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Fun Seekers Revel at Virtual Parties
August 6, 2020
Though initially isolating, the coronavirus pandemic has spawned a whole new world of digital parties and get-togethers. People stuck at home are finding innovative ways to socialize, participating in everything from virtual beer tastings to online book club meetings. While the event landscape has been permanently altered by this shift, people and businesses continue to develop new ways of having fun.
US Cloud Gaming Subscriptions Target $3B
July 22, 2020
Consumer interest in cloud gaming could boost annual subscription revenues to nearly US$3 billion, according to Parks Associates. There is renewed interest, the research firm's report noted, in gaming services that can stream over the Internet and deliver games to multiple platforms without downloads and without taxing local processing power.
XRSpace Headset Opens Door to New Virtual World
May 27, 2020
A new virtual reality headset designed for mobility will serve as an entry point into a new virtual world. The $599 Mova headset from XRSpace, founded by former HTC chief Peter Chou, will support 5G and be the exclusive on-ramp to Manova, a social reality platform that aims to defy the boundaries of space and time to bring people together. Users can roam Manova as full-body avatars.
Oculus Quest Production Stymied by Pandemic
May 6, 2020
The next generation of Oculus Quest virtual reality headsets is in the works, but pandemic-related product development and supply chain problems may delay market arrival. Oculus reportedly has multiple potential Quest successors on the drawing board. Smaller, lighter versions with a faster image refresh rate for more realistic rendering are in the advanced testing stage.
Facebook Gaming Powers Ahead With Live Streaming
April 21, 2020
Facebook has launched a free standalone app for creating and watching live video game play on Android devices. Some 700 million users already engage in gaming on the platform, but with its dedicated app Facebook is locking horns with the leaders in the market -- Amazon, Google and Microsoft. "Live streaming was a growth opportunity before the pandemic," noted Strategy Analytics' Michael Goodman.
Cosmos: Possible Worlds Fires Up Hopes and Dreams
April 20, 2020
Humans may be wanderers by nature, but in the year 2020, with planet Earth overrun by a pandemic, most human activity has come to a shocking halt. Perhaps one of the best things for a wandering race stuck at home is an opportunity to look outward -- to thought-travel into the boundless universe and dream of grand and sweeping possibilities. That's what Cosmos: Possible Worlds offers.
Living in the COVID-19 World: TV Hosts Struggle at Home
March 30, 2020
While stuck at home, many of us are burning through online content very rapidly. One of the things that's become painfully apparent is that TV shows that typically have live audiences suddenly have become almost unwatchable. In the context of the COVID-19 virus and our sudden need to view events remotely, coming up with ways to make audiences feel engaged has never been more critical.
Concerns Grow That COVID-19 Could Take Down the Internet
March 24, 2020
It may not be a question of if but when the Internet will reach the breaking point under the strain of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Internet is fast becoming a potential victim of the coronavirus assault. With an estimated billion people staying home, remote working, or just watching shows online all day, concerns are mounting that the Internet will break under the strain.
Microsoft Releases 'Mind Blowing' Xbox Specs
February 25, 2020
Microsoft whetted demand for its Xbox Series X product line with the revelation of some impressive specs for its next-generation gaming console. "It's really going to be a kick in the pants for the industry," said Mark N. Vena, senior analyst at Moor Insights and Strategy. "It should provide quite a bit of adrenalin because the specs are really mind blowing."
Could Ads Become Potent Weapons Against Streaming Piracy?
January 24, 2020
Though it no longer grabs many headlines, video piracy remains a major issue for pay-TV services, according to consumer research firm Parks Associates. If just 10 percent of pay-TV subscribers should discontinue paying for services by 2023, the loss in revenue to operators could approach $6 billion, according to the firm's report, "Video Piracy: Ecosystem, Risks, and Impact."
Cosmos: Possible Worlds - A Lavish, Hopeful Journey
January 22, 2020
We agree to suspend our disbelief, and they agree to entertain us. Perhaps it inspires us by communicating some kernel of wisdom about human nature. Its story may touch our emotions deeply, but we know it's the product of imagination and artistry. Cosmos: Possible Worlds delivers everything a great science fiction movie delivers, except the fiction.
Few Households Have Taken the Gigabit Broadband Leap
January 7, 2020
Increasing numbers of connected devices in the home and greater consumption of streaming media are driving consumer demand for faster broadband speeds. In recent years providers have introduced greater service speeds, bundles and pricing models to address widespread consumer churn. The service speed average among U.S. broadband households has increased steadily over the last four years.
Your Smart TV Could Give Hackers a Window on Your World
December 6, 2019
Cybercriminals have discovered ways to compromise smart TVs, the FBI recently warned. Smart TV owners should do their due diligence to secure the devices, the bureau urged. Smart TVs are just as accessible to unauthorized parties as computers or other Internet-connected devices. Because many TVs now feature microphones and cameras, predators could commit serious privacy intrusions.
Disney+ Is a Wonderful World for Tykes and Geeks
November 21, 2019
Disney+ has made its official debut, with a few minor hiccups. It is widely available via a plethora of devices, offers a breadth of content, and serves quick and seamless downloads to mobile devices. However, with a heavy focus on Disney animated films, Marvel superhero movies and Star Wars, this service might not be quite the Netflix killer that the Walt Disney Company claims it is.
Early Reviews Suggest Google Stadia Needs More Time in the Oven
November 20, 2019
Google just raised the curtain on its Stadia streaming gaming platform, and the early reviews are mixed at best. For $129, gamers can get the hardware they need to take the service for a spin -- a Stadia controller, and a Chromecast Ultra for playing games on a TV. The package includes access to one game and a three-month subscription to Stadia Pro, which supports 4K 60 frames-a-second gaming.
Disney+ Launches New Era of Streaming, With a Few Hiccups
November 14, 2019
The much-anticipated Disney+ streaming service has arrived. In the first 24 hours, the app was downloaded 3.2 million times. Demand for the new over-the-top streaming service prompted the company to announced that it had exceeded its highest expectations -- but with problematic results. Many users were unable to launch the app on its huge opening day.
Hello Streaming Services, Move Over Cable TV
November 7, 2019
Streaming services -- like HBO Max from AT&T's WarnerMedia, Peacock from Comcast's NBCUniversal, Apple TV+, Disney+ and many others -- are clear examples of the change to a short-attention-span world. What does that mean for investors, workers and consumers? Short-attention-span content seems new, with the arrival of streaming services, but there has been movement in this direction for decades.
Active Noise Cancellation a Big Draw in New Apple AirPods
October 30, 2019
Active Noise Cancellation is just one of the hot new features in the latest generation of Apple's AirPods. The new AirPods Pro, which go on sale Wednesday for $249, combine earbud microphones with software to remove background noise and improve a user's listening experience. An outward-facing mic on the bud collects environmental sound for analysis.
Nvidia's New Shield TV Models Add Dolby Vision, Atmos
October 29, 2019
Nvidia has introduced two new versions of its Android TV-based Shield streaming product. Shield TV and Shield TV Pro are replacements for the last generation of Shield video streamers, which Nvidia introduced in 2017. The Shield TV Pro retains the form factor of its predecessors -- the box-like form favored by the industry generally -- while the lower priced Shield TV is cylinder-shaped.
EA Rewards Battlefield V Fans With Expansive Pacific Chapter
October 25, 2019
There's a new trailer for Battlefield V, the World War II first-person shooter Electronic Arts released last year, highlighting the game's Chapter 5: War in the Pacific. The trailer previews team-based gameplay in settings ranging from Europe to the South Pacific. War in the Pacific is a free download that will be available on Oct. 31.
Streaming Is the New Cable
October 17, 2019
NBCUniversal has named Matt Strauss, a longtime executive at Comcast Corporation -- the parent company of NBCUniversal since 2011 -- to oversee its new Peacock streaming service set to launch in April. Strauss most recently served as executive vice president at Comcast, where he oversaw Comcast's video, Internet and voice services. NBCUniversal could have a lot riding on Peacock.
Blackouts Symptomatic of Perilous Times for Pay TV
October 11, 2019
Dish Network and Fox Corporation were able to come to terms last weekend, ending the blackout of Fox owned-and-operated local stations, as well as FS1, FS2, BTN, Fox Soccer Plus and Fox Deportes. The blackout of those channels was notable for its timing. The fall college and professional seasons had just begun -- as well as the new fall season of prime time programming on Fox.
Apple Touts Games, Music, TV in macOS Catalina
October 9, 2019
New versions of operating systems are usually about slick interfaces and improved performance, but that's not what Apple was flogging about macOS Catalina upon its release. One of the hot new additions in the OS is Apple Arcade, a game subscription service featuring a batch of new, exclusive games. Also bolstering macOS Catalina's entertainment chops are new music, podcast and TV apps.
Sonos Launches Rent-a-Speaker Pilot Program
October 8, 2019
Subscription models have taken hold in everything from software to smartphones, and now Sonos is testing the idea in the premium wireless speaker market. The Santa Barbara, California, company has launched a pilot program limited to 500 homes in the Netherlands, which allows consumers to gain access to Sonos hardware for the equivalent of about $16.46 a month.
Amazon Goes for the Gold With HD Streaming Music Service
September 18, 2019
Amazon has announced Amazon Music HD, which offers 50 million CD-quality songs -- 16 bits at 44.1 kHz. Customers also can stream millions more songs in Ultra HD -- better than CD quality -- with a bit depth of 24 bits and a sample rate up to 192 kHz. Amazon Music HD will play the highest quality audio customers' devices and network conditions will support.
The Pitched Battle Over Streaming Content
September 13, 2019
At Apple's annual new products and devices event earlier this week, CEO Tim Cook told the crowd gathered at its Cupertino headquarters that the new Apple TV+ streaming service will be available for $4.99 per month. Consumers who buy a new iPad, iPhone or Apple laptop will receive a year of the subscription-based streaming video service for free. It was a shot across the bow at Disney.
Apple Debuts Triple-Cam iPhone, New iPad, and Aggressively Priced Game and TV Services
September 11, 2019
Apple raised the curtain on its latest iPhone models, introduced a new iPad, refreshed its watch, and announced pricing for its subscription game and premium TV services at an event in Cupertino, California. The highlight of the presentation was the new iPhone lineup: the iPhone 11, the 11 Pro and the 11 Pro Max. The iPhone 11 comes in six colors -- black, green, yellow, purple, red and white.
Shifting Cable-TV Landscape Demands New Strategies for Survival
September 10, 2019
X1 is a Comcast-branded pay-TV service that gives users more control over their television experience. The service recently gained new features that cater to businesses. For example, one of the new features allows the use of the system at bars, restaurants and health clubs that have many TV sets. The user can control all of the sets with a single remote control.
Rethinking the User Interface for Consumer Voice Tech
September 9, 2019
Voice can provide a simple, compelling user experience, but the path to adding voice controls to any product, service or application is complex. As dominant tech players continue to develop voice-enabled interfaces and assistants, product designers, developers and manufacturers will be forced to rethink the user experience. For many future homes, voice control will be the primary user interface.
Big Data's Seismic Effect on the Broadcasting Industry
September 5, 2019
Digital transformation has left hardly any industry unshaken. In broadcasting, it's safe to say that it has transformed completely the way we create, deliver and consume content. Undoubtedly, the most noticeable change lies in the shift toward the OTT format. Traditional TV now plays second fiddle: 69 percent of consumers use some type of streaming service.
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Women in Tech
Which Big Tech CEO that testified at the Congressional Antitrust Hearing on July 29 is the most trustworthy?
Jeff Bezos of Amazon
Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook
Sundar Pichai of Google
Tim Cook of Apple
All of them are equally trustworthy to some extent.
None of them are trustworthy whatsoever.
Women in Tech