Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

The Secure Content Storage Association (SCSA), the consortium of entertainment and storage companies, announced the final specifications for its new premium content playback technology and gave it a name: Vidity. The solution supports the secure delivery, storage and consumption of movies, including those mastered in 4K and HDR, across multiple devices. Vidity partners include Fox, Warner Bros., Universal, Samsung and Walmart, but neither Disney nor Apple are involved. Compatible products and services are expected to reach market late 2015. Continue reading Vidity to Enable Download of 4K HDR Movies Across Devices

E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Another Amazon Prime competitor has entered the mix. San Jose-based eBay is experimenting with a program that offers its customers free, fast shipping and returns for about $20 per year. The e-commerce company does not control shipping, so it has to work with sellers that agree to send items the same day they are ordered. In return, eBay gives those sellers discounts on selling fees and subsidies to help with the cost of shipping. The shipping program, eBay+, is only available in Germany for now. Continue reading E-Commerce Giant eBay Starts Shipping Program in Germany

Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Walmart plans to launch a new loyalty program that will offer online customers unlimited free shipping for $50 per year. The program is half the cost of Amazon Prime, but does not include some of Prime’s popular perks such as streaming movies and TV shows, photo storage, and e-books. Walmart’s new service is part of a larger competition between retailers and e-commerce marketplaces for loyal customers. Walmart did not specify which markets will be part of the initial launch. Continue reading Walmart to Test New Shipping Service Similar to Amazon Prime

Percentage of Mobile-Only Shoppers at Top Retailers Increases

According to comScore, 10 percent of Internet users in the U.S. only go online via smartphones and tablets. The measurement firm further notes that 13 percent of users accessing retail apps and sites do so via mobile devices only. Interestingly, the number of mobile-only shoppers at the top 10 retailers exceeds 50 percent in some cases. During January, for example, comScore reports the following percentages for mobile-only shoppers at top retailers: 51 percent at Walmart, 59 percent at Apple, and 53 percent at Target. Continue reading Percentage of Mobile-Only Shoppers at Top Retailers Increases

Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Walmart has begun selling its own HDMI streaming media stick — the Vudu Spark — for $24.95 at Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The Wi-Fi device features a dedicated remote, is powered via USB, and supports 7.1 surround sound and video up to 1080p. It looks like the Spark is largely a single-purpose stick, loaded only with the Vudu app (Walmart’s streaming video service), but the stick is priced $10 less than Google’s Chromecast and currently includes $25 in Vudu credits over five months for customers who activate it. Continue reading Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

The home entertainment divisions of Hollywood studios are projected to generate record sales of movies and TV shows on digital platforms this holiday shopping season between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Digital sales are experiencing an upswing as more consumers access media via their mobile devices, smart TVs and connected game consoles. In addition, retailers such as Best Buy, Target and Walmart are pushing digital in an effort to make up for the downward trend in disc sales. Continue reading New Holiday Sales Records Predicted for Digital Home Video

More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

According to Adobe’s 2014 Digital Index Online Shopping data, 29 percent of online sales on Thanksgiving Day and 27 percent on Black Friday took place via smartphones or tablets (led by iOS shoppers). New online sales records were set for both days, while Singles’ Day also set a new record and could surpass Cyber Monday this time around. Meanwhile, the CEA reports that consumers are purchasing more TVs, thanks in part to more affordable UHD offerings. Continue reading More U.S. Shoppers Turn to Mobile Devices for Holiday Deals

Walmart to Introduce Vudu Spark Streaming Stick for Holidays

Walmart is launching its first video streaming stick, Vudu Spark, in time for the holiday season. This HDMI stick simply plugs into a television, connects to a Wi-Fi network, and starts playing movies and TV shows from Vudu, the Walmart-owned streaming video service. Vudu Spark will be competing with similar products, such as Google’s Chromecast and Roku streaming sticks, both of which already offer access to the Vudu app and many other streaming services. Continue reading Walmart to Introduce Vudu Spark Streaming Stick for Holidays

Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Roku announced that its channel selections now include Google Play Movies & TV, which allows users to watch films and shows rented or purchased via Google Play. Unlike the Google Play Movies & TV app for iOS, users will be able to access content directly through the Roku channel. This may seem like odd news since Google recently announced its own Android TV streaming box, the $100 Nexus Player, which will launch this month. In related news, Vudu is now available on select TiVo models. Continue reading Google Play Movies & TV Comes to Roku, TiVo Includes Vudu

Retailers Block Apple Pay Despite Early Popularity with Users

Major stores including Walmart, Gap, Rite Aid and CVS will no longer allow the use of Apple Pay. Instead, these companies are trying to push their own app, known as CurrentC, which would enable customers to pay directly with their checking accounts. CurrentC would save the retailers money on credit card transaction fees, but consumers seem to have already adopted ApplePay. In the first 72 hours of the Apple Pay launch, the service registered one million credit cards. Continue reading Retailers Block Apple Pay Despite Early Popularity with Users

Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

E-commerce giant Amazon reportedly has plans to open its first brick-and-mortar store in the heart of New York City. The company’s new space on 34th Street across from the Empire State Building may likely be used as a mini warehouse that will handle same-day delivery, product returns, and pick-ups of online orders. A physical store is expected to help provide faster service and delivery for New Yorkers in addition to building more brand recognition for the online-based company. Continue reading Amazon May Open its First Physical Store in New York City

Amazon in Talks with Hollywood Studios to Join UltraViolet

Amazon is reportedly in talks with at least three Hollywood studios to join the UltraViolet digital locker consortium. According to people with knowledge of the matter, Amazon has been in talks with Sony Pictures Entertainment, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. The retail giant is currently ranked No. 2 behind Apple in digital movie sales and rentals. If Amazon were to implement UltraViolet, it could help jumpstart efforts to expand the $2 billion online movie-sales business and make it a greater threat to Apple. Continue reading Amazon in Talks with Hollywood Studios to Join UltraViolet

Artec Ships 3D Body Scanning Booths for Replicas and More

Artec, a Luxembourg-based 3D scanning company, began shipping 3D body scanners that capture every detail of individuals before allowing users to order mini replicas of themselves. The Shapify Booth, featuring multiple rotating scanners, captures the image in around 12 seconds. During a one-week test, 1,000 people were scanned so that replicas could be created. The results led to the Walmart-owned U.K. supermarket chain Asda to purchase 10 booths, which cost $180,000 each.  Continue reading Artec Ships 3D Body Scanning Booths for Replicas and More

Vizio Undercuts Price with Launch of P-Series 4K LED TV Line

Vizio has announced the availability of its P-Series 4K LED HDTV line we first saw during January’s CES. The company is dramatically undercutting most current UHD offerings from competing manufacturers. The 50-inch model is priced at $999, which could help push 4K into the mainstream — while the top-of-the-line 70-inch model is priced at a reasonable $2,499. Despite the cost of the P-Series line, Vizio has not skimped on the specs, including features such as Full-Array LED backlighting and local dimming. Continue reading Vizio Undercuts Price with Launch of P-Series 4K LED TV Line

Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

While Apple had a big weekend selling more than 10 million new iPhones, it wasn’t the only tech giant breaking records. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. closed its first day of trading on Friday at $93.89 per share, a 38 percent increase from its IPO price, and the biggest first-day jump for an IPO of at least $10 billion. The IPO became the largest ever at $25 billion, after underwriters exercised a greenshoe option to increase the deal size by 15 percent based on strong demand. Continue reading Alibaba Sets World IPO Record After its First Day of Trading

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