Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

VR company Vrse has changed its name to Within and received $12.56 million in funding, led by venture firm Andreessen Horowitz. Other Within investors include 21st Century Fox and Annapurna Pictures. This is just the latest example of the huge sums that VR and AR companies have been able to garner. Magic Leap raised $793.5 million earlier this year, and Disney spearheaded a $65 million round for VR firm Jaunt. Comcast also led a $6.8 million Series A funding round in VR studio Felix & Paul. Continue reading Vrse Changes its Name to Within and Raises More VC Money

E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

At E3 2016 next week, Sony will come to the show having sold over 40 million PlayStation 4 consoles, outselling Microsoft’s Xbox One, by two-to-one. The company plans to debut a more powerful console, a virtual reality headset, and numerous first-party games. Microsoft, meanwhile, plans to launch a wide range of new Xbox hardware this year, beginning with, rumors have it, a slimmer, smaller version of the current Xbox One. In addition to new consoles, Microsoft will show off HoloLens and debut new games. Continue reading E3 Predictions for Sony, Microsoft: More Hardware, Games, VR

E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

When the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3) opens its doors in Los Angeles next week, some familiar game publishers will be missing for the first time. Electronic Arts has opted to hold its own mini-expo, Activision did not take a booth this year, and Disney is exiting the video game publishing business. That’s big news for E3, the industry’s premiere trade show that draws 50,000 video game industry members and historically has been the site of major title unveilings and celebrity appearances. Some ask whether E3 might be losing its luster. Continue reading E3 Loses Exhibitors as Publishers and Gamers Connect Online

YouTube Builds Daydream VR App, Immersive Content Catalog

Shortly after Google unveiled its Daydream VR system during its I/O conference, YouTube revealed its plans for a virtual reality app, to be available on Daydream mobile VR devices. YouTube has also been encouraging its content partners to produce 360-degree content by providing VR cameras, in an effort to build up content for its VR app, which will function like YouTube on mobile or a smart TV. The app, which is being built from scratch, will be full-featured and enable access to subscriptions, favorites, search and more. Continue reading YouTube Builds Daydream VR App, Immersive Content Catalog

BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

BitTorrent is debuting BitTorrent Live, a new live TV streaming app for the latest generation Apple TVs and computers, which offers live streams from 13 niche programmers. The goal is to build a virtual MVPD (multichannel video programming distributor), with more prominent cable networks. For now, the BitTorrent package is comprised of channels such as Clubbing TV, Filmbox Arthouse, FightBox, Newsmax TV, Heroes TV and TWiT. Although these aren’t well-known networks, the offering is free, unlike other TV streaming services. Continue reading BitTorrent Rolls Out New P2P-Based Live TV Streaming App

Disney to Produce More VR Content with Nokia OZO Camera

Nokia and Disney announced a partnership whereby Disney filmmakers and marketing teams will use Nokia’s 360-degree OZO virtual reality cameras to create VR content across all the studio’s brands. The studio has already used the OZO for two promotional pieces for “The Jungle Book,” one of them a 360-degree roundtable interview with director Jon Favreau and the cast, the second a red carpet experience at the film’s Los Angeles premiere. Other Disney brands that could use the OZO are Marvel and Lucasfilm. Continue reading Disney to Produce More VR Content with Nokia OZO Camera

YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

YouTube has begun supporting 360-degree live streaming video and spatial audio. Google has supported 360-degree video since last year and spatial audio in the Cardboard since January via the company’s VR platform. This announcement broadens that support to the main YouTube platform. For YouTube creators, all that’s required is a camera that captures 360 video. From the end-user perspective, there’s no extra technology or headsets required to watch 360-degree live streams. The videos will play on any device, including desktop, tablet, iOS and Android. Continue reading YouTube Supports Live Streaming 360 Video and Spatial Audio

Drone Makers Group Wants a Voice in Setting Airspace Policy

Four major drone manufacturers formed a new drone advocacy group, the Drone Manufacturers Alliance, to better address issues specific to their consumer-facing businesses. DJI, 3DR, Parrot and GoPro aim to lobby for “policies that promote innovation and safety, and create a practical and responsible regulatory framework.” The companies appear to have decamped from the founding trade association in the space, the Small UAV Coalition, which still counts Google X, Amazon Prime Air, AirMap, Intel and others as members. Continue reading Drone Makers Group Wants a Voice in Setting Airspace Policy

Facebook Puts Live Videos on Top, to Add Celebrity Content

Facebook took a step to popularize Live, by changing the algorithm to rank currently streaming videos higher in the News Feed than older ones. The company launched Live for celebrities in August, and then rolled it out to people with Verified Profiles and Pages. All iOS users gained access in January and Android users last week. Although Facebook Live videos can be saved, unlike Periscope videos, which are deleted after 24 hours, Facebook realized that Live videos convey an urgency that will make them more watched. Continue reading Facebook Puts Live Videos on Top, to Add Celebrity Content

Clear Channel Outdoor Billboards to Track, Identify Passersby

Clear Channel Outdoor Americas inked a deal with AT&T and other companies to enable it to track people, via their mobile phones, who pass its tens of thousands of billboards across the United States. Called RADAR, the new service will, says Clear Channel Outdoor, give advertisers better tools to measure the effectiveness of billboard advertising. RADAR will be offered in Clear Channel Outdoor’s top 11 markets, which includes Los Angeles and New York, with availability across the country later this year. Continue reading Clear Channel Outdoor Billboards to Track, Identify Passersby

Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

ABC is partnering with AOL, Comcast and Yahoo for Sunday’s “Oscars Backstage” live-streamed red carpet and behind-the-scenes webcast. Pay TV subscribers in eight markets — Chicago, Fresno, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham and San Francisco — can access the live stream on ABC.com and the WATCH ABC app. ABC has streaming access agreements with AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Google Fiber, Midcontinent, Cablevision and Verizon FiOS. Continue reading Oscars Backstage: ABC to Live-Stream Video from 20 Cameras

Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

Dish Network’s streaming service Sling TV just added support for streaming broadcast network ABC in select U.S. markets. Sling TV subscribers in metro regions, including Chicago, Fresno-Visalia, Houston, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, Raleigh-Durham, and San Francisco can add the $5/month “Broadcast Extra” bundle by calling the company, which has not officially announced the service. According to Dish, these markets represent more than half of the top 10 U.S. market areas, serving almost 25 percent of the population. Continue reading Sling TV Adds First Broadcast Station, ABC, for Cord Cutters

HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Amazon Studios’ production “Mozart in the Jungle” is shot in 4K UHD and released in both standard dynamic range (SDR) and high dynamic range (HDR) versions. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel, “Mozart in the Jungle” associate producer Mike Weiss and Technicolor vice president Mark Smirnoff talked about the “snowflake” production of this Golden Globe-winning OTT series. “There are so many more deliverables and things that can catch you off guard, it really is a snowstorm,” said Weiss. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Producing ‘Mozart in the Jungle’ in HDR/4K

Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

Ride-hailing service Uber is expanding its new meal delivery service to 10 U.S. cities in the coming weeks. People in Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Austin, Washington DC, San Francisco, Atlanta, Houston, Seattle and Dallas will be able to order food from dozens of local restaurants through a dedicated UberEats app and have an Uber driver deliver the meal. UberEats will have longer hours of operation than Uber’s existing lunchtime-only food delivery service in these cities. Continue reading Uber is Bringing its New Meal Delivery Service to 10 U.S. Cities

Startups Offer New Possibilities with Interactive Video Tech

Brands are getting closer to the long-awaited “shoppable video” model that provides consumers with the ability to purchase items directly through their favorite TV show or online music video. Companies are developing interactive video technology that provides direct links to items within video content via a click or touch of the screen. Israeli startup Interlude, founded by musician Yoni Bloch, has raised $18.2 million so far. Cinematique, founded by CEO Randy Ross, has raised $5.4 million and has developed touchable video tech for numerous brand partners. Continue reading Startups Offer New Possibilities with Interactive Video Tech

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