Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Justin Lin, who directed four films from the “Fast and Furious” franchise, has been collaborating with Google on a mobile movie project. “Help,” Lin’s five-minute short intended for mobile phones, is being released at the Google I/O developer conference this week. The film tells the story of an alien attack on Los Angeles. It is distributed via a mobile app that enables viewers to explore multiple angles by moving the phone around. Google also recently teamed with animation legend Glen Keane on three animated shorts. Continue reading Google Teams with Director to Create Mobile Spherical Videos

Charter to Purchase Time Warner Cable in $55.3 Billion Deal

Charter Communications has agreed to purchase Time Warner Cable for $55.3 billion in cash and stock. Including the debt Charter will assume, the total deal is valued around $79 billion. The move follows in the wake of Comcast’s attempted bid to acquire TWC. Charter will also move ahead with its purchase of Bright House Networks for $10.4 billion, and the three combined companies would make Charter the second largest TV and Internet provider in the U.S. with 24 million customers. Comcast currently holds the top spot with 27.2 million. Continue reading Charter to Purchase Time Warner Cable in $55.3 Billion Deal

Stan Lee Partners with YouTube for Original Superhero Content

Comics legend and media producer Stan Lee has joined forces with YouTube to launch “World of Superheroes,” an initiative that intends to encourage leading online video creators to produce original superhero-themed content for the Web’s most popular video platform. As part of the program, Lee’s Pow! Entertainment has created special sets at YouTube Spaces studios and will offer creators the chance to meet and learn from professional stunt coordinators, visual-effects experts and costumers.  Continue reading Stan Lee Partners with YouTube for Original Superhero Content

Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

Apple launched its new wearable last week, and a wide variety of related apps are currently available, but customers are still trying to figure out where to buy the smartwatch and companies are still trying to figure out how to use it. The Watch was not available in Apple Stores, but it was in stock at select fashion boutiques around the world. Companies like Yelp and WebMD, meanwhile, are still trying to figure out how Apple Watch users will use their Watch apps differently from their iPhone apps. Continue reading Apple Watch Launch: Limited Availability, but Wide App Variety

AMC Partners with Dolby to Offer Premium Cinema Experience

AMC and Dolby are offering moviegoers the best of laser projected-images, immersive sound, and vibrating seats in their new brand of theaters, “Dolby Cinema at AMC Prime.” The new premium theater will show movies in high dynamic range (HDR) and a wide color gamut accompanied by Dolby’s Atmos immersive sound system. The power reclining seats will also vibrate with the on-screen action. The two companies hope to install 15 of these new theaters by the end of the year. Continue reading AMC Partners with Dolby to Offer Premium Cinema Experience

Academy Awards Have Strong Presence on Twitter and Facebook

Last year’s selfie by Ellen DeGeneres during the live Oscar telecast set a new Twitter record and launched 3 million retweets. Not surprisingly, yesterday’s 87th Academy Awards had an impressive social presence, from ABC live-streaming its backstage show on Facebook to news organizations live-blogging on assorted social networks and Facebook launching its new real-time Trending Oscars experience. According to Twitter, the most tweeted-about nominees and performers included Lady Gaga, Patricia Arquette, Alejandro Iñárritu and John Legend. Continue reading Academy Awards Have Strong Presence on Twitter and Facebook

Beats Music Gets Star Power with Newly Hired Host Zane Lowe

Apple has hired popular BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe to give its streaming service Beats Music a new personality. From the beginning, Beats Music was different from other music streaming services because it featured real humans with knowledge of specific genres to curate the playlists, rather than relying upon an algorithm or its other employees. However, Lowe with his name recognition and experience as a radio host may finally give Beats the star power it needs to appeal to the mainstream. Continue reading Beats Music Gets Star Power with Newly Hired Host Zane Lowe

FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

Los Angeles-based FreedomPop wants to make Wi-Fi hotspots more accessible to mobile phone users by eliminating the process by which users typically have to accept terms and conditions or enter a password in order to connect. Users of the new service would pay $5 monthly in exchange for automatic and seamless access to about 9 million hotspots (and growing). With its new Wi-Fi service, FreedomPop hopes to provide customers with an alternative to costly service plans from cellular carriers. Continue reading FreedomPop Targets Affordable Alternative to Cellular Plans

CES Panel: Is the Internet of Things Poised to Make History?

CEA gathered a panel of four significant leaders at CES to discuss the current state of the Internet of Things. Panelists from Cisco, Verizon, the city of Los Angeles, and the Zigbee Alliance all see momentum building for a connected world; however, at this still early stage of adoption the most significant and meaningful inroads are happening on a macro scale. As Cisco’s John Chambers noted during a CES keynote panel, the Internet of Everything becomes most meaningful when there is broad participation. Continue reading CES Panel: Is the Internet of Things Poised to Make History?

Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

Google is becoming a major player in same-day package deliveries, taking on the likes of Amazon and eBay this holiday shopping season. The Google Express service — currently available in cities such as Boston, Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco — handled 50 percent more toys during the two weeks after Thanksgiving, while book sales jumped more than 30 percent. Analysts estimate that up to 40 percent of Google’s core search business is tied to e-commerce. Continue reading Google Takes On Amazon with its Same-Day Delivery Service

NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

NBC launched a free 24-hour live broadcast feed over the Internet, which viewers can access if they have a pay TV subscription with certain providers and they live in one of 10 markets across the U.S. Currently, the live feeds can only be viewed on desktop PCs, but NBC plans to add mobile support in early 2015. Other networks, such as ABC and CBS, have launched similar live TV streaming services. NBCUniversal also launched a new campaign to drive viewers to its apps. Continue reading NBC Offers Live Streaming Online, Planning Mobile for 2015

Amazon Plans to Tackle Travel Services with New Booking Site

Amazon is partnering with independent hotels and resorts to offer a prepaid booking service via a new site. The initial rollout will feature select locations within hours of New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. The online retailer is expected to collect a standard 15 percent commission for prepaid bookings. Amazon Travel is likely to mirror existing hotel booking sites with pricing details, room availability and photos, and is expected to launch as early as January 1, 2015. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Tackle Travel Services with New Booking Site

NBCUniversal Hosts Hackathons to Meet Industry Challenges

In attempt to bring new ideas to the table, NBCUniversal invited 300 developers, marketers and designers to partake in a weekend long hackathon to help the media company address some of its most common challenges when it comes issues such as movie releases and television audience retention. While the hackathon offered $25,000 in cash prizes, it was also an opportunity for attendees to access tools for building software applications and NBCUniversal to recruit future employees. Continue reading NBCUniversal Hosts Hackathons to Meet Industry Challenges

Sony Plans Launch of PlayStation Vue Cloud-Based TV Service

Sony unveiled PlayStation Vue yesterday, its cloud-based TV service that will soft launch this month with about 75 channels. The service will offer live TV and on-demand content without the need for a cable or satellite subscription, but viewers will initially need a PS3 or PS4 console. Users can also save favorite shows to the cloud. During the initial test rollout, consumers will have access to channels from CBS, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBCUniversal, Scripps Networks and Viacom. Continue reading Sony Plans Launch of PlayStation Vue Cloud-Based TV Service

Google Express Includes More Merchants During Expansion

Google Express has added three new cities: Chicago, Boston, and Washington, D.C. This means that seven million people can now use same-day delivery across all of the cities involved. Meanwhile, 12 million people can access next-day service in Northern California. In addition, Google has added 16 new merchants over the past few months. Shoppers that become Google Express members can now receive free same-day or overnight delivery on orders over $15. Continue reading Google Express Includes More Merchants During Expansion

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