NBCU’s Fandango Purchases Streaming Video Service Vudu

Following the soft launch of its Peacock streaming service to Comcast Xfinity X1 and Flex customers, NBCUniversal is bringing another streamer into the fold, this time to expand its Fandango offerings. Movie ticket seller Fandango has acquired digital movie and TV streaming platform Vudu from retail giant Walmart, with plans to merge it with digital marketplace FandangoNOW. According to Walmart, Vudu is available on more than 100 million devices, while its mobile app has more than 14 million downloads.  Continue reading NBCU’s Fandango Purchases Streaming Video Service Vudu

Europe Attempts to Ease Strain From Increased Internet Traffic

European carriers such as Vodafone are experiencing a spike in data traffic due to increased usage by home-bound consumers. The European Commission, which has net neutrality regulations in place, warned the telcos to avoid blocking, slowing down or prioritizing traffic as they attempt to avoid gridlock. At the same time, the Commission is concerned that crucial services including healthcare and online learning might be impeded. Netflix, Disney+, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and Amazon Prime are among the companies cooperating with the European Union to curtail bandwidth usage for the time being. Continue reading Europe Attempts to Ease Strain From Increased Internet Traffic

Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

Universal Pictures Home Entertainment and Warner Bros. Home Entertainment inked a deal to form a joint DVD distribution venture in North America, for library titles, TV content and new releases. The pact, slated to be operational by Q1 2021, will last through 2031. Universal Pictures Home Entertainment president Eddie Cunningham will lead the venture, which will include executives from both studios. The two studios also signed license agreements for DVD distribution in countries outside of North America. Continue reading Universal, Warner Bros. Plan DVD Distribution Joint Venture

CES: Samsung Engineers Sero TV to Display Vertical Video

During CES in Las Vegas, Samsung introduced its new Sero TV, which is designed to rotate 90 degrees in order to display vertical video content — the portrait mode that is commonly recorded via today’s mobile phones. The format is increasingly popular on social media platforms (such as Snapchat, TikTok, Instagram and YouTube), and will soon become a focus of Quibi, the short-form streaming video service from Jeffrey Katzenberg and Meg Whitman. The 43-inch 4K Sero TV — “designed for the mobile generation” — has the ability to sync with Samsung smartphones and can automatically rotate based on the content being viewed. Continue reading CES: Samsung Engineers Sero TV to Display Vertical Video

Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Mobile games and home entertainment were big in 2019. Sensor Tower reported that Android and iOS mobile game players spent about $61.7 billion in 2019, up 12.8 percent from 2018’s $54.7 billion total. Mobile gaming also represented 74 percent of mobile spending for 2019. That year, home entertainment grew 8.4 percent to $25.2 billion, a record-breaking number. According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, the greatest areas of growth were digital, subscription streaming, and digital movie sales and rentals. Continue reading Mobile Games, Home Entertainment Strong Earners in 2019

Amazon Music to Introduce HD Service for CD-Quality Sound

Amazon is debuting an HD version of its music service, which means its digital sound quality will henceforth be on a par with that found on CDs. Music executives, some who have pushed for different tiers of subscription beyond Apple Music and Spotify’s typical $9.99-per-month, said Amazon’s move is “a sign of the music-streaming market’s maturation.” Although Tidal offers an HD sound service, Amazon Music, at the No. 3 spot by subscription numbers, will be the first major service to offer comparable quality audio. Continue reading Amazon Music to Introduce HD Service for CD-Quality Sound

8K Association Announces Performance Specs For 8K TVs

The 8K Association (8KA), a non-profit organization open to any company in the 8K value chain, determined and released the “key performance attributes” for consumer 8K televisions. The attributes were chosen in partnership with the association’s membership of leading consumer electronics brands, TV panel manufacturers and others in the 8K ecosystem. 8KA executive director Chris Chinnock noted that reaching this “milestone is a great testament to the cooperative spirit the members of the 8K Association enjoy.” Continue reading 8K Association Announces Performance Specs For 8K TVs

Consumers Top Cable Data Limits by Streaming 4K Video

Some consumers who binge on Netflix shows and other streaming programs in Ultra HD are beginning to feel the financial pinch. The 4K content quickly eats up users’ data caps — and costs them extra money for more high-speed Internet access. The number of such “power users” has reportedly doubled in the past year, and shows no sign of decreasing as more companies are unveiling new streaming video services. Consumers who watch a lot of video content may have few options except to upgrade to an unlimited data plan. Continue reading Consumers Top Cable Data Limits by Streaming 4K Video

MPAA Report Details Shifts in Home Entertainment Market

According to the MPAA’s annual Theatrical Home Entertainment Market Environment (THEME) Report, data from DEG and IHS Markit points to a significant reduction in the sales of video discs, including DVD, Blu-ray Disc, and Ultra HD Blu-ray. Global sales of video disc formats dropped from $25.2 billion in 2014 to $13.1 billion in 2018. However, global consumer spending on home entertainment increased 16 percent over 2017, thanks in part to the growing adoption of online subscription services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu. The combined theatrical and home entertainment market increased 25 percent from five years ago. Continue reading MPAA Report Details Shifts in Home Entertainment Market

HPA Tech Retreat: Managing Images for Consumer Displays

In August last year, Sony debuted a brand new line-up of Bravia Master Series 4K TVs, featuring the Netflix Calibration Mode, a setting that would match streaming Ultra HD 4K HDR content produced by Netflix to the TV’s display characteristics. At the HPA Tech Retreat, International Cinematographers Guild technologist Michael Chambliss moderated a discussion on this proprietary feature — only available on Sony TVs for Netflix content — with participants from Netflix, the UHD Alliance and ICG. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Managing Images for Consumer Displays

HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

That’s what ROAM Consulting president Pete Putman asked in his HPA Tech Retreat discussion of the apparently out-of-nowhere rise of 8K. But the presentation’s title — “8K: Whoa! How’d We Get There So Quickly?” — was actually misdirection, as Putman showed in great detail how the development, research and plans for 8K go as far back as the 1990s. His advice for those considering a 4K television is that they won’t have to wait long to buy an affordable 8K one. (Although many in the audience preferred the purchase of a 4K TV with HDR.) “CES 2019 was full of 8K TV models,” he noted. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: How Did 8K Media Get Here So Quickly?

HPA Tech Retreat: A Look at HDR & the Ambient Light Issue

Sony Pictures chief technology officer Don Eklund presented a look at HDR bias light analysis. Put plainly, the colorist grades the content in a dark room, with the light behind the screen rated at between 5 and 10 nits. But the average viewer watches that same content in a room with windows and lights. “We have a fundamental problem everyone here has experienced, with light leaking in the room through drapes,” said Eklund. “It crushes the blacks and offers colors that were not intended when the images were graded.” Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: A Look at HDR & the Ambient Light Issue

EPIX Offers Original Content, Movies via Streaming Service

MGM’s premium TV net EPIX has launched a new subscription streaming service that features original programming and films from MGM, Paramount and Lionsgate. The EPIX NOW app “is available for download today in the App store for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV, and in Google Play for Android phones and tablets,” reports Deadline. “It will also be coming soon to Roku devices and Amazon Fire TV.” The $5.99 per month service, which also includes the four EPIX linear live channels, will be available across additional devices later this year. Continue reading EPIX Offers Original Content, Movies via Streaming Service

U.S. Home Entertainment Spending Peaks at $23.3B in 2018

According to DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group, U.S. consumer spending on home entertainment during 2018 reached an estimated $23.3 billion, a new record. During CES, DEG revealed that subscription streaming and “transactional video-on-demand” (TVOD) boosted the amount spent, which was up 11.5 percent from 2017. DEG noted that the numbers are still preliminary and that final numbers will be revealed in early February. The biggest growth came from subscription streaming mainly via Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu. Continue reading U.S. Home Entertainment Spending Peaks at $23.3B in 2018

Samsung’s Next Frame TV Improves Smart Controls, HDR

Samsung announced that its next-gen Frame TV — which doubles as a rotating art display — features an updated artwork UI, expanded art library and additional customization features. The 4K UHD screen has been upgraded from HDR Pro to HDR10+ — and now comes with Bixby so that users can control the TV and compatible home devices by voice. The unit also touts new smart capabilities that make it easier to transfer Wi-Fi and Samsung account info from smartphones to the TV set via Bluetooth Low Energy. The new 55-inch Frame TV is available for $1,999, while the 65-inch version runs for $2,799. Continue reading Samsung’s Next Frame TV Improves Smart Controls, HDR

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