STB News: Google Getting Closer to Unveiling its Android TV

According to documents obtained by The Verge, Google is getting ready to launch Android TV, which is expected to be very different than the failed Google TV. Rather than turning your television into a bigger version of your smartphone, Android TV will be a new entertainment interface similar to set-top boxes such as Apple TV, Roku and Amazon Fire TV. Major video app providers are reportedly already building for the platform, which is expected to support voice input, notifications and optional game controllers. Continue reading STB News: Google Getting Closer to Unveiling its Android TV

Sony, FIFA to Shoot Three World Cup Matches and Film in 4K

Sony and FIFA revealed their 4K plans for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, scheduled for Brazil in June/July. Three matches are scheduled to be shot in 4K: one match from the round of 16, one match from the quarterfinals, and the July 13th final match in Rio de Janeiro. In addition to select broadcasters, the live 4K coverage will be made available to select cinemas internationally. Sony and FIFA also have plans to jointly produce the Official 2014 FIFA World Cup film in 4K. Continue reading Sony, FIFA to Shoot Three World Cup Matches and Film in 4K

Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Amazon’s new Fire TV will serve as a game console in addition to streaming movies and TV shows. To help distinguish itself from industry giants such as Xbox One or PlayStation 4, Amazon plans to develop some of its own Android games. While Amazon Game Studios has not released a full list, sci-fi shooter “Sev Zero” has the potential to be the most popular. Amazon recently acquired Double Helix Games, the company that made the Xbox One launch title “Killer Instinct.” Continue reading Amazon Fire TV to Feature Android Games Created In-House

Digital Cinema Consortium Plans to Acquire Satellite Network

The Digital Cinema Distribution Coalition — a consortium formed by AMC, Cinemark, Regal, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures — signed a letter of intent to acquire the Deluxe/Echostar satellite network in a significant step toward updating the digital delivery of content to theaters and eventually eliminating the need to ship hard drives. Over the next 12-14 months, the consortium will pay to convert 699 Deluxe/Echostar screens to DCDC and add another 300 that were not yet deployed. Continue reading Digital Cinema Consortium Plans to Acquire Satellite Network

CinemaCon: Exhibitors Hope Alternative Content Will Fill Seats

Digital Cinema is a hot topic this week at CinemaCon in Las Vegas on two specific fronts: the pursuit of alternative content to help fill theater seats during weeknights, and the need for a cost-effective electronic delivery system to transmit content to theaters. Still in its infancy, alternative content has already seen a number of success stories, including Met Live in HD (the Metropolitan Opera) and a 3D broadcast of the 50th-anniversary special of the BBC’s “Doctor Who.” Continue reading CinemaCon: Exhibitors Hope Alternative Content Will Fill Seats

Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony has plans to offer original series through its PlayStation gaming console, in an effort to expand its media offerings beyond video games. The move is separate from the company’s planned online pay TV service, and part of a larger push to broaden the appeal of the device in the living room. PlayStation users already have access to streaming services and digital downloads of TV shows and movies. The first original will be a one-hour supernatural drama series called “Powers,” produced by Sony Pictures Television. Continue reading Sony Plans Original TV Series for PlayStation Gaming Console

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

The long-rumored Amazon set-top box, an expected rival to Roku and Apple TV, is reportedly going to be produced by Lab126 and take the form of a dongle or stick similar to Google’s Chromecast. Amazon’s device could also compete with game consoles such as the Xbox and PlayStation, as it is expected to support streaming for full PC game titles. Streaming games could provide Amazon with a competitive advantage over rivals in the STB space and, if bundled as an Amazon Prime member benefit, could help justify its subscription cost increase. Continue reading Amazon STB Expected to Be a Dongle That Also Streams Games

Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

Insiders say that Amazon is hoping to introduce an on-demand music-streaming service for its growing number of Amazon Prime customers. While the company has negotiated with record companies and music publishers in regards to licensing, financial terms are said to remain an obstacle. The music service is expected to be one of several new possible features the company may bundle with Prime as it raises the annual membership fee from $79 to as much as $119. Amazon already announced a $20 increase to take effect in April. Continue reading Amazon Prime Bumped to $99, Retailer Considers Music Service

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

Dish Programming Deal with Disney Resolves Auto Hop Dispute

As part of a new long-term programming deal with Disney, Dish will curtail the use of its DVR ad-skipping feature, Auto Hop, for ABC shows. The deal will also provide Dish with online video rights to Disney’s flagship TV channels for a planned Internet-based TV service. The rights deal, confirmed by both companies Monday, marks a first of its kind for Disney. ABC and other major broadcasters have been involved in litigation over the Auto Hop feature since it launched in 2012. Continue reading Dish Programming Deal with Disney Resolves Auto Hop Dispute

Nintendo Outlines New Move into Health-Related Entertainment

Nintendo wants to improve your quality of life. In a letter to shareholders, CEO Satoru Iwata outlined the company’s plan to establish itself as a health-oriented entertainment company. He said Ninetendo will expand beyond games in the coming decade to develop products that improve “quality of life” for people. It is unclear whether this will involve an expansion of Wii products, or if this will involve an entirely new approach. Iwata suggested the new business will be outside of video games.

Continue reading Nintendo Outlines New Move into Health-Related Entertainment

Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

Amazon continues to expand into the entertainment realm with its delivery of movies and TV via Amazon Prime, the launch of Amazon Studios, its recent acquisition of video game developer Double Helix, and now, the possibility of a streaming music service that would likely be bundled into its Prime delivery option. Amazon has been hiring executives with digital music experience in recent years, and has reportedly been in talks with major music labels for the past few months. Continue reading Amazon Discusses New Streaming Service with Music Labels

HPA Tech Retreat: Transitioning to an Ethernet-Based Facility

Broadcasters and other media organizations are contemplating a move to an Ethernet-based facility for their live streams for a range of compelling reasons: flexibility, simpler cabling, better economies of scale and an easier move to Ultra HDTV. At an HPA Tech Retreat panel on “Professional Networked Media,” Fox Network Engineering & Operations Vice President Thomas Edwards led a panel of broadcast executives working to make that a reality. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Transitioning to an Ethernet-Based Facility

Sony Sells More Than 5 Million PS4 Game Consoles Worldwide

Sony’s goal was to sell over 5 million PlayStation 4 game consoles by March, but sales had already reached 5.3 million units by February 8. PS4 was first released in November in North America, then Europe, Latin America, parts of Asia, and lastly Japan. PS4 sales have dramatically exceeded analysts’ predictions. Sony is also preparing to release PlayStation Now, an online service that will allow PS3 games to be played on PS4 and the Vita handheld this summer. Continue reading Sony Sells More Than 5 Million PS4 Game Consoles Worldwide

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