Samsung Unveils New PC Monitors, Including $700 4K Model

Samsung announced its new line of consumer monitors this week, including the UD590, its first Ultra HD 4K display designed for desktop use. The 28-inch desktop monitor, featuring a resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, is currently available for pre-order at $700. Other 4K models due out this year are expected to cost $1,000 or more. Samsung also announced two 24-inch and two 27-inch 1080p displays ($250-$330), all featuring PLS-WVA panels with wide, 178-degree viewing angles. Continue reading Samsung Unveils New PC Monitors, Including $700 4K Model

NAB: Panasonic to Preview 4K VariCam with New Image Sensor

During the NAB show in Las Vegas in two weeks, Panasonic plans to preview a newly developed 4K version of its VariCam digital camera. The Varicam 35 — designed for film, TV production and live event coverage — will feature a new super 35mm MOS image sensor that supports 4096 x 2160 using Panasonic’s AVC-Ultra codecs for 4K. The company says the camera, scheduled for fall availability, offers 4K, 2K and HD capture, in addition to 4K RAW output. Continue reading NAB: Panasonic to Preview 4K VariCam with New Image Sensor

Pandora Points to Royalty Costs for Jump in Subscription Rate

Pandora announced that it plans to increase the monthly subscription rate to its premium, ad-free Pandora One service by 25 percent for new subscribers starting in May (an increase from $3.99-a-month to $4.99-a-month). “The costs of delivering this service have grown considerably,” explains the Pandora Blog. “For example, the royalty rates Pandora pays to performers via SoundExchange for subscription listening have increased 53 percent in the last five years and will increase another 9 percent in 2015.” Continue reading Pandora Points to Royalty Costs for Jump in Subscription Rate

Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

In somewhat anticlimactic fashion, the lengthy, dramatic battle regarding what digital music service Pandora should pay ASCAP ended Friday when U.S. District Judge Denise Cote ruled that Pandora should continue to pay the performing rights organization what it has been paying through 2015. Pandora had argued that it should pay less than the current 1.85 percent of revenue, while ASCAP had argued for an escalating rate structure that would require Pandora to pay 2.5 percent of revenue for 2013 and 3 percent in 2015. Continue reading Judge Rules in Royalty Lawsuit Between Pandora and ASCAP

Comcast Uses Chicago Cable Service to Launch Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Comcast has started to use hundreds of thousands of homes in the Chicago area to create more hotspots for its publicly accessible wireless network. The company will continue to roll out this service to more areas in the next few months. The service will use Comcast-issued home equipment, and separate the Wi-Fi signal to allow anyone within range to get Internet reception. Comcast claims that since the two services are separated, the Comcast users’ signals will not be disturbed. Continue reading Comcast Uses Chicago Cable Service to Launch Wi-Fi Hot Spots

Web Video Pioneer KoldCast TV Shutters After Loss of Millions

Early pioneer of original online video content KoldCast TV announced last week that it is shutting down. KoldCast co-founder and CEO David S. Samuels said that the company has lost millions of dollars in its efforts to bring original serialized video to the Web. KoldCast’s production company, The Sixth Wall, will also close as the founders focus their energy on sister companies Dynamic Influence and Wild Spirit Studios, that offer production and consulting services for third parties. Continue reading Web Video Pioneer KoldCast TV Shutters After Loss of Millions

WhatsApp Announces New Voice Service After Facebook Deal

During a keynote at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona this week, WhatsApp CEO Jan Koum announced that the mobile messaging service would start to offer voice calls. The move could help justify the massive $19 billion price tag of the recent Facebook deal. While the marketplace for Internet phone services is already crowded, WhatsApp could become competitive since it is now backed by social giant Facebook. The voice service is planned to launch in April. Continue reading WhatsApp Announces New Voice Service After Facebook Deal

HPA Panel Discusses Pixel Count in Next-Generation Displays

A panel of experts from across the entertainment industry convened at the HPA Tech Retreat on Thursday morning to discuss the importance of increasing pixel counts in next generation televisions and displays. While so-called “4K” or Ultra HD televisions have now appeared on the market from nearly every major consumer electronics manufacturer, there has been some debate about whether simply increasingly resolution truly improves picture quality. Continue reading HPA Panel Discusses Pixel Count in Next-Generation Displays

Amazon Launches its Second Pilot Season with 10 New Shows

Amazon Studios is releasing its second batch of original pilots, all vying for the opportunity to become a series to be made available on Amazon’s Instant Video service. Viewers are encouraged to stream the 10 pilots at AmazonOriginals.com, write reviews and rate each show. Feedback will help the studio determine whether or not to commission a full season. The current batch includes five shows for children and five geared toward adults from the likes of Chris Carter, Roman Coppola and Jill Soloway. Continue reading Amazon Launches its Second Pilot Season with 10 New Shows

Arri Brings Amira Digital Camera to Burbank for Early Preview

In advance of Amira’s launch at NAB, Arri has sent four prototypes of its new digital camera on tour. One camera is visiting the company’s Burbank facility for early previews and limited testing. The $40,000 shoulder-mount Amira, which uses the same imaging sensor as Arri’s $75,000 Alexa digital cinematography camera, is expected to ship in April. Lighter and smaller than the popular Alexa, the Amira is intended for productions such as documentaries and TV news magazine programs. Continue reading Arri Brings Amira Digital Camera to Burbank for Early Preview

UHD Tech: High Dynamic Range Lands on Hollywood’s Radar

While Ultra HD is clearly a leading theme at CES this week, numerous members of the engineering community believe the technology will require wider color gamut, higher dynamic range and higher frame rates to succeed. Dolby, Technicolor and Sony all presented plans to address these needs, while the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, the consortium behind UltraViolet, is looking at support for 4K as well as higher dynamic range and related features. Continue reading UHD Tech: High Dynamic Range Lands on Hollywood’s Radar

Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

Spotify has plans to launch a free, ad-supported version of its streaming music service on mobile devices, according to people familiar with the matter. The Sweden-based company has reached licensing deals with three of the global music companies to use their recordings on the service. The ad-supported offering will allow nonpaying mobile users to play a limited number of songs on demand, but will mostly serve up music based on user input, similar to services such as Pandora.

Continue reading Spotify Has Plans to Go Mobile with Free, Ad-Supported Music

New Sensor Technologies Have Untapped Potential in Retail

Embedded sensor technology has proven to be useful in a number of markets, but some are saying it can revolutionize the retail experience for both companies and consumers if used to its full potential. Though online retail is booming in popularity, many transactions still take place inside physical stores, often with the aid of a mobile device. By linking up those factors, shoppers’ experiences will be more productive, and companies will benefit with greater profits. Continue reading New Sensor Technologies Have Untapped Potential in Retail

In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television

According to the American Time Use Survey released by the Labor Department yesterday, Americans spent less time at work in 2012 and spent more time involved with leisure activities such as watching television. The survey suggests that the country’s sluggish recovery continues to impact workers. While time devoted to volunteering dropped, time spent on leisure and sleeping increased. Americans watched TV for two hours and 50 minutes per day, a second consecutive annual increase. Continue reading In a Struggling Economy, Americans Watch More Television