Samsung Schedules Live VR Broadcasts of Sports and Music

Samsung is looking to expand virtual reality applications beyond gaming to the world of broader entertainment and, hopefully, mainstream adoption. A few months after unveiling its updated Gear VR headset, the company announced plans for live VR broadcasts from UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship), the X Games and Live Nation. Samsung will debut VR Live Pass by broadcasting the UFC Featherweight Championship bout between José Aldo and Max Holloway on June 3 from Rio de Janeiro. VR Live Pass will then offer the X Games from Minneapolis July 13–16 and a major concert performance from Live Nation in August. Continue reading Samsung Schedules Live VR Broadcasts of Sports and Music

NBC to Air – and Stream – 2018 Olympics Live Coast-to-Coast

Ratings for the Olympics, once a bulwark of mass audience viewing, have been slipping. Now, NBC has a plan to reverse the slump, by airing live coverage of the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea from coast-to-coast in the U.S. The move acknowledges that viewers have immediate access to information via online platforms. That’s responsible for at least some of the 18 percent dip in viewership from the 2012 Games in London to the Summer Games in Rio last summer, which averaged 25.4 million viewers over 17 nights. Continue reading NBC to Air – and Stream – 2018 Olympics Live Coast-to-Coast

Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

Since 25 percent of U.S. Internet users adopted ad blockers in 2016, native video is becoming increasingly important to marketers and brands. Native video is also one of the primary reasons that a new wave of user-generated content and influencer marketing has become so relevant. According to a new study from social analytics firm Quintly, native videos are dominating Facebook, and doing so by design. The social network is becoming a major player in the video realm by downplaying other platforms and introducing auto plays in feeds as a default. The company is also starting its pursuit of live streaming professional broadcasts, including sports. Continue reading Native Video and Live Streaming Crucial to Facebook Strategy

HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Yesterday during the HPA Tech Retreat, NEC Corporation executive engineer Dr. Masayuki Sugawara, who chairs the digital broadcasting experts group (DiBEG) and is vice president of the Institute of Image Information and Television Engineers (ITE), described the world’s first 8K regular broadcast. In Japan, the broadcast starts at 10:00 am and is transmitted all over the country for seven hours via satellite. “It’s in the test phase, aimed at moving to a commercial phase next year,” said Sugawara, who notes that NHK had its first public demonstration of 8K in 2002.
Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: NEC Exec Details Progress of 8K Broadcast

Under Armour Collects Data for Smart Shoes, Digital Pajamas

In his keynote address at CES 2017, Under Armour founder/chief executive Kevin Plank had a long wind-up to the afternoon’s highlight: multiple gold-medal Olympian Michael Phelps on stage, encouraging everyone in the auditorium to get up and “Jump Around” to the infectious beat of the House of Pain anthem. Phelps was doing more than dancing. All it takes is six jumps for him to activate his brand new Under Armour shoes, connected to the company’s MyFitnessPal app as of February 1. The company also introduced a new focus on sleep. Continue reading Under Armour Collects Data for Smart Shoes, Digital Pajamas

Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

After acquiring the face-tracking and 3D face replacement company MSQRD, Facebook integrated its augmented reality selfie lenses, dubbed Masks, starting with a Halloween skeleton, witch and pumpkin. Users in the U.S., U.K. and New Zealand, and public figures, will be able to use the iOS version of Masks on Facebook Mentions. The company says it will rollout masks to Android and other countries in coming months. Facebook also demonstrated stylized filters, which will be a real-time processing option for Live Video. Continue reading Facebook Shows Off AR Masks, Stylized Filters for Live Video

Panasonic, Sony Partner for 8K Broadcasts at Tokyo Olympics

At the Rio Olympics, Japanese broadcaster NHK conducted tests of 8K video, broadcasting footage from the games and a variety of other 8K content, including a J-pop concert by star Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. These tests were just the latest step in NHK’s methodical plan to unveil 8K video at the Tokyo Summer Olympics in 2020. To achieve this goal, Panasonic and Sony are partnering with NHK and others for an all-Japanese alliance to create the required technology. Producing 8K is no small feat, with a resolution four times that of 4K among its other features. Continue reading Panasonic, Sony Partner for 8K Broadcasts at Tokyo Olympics

NBCU Hands Snapchat Account to BuzzFeed and Earns Gold

NBCUniversal handed control of its Snapchat account to BuzzFeed during the Summer Olympics, giving nearly total editorial control of its Discover channel to 12 BuzzFeed video producers on location in Rio. The BuzzFeed team produced up to 20 pieces daily, with a focus on the athletes and local activities. The experiment of distributing content via social platforms and the media/messaging app resulted in a big win for NBCU, generating 2.2 billion views across the pop-up Discover channel and daily Live Stories, for a total of 230 million minutes of consumption. Continue reading NBCU Hands Snapchat Account to BuzzFeed and Earns Gold

Media Publishers Testing Video Content on Instagram Stories

Many media publishers creating content for Snapchat Discover are now gravitating to the new Instagram Stories. CNN, Food Network, People, Comedy Central, Cosmopolitan and Tastemade are now regularly producing Instagram Stories and respectable numbers of viewers are watching. AwesomenessTV, a tween/teen site, is even running ads on the new platform. Stories on Snapchat and Instagram, which disappear after 24 hours, are a package of phone images and/or videos that are annotated and embellished with graphics and emoticons. Continue reading Media Publishers Testing Video Content on Instagram Stories

NBCU’s BuzzFeed Launches Rio Olympics Snapchat Channel

At the Rio Olympics, a dozen BuzzFeed employees are putting out a daily edition of Snapchat Discover, the first major collaboration since NBCUniversal invested $200 million in BuzzFeed last year. NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said it was an easy choice to give BuzzFeed the task of producing the daily Olympics Snapchat channel because of the company’s expertise is creating video for social networks. NBCUniversal has also given BuzzFeed “free rein” to create content that will engage Snapchat’s audience. Continue reading NBCU’s BuzzFeed Launches Rio Olympics Snapchat Channel

Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

According to Multichannel News: “Dish Network and Comcast will be joining AT&T in offering access to NBCUniversal’s delayed 4K coverage of the Summer Olympics in Rio.” Comcast will provide content from Rio on demand via its Xfinity in UHD app for Samsung and LG smart TVs, while Dish will offer content on linear channel 146 and on VOD via the Hopper 3 DVR and 4K Joey box. Dish will also include a sports hub on channel 148 for access to NBCU’s coverage and integrate the NBC Olympics app on its Hopper and Joey devices. Dish’s Sling TV will also carry select coverage on its Sling Blue service. Continue reading Dish and Comcast to Offer NBC’s 4K Rio Olympics Coverage

NBC, Samsung, OBS Team Up to Offer VR Olympics Coverage

NBC plans to release about 85 hours of virtual reality content of the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games, marking the first time that the Olympics will be available as a VR experience. Participating cable/satellite operators will make the content available exclusively to their pay-TV subscribers on Samsung devices. Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) will do the actual production of the VR content, which will then be supplied to NBC Olympics. Among the content to be made available are the opening and closing ceremonies. Continue reading NBC, Samsung, OBS Team Up to Offer VR Olympics Coverage

Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Comcast developed X1, a voice-controlled remote technology that allows its subscribers to search, similar to virtual assistants from Amazon and Apple. Now chief executive Brian Roberts has a good reason to roll it out: the Rio de Janeiro Olympics. NBC plans to broadcast every event live on TV or online — a programming equivalent of 24 hours a day for 250 days — and X1 will make it all searchable, by event, athlete or country. Subscribers can even get alerts when an American is close to winning gold. Continue reading Comcast Rolls Out X1 Search & Record Tool for Rio Olympics

Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, San Diego-based Qualcomm introduced new chips for connected landlines, wireless Wi-Fi networks and wearables. To expand broadband communications network capacity, the company’s Atheros business unveiled GigaDSL chips that let broadband operators transition away from VDSL technology to Gigabit access. The company is also debuting a three-way radio chip to be used for Wi-Fi wireless data networking as well as a new set of Snapdragon Wear chips for wearable devices. Continue reading Qualcomm Debuts Chips for Broadband, Wi-Fi and Wearables

NBC and Snapchat Sign Landmark Deal for Summer Olympics

For the first time, a U.S. broadcast network is allowing distribution of Olympics highlights off its own platform. Snapchat just inked a deal with NBC to do exactly that for the 2016 Summer Games. The social media app will create a dedicated mobile channel. Content will come both from BuzzFeed, which will curate short clips and behind-the-scenes content to the Snapchat app’s Discover channel, and from Snapchat itself, which will create daily “live stories” from content from NBC, athletes and sports fans at the games. Continue reading NBC and Snapchat Sign Landmark Deal for Summer Olympics

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