Sony Rolls Out Brighter, Better-Sounding Bravia TVs for 2024

Sony’s new line of Bravia televisions focuses on MiniLED display tech with the high-end Bravia 9. There is also the OLED-based Bravia 8, and the company is keeping 2023’s A95L QD-OLED in the mix. But the spotlight is in the LED backlighting system that Sony has spent several years refining, XR Backlight Master Drive, which can assert precise control over each pixel. Sony says the technology is comparable to the underpinnings of its professional mastering monitors. The XR Backlight Master Drive system allocates LED resources using purpose-built silicon created by Sony for its MiniLED TVs. Continue reading Sony Rolls Out Brighter, Better-Sounding Bravia TVs for 2024

Amazon Live FAST Shopping Added to Prime Video, Freevee

Amazon has added interactive shopping from Amazon Live to Prime Video and the Amazon-owned FAST platform Freevee. Previously available only via web browser on computers, mobile and Fire TV, Amazon Live now debuts as a “Live TV” tab on Prime Video and Freevee while continuing to be available at Amazon.com/live. With the TV launch of Amazon Live, customers in the U.S. will “have more ways to shop with creators, brands, and celebrities” and will also be offered “shop the show” technology enabling what the company says will be “seamless” browsing, shopping and engagement with content using their mobile device. Continue reading Amazon Live FAST Shopping Added to Prime Video, Freevee

Growth in Ad Sales, AWS Drive Amazon Profit Up 200 Percent

Amazon’s net sales for Q4 were $170 billion, a 14 percent increase year-over-year. For the full year 2023, net sales were up by 12 percent to $574.8 billion. “This Q4 was a record-breaking holiday shopping season and closed out a robust 2023 for Amazon,” CEO Andy Jassy said in the recent earnings release. The results included October Prime Day and holiday season shopping. Outstanding Q4 performers included ad sales, up 27 percent to $14 billion, and Amazon Web Services, which brought in $24.2 billion, growing 13 percent.”What we’re most pleased with is the continued invention and customer experience improvements across our businesses,” Jassy added. Continue reading Growth in Ad Sales, AWS Drive Amazon Profit Up 200 Percent

Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

Amazon this week began serving advertising to Prime Video customers who did not elect to pay an additional $2.99 per month in addition to the basic annual Prime membership of $139 per year or $14.99 per month. Adding commercials is estimated to potentially bring in more than $3 billion a year for Amazon, which is expected to have 2023 revenue of around $567 billion. The surplus will come in handy to pay out $1 billion a year over 11 years for the rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football.” The ad-supported Prime Video service launches in the U.S., Canada, UK and Germany, with Mexico, France, Italy, Spain and Australia following later in the year. Continue reading Amazon Stands to Gain $3 Billion a Year from Prime Video Ads

Apple Pushes Immersive Entertainment for Vision Pro Headset

Apple’s Vision Pro launches February 2 with pre-orders starting today. The mixed reality headset will have more than 150 3D movies available at launch, including content from Disney+ and Amazon Prime Video, as well as “immersive originals,” Apple says. While the company is positioning the $3,500 headset as “the ultimate entertainment device,” touting mind-blowing specs and a transformative experience, gaming currently drives an estimated 30 percent of immersive hardware revenue and non-gaming entertainment accounts for only 8 to 13 percent. Apple’s announcement focuses more on TV, movies, and sports than the Apple Arcade game hub. Continue reading Apple Pushes Immersive Entertainment for Vision Pro Headset

CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

Amazon is rolling out Matter Casting, which lets customers cast directly from supported streaming apps on iOS and Android to Fire TV and Echo Show 15 devices. Viewers can begin watching a movie or browse for a Prime Video show on their phone, then cast it to a compatible Fire TV or Echo Show screen. Amazon called the CES announcement “an industry-first demonstration of implementing Matter Casting,” referring to the open-source Matter standard protocol for connectivity between smart home and IoT devices. Amazon is a founding member and active contributor to the Matter standard. Continue reading CES: Amazon Offers Casting from Prime Video App to Devices

CES: LG Unveils New Compact CineBeam Qube 4K Projector

LG Electronics’ CineBeam Qube projector weighs just 3.28 pounds, measures 5.3 x 3.1 inches, and doubles as a “stylish art object.” It packs a big picture punch, projecting in 4K Ultra HD (3,840 x 2,160) for images measuring up to 120 inches. Its RGB laser light source delivers pictures the company says are sharp and clear, boasting a 450,000:1 contrast ratio and DCI-P3 color gamut coverage of up to 154 percent. The CineBeam Qube boasts an old-timey rotator handle reminiscent of crank projectors of yore. It’s also a home entertainment center, running on the LG webOS 6.0 platform, with access to streaming services including Netflix, Disney+, Prime Video and YouTube. Continue reading CES: LG Unveils New Compact CineBeam Qube 4K Projector

LG DukeBox Speaker Touts Vacuum Tubes and OLED Display

In the parade of attention-grabbing items queueing up for CES 2024, LG Labs’ “retro-futuristic concept speaker” is generating early buzz. The DukeBox combines old-timey vacuum tubes with a transparent OLED display that can be used to view programing or provide ambient imagery (of, say, a crackling fireplace that lets the tubes ghost through thanks to the OLED’s adjustable transparency). Also showcasing at the CES LG Labs zone: a biped robot equipped with AI, the Gram Fold 17-inch foldable OLED laptop and the CineBeam Qube 4K projector that displays up to 120-inch images. Continue reading LG DukeBox Speaker Touts Vacuum Tubes and OLED Display

Comcast Makes Its Xumo Boxes Available for One-Time Fee

Comcast is now making Xumo Stream Boxes available to its Xfinity broadband customers. New customers can get one Xumo Box for a $15 activation fee and no monthly charge. Additional units will be billed at $5 per month, the company says. The Xumo Stream Box comes preloaded with hundreds of streaming apps. In addition to NBCUniversal’s Peacock streaming service, popular favorites like Disney+, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and YouTube are on the menu. Free ad-supported streaming TV (FAST) channels are also packaged in, with 20 options from Xfinity Stream and more than 300 from Xumo Play. Continue reading Comcast Makes Its Xumo Boxes Available for One-Time Fee

BBC Studios Offers Five FAST Channels on Amazon Freevee

BBC Studios, which first entered the FAST space in 2019, announced a deal with ad-supported video-on-demand streamer Amazon Freevee, which will exclusively provide five new FAST channels for U.S. audiences starting October 17. The editorially-curated FAST channels will feature more than 1,000 hours of content across categories including comedy, science fiction, game shows, travel and crime dramas. Thus far, BBC has launched 17 FAST channels in the U.S. Freevee content is available via its Android and iOS apps in addition to Fire TV, Prime Video and numerous smart TVs and delivery platforms. Continue reading BBC Studios Offers Five FAST Channels on Amazon Freevee

Likewise: Startup Backed by Bill Gates Launches Pix Chatbot

Likewise, a startup discovery platform backed by Bill Gates, is launching its own free chatbot named Pix. Billed as “the world’s first personal entertainment companion,” Pix helps users find TV shows, movies, books and podcasts, drawing from 600 million consumer data points. Trained on OpenAI models, Pix uses natural-language processing to answer user questions submitted by text, email or on the web at Likewise.com. Responses are promised “within seconds,” and Pix will learn users’ preferences over time. Likewise claims to have more than six million registered users. Continue reading Likewise: Startup Backed by Bill Gates Launches Pix Chatbot

Walmart Extends E-Commerce Push, Adds Sponsored Videos

Walmart has doubled the size of its Marketplace platform in the past 18 months, with about 100,000 active sellers. Now, the company — which receives seller applications at the rate of about 20,000 per month, about 10 percent of which get approved — feels it is within striking distance of Amazon. Some say Walmart has been emulating the moves of the Seattle-based e-retail giant, including now adding sponsored video ad units in time for the holiday shopping season. The Walmart+ online brand has been emphasizing convenience, membership, free delivery and even a Paramount+ Essential plan, similar to Amazon’s approach of offering Prime Video. Continue reading Walmart Extends E-Commerce Push, Adds Sponsored Videos

Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Prime Video plans to introduce commercial breaks to its popular streaming service early next year, following top platforms such as Disney+, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery’s Max, which already offer ad-supported tiers. The company indicates it will run fewer ads than traditional linear TV broadcasters and broadband rivals but has yet to specify numbers. Subscribers in the U.S. who want to keep the streaming service ad-free have the option of paying an additional $2.99 per month. Amazon explained that its strategy to include ads would help it “continue investing in compelling content and keep increasing that investment over a long period of time.” Continue reading Amazon Prime Video to Run TV Commercials Early Next Year

Amazon Launches Immersive Online Shopping on Prime Video

Amazon has developed a new virtual fan experience that includes shopping and interactive tours to tie-in with popular Prime Video series and films. The first such immersive experience is designed for fans of the Prime Video series “Gen V,” and includes a virtual tour of the show’s fictional Godolkin University, which trains aspiring superheroes, complete with a campus store brimming with actual merchandise that fans can purchase from Amazon. The programming extensions aim to offer “culturally rich environments for customers to discover, learn, experience, and consume more of their favorite stories” while shopping. Continue reading Amazon Launches Immersive Online Shopping on Prime Video

Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience

Amazon is using artificial intelligence to change the way viewers experience “Thursday Night Football” on Amazon Prime Video this season. Now in the second year of its 10-year NFL deal, Amazon joins Disney’s ESPN in using AI to change how people experience televised sports by parsing a variety of analytics and using machine learning to interpret 2D video into 3D for a variety of viewpoints on any play. Amazon is auto-generating highlights feeds for each game, so late arrivals can catch up. September 14 marks the debut of the new AI Prime features and the games in 1080p HDR. Continue reading Amazon Integrating AI to Modernize NFL Viewing Experience