MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

Texas-based startup MergeVR plans to launch a $129 virtual reality headset this fall that is compatible with Android and iOS devices. While Oculus VR and Samsung have partnered on the mobile Gear VR headset, it is limited to Samsung phones and no launch date for a consumer version has been announced. MergeVR CEO Franklin Lyons explains that his company’s headset works with a range of modern smartphones. “We also are the first in the industry to have a wireless motion controller built to work with mobile VR apps,” he says. Continue reading MergeVR to Ship VR Headset and Controller by Holiday Season

Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Google has updated the Android Wear operating system to include wrist controls, Wi-Fi connectivity, and other functionality features. For the first time, smartwatch users won’t have to be tethered to their smartphone because the Wi-Fi connection will allow them to receive text messages and check email on their watches without needing their smartphones nearby. The first Android Wear smartwatches with this technology built-in are expected to begin shipping next month. Continue reading Android Wear Watches Can Now Connect to Phones via Wi-Fi

Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

New UHD TVs have been announced by companies including Samsung, LG and Vizio. Samsung is touting its quantum-dot-like color tech, and LG is pushing OLEDs and its quantum-dot “ColorPrime,” while Vizio is emphasizing affordable sets with full-array local dimming. Sony just announced pricing and availability of its new Android TV-powered 4K sets. The line features 10 models ranging from 43-inches at $1,300 to 75-inches at $8,000. With its new offerings, Sony is focused on razor-thin panels and HDR features. Continue reading Sony 4K UHD TV Line Features Thin Panels, HDR and Android

NAB 2015: ETC Conference Sessions Convene Cloud Leadership

The first day of the ETC’s special 2-day track on “Media Management in the Cloud: Advances in Content Reliability & Security” at the NAB Show kicked off with a keynote by Brian Stevens, VP cloud platforms at Google. Stevens highlighted advances in cloud technologies that enabled the great acceleration of work and innovation processes for both large and small media studios. Stevens also participated in the following discussion panel of key leaders from industry cloud tenants representing each phase of the media & entertainment content chain. Continue reading NAB 2015: ETC Conference Sessions Convene Cloud Leadership

NAB 2015: AMPAS Launches Global Standard for Color Encoding

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences used the NAB Show as the launch for the Academy Color Encoding System (ACES) — a free, open, device-independent global standard for color management and image interchange that targets digital production, mastering and long-term archiving of motion pictures. The Academy also announced the support of 22 leading companies that will participate in the ACES Logo Program, which was developed to “encourage consistent, high-quality implementations of ACES concepts and technical specifications throughout the industry.” Continue reading NAB 2015: AMPAS Launches Global Standard for Color Encoding

President Obama Approves Order Against Foreign Cyberattacks

A new executive order signed by President Obama earlier this week aims to warn off foreign online hackers from targeting the United States. The order authorizes severe consequences to the individual or foreign party determined to be involved with any attack that may compromise the security, foreign policy, economic health, and financial stability of the U.S. Any violations of the policy could result in both financial and travel sanctions as regulated by the federal government. Continue reading President Obama Approves Order Against Foreign Cyberattacks

OTT: New Trends Evolving in Streaming TV and Online Video

According to research from video optimization company Conviva, about 75 percent of new over-the-top service users stop watching video after just more than four minutes, due primarily to poor streaming quality or too many interruptions. While only 25 percent continue past four minutes, the study shows that some viewers will keep trying. Nearly half will stop the video and try again and 29 percent will try a different platform. A related study notes another trend: OTT services may be steering consumers back to their big screen TVs. Continue reading OTT: New Trends Evolving in Streaming TV and Online Video

Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Sony has teamed with streaming music service Spotify to allow gamers to listen to their favorite tunes while playing games. Originally announced in January, Spotify officially joined PlayStation Music this week. While many users may be drawn to the Spotify-powered service, hardcore gamers may be turned off by the idea of replacing a game’s soundtrack and immersive audio effects with unrelated music. However, the companies are targeting the gamers who regularly play their own music in the background while gaming. Continue reading Spotify Streaming Music Service Now Live for Sony PlayStation

Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

In the wake of recent hacking incidents, Hollywood companies have become more concerned about protecting their communication and content. Hollywood is turning to various services from companies such as WatchDox, IntraLinks and Varonis to better monitor the activity involving work files being accessed by employees on their personal mobile phones. Using these new services, companies not only protect their most sensitive files, but also manage how to share them with others.  Continue reading Hollywood Ups its Security Measures with New Digital Services

Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

Amazon has introduced “Prime Stations” for users of its Prime Music iOS app. The mobile update is intended to help the music service better compete with the likes of Pandora and iTunes Radio. Prime Stations are ad-free stations that offer unlimited song skips. The updated app features personalized recommendations that are based on a user’s play history and will therefore become more accurate over time. Prime Stations can also learn from user feedback (thumbs up or thumbs down) to create better playlists. Continue reading Amazon Launches Streaming Music Update with Prime Stations

Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

While television continues to migrate online, live sports have been slow to follow. Many people are still tethered to their cable subscriptions because they want to watch their sports live. As soon as sports programming breaks from bundles and is streamed online, more consumers may become cord cutters and abandon their cable subscriptions altogether. Meanwhile, Canada has become one of the first countries to require companies to dismantle their cable bundles and allow customers to choose their channels. Continue reading Is Television Being Held Back by Traditional Cable Bundles?

Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

While the FCC has proposed that broadband companies cannot accept payments for access to an Internet fast lane, some streaming TV services want to be classified as “managed services,” much like digital phone services. This gray area of the net neutrality rules may provide media companies a fast lane opportunity. The FCC allows cable and phone companies to operate managed services, such as digital phone services or video-on-demand, on a special bandwidth so that consumers do not experience dropped calls or video buffering. Continue reading Streaming TV Services Look to Bypass Internet Congestion

Sony Rolls Out PlayStation Vue Streaming Television Service

Sony has joined the growing array of new streaming TV offerings with the three-city rollout of its PlayStation Vue Web-based streaming service. The $49.99 per month service will initially be available to PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 3 users in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. It will eventually expand to other regions and be available on the iPad. PlayStation Vue offers a bundle including 50+ channels such as CBS, Discovery, Fox, NBC, TBS and USA. It also features a personalized, searchable approach to access live and on-demand TV. Continue reading Sony Rolls Out PlayStation Vue Streaming Television Service

Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

We recently reported that HTC partnered with Seattle-based gaming company Valve to develop Vive, a new VR headset with plans to compete with the Oculus Rift and Sony Morpheus. Valve is the developer behind Steam, the social platform for distributing and managing games. The Vive headset was unveiled at last week’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, and is already generating positive reviews for its tech advances, including low latency and a fast refresh rate that reduces the incidence of “Sim Sickness.” Continue reading Vive VR Headset Unveiled at Game Developers Conference

PlayStation Vue: Sony Readies Rollout of Internet TV Service

Sony is planning the nationwide launch of its PlayStation Vue online TV service to take place by the end of this year. Sony Computer Entertainment President Andrew House announced yesterday that commercial operation will kick-off within the next few weeks via invitation-only tests in Chicago, New York and Philadelphia. PlayStation Vue, the latest Internet service to target cord cutters, will compete with offerings such as Dish Network’s Sling TV and standalone network services from CBS, HBO and Nickelodeon. Continue reading PlayStation Vue: Sony Readies Rollout of Internet TV Service

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