Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Amazon is expanding its package delivery business in an interesting way: it’s inviting interested parties to form small delivery companies of up to 100 drivers and to lease between 20 and 40 Amazon vans. In this way, Amazon can quickly expand its “last mile” delivery network into turf now dominated by FedEx and United Parcel Service. The company says it is merely responding to the need to handle an increasing number of orders on its platform; analysts estimate that more than $4 of every $10 spent online is on Amazon. Continue reading Amazon to Launch Small Delivery Companies for ‘Last Mile’

Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Within, a Los Angeles-based cinematic virtual reality startup, just unveiled a website that allows users to have a VR experience on any device, from a desktop PC or mobile phone to a dedicated VR headset. The company relies on WebVR technology that avoids the need to download additional software to be able to play VR experiences in supported browsers. Users without a VR headset can navigate the content via the web browser, and those with VR headsets use hand controllers and tracking tools. Continue reading Within Debuts WebVR-Enabled Site for Broad VR Distribution

Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

During Microsoft’s E3 press conference yesterday in Los Angeles, Xbox head Phil Spencer announced that the company has acquired game studios Compulsion Games (Canada), Playground Games (United Kingdom), Ninja Theory (United Kingdom) and Undead Labs (Seattle). Microsoft is planning to expand its Xbox Game Pass service; building up its in-house game development should assist in that effort. Spencer also revealed that the company is developing a cloud-based game-streaming network that will work across Xbox, PCs and phones. Continue reading Microsoft Buys Four Game Studios to Ramp Up Development

Monetizing Remixes Is Now Possible With the BlockTune App

BlockTune, a remix monetization app from Common Edits, was the big winner at Sunday’s Entertainment App Challenge held during the AT&T SHAPE conference at Warner Bros. Studios in Los Angeles. BlockTune has both a simple and an advanced UI for sampling music and creating remixes that can be shared with others. The key feature that won over both the judges and the audience is BlockTune’s ability to track the use of samples on a moment-by-moment basis and determine what portion of ad revenue should go to the source artists and the person who created the remix while the music is streaming. Continue reading Monetizing Remixes Is Now Possible With the BlockTune App

Panavision: Lenses for Drones, New Filter Tech, 8K Workflow

Panavision made its Cine Gear Expo debut of the Millennium DXL2 8K camera, 8K workflow improvements, a customized optics system for specific use with drones and gimbals, four new large-format lenses and a technology demonstration of a major advance in filter technology. The new products, said Panavision chief executive Kim Snyder, are intended to evolve the ecosystem surrounding the Millennium DXL2. “We’re building a bridge between products and processes,” said senior vice president of innovation Michael Cioni. Continue reading Panavision: Lenses for Drones, New Filter Tech, 8K Workflow

FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

FCC commissioner Michael O’Rielly is urging Amazon and eBay to pull listings from their sites for “rogue” set-top boxes that enable consumers to watch pirated TV shows. On Friday, the commissioner sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and eBay CEO Devin Wenig noting that the STBs in question often falsely feature the FCC logo, and are responsible for encouraging “intellectual property theft and consumer fraud.” O’Rielly recognized that the companies have been working to address the problem, but wrote “despite your good work in this area, devices continue to make it to consumers through your websites.” Continue reading FCC’s O’Rielly Asks Amazon, eBay to Remove ‘Rogue’ STBs

Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

During Display Week in Los Angeles, several VR headset displays were showcased by companies including Google, LG, Japan Display and Samsung. Google and LG developed a display panel with 18.1 megapixels of detail per eye, which was similar to those from Japan Display and Samsung. The Google/LG panel, at 18.1 megapixels, goes up against Oculus Rift’s 1.3 megapixel per eye and HTC Vive Pro’s 2.2 megapixel per eye. Facebook was also at Display Week, but wasn’t quite ready to show off its Half Dome varifocal prototype. Continue reading Manufacturers Show Higher-Res VR Headset Display Panels

Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

Snap Inc. is launching an accelerator named “Yellow” with hopes of finding the next big media business. This fall, the accelerator will invest $150,000 in 10 startups or creators looking to develop media projects for mobile devices. Snap plans to take a small equity stake in those selected to receive the funding. The startups will also get mentorship from Snap execs, access to professional networking events, the opportunity to distribute content on Snapchat, and office space in Venice, California where Snap is based. CEO Evan Spiegel is expected to be involved in mentorship and the selection process. Continue reading Snap Launches an Accelerator Program With Focus on Mobile

Elon Musk Envisions Future Los Angeles with Hyperloop Travel

Elon Musk, chief executive of Tesla, Space Exploration Technologies, and Boring, tweeted how Los Angeles residents will be able to take advantage of an integration of all three of his companies’ endeavors: drive their electric car to an electric pod in a Boring tunnel that will take them to the Port of Los Angeles where SpaceX will have rockets that he hopes will fly to Mars. Musk aims to “solve the problem of soul-destroying traffic,” with autonomous pods that will travel at 600 miles per hour through a network of tunnels. Continue reading Elon Musk Envisions Future Los Angeles with Hyperloop Travel

ETC’s Virtual Conference: Call for Speakers Deadline May 18

The Entertainment Technology Center at The University of Southern California (ETC) will produce “vETC 2018 | The Grand Convergence,” its 4th annual virtual conference (formerly vNAB), June 27-28, 2018, in Los Angeles, highlighting significant presentations of emerging technologies and their impact on the M&E industry. The presentations will be recorded and posted to our YouTube channel. The Initial Expression of Interest seeking speakers and topics is open through Friday, May 18. Specific areas of concentration include AI, machine learning, adaptive production, blockchain, AR/MR/XR (immersive media). We welcome additional topics. Speakers will present concepts, workflows, business models, case studies, etc. Please no sales pitches! If you are interested in consideration, click here for more information. Continue reading ETC’s Virtual Conference: Call for Speakers Deadline May 18

Microsoft Sees Significant Corporate Upgrades to Windows 10

Microsoft Windows got a boost due to the increase in cyberattacks, with a 21 percent jump in sales of Windows 10 licenses last quarter, mainly to corporate clients; a 21 percent lift in bulk sales of Windows licenses and cloud services; and an expected growth of 13 percent in the current quarter. Although Windows is the most widely used operating system worldwide, PC shipments have seen no growth, says International Data Corp. Instead, the Windows 10 sales indicate a widespread move to update older software versions. Continue reading Microsoft Sees Significant Corporate Upgrades to Windows 10

Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

The recently developed Playa Vista neighborhood on Los Angeles’ Westside near Marina del Rey is now home to numerous technology companies including Electronic Arts, Facebook, IMAX, Microsoft, Yahoo and YouTube. In fall 2018, Alphabet’s Google will move into a 319,000-square foot office space, adjacent to 12 acres of land the company bought in 2014. Playa Vista is also adjacent to the 600-acre Ballona Wetlands, home to hundreds of bird species, and against the Westchester Bluffs. Currently 5,000 to 6,000 people work there. Continue reading Southern California’s Silicon Beach Expanding into Playa Vista

Netflix Creates Apps for Production, Doubles Down on Mobile

With a team of 30 to 35 people, Netflix is creating apps to streamline parts of the production process, such as crew management, scheduling and budgeting. One app, dubbed Move, has been in beta with a few Netflix productions since November. Move, which was built as a progressive web app, replaces all the paperwork related to scheduling shoot days and distributing the script, sending email and SMS to notify the crew of any schedule changes. It was first tested on the second season of “Glow,” and since used on 10 different shoots. Continue reading Netflix Creates Apps for Production, Doubles Down on Mobile

Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Snap Inc. is planning to launch a second version of its video recording glasses this fall followed by a more ambitious version in 2019 that will include two cameras and other features. In addition to new colors and water resistance, the second version aims to fix bugs and provide needed performance improvements. The potential price tag would be around $300, which is more than double the $130 cost of the first version. News of additional versions comes just months after Snap announced it lost $40 million on the original. Continue reading Snap Planning to Release Updated Spectacles Later This Year

Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

ETCentric subscribers and their friends are invited to participate in the Creating Reality Hackathon, being held March 12-15 on the USC campus. The organizers are seeking forward-thinking industry storytellers, game designers, coders, and other creative artists. The teams that produce the top AR and VR submissions will each be awarded $5,000. This event will also be an opportunity to get a hands-on preview of the HTC Vive Pro and Intel’s Vaunt AR glasses. If you wish to participate, please submit your request via this special link (the deadline has been extended to March 7). Visit the event website for more info. Continue reading Registration Deadline for USC Hackathon Extended to March 7

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