Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte had ruled that VidAngel, which has streamed hundreds of Disney, Fox and Warner Bros. movies without permission, was illegal. Now a jury has ordered the company to pay $62.4 million to those injured studios, potentially forcing it to shutter its doors. The Utah-based VidAngel ripped movies from DVD copies and then created versions sanitized of violence, sex and other so-called objectionable material. Earlier, VidAngel stated that it was allowed to do this under the federal Family Movie Act. Continue reading Jury Finds VidAngel Must Pay Movie Studios $62.4 Million

Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Amazon plans to build more Whole Foods stores across the United States, indicate sources, with the goal of adding more customers within reach of the company’s two-hour delivery service. The move is a transformation for the grocery store, which had slowed its growth in the years before Amazon’s 2017 purchase for about $13.5 billion. Although Amazon wouldn’t comment on expansion plans, sources say that Whole Foods staffers are searching for potential retail space in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming, which currently don’t have Whole Foods stores. Continue reading Amazon to Expand Whole Foods Stores, Prime Now Delivery

Studies on Kids and Tech Flip the Meaning of Digital Divide

Experts are coming to grips with the impact of digital technology on children. Educators worried that students from poor homes would find themselves on the wrong side of the digital divide, but, in fact, many states are spending money to make sure that all their students have access to computers, while Silicon Valley parents are choosing to raise their children with traditional toys and non-digital activities. The reason is that technologists are privy to recent research about the dangers of exposing kids to screen time. Continue reading Studies on Kids and Tech Flip the Meaning of Digital Divide

Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

Facebook struck a deal with Utah-based Vidpresso to acquire its technology and absorb its seven-person team, without actually buying the company. Vidpresso’s website says that the new partnership will help put its tools in the hands of creators. Founded in 2012 to “make video more like HTML,” Vidpresso allows publishers to incorporate interactive graphics and superimposed captions to encourage viewers to respond to polls or ask questions. BuzzFeed, Nasdaq, NBC, TED, Turner Sports and Univision are among its customers. Continue reading Facebook in Pursuit of Interactive Video With Vidspresso Deal

HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Against the backdrop of eroding live TV viewership and the expansion of video games and Web video, acclaimed filmmaker Steven Soderbergh (“Traffic,” “The Knick”) has directed “Mosaic,” an interactive series with branching narratives. Co-developed by Soderbergh and former Universal Pictures head Casey Silver with screenwriter Ed Solomon, “Mosaic” is a multi-episodic mystery that allows audiences to choose the story threads they experience. The series is now available for free download from Android and Apple stores and for viewing with Apple TV. Continue reading HBO Experiments with Branching Narrative TV Series and App

Facebook to Stream College Football in First Exclusive Deal

Facebook is bringing football to its social media platform: not NFL games, but rather 15 college football games whose exclusive rights are owned by Stadium, a 24/7 digital sports broadcaster. Stadium will produce customized programs for Facebook that will not be shown elsewhere, either online or on broadcast television. In sports, Facebook has streamed some NBA and MLB games and signed a deal with Fox Sports to stream some Champions League soccer matches, but the Stadium deal is the company’s first exclusive sports deal. Continue reading Facebook to Stream College Football in First Exclusive Deal

VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

VidAngel, the Utah-based video streaming service that filters out language, nudity and violence from Hollywood movies, launched a new version of its service that it hopes will address concerns about release windows and licensing fees. Disney, Warner Bros. and Fox sued VidAngel for copyright infringement, and in December, U.S. District Judge Andre Birotte issued an injunction against the company, which appealed. While litigation plays out in the 9th Circuit Court, however, VidAngel is back in the game with a new service. Continue reading VidAngel Debuts New Service as 9th Circuit Court Mulls Suit

Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

As Amazon rapidly expands its free shipping, retailers are struggling to compete, looking to a range of fulfillment companies to help offer faster, less expensive delivery options. Amazon Prime provides two-day shipping on millions of items found on its site. Shipping companies such as FedEx, threatened by Amazon’s reach, have targeted smaller businesses, from startups to midsized national chains, that can’t compete with Amazon, Walmart and other big retailers spending billlions of dollars to speed-up delivery. Continue reading Amazon’s Free Shipping Casts Shadow Over Smaller Retailers

Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 Powers Devices with Artificial Intelligence

Nvidia unveiled its Jetson TX2 platform, designed for devices that have limited bandwidth like drones, traffic cameras, and manufacturing robots. Some of these devices, such as a camera drone, may capture large amounts of data without working in the cloud or a connected data center. Subsequently, these devices have to do most of the processing themselves and Jetson 3.0 promises to make them more powerful. The TX2 chip, which provides twice the performance of the TX1 while using only half the energy, is designed for artificial intelligence at the edge of a network. Continue reading Nvidia’s Jetson TX2 Powers Devices with Artificial Intelligence

Facebook Launches Live 360 Video with National Geographic

Facebook rolled out its initial support for 360-degree Live streams, allowing publishers to stream immersive videos directly to News Feed. The first publisher to do so is National Geographic’s Facebook Page, which will show scientists emerging from 80 days of isolation in pods at Utah’s Mars Desert Research Station and feature footage of the ersatz Mars landscape and interviews with the researchers. Later in the month, Facebook Live 360 broadcasts will be an option in Facebook Live’s API. Continue reading Facebook Launches Live 360 Video with National Geographic

Google to Expand Tests of Wireless Internet to 24 Locations

Google has been testing its wireless-transmission technology using the 3.5 GHz band in Kansas City. Now, a redacted Federal Communications Commission filing reveals that the company has plans to set up its experimental transmitters for 24 months at up to 24 locations in the U.S., including Provo, Utah; Omaha, Nebraska; and Boulder, Colorado. The filing shows that Google is asking for authorization to operate in the range of 3.4 to 3.8 GHz, relying on newly available spectrum. Continue reading Google to Expand Tests of Wireless Internet to 24 Locations

The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

The VOID has opened its “Ghostbusters”-themed experience inside Madame Tussauds wax museum in Times Square. “For $50, visitors can strap on a VR headset and a backpack computer fashioned into a ‘Ghostbusters’ proton pack, pick up a matching gun-shaped plastic prop, and act out a cinematic fantasy in real life,” explains The Verge, which describes “Ghostbusters: Dimension” as “stunningly intricate.” The experience utilizes tracking markers to create full-body avatars of guests and haptic feedback to add unique physical sensations. As Road to VR notes, its success “has something to do with its ‘4D’ components (e.g., the Slimer-cued mist, mock-rickety platforms, the vibrating vest)” and “the user engagement prompted by walking around in and interfacing with a semi-real virtual space.” Continue reading The VOID Debuts its First Mixed Reality Attraction in New York

‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

The VOID (Vision of Infinite Dimensions), a virtual reality theme park in Utah, is launching a new VR experience in NYC’s Times Square in partnership with Sony Pictures, for the studio’s new “Ghostbusters” film. Opening up small-scale versions of its Utah park is part of the company’s business plan, along with creating its own content and immersive versions of films and video games. In Utah’s park, attendees wear a haptic suit that tracks their movements and a VR headset, powered by a supercomputer backpack that allows untethered walking. Continue reading ‘Ghostbusters’ VR Experience Coming to Times Square in July

AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

Google’s super-fast broadband service, Google Fiber, has only debuted in four cities serving fewer than 100,000 people. But its very existence spurred Comcast and AT&T to up their game, offering the same 1-gigabit Internet speed. Now, the leader, AT&T, offers its GigaPower service in 20 urban areas, and Comcast, which tested cable-based gigabit in Atlanta, has plans to roll it out in Nashville, Chicago, Detroit and Miami later this year. That probably suits Google just fine, since its end game is to sell ads requiring that speed. Continue reading AT&T Winning Race to Gigabit Internet, Passing Google Fiber

MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

French startup MovieSwap has a new way for users who own DVDs to stream and swap them online. The company, which has a 200,000+ library of DVDs, says subscribers who own DVDs can send in their physical DVD collection and then stream them online, “swap” movies with other users, or pay to receive DVDs that they add to their digital collections. MovieSwap is not alone in creating models that skirt Hollywood studios’ copyright infringement laws, but so far the trade group that represents Hollywood studios, MPAA, has no comment. Continue reading MovieSwap, VidAngel Claim DVD Streaming Services Are Legal

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