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AT&T building its own streaming video service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 19:15

AT&T building its own streaming video service AT&T and media powerhouse the Chernin Group have invested $500 million in building a new streaming video service.

The venture will specifically acquire content before launching a video streaming service that could rival Netflix and Amazon. The Chernin Group will contribute their majority stake in Crunchyroll, a niche subscription VOD service, to the new venture.

Reads the joint press release: "'A critical part of The Chernin Group's strategy has been our significant focus on the online video industry, and joining forces with AT&T only further underscores our strategic commitment in this area as operators, investors and programmers,' said Peter Chernin, Chairman and CEO, The Chernin Group. 'Consumers are increasingly viewing video content on their phones, tablets, computers, game consoles and connected TVs on mobile and broadband networks. AT&T's massive reach on those platforms across mobile and broadband and their commitment to the online video space make them the perfect fit for this venture with us.'"

There will certainly be more to come about the venture, especially because it is unclear what content AT&T is looking to offer, and what kind of business model will be employed.




AfterDawn: News

Apple has stellar quarterly earnings, despite iPad, iPod sales falling off cliff

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 18:56

Apple has stellar quarterly earnings, despite iPad, iPod sales falling off cliff Yesterday, Apple reported its quarterly earnings while also announcing a stock buyback and a stock split. Investors loved the report, and the company saw its shares fly today.

However, despite the stellar report, there were a few interesting numbers on the hardware side.

iPad sales were down 16 percent year-over-year, and fell well below analyst expectations. The company sold 16.3 million iPads, which it claims was on the high-end of its internal projections, but far behind the 19.8 million expected consensus.

The company's ancient iPod line, which was not even refreshed last year, continued its quick fall to obscurity, with just 2.76 million sold during the quarter. Eventually that figure will fall to sub-1 million, and could be a minor drag on earnings.

Otherwise, the company reported massive numbers, as usual, earning $10.2 billion in profit on $45.6 billion in revenue. The company sold 43.7 million iPhones, up from 37.4 million YoY, and they sold 4.1 million Macs, up from 3.9 million YoY. Macs remain a small player in the industry but appear to at least be seeing small growth compared to declines in other PC areas. Gross margins were a ridiculous 39.3 percent, higher than expected.

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AfterDawn: News

Vevo sees monthly traffic jump nearly 50 percent from 2013

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 24 Apr 2014 18:30

Vevo sees monthly traffic jump nearly 50 percent from 2013 Music video giant Vevo has announced that monthly average traffic topped 6 billion in December, a huge 46 percent rise from the same month in 2013.

Rio Caraeff, CEO, Vevo, confirmed the figure, and also noted that over 65 percent of the videos were being viewed on mobile devices like phones and tablets.

"On a global stage, it's really all about mobile," says Caraeff. "Mobile and tablet and television are where the majority of the views are happening."

Vevo was founded by Universal Music and Sony Music, and has Google (through YouTube) as a minority owner. Almost all of the company's revenue comes via YouTube, as does most of its traffic. Vevo has been looking to expand and has already had early conversations with potential new investors. "We are continuing to speak to investors as we try to find the right partners to grow the business more rapidly than we've been able to do so far," Caraeff noted. "We're still very active in that process."

The service is available in 13 countries, and about 5 billion of the views occur outside of the U.S., most notably in Germany.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

LG G Watch is water resistant, always on

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 20:26

LG G Watch is water resistant, always on While not revealing too much, LG has provided more information about their upcoming G-Watch.

The smartwatch will be the first to use the Android Wear operating system, followed later in the year by other devices from Motorola and Samsung.

Among the new revelations is the fact that the device will have an "always-on" screen, will be dust and water proof and will be available in both black and champagne gold.

Android Wear, introduced by Google earlier this year, is built around the Google Now user interface and includes access to Google Maps and built-in voice controls.

Source:
LG G Watch




AfterDawn: News

The Pirate Bay reaches 10 million torrent milestone

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 19:28

The Pirate Bay reaches 10 million torrent milestone Earlier this week, The Pirate Bay reached a new milestone when its 10 millionth torrent was uploaded to the tracker.

Comically, the site needed to update its code to assist with an extra digit moving forward.

The 10 millionth upload was a pirated copy of the latest in the "IntimateLesbians" porn series, and it was uploaded by a popular VIP uploader known as "Drarb."

While the video was the 10 millionth ever uploaded, there are currently only 3.05 million active torrents in the database. The other torrents have been deleted for one reason or another.

The Pirate Bay says many of the torrents that have been deleted were fake, contained malware or were uploaded by anti-piracy firms. Additionally, if the content does not match the description, moderators will delete it, as well.

As of now, over 10,000 uploads are added daily to the site, meaning the next big milestone will be sooner rather than later.

Source:
TorrentFreak




AfterDawn: News

U.S. regulators: Facebook is okay to buy Oculus VR

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 18:31

U.S. regulators: Facebook is okay to buy Oculus VR A month after announcing its acquisition of virtual reality startup Oculus VR for $2 billion, the deal has been approved by U.S. regulators.

The company makes the Oculus Rift virtual reality headset which has just been sent out to developers and is ushering in a new generation of gaming.

Both the FTC and the U.S. Department of Justice approved the deal, which was not expected to have any regulatory hurdles.

The social networking giant purchased the company for mostly stock, just after purchasing giant instant messaging service Whatsapp for $19 billion.

Source:
Reuters




AfterDawn: News

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 23 Apr 2014 17:47

Amazon strikes gold and will exclusively offer older HBO content free with Prime Amazon has announced a blockbuster deal today with original programming king HBO in which Amazon will offer older content for free via its Prime streaming catalog starting May 21st.

The move marks the first time the premium cable channel has licensed its programming to a third party. The company currently allows subscribers to watch content via their own HBO Go streaming app.

Most notably for Amazon, the deal is exclusive and leaves rival Netflix out in the cold. The deal does not include any current seasons or episodes from shows that ended within the last three years. A few other older hits (like Sex and the City) are also excluded because they are currently under contract for syndication deals with cable TV networks.

Included in the deal are past hits like "The Sopranos," "The Wire" and the first seasons of current hits like "True Blood." "Game of Thrones" fans will have to wait a little bit longer.

For fans that purchased Amazon's Fire TV streaming set-top box, there was also some good news, as the HBO Go app will finally make its way to the device in the coming months.




AfterDawn: News

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 23:49

Microsoft to complete Nokia devices and services acquisition on April 25th Microsoft has confirmed that their acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Service business will close on April 25th.

Reads the company's press release: "Today we are excited to share that we have completed the steps necessary to finalize Microsoft's acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The transaction will be completed this Friday, April 25, when we'll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft family.

The completion of this acquisition follows several months of planning and will mark a key step on the journey towards integration. This acquisition will help Microsoft accelerate innovation and market adoption for Windows Phones. In addition, we look forward to introducing the next billion customers to Microsoft services via Nokia mobile phones."


There had been roadblocks overseas, most notably in China, which were recently resolved.

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AfterDawn: News

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:39

Powerful Sony Xperia Z2 tablet now available for pre-order at $500 Sony has confirmed that the Xperia Z2 IP55/58 waterproof tablet is now available for pre-order at $500 for the 16GB base model.

The device features a 10.1" tablet display with Full HD TRILUMINOS and Live Color LED technology and is powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 2.3 Ghz quad-core processor and 3 GB RAM. Android 4.4 is loaded right out of the gate, along with Sony's Xperia UI.

Additionally, the tablet has S-Force Front Surround audio, Clear Audio+ and digital noise cancelling support, a 6000mAh battery and an8 MP camera with Exmor RS image sensor and Superior Auto mode.

Finally, Sony has pre-loaded media offers including six movies from Sony Pictures (including new films like Captain Phillips and American Hustle), a free trial to Music Unlimited and eight free PlayStation Mobile games.

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AfterDawn: News

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 22:10

Amazon Fire TV to add Netflix to universal voice search later this year Netflix has confirmed that Amazon will be adding the company's full streaming catalog to its Fire TV's universal search feature.

CEO Reed Hastings said "we expect to support voice search later this year," a move that will greatly improve the functionality of the box.

Besides Netflix, Amazon announced recently that there would be support for Crackle, Showtime Anytime, and Hulu Plus in the near future.

Read our review of the set-top box here: Review: The powerful streaming, gaming set-top Amazon Fire TV




AfterDawn: News

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 21:38

AT&T shows off potential new launch areas for gigabit fiber Internet service AT&T is preparing a true rival for Google Fiber, showing off potential launch sites for expanding their gigabit speed fiber Internet service, GigaPower.

The service is currently only available in Austin and has been announced for Dallas, Winston-Salem and Raleigh-Durham.

With today's announcement, the company has now identified 21 new candidate metropolitan areas including: Atlanta, Augusta, Charlotte, Chicago, Cleveland, Fort Worth, Fort Lauderdale, Greensboro, Houston, Jacksonville, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Oakland, Orlando, San Antonio, San Diego, St. Louis, San Francisco, and San Jose.

"We're delivering advanced services that offer consumers and small businesses the ability to do more, faster, help communities create a new wave of innovation, and encourage economic development," said Lori Lee, senior executive vice president, AT&T Home Solutions. "We're interested in working with communities that appreciate the value of the most advanced technologies and are willing to encourage investment by offering solid investment cases and policies."

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AfterDawn: News

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 21 Apr 2014 18:31

Netflix to raise prices for new subscribers Following their quarterly earnings report this afternoon, Netflix has announced it will be raising the price for new subscribers to its streaming catalog.

Currently at $7.99 per month for unlimited streaming and multiple profiles, the price will increase by $1 or $2 depending on where you live in the world. The new price change goes into effect later in the quarter, most likely in June.

Netflix says current users will get to keep their grandfathered pricing for a "generous time period." The company previously tested pricing variations in Ireland.

The company justified the small price increase by noting how much content they have added in the past year, especially in original programming. The added revenue will go towards more acquisitions and to "deliver an even better streaming experience."




AfterDawn: News

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked?

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 21:13

Analysts: Have iPad sales peaked? As a group, analysts appear to have called for the peak in iPad sales.

Consensus for the Q1 2014 is that iPad sales will fall year-over-year (YoY) by 0.7 percent.

Such a drop would be surprising for Apple, which saw over 20 percent growth in the last quarter for its refreshed iPad line.

Across the industry, the consensus is 19.3 million units sold, compared to 19.5 million YoY. Noted Apple enthusiasts Horace Dediu, Peter Misek and Gene Munster all had estimates at the high end of the range, above 21 million. Braeburn Group's Matt Lew came in with the low print at 15 million, although that is likely to get more visibility to the firm rather than a real estimation.

Unless Apple blows away these estimates, growth will have slowed significantly. Customers are likely waiting for the updated iPad Air and Mini with Retina models to be released in the Q3.

We will learn more this week following Apple's earnings report.

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AfterDawn: News

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 15:19

Toshiba shows off 'world's fastest' microSD cards Toshiba has just unveiled the world's fastest microSD cards, cards that the company claims can handle 4K video.

Available initially in 32GB and 64GB versions, the cards are rated at UHS Speed Class 3 (U3) and they are the first to use the new UHS-II interface standard.

Notes Toshiba: UHS-II with U3 means support for "high-quality 4K video capture at constant minimum write speed of 30MB/S. This means that 4K2K video, live broadcast, and content can be recorded on high-performance cameras."

The new announcement is of great significance to the industry, given that product makers will no longer have to sacrifice valuable space to accommodate bigger cards, like full sized SD.

Toshiba claims the 64GB card has a max read speed of 260MB per second and write speed of 240MB/s while the 32GB has 145MB/s and 130MB/s, respectively. Compared to previous cards, the new specs "represents an 8x write speed improvement and 2.7x read speed improvement when compared to Toshiba's current 32GB MicroSD UHS-1 card."

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AfterDawn: News

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users

Written by Andre Yoskowitz @ 20 Apr 2014 14:32

LinkedIn reaches 300 million users LinkedIn has announced this week that the professional social network now has 300 million registered users, with 100 million residing in the U.S.

Reads the blog post: "We are excited to announce that we reached a big milestone today: there are now more than 300 million LinkedIn members in the world! More than half of these members come from outside of the U.S., while there are 100 million members in the U.S. While this is an exciting moment, we still have a long way to go to realize our vision of creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce."

The company has plans for major expansions into Asia and mobile devices, with the ultimate goal of expanding their user base into the billions.

Of course, the registered userbase is much higher than the active users, with uniques totaling 187 million last quarter.

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