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Voice Control for Connected Entertainment: Challenges and Opportunities
September 26, 2018
Smart speakers are becoming a more common platform for controlling connected entertainment due to a rapid increase in popularity and ease of use. Household penetration of smart speakers is expected to reach 47 percent among U.S. broadband households by 2022. New entrants in the connected consumer electronics market are likely to make announcements about new voice-controlled speakers at CES 2019
Despite Emmys, Road Ahead Is Bumpy for Streaming Services
September 18, 2018
Netflix had a very good showing on Monday, winning 23 Emmy Awards and tying longtime Emmy-winning powerhouse HBO. Netflix, an over-the-top streaming service, claimed 112 nominations this year, four more than its premium pay-TV channel rival HBO, which had dominated the Emmys for nearly two decades. Although the Emmy wins were good news for Netflix, other recent news has been far less rosy.
Amazon's DVR Scheme May Be Taking Shape
August 24, 2018
There's a rumor in circulation that Amazon has been working on a DVR that would allow users to record live TV, and then stream that content to a smartphone and other mobile devices. Amazon aims to mount a direct challenge to DVR pioneer TiVo -- a company that was at the forefront of digital video recording 20 years ago -- according to reports. The Amazon DVR is codenamed "Frank."
Nvidia's Convincing Unreality
August 20, 2018
When I read the book Ready Player One, I really got excited about the future of virtual reality, but the movie really didn't do the book justice. Some blockbusters have succeeded in interspersing computer graphics with real people and making it hard to tell the difference. Still, a totally rendered movie still looks like animation and you just don't get the film quality you get from, well, film.
Celebrating Cable TV and All the Wonders That Followed
August 17, 2018
One of my reporting beats is TV technology. In my lifetime I've seen some of the most significant advances in television, and unlike many who take it for granted, I have a very deep respect for TV. My actual birthday is in January, but Aug. 21 is a date that is much more momentous to me. Back in 1980, it was the date on which my family was first connected to cable TV.
Alexa and Cortana: Two AI Heads May Be Better Than One
August 16, 2018
Microsoft and Amazon have released a public preview of the integration of their Cortana and Alexa voice assistants. Cortana will be available on amazon Echo devices, while Alexa will be available on Windows 10 devices and on Harman Kardon Invoke speakers. "Our ongoing goal has been to make Cortana your intelligent assistant, wherever you need assistance," a Microsoft spokesperson said.
Galaxy Note9 Is Front and Center in Samsung's Connected World
August 10, 2018
Samsung unveiled its much-anticipated Galaxy Note9 Thursday at its Unpacked event in New York City. The company made several other announcements as well, as it presented its vision for a seamlessly connected world. "We are creating a galaxy of experiences that span not just devices and locations but platforms and brands," said DJ Koh, CEO of Samsung Electronics, at the event.
The Internet's Truth vs. Fake News Showdown
August 10, 2018
Facebook earlier this week pulled the plug on the official page for Alex Jones, host of Infowars and noted conspiracy theorist. YouTube quickly followed, removing Infowars and Jones' videos. Facebook's move followed Apple's decision to pull five of Infowars' six podcasts -- including the "Alex Jones Show" and "War Room" -- from the iTunes and Podcasts apps.
E-Sports Pioneers Are Making It Up as They Go
August 3, 2018
A major "sporting event" aired on ESPN, Disney XD and ABC last weekend. It wasn't the recently completed FIFA World Cup, the finale of the Tour de France or the MLB All-Star Game. It was the Overwatch League Grand Finals -- the biggest e-sports championship to date. Much of the competition was "broadcast" via the online service Twitch, but on July 11 the Overwatch League announced a new deal.
7 Ways to Supercharge Your Netflix Experience
August 2, 2018
We've all been there: scrolling through a seemingly never-ending carousel of shows and movies available on Netflix, trying to find the one thing we might want to sit down and enjoy. Except we often end up spending more time looking for something to kick back and view than actually watching the thing itself. But fear not! You too can optimize your Netflix viewing experience.
Who's Your Buddy? The Evolution of OTT Video Partnerships
July 21, 2018
Buddy movies have been an entertainment staple for years. Like Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple or Murtaugh and Riggs in Lethal Weapon, the buddy film genre shows how two people can overcome obstacles, and each other, to produce a happy ending. Today, we are seeing over-the-top video services buddy up with others in the market to find their own happy endings.
Cover Up, Your Smart TV May Be Spying on You
July 18, 2018
Did you know that fancy smart TV sitting in your living room, kitchen, bedroom or bathroom actually may be watching you? Sorry to break it to you. It's another example of amazing modern technology designed to help marketers while striking a blow to privacy. Then again, we haven't had privacy in more years than I can remember. There are two ways to look at this. If you are a marketer, you love it.
New Roku Speakers Offer Sophisticated Audio for Smart TVs
July 17, 2018
Roku has earned a reputation for making streaming TV products that are easy to set up and use, and that deliver above-average quality at affordable prices -- and that's the approach it has taken with its new Roku TV Wireless Speakers. The company unveiled the speakers on Monday, and expects to start shipping them in October, when they will sell for $199.99.
Next Up, Game Consoles: Is There Anything Google Can't Do Badly?
July 9, 2018
It's interesting to compare Google and Amazon -- two of the most incredibly powerful companies in the world. Amazon brings out product after product, with more successes than failures. Google largely buys companies and then loses interest in what they do. Profit is built into Amazon's retail efforts, while Google largely lives off selling users' information and providing access to content.
Fire Cubes, Home Theater Beams, and X-ray Cases
June 21, 2018
Amazon's latest gambit for taking over your living room is the Fire TV Cube. It works in much the same way as the Fire TV stick, but with the added impact this time around of stuffing in a smart speaker with the familiar tones of the Alexa voice assistant. You can use it to play whatever you want to see in up to 4K resolution from various streaming services.
Hits, Misses and Drama at E3 2018
June 15, 2018
E3 had the usual hits and misses this year, and more drama than most of the games on the screens. With a strong lineup of first-party titles plus better third-party support, Nintendo is the comeback king. However, the battle for hardcore gamer dollars continues to be fought between Microsoft and Sony. With no new hardware news from the companies, this was another year about the games.
Nintendo Leans on Fan Favorites and Fortnite
June 14, 2018
Nintendo called in fan favorites, including Mario and Smash Bros., at this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles. Super Mario Party will be heading to the Nintendo Switch this October, joined by Fire Emblem: Three Houses and the giant robot combat game Daemon x Machina. However, it was Fortnite that arguably stole Nintendo's E3 Direct show.
Sony Trains Spotlight on a Few Good Games
June 13, 2018
Sony gave PlayStation fans a hefty sampling of what's coming to its gaming consoles this year at E3. It gave them a long look at a relatively few offerings -- a marked contrast from Microsoft's deluge of titles. "Sony's E3 event was a break with tradition, an experiment to test the way it could present its first-party output to the media," said Piers Harding-Rolls, head of games at IHS Technology.
Microsoft Goes All-In With Gaming
June 12, 2018
Microsoft made a big splash at the Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles with its announcement of more than 50 games for its Xbox One gaming console. Among the games unveiled by the company were 18 designed to run exclusively on Xbox, including Forza Horizon 4, Halo Infinite, Gears 5, Session, Below and Ashen.
Avoiding Career Death by Twitter
June 4, 2018
The most popular show on ABC was canceled last week because the star of the show, Roseanne Barr -- known for saying and writing stuff that would get most of us fired -- did exactly what she was known for doing and got fired. ABC now looks like it is run by idiots because, really, who didn't see this coming? This outcome is one that could have been prevented relatively easily.
HomePod Gets Multi-Room Audio Chops With iOS 11.4
May 30, 2018
Apple has released iOS 11.4, the latest version of its mobile operating system, with some beefed-up features for its HomePod wireless smart speaker. The update allows users to create a stereo pair with two HomePods. It also supports multiroom streaming through AirPlay 2 connections. Music can be played in every room with a HomePod. It can be the same music in every room or tailored for each room.
Battlefield V May Give Players a More Realistic View of WWII
May 26, 2018
The popular first-person shooter video game franchise Battlefield, which made its debut almost 16 years ago, will return to its World War II roots this summer. Battlefield V was unveiled this week in an online presentation hosted by comedian Trevor Noah, who sat down with the game's development team and discussed what gamers can expect when the title arrives this fall.
New Xbox Controller Could Open Whole New World to Gamers With Disabilities
May 18, 2018
Microsoft has introduced its new Xbox Adaptive Controller, designed specifically for gamers with disabilities. The new hardware can be used for game play with an Xbox One console or Windows 10 PC, and it offers Bluetooth plug-and-play compatibility. It supports Xbox Wireless Controller features such as button remapping, and it connects to external buttons, switches, joysticks and mounts.
Charter Spectrum May Want to Rethink Its Digital Pay-TV Service
May 14, 2018
Cable television companies have been rushing to introduce new digital pay-TV products. Traditional cable TV has been on the decline in the midst of a growing wave of new competition and new technologies. The new offerings reflect forward thinking and are a step in the right direction, but too many providers still don't offer good quality digital pay-TV.
Spotify's New Anti-Hate Policy Muzzles R. Kelly
May 12, 2018
Spotify has announced a new policy governing hate content and hateful conduct. The service identified as hate content anything that expressly and principally promotes, advocates or incites hatred or violence against a group or individual, based on characteristics including race, religion, gender identity, sex, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, veteran status or disability.
Amazon, Best Buy Unite on Smart TV Strategy
April 19, 2018
Best Buy will be the exclusive retailer for Amazon's next generation of Fire TV Edition smart TVs in the U.S. and Canada, under a new multiyear partnership. Best Buy will carry more than 10 4K and HD Fire TV Edition models starting this summer. The new smart TVs will feature the Fire TV experience built-in, allowing viewers to enjoy live TV programming as well as streaming content.
Disney Debuts ESPN+ Streaming Sports Service
April 13, 2018
Disney has introduced EPSN+, an all-in-one, direct-to-consumer premium streaming service that offers thousands of live sporting events as well as original series and films. ESPN+ is the first such premium service from The Walt Disney Company's Direct-To-Consumer and International Group through a partnership with ESPN. The release of ESPN+ coincides with the release of the free ESPN App.
The VR Experience: Challenges for a Growing Market
March 10, 2018
Virtual reality devices, including headsets and peripherals, offer consumers and businesses new ways to experience and share immersive content for entertainment, educational, social and other purposes. VR's unique capability to promote user interaction through highly immersive content provides untapped potential in terms of storytelling, advertising, healthcare, business, travel and much more.
White House Video Game Violence Discussion Fails to Move the Needle
March 9, 2018
President Donald Trump on Thursday met behind closed doors with several top video game industry executives, association representatives, politicians and others to discuss video game violence in the aftermath of the fatal shootings at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, last month. Among the scheduled attendees were Strauss Zelnick, CEO of TakeTwo Interactive Software.
Are Smart TV Designs Taking Home Security for Granted?
February 15, 2018
Millions of smart TVs from Samsung and some streaming devices from Roku recently were found to be vulnerable to cyberattacks, allowing intruders to take control and remotely change channels and volume settings, among other things, according to Consumer Reports research. Vulnerabilities were discovered not only in Samsung televisions, but also in TVs from TCL and other Roku-compatible brands.
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What best describes your attitude toward social networks and politics?
The value of engaging in serious political discourse outweighs the negatives.
Most of the political conversations seem overheated and ignorant.
Social networks provide a lot of very good political information from reliable sources.
Almost every political post I see is skewed or totally fake.
Political interactions on social networks simply mirror those in the real world.
Social networks remove inhibitions, bringing out the worst in people and politics.