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Microsoft's Mixer Could Shake Up the Streaming Game
May 25, 2017
Microsoft on Thursday announced Mixer, a rebranded version of its game-streaming service previously known as "Beam." In addition to the name change, the service will include a number of new features designed to attract more gamers. The added features will unlock new possibilities for social streaming, while also helping viewers find specific content across the service, according to Microsoft.
Comcast Rolls the Dice With Xfinity Instant TV
May 24, 2017
Comcast has led the way in cable television ever since it acquired AT&T Broadband a decade ago. However, in recent years, new technologies from new competitors have been eating away at Comcast's growth. That's why Comcast not only has introduced Xfinity Mobile, which is its new wireless service, but also is getting ready to launch its own IPTV service, Xfinity Instant TV.
Nintendo Readies Mario for E3 Spotlight
May 16, 2017
Nintendo will provide numerous activities and spotlight its in-development titles at next month's E3 in Los Angeles. However, it once again has decided not to host a traditional press event, despite the fact that Nintendo was one of the first companies to establish the tradition of holding a pre-show briefing for institutional investors, analysts and the media.
Hulu Aims to Reinvent Live TV Experience
May 4, 2017
Hulu has announced a new live-streaming television service for $39.99 per month, which will place the company in direct competition with newly launched services from DirecTV Now, YouTube and other OTT content providers. The Hulu with Live TV beta will offer 50 channels of live-streaming television -- including sports, news, entertainment, children's programming and local network affiliates.
New Deals Turn Twitter's Content Stream Into a River
May 2, 2017
Twitter has announced a partnership with Bloomberg to launch a 24-hour streaming news service -- one of a dozen new content deals Twitter has entered to drive user engagement. CEO Jack Dorsey and a group of top executives announced the slate of programming agreements -- which include concerts from Live Nation, sports from Major League Baseball and the WNBA, and a morning news show from BuzzFeed.
Duty Calls Popular Shooter Back to World War II
April 28, 2017
Call of Duty will return to its World War II roots when the latest title arrives this November, publisher Activision Blizzard has announced. The franchise has been a steady hit maker since its 2003 debut. Various titles in the series have become regular staples in e-sports tournaments and Major League Gaming. Call of Duty is one of the most popular series in video game history.
C Spire's Place Among Cable TV Challengers
April 27, 2017
Cable TV has been facing mounting attacks from new technologies and new competitors. C Spire recently joined the action, announcing plans to enter the pay-TV space. It's not yet clear what C Spire TV will be, or how it will impact the marketplace. What we know so far is that C Spire is a regional player in Mississippi, so the service won't be available throughout the U.S.
Google Spins VR Experiences on the Web
April 14, 2017
Google on Thursday announced compatibility of its WebVR on Chrome with its low-cost Google Cardboard virtual reality system. It also launched WebVR Experiments, an online showcase for virtuality reality content in development. WebVR became available on Daydream-ready phones earlier this year. The newly launched WebVR Experiments are essentially proof-of-concept offerings.
Burger King Ad Creates Whopper of a Mess for Google Home
April 13, 2017
Burger King in essence hijacked the voice-activated Google Home speakers in some consumers' homes. In a 15-second television ad, the camera zooms in on a young man wearing the company uniform who says, "OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?" The trigger phrase for Google's AI Assistant activated Home speakers situated nearby, prompting them to read Wikipedia's description of the Whopper.
Why VR Is Failing
April 10, 2017
As a market, we seem to have trouble learning that three key elements are necessary for a new technology to take hold: It has to appear complete, it has to be compelling, and it has to seem like a value -- that is, be affordable. Compared to what we have today, the car that opened up the automotive market in the U.S. was none of those things -- yet it was incredibly successful.
Microsoft's Project Scorpio Goes to Extremes
April 6, 2017
The latest specs for the upcoming Xbox update, codenamed "Project Scorpio," suggest that it could take gaming to new extremes. Microsoft officially unveiled Project Scorpio at last year's E3, but it has offered few details about what gamers can expect, until now. Project Scorpio reportedly is ahead of schedule, but it is still at least six months away from a consumer launch.
Twitch Aims to Get Ahead of Steam
April 6, 2017
Twitch, the Amazon-owned live-streaming video platform, has launched its highly anticipated online game store. It includes goodie bags and other incentives, both for gamers who take the plunge and streamers who provide the content. Twitch earlier this year announced that it would be selling games and in-game content directly through the online store, competing with major gaming sites like Steam.
Reversing Net Neutrality
April 3, 2017
When one side or the other in a political debate refused to accept a decision, it used to be simply annoying, but lately it has become dangerous to business and to the economy. The current administration's wants "to jettison the Obama administration's net neutrality rules, which were intended to safeguard free expression online," Steve Lohrmarch wrote last week.
Verizon Wakes Up to Join Mobile TV Race
March 17, 2017
Following decades of slow movement due to cable companies facing no competition, the television world is changing rapidly. Lots of challengers have arisen in the pay-TV space in recent years. One of the latest comes from Verizon, which has improved its FiOS mobile app to offer data-free streaming. AT&T's DirecTV started this ball rolling with its wireless TV, or mobile TV, offering.
Nvidia's GeForce 1080 Ti Raises Graphical Chip Bar Yet Again
March 10, 2017
The first reviews of the newly released Nvidia GeForce GTX 1080 Ti came out on Thursday, and by all accounts this card has performed beyond expectations. Nvidia's new GPU can perform 35 percent faster than its GTX 1080, the company has claimed. Based on Nvidia's Pascal architecture, this flagship gaming GPU includes next-gen 11-Gbps GDDR5X memory, and an 11-GB frame buffer.
Nintendo Fans Get Their Hands on the Switch
March 6, 2017
Nintendo's Switch made its debut at retail stores on Friday in one of the gaming industry's most anticipated product launches. The console, which retails for $299.99, is Nintendo's attempt to revolutionize the industry by offering a device that can provide interactive gaming quality and control whether on the big screen at home, or in a multitude of settings requiring portability.
YouTube Jumps into the Live TV Streaming Fray
March 1, 2017
YouTube has jumped headfirst into the growing market for live streaming television with the announcement of YouTube TV, a service aimed squarely at cord cutters. The $35-a-month service will offer live sitcoms, dramas, news and sports from ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, ESPN, CW, Telemundo and other networks. It will include local TV stations offering news and sports in broadcast areas where customers live.
Can Former Amazon Fire TV Exec Save Apple TV From Itself?
February 9, 2017
Apple has hired Tim Twerdahl, the former head of Amazon's Fire TV unit, in an effort to revive its struggling Apple TV business, which has been losing market share to rival streaming content services. Twerdahl reportedly joined Apple this month as VP in charge of product marketing for Apple TV, and the company shifted the unit's former head to a post responsible for negotiating content deals.
Wireless, Telecom and Pay TV: The Future Is Coming Into Focus
February 2, 2017
Wireless, telecom and pay TV -- including cable, satellite and Internet services -- are all on a growth trajectory, but each company is taking a different path. That means comparing them will be more difficult going forward. In the past, the companies in these sectors in many respects looked the same and offered nearly the same basic services. Looking forward however, things appear very different.
Facebook Aims to Carve Out a Spot in the Living Room
February 2, 2017
Facebook is working on a video app for set-top boxes, according to a Wednesday report. The social network wants to deliver longer-form video content -- and with it video ads -- to the living room TV, the one screen it has been unable to reach. The Facebook app soon could be available on a variety of set-top boxes, including Apple TV. The initiative reportedly began in earnest last summer, after incubating for years as a concept.
Can the TV Industry Sustain Falling Prices?
January 30, 2017
Every year in advance of the Super Bowl, there are big sales on TVs, and this year is no exception. It also could be a milestone, as TVs could be bottoming out. TV prices are near a record low, yet sales continue to slip. In the long run, that won't be good for the industry or consumers. There was an "abrupt weakening of global demand for TV sets," IHS Markit concluded last year.
Facebook Taps Barra to Push VR to the Next Level
January 27, 2017
Facebook has announced that Hugo Barra will be onboarding the company to head up its virtual reality business, including the critically important Oculus team. Barra just days ago announced his departure from Xiaomi. Barra will fill the void left last month, when Brendan Iribe stepped down as CEO of Oculus to head up a new Facebook unit that will develop the PC side of its VR business.
Netflix Surprises Itself With Gangbusters Membership Growth
January 20, 2017
Netflix generated $8.3 billion in global streaming revenue in 2016, with 35 percent year-over-year growth, it reported Wednesday. The company ended last year with 93.8 million members, including 19 million net additions -- up from 17.4 million new subscribers in 2015. Netflix's global revenue for the fourth quarter of 2016 grew by 41 percent year-over-year to $2.4 billion, and 7.05 million net new members joined during that time period.
Nintendo Banks on Switch Hit
January 14, 2017
Nintendo on Thursday announced the Nintendo Switch handheld gaming console, its long-awaited successor to the poorly received Wii 2. The $300 Switch will hit the streets March 3. Purchasers will get the console, two Joy-Con controllers, a Joy-Con Grip, a set of Joy-Con wrist straps, a Nintendo Switch dock, an HDMI cable and an AC adapter. The Switch can be used as an independent handheld player.
Apple May Show Up Fashionably Late at the Original TV Party
January 12, 2017
Apple reportedly plans to follow premium channels HBO and Showtime, as well as streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, in creating its own original TV shows and movies. The company may be negotiating agreements with veteran content producers to buy the rights to scripted television programs. It likely will offer its content through an over-the-top service similar to Netflix.
Nvidia Lays Out Bold Strategy at CES
January 6, 2017
Nvidia offered a bold new strategy at this week's International CES in Las Vegas. The company, which has been a leader in hardware graphics technology for decades, recently has expanded into the realms of artificial intelligence, deep learning and automotive tech. Graphical support and video delivery will however remain a key component of the company's strategy, according to Nvidia CEO Jen-Hsun Huang.
AT&T, Time Warner Defend Merger to Lawmakers
December 10, 2016
AT&T and Time Warner executives this week appeared before a subcommittee of the Senate Judiciary Committee to respond to lawmakers' concerns about their $84 billion merger. Their testimony came at a time of high public skepticism of institutional power. Rival content and mobile providers applied further pressure with questions about the impact the deal would have on competition and pricing.
Netflix Offers Offline Option at Long Last
December 2, 2016
Giving in to years of customer pressure, Netflix has announced that a limited number of television shows and movies will be available for viewing offline without a live connection to the Internet. Customers have been asking for a way to view content on airplanes or other locations where Internet service might be unavailable or expensive, noted Eddy Wu, director of product innovation at Netflix.
Black Friday Shoppers Hungry for New Experiences, New Tech
November 22, 2016
Many consumers will rush to shopping malls and give their mobile devices a workout later this week. Fifty-nine percent of the U.S. population, or 137.4 million shoppers, is expected to hunt for bargains over Black Friday weekend, according to new survey from the National Retail Federation. The figures are up slightly from 58.7 percent, or 135.8 million shoppers, a year ago.
Can Charter Turn a Frog Into a Prince?
November 4, 2016
Charter intends to revive the damaged Time Warner Cable image and brand in the minds of the customer and investor, which is both a challenge and an opportunity. Charter and Comcast are two of the companies American consumers hate the most. However, the pay-TV industry has begun a complete transformation. In the coming new world, both Charter and Comcast may have a second chance.
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