24-bit 48kHz or 96kHz signals. Continue reading WiSA: Wireless Speaker and Audio Advances Home Theater

Mini-LED Tech Offers Impressive Contrast Ratio, Affordability

Mini-LED technology offers TV sets a promising combination of better contrast, an image improvement over standard LCD TVs, and a more affordable price than OLED TVs. TCL debuted the tech last year in its 8-Series, and, this year, in its 6-Series, with a 55-inch TV for $650. Mini-LED is not the same as MicroLED; the latter uses millions of LEDs, one per pixel, for large high-end solutions such as Sony’s Crystal LED and Samsung’s The Wall. In fact, although MicroLEDs use LEDs, it’s actually an entirely different technology. Continue reading Mini-LED Tech Offers Impressive Contrast Ratio, Affordability

App Store Battle: Epic Sues Apple, Google for Pulling ‘Fortnite’

In an ongoing dispute over Apple’s 30 percent commissions in its App Store, Epic Games, maker of “Fortnite,” threw down the gauntlet by openly encouraging players to pay the company directly, rather than through Apple and Google’s app stores. But within hours of the announcement, Apple removed “Fortnite” from its App Store, noting Epic’s “express intent of violating App Store guidelines.” Google also pulled the game from its Play Store. Epic Games responded by suing the two tech giants in federal court, claiming antitrust violations. Continue reading App Store Battle: Epic Sues Apple, Google for Pulling ‘Fortnite’

Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App

The free, ad-supported media app Plex just added 80 live TV channels, none of them cable channels like CNN, Lifetime or TBS. Rather, it offers a lineup that includes Reuters, Toon Goggles and the Bob Ross Channel, among others. In the current economic climate, consumers are gravitating to this kind of free linear programming, which harkens back to the early days of television. Plex got its start as a cord-cutting solution with free on-demand video and DVR functionality for on-air TV networks. Continue reading Plex Launches 80 Live TV Channels on Its Ad-Supported App

Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 Will Enable Mid-Tier 5G Phones

Qualcomm unveiled its next step towards widespread availability of 5G-enabled smartphones. The Snapdragon 690 is a more economical mobile platform with 5G connectivity, and support for cameras with up to 192-megapixel photos and 30-frame-per-second 4K HDR videos, the latter two based on AI chip enhancements for high bitrates. Snapdragon 690 incorporates the X51 modem, which offers global 5G band and global multi-SIM support, although it’s only capable of connecting to sub-6GHz 5G networks, excluding millimeter wave. Continue reading Qualcomm Snapdragon 690 Will Enable Mid-Tier 5G Phones

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