Amazon, Apple Research How to Improve Digital Assistants

Apple researchers investigated what people really want in a digital assistant, finding that people deem an assistant “likeable” and “trustworthy” when it mirrored their own degree of chattiness. It also found that the features that make up mirroring can be extracted from the user’s speech patterns. Amazon researchers conducted a project that found Alexa can figure out what a user wants via so-called dialogue state tracking, in which it estimates and keeps tabs on a person’s goals throughout a conversation. Continue reading Amazon, Apple Research How to Improve Digital Assistants

Walmart to Introduce Vudu Spark Streaming Stick for Holidays

Walmart is launching its first video streaming stick, Vudu Spark, in time for the holiday season. This HDMI stick simply plugs into a television, connects to a Wi-Fi network, and starts playing movies and TV shows from Vudu, the Walmart-owned streaming video service. Vudu Spark will be competing with similar products, such as Google’s Chromecast and Roku streaming sticks, both of which already offer access to the Vudu app and many other streaming services. Continue reading Walmart to Introduce Vudu Spark Streaming Stick for Holidays

Research Suggests Android TV Could Disrupt Apple and Roku

According to new research from IHS Technology, the introduction of Google’s Android TV platform could disrupt the streaming media player space currently led by Roku and Apple TV. While previous Android-based offerings may have been lacking, a new sophisticated product is expected to more fully integrate with Google-powered features and the Android mobile ecosystem. This may be significant, considering that 213 million connected TV devices are projected for the U.S. by 2017. Continue reading Research Suggests Android TV Could Disrupt Apple and Roku

Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

Video-streaming set-top box maker Roku is planning to launch its anticipated Streaming Stick with Wi-Fi remote next month for $49.99. The thumb-size media stick plugs into a television’s HDMI port and offers a similar interface available through the Roku set-top boxes with access to a host of online streaming services. A simple solution to make your TV smart, the Roku Streaming Stick will compete with the popular $35 smartphone-controlled Chromecast device from Google. Continue reading Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April