Audio and video trends for 2014

The future of cameras seem to be heading to is smaller, more portable, more disposable and mirrorless (DSLRs have a mirror). When Nokia’s Executive Vice President Anssi Vanjoki told 2010 that Cell Phone Cameras Will Replace DSLRs, I could not believe that on time. But it really seems to become more and more to truth in 2014: Nowadays you can take professional level (“good enough photos”) using consumer level cameras and smart phones. Technical quality is good enough for majority. There is going on a rampant replacement of point and shoot cameras of all flavors and varieties with smart phones and their built in cameras. Now the market is being effectively gutted. Gone. Non-existent. Same thing is happening to video as well.

Part of the technical race came to a (maybe temporary) end: “How can I match and exceed the quality of conventional metrics that we used to get from medium format film.” There’s nothing else pressing to solve, technically. Many photographers are fully equipped but uninspired to move forward. We have have set down for “good enough.” The engineering idea is that we’ve hit the sweet spot and to go for a Six Sigma improvement would be costly and unnecessary.

DSLR sales were down in 2013, worldwide, by 18.5% according to CIPA. The total decline in the entire dedicated camera market is closer to 43.5%. The decline will continue. Credit Suisse prediction: “Only those who have a strong brand and are competitive on price will last – and only Canon, Nikon and Sony fullfil that criteria”. Mirrorless cameras are not a big market: According to CIPA is the total sales of mirrorless system cameras in N. America was slightly fewer than 39,000 units. Total.

The challenge will be: How do you bridge that gap between high photo-capture quality and high-quality camera devices and the cloud where every amateur photographer’s images live? The company which has the most innovative post-processing, easy to share photos feature set wins! The future of photography is same as future in pretty much everything: software and connectivity. Camera manufacturers have been slow on those: we are just now seeing cameras with full operating systems like Android The advantages to smart phones are size, constant (annoyingly constant) access, multi-task tool set, and the ability to send your images, electronically, to an audience just about anywhere in the world.

Several smartphone makers have clear strategies to take photography to extremes: 40 megapixel camera is already on the market and several manufacturers are playing with re-focus after shooting options.

Consumer video device trend is that separate classic video cameras have pretty much faded from market. New smart phones have high definition video cameras in them, so for most users there is no need for separate video camera. For special uses there are small “action” video cameras that are so tiny that you can place them almost anywhere and they can take some beating while you perform your extreme sports. If the video quality of those do not suffice, many people use their DSLR to shoot higher quality high definition video. For professional video production there is still some market left for professional and prosumer video cameras.

The world seems to be heading to situation where separate DSLRs and separate video cameras will be more like high fidelity audio, which used to be common selling point in 1970s, 80s and early 90s, but now only some geeks care about audio quality. This will more or less happen to photographs and video.

Connected TV technologies get more widely used and the content earlier viewable only on TV can be now seen on many other screens. Your smartphone is the screen in your pocket. Your computer is the screen on your desk. Your tablet is a screen for the couch. This development is far from ready. Gartner suggests that now through 2018, a variety of devices, user contexts, and interaction paradigms will make “everything everywhere” strategies unachievable.

Video streaming has really become mainstream as Netflix And YouTube Account For Over 50% Of Peak Fixed Network Data In North America. Because of the rise in video services like Netflix and YouTube, peer-to-peer file-sharing has dropped (meaning less piracy of movies and TV series). Netflix remains the biggest pig in the broadband python, representing 31.6% of all downstream Internet traffic in North America during primetime hours in September — well ahead of any other streaming service. In other parts of the world, YouTube is the biggest consumer of bandwidth. In Europe, YouTube represented of 28.7% of downstream traffic.

Post HDTV resolution era seems to be coming to TVs as well in form of 4K / UltraHD. It was introduced in the 2013, and the manufacturers start to push it more in 204 because all LCD makers are looking to move their business models on from cheap mass production to higher-margin, premium offerings. They try to innovate and secure their future viability by selling fewer, but more profitable displays. On this road giant curved TVs is gaining ground: LG announces that it will present the “world’s first ” 105-inch curved ultra-hd-TV in January in Las Vegas at CES. Almost at the same time , however, Samsung also announced the proposal at CES “the world’s first and curved” 105-inch ultra HD television.. TV screens are in fact higher resolution the basic 4k level of ultra hd: Samsung and LG screens resolution is 5120 × 2160 pixels in the image (11 megapixels).

4K resolution ecosystem will get more ready for use. Netflix is testing out 4K video streaming and Netflix’s House of Cards was shot in 4K. Amazon Studios also just recently announced that it will shoot all of its 2014 shows in that format as well.

4K and 4K streaming are definitely coming in 2014 regardless of how many people can actually view it. 4K will still require a lot of work “with the compression and decode capability” to be ready for mainstream use. There are a great many things that need to happen before 4K really becomes a reality or needs to do so.
PC hardware with 4G capable graphics cards is already available, so decoding the stream is not a problem. The biggest issue is that the market penetration of 4K-capable televisions needs to grow, but to that happen the prices must drop to ranges for the average consumer. Many users have already fast enough fixed broadband connection, but can the networks handle peak usage 4K streaming? According to Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, it won’t require more than a stable 15 Mbps to stream 4K.

Extreme overkill resolution will also push to tablet and smart phone markets. There are already smart phones with full HD resolution. In high-end smartphones we may be moving into the overkill zone with extreme resolution that is higher than you can see on small screen: some makers have already demonstrated displays with twice the performance of 1080-progressive. Samsung is planned to release devices with 4k or UHD resolutions. As we have seen in many high tech gadget markets earlier it is a very short journey to copycat behavior. And we will see also see smart phones that can shoot 4K video.

For a long time music has been listened mainly with small portable MP3 player and such, which for most users provide “good enough” audio quality. The market had already shifted from separate MP3 players to the same functionality included to other devices (smart phones and tablets), so sales of music players sales have plummeted in year 2013 as much as as one-third. Separate music players mostly only used for listening music during fitness hobby, and growing popularity of fitness hobby is full of players saved the market from total collapse. Uncompressed music player to appreciate the need of a decent storage capacity, so some hifi people buy some high-end separate players, but that’s a small market.

Apple’s iPod continues to lead an ever-shrinking market of portable media players with a staggering 72 percent of the market for standalone music players. Apple has never been afraid of reducing demand for one of its devices by creating demand for another, in this case iPhone. The future of separate music players looks bleak.

Smartphones have taken the music player market. The growing popularity of smart phones and music streaming services will rise in the future to eat even music players sales. If smart watch will become a hit, the music player may be lost in exercisers shopping list.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Developing an Artificial Retina to Restore Vision

    Loss of eyesight is often caused by retinal degeneration as people age. But, an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Tel Aviv University, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem Centers for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, both in Israel, and Newcastle University, OK, are developing a prosthetic retina could help counter eyesight loss from problems with this specific portion of the eye.

    They point out that a variety of medical devices are becoming available to treat conditions, including visual impairment, by sending sensory signals to the brain. But many use metallic parts, cumbersome wiring, or have low resolution.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sweden run down the analog radio

    Sweden is planning to move the analog radio broadcasting to digital. FM broadcasts are exhausted – certain conditions are met – in 2022.

    Switching to digital radio will open more space for competition. In addition, the report states that the current radio channels FM broadcast radio online, combined with insufficient service level requirements.

    In Sweden, the current radio licenses will expire at the end of July 2018. The Swedish Radio has estimated that the transition to digital broadcasting result in an annual 50-100 million kronor additional costs.

    Commercial radio stations are already, of course, praised the Government’s proposal. Digital channels suitable ether clearly more analogous to what commercial radio stations will see more revenue opportunities.

    DAB has encountered problems in many countries, not least because of the lack of receivers. Perhaps the situation is now changing. Digital Radio is the most popular in England, where DAB has increased in popularity all the time.

    DAB is probably the most advanced in the Nordic countries Norway, where FM broadcasting may end as early as in 2017. In Germany, the proposed FM broadcasts winding and their replacement by DAB + broadcasts.


  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    CrystalClear SoundFusion Audio Codec ‘97

    The CS4299 is a CrystalClear SoundFusion audio codec featuring AC ’97 2.1 compatibility with an industry leading mixed signal technology. It offers a a 20-bit stereo DAC and an 18-bit stereo ADC, as well as a dual stereo line-level outputs and dual microphone inputs.

    The CS4299 audio codec is an AC ‘97 2.1-compliant; stereo audio codec designed for PC multimedia systems. Using industry-leading Delta-Sigma and mixed-signal technology, the CS4299 enables the design of PC 99-compliant desktop, portable and entertainment PCs.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Demand Founder Raises $20 Million at a $100 Million Valuation for Legal TV-Clipping Startup Whipclip
    December 3, 2014, 8:39 AM PST

    Longtime Los Angeles entrepreneur Richard Rosenblatt is launching a startup called Whipclip in private beta today, striking a series of deals with big media companies and attracting a roster of entertainment and venture investors to back a mobile app that allows consumers to clip popular moments from television.

    The startup is aiming at the still-high amount of time consumers watch television — up to five hours a day compared to a much smaller amount of time for online viewing, despite a huge interest in sharing TV clips across sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

    Although initially not a consumer play, Whipclip’s main focus now is recruiting these content owners to provide their TV shows for WhipClip’s consumer application in return offering video streaming, editing, distribution and analytics tools. Once shared — via Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Tumblr, email and SMS — the clips direct traffic back to the content providers’ sites.

    Of course, the success or failure of services like Whipclip depends on how much popular content it can convince media companies to share. For its beta launch, it has signed up a smattering of shows from ABC, CBS and A&E Networks, which is still clearly not enough to go really viral.

    Others such as SnappyTV offer media companies clipping tools, but Rosenblatt suggested that they take it further, urging Birnbaum to “flip his B2B tool into a consumer tool and add a detailed set of rules so the media companies will feel secure about letting users share their content.”

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Fastest Camera Ever Made Captures 100 Billion Frames Per Second

    A new imaging technique is able to capture images at 100 billion frames per second—fast enough to watch light interact with objects, which could eventually lead to new cloaking technologies.

    The Fastest Camera Ever Created Will Be Used to Study Invisibility Cloaks

    “It might be possible to improve the investigation into approaches to optical cloaking, in which light bends or is deformed around an object, instead of going through it,”

    “This field of study, popularized in Star Trek, is real, and although may advances are being made in fundamental approaches to cloaking designs, the inability to see the interactions between light and the object being cloaked hampers development,” he added.

    But let’s talk about this camera, or rather, the technique developed to make the cameras, for a second. It’s called Compressed Ultrafast Photography (CUP), and ​it was developed by a team led by Lihon Wang at Washington University in St. Louis. It uses technology made popular in streak cameras, which are also used to image light. In streak cameras, the sensor is moved laterally along with the light—in other words, within the camera, the sensor or a mirror or the whole thing itself would move very, very fast to create the image.

    With CUP, the photons necessary to take an image are blasted through a beam splitter and then through a tube that has several tiny mirrors. These photons are converted into electrons, which encode the data you want captured—namely the time and space data necessary to create an image. All of this happens in one billionth of a second, and the data can then be arranged into a video on a computer.

    The technology is impressive and quite complex. Previous cameras could record at roughly a billion frames a second, but could only do so in one dimension—that meant you could measure space or time, but not both. And it was slower, anyway.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Older viewers also abandoning TV in favor of phone, computer–20141203-story.html

    People in the U.S. are watching more digital video as traditional TV viewing declines, and it’s not just young people driving the trend, according to a new report from Nielsen.

    The measurement firm said Wednesday that the amount of time spent watching video on computers and smartphones each day among those age 55 and up increased 55% in the third quarter, compared with the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, traditional TV viewing among that demographic didn’t change in the quarter.

    The decline in regular-TV viewing was 2% among 25-to-54-year-olds, compared with a 62% bump in viewing on computers and mobile devices. (Still, the TV screen accounts for far more watching than the newer viewing methods.)

    Media executives have been placing pressure on Nielsen to change its ratings to account for more of the digital audience as their live ratings continue to fall.

    “Now is the time for a fundamental industry change,”

    Compared with a year ago, time-shifted viewing through digital recording devices and video on-demand grew to 14 hours and 20 minutes a month, from 12 hours and 31 minutes a month last year.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Optical Filters: Filter stacks transmit wide-angle incident light without shifting wavelength

    To avoid the problem of color change versus incidence angle in an optical system, thin-film-coated filter elements can be replaced by a filter consisting of a stack of different filter glasses.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Feast your eyes: 10 ‘fortysomething’ smart TVs
    Spoiling telly addicts this Christmas

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sweden’s decision to stop FM radio broadcasts and switch to digital DAB broadcasting is a massive project. Sweden has calculated that the old radios thrown away ten million devices.

    Ny Teknik brought together the radio switch to digital effects. FM band 87.5 – 108 MHz in practice it turned off. The area is internationally reserved for analog radio, and it can not be properly carried out other services without disturbing the neighbors.

    DAB radio works 174 – 240 MHz band. This band is suitable for digital channels significantly more than the existing analogue channels FM band.

    Sweden introduced a DAB + technology is based on the MPEG-4 container and AAC + encoding. Bit rate link is 192 kilobits per second.

    Swedish analogue radio broadcasting will cease in 2022, the latest in 2024.


  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Older viewers also abandoning TV in favor of phone, computer–20141203-story.html

    People in the U.S. are watching more digital video as traditional TV viewing declines, and it’s not just young people driving the trend, according to a new report from Nielsen.

    “Now is the time for a fundamental industry change,” Dounia Turrill, Nielsen’s senior vice president of insights, said in the new report. “Our goal is to deliver comprehensive measurement of all audience and all advertising by following the consumer.”

    Compared with a year ago, time-shifted viewing through digital recording devices and video on-demand grew to 14 hours and 20 minutes a month, from 12 hours and 31 minutes a month last year.

    Watching of video on the Internet exploded to 10 hours and 42 minutes a month, a big surge from six hours and 20 minutes a year ago.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon Fire TV Update Bricks Hacked Devices

    The Amazon Fire TV is Amazon’s answer to all of the other streaming media devices on the market today. Amazon is reportedly selling these devices at cost, making very little off of the hardware sales. Instead, they are relying on the fact that most users will rent or purchase digital content on these boxes, and they can make more money in the long run this way. In fact, the device does not allow users to download content directly from the Google Play store, or even play media via USB disk. This makes it more likely that you will purchase content though Amazon’s own channels.

    It’s no surprise that hackers have been jail breaking these devices to see what else they are capable of. A side effect of these hacks is that content can be downloaded directly from Google Play. USB playback can also be enabled.

    Amazon’s response to these hacks was to release a firmware update that will brick the device if it discovers that it has been rooted.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The video games engine and movie post-production gap is closing
    Games engines will liberate directors from the restraints of post-production processes

    THANKS TO THE growing power of video games engines, which are responsible for creating the whole in-game experience – from rendering the physics system and sound architecture to artificial intelligence and networking – the idea that film makers could take advantage of them to improve, speed up or even completely abolish the post-production process is slowly becoming a reality.

    Last year, when we reported that LucasFilm, the California production company responsible for the Star Wars franchise, proclaimed that video game engines would be responsible for the decline of the movie post-production process in the next 10 years, our readers scoffed.

    “You have to be joking, do you have any idea how many times this has been tried in the past and completely and utterly failed to work?” said one. While another chimed in with, “It’ll never happen, directors like to screw with the effects too much.”

    But despite what the critics say, I think the gap is closing fast, and it’s only a matter of time before this will become the norm for animated movies. This is not just because games engines are increasing in power and sophistication and thus are more able to create more realistic visuals, but because movie directors are actually craving this type of technology.

    For instance, I spoke to the animation director of the recently released Paddington film just before its release this week, Pablo Grillo of London’s Framestore, who said that “the ideal for directors” of animated movies is that the animations can be done in real-time, a feature that games engines could unlock.

    Paddington the bear was created and animated using a more simple-looking representation of the character than the one seen in the final film, which is manipulated in near real time. But it then takes hours upon hours of rendering of much higher details, for example Paddington’s fur, in post animation before the film’s makers can see the end result.

    “One thing that would really transform the process is to be able to real-time render – yeah I’d like to see more detail, certainly things like hair – but the dream is to be animating real time with what you see at the ‘other end’,” explained Grillo.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    YouTube Now Tells You How Copyrighted Music Will Affect Your Video Before You Upload It

    Google today launched a new feature in the YouTube Audio Library that allows uploaders who use copyrighted music to see exactly what will happen to their videos before they upload them.

    When you upload a video to YouTube today, the service’s Content ID system will automatically try to figure out if you’re using any copyrighted music in it. Artists and labels can choose to then either mute that audio, block the video from being seen, or (if they’re smart) monetize the video by running ads against it. The problem with that is that until now, you didn’t know what would happen to your video until after you had uploaded it.

    Using the new search feature in the Audio Library, you can now see exactly what will happen.

    Say you want to use Boom Clap from TechCrunch friend Charli XCX. You can now check and see that your video will still be viewable worldwide and that ads can appear on your video — but chances are you won’t be able to monetize your video through ads yourself.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Watch Laser Light Moving At 100 Billion Frames A Second
    The latest and greatest in ultra-fast photography

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Exclusive: HBO to outsource streaming technology in blow to ‘backstabbing’ CTO

    In a major strategic shift, HBO will license the technology underpinning the standalone streaming service it plans to offer in 2015. The company has killed a project called “Maui” that would build the new streaming service in-house, according to an internal memo

    Rather than build the technology internally, the company has struck a deal to use external technology offering from MLB Advanced, according to sources familiar with the situation. MLB Advanced already provides white-label streaming technology for clients like WWE Network, but HBO will likely be its largest client. It’s unclear what this means for the future of HBO Go, the company’s existing streaming service for cable subscribers.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tiny 1080p chipset enables full HD projection

    Texas Instruments is now sampling to its third-party developer network the 0.47-in. TRP Full-HD 1080p chipset—the smallest TI chipset capable of generating brighter, more efficient full high-definition projection displays from small form-factor electronics.

    The chipset is based on DLP Cinema technology and employs the DLP4710 digital micromirror device to deliver sharp, clear images in a compact size that enables end-user products in many form factors.

    Low power consumption allows the chipset to be used in battery-powered applications, such as mobile projectors and wearable electronics.

    The 0.47″ TRP Full-HD 1080p display chipset will be available in early 2015 for purchase from the TI Store in evaluation quantities and from TI-authorized distributors in high-volume quantities. It includes the DLP4710 digital micromirror device, which will be offered in a 100-pin FQL package. Other components in the chipset are the DLPC3439 display controller, which will be available in a 201-pin VFBGA package, and the DLPA3005 PMIC/LED driver, which will be offered in a 100-pin HTQFP package.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon-owned Twitch buys eSports agency GoodGame

    Steve Ballmer isn’t the only tech CEO with a major interest in a competitive sports franchise anymore.

    Thanks to a new acquisition, Jeff Bezos now has a stake in two of the leading eSports teams.

    Twitch announced today that it has acquired GoodGame, a talent and content agency that manages ad deals and brands for people who create content around competitive video gaming, better known as eSports. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

    The game streaming company, which was acquired by Amazon earlier this year, highlighted GoodGame’s success at drawing high-profile advertisers into funding opportunities with eSports content creators and teams. Twitch praised GoodGame’s ability to offer “an arsenal of fresh, non-traditional engagement methods uniquely suited to the ever-evolving digital media audience.”

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon Instant Video can now stream movies and TV shows in 4K

    Amazon today announced Amazon Instant Video has gained support for Ultra HD picture quality. Amazon Prime subscribers can now watch movies, TV shows, and Amazon Original Series content in the higher resolution. Movies in Ultra HD are also available for purchase starting at $19.99, meaning this expansion is not limited to Amazon Prime.

    The term Ultra HD encompasses both 4K (2160p) and 8K (4320p), but in this case Amazon is referring to the former digital video format. The resolution has four times the number of pixels as standard full HD.

    While this 4K content is accessible through the Amazon Instant Video app, you’ll naturally need a compatible Ultra HD smart TV to see the difference. Amazon says it supports models from LG, Samsung, and Sony, and it will add more next year. If you’re an Amazon Prime member with a compatible television, you’ll get the higher-quality content at no additional cost to your membership.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Windows 8.1 will now play your pirated movies without any help

    Microsoft first started supporting the MKV file format natively on the company’s Xbox One console earlier this year, and now the company is bringing those changes to Windows. Starting today, Windows 8.1 will now natively support the Matroska Multimedia Container (MKV) file format with the built-in video app. The open standard container format has long been used to provide pirated copies of movies and TV shows through BitTorrent or other file sharing sites, but Microsoft’s move to provide native support lends the file format some much-needed legitimacy.

    While it’s likely most content providers will continue to provide streaming video instead of DRM-free download options, native MKV support in Windows adds another option to share video or audio files without having to download third-party players like VLC. Microsoft has also pledged to support MKV in the upcoming release of Windows 10, alongside support for Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) files.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Blu-ray region locks popped by hardware hacker
    ODM firmware allows code to run from USB sticks

    Scores of Blu-ray players from the biggest names in the industry contain security vulnerabilities that allow region coding to be unlocked, hardware hacker Matthew Garrett says.

    The players use an antiquated digital rights management scheme to control the distribution of movies meaning some films could only be played in the geographic regions in which they were purchased

    “I wanted to watch the movie Hackers but it was region-locked,” Garrett told the Kiwicon hacker conference in Wellington, New Zealand, today. “And I thought well, f*ck.”

    The hardware prober told the rapt house of 1100 hackers, sysadmins and developers how firmware designed by Taiwanese firm MediaTech could be popped to enable the region encoding to be changed.

    “There are literally tens of millions of devices with this flaw,” Garrett said.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Bellard Creates New Image Format To Replace JPEG

    Fabrice Bellard (creator of FFMPEG, QEMU, JSLinux…) proposes a new image format that could replace JPEG : BPG. For the same quality, files are about half the size of their JPEG equivalents.

    He released libbpg (with source) as well as a JS decompressor, and set up a demo

    BPG Image format

    BPG (Better Portable Graphics) is a new image format. Its purpose is to replace the JPEG image format when quality or file size is an issue.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    YouTube Now Lets You Make GIFs From Videos

    Making short GIFs of YouTube videos is a pretty well-established practice now — so much so that there’s dozens of websites dedicated to this finest of art forms. But YouTube might be about to make them all obsolete, thanks to a new built-in GIF maker.

    Maximum length is six seconds, with options to add top and bottom text if needed. Actual GIF creation takes seconds.

    It’s unclear what YouTube’s plans for the future of this feature are, at this stage.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cirrus Logic’s Articles
    Emergence of New Audio Formats for HD DVD Standards

    This white paper presents the design challenges and solutions for the rise of new audio formats for high-definition DVD standards. It describes an overview of high-definition DVD, the sound-to-match-the picture standards, as well as the shift from video to audio design challenges, the IC solutions to balance the cost, quality and time-to-market; and the availability of the single-chip solution for the challenge.

    Current system-on-a-chip (SOC) processors do not adequately address the new set of lossy (Dolby® Digital Plus and DTS®-HD High Resolution) and lossless (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) audio codec formats, which all require a higher bit rate, more memory, increased sampling frequency and better connectivity.

    In order to keep pace and meet the formats’ requirements for decoding the myriad audio algorithms, OEMs need a single integrated circuit (IC) solution that reduces design complexities while balancing cost, quality and time-to-market.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    How Digital Music Missed Its Big Chance
    Before MySpace, Napster, Spotify or Soundcloud, there was IUMA.

    Jeff Patterson wanted everyone to try Zima. It was the early 1990s and he’d brought a few six-packs into the offices of the Internet Underground Music Archive (IUMA).

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    What’s the point of a curved TV?

    Over the last year or so, we’ve seen a number of curved TVs hitting the market. Sure, they look slick and stand out from the crowd, but what, if anything makes a curved TV better than a flat one when it comes to your viewing pleasure?

    One of the biggest marketing hooks upon which curved TV manufacturers like LG and Samsung are hanging their hats is the idea that curved TVs provide better a better viewing experience, and there is some scientific evidence to back up the claim.

    Oshin Vartanian and colleagues at the University of Toronto’s Department of Psychology have been working in the the field of neuroaesthetics. This is the study of what neurological factors play a role in the things we find pleasing to the eye, or not. Research by Vartanian and his team suggests that we naturally find curved objects more pleasing than those with straight edges.

    Whilst he acknowledges that curved TVs “provide some flair,” Dr. Raymond M. Soneira of display diagnostics and calibration company DisplayMate argues that whether or not we like a curved TV more or less than a flat one is still primarily a subjective matter.

    Soneira explains that the concave shape reduces the number of reflections on a screen by eliminating certain angles from which they can be created.

    He also says that curved TVs improve the viewing experience for individuals sitting off-center. Soneira explains that the curve of the screen works to eliminate some of the unintended “foreshorteneing” caused by sitting to one side.

    Soneira also points out that the curved shape keeps the screen at a more uniform distance from the viewer’s eyes when they are sitting centrally.

    So it would seem that along with their futuristic looks (which let’s face it, is a perfectly valid reason to buy one for many consumers), there are some tangible benefits to curved TVs. Whether or not these justify the significant price hike over their flat counterparts is another matter entirely.

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    On visual web, a photo is worth more than a 1000 words

    Photos, photos and more photos! Photos are the atomic unit of social platforms. Photos and visuals are the common language of the Internet. It is hardly a surprise then, that we are going to upload nearly 900 billion photos to the Internet this year. Or that, Snapchat is worth tens-of-billions of dollars. What is more amazing is that we have only, barely scratched the surface when it comes to the potential of turning on the cameras. Here is a personal essay on why I am excited about photos, the visual web, computer vision and the far reaching impact of visual sensors.

    By the end of 2014 some estimate that there will be 880 billion photos on the web. Beyond sheer volume, privacy challenges are the new reality of a utopian technological desire. Future photo services will have to tackle these familiar problems before they can move forward.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vinyl Record Pressing Plants Struggle To Keep Up With Demand

    The WSJ reports that the revival of vinyl records, a several-year trend that many figured was a passing fad, has accelerated during 2014 with an astounding 49 percent sales increase over 2013

    Some listeners think that vinyl reproduces sound better than digital, and some youngsters like the social experience of gathering around a turntable. The records are pressed at a handful of decades-old, labor-intensive factories that can’t keep up with the demand; but since the increased sales still represent only about 2 percent of US music sales, there hasn’t been a rush of capital investment to open new plants.

    Does vinyl really sound better? An engineer explains

    Is that true? Kind of. Sometimes. It depends. The vinyl LP is a format based on technology that hasn’t evolved much over the last six decades: in some ways, it’s the audio equivalent of driving a Ford Pilot. Sonically, vinyl has both strengths and weaknesses compared to digital files, just as movie buffs have argued over the pros and cons of 35mm film against 4K digital.

    “Vinyl is the only consumer playback format we have that’s fully analog and fully lossless,” Gonsalves said. “You just need a decent turntable with a decent needle on it and you’re going to enjoy a full-fidelity listening experience. It’s a little bit more idiot-proof and a little bit less technical.”

    The analog format allows for artists to transport their music from magnetic tape to LP to your speakers or headphones without the complications of digital conversion.

    Fighting the loudness wars: Digital music engineering, particularly for radio-bound music, is often marred by a volume arms race, which leads to fatiguing, hyper-compressed songs that squish out the dynamics and textures that give recordings their depth and vitality. Vinyl’s volume is dependent on the length of its sides and depth of its grooves, which means an album mastered specifically for the format may have more room to breathe than its strained digital counterpart.

    That warm vinyl sound: “I think this is what people like about it: it pins very closely to the way that human beings hear music organically,” Gonsalves said. “It’s very mid-range-y and very warm,” a sound that flatters the fuzzy guitars of rock ‘n’ roll.

    “All-analog” doesn’t always happen: Many modern vinyl records are produced from digital masters, either recordings made natively in software such as Pro Tools or converted from tape before being sent along for mass production.

    “There’s basically nothing you can do to make an hour-long album on one record sound good,” Gonsalves said. Vinyl’s capable of a lot, but only if the grooves are wide enough for the needle to track them properly. A longer album means skinnier grooves, a quieter sound and more noise.

    Vinyl can struggle with highs and lows: High-pitched frequencies (drum cymbals, hi-hats) and sibilance (think “s” sounds) can cause the ugly crackle of distortion, while deep bass panned between the left and right channels can knock around the needle. “It should basically be in mono,” Gonsalves said. Otherwise, “that’s a hard path for a needle to trace.”

    Surface noise: “The warm sound of the vinyl, that’s a form of noise that you get from dealing with the lacquer material and having it go through this manufacturing process,” Gonsalves said. The vinyl format can generate other issues: crackles and pops, records that skip and the whine of a needle against the LP, all problems that the CD advertised itself on solving decades ago.

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The algorithm sees the invisible: camera shake can reveal the camera user on YouTube

    According to scientists from Israel the body-mounted camera wobble remains unique in the second video, which can be identified later. New Scientist in an article published by turmoil could be identified, for example, police officers, but also, for example, the protesters. In tests detection managed 88 per cent of cases (used dideo baseball caps mounted GoPro cameras and 12 seconds of video).


  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Webcast Funerals Growing More Popular

    Lex Berko reports in The Atlantic that although webcasting has been around since the mid-1990s, livestreamed funerals have only begun to go mainstream in the last few years. The National Funeral Directors Association has only this year introduced a new funeral webcasting license that permits funeral homes to legally webcast funerals that include copyrighted music.

    The webcast service’s growing appeal is, by all accounts, a result of the increasing mobility of modern society. Remote participation is often the only option for those who live far away or have other barriers

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Kafka / Re/code:
    Warner Music’s CEO advocates for paid services as streaming revenue rises 74% in last 12 months while download sales dropped by 12%

    Warner Music Says It Loves Streaming Music — As Long as Listeners Are Paying for It

    Like other music labels, Warner Music Group thinks the boom in streaming music services is a good thing. But like other music labels, Warner is really interested in the music services listeners pay for — and is growing less interested in the free ones.

    Spotify has always had a free offering, designed to drive users to its paid offering. Now it says it has 12.5 million people paying some $10 a month. But there has always been grumbling from certain corners of the music industry that Spotify ought to be signing up more subscribers, and making more money for the industry.

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    SoundCloud introduces ‘Collection,’ a dashboard for following artists and listening to your playlists

    SoundCloud is great for discovering unique content and mixes you’ll scarcely find anywhere else, but sometimes keeping track of all that audio goodness gets a bit cumbersome.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    FPGA Ambilight Clone Packs a Ton of Features

    [Stephen] designed a standalone Ambilight clone built around an FPGA and recently added many new features to make his design even better. His original design was based around a Spartan 3-E FPGA, but his new design uses the Papilio One board with a Spartan-6 LX9 FPGA. This gives him dedicated DSP hardware and more RAM, allowing him to add more processing-intensive features.

    HDMI Light V2

    The specification now looks like this:

    Direct HDMI input at up to 1920×1080 60Hz
    Drive up to 8 strips of LEDs at full frame rate
    Up to 512 LEDs per strip for a total of 4096 LEDs
    Each LED can take it’s colour from any one of 256 arbitrary screen areas
    Each LED can use one of 16 colour correction matrices
    Each LED can use one of 8 sets of gamma correction tables (separate tables for each R, G, B channel)
    Output can be delayed up to 8 frames with microsecond steps for precise synchronisation with TV
    Configurable temporal smoothing
    Up to 64 configurations can be stored in flash memory
    Automatic letterbox/pillarbox detection which can trigger loading of different configurations from flash memory
    Configurable via serial console with a greatly extended command set

    The hardware for this version is almost the same as for the previous one, consisting of my own HDMI receiver board and a Papilio FPGA development board.

    The Papilio Pro has a Spartan-6 LX9 FPGA

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jury finds Apple not liable of harming consumers in iTunes DRM case
    Apple cleared in potential $1 billion court case

    An eight-person jury has decided that Apple is not on the hook for what could have been more than $1 billion in a trial centering on extra security measures the company added to iTunes and iPods starting in 2006.

    Delivering a unanimous verdict today, the group said Apple’s iTunes 7.0, released in the fall of 2006, was a “genuine product improvement,” meaning that new features (though importantly increased security) were good for consumers. Plaintiffs in the case unsuccessfully argued that those features not only thwarted competition, but also made Apple’s products less useful since customers could not as easily use purchased music or jukebox software from other companies with the iPod.

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook Starts Auto-Enhancing Photos Because Algorithms Are Better At Filters Than You

    We’re not ace photographers, but we all take photos. Most could use a little help with light and shadow. So rather than making you manually filter them, Facebook tells me it will now auto-enhance newly uploaded photos starting today on iOS and soon on Android. You’ll be able to adjust a slider to control just how enhanced you want the light, shadow, and clarity, or revert back to your original shot.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Microsoft’s ‘Arcadia’ team is building a streaming app and game service

    Summary:Microsoft’s Operating Systems Group is staffing up a new team that is building an app and game streaming service for the company’s ‘core platforms.’

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NBC will begin live streaming — but not so fast, cord cutters

    NBC has announced plans to begin live streaming its network shows, but cord cutters won’t have access to the new service.

    The peacock network will start streaming to mobile and desktop devices on Tuesday, but viewers will need to provide a login tied to a cable subscription to gain access.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Six Clicks: The best Internet TV gadgets of 2014

    Summary: There is no single best device, but here’s the best of the best.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Netflix: offline viewing is ‘never going to happen’
    Well damn–1277413

    For some time now, services like BBC iPlayer and 4oD have offered the ability to download shows for offline viewing, yet Netflix hasn’t

    And despite the pleas of the masses (or maybe it’s just us) it doesn’t sound like it’s going to happen any time soon – or ever. Speaking to TechRadar, Cliff Edwards, Netflix’s director of corporate communications and technology, said “It’s never going to happen”.

    According to Edwards, Netflix’s position on the matter is that offline downloads are a “short term fix for a bigger problem”, that problem being Wi-Fi access and quality.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon Echo Teardown

    The Amazon Echo aims to be your in-home personal assistant, in the form of a Wi-Fi connected tower speaker. Are smart speakers the next big thing? Follow us inside this new device for the inside scoop. Hey Alexa, it’s teardown time.

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Kafka / Re/code:
    Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar opens Creator Preview for YouTube rival Vessel to lure stars; $2.99/month service includes ads, offers up to $50 CPM for creators

    Former Hulu CEO Jason Kilar Pulls Back the Curtain on Vessel, His YouTube Rival

    Six years ago Jason Kilar made a big splash in Web video when he launched Hulu.

    Now he wants to do it again.

    Kilar is gearing up to launch Vessel, a Web video service that uses YouTube stars as its primary draw. Today he’s offering a preview of sorts, with an explanation of what he wants to do and an open invitation to recruit video makers, who are the only people who can use Vessel today. The service is supposed to open to the public early next year.

    Short version: Kilar thinks people who really love YouTube stars like Shane Dawson and Ingrid Nilsen will pay up to see their stuff on his service before the clips appears on YouTube or anywhere else.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Research Highlights How AI Sees and How It Knows What It’s Looking At

    Deep neural networks (DNNs) trained with Deep Learning have recently produced mind-blowing results in a variety of pattern-recognition tasks, most notably speech recognition, language translation, and recognizing objects in images, where they now perform at near-human levels. But do they see the same way we do? Nope. Researchers recently found that it is easy to produce images that are completely unrecognizable to humans, but that DNNs classify with near-certainty as everyday objects.

    Optical illusions fool computers into seeing things

    Computers are starting to identify objects with near-human levels of accuracy, enabling them to do everything from creating automatic picture captions to driving cars. But now a collection of bizarre optical illusions for these artificial-intelligence systems (AIs) has revealed that machines don’t see the same way we do, which could leave them vulnerable to exploitation.

    Image-recognition algorithms learn to recognise objects by training on a large number of images and identifying patterns that mark out a cat from a coffee cup, for example.

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    WiFi platform enhances cloud-based audio streaming

    Home> Tools & Learning> Design Tools > Development Kit
    WiFi platform enhances cloud-based audio streaming
    Susan Nordyk -December 08, 2014

    Save Follow PRINT PDF EMAIL
    Paired with the CY920 WiFi and Bluetooth network media module, Microchip Technology’s JukeBlox 4 software development kit enables the development of low-latency audio products that are equipped to directly stream cloud-based music services using mobile devices, such as remote controls. The bundle can be used to design stand-alone and multi-room wireless speakers, AV receivers, mini and micro systems, and sound bars.

    The certified dual-band CY920 network media module is based on the DM920 WiFi network media processor, which integrates 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, high-speed USB 2.0, and Ethernet connectivity. Speakers using the 5-GHz band avoid the RF congestion found in the 2.4-GHz band, resulting in fewer audio drops and the ability to use a greater number of speakers in multi-room/whole-home audio systems.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Digital TV demodulator boasts worldwide broadcast standards

    Silicon Labs’ next-generation digital TV demodulator family has expanded support for the latest satellite, terrestrial and cable standards. The Si218x family includes the first demodulators supporting the recently launched DVB-S2X specification, which adds new features and higher performance to the DVB-S2 standard.

    The family also expands Silicon Labs’ terrestrial demodulator portfolio with support for the Integrated Services Digital Broadcasting-Terrestrial (ISDB-T) standard prevalent in Brazil and other Latin America countries. The Si218x family is designed to meet the digital TV reception requirements of TV and set-top box (STB) makers, RF network interface module (NIM) suppliers and DVD/Blu-ray recorder manufacturers worldwide.

    Silicon Labs single-chip Si218x demodulators build on continuous digital demodulation architectural enhancements to support emerging and established standards for terrestrial (DVB-T/T2, ISDB-T), satellite (DVB-S/S2/DSS/S2X) and cable (DVB-C/C2, ITU-T J83 Annex A/B/C) reception. The single-channel Si218x and dual-channel Si218x2 families enable TV and STB manufacturers to simplify complex video front-end designs and to address combinations of multiple broadcast standards with a single low-power and cost-effective demodulator solution.

    The single-channel Si218x demodulators use the same 7 x 7 mm QFN-48 package as Silicon Labs previous demodulator family, providing pin-to-pin compatibility.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Cortex-A9 processors integrate data-mining features

    Toshiba has an ARM Cortex-A9 based application processor series with enhanced sound and image data-mining and security functions, which it intends for use in embedded, handheld devices and industrial equipment.

    Three application processors are the latest additions to the ApP Lite ARM Cortex-A9-based TZ2000 series. These are high performance application processors, which support enhanced sound and image data-mining, communications and security functions.

    The TZ2100 group devices have 1 MByte of built-in SRAM that supports processing of start-up code and data during program execution without any need for external DRAM.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hugh Langley / TechRadar:
    Netflix exec says access and quality of wi-fi will improve within 5 years, end the need for offline downloads–1277413

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Crypto Photography and Custom Firmware

    Imagine a camera that took encrypted pictures. If your camera is stolen, the only thing on the memory card would be random data that can only be unlocked with a key. If you hire a photographer, those images cannot be copied without the key. At the very least, it’s an interesting idea made impressive because this actually exists.

    [Doug] recently got his hands on a Samsung NX300, a nice camera for the price that conveniently runs Linux and is kinda open-sourced by Samsung. With special firmware, [Doug] created public/private key encryption for this camera, giving only the person with the private key the ability to unlock the pictures taken with this camera.

    NX Crypto Photography

    Finally, an encrypted camera!


    Hire a photographer for pictures, but prevent them from keeping a copy. Useful for:
    Photographing secure or secret corporate/government locations. The government or corporation hold the key and provide the locked camera. Pictures cannot be viewed or decrypted without the key.
    Instances where the model(s)/subject(s) want the pictures themselves. They obtain the key prior to shooting.
    Instances where the photographer should not retain rights to the photos. The rights-holder obtains the key prior to shooting.
    Approve or screen photos prior to delivery. Useful for:
    Places which typically have a “no cameras” policy. A locked camera could be rented, with all photos being approved by management prior to delivering to the photographer. (In this case, it’s a good idea to paint or mark the camera to indicate it’s a secure one.) Management holds the key, unlocks the photos afterwards, and deletes any they don’t approve of.
    Wives who let husbands take candid photos of them. The wife holds the key.
    Keep dangerous or compromising photos secure. Useful for:
    Photographers in dangerous locations, where cameras can get stolen and pictures can do damage if publicly released. The photographer would keep the key in a safe place back home.
    Protecting your privacy. If your camera is stolen, you don’t need to worry about what pictures might be on it.


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