Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

Although Apple doesn’t have an official presence at CES, it still made news there, with companies announcing partnerships for iTunes, AirPlay 2 and HomeKit. The Silicon Valley firm is rumored to be rolling out a streaming video service in early 2019, with content from Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, M. Night Shyamalan and Steven Spielberg. At CES 2019, Apple’s integration with third party platforms included TVs from Samsung, LG, Vizio and Sony. The move into content and services comes as Apple contends with lower iPhone sales. Continue reading Apple Grows Its Services by Partnering with Samsung, Others

Media and Entertainment Play Pivotal Role at This Year’s CES

It was not that many years ago when CES executive vice president Karen Chupka convened a meeting at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles with representatives of the Hollywood studios to pitch CES as a place for entertainment. It was a stretch for some people in the room that day to imagine doing meaningful business there. Cut to CES 2019 and entertainment was everywhere. The enabling power of 5G and AI combined with more powerful processors and beautiful new televisions had everyone talking about entertainment and experiences. Continue reading Media and Entertainment Play Pivotal Role at This Year’s CES

CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

If CES is any indication, 2019 may be the year that voice assistants become more integrated into our daily lives. Amazon and Google went head-to-head in Las Vegas last week with a flood of partnerships touting smart home and CE devices that now support Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. Among the products featuring voice support included LG’s much-hyped rollable OLED TV; Panasonic’s new 4K OLED TV; Samsung’s 2019 TV lineup; Vuzix Blade AR glasses; an array of speakers, soundbars and headphones; new smart displays from Lenovo, Archos and KitchenAid; and a collection of home security devices, kitchen and bathroom appliances — even toilets. Continue reading CES: Voice Assistants Are No Longer Just for Smart Speakers

CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

On Sunday, CES “unveiled” its Innovation Award winners for the year, in a room also crowded with numerous startups eager to showcase their technologies. This year was, again, a plethora of self-care, health-oriented products as well as many related to smart homes and home security. The 31 companies/products honored this year for “best of innovation” fell into the categories of digital imaging/photography, smart home, smart energy, wearable technologies, computer hardware, virtual reality and video displays among others. Continue reading CES Unveiled: A Look at This Year’s Innovation Award Winners

Sony Increases 3D Chip Supply to Meet Demand for Phones

After receiving interest from Apple and other customers, Sony plans to rev up production of its next-generation 3D sensors, which power front- and rear-facing 3D cameras. Sony sensor division head Satoshi Yoshihara reported that the company accelerated production of the 3D chips in late summer to meet the demand for several smartphones slated to debut in 2019. Although he did not provide production targets, he said Sony’s 3D business is already profitable and will impact earnings for the fiscal year beginning in April. Continue reading Sony Increases 3D Chip Supply to Meet Demand for Phones

Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

During The Game Awards last week, Epic Games debuted a new digital marketplace that offers a favorable 88/12 percent revenue split to game creators. By opening a new marketplace, the company may be establishing a game store competitor to Valve’s Steam, which has dominated PC game distribution for over ten years. Epic chief executive Tim Sweeney has also pledged to better support creators. Although the store’s first list of games is small, it will be part of Epic Launcher, the software required to update and play “Fortnite.” Continue reading Epic’s New Game Store Poses Threat to Steam’s Dominance

PlayStation Vue Content Now Available via the Apple TV App

Sony announced that PlayStation Vue’s on-demand programming and live sports are now accessible via the Apple TV App on iOS and tvOS. PlayStation Vue becomes the first U.S. pay TV provider added to the TV App, which already includes content from major cable channels and top streaming services (although not Netflix). While viewers will be forwarded to the PlayStation Vue service rather than streaming content directly in Apple’s TV App once content has been selected, the integration should make the process of finding available movies and TV shows easier. Continue reading PlayStation Vue Content Now Available via the Apple TV App

Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Microsoft has joined the Open Invention Network (OIN), the North Carolina-based open-source patent community that launched in 2005 with a mission to protect Linux and Linux-related software. In joining OIN, Microsoft is essentially granting an unrestricted, royalty-free license for its patents to the community’s 2,650 members. Microsoft’s corporate VP and chief IP counsel Erich Andersen said the company is pledging its “entire patent portfolio to the Linux system. That’s not just the Linux kernel, but other packages built on it.” Continue reading Microsoft Joins OIN, Open Sources its Entire Patent Portfolio

Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Hybrid Game Console

To increase sales of its Switch game console, Nintendo plans to launch a new version by the second half of 2019. When Switch debuted in March 2017, sales soared. Although they are still robust, they’re losing steam enough to prompt Nintendo to prep a second version that will, it hopes, keep the console competitive. According to sources, Nintendo is still contemplating what hardware and software to include in the next version. One possibility is an improved display, which is currently a lower-end LCD. Continue reading Nintendo Plans New Version of Switch Hybrid Game Console

Hulu with Live TV Surpasses One Million Subscriber Milestone

Hulu’s live TV streaming service, launched just over a year ago, has topped one million subscribers, up from the 800,000 Hulu announced in May and the estimated 450,000 reported by CNBC at the beginning of the year. While its new service numbers are on the rise, they remain a mere fraction of Hulu’s total base of more than 20 million subscribers (including its paid on-demand programming). However, the milestone is significant considering the competition in the burgeoning space between services such as Sling TV from Dish (2.3 million subscribers) and AT&T’s DirecTV Now (1.8 million subscribers). Continue reading Hulu with Live TV Surpasses One Million Subscriber Milestone

Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

When Nintendo Switch Online debuts today, gamers will have a multiplayer option similar to Xbox Live and PSN. The new service allows users to save online games in the cloud and offers a library of NES games. Subscription prices range from $4 per month, $8 for three months, to $20 for a year and $35 for a family plan with at least two accounts. Gamers can also sign up for a seven-day free trial. Some games, such as “Fortnite,” will not require a subscription to play online. The service will debut with 20 games. Continue reading Nintendo Switch Online Debuts as a Multiplayer Game Service

Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Netflix launched its Post Technology Alliance logo program last week, with plans to certify post-production products and systems from manufacturers and vendors that meet the streaming service’s technical and content delivery specs. “The Post Technology Alliance will build a more seamless experience from production through post-production,” said Chris Fetner, Netflix director of post partnerships and integrations, noting that certified vendors are “committed to better interoperability and faster innovation cycles.” Adobe, Avid, Blackmagic Design, Canon, Panasonic, RED Digital Cinema and Sony are among those with products already certified. Continue reading Netflix’s New Logo Program Will Certify Post Production Tools

Spotify Licensing Deals Could Have Impact on Music Industry

Stockholm-based Spotify is making a move that could challenge traditional royalty models and the major record labels that have long led the music industry. Spotify has struck licensing deals directly with a handful of independent artists over the last year, giving the artists a larger monetary cut and ownership of their recordings. The financial details include advance payments of tens or hundreds of thousands of dollars, according to sources, considered “modest” in the music industry. Spotify has released few details about the deals. Continue reading Spotify Licensing Deals Could Have Impact on Music Industry

Sony Adds 200 Local Channels to its PlayStation Vue Service

Sony’s OTT service PlayStation Vue is expanding its lineup by adding 200 local stations across the U.S., including ABC, CBS, FOX and NBC affiliates and ESPN College Extra. With the expanded lineup, Playstation Vue now features more than 450 local stations. The service is available via Sony’s game console; across Android, iOS and web platforms; and media players such as Android TV, Apple TV, Amazon’s Fire TV, Google’s Chromecast and Roku devices. The additions could help the service compete with new players, including Hulu and YouTube TV. Continue reading Sony Adds 200 Local Channels to its PlayStation Vue Service

The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

At The Reel Thing, an annual conference at the Academy’s Linwood Dunn Theater in Hollywood on “current thinking and most advanced practical examples of progress in the field of preservation, restoration and media conservation,” Prime Focus Technologies executive director of cloud media services Anthony Matt and HBO director of remastering and alternate versions Laurel Warbrick described the results of their testing of 10K scans vs. 4K scans of 35mm film. Fittingly, they titled their presentation “The Burden of 10K Dreams.” Continue reading The Reel Thing: Prime Focus and HBO Test 10K Scans of Film

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