Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

After comparing 5,000 streaming clips from 500 titles using x264, x265, and libvpx codecs, Netflix found x265’s implementation of HEVC to be the most efficient while offering the highest quality. However, “whether that matters in light of compatibility and licensing issues isn’t so obvious,” notes Streaming Media. The study, which focused on VOD rather than live, compared codecs and not specifications (instead of comparing encoding specs, Netflix compared implementation of the specs). “Netflix’s tests clearly show that x265 is 20 percent more efficient than libvpx when encoding premium content using the most stringent settings, and measuring quality with VMAF.” Continue reading Netflix Video Codec Study Finds x265 More Efficient Than VP9

Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

SNL Kagan forecasts that video revenue for U.S. cable operators will decrease 4.7 percent by 2026, despite higher monthly cable TV bills. Residential video revenue for “cable operators is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026, declining at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5 percent over the next 10 years,” reports Variety. While basic video subs are projected to fall from today’s 53 million to 45.4 million in 2026, there will be a 13 percent jump in broadband subs, representing $11 billion. Cable broadband subs are expected to reach 71 million by 2026, driving up revenue to $47.3 billion. Continue reading Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

Cloud Services Spending to Reach $195 Billion in Four Years

International Data Corporation (IDC) projects that global revenue from public cloud services will surpass $195 billion by 2020, more than doubling this year’s forecast of $96.5 billion. The new figures, part of IDC’s Worldwide Semiannual Public Cloud Services Spending Guide, represent a compound annual growth rate of 20.4 percent over 2015-2020. Also, IDC expects that revenue from Infrastructure as a Service and Platform as a Service will increase at a faster rate than revenue from Software as a Service. Media, telecom and retail will experience the fastest revenue growth. Continue reading Cloud Services Spending to Reach $195 Billion in Four Years

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

DARPA Announces Competition to Combat Computer Viruses

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has launched the Cyber Grand Challenge (CGC), to create a program that — without any human interference — can find security vulnerabilities abused by hackers, then create a fix and distribute it. If the Challenge is successful, power plants, air traffic and water infrastructure would eventually become safe from computer viruses and hackers, and ordinary citizens would know their computers and digital devices are safe from malware and viruses. Continue reading DARPA Announces Competition to Combat Computer Viruses

Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Engineers at Facebook’s Connectivity Lab have developed a large laser detector that could help deliver Internet to new areas by opening “airwaves to new high-speed data communications systems that don’t require dedicated spectrum or licenses,” reports PC World. Reaching new regions typically involves cost-efficient wireless networks, which also require radio spectrum and often have speed limitations. Instead, engineers are looking into “sending data from point-to-point over laser beams” that would not involve “any special spectrum or permission, and multiple systems can work in the same area without interfering with each other.” Continue reading Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

Scientists have been working with atomic-scale memory tech that manipulates interaction between atoms so they could develop “a device that can pack hundreds of times more information per square inch than the best currently available data-storage technologies,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The prototype, described as a significant breakthrough, could be the next step toward storing future information — including photos, videos and posts from the Internet — more efficiently and affordably. Leading tech companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard are among those researching solutions to future data storage needs. Continue reading Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Netflix indicated recently that it is considering offering its subscribers the ability to download content and watch it offline. But, in an era in which Wi-Fi and 4G are everywhere, the question is: Is it necessary? How many subscribers think they would actually download content? And, if so, when do subscribers think they would watch downloaded videos? Since its 2007 introduction, Netflix has streamed videos (and mailed physical DVDs), an unchanged paradigm that has served it and its subscribers well. Continue reading Survey Shows Netflix Subscribers Want Ability to View Offline

Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

According to a survey from IBM’s Cloud Video division, 31 percent of respondents indicated that they had canceled a streaming video subscription before, while that figure jumped to 40 percent among those who listed Amazon or Hulu as their primary service. When asked why consumers would cancel their subscription, 27 percent pointed to advertisements, 25 percent cited cost, and 20 percent blamed the amount of available content. These reasons topped tech issues (17 percent), while 73 percent of respondents indicated that buffering or start delays were the most commonly experienced problems. Continue reading Ads Are the Top Reason for Canceling Streaming Video Subs

The Number of U.S. Teens Who Own Smartphones on Upswing

The number of teenagers in the U.S. who own smartphones is expected to reach the 74 percent mark this year, compared to less than 50 percent in 2013, according to eMarketer. The survey found that ownership among adult millennials is more than 90 percent. EMarketer forecasts that 88 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds will have mobile phones by the end of the year, and among those, 84 percent will have smartphones. “Results of a February 2016 survey for Adestra by Flagship Research give an indication that older teens are more likely than younger ones to have smartphones,” reports eMarketer. “Among the 14- to 18-year-olds polled, 87 percent said they ‘own and use’ a smartphone.” Continue reading The Number of U.S. Teens Who Own Smartphones on Upswing

Consumers Report Financial Data Breaches, Still Trust Banks

According to a new Accenture report, 23 percent of consumers claim their financial data has been breached at least once in the past two years. Interestingly, most remain willing to share their data if it means better service. “About 63 percent of respondents are willing to give their bank direct access to personal information,” reports HousingWire. The National Association of Federal Credit Unions recently called on Congress to combat hacking with legislation that would create stricter standards for retail businesses. Accenture surveyed 4,013 bank customers in North America — 70 percent in the U.S. and 30 percent in Canada. Continue reading Consumers Report Financial Data Breaches, Still Trust Banks

Amazon Adds Brands to Dash Feature, Despite Slow Adoption

Amazon is adding numerous brands to its Dash push-button feature, which enables users to order products by pushing a button. The company suggests consumers keep the Dash button near the relevant product; a button to order Tide detergent would most likely be kept by the washing machine. When the buttons rolled out in spring last year, at least some people thought it was an April’s Fool’s joke. Now one recent study reveals that, a majority of the consumers that purchased a Dash button aren’t using it. Continue reading Amazon Adds Brands to Dash Feature, Despite Slow Adoption

Accenture Study: Companies Experiencing Insider Data Theft

While businesses are continuing efforts to protect their data and combat outside hackers, many are facing data theft by their own employees. A survey of 208 organizations by Accenture Plc and HfS Research found that 69 percent “experienced an attempted or realized data theft or corruption by corporate insiders” over the past year. That compares to 57 percent from external sources. Media and tech firms and Asia-Pacific enterprises reported the highest rates, notes Bloomberg. According to Accenture chief strategy officer Omar Abbosh, businesses are spending about $84 billion annually to combat data theft that costs them $2 trillion, “damage that could rise to $90 trillion a year by 2030 if current trends continue.” Continue reading Accenture Study: Companies Experiencing Insider Data Theft

Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

According to a Sandvine study, Netflix has re-encoded some of its video library in order to make the streaming service more efficient and reduce its bandwidth demands. Netflix accounted for 37.1 percent of Internet traffic on fixed broadband networks during primetime hours six months ago in North America. Sandvine notes that Netflix represented 35.2 percent of downstream traffic under the same criteria during March of this year. “Last December, Netflix detailed changes in its video-encoding schemes, which the company said could reduce bit rates by up to 20 percent while delivering equivalent quality,” reports Variety. Meanwhile, “Amazon Video now represents 4.3 percent of peak-period traffic, up from 2 percent a year ago.” Continue reading Netflix Updates Video Encoding, Aims to Use Less Bandwidth

Study Finds People Prefer VR Travel, Adventure to VR Games

Market research firm Greenlight VR reveals that consumers’ main interest in virtual reality is not games, but rather travel, entertainment, events, home design and education. The company’s recent 2016 Virtual Reality Consumer Report also notes that the top VR device consumers now want is the Samsung Gear VR, followed by the PlayStation VR, and that they are less enthused about paying a premium for VR than they were in October. The report surveyed more than 1,200 people aged 18 to 60, including both users and non-users of VR. Continue reading Study Finds People Prefer VR Travel, Adventure to VR Games

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