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The Sacramento Kings from the National Basketball Association (NBA) announced it will become the first professional sports team to accept bitcoin as a form of payment. Until March 1, basketball fans can purchase game tickets and merchandise in a "faster and more" secure manner, according to the team.
"We are maniacally focused on creating the most seamless experience for our fans in all facets,"said Vivek Ranadive, majority team owner of the Kings, in a press statement. "With BitPay, we are able to implement a technology that allows our fans to make Kings-related purchases without physically reaching into their wallets. A major tenet of the NBA 3.0 philosophy is about utilizing technology for the betterment of the fan experience, and this is yet another step in that process."
While the Kings became the first major pro sports team to accept bitcoin payments, expect others to jump onboard as well. If nothing else, other organizations will patiently observe and learn from any technology growing pains that the Kings - and any major business - face when trying to accept bitcoin.
BitPay is processing bitcoin payments for the Kings Team Store. The company now supports bitcoin payments for 20,000 merchants, with an average of 1,000 new partner signing up each week.
We saw Spotify unleash free music streaming on the Internet yesterday, with today seeing Rdio do the same thing. Rdio has announced that customers can now listen to all of its music for nothing, as long as they don't mind ads.
These ads will include "new feature announcements, messages from partner brands, notifications about exclusive content and other helpful tips." If you don't want to sit through the ads, you can wipe them all away for $9.99 per month by opting into Rdio's Unlimited service.
Google led the U.S. search engine to end the year, collecting 67.3 percent of the search market, clearly ahead of Microsoft's search sites which collected 18.2 percent. Yahoo picked up 10.8 percent while Ask Network accounted for 2.5 percent, and AOL trailed with a meager 1.3 percent, according to research group comScore.
During the month of December, there were 18.3 billion core searches, and Google's collection of websites racked up 12.3 billion, while Microsoft sites had 3.3 billion searches, and Yahoo trailed with 2 billion.
Google's lead is clearly safe at this moment, but the Silicon Valley-based company needs to continue to be vigilant to ensure Microsoft and Yahoo don't continue to steal market share. As more users continue to go mobile with smartphones, tablets and other devices, Google Android and Microsoft Windows Phone have an advantage while Yahoo is left out in the cold.
Spotify only recently raised an impressive $250 million, but how would the streaming music company use all of that money? Well, they have just slashed all of its limited on streaming ad-supported music on the web.
The streaming music outfit now allows you to have a totally unlimited music frenzy online, which comes in at a perfect time: a week before the launch of Beats, which was set to compete with Spotify with a gigantic marketing campaign, and promotional deals with AT&T and Ellen DeGeneres. Beats will be offering up a 7-day trial, which will make it much harder for it to compete with Spotify now.
Not only Beats, but everyone else: Spotify has the music streaming business to itself for the time being - and maybe the future.
One of the biggest time consuming aspects of online purchases through PayPal is the need to be redirected to the official PayPal site to complete the authorization process, and is something loathed by many. Today PayPal announced that it has rolled out a new "in-context" checkout system that negates the need to be redirected to the PayPal website.
The new system is being rolled out to both online platforms such as desktops and laptops as well as mobile devices, and is expected to make checking out using your PayPal account much simpler as all of the redirects are now gone. This new system should allow users who were once frightened off by the redirects to now use the service with confidence and ease.
The entertainment business in the United States and across the world is a multi-billion dollar industry that is evolving to keep up with demand.
Two-thirds of U.S. adults have gone out to see a movie at least once in 2013, but 66 percent said they are seeing less movies at the theater. In addition to rising cost of movies, especially IMAX and 3D, rising competition from Redbox and online video services has also increased.
Consumers still tend to prefer watching DVDs and Blu-ray over streaming content, with Blu-ray movies collecting $416 million in sales leading up to Christmas. Home entertainment OEMs are developing 4K and 8K ultra-HDTVs, Blu-ray players, and Blu-ray discs - and interest in UHD will continue over the next 12 to 24 months, according to analysts.
Online piracy also remains a continued problem that movie studios and copyright holders fight vigorously to fight against. The fight over Internet 'piracy' even hit popular online adult website RedTube, with 30,000 visitors receiving threatening letters after viewing a specific video. Internet service providers (ISPs) are finding newer and more innovative manners to prevent piracy, with varying results.
It looks like Google will be making quite the high resolution splash at CES 2014 next week, where it will have its YouTube team on-site to show off its new 4K streaming technology that uses the VP9 codec.
The search giant has 19 hardware partners that are supporting the mostly unused codec, including ARM, Broadcom, Intel and Marvel. At CES 2014, YouTube will be showing off its 4K streaming technology at the booths of LG, Panasonic and Sony. Google developed the royalty-free codec in-house, but hasn't ruled out that YouTube won't have support for H.265 sometime in the future.
As the world begins ringing in the new year, Google has launched a new Doodle celebrating the arrival of 2014. The doodle is quite clever, featuring 2013 dancing the night away on what appears to be a disco dance floor. The number 4 can be seen off to the side, patiently awaiting his turn to boogie down!
Of course the .jpg above does not do the doodle justice, and I highly encourage you to head over to Google.com and check out the fully animated version. Search Engine Land says that they expect the actual new years day doodle to feature audio, with more features being added, so keep an eye on it tomorrow as well. TweakTown wishes everyone a safe and happy new year.
It seems like the drama is never ending at the infamous online drug marketplace known as SilkRoad. Over the weekend, Silkroad's new Admin Dread Pirate Roberts (AKA DPR. Not to be confused with the original SilkRoad DPR) signed off from the site with a post informing users that he would release information concerning the arrest of several SilkRoad employees.
The post was made on Saturday and nothing else has been heard from DPR since. Another site admin who goes by the name DefCon says that DPR has entered exile and his whereabouts are unknown. DefCon says that DPR took the sites key used to unlock its Bitcoin storage with him. This means that none of the bitcoins the site held in escrow can be released until DPR's return. DefCon says that SilkRoad users should not worry too much as DPR will return and the digital currency will be returned.
Edit: It seems to be working seconds after this piece went live - just my luck - but then when I refreshed it was gone. It came back, so it might be OK for now, with intermittent problems.
I woke up this morning, and like the past few mornings, I hit up the Steam Store to see what games are on special during Valve's Steam Holiday Sales. Well today, I couldn't do that, because the Steam Store is completely down.
This could be because Valve is offering Left 4 Dead 2 for free right now - and its servers completely buckled under the immense pressure... but one would think Valve's servers would be equipped to handle that type of traffic. It should be back up soon, but for now, you'll have to keep tapping F5 waiting for it to return.