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Google: Dare to Daydream
June 18, 2016
Google's Cardboard has proved to the masses that virtual reality is more than a pipe dream. Inexpensive cardboard headsets leverage smartphones to create makeshift head-mounted displays for low-level VR experiences. For those whose fancies of owning a US$600 Rift or a $900 Vive were out of reach, Cardboard was a way to keep their imaginations captive while Google was dreaming of Daydream.
Nintendo's New Zelda Adventure Draws E3 Cheers
June 16, 2016
Nintendo on Tuesday offered E3 attendees a preview of The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, the latest title in the action-adventure franchise. This time the story involves much more than rescuing a princess. The game actually has been years in the making, and at E3 Nintendo pulled out all stops, devoting much of its booth to the game. Nintendo presented two different demos of Breath of Wild.
Sony Unveils Slew of New PlayStation Titles
June 15, 2016
Sony on Monday announced its new game lineup for the year at the Electronic Entertainment Expo at the Los Angeles Convention Center. "We have just concluded the PlayStation E3 Press Conference for 2016 and if ever there was a year dedicated to thrilling entertainment experiences, this is it," noted Shawn Layden, president of Sony Interactive Entertainment.
Microsoft Expands Xbox Gaming Territory
June 14, 2016
Microsoft on Monday launched a new lineup of Xbox game devices at its E3 conference, including Xbox One S, its smallest and most compact console to date. The company also previewed the highly anticipated Project Scorpio, which it claims will be the most powerful game console ever created. The new Xbox Play Anywhere program will allow game play on Xbox consoles or Windows 10 devices.
New Samsung Fitness Trackers Have Music Built-In
June 8, 2016
Samsung last week unveiled its Gear Fit2 fitness band and Gear IconX earbud set. The Gear Fit2 will be available for $180 this Friday at major retailers. The IconX will hit shelves in the third quarter of this year. The Gear Fit2 has a built-in GPS and a heart rate monitor. The Gear IconX is a pair of Bluetooth earbuds that can track fitness information.
HP Offers Versatile PC Gaming Machines for Grown-Ups
June 2, 2016
HP last week introduced several new additions to its Omen by HP gaming hardware line: 15.6-inch and 17.3-inch laptops, a desktop PC and a 32-inch Quad HD4 display. The laptops will be available next month with a starting price of $900; the desktop and display will be available in August at HP online and at select retailers, with pricing as yet undisclosed.
No Man's Sky: Life After Launch
June 2, 2016
Persistence. It's what permeates the fabric of upcoming sci-fi odyssey No Man's Sky, and it's what will see the game well past its launch this summer. While eager to set out into a digital space that's populated with 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 unique planets, most gamers have expressed patience as developers march toward the release.
Pay TV Firms Eke Out Tiny Gains in Customer Satisfaction
June 1, 2016
After two years of declining customer satisfaction, the telecommunications sector has halted the slide, according to the ACSI Telecommunications Report 2016, released Wednesday. There was a 1.9 percent gain -- to 70.1 on a 100-point scale -- in satisfaction with pay TV services, Internet service providers, fixed-line telephone services, wireless phone services and mobile phone makers.
Coalition Wants FCC to Look Into Data Cap Exemptions
May 27, 2016
A coalition of technology companies and advocacy groups earlier this week wrote to the Federal Communications Commission, urging it to open a public investigation into zero-rating practices, in which mobile providers allow some video or music providers to be excluded from data caps. The group called on the FCC to examine the zero-rating practices to determine whether they harm competition.
Tiny HopperGo Neatly Stashes Loads of Mobile Entertainment
May 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to change the way we view recorded TV. It made location-shifting as easy as time-shifting via its Sling technology, and its Hopper let users transfer recordings to a mobile device. Now it has introduced another option for taking recorded content anywhere: the HopperGO, a compact DVR hard disk drive that lets users transfer content from a set-top box to the portable unit.
Twitter Loosens Tweet's Leash
May 25, 2016
Twitter on Tuesday announced a number of changes to tweets, including what will be included in a message's 140-character count. The changes will be rolled out in the coming months. When replying to a tweet, tagged @names at the beginning of the reply no longer will be included in the character count. Photos, GIFs, videos, polls and quote tweets won't be counted against the character limit.
OnePlus Offers Free Headsets to Lure Crowd to VR Smartphone Launch
May 25, 2016
The 30,000 virtual reality headsets OnePlus announced it would give away as part the unveiling of its OnePlus 3 smartphone were snapped up Monday, the day they became available. OnePlus has set up a VR space called "The Loop" in which it will unveil the OnePlus 3. The Loop can be accessed only by users of the OnePlus Loop VR headsets, made by AntVR.
Oculus Riles Users Over Piracy Block That Fails Anyway
May 25, 2016
It took a hacker just a day to come up with a workaround for the platform update Oculus released last week, which blocked users from running the company's games on rival virtual reality systems. Version 1.4 of the Oculus App blocked a hack from LibreVR called "Revive" that allowed users to play Oculus games on rival systems, including the HTC Vive and Valve.
Yahoo Bids Could Seriously Underwhelm
May 24, 2016
Bids for Yahoo's core assets were expected to come in at between $2 billion and $3 billion, far below prior estimates that it could fetch $4 billion to $8 billion at auction, according to a news report published last week. Verizon, which remains the leading candidate for Yahoo's assets, and other contenders met with CEO Marissa Mayer at the company's Sunnyvale, California, headquarters
Google Plots Home Invasion
May 19, 2016
Google CEO Sundar Pichai kicked off the company's annual I/O developers conference on Wednesday with a keynote address that included previews of a batch of new products. Among those showcased were Google Assistant, a tool that can understand and respond to complex questions in real time; and Home, Google's highly anticipated response to Amazon's Echo speaker.
BitTorrent Live Aims to Iron Out Live-Streaming Kinks
May 19, 2016
BitTorrent on Tuesday announced at the Internet & Television Expo an application called "BitTorrent Live" that applies its distributed file-sharing technology to video streaming. BitTorrent is able to speed up file downloads by storing pieces of a file on computers throughout the Net and reassembling them when a request is made for the file. BitTorrent Live does the same for streaming live video.
AT&T Snags Quickplay for DirecTV Expansion
May 17, 2016
AT&T on Monday announced that it has agreed to buy Quickplay Media, which will serve as the backbone for DirecTV's upcoming multiplatform streaming video services. Quickplay, which supports AT&T's U-Verse TV Everywhere service, will support DirecTV Now, DirecTV Mobile and DirecTV Preview. The services will allow DirecTV content to be viewed on mobile phones, smart TVs, PCs and tablets.
Google to Dim Flash Player in Chrome Browser
May 17, 2016
Google last week announced that it would minimize use of Adobe's Flash Player in its Chrome Web browser by the end of the year by turning off its default status. When Chrome encounters a Web page, it will report the presence of Flash Player only if a user has indicated that the domain should execute Flash or if the site is in one of the top 10 domains using Flash, ‎Google's Anthony LaForge said.
Charter-TWC Merger Clears Final Regulatory Hurdle
May 16, 2016
Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable last week announced that California regulators approved their planned merger following a series of hearings in which the companies agreed to open access to underserved communities. The California Public Utilities Commission voted unanimously to approve the merger, which requires the combined company to provide low-cost broadband access.
Battlefield 1 Balances Gaming Fun With WW1 Realism
May 13, 2016
The latest title in the long-running Battlefield series made its debut last week. Instead of another near-future setting with the latest high-tech body armor and assault weapons, DICE and Electronic Arts are putting players in the trenches of the First World War and outfitting them with bolt-action rifles, horses and gas masks. The series launched in 2001 with the World War 2-themed Battlefield 1942.
Amazon Video Direct Could Become Another Prime Mover
May 11, 2016
Amazon on Tuesday announced the launch of Amazon Direct Video, a service that will let content creators not only reach tens of millions of potential viewers with self-generated video uploads, but also participate in revenue sharing. Amazon will use the new service as an additional incentive to boost its Prime membership, which includes free two-day shipping for online purchases and other perks.
4th Time's the Charm for Uncharted
May 7, 2016
The final chapter in Sony's PlayStation 4 exclusive Uncharted 4: A Thief's End brings the story of treasure hunter Nathan Drake to a satisfying conclusion, suggest early reviews. The game will hit retail outlets Tuesday. The game is the final title in the series, developer Naughty Dog has said. It seems that the studio went out all to ensure that the saga ended on a high note.
Hulu May Offer a Live TV Broadcast Option
May 2, 2016
Hulu reportedly is in talks to launch a cable TV-like service early next year. Hulu, which is a joint venture of Walt Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast's NBCUniversal, is said to be negotiating with Disney and Fox to deliver live broadcast and paid channels, including ABC, ESPN, Disney, Fox, Fox News, FX and Fox Sports. Other programmers and content providers apparently have discussed potential partnerships with Hulu.
TiVo's New Roamio for Cord Cutters Cuts the Subscription Fee
April 29, 2016
TiVo on Wednesday announced a new version of its Roamio OTA digital video recorder aimed at the growing market of cable cord cutters, with a box that includes a hefty 1 TB of storage space and no monthly subscription fee. The DVR can record up to 150 hours of high-definition programming and up to four television shows at the same time, the company said.
Regulators Impose Caveats on Charter TWC Merger Approval
April 27, 2016
Federal regulators on Monday approved Charter Communications' $78 billion merger with Time Warner Cable and its $10.4 billion acquisition of Bright House Networks, but with a number of tough conditions. The Justice Department filed a settlement agreement to block the new company from enforcing any deal that makes it harder for online video distributors to get video content from programmers.
Apple's Books, Movies Fall Victim to Chinese Crackdown
April 25, 2016
The Chinese government ordered Apple to shut down its iBooks and iTunes Movies services in the country, according to news reports published last week. China's State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television reportedly called for the closure. The government in February announced a policy banning all foreign media from publishing in China without direct approval.
Sports Fans and Social Media, Part 2: Perils, Pitfalls and Best Practices
April 22, 2016
This fall will see a 10-game pilot of professional football streamed on social media -- Twitter, to be specific. It's a continuation of the NFL's search for gold in the veins of digital broadcasting and an opportunity for sports brands to forge new and deeper relations with fans. For teams looking to bolster their brands, social networks have evolved into a critical channel.
Google Fattens Up Entertainment Programming Search Results
April 21, 2016
Google will begin listing live air times for TV shows in its search results, Danial Alegre, president of global partnerships announced Wednesday at the National Association of Broadcasters trade show in Las Vegas. This new feature will allow users to search for movies and TV shows. Results will show availability on broadcast and cable TV channels, as well as streaming and online rentals.
White House Call for Set-Top Competition Strikes Nerves
April 20, 2016
The Obama administration last week called on the Federal Communications Commission to open the cable TV set-top box market to competition. Doing so would let companies create innovative, high-quality and low-cost products, the White House said. "American families will have options to own a device for much less money that will integrate everything they want," wrote Jason Furman and Jeffrey Zients.
YouTube Wants You to See the World From Every Angle
April 19, 2016
YouTube on Monday announced the rollout of live-streaming 360-degree video and spatial audio, part of the company's push to boost its reach in the growing market for immersive video and virtual reality. It has provided support for 360-degree video for more than a year, but it has been working with content creators to push the technology even further, Chief Product Officer Neal Mohan said.
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