Qplay Changes Direction, Brings its Video App to Chromecast

Earlier this year, we reported the launch of Qplay from TiVo co-founders Mike Ramsay and Jim Barton. The service allows users to create personalized video streams called “Qs” from various online sources. The startup also offers a $49 TV adapter for those who want to watch their video streams on their television. A new version of Qplay’s iPad app now adds the ability to cast videos to Google’s Chromecast streaming stick, which could eliminate the need for Qplay’s streaming player. Continue reading Qplay Changes Direction, Brings its Video App to Chromecast

Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

As expected, Amazon has launched Prime Music featuring more than one million songs and hundreds of playlists. The new service offers unlimited streaming without ads or restrictions. It is free to Amazon Prime members and could potentially help attract new subscribers (those who are interested can sign up for a free 30-day trial). Prime members can also listen to downloaded music offline on their Kindle Fire, HDX, iOS, Android and Mac/PC devices via Amazon’s Cloud Player. Continue reading Amazon Launches Ad-Free, Streaming “Prime Music” Service

Samsung and Oculus Collaborate on Virtual Reality Headset

Engadget has an update to the recent reports of Samsung working on an unannounced virtual reality headset. Samsung is reportedly working with Facebook-owned Oculus VR on a media-focused headset. Samsung is working on the hardware side of the product, including next-gen OLED screens, while Oculus is handling the software side. The headset will be navigated via motion and voice, using either a paired game controller or as a standalone device. Continue reading Samsung and Oculus Collaborate on Virtual Reality Headset

NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

According to a new study from NPD Group based on a survey conducted in February, 82 percent of consumers who currently have an UltraViolet account plan to continue using the digital locker service in the future. The NPD study also found that UltraViolet users were about 11 times more likely to make an electronic sell-through movie purchase than other consumers in the last year. UltraViolet launched in 2011, and there are now more than 16 million accounts. Continue reading NPD Reports Consumer Satisfaction with UltraViolet Service

Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

DVD server manufacturer Kaleidescape has ended its lengthy legal battle with the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA), the not-for-profit organization that governs copyright protection of DVDs. The organization sued Kaleidescape in 2004 for creating DVD servers that encourage users to illegally rip copyrighted movies. Shortly after a joint notice of settlement was filed, the Superior Court of California, Santa Clara, noted a “voluntary dismissal” of the case, and determined on Monday, “Case complete.” Continue reading Kaleidescape Settles 10-Year Legal Battle with the DVD CCA

Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

According to first quarter reports, revenue from digital movies has grown 43 percent since last year, bringing in $330.25 million for the home entertainment industry. However, that number is still dwarfed by the revenue from disc sales. Even though disc sales dropped 13.7 percent, they still account for $1.82 billion in consumer spending on DVDs and Blu-ray discs. Revenue from subscription streaming is up 26.5 percent to $928.6 million. Continue reading Digital Movie Revenue on the Rise While Home Video Sales Fall

New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

As a follow-up to its original $700 4K media player, Sony has announced a new model, the FMP-X10, that will provide access to Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K download library and be able to stream 4K Netflix content. The new player, available this summer, will be compatible with Sony Ultra HD sets and include 1 terabyte of storage. A price has yet to be announced. Sony’s Video Unlimited 4K library currently features more than 200 titles (45GB-60GB files), about 50 of which are available for free. Continue reading New Sony Media Player to Access 4K Library and Stream Netflix

New Mohu Channels Adapter Combines Streaming and HDTV

After raising nearly $145,000 on Kickstarter, antenna maker Mohu plans to release its Channels TV adapter this June. The Mohu Channels device is a TV adapter that combines free over-the-air HDTV broadcasts with online video streaming services, such as Netflix, YouTube, and Hulu Plus. Mohu also hopes to include the ability to play back local files, time shifting functionality to pause and fast forward through live programming, and an Android app that can be used as a remote. Continue reading New Mohu Channels Adapter Combines Streaming and HDTV

Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

Stanford engineers have created the next step in interactive gaming — a video game controller that can sense a player’s emotions. The handheld game controller can monitor a player’s brain activity to decipher when a user is extremely engaged or bored, which could trigger zombies or another element of the game to be thrown at them to catch their attention. Gregory Kovacs, a professor of electrical engineering at Stanford, created a prototype controller in his lab in collaboration with Texas Instruments. Continue reading Engineers Developing Emotion-Based Video Game Controller

Report Finds Most Mobile Game Players Quit After First Day

According to a report from app testing firm Swrve, mobile free-to-play games tend to have dismal retention rates. In addition, many mobile game players rarely spend any money in these apps. Sixty-six percent of users stopped playing a new game after one day and 19 percent stopped playing after only opening the game app once. Swrve also found that players spent an average of 45 cents over 90 days, and 53 percent of the spending in games happened within the first week of playing. Continue reading Report Finds Most Mobile Game Players Quit After First Day

Study Predicts 4K Adoption Will Be Faster Than That of HDTV

New research by Parks Associates suggests that 4K televisions will trace a similar trajectory in terms of price and consumer adoption that played out with HDTVs over the last 15 years. However, the study’s findings point to a slightly quicker progression for 4K. While HDTVs took about 15 years to achieve a certain level of affordability and ubiquity, Parks predicts that 4K will reach mass market prices within two to three years and exceed 80 percent penetration of households in 10-12 years. Continue reading Study Predicts 4K Adoption Will Be Faster Than That of HDTV

AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

At the FCC’s “Protecting and Promoting the Open Internet” proceeding on Friday, AT&T said it will lower its Internet prices if the FCC allows Internet service providers to charge websites such as Netflix for faster delivery of content. In the wake of a court decision vacating the FCC’s net neutrality rules against charging for preferential treatment, the Commission opened a proceeding with hopes of writing new rules that achieve similar goals. AT&T is asking for rules that explicitly allow ISPs to charge for special access.

Continue reading AT&T Will Lower Internet Prices if FCC Ends Net Neutrality

New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

Performance tracking wireless earphones, The Dash, have become one of the most funded Kickstarter projects in history. The company had a target of $260,000, but has so far raised over $3.1 million. The wireless stereo earphones play music via an embedded music player or Bluetooth and offer fitness monitoring. It will track users’ vital signs including heart rate, oxygen saturation and energy spent, as well as movement such as number of steps, speed and distance. Continue reading New Wireless Earphones Monitor Fitness Without Smartphone

SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

Legendary musician Neil Young, the featured speaker on the eve of South by Southwest Music, introduced PonoMusic, his new high resolution audio ecosystem, to a capacity crowd in Austin, Texas. Only four hours earlier, he launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign, which raised more than 50 percent of its fundraising goal before he appeared onstage. The mission of PonoMusic is to bring the highest-quality music to discerning consumers who want to experience music the way the artists intended. Continue reading SXSW: Neil Young Launches Kickstarter Campaign for PonoMusic

SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

During his SXSW keynote in Austin, Texas yesterday, Google SVP of Android, Apps and Chrome, Sundar Pichai said that the company has sold “millions” of its $35 HDMI Chromecast devices since the product’s launch last summer. Pichai’s comments mark the first time anyone from Google has publicly addressed Chromecast sales. Pichai also told the crowd that Chromecast will be available for “many more countries” in the coming weeks, and Google will release an Android SDK for wearable devices. Continue reading SXSW: Google on Chromecast Sales and SDK for Wearable Tech

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