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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.
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.
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.
Facebook's New Portals: More Ways to Follow
September 19, 2019
Facebook has announced three additions to the Portal family: a new Portal, Portal Mini and Portal TV. The devices let users make calls using Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp. The Portal has a new design that resembles a picture frame. The Portal Mini is similar but smaller. The Portal TV blends the functionality of a set-top box with social media and video conferencing.
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.
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.
Sanity-Saving Tips From a Heavy Traveler
August 19, 2019
I'm on the road about 50 percent of the time, and I'm often asked for advice on how to have a better trip -- what to carry with you, where to sit, how to manage frequent flier programs, and so forth. One of my first really bad travel experiences was during my stint in IBM Internal Audit. I was auditing an IBM corporate site when the rules were three-piece suit, white shirt and tie.
Spotify for Podcasters Hits the Open Road
August 14, 2019
Spotify has launched Spotify for Podcasters following a year-long beta involving more than 100,000 podcasts from 167 countries. Spotify for Podcasters is a discovery and analytics dashboard designed to let podcasters track performance through data such as episode retention charts, aggregate demographics about listeners, and details on follower growth. Podcast data is updated daily.
The Future of Entertainment Services Authentication
August 12, 2019
New personal identification and authentication technologies have the potential to transform the way entertainment services are delivered, accessed and experienced. These technologies offer a high level of security, often incorporating biometrics such as voice, fingerprint, iris or retinal features, and facial characteristics. Each type of authentication bears its own advantages and disadvantages.
What the CBS Blackout Means for the Future of Streaming
July 26, 2019
CBS went dark across AT&T's U-verse and DirecTV services, days after the seven-year contract between the two companies expired. As the two couldn't come to new terms, CBS and its related channels -- including CBSN, CBS Sports and The Smithsonian Channel -- were blacked out. This latest disruption in service affected viewers in major markets across the United States.
What Shifting Data Use Means for Pay-TV and Video Services
June 21, 2019
For many, Netflix was the first wake-up call that a new-generation of online or technology companies could have a significant impact on pay-TV businesses. Over a 10-year period, Netflix grew from a U.S.-only DVD-by-mail service to a force in the international video entertainment industry. Netflix operates in 190-plus countries, and it has approximately 149 million subscribers.
Winners, Losers and No Shows at E3 2019
June 13, 2019
E3, the Electronic Entertainment Expo, was in full swing in Los Angeles this week. The annual trade show for the video game industry was not without a few surprises, a few disappointments and as usual a few companies that opted to forego the whole thing. Sony was among the companies that chose to skip the event, while rival Microsoft was present only via its annual press conference.
Apple Highlights User Experience in New OS Lineup
June 5, 2019
Apple dangled the next versions of iOS, macOS and watchOS before developers' eyes during the keynote event at its World Wide Developers Conference in San Jose, California. In this round of operating system upgrades, Apple seems focused on improvements. "They're polishing a number of aspects of the operating systems, " said Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research.
No Easy Decision: Choosing Between Pay-TV Services
May 3, 2019
Many consumers in recent years have opted to cut the cord -- that is, to ditch cable or satellite TV and instead rely on OTT streaming services for their viewing pleasure. Price has been one factor, but changing viewing habits has been another. As a reporter who covers pay-TV services of all varieties, I actually went the opposite direction and for some time have had both cable and satellite.
Disney Goes Over the Top: How Does Its Streaming Service Stack Up?
April 19, 2019
The Walt Disney Corporation officially announced Disney+, its direct-to-consumer streaming service, during its Investor Day webcast last week. The new over-the-top service will become available on Nov. 12 for a $6.99 month subscription. Disney+ will arrive with more than 25 new TV programs, as well as more than 10 new movies. The service will expand to include Disney classics and other IP.
Apple's Path to Destruction
April 1, 2019
One of the things I mention very infrequently is that I was groomed to be a CEO from a very early age. My educational background and two programs at IBM gave me a unique view of what kills a company. One of the big company killers -- and Chrysler before Lee Iacocca is a leading example -- is excess product breadth. That is what we just saw from Apple last week.
WiFi, Managed Services and the Home Network: Solving In-Home Connectivity
March 30, 2019
Home networks are a key building block for today's connected home systems and products, and wireless is the dominant method of connectivity for a variety of smart home, computing and entertainment devices. As a result, loss of wireless connectivity can be disruptive to the user experience and seriously impair the value proposition of computing and entertainment devices.
Apple TV+ Is Much More Than a 'Netflix Killer'
March 29, 2019
Apple announced several new services earlier this week. Apple TV+, the star of the lineup, will launch this fall with some high-profile original content -- something that has become key to the success of any OTT streaming service. Apple also announced Apple TV Channels. With this announcement it could be argued that Apple is hedging its bets. channels, as well as other OTT services.
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How worried are you about climate change?
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I've changed my own behavior to do what I can to help the planet.
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