Posts Tagged ‘entertainment’

Sony Entertainment Head Steps Down

November 9th, 2012 11:48 admin View Comments


New submitter Mephistophocles writes “Japan Times reports today that Sony Entertainment Chief Tim Schaaf has stepped down. Schaaf’s division has recently drawn the ire of users and governments alike after multiple hacks which resulted in the theft of millions of users’ personal information. Schaaf joined Sony after a stint at Apple, and had ambitious plans for unifying the end-user’s entertainment experience on Sony products, as well as having some big words for how to help out Sony’s music division. Tim will be replaced by Andrew House, currently of Sony’s Game Division. One wonders — is this a continued sign of deterioration in Sony’s Entertainment house?”

Source: Sony Entertainment Head Steps Down

Television Network Embeds Android Device In Magazine Ads

October 4th, 2012 10:50 admin View Comments


Revotron writes “Readers of Entertainment Weekly might be shocked to find their magazine is a good bit heavier than normal this week. US-based broadcaster CW placed an ad in Entertainment Weekly which uses a fully-functional 3G Android device, a T-Mobile SIM card, and a specialized app to display short video advertisements along with the CW Twitter feed. Writers at Mashable were willing to geek out with a Swiss Army knife and a video camera to give us all the gory details as they tore it down piece-by-piece to discover the inner workings of CW’s new ad.”

Source: Television Network Embeds Android Device In Magazine Ads

Can Google’s Nexus Q Entertainment Center Take Down the Apple TV?

July 2nd, 2012 07:43 admin View Comments

E3: Game Makers Wield a Second Screen in Battle to Rule the Living Room

June 8th, 2012 06:00 admin View Comments

One screen in your living room is no longer enough. At the E3 Show in Los Angeles this week, gaming console vendors Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo outlined plans to use the second screen to challenge the TV makers as the masters of home entertainment.

The premise is simple: Two screens are better than one, and nowhere is that more true than gaming. With a touchscreen tablet functioning as a controller, game designers can reclaim TV real estate for gaming action, pushing status bars and controls to the secondary screen.

The second screen can also improve a game’s playability. In multiplayer strategy and sports games, for example, players can map out complex actions in privacy on their individual touchscreens (just because it’s called “second screen” doesn’t mean you have to stop at two), then watch the results play out on the shared television screen. When the TV is in use or gamers are on the move, the second screens can serve as a monitor.

Of course, gaming is far from the only application for the second screen. For years, millions of folks have been using computers, smartphones and tablets to check sports stats during the game or looking up cast members on IMDB while watching a movie. Tighter integration of the second screen will make those uses simpler and more intuitive – and open up new uses as well.

What’s Coming

The Wii U was the only new hardware demoed by the Big 3 at the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), but Nintendo focused solely on gaming applications of the second screen, like toggling between single- and dual-screen interfaces. The company left discussion of how the Wii U would “revolutionize the living room” for another time.

Microsoft went into more detail when it presented Xbox SmartGlass, an app that integrates your television and your smartphone or tablet – even if it’s made by Apple. Like other second-screen systems, SmartGlass provides a tablet-based remote control with supplementary information – Microsoft demoed an interactive map of Westeros supplementing a TV presentation of “Game of Thrones” (see below). But SmartGlass also lets users move content between devices, starting a movie on a tablet or smartphone, for example, then continuing it on the TV screen. Combined with the Xbox Kinect’s gesture recognition and the newly announced Internet Explorer for Xbox, SmartGlass could prove to be a very powerful interactive entertainment system.

Of course, it could also turn out to be a jumbled mess. After Microsoft’s failed effort with WebTV in the 1990s, let’s hope the company is better prepared this time around.

Who Controls the Controller?

The big question isn’t whether we’ll be managing our entertainment system with a tablet – that’s pretty much a given at this point. The real issue is whose software we’ll be using to do it.

At the moment, home entertainment options are a bit of a jumble of different brands and components from multiple vendors. A typical home might have a game console, a Blu-ray player and a TV that are all capable of providing access to Netflix, Hulu, Pandora and the Web. Deciding on a master system is often the result of cabling issues, or which one has the most free HDMI ports.

All the vendors are scrambling to come up with a compelling reason why they should be one controller to rule them all. Current possibilities include voice control, face recognition or exclusive content deals.

Until recently, it looked like Samsung and other TV makers (possibly including Apple) would set themselves apart with their various smart TV initiatives. At E3, Microsoft and Nintendo (and to a lesser extent, Sony) fired back, aiming to make remote controls attached to their gaming devices equally intelligent.

Gaming vendors will gain a huge advantage if they can convince gamers to use consoles as their primary entertainment device. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll be able to rope in everyone else. Will SmartGlass or its competitors be strong enough to convince Grandpa to buy in?

It’s far too early in the race to crown a winner. We don’t even know the rules yet. But not so long from now, it’s a safe bet you’ll routinely be watching more than one screen. And there’s a good chance your game system may be in control of all of them.

Source: E3: Game Makers Wield a Second Screen in Battle to Rule the Living Room

The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment

May 30th, 2012 05:46 admin View Comments

The Almighty Buck

New submitter polyphydont writes “Children of parents with low social status are less able to resist the temptations of technological entertainment, a fact that impedes their education and adds to the obstacles such children face in obtaining financial comfort later in life. As explained in the article, poor parents and their children often waste both their time and money on heavily marketed entertainment systems. Such families often accumulate PCs, gaming consoles and smart phones, but use them only for nonconstructive activities.”

Source: The Poor Waste More Time On Digital Entertainment

Hulu To Require Viewers To Have Cable Subscriptions

April 30th, 2012 04:19 admin View Comments


The NY Post reports that Hulu, the video streaming service with over 30 million users, has plans to force those users to prove they have a subscription to cable or satellite TV if they want to keep watching. Quoting: “The move toward authentication is fueled by cable companies and networks looking to protect and profit from their content. The effort comes as entertainment companies continue to face drastic shifts in home viewing habits. Overall spending on home entertainment edged up 2.5 percent to $4.45 billion in the first quarter as a surge in digital streaming — which rose more than fivefold to $549 million — offset a continuing collapse in video rentals, according to Digital Entertainment Group. … Hulu racked up some $420 million in ad revenue last year and is expected to do well in this year’s ad negotiations. But the move toward authentication, which could take years to complete, will make cable companies happy because it could slow cord-cutting by making cable subscribing more attractive.”

Source: Hulu To Require Viewers To Have Cable Subscriptions

The Latest Vision of TV’s Future Comes From… Ikea?

April 18th, 2012 04:35 admin View Comments

ikea-tv-set-150.pngWhen people talk about the future of TV and entertainment, brands like Samsung, Apple, Comcast and Boxee tend to come to mind. Apple-watchers in particular expect that company to turn its longtime hobby into a game-changer by releasing their own HDTV set later this year.

Whatever happens, the living room of the future will look very different from what even the most cutting-edge gadgetry offers today. But how will it look? The latest vision comes from a very unlikely source.

Swedish furniture retailer Ikea unveiled the Uppleva, an all-in-one entertainment center that merges consumer electronics with the furniture that has traditionally housed them. It’s an HDTV, Blu-Ray player and 2.1 surround-sound stereo packed seamlessly into a single, visually customizable unit.

At its heart, this product is all about design. Ikea’s early marketing touts the Uppleva’s ability to hide unsightly wires and encase everything in one clean, sleek-looking package. It’s not unlike a certain Cupertino tech giant that often takes its cues from minimalist, European design.

In addition to looking pretty, this initiative may offer clues about how entertainment systems of the future will work. The HDTV itself is, of course, “smart” in the sense that it connects to the Internet. That’s pretty much a given at this point. It’s also integrated directly into the furniture, as is the stereo system and media players. The system uses a single remote for everything, addressing another age-old user experience problem of TVs and entertainment systems.

It’s well-packaged and consolidated, but it’s also fully extensible. USB and HDMI ports on the TV allow for any number of gaming consoles, set top boxes and other devices to be attached, and they can be stowed away in a dedicated compartment under the TV. It’s not clear if it includes a VGA port, the lack of which might inhibit device compatibility.

It’s this customizability, now standard in HDTV sets generally, that will ensure that those who chose to purchase Ikea’s new system can continue to experience TV’s future as it evolves, regardless of platform or provider.

The Uppleva doesn’t leap over any major technical hurdles, but its focus on streamlining the user experience is likely to be something we see more of in the living rooms of the future. Even if this model doesn’t become the standard, it’s a bold try and one that is sure to influence other players in the market, should it catch on with consumers.

Source: The Latest Vision of TV’s Future Comes From… Ikea?

TED Education — Video Lessons For Students

March 18th, 2012 03:18 admin View Comments


New submitter EuNao writes “TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design), the organization based on ‘ideas worth sharing,’ launched a new initiative this past week. It is called TED-Ed, and it aims to engage students with unforgettable lessons. There are many places in the world where a wonderful teacher or mentor is teaching something mind-blowing, but as it stands now not many people have access to that powerful experience. Ted-Ed aims to bring that engaging experience to everyone who has an internet connection. Here are summaries and links to the nine videos that were initially released.”

Source: TED Education — Video Lessons For Students

Convergence in Home Entertainment: 2012 is The Year

February 2nd, 2012 02:55 admin View Comments

Deer Tick on TV

Convergence. Remember that word from the dot com era? Well, it’s back and this time it actually has substance. Convergence in the 90s meant combining old media with new media, a.k.a. the Internet. The 2000 merger of AOL and Time Warner was a failed $200 billion attempt at convergence. But fast forward to 2012 and convergence is happening for real this time, thanks to Internet-connected devices in the house and a rapidly growing app ecosystem. Entertainment now flows freely through home networks, to multiple devices such as PCs, laptops, tablets, smartphones and television sets.

According to one research firm, 2012 will be when convergence really hits its stride. A new report by IMS Research states that 2012 will be when the consumer electronics industry “finally realizes the promise of multi-screen content consumption.”

This trend is primarily being driven by the rise in Internet-enabled portable consumer electronics (CE), such as smartphones and tablets (the green bars in the graph below). But also IP-enabled TVs and other entertainment devices (the light blue bars).

It’s not just Web connected hardware which is proliferating. Software is also finally fulfilling the long-held promise of convergence. We saw a great example earlier today, with version 3.0 of the video aggregator app Showyou being released. ReadWriteWeb’s Jon Mitchell described it as “the remote control for web video.”

The beauty of Showyou is that you can watch videos on a variety of devices: PC, iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, Kindle Fire, Apple TV. While I was eating my lunch today, I sat down in my living room and opened both my iPad and TV. I surfed to a music video on Showyou that I like and pressed the Apple “airplay” button on the iPad to transfer the video to my TV (via Apple TV).

I’m not entirely convinced that 2012 will be the year when this multi-screen promise is realized. During my lunchtime, I fiddled around a bit with Airplay before I got it working. Also home networks are not particularly user friendly for non-technical people. 2012 may well be a tipping point, when convergence within the home begins to take off. But we’re not at the point of great user experiences yet.

In its report, IMS Research noted that an apps ecosystem for devices like the TV will be a key enabler of convergence in home entertainment. It also pointed to the growing amount of digital content available to consumers and “the changing habits of consumers regarding accessing, consuming and sharing digital content.”

IMS Research predicts that the market for IP-enabled CE devices will grow from 2.2 billion devices shipped in 2011 to 3.5 billion in 2016. Note that this is just for home entertainment and portable consumer electronic devices. We reported last week that mobile industry group GSMA is predicting growth from 9 billion to 24 billion Internet-connected devices worldwide. The GSMA’s figures include things like connected cars and IP-enabled washing machines.

Have you begun to consume entertainment in your home across multiple screens? If so, let us know in the comments what your current favorite household apps are.

Source: Convergence in Home Entertainment: 2012 is The Year

China Cuts ‘Excessive Entertainment’ From TV

January 4th, 2012 01:11 admin View Comments


An anonymous reader writes “Chinese broadcasters have axed two-thirds of popular TV shows in line with a government directive to curb ‘excessive entertainment.’ From the article: ‘The rule, first announced in October, is targeted at what Chinese regulators have called “excessive entertainment and a trend toward low taste,” to address the rise of talent shows, dating shows and other such programming aired by China’s tightly regulated, but increasingly competitive, regional satellite broadcasters. Authorities also encouraged broadcasters to air more news and educational programming.’ according to local media reports.”

Source: China Cuts ‘Excessive Entertainment’ From TV