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Online HBO service could cost whopping $18 per month, analysts predict

Michael Hatamoto | Online Video | Oct 18, 2014 at 4:14 am CDT

HBO recently announced it plans to launch a standalone online streaming service in early 2015, but pricing details were not disclosed. CBS announced its online streaming offering will cost just $5.99 per month, but the HBO channel could end up costing upwards of $18 per month, according to analysts from Barclays.

Online HBO service could cost whopping $18 per month, analysts predict | TweakTown.com

Content providers creating their own online channels are turning the screws on cable and satellite TV service providers, and partners could pressure HBO to not cannibalize their subscriber base. HBO will have to try to appeal to consumers while not undercutting their partners - and if Barclays is accurate with an $18 per month service - it seems unlikely that most consumers will go for it.

There could be potential battle lines drawn between premium channels and their broadcast partners, but industry analysts believe they will have to wait and see how HBO GO proceeds in the future.

AMD isn't price cutting its GPUs, its partners are running promotions

Anthony Garreffa | Video Cards | Oct 18, 2014 at 2:18 am CDT

Back when we reported that AMD was dropping the price of its Radeon R9 290 and R9 290X GPUs in reaction to NVIDIA's new Maxwell-based GeForce GTX 970 and GTX 980 GPUs, we thought it was AMD which was dropping the prices of its high-end Radeons, but it's actually their partners who are doing the price reductions.

AMD isn't price cutting its GPUs, its partners are running promotions | TweakTown.com

In the meantime, AMD has a new CEO in Lisa Su, with the company laying off some 710 employees after a tough quarter, some big changes and news for the company. During AMD's recent earnings call, the fresh CEO said that NVIDIA has released some very competitive products with their second generation Maxwell GPUs, and that the company needed to adjust to "some competitive dynamics", or repositioning other products. Su said: "We have certainly adjusted to some of the competitive dynamics, and we have made some positioning changes as well as some new marketing activities that you will see from us in the fourth quarter".

During an interview between AMD's Chief Gaming Scientist Richard Huddy and KitGuru, Huddy had the following to say about the Radeon price cuts: "We have not issued any price cuts, nor price protection and we have not announced any for the future. We are conducting some promotions with our AIB partners that enables them to reach such competitive pricing on the Radeon R9 290 and 290X". How long will the cheaper Radeons last? According to Huddy: "The best news is that we have very healthy stock levels for both the Radeon R9 290 and 290X in the channel and the time to buy is now, with channel promotions bringing such great deals. We've got phenomenal products in the market and there's plenty of it around".

Continue reading 'AMD isn't price cutting its GPUs, its partners are running promotions' (full post)

Code Red: AMD to lay off 710 employees after a harsh quarter

Anthony Garreffa | Business, Financial & Legal | Oct 18, 2014 at 1:19 am CDT

Weeks after NVIDIA's launch of its second-gen Maxwell GPUs, its competitor AMD has experienced "challenging market conditions" for its last quarter, just as its new CEO, Lisa Su gets used to her new position of power.

Code Red: AMD to lay off 710 employees after a harsh quarter | TweakTown.com

For AMD's third quarter, the company saw revenues of $1.43 billion, with an operating income of $63 million, and net income of $17 million. When things get split into individual units, we see things getting messy. AMD's Computer and Graphics division, the side of AMD that takes care of its successful Radeon business, and is considered as the "bread and butter" of Team Red, posted revenues of $781 million. This is a 16% year-on-year drop, with the division posting an operating loss of $17 million, compared to its $6 million loss in the same quarter of 2013.

AMD's Enterprise, Embedded, and Semi-Custom Division, posted higher revenues of $648 million, which is up 21% from the same quarter of 2013. This division posting earnings of $108 million, up from the $92 million of Q3 2013. The problem is, AMD says that there are harsher times to come, warning that it expects revenues to drop another 10% to 16% in its next quarter, sequentially. The company also had to slash jobs as part of its restructuring plan, culling some 710 employees from its global workforce, a number that makes up 7% of its total staff.

The freshly minted CEO, Lisa Su, said: "While decisions that impact the size of our global team are never entered into lightly, this is the right step to ensure we prioritize our resources and engineering investments in our highest-priority opportunities that can drive improved profitability and long-term growth".

Continue reading 'Code Red: AMD to lay off 710 employees after a harsh quarter' (full post)

Apple pulls Bose headphones, audio products from its online store

Michael Hatamoto | Audio, Sound & Speakers | Oct 17, 2014 at 11:07 pm CDT

Apple has decided to pull Bose headphones and audio products from its online store, with the QuietComfort headphones series and SoundLink Mini and SoundLink III speakers being removed. It seems likely Apple will begin pulling Bose from retail stores - if they haven't quietly disappeared from shelves already - after the Beats headphones acquisition.

Apple pulls Bose headphones, audio products from its online store | TweakTown.com

The decision was first rumored earlier this month, so it's not a surprise to see Apple reportedly following through with the decision.

Despite the snub from Apple, Bose still has a large marketing and sales presence anyway, including professional sports partnerships. However, the Beats brand still has gained some free publicity along the way, especially with NFL players wearing Beats headphones even though it is against NFL policy.

Boeing developing new anti-drone laser cannon for US Army

Michael Hatamoto | Drones | Oct 17, 2014 at 9:07 pm CDT

The Boeing High Energy Laser Mobile Demonstrator (HEL MD) successfully shot UAV drones and 60mm mortars from the sky, with tests done in less than ideal weather conditions. Using a 10-kilowatt laser, HEL MD was able to shoot down or disable 150 targets in foggy and windy weather, and a more powerful laser will be used in the future.

Boeing developing new anti-drone laser cannon for US Army | TweakTown.com

Researchers hope to push the laser cannon power up to 50 or 60 kilowatts, which will be used to defend against UAV attacks, mortars, rockets and enemy artillery. Boeing and the U.S. military don't expect to roll out official HEL MD units for a few more years, if testing continues to go well.

"With capabilities like HEL MD, Boeing is demonstrating that directed energy technologies can augment existing kinetic strike weapons and offer a significant reduction in cost per engagement," said Dave DeYoung, Boeing Directed Energy Systems director. "With only the cost of diesel fuel, the laser system can fire repeatedly without expending valuable munitions or additional manpower."

Scientists create lab-grown penis, with clinical trials expected soon

Michael Hatamoto | Science, Space & Robotics | Oct 17, 2014 at 7:50 pm CDT

Scientists have created lab-grown penises and expect a clinical trial to be conducted within the "next four to five years," with the Armed Forces Institute of Regenerative Medicine providing additional funding for the project. Wake Forest researchers were able to first grow penile erectile tissues in 2009 for rabbits, and exploring possible human tests were considered.

Scientists create lab-grown penis, with clinical trials expected soon | TweakTown.com

Researchers rely on a donated penis organ that is broken down to its structural cells, with medical patient cells used to help grown prior to a surgery. The surgery requires a patient's own penile cells, so it will not work for transgender men trying to undergo confirmation surgery - but could help men with erectile dysfunction, penile cancer, or congenital abnormalities.

"Think of it like a building," said Dr. James Yoo, a collaborator on the project, in a statement to The Guardian. "If you remove all the furniture and the people, you're still left with the main structure of the building. Then you replace the tenants with new ones. That's the whole idea. It's just that the building is a penis and the tenants are cells."

Mysterious X-37B military space plane returns from two years in space

Michael Hatamoto | Science, Space & Robotics | Oct 17, 2014 at 6:30 pm CDT

The mysterious U.S. Air Force X-37B space plane returned back to Earth, landing at the Vandenberg Air Force Base after a 674-day mission in space. The aircraft is 9.5-foot tall and is over 29-feet long, and its wingspan is slightly less than 15-feet.

Mysterious X-37B military space plane returns from two years in space | TweakTown.com

This was the third flight of the X-37B spacecraft, marking the longest stretch in space for the Air Force aircraft. Its X-37B has solar panels that allow it to recharge its wings after it already is in orbit. It remains unknown what the Air Force was doing with X-37B in space, as exact mission details remain classified.

"The 30th Space Wing and our mission partners, Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office, Boeing, and our base support contractors, have put countless hours of hard work into preparing for this landing and today we were able to see the culmination of that dedication," said Colonel Keith Balts, 30th Space Wing commander, in a press statement.

Russian hackers made billions of dollars over the past 12 months

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking & Security | Oct 17, 2014 at 5:40 pm CDT

Russian hackers have generated an estimated $2.5 billion over the past year, as state-sponsored groups are able to breach companies in the United States and Western Europe. The Target breach, impacting millions of customers, helped them generate a tremendous amount of revenue, according to the Group-IB report.

Russian hackers made billions of dollars over the past 12 months | TweakTown.com

Stealing and selling credit card information - among other personal information - helped the groups generate $680 million, with financial fraud also raking in $426 million. In addition to the Target breach, The Home Depot was recently compromised, with Russian-based hackers likely involved.

Both Russia and China have been named major threats to the United States, launching organized cyberattacks with a focus on corporate espionage and compromising users. Unfortunately, hackers are better organized and able to compromise point-of-sale (POS) terminals in retail stores, hack ATM machines, and steal consumer personal information at a rapid pace.

UK report reveals US hosts most piracy websites users get to enjoy

Michael Hatamoto | Online Video | Oct 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm CDT

It's no surprise that the Internet is a major facilitator of intellectual property piracy and theft, but revelations that the United States hosts a majority of piracy websites might be a shock, according to the IP Crime Report released by the UK IP Crime Group. It's extremely difficult to shut down piracy groups that operate in other countries, which is what UK copyright enforcement groups have found over the past 12 months.

UK report reveals US hosts most piracy websites users get to enjoy | TweakTown.com

"Analysis has shown that the three key countries in which content is hosted are the UK, the USA and Canada," according to the report. "However, investigating servers located offshore can cause specific problems for FACT's law enforcement partners."

Trying to clamp down on piracy has evolved from individual lawsuits to increased effort to shut down those responsible for operating piracy rings and servers. However, Internet piracy will remain a problem for music labels, movie studios, and game makers, despite increased surveillance of distribution groups.

Pres. Obama wants increased debit, credit card security after breaches

Michael Hatamoto | Hacking & Security | Oct 17, 2014 at 4:30 pm CDT

A growing number of U.S. retailers are being victimized by data breaches, leading to millions of consumers at risk of identity theft and fraud - and now President Obama has stepped in, signing an executive order to enforce increased payment security measures. The federal government will now use chip-and-PIN technology for all government credit cards, providing an additional layer of security for all agencies that handle monetary payments.

Pres. Obama wants increased debit, credit card security after breaches | TweakTown.com

"We applaud the administration for taking proactive and positive steps by adopting PIN and chip technology for government-issued debit and credit cards, among other things," said Matthew Shay, National Retail Foundation (NRF) CEO, in a statement. "From insisting our PIN and chip cards to facilitating greater information sharing among retailers and other sectors, we are committed to finding the right answers with the latest technologies to stop these cyber thieves."

Moving forward, the President also wants additional transparency when companies suffer a data breach and consumers are impacted. Meanwhile, WalMart, Home Depot, Target, Walgreens, and other retailers plan to use chip-and-PIN point-of-sale (POS) terminals in their retail stores, starting in early 2015.