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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.
EU Parliament's OK of Online Copyright Rules Fuels Dissent
March 27, 2019
The European Parliament plenary has adopted the "Directive on Copyright in the Digital Single Market" by a vote of 348-274 with 36 abstentions. Member states will have two years to adopt the directive's rules under their national laws. The directive will require certain online platforms to establish licensing agreements with rights holders for the use of copyright-protected content.
Apple Presents Its Spin on Entertainment and News
March 26, 2019
Apple announced a raft of new services, including original TV programming and news and magazine offerings, at an event held at the Steve Jobs Theater in Cupertino, California. The Apple TV+ service, which will launch in the fall, already has a number of high-profile shows in its lineup, including Amazing Stories, a science fiction anthology produced by Steven Spielberg.
New Oculus Rift S Pushes VR Experience Up a Notch
March 21, 2019
Facebook unveiled its Oculus Rift S virtual reality headset at the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco. It will be available this spring for $399. With the Rift 2, Oculus "is following some of the trends set by Vive -- inside-out tracking, incremental improvement, and focus on comfort," observed David MacQueen, executive director of Strategy Analytics' wireless media strategies service.
Google Stadia: Future of Gaming or Pie in the Cloud?
March 20, 2019
Google has pulled the wraps off Stadia, a new cloud-based gaming platform. Using the power of Google's global information infrastructure, Stadia can stream the highest-quality games to any screen, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said in announcing the platform, which is expected to come online later this year. Stadia represents Google's vision for the future of gaming.
AR in Harry Potter Game Is Next Best Thing to Real Magic
March 15, 2019
Niantic last week offered a few members of the gaming press a chance to take in the magic of its upcoming Harry Potter: Wizards Unite augmented reality game. The game, which is being developed as part of a joint effort with WB Games San Francisco under the Portkey Games label, promises to build on Niantic's hugely popular Pokémon Go mobile phone game.
Apple Rumored Plotting a Game Subscription Service
January 29, 2019
A "Netflix for Games" type of service may be in Apple's future. Apple has been developing a subscription service that will function for games much like Netflix does for movies and TV series, according to a report. It's still unclear what the subscription fee would be or what kinds of games would be offered on the service. Whatever the fee for the offering, it could be tough for Apple to find an audience for a streaming service.
YouTube TV Hits Screens Across Most of the US
January 24, 2019
YouTube TV will be rolling out to an additional 95 markets in the U.S., almost doubling its coverage. The streaming video service already covers the top 100 markets in the country, and the expansion will enable it to reach more than 98 percent of households in the U.S., YouTube said. There are roughly 120 million TV households in the U.S., but only about 108 million households have broadband.
Verizon Trying Its Hand at Cloud Gaming
January 17, 2019
Verizon has a new cloud-based gaming service that is in the alpha testing stage, being tested on Nvidia Shield set-top boxes. The Shield devices, which were unveiled in 2015, were updated two years ago when Nvidia rolled out its own streaming service. Verizon Gaming will give greater software support to the Nvidia Shield, but it also will be opened to Android smartphones in the near future.
Netflix Raises Subscriber Rates to Wall Street's Delight
January 16, 2019
Netflix has decided to hike prices by $1 to $2 for all 58 million of its subscribers in the United States, as well as customers in about 40 Latin American countries who are billed in U.S currency. Customers in key international markets such as Mexico and Brazil reportedly will be exempt from the increases. Netflix had nearly 79 million subscribers overseas at the end of September.
Apple, Samsung Buddy Up in Smart TV Deal
January 8, 2019
Apple movies and music are coming to Samsung Smart TVs this spring. Samsung's 2019 Smart TVs will support iTunes Movies and TV Shows, and Apple AirPlay 2, Samsung said Sunday at CES in Las Vegas. Smart TVs made in 2018 also will be able to play Apple content via a firmware update. Apple content can be accessed from the smart TVs via an exclusive app.
Firework Offers Snack-Size Original Content
December 19, 2018
Firework this week released a collection of shows consisting of 12 episodes that will run just 15-seconds each. The first, "Fireside Chat featuring Molly Tarlov," debuted Tuesday. Three more followed on Wednesday, and another is scheduled for release on Dec. 28. Users can download the episodes via the Firework app, which is now available on the Google Play Store and Apple App Store.
Virtual Reality: Slow Growth but Expanding Use Cases
December 3, 2018
When the Oculus Rift launched in 2014, industry stakeholders speculated that the new, high-end in-home virtual reality headset would disrupt the entertainment industry. Just four years later, the technology has reached a crossroads, still lacking adoption by mainstream consumers. In a recent survey, 25 percent of broadband households indicated they were familiar with some type of VR technology, but just 8 percent actually owned a headset.
Quirky but Useful Gifts: Rob Enderle's 2018 Personal Tech Product Guide
December 3, 2018
This is the time of year for a product guide. I'm a big fan of products most people don't have that solve a specific work problem, as well as those that could make your life easier, more comfortable or more fun. I like to give gifts that people actually would use. In some cases, due to the cost, these may be things you'd buy only for yourself, a spouse, or a relative you really want to impress.
Review: Battlefield V Mixes Fantastic Gameplay With Intense Realism
November 15, 2018
After taking Battlefield to "the beginning" with the First World War-based Battlefield 1, developers have returned the action to World War II with Battlefield V. Anyone who's not familiar with this first-person shooter need know only that the original game, introduced in 2002 as Battlefield 1942, offers players the chance to control vehicles as well as soldiers.
Black Friday Deal Sprawl Grows
November 13, 2018
Although retailers are slating some outstanding deals for Black Friday, the shine of the once-feverish shopping day has diminished, as product discounts have started to appear earlier and earlier in the holiday season. Discounts formerly found exclusively on Black Friday -- and on its online equivalent, Cyber Monday -- gradually have migrated to earlier in the fall.
Let's Create a TV Show to Fix Silicon Valley
November 12, 2018
Startups have been creating employee hell in Silicon Valley. That was on my mind as I read the book Lab Rats: How Silicon Valley Made Work Miserable for the Rest of Us. I think this book should be required reading for anybody who thinks working for a startup in Silicon Valley would be fun. Unless you are into humiliation and abuse you probably should avoid these startups like the plague.
HBO Fires Back at Dish in Blackout Tussle
November 9, 2018
HBO chief Richard Plepler has issued a response to Dish CEO Charlie Ergen's claim that the ongoing impasse between the companies was the result of a purely anticompetitive play on AT&T's part. It was Dish that dropped HBO and Cinemax signals at midnight on Oct. 31, blacking out programming for subscribers, Plepler said. That was the first time in HBO's nearly 50-year history that any pay-TV service dropped the premium channel from its lineup.
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.
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How much are you willing to pay for a new smartphone?
I'll pay $1.5K or more for the latest iPhone or Galaxy flagship phone.
I want the latest model, but I can't see paying more than $1K for a phone.
I'm content to buy a slightly older model in the $500 - $750 range.
I don't need an iPhone or Galaxy. I can find a really good phone for $350 or less.
Phone prices are ridiculous. I won't pay more than $100.
I don't have or want a smartphone.
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