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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.
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.
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.
Sports Fans and Social Media, Part 1: It's a Brand New Ball Game
April 19, 2016
Twitter and the NFL are betting that a partnership announced this month could help refine the roughly defined relationship between social media and the world of sports. The NFL set out to reclaim fans who chewed through their cable TV cords and strayed from the flock of football faithful. Twitter's motive in agreeing to stream 10 gridiron games during the 2016 season was growth and retention.
Amazon Offers Binge-Friendly Monthly Prime Subscriptions
April 18, 2016
Amazon on Monday began offering Prime Video as a standalone service with a monthly subscription option. Prime Video previously was offered only as part of a bundle with Amazon Prime, which is available for $99 a year. Amazon also offers a monthly Prime membership plan for $10.99, which includes all the benefits that come with the yearly Prime plan, including two-day free shipping.
ESPN Adds Drone Racing to Its Summer Schedule
April 14, 2016
The International Drone Racing Association and ESPN on Wednesday announced a multiyear international media distribution deal. Under the partnership, the network will showcase the 2016 U.S. National Drone Racing Championships, which will be held on Governors Island in New York City this summer. The national championships and the 2016 World Drone Racing Championships will be streamed live on ESPN3.
Gadget Ogling: Smarter Notes, Livelier Virtual Reality, and Bigger In-Flight Movies
April 14, 2016
We've for some time had Moleskine's Smart Notebooks, which allow you to jot down your thoughts and upload them to Evernote through an app. The new Smart Writing Set takes that idea and elevates it to a new plane, letting you quickly turn scrawled notes or doodles into digital files you can edit using a computer or any mobile app -- no smartphone camera required.
Facebook Entices VR Content Creators With Open Source Surround Cam
April 13, 2016
Facebook on Tuesday unveiled a high-quality 360-degree 3D camera suitable for creating virtual reality content. The Facebook Surround 360 system, which made its debut at the F8 developers conference, includes a production-ready camera -- which costs about $30,000 to build and looks like a flying saucer from a science fiction movie -- and software for controlling the camera and for stitching and rendering what the camera captures.
Twitter Upsets Rivals to Win Thursday Night Football Streaming Rights
April 6, 2016
The National Football League on Monday named Twitter its exclusive global partner to live-stream 10 Thursday Night Football games during the 2016 season. Twitter reportedly beat out some of the top content and social media providers. It will live-stream the games for free to more than 800 million registered and unregistered users over mobile phones, tablets, connected TV sets and PCs.
Oculus' Controversial ToS a Stark Reminder of Its Facebook Parentage
April 4, 2016
Oculus last week updated its terms of service to accompany the release of the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset, raising privacy and content ownership concerns. Software will be installed to monitor how the device is used, and the usage data will be sent back to Oculus and its parent company, Facebook, according to the terms of service. Collected data could be shared with third parties.
The Hololens Academy: How I Became a Novice Wizard
April 4, 2016
At last week's Microsoft Build conference, I attended the Hololens Academy -- a whirlwind effort to turn me into a master programmer able to create things out of thin air. It failed. Apparently it takes longer than an hour to teach someone who hasn't coded in decades to be a master programmer -- go figure. However, by the end of the class I was gleefully throwing fireballs.
For Many Users, Instagram Algorithm Is Not a Pretty Picture
March 30, 2016
Instagram on Monday moved to calm concerns among some users about a proposed change in the way content appears in their feeds. Celebrities such as Kylie Jenner and Cindy Crawford fueled the anxiety by urging their followers to enable a feature on their mobile devices that would notify them whenever those celebrities post to Instagram. The company assured users that their feed weren't changing yet.
FCC Commissioner Sounds Alarm Over Netflix Throttling
March 30, 2016
FCC Commissioner Michael O'Rielly on Tuesday suggested the government should investigate Netflix's practice of throttling video content delivery to customers using mobile devices. However, Netflix's video throttling was not a violation of the FCC's Net neutrality rules, O'Rielly also said. Netflix last week announced plans to offer a data saver feature for mobile apps beginning in May.
Oculus Rift Offers the Best VR Experience Yet, Reviewers Say
March 28, 2016
The first reviews of the Oculus Rift surfaced Monday, and reviewers praised the potential of the virtual reality system while pointing out some obvious concerns. The headset display is well-crafted, but drawbacks include the cost and the fact that it requires a powerful gaming system to run it, according to some reviews. "It has the potential to change the world," Devindra Hardawar wrote.
Dish Networks' Hopper 3 Takes a Leap and a Bound
March 26, 2016
Dish Network continues to up its game with its whole-home TV set-top box and accompanying devices. Since introducing its Sling-based TV-anywhere solution and whole-home DVR three years ago, Dish has remained one hop ahead of the competition. Since its launch, the Hopper has featured Sling technology that allowed for the streaming of content from the living room to almost anywhere.
Apple Loses Video Over IP Patent Scuffle in Germany
March 18, 2016
A German court on Wednesday determined that Apple had infringed a patent owned by the Kudelski Group's OpenTV division. Apple products sold in Germany can't use streaming technology that infringes OpenTV's patents, the court reportedly ruled. The suit was brought in 2014 in Düsseldorf District Court over three patents held by OpenTV and its sister company, Nagra.
Xbox Signals It's Ready to Rumble
March 16, 2016
Microsoft this week announced that it would support cross-network play between its latest gaming console and other platforms. Cross-network support would allow Xbox One players to engage in multiplayer gaming with friends and randoms on platforms such as Steam and the PlayStation Network. It will be up to developers to support cross-platform games, however.
USA Today to Experiment With Virtual Reality News Show
March 14, 2016
The USA Today Network last week announced VRtually There, a virtual reality news program that will evolve alongside the nascent VR sector. Set to launch this spring, VRtually There will air an assortment of regularly scheduled programming, according to the Gannett-owned company. It will lean on the network's newsrooms to deliver original reporting for the VR platform.
One of Amazon Echo's Babies Might Outshine the Parent
March 7, 2016
Amazon launched two new versions of Echo last week: the Echo Dot and the Amazon Tap. I've actually had the chance to look at both, and they flesh out the line nicely -- but I think the Dot actually could outshine the original Echo. I'll share some of my reactions to both devices and speculate about what could come next as Amazon expands this product line.
No Man's Sky Cleared for June 21 Launch
March 4, 2016
Hello Games on Thursday began taking preorders for No Man's Sky, its procedurally generated journey to the center of the universe. No Man's Sky will become available for PlayStation 4 and PC on June 21 in North America, and on June 22 in Europe, priced at $60 per unit. In addition to digital versions, physical releases will be available for consoles.
Gadget Ogling: Playful Projectors, Star Wars Sounds, and Spotify-to-Go
March 1, 2016
Sony's Xperia Projector Concept turns any surface into an interactive display. One can, for instance, check the latest temperature, play games, edit documents, or make video calls. It is a self-contained system, and it does not need to connect to a smartphone or a computer to operate. It seems that Sony has designs on turning this into a portable device as well.
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