AMC Banks on Quality Over Quantity with New Reclining Seats

AMC, the nation’s second largest movie theater chain, has decided to swap many of its traditional theater seats with reclining models at 1,800 of its 5,000 locations. This switch will remove up to two-thirds of an auditorium’s seating capacity. In the next five years, AMC plans to spend around $600 million to make the renovations, which cost between $350,000 and $500,000 per auditorium. The swap will occur only in locations that need to attract more customers. Continue reading AMC Banks on Quality Over Quantity with New Reclining Seats

Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

Last year, Ritz-Carlton Hotel experienced a different kind of disappointment with advertising campaigns. The company wanted to promote its brand page on Facebook but quickly stopped the campaign. Unhappy executives saw too much gain from these ads. Now, rather than trying to grow its fan base, Ritz-Carlton has focused on analyzing its social media conversations to better grasp the likes and dislikes of its guests. The plan highlights a shift in corporate social media strategies. Continue reading Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

Netflix and other entertainment companies have started paying Internet providers for faster service, a concept that some believe will adversely affect competition. In order to discover whether the consumers are getting the speed and quality of service that has been promised, the FCC has opened an investigation. The agency begins this process just as it decides whether it actually holds jurisdiction over their businesses as no laws give the FCC the power to enforce Net neutrality. Continue reading FCC Investigates the Speed and Quality of Internet Service

China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

The largest e-commerce company in China, Alibaba Group Holding, has launched a U.S. shopping website as it plans to go public in what is expected to be one of the largest IPOs in history. The new site, 11 Main hosts over 1,000 merchants in categories such as clothing, jewelry and interior goods. The site is currently available to users who sign up and receive an email invitation. Alibaba has invested in a range of U.S. companies over the past year, including e-commere and mobile messaging. Continue reading China’s Alibaba Group Launches U.S. Shopping Site 11 Main

NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

According to top-secret 2011 documents released by Edward Snowden, the NSA is collecting online images of people for its facial recognition programs. As estimated in the documents, the agency intercepts about 55,000 images that have facial-recognition quality. Civil liberties advocates are concerned that these technologies could result in an invasion of privacy. However, neither privacy nor surveillance laws protect against the government’s use of facial images. Continue reading NSA Turns to Web Images for Facial Recognition Programs

New Matter’s MOD-t Makes 3D Printing Easy and Affordable

Startup New Matter, led by veteran engineer Steve Schell, has developed a $250 3D printer called the “MOD-t.” New Matter’s digital platform may be as groundbreaking as the low-cost hardware itself. Schell found three obstacles with 3D printers: first, they are too complicated for ordinary people to experiment with; second, it is hard to find high-quality objects to print; and third, the price is prohibitive. New Matter has created a printer that may be simple and affordable enough for most consumers. Continue reading New Matter’s MOD-t Makes 3D Printing Easy and Affordable

More Fake Reviews for iOS Apps, Quality Lower for Android

According to analysis from Apptentive, 55 percent of apps with fake reviews were found on the iTunes App Store while 45 percent were on Google Play. The fact that Google Play requires a Google+ account may account for the lower number. Although iOS apps have more fake reviews, Android apps have the worst reviewer quality. The development of the “Love Score” metric, which helps publishers learn what customers really think about the apps they use, brought Apptentive to these findings.

Continue reading More Fake Reviews for iOS Apps, Quality Lower for Android

Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

New data from analyst IDC finds that shipments of 4K televisions have reached over one million per month and are projected to reach upward of 15.2 million for 2014. Consumer adoption is on the rise as the average selling price has dropped 85 percent worldwide in the last two years, from $7,851 in 2012 to $1,120 in 2014. A new report from BI Intelligence predicts a faster adoption curve than HDTV, with 4K TVs to be found in more than half of North American homes within 10 years. Continue reading Ultra HD: Consumer Adoption on the Rise with Lower Prices

Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

According to Netflix CFO David Wells, the streaming service plans on spending $3.2 billion on streaming content in 2014. Netflix acknowledged that a large fraction of the currently available material is not necessarily popular with its audience and plans to spend more money on shows with higher potential. A content shift through the next few quarters toward more original series along with licensing exclusive and higher-rated shows will account for this extra spending. Continue reading Netflix Turns to Original Series and Licensing 5-Star Content

ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

According to David Wood, chairman of the International Telecommunication Union group working to recommend a global blueprint for UHD, high dynamic range (HDR) technology “may well be an important feature of Ultra HDTV in future years, though the jury is still out, and will take some months to reach a verdict.” The group is currently considering HDR as an addition to UHD, and is looking at format proposals from companies including Dolby, Philips, Technicolor and the BBC. Continue reading ITU Group is Testing High Dynamic Range Format Proposals

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Trial Proves HD and SD Streams Can Share Same TV Channel

Channel sharing trials recently conducted by Los Angeles television stations KLCS and KJLA have determined that there are few technical barriers to two broadcasters sharing the same 6 MHz channel. The report should serve as good news for the FCC, which hopes to auction off a percentage of broadcast airwaves to mobile carriers in 2015. Key to the FCC’s plan is convincing broadcasters that they can efficiently consolidate feeds onto fewer television channels. Continue reading Trial Proves HD and SD Streams Can Share Same TV Channel

Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Apple is in talks with Comcast about joining forces on a streaming-television service, according to people familiar with the matter. The Wall Street Journal reports the service “would use an Apple set-top box and get special treatment on Comcast’s cables to ensure it bypasses congestion on the Web.” While discussions are in the early stages and a number of hurdles remain, the deal “would mark a new level of cooperation and integration between a technology company and a cable provider to modernize TV viewing.” Continue reading Apple, Comcast Discuss Teaming Up for Streaming TV Service

Facebook Plans to Roll Out its Premium Video Ads Next Month

Facebook announced that its autoplay video advertisements will be called Premium Video Ads. Beginning in late April, the marketing tool will deliver 15-second video clips into users’ feeds that will play automatically. According to a Facebook rep, the social media giant wants “to create a captive, but not interruptive experience.” Similar to videos on Instagram, the ads are activated when scrolled over, but audio does not play unless a user clicks on the ad. Facebook will test every video prior to approving them. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Roll Out its Premium Video Ads Next Month

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

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