Discovery Launches Online Science and Adventure Network

Discovery is launching its first online video network today in an attempt to attract largely young, male viewers who are becoming more challenging to reach through traditional TV. Called TestTube, the new online network will initially offer 15 original short-form shows that focus on science and adventure, available for free via YouTube, Xbox and TestTube’s website. The network was developed with online video producer Revision3, which Discovery acquired last year. Continue reading Discovery Launches Online Science and Adventure Network

Upfronts: USA Network Unveils Screen Unification Strategy

We recently reported that networks such as ABC, TBS and TNT will be offering new apps that reflect the multi-platform TV Everywhere strategy so prevalent at last week’s Upfronts in New York. USA Network is making a similar move with its “screen unification strategy” that synchronizes the viewing experience across TV, online and mobile. USA, which unveiled its plans on Thursday, will begin rolling out the new initiative in early June. Continue reading Upfronts: USA Network Unveils Screen Unification Strategy

Wireless Development: High-Speed Wi-Fi Set to Launch

Though it won’t be widely available at first, a new, faster version of Wi-Fi is set to hit the market this year. It will give users the speed to download an entire television series in less than one minute. Called 802.11ac, it can triple the current norm’s typical speed, according to wireless experts, meaning it can handle more than a billion bits of data per second in ideal settings. Continue reading Wireless Development: High-Speed Wi-Fi Set to Launch

Verizon CEO Says LTE is Steering Rise in Mobile Video

During Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam’s speech at the NAB conference on Tuesday in Las Vegas, he noted that roughly half of the traffic on Verizon’s mobile networks currently involves video. And by 2017, Verizon expects that percentage to grow to two-thirds. Is this the average trend across mobile consumption or is Verizon an exception? The answer may lie in LTE. Continue reading Verizon CEO Says LTE is Steering Rise in Mobile Video

General Electric Licenses Patents to Quirky Community

On Wednesday, General Electric announced a partnership with Quirky, a New York-based startup that acts as a kind of social network for inventors. This makes sense for GE as it continues making its push into the so-called Internet of Things, which encompasses various types of devices connected to the Internet – all of which combine to create a constant stream of data regarding how they operate together. Continue reading General Electric Licenses Patents to Quirky Community

Tech Giants Developing Open Source Networking Project

According to Raymie Stata, former chief technology officer at Yahoo, deciding to change the way a network operates can lead to cases where you have to physically rearrange hardware. But here’s the problem: networking gear is often old and outdated. While developers are constantly creating and updating software for computers and smartphones, hardware development remains relatively stagnant. Continue reading Tech Giants Developing Open Source Networking Project

New 49ers Stadium to Boast Simultaneous Wi-Fi for All

The San Francisco 49ers are set to open a new stadium for the 2014 NFL season. When the Santa Clara Stadium opens, it will feature the best publicly accessible Wi-Fi network of any sports facility in the country. Every single one of the potential 68,500 fans will be able to connect to the wireless network at the same time, with no limits on uploads or downloads. Until now, such a feat was thought to be impossible. Continue reading New 49ers Stadium to Boast Simultaneous Wi-Fi for All

DARPA Developing 100Gbps Wireless Technology with 120-Mile Range

DARPA hopes to improve U.S. military wireless speeds by a factor of 500. The 100 Gb/s RF Backbone project plans to transmit wireless communications at 100 gigabits per second over a 200 kilometer range, writes ExtremeTech. Home wireless networks usually peak at about 100Mbps, so transmitting 100Gbps over 200 kilometers will be extremely difficult, notes the article. Continue reading DARPA Developing 100Gbps Wireless Technology with 120-Mile Range

Telecom: FCC Approves Dish Network Plan to Convert Spectrum

Many hedge fund and telecom execs have bought up various bands of spectrum in hopes of converting it for wireless networks. The FCC has denied several requests, keeping its strident allotment for airwaves, but the commission recently gave the rare green light to Dish Network.

“Late Tuesday, the FCC unanimously approved [Dish Chairman Charlie] Ergen’s plan,” the Wall Street Journal reports. “Under the order, Dish would be required to not use a portion of its spectrum to avoid interference with neighboring airwaves, according to FCC officials. The company would also be required to cover at least 70 percent of the new network in each of its geographic license areas within seven years.”

Ergen started assembling the spectrum five years ago through government auctions and investments in flailing satellite companies, spending roughly $3 billion. “At a stroke, the FCC has now raised its value to as much as $12 billion, according to some analysts’ estimates. Mr. Ergen has to do the hard work of putting that spectrum to use or getting FCC approval to sell it,” the article states.

“Wireless service could give Dish an important new line of business in a mature U.S. pay TV market, where its cable TV rivals are able to sell popular ‘bundles’ of telephone, television, and high-speed Internet service.” Rather than building its own network, Dish could partner with a carrier like Sprint Nextel, or potentially even an outside company like Google, to offer wireless service with the spectrum.

“Consumers, meanwhile, could benefit whatever Dish decides, as the FCC’s decision frees up more bandwidth for data-hungry devices like smartphones and tablets,” explains WSJ. “The drawn-out process of converting that spectrum also highlighted how slowly regulators have moved to put much-needed airwaves to more valuable uses.”

Nintendo Network ID: Pros and Cons of Wii U Restrictive DRM

  • “The new Nintendo Network ID system that debuted on the Wii U is a sign of progress for a company that has, historically, not shown a lot of savvy in setting up its online systems,” according to Ars Technica.
  • With Wii U, users can connect up to 12 separate Nintendo Network IDs to a single system.
  • “The new Wii U eShop includes many retail games for download on the same day they reach stores, and does away with the ‘Wii Points’ virtual currency that characterized Nintendo’s previous console,” notes the article. “The company has even promised to roll out a cloud save feature sometime next year.”
  • All of this would allow users to access their own games when at a connected friends’ house. However, as the article explains, “it also means a game downloaded to the Wii U in the living room won’t be playable on a second system in the kids’ room, even if the same password-protected Nintendo Network ID was used on both systems.”
  • “It also means that if your system breaks down, you can’t just go buy a new one (or borrow one from a friend) and immediately recover your content using your account. Instead, you have to go through Nintendo’s official repair process, waiting up to two weeks for the system to be returned just to maintain the system-locked license data.”
  • “I understand that Nintendo is worried about piracy, but its not like Microsoft, Sony, Valve, Apple and Google aren’t,” writes Kyle Orland for Ars Technica. “Yet those companies have all found their own ways to balance protection for their online stores with the ability for users to access that content in their own way.”

Panel Notes from FoE 5: Spreadable Media in a Networked Society

Here are some key remarks from a panel at this week’s Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT.

Panel: “Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Society”

  • Letting unauthorized content circulate and studying how it’s used and consumed is a great opportunity that no one seems to be taking advantage of.
  • Kickstarter crowdsources funding. The key is that the audience buys into the idea of a film financially. But crowdsourcing doesn’t have to stop there; it could lead to crowdsourcing of casting, SFX, etc… increasing the attachment the public has with a project.
  • A shift from the term viral to spreadable. Viral gives the content a feel of “special,” “hard to do” or “a one-off,” but spreadable allows people to think of producing content that people will want to share and consume.
  • If you start to “pay” the fan for their “free labor” of connecting with your brand, the relationship shifts and is no longer a legitimate serendipitous fan connection.
  • The impression model (number of views) is no longer valid. There is a growing trend to say, “But I can find a few people that are influencers.” However, picking a small group of people to communicate with can be shortsighted. Those small groups may be vocal, but may not know what the masses truly like or want.
  • Massive organizations are set up to hear, very slow to response. Massive organizations aren’t set up for listening. Listening is a very human response; you can’t take the humanity out of communication.
  • Companies need to start thinking about taking a much more service-based attitude. Take for example Dominos: “Our pizza was bad; what can we do to make it better?”
  • Companies are crisis-based, companies must be able to listen to audiences. Media producers have to listen to their audience before a crisis hits.
  • But we have to understand that too much media circulating outside of context can lead to dilution or can be used against the media creator.

Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California)
Sam Ford (Peppercom Strategic Communications)
Joshua Green (Undercurrent)

Google to Link New Music Download Store with its Social Network

  • Google’s music download store is expected to link with Google+ within the next two weeks. However, the service may prove disappointing if the company cannot secure deals with the four major music labels.
  • Tentatively named Google Music, the service would follow in the footsteps of Spotify, which earlier this fall linked with Facebook to promote its music service.
  • The Google+ integration would allow users to recommend songs to Google+ contacts, who could then listen to those songs once for free. MP3 downloads would then be available, most likely for 99 cents each.
  • Music labels have shown hesitation about the service’s propensity to allow piracy, in addition to the lack of revenue for record companies, as the music locker is free.

The New Social Network: Should We All Be Scared of Facebook?

  • Writing for his blog Scripting News, Dave Winer offers an interesting perspective (and perhaps frightening downside) to Facebook’s new philosophy of sharing all media, all the time.
  • Since Facebook will be seeking out information on you to report on your behavior (even when you are logged out), the floodgates have opened for a range of possible negative repercussions. Winer suggests this type of “virus-like” behavior warrants “a bad name, like phishing, or spam, or cyber-stalking.”
  • “What clued me in was an article on ReadWriteWeb that says that just reading an article on their site may create an announcement on Facebook,” he explains. “Something like: ‘Bull Mancuso just read a tutorial explaining how to kill a member of another crime family.’ Bull didn’t comment. He didn’t press a Like button. He just visited a Web page. And an announcement was made on his behalf to everyone who follows him on Facebook. Not just his friends, because now they have subscribers, who can be total strangers.”
  • This type of information may ultimately be used in lawsuits, divorces and arrests. If the government did this, it would bring up Fourth Amendment issues.
  • Winer offers a solution (of sorts): “Until Facebook owns the browser we use, there is a simple way to opt-out, and I’ve done it myself. Log out of Facebook. And if Facebook had a shred of honor they would make their cookie expire, right now, for everyone, and require a re-log-in, and a preference choice to stay permanently logged-in. With a warning about the new snooping they’re doing. Probably a warning not written by them, but by Berkman, the EFF or the FTC.”

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