Number of Pay-TV Package Subscribers Drops to 66 Percent

The number of households in the U.S. that are subscribing to some sort of multichannel pay-TV package has declined to 66 percent in 2022, from 88 percent in 2012, according to a new study from the Leichtman Research Group. The study defines pay TV as multichannel service delivered via cable, satellite, telco TV or ISP. “Two-thirds of U.S. TV households now get a live pay-TV service, a significant decrease from 79 percent five years ago,” LRG president and principal analyst Bruce Leichtman said, calling the decline “not solely a function of those disconnecting services, but is also related to a slowdown in those entering or reentering the category.” Continue reading Number of Pay-TV Package Subscribers Drops to 66 Percent

Microsoft Rolls Out New Surface Products, Apple Integrations

Microsoft is launching a host of new Surface products in time for the holidays. The Surface Pro 9, Surface Laptop 5, and Surface Studio 2+ were among the debuts at the fall 2022 Microsoft event. The Surface Pro 9 comes to market October 25 with two models, one with Intel inside and the other powered by Microsoft’s own SQ3 chip, an always-connected 5G ARM processor customized by Qualcomm that features a new Neural Processing Unit and up to 19 hours of battery. The Intel variants start at $999 while the SQ3 options begin at $1,299. Continue reading Microsoft Rolls Out New Surface Products, Apple Integrations

Dish Network Sets Shutdown Date for Sling Media’s Slingbox

Slingbox, the pioneering streaming device from Sling Media, will be permanently taken offline on November 9. The “place-shifting” technology that let people take pay-TV programming with them on mobile devices (and helped foster Internet streaming), is being shelved by parent Dish Network, which announced the shutdown in 2020. Sling Media was founded in 2004 and purchased by Dish parent EchoStar three years later for $380 million. Although the Slingbox was deemed “revolutionary,” it never achieved mass adoption, ultimately getting displaced by content-focused streamers like Netflix and YouTube. But some Sling tech continues to be used by the industry. Continue reading Dish Network Sets Shutdown Date for Sling Media’s Slingbox

Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Google debuted its new flagship smartphones, the Pixel 7 and Pixel 7 Pro, powered by updated Tensor G2 processors. The company also showcased a new Pixel Watch with built-in Fitbit. The devices were touted at Thursday’s Made by Google event in Brooklyn, following months of leaks after a developer conference preview in May. The phones run on the updated Android 13, which was rolled out to the Pixel 6 in August. The new gear ships October 13, and Google says the new phones pack five years of security updates. With 8GB of RAM, the entry level Pixel 7 phone costs $599, while Pixel 7 Pro pricing starts at $899 with 12GB of RAM (with configurations up to 512GB). Continue reading Google Unveils Its First Smartwatch and New Pixel 7 Phones

Samsung Unveils Its Latest Folding Phones, Earbuds, Watch

Samsung believes foldable phones will play a key role in the future of mobile, and the company has unveiled two high-end models, available later this month. The $1,800 Galaxy Z Fold4 becomes the equivalent of a small tablet, opening like a book to a 7.6-inch diagonal internal display with a 6.2-inch outer screen. The $1,000 Galaxy Z Flip4 has a main display measuring 6.7 inches when opened vertically. It closes to about half the size of the average smartphone, with a mini exterior screen on which text messages and alerts can be viewed. Samsung also unveiled its Galaxy Watch5 Pro and Galaxy Buds2 Pro this week, Continue reading Samsung Unveils Its Latest Folding Phones, Earbuds, Watch

Google Stadia Adds Party Stream and Resume Live Features

Google is introducing Stadia improvements including Party Stream, which lets players invite up to nine others to participate in a game session directly through the Stadia app, eliminating the need for a third-party intermediary. Friends can be invited to play along or just watch in any combination, limited to a total of 10. Stadia’s Party Stream chat makes voice and emoji reactions available. Party Stream is available beginning this week to desktop users and through the mobile web on Android. Also new, ”resume live stream” lets players switch Stadia games without having to end a live stream. Continue reading Google Stadia Adds Party Stream and Resume Live Features

Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Lyft Media is the new business unit under which the ride hailing company is consolidating its advertising sales activities. More than two years since Lyft acquired Halo Cars Inc., manufacturer of car-top digital monitors, it is renewing its focus on generating ad revenue. In-car tablets that show advertisements in addition to letting riders track routes, control music and tip and rate their drivers are being testing in Los Angeles and by year’s end will be in 25 percent of Lyft vehicles there and in Washington D.C., Chicago and San Francisco. Continue reading Lyft Media Aims to Expand Multi-Platform Digital Ad Presence

Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

The latest step in the paid password-sharing strategy Netflix began testing earlier this year allows users to purchase add-home subscriptions in select countries. Expanding on the “add extra member” feature previously deployed in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, subscribers in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras will begin in August to be able to “add a home.” Members on the Basic plan are permitted to add one extra home, Standard up to two extra, while Premium may add three. Each additional home subscription includes travel access via tablet, laptop or smartphone. Continue reading Netflix Expands Global Approach to Password-Sharing Tests

Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

Netflix has tapped Sennheiser to bring spatial audio its global subscribers. Netflix says its AMBEO 2-Channel Spatial Audio will work with any speakers and device to help convey a cinematic experience. “Some of the most iconic moments in TV and film are defined by the immersive moments they create through sound,” Netflix said, citing “Eddie Munson’s epic guitar scene in ‘Stranger Things 4,’” the series used to premiere the new technology as part of its development with Sennheiser. “Red Notice,” “The Witcher” and “Resident Evil” are also among the first shows to get the AMBEO upgrade. Continue reading Sennheiser Tech Delivers Immersive Spatial Audio for Netflix

HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

HTC is launching its Desire 22 Pro smartphone, which emphasizes VR and AR integration centering around HTC’s own Vive ecosystem and the open-source metaverse platform it calls the Viverse. The Desire 22 Pro’s preloaded Viverse app lets users access and manage NFTs and cryptocurrencies and other metaverse content. In February HTC announced the Viverse, where people can attend meetings or concerts, build avatars and play games. Optimized for HTC’s 5G products and Vive VR devices, users can join the Viverse from any phone, tablet, PC or VR headset. Continue reading HTC Desire 22 Pro Phone Integrates Cypto, NFTs, Metaverse

Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

During Apple’s Q2 conference call a few weeks ago, CEO Tim Cook admitted China’s new COVID-19 lockdowns would result in supply chain disruptions causing as much as $8 billion in lost sales this year. Although Cook tried to emphasize Apple’s supply chain as “truly global,” with manufacturing in the U.S. and elsewhere, the company’s reliance on China could be problematic, and reports are surfacing that sources at the company are saying Apple is now on the hunt for production locations outside China, with India and Vietnam, where Apple already has small manufacturing operations, mentioned as candidates. Continue reading Apple Said to Be Exploring Production Options Outside China

Audio Remix Function Expanded to Video for YouTube Shorts

YouTube is beginning a phased rollout for a new YouTube Shorts feature that, much like TikTok Stitches, allows users to remix videos using content created by others. The new feature will automatically opt-in videos across the platform, with IP owners able to opt-out if they don’t want their content used in remixes, the company says, explaining that it will function as a discovery feature. “Any time a Short is created from your own channel’s content, it will be attributed back to your original video with a link in the Shorts player,” notes YouTube. Continue reading Audio Remix Function Expanded to Video for YouTube Shorts

TCL Announces New Phones, Foldables and Tablets at MWC

TCL is expanding its affordable 30-series smartphone line with five new models, all of them featuring AMOLED displays and 50-megapixel main cameras for prices ranging from about $155 for the TCL 30 E to $277 for the TCL 5G. The 30 Series phones, which TCL teased at CES 2022, will be available in Europe beginning in April. Also at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, TCL unveiled two foldable concept phones and several tablets, including the NxtPaper MAX 10, a tablet featuring a paper-like 10.36-inch display in FHD+ for around $300 when it becomes available later this year, initially in Asia. Continue reading TCL Announces New Phones, Foldables and Tablets at MWC

Amazon Glow Gives Kids Connectivity for Activities & Games

This holiday season, families may be basking in the warmth of the new Amazon Glow, which debuted in limited release September 28. The crackling 14-inch vertical tower is a combination tablet, camera and projector and features an 8-inch LCD HD touchscreen and can project up to 19.2-inches. While the $250 introductory price tag may be considered steep for a device aimed at toddlers (it is marketed for ages 3 and up), the Amazon Glow lets kids play remotely with family and friends, and can anyone really put a price to quality time across the miles?  Continue reading Amazon Glow Gives Kids Connectivity for Activities & Games

Samsung Plans to Construct a $17 Billion Chip Plant in Texas

Samsung has announced plans to build a $17 billion chip plant in Taylor, Texas. The news comes on the heels of a government push to jump-start more U.S. semiconductor manufacturing and Senate approval of $52 billion in industry subsidies for new processor factories. The South Korea-based electronics giant already operates a chip fabrication plant in Austin, Texas, opened in 1997 and expanded in 2007. The Taylor facility will create new sourcing for chips, which have become precious amidst a global shortage, although the new factory is not expected to become operational until 2024. Continue reading Samsung Plans to Construct a $17 Billion Chip Plant in Texas