The current state of TV is evolving and has led to established companies testing out direct-to-consumer services away from costly cable and satellite bundles. Both HBO and CBS recently announced online video subscription services, providing viewers with another way to watch content. Other content broadcasters are expected to follow suit, despite pressure from cable and satellite providers that offer premium subscription packages - in a continually evolving market.
Beyond HBO and CBS, the WWE wrestling brand, UFC mixed martial arts (MMA) promotion, and other established brands now have their own online on-demand video services.
As more American consumers begin to watch programs online, the future of TV content appears to be online - at the expense of cable and satellite providers - which could be even more disruptive in the future. Consumers can also choose Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and other online video services that provide TV episodes, movies, and exclusive content for their subscribers.
Professional gaming is a booming market in South Korea, with thousands of fans attending live tournaments - and millions watching over the Internet - as major tournaments offer large cash prizes. The recent League of Legends World Championships, held at the World Cup Stadium in South Korea, offered a championship title and a $1 million prize. The team of Samsung White won the top prize, with member ages ranging from 17 to 21 years old.
"Most of the biggest championships are won by Chinese and Koreans simply because the number who go at it in a professional manner and everything aside are from those two countries," said Peter Warman, NewZoo CEO. "In the west that's difficult, in the west many wouldn't say e-sports is everything in their life, but in China and South Korea they would say it."
Along with heavy promotion of e-sports tournaments, Korea also has some of the leading pro gamers in the world - whether talking of strategy games or first-person shooters - and should only grow in popularity further.
From Software's Bloodborne reportedly looks graphically stunning, serving as a Sony PlayStation 4 game console exclusive. When released to gamers, Bloodborne will reportedly run at 1080p/30fps, and will be released in North America on February 6, 2015.
"The way it looks; just off the charts to me," said Scott Rohde, PlayStation software product development head at Sony Worldwide Studios America. "It has, I've said this before... there's a certain, like, wetness to that game. I don't know what other word to use. It just feels like everything is dripping and oozing with whatever it is - it's water, it's blood, it's whatever it is; and it just looks gorgeous."
If Sony is so impressed with Bloodborne, it's possible it will be promoted during the PlayStation Experience event in December, especially as Sony prepares to promote some of its 2015 game title lineup.
Futuremark recently opened up its PCMark for Android software to members of the press, and found that the NVIDIA Shield, Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 and Samsung Galaxy Note III lead Android smartphones and tablets based on performance. PCMark for Android tests everyday activities on Android-based devices, including Web browsing, watching videos, working with texts, and photo editing.
Based on battery life, the ASUS Fonepad 7 FE170CG (8 hours, 09 minutes), Sony Xperia Z2 Tablet (7 hours, 48 minutes), and OnePlus One (7 hours, 40 minutes) lead the way, based on PCMark for Android.
PCMark for Android is a realistic approach to benchmarking Android smartphones and tablets, using native APIs instead of abstract algorithms. A free version should be released on Google Play before the end of the month.
The Gigi robot is using its high-powered ultraviolet lights to help combat the spread of Ebola, able to blast UV light 25,000 times more powerful than natural sunlight, researchers say. Priced at $104,000 per robot, there are only a few units currently available, but has great potential in killing DNA in the virus. The robot uses xenon light rather than mercury bulbs, providing a healthier, more environmentally friendly solution.
"We can clean and disinfect a room (by hand) to an 85% level, but when we use the ultraviolet light we can clean that room to 99.9%," said Dr. Ray Casciari, St. Joseph Hospital pulmonary disease specialist. "This is the future of hospitals because 85% is not enough."
Due to Ebola cases in the United States, along with thousands of patients dying in West Africa, medical researchers hope technology can help prevent widespread infection. Created by Xenex Disinfection Services, a Texas-based company, Gigi was used in a Texas patient's treatment area to help prevent Ebola from spreading to other locations of the hospital.
Police authorities in Australia seized a Bit2Bit bitcoin ATM during a multi-million-dollar drug trafficking network bust, according to reports. The raid was targeting the Bandidos motorcycle gang, accused of high-level drug trafficking, and was the culmination of a two-year investigation. The ATM was located in the South Brisbane Roastery Café, and was the first ATM in Queensland, with investigators conducting a forensics search of the seized machine.
It's unknown if the ATM was used by gang members to help conduct drug-related business, including potential money laundering.
"The arrested individual has no relationship to Bit2Bit Holdings Pty Ltd.," according to a statement released by Bit2Bit. "he is not a shareholder, either directly, or indirectly. Rouge Coffee, and The Roastery Cafe do not own, or operate the ATM. The ATM is the sole property of Bit2Bit and is operated by us. The ATM does not allow large volume transactions. Bit2Bit's staff have been instructed to cooperate fully with any legal requests they get from the police."
Microsoft is just a few weeks away from launching a smartwatch, in an effort to join in on a booming consumer business sector, according to a report published by Forbes. The device will be able to track the wearer's heart rate and can be used on multiple mobile platforms, with a battery life of over two days.
It appears Microsoft wants to launch the device in time for the 2014 Christmas holiday shopping season, as the wearable market is expected to dramatically grow. In the past, Microsoft had its Smart Personal Objects Technology (SPOT) technology, but the market has significantly evolved since then. The company wants to promote Windows and other Microsoft products across a wider variety of products, and this could be a good step forward.
The smartwatch market has a number of different appealing models for consumers, including the Apple Watch, Samsung Galaxy Gear, and products from other companies.
Even with FBI Director James Comey speaking out against Google and Apple providing encryption security on smartphone devices, Apple shipped its Yosemite OS with FileVault by default. The FBI - and other government agencies - are worried that encryption will prevent law enforcement from cracking down on criminals... or so they say.
"With Apple's new operating system, the information stored on many iPhones and other Apple devices will be encrypted by default," Comey recently said. "Shortly after Apple's announcement, Google announced plans to follow suit with its Android operating system. This means the companies themselves won't be able to unlock phones, laptops, and tablets to reveal photos, documents, email, and recordings stored within."
It's impressive to see Google, Apple and other tech companies trying to put customers first - as many users become more concerned about security - and not listening to the FBI's rather questionable concerns.
In an effort to protect its still fragile automotive industry, the state of Michigan is considering a ban on Tesla sales in the state - trying to prevent direct-to-consumer vehicle sales by approving anti-competitive legislation - and Tesla is taking the fight directly to Michigan Governor Rick Snyder. The anti-consumer bill has made it through the Michigan legislature, and now requires the governor's signature.
"Using a procedure that prevented legislators and the public at large from knowing what was happening or allowing debate, Senator Joe Hune added new language in an attempt to lock Tesla out of the state," according to a Tesla blog post.
This is a continued effort that Tesla will fight against whenever the issue arises, as demand for the popular electric vehicles mounts. Elsewhere in the United State, the Massachusetts Supreme Judician Court didn't allow legislation that would have prevented the sale of Tesla vehicles in the New England state.
Consumers and retailers are interested in testing bitcoins as a payment option, but that doesn't mean everyone else is onboard with the idea. However, bitcoins are still not a major concern for Fed researchers and lawmakers, but the New York Fed - and a growing number of researchers in the Fed system - are discussing bitcoins on a more consistent basis.
"My best guess is that bitcoin will find a niche market," said Dr. David Andolfatto, VP of St. Louis Federal Reserve, in a recent interview with Bitcoin Magazine. "It's cool to use bitcoin to pay for your Starbucks latte on university campuses. It may very well find a place on the high street, at least among some shops catering to the 'cool' crowd. But for advanced economies, at least, it is hard to see how consumers will benefit directly by using bitcoins instead of dollars or pounds."
Recently, the value of individual bitcoins dropped to just $290, with investors frustrated with its volatility - and that is going to be an uphill battle.