Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Startup Fancy Bits, founded by two former GitHub employees, has launched Channels, a kind of DVR for the streaming age. The $8 per month service pulls video from feeds as disparate as cable channels, live streaming apps, on-demand services and over-the-air broadcasts and places them into a single app. “What we’re building towards is something that was sort of built 20 years ago,” said co-founder Jon Maddox. “Really, we’re just trying to make this single place for people to go watch their TV that everybody is looking for.” Continue reading Startup Debuts a DVR-Like App for Media Content: ‘Channels’

Twitch Report Details the Challenges of Curbing Toxic Speech

Video live-streaming service Twitch, which saw a 40 percent increase in channels in 2020, released its first transparency report featuring details on how it provides security for its 26 million daily users. The Amazon-owned company has always struggled to control harassment and hate speech but even more so during its meteoric growth spurt, especially since live content is harder to control. The new report acknowledges that challenge, noting it’s relied on volunteer moderators and user reports as well as its AutoMod tool, introduced in 2016. Continue reading Twitch Report Details the Challenges of Curbing Toxic Speech

Social Media Considers How to Moderate Audio Chat Content

With the recent explosion of live audio chat platforms, from Clubhouse to game-centric Discord and Twitter’s Spaces comes a new problem: how to moderate real-time speech. As Discord chief legal officer Clint Smith put it, “audio presents a fundamentally different set of challenges for moderation than text-based communication.” “It’s more ephemeral and it’s harder to research and action,” he added. One problem is that the majority of tools built to detect problematic content are aimed at text comments, not audio. Continue reading Social Media Considers How to Moderate Audio Chat Content

DJs Facing DMCA Takedowns on Twitch Look for Alternatives

Twitch evolved from a video-game streaming site to include creative content and, in 2018, music. During COVID-19, many DJs have been using Twitch as a way to keep their local music scene alive. In Minneapolis, for example, Dave Eckblad produces the Twitch stream for music collective Intellephunk, including live events that engage fans and draw in tips. StreamElements reports that, over the course of one year, the number of hours users spend streaming music and performing arts skyrocketed from 3.6 million to 17.6 million. However, complying with copyright regulation may have an impact on this trend. Continue reading DJs Facing DMCA Takedowns on Twitch Look for Alternatives

Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Wi-Fi 6 has arrived, promising faster speeds, broader coverage and the ability to share connections across a single household’s wireless devices. The latter means that if one device is consuming huge amounts of data, it will not slow down the household’s other devices. The new generation Wi-Fi actually debuted in 2018 but is only now affordable enough and more widely available on Internet routers to become mainstream. While consumers can now purchase smartphones and computers including chips that enable use of Wi-Fi 6, the tech’s real benefits will likely have a stronger impact once households have more connected devices. Continue reading Wi-Fi 6 Will Eventually Benefit Homes with Connected Devices

Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

Next month, Amazon is slated to launch a new Fire TV interface for its Fire TV Stick 4K and Fire TV Cube streaming devices. In 2016, Amazon pioneered the “content-first user experience,” which listed rows of movies and TV shows from various streaming apps on the home TV. This idea was picked up by many others in the industry, including Google, Vizio and LG. But, as the number of streaming services has expanded, this model has become unwieldy and chaotic — and Amazon is about to rein it in via a simplified navigation bar. Continue reading Amazon Will Debut New UI for Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube

Disney Premieres Interactive Short at Sundance Film Festival

During Sundance Film Festival 2021 (January 28 – February 3), Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution and Disney Television Animation is showcasing an interactive short — “Baymax Dreams of Fred’s Glitch” — that plays via Nvidia’s GeForce NOW streaming service. The game-like short features the cast from “Big Hero 6” and challenges the viewer to fix Fred’s destructive “glitch” and Baymax’s programming. “Baymax Dreams” is part of the New Frontier Alliance Showcase at Sundance. GeForce NOW, officially unveiled in 2015, recently launched for the Chrome web browser and M1 Macs in beta. Continue reading Disney Premieres Interactive Short at Sundance Film Festival

CES: TV Technologies Takes Center Stage at Annual Confab

The demand for upgraded televisions and streaming content has increased significantly during the coronavirus pandemic. Nielsen reports that streaming services currently account for a quarter of all TV viewing in North America and, according to CES producer the Consumer Technology Association (CTA), consumers upgrading their TVs led to a shipment record for 2020, a trend expected to continue this year. In addition, an Ampere study indicates that the average U.S. household subscribes to four streaming services. CES 2021 showcased a compelling array of TVs and related tech, including 8K, QNED, MicroLED, MiniLED, NanoCell TVs, ATSC 3.0 (NextGen TV), Filmmaker Mode, transparent displays, enhanced game support and more. Continue reading CES: TV Technologies Takes Center Stage at Annual Confab

Survey Reveals U.S Viewers Adding More Streaming Services

During the COVID-19 pandemic, an increasing number of streaming media services have thrived and, according to a J.D. Power survey, Americans now subscribe, on average, to four streaming services, up from three when the pandemic began. That translates to 24 percent more in subscription fees, for an average consumer outlay of $47 per month in December, up from $38 in April. Netflix and Disney+ have surged, and newcomers HBO Max and Peacock have also done well. Apple wants to boost its Apple TV+ service but may find itself at a disadvantage. Continue reading Survey Reveals U.S Viewers Adding More Streaming Services

AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

When COVID-19 hit last year, AMC Entertainment had just taken on $4.8 billion in debt, a combination of a modernization effort that started in 2012 and acquiring competing movie chains to become the world’s largest movie theater company. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, AMC’s debt has risen to $5.5 billion — not including deferred rental payments. Pre-pandemic, AMC generated $5.5 billion a year in revenue. AMC Entertainment chief executive Adam Aron was the first to ink a deal for a limited exclusivity window. Continue reading AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

Sony announced during CES 2021 that its new line of Bravia XR television sets would provide consumers with the Bravia Core platform for streaming select movies from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The company indicates that its Pure Stream tech enables “near lossless” ultra high-def Blu-ray Disc quality. The Bravia Core platform comes pre-loaded on new Bravia XR models including Sony’s 8K LED, OLED and 4K LED models. Access to film titles is based on a type of voucher system in which customers are given credits depending on which Bravia XR model is purchased. Continue reading CES: Sony Integrates Movie Streaming to Promote Bravia TVs

CES: Sony, TCL Televisions Will Feature Streamer Google TV

During CES 2021, Sony revealed its latest televisions will run Google TV, that company’s newest streaming system. TCL also stated that Google TV would be available in its sets in the U.S. Google TV succeeds Android TV, which can be found on some devices in the U.S., including the Nvidia Shield, TiVo Stream 4K and smart TVs from Sony, Hisense and TCL. Sony added that it had “no concrete plans” to update older Sony TVs running Android TV. TCL said it planned to integrate Google TV in its 8K and MiniLED sets as well as HD and 4K models. Continue reading CES: Sony, TCL Televisions Will Feature Streamer Google TV

Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

As streaming media services increasingly resemble cable bundles, more towns and counties are looking to regulate them. In Georgia for example, three municipalities filed a federal lawsuit against Netflix, Hulu and other services for as much as 5 percent of their gross revenue in an attempt to treat them as cable services. According to the lawsuit, Netflix earned about $103 million over the recent five years from subscribers in Gwinnett County, Georgia. If treated as a cable provider, that would represent $5.15 million in retroactive fees. Continue reading Municipalities Want Streaming Services to Pay Franchise Fees

Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

By the end of 2020, Netflix signed up a record 37 million new subscribers for a total of 203.7 million users, driven by the home-bound people eager for more entertainment during the COVID-19 pandemic. This latest bump in subscriber numbers took place in an increasingly competitive environment with new streaming services, including Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max and Comcast’s Peacock. Unlike other TV networks, Netflix has been able to offer more new content during the pandemic, with 500+ new titles in post production or ready to air. Continue reading Netflix Tops 200 Million Subs in 2020, Lifted by the Pandemic

CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

ATSC 3.0, the IP-based broadcast television standard created to improve viewing across future fixed and mobile devices, had a presence at CES 2021 in the form of new technologies and TV sets. Sony, LG and BitRouter were among the companies debuting NextGen TV tech at this year’s show. Sony’s Bravia XR line of LED and OLED sets is ATSC 3.0 compatible, as are LG’s new 4K and 8K UHD TVs. BitRouter introduced a new Linux-based ATSC 3.0 receiver and the company’s ZapperBox ATSC 3.0 set-top box, which will be available for licensing by other brands. Continue reading CES: New Sony and LG TVs Support the ATSC 3.0 Standard

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