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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.
Qualcomm Gives Speed Boost to New Mobile Gaming Platform
July 16, 2019
Qualcomm Technologies aims to push the speed limits of mobile gaming with the added features in its Snapdragon Mobile Platform. The Snapdragon 855 Plus Mobile Platform, its newest processor, performs graphics functions 15 percent faster. It will show up in new devices later this year. Snapdragon 855 Plus is an update to the flagship Snapdragon 855, released earlier this year.
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.
Plot Thickens With Dish's Interest in Sprint, T-Mobile Wireless
June 20, 2019
The merger between T-Mobile and Sprint has been dragging on for quite a long time, but it finally may be in the home stretch. To get the deal approved, Sprint and T-Mobile might have to sell off some of their wireless assets to competitors. Many were surprised to see Dish Network's interest. What would this mean for the merger and for the wireless industry as a whole?
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.
Xbox Gamers Will Give a Damn About This 'Scarlett'
June 11, 2019
Microsoft whetted the appetite of power-hungry Xbox gamers at its E3 preview, with new details about its next-generation gaming console code-named "Project Scarlett." Expected to arrive in time for the 2020 holidays, the new Xbox will have a custom-designed AMD processor based on the latest Zen 2 and Radeon RDNA technology. Scarlett also will have high-bandwidth GDDR6 memory and a next-gen SSD.
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.
Apple's New iPod Gets in Touch With Gamers
May 29, 2019
Apple has refreshed its iPod touch line of media players with a faster processor, greater storage capacity and improved communications features. The new iPod is built on Apple's A10 Fusion chip, the same processor used in the iPhone 7. According to Apple, the power upgrade delivers two times faster performance than previous models and three times better graphics.
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.
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.
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