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Yamaha Corporation has unveiled the BD-S677 Blu-ray 3D player able to stream video, music, games and other content from Apple iOS or Google Android smartphones and tablets.
The Wi-Fi-enabled Blu-ray player adds a unique spin on a changing home entertainment market, where most new generation Blu-ray players include Blu-ray and streaming support - but to stream content from mobile devices should be a feature more widely adopted in the future.
"The BD-S677 is a very flexible Blu-ray player that strives to eliminate the line between home and mobile entertainment by providing users the ability to share and enjoy their portable device content on televisions within their homes," said Bob Goedken, Yamaha Corporation of America GM of AV products, in a press statement. "Its ease-of-use will provide our customers quick navigation to a wider array of their favorite videos, pictures and music."
Newly selected Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella will carefully push the company towards cloud computing and mobile technologies, while other less successful efforts will be shut down. There is growing sentiment that Microsoft should leave behind its "Scroogled" campaign notorious for trying to make fun at Google's expense.
The Microsoft online store features Scoogled-branded t-shirts, hats, mugs, hoodies, and other products - though it's doubtful these items have been flying out of the warehouse.
Instead of giving Microsoft the edge with Scroogled, in which ads available in print and online, along with broadcasted TV commercials, consumers have largely thought the ads are silly and show desperation. However, Microsoft obviously believes its campaign has been a success, with some advertising industry experts also agreeing that the ads have been effective.
Nadella, only the third CEO in Microsoft history, obviously has more pressing concerns - but don't be surprised if it takes a while for a new Scroogled ad campaign, if ever again.
For viewers looking to watch the Super Bowl and don't have access to a TV, or stuck at work and want to sneak a glimpse of the game, U.S. viewers can watch the game on the FOX Sports website. Super Bowl XLVIII, which will be contested by the Denver Broncos and Seattle Seahawks, starts just a few minutes from now at the Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The game is available online for free at the FOX website.
Providing an online stream is a great decision by FOX Sports, as the broadcaster will still be able to cash in on viewers - the stream requires bandwidth and infrastructure - but with 30-second TV spots that cost near $4 million, everyone seemingly wins here.
Live streams of the Super Bowl this Sunday will not be permitted for those in the stadium, as cellular and Wi-Fi networks would become overburdened. The game will be streamed live by Fox Sports and NFL.com, but people inside the stadium will be unable to use mobile apps or Web browsers to stream the game.
The cell and Wi-Fi at the stadium can support an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 users, but more than 80,000 people are expected to attend the game. During the Super Bowl last year, a last-minute decision was made to cut off coverage, as the local networks became overloaded with users.
The NFL will allow the game to be streamed over the Internet for free, so PC and connected HDTV owners can still see the No. 1 sporting event in the United States.
Subscription channels HBO, Showtime and Starz are fighting back against a recent NPD Group study that reported pay TV channels have dropped 6 percent of customers through the past two years.
Following the public outcry, NPD clarified its statement sand said while subscribers have declined, TV subscribers are including more channels to their subscription package.
There is fierce competition among broadcasters, cable/satellite providers, and online video content services all vying for consumer attention. Subscribers have a number of different choices when it comes to video content, with HBO, Showtime, Starz, and other broadcasters opening up Web-based streaming for paying customers.
Meanwhile, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has taken aim at HBO and other subscription TV services, as the company recently hit 33 million subscribers during Q3.
The 35mm film format has been used by movie studios for more than 100 years, but the digital format continues to push the technological envelope. Movie studio Paramount Pictures is now the first studio to leave behind 35mm in favor of going fully digital - and it's a trend that could be mimicked by other companies in the future.
"It's of huge significance because Paramount is the first studio to make this policy known,"said Jan-Christopher Horak, UCLA Film & Television Archive Director. "For 120 years, film and 35 mm has been the format of choice for theatrical presentations. Now we're seeing the end of that. I'm not shocked that it's happened, but how quickly it has happened."
Just 8 percent of U.S. movie theaters only use 35mm and haven't switched to digital, though Paramount will still ship 35mm to theaters in other countries. Movie studios like digital because it's significantly more cost-effective, with digital copies on discs running less than $100 - but the film versions cost upwards of $2,000.
Netflix and other streaming content producers are trying to walk a fine line when expanding overseas, with China high up on the list. However, trying to convince users to spend $7.99 on Netflix Instant, for example, is difficult in China, where Internet users typically pirate content for free. Chinese companies such as Sohu.com are interested in purchasing legitimate content which can then be offered to users in the country in a legal manner, with high-definition content also available.
The Chinese consumer market is huge, as the country reportedly has upwards of 600 million Internet users, according to Pew Research figures released in December 2013. As more users go mobile, Netflix and other content providers have a great chance of convincing users to jump onboard with pay-per-view and monthly subscription packages.
Chinese search engine Baidu and company QVOD were named the top video copyright violators in China last year, with the government reportedly interested in clamping down on some digital piracy.
Set-top box maker Roku is innovating and will spend more time in 2014 focused on supporting streaming services with custom partnerships alongside TV manufacturers. Roku's shift from set-top boxes and moving directly into app support for HDTV makers is a smart strategy for long-term longevity. All content is available on the Roku TV home screen, with the platform currently supporting more than 1,200 apps - and includes partners such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu, Pandora, and Rdio. All updates will be implemented by Roku and rolled out directly into the connected smart TVs.
TV makers TCL and Hisense are the first two manufacturers to jump onboard with Roku, though better known, higher-end companies should eventually jump into the fun. HDTVs supporting Roku TV models will be available fall 2014, with TV sizing expected to range from 32" up to 55".
"Consumers will enjoy the ease and satisfaction of Roku TV while manufacturers leverage our design specifications, content relationships and software expertise," said Anthony Wood, Roku CEO, in a press statement. "At the same time the content community will gain additional distribution and revenues through an already popular and trusted streaming platform - now in the TV."
Online streaming allows TV viewers to cut cords and access a wider library of TV episodes, movies, and other Web-based content.
TV broadcaster Fox Sports will provide free online streams of NFL Super Bowl XLVIII online at FoxSportsGo.com and through the FoxSportsGo iOS App. This is the third year in a row that the most watched sporting event in the United States will be available online - and is popular among mobile users and those without TV access.
Ad time continues to increase in price, so advertisers are branching out and finding new potential revenue streams in a competitive market. Focusing on smartphone, tablet, and PC users gives content providers new Internet-based advertising opportunities for targeted ads.
One of YouTube's three co-founders has debuted a new video sharing site. MixBit, introduced today on the heels of YouTube's "closing announcement", will allow the sharing of videos, much like YouTube, as well as the ability for content creators to collaborate and work together on projects.
Since @YouTube is ending, we're launching a new video site... Welcome to http://MixBit.com ! @MixBitApp This time it's not a contest!
MixBit.com isn't available just yet, though they note that "the future of video is launching soon!" The site was first teased during an interview at SXSW during which he said MixBit would provide "flexibility for people to work together and create content."
Details of the new site are still a bit scarce, but they will surely be forthcoming in the coming weeks.