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Record Labels Slam Russian Social Net With Piracy Suit
April 04, 2014
Sony Music, Universal Music and Warner Music on Thursday filed legal proceedings against vKontakte, or VK, charging that the Russian social network operates a music service that deliberately facilitates widespread copyright infringement. VK operates an unlicensed music service involving a large collection of copyright-infringing tracks, the companies charge.
How to Watch TV on Your Laptop
April 03, 2014
The big TV news this week is about hardware, with Amazon launching its Fire TV to rival Roku, Apple TV and Chromecast. Speculation had been hot and heavy that Amazon would launch its own pay-TV service, but that hasn't happened... yet. That's what the real TV wars likely will be fought over, though -- how content reaches consumers. A major battle will kick off this month in the Supreme Court.
Amazon Sets TV on Fire
April 02, 2014
Amazon on Wednesday put paid to the buzz circulating around its plans for a set-top box, announcing Amazon Fire TV at a New York event. The size of a CD box and just over half an inch thick, Fire TV takes on set-top boxes, the iPod, Apple TV and game consoles. It plugs into users' HDTVs to provide instant access to Netflix, Prime Instant Video, Hulu Plus, WatchESPN, Showtime and Amazon videos.
Amazon: And Now for Something Completely Different
April 02, 2014
Amazon is widely expected to reveal a new set-top video streaming device on Wednesday. It likely will introduce either a streaming stick like the HDMI Google Chromecast or a set-top box like the Apple Apple TV. Or, the company might produce both options -- like Roku's new Streaming Stick or more traditional Roku box. Like the Kindle Fire, Amazon's operating system will be Android-based.
Disney Snaps Up Maker to Court Millennials
March 26, 2014
Disney this week announced it would acquire Maker Studios, a provider of short-form videos, for at least $500 million -- a number that could go up if Maker meets performance targets. Maker's videos account for more than 5.5 billion monthly views on YouTube -- it has 380 million subscribers. Among its more than 55,000 YouTube channels are the popular Epic Rap Battles of History.
Apple, Comcast Wade Into Streaming Content Talks
March 24, 2014
Apple and Comcast reportedly are discussing a streaming-TV service that will go through an Apple set-top box. Apple apparently wants the service to be treated as a managed service, meaning it will run on cabling separate from that used for public Internet access. "I seriously doubt Comcast will agree to a deal, said Mukul Krishna, digital media senior global director at Frost & Sullivan.
Pandora Pumps Up the Pricing
March 24, 2014
Pandora last week said it would increase its monthly charge for new users who sign on to its ad-free service by US$1 a month. Starting in May, the price for users who want to pay month by month will be $4.99. Existing Pandora One monthly subscribers will not experience a price increase at this time and will continue to pay $3.99 per month. Pandora made other tweaks to its pricing model, as well.
Billion-Dollar YouTube Suit Ends With a Whimper
March 18, 2014
Google and Viacom have settled a long-running copyright suit, after a federal judge twice threw out the case. "This settlement reflects the growing collaborative dialogue between our two companies on important opportunities, and we look forward to working more closely together," the two said in a brief joint statement. Terms were not disclosed, but reportedly, no money changed hands.
Super Joey Makes Dish Hopper a TV Junkie's Delight
March 14, 2014
How do you make Dish Network's Hopper HD-DVR system even better? Easy -- you supersize it. Introduced earlier this year at CES, Super Joey has officially arrived, and for TV fans it more than lives up to its "super" moniker. Utilizing the same Hopper and Sling technology as previous versions, it now increases the recording power. The Joey units are basically room extenders to the Dish set-top box.
Amazon Hits Up Prime Members for Another 20 Bucks
March 13, 2014
Amazon is hiking the price of the Amazon Prime subscription service for the first time since it launched nine years ago. Members will have to pay $99 for their subscription instead of $79. Amazon Student members will pay $49 for the service. Those who subscribe to Amazon Prime get unlimited two-day shipping on eligible items, as well as streaming video and book-borrowing privileges.
All Things Appy: Top 5 Artistic Apps for Chrome
March 13, 2014
Photography, film, music and fine art are all noble pursuits. In this installment of All Things Appy, we take a look at the five best free artistic apps for the Chrome Web browser. Geared toward image showcasing and display across the Chrome ecosystem, our first choice, the 500px app, lets you browse and search for 500px photography. No work involved -- it's for viewing.
Titanfall to Thunder Into Game Stores Monday Night
March 10, 2014
Titanfall -- a video game for several Microsoft platforms -- is about to be released, and the company apparently sees it as a hugely important title for its Xbox One console. Titanfall is a multiplayer shooter that pits two teams of up to six players against each other. Players control "pilots," who can either engage with each other directly or take command of titans.
Turkey PM, Prez Go Round and Round About Social Media
March 10, 2014
Turkey's prime minister and president are spewing conflicting talking points on the nation's stance toward social media. It turns out the one who's getting nailed on social media is the one who wants more restrictions. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan last week vowed to restrict social media after this month's local elections, but President Abdullah Gul said that was "out of the question."
Roku Sticks It to Google With Streaming Device
March 05, 2014
oku has announced a new HDMI dongle for televisions. The Streaming Stick is a compact Roku player that plugs inconspicuously into an HDMI port, offering a streamlined look that Roku suggests is suited to wall-mounted TVs. It is paired with a remote control that can be used to navigate the Roku interface. The device offers shortcuts to movies, TV series, news, search and more.
Qplay Puts a Personal Spin on Internet TV
February 26, 2014
TiVo cofounders Mike Ramsay and James Barton on Tuesday launched Qplay, a brand-new company that aims to bring a new level of personalization to Internet TV. Comprised of an iPad app, a TV adapter and a dedicated cloud service, Qplay is designed to let users curate Internet video from across the Web and create "Qs," the company's name for personalized and shareable streams of content.
Candy Crush Maker Wants Wall St. to Pour a Little Sugar on It
February 18, 2014
King Digital Entertainment, creator of the blockbuster social game Candy Crush Saga, is planning to go public. The company filed its initial public offering paperwork with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission this week. The company's revenue soared by more than tenfold in 2013, rising to $1.88 billion from $164 million the previous year, the filing reveals.
Old Discs Get a Chance to Spin Again
February 18, 2014
One of the UK's go-to spots for selling entertainment products online, Entertainment Magpie is now setting its sights on the U.S. with the launch of Decluttr.com. In this podcast, we chat with CEO Steve Oliver about how the digital revolution affects a business model predicated on physical entertainment media.
Content Providers: Consumers Have Gone Mobile, Ready or Not
February 13, 2014
Americans are living in an increasingly digital and mobile world, according to "The Digital Consumer," the latest study published by research firm Nielsen. The report determined that Americans now own an average of four digital devices, with average per-person content consumption of 60 hours per week across devices. Consumers have more options than ever for when and how they access content.
10 New Pilots Sweeten Amazon's Prime Proposition
February 07, 2014
Amazon has announced the launch of Amazon Studios' brand-new pilot season of original comedy, drama and kid-oriented content. New to this year's lineup are dramas from the creators of The X-Files and Harry Bosch, plus comedies from Oscar-nominated Roman Coppola and Tony-nominated writer and director Alex Timbers. In all, there are five prime-time pilots and five aimed at kids.
Managing Big Data: Audience Measurement and Ad Targeting
February 03, 2014
The interaction of connected consumer electronics and digital media is creating vast and limitless amounts of user data, now commonly coined "Big Data." Many new business models are forming around these data, but for advertising, data have always been at the core of its business. Data of all varieties and volumes enable stakeholders to invest proportionally to the value of their media assets.
Glyph Mobile Theater Takes Kickstarter by Storm
January 24, 2014
Avegant's Glyph, which combines high-quality headphones with a retinal display for an all-in-one audiovisual device, has far surpassed its $250,000 Kickstarter goal since its Wednesday launch. The Glyph blew past its target within four hours, and by mid-day Friday had drawn $608,002 from 1,264 contributors. Backers who donate $499 or more earn a fully functional prototype of the device.
Apple TV: From High Hopes to Has-Been
January 24, 2014
When it comes to TV, Apple is starting to recede into the dark corners of my mind. Its relevance -- and even potential relevance -- is waning. A fancypants Apple-made big-screen HDTV device that seems to float in the air and function like a delightful work of art... . It not only seems unlikely any time soon, but also unlikely to really matter to anyone but rich Apple enthusiasts.
Crowdfunders Send Jamaican Bobsled Team to Sochi
January 21, 2014
The Jamaican bobsled team, which qualified for the Olympics for the first time since 2002, is heading to the Sochi Olympics, thanks in large part to a group of supporters who raised more than $25,000 worth of "Dogecoins," an Internet currency. The team needed about $40,000 total, and after the Internet came through with $25K, Jamaica's Olympic committee picked up the difference.
Free Streaming: Rdio, Spotify Duke It Out
January 17, 2014
Rdio announced Thursday that its Web users will have free, unlimited access to content, an update that came on the heels of similar news from Spotify. Spotify started offering free streaming music for iOS and Android mobile devices last month, and on Wednesday announced that it was eliminating time limits for all of its Web users. Less than a day after Spotify's update, Rdio followed suit.

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