Audio and video trends 2015

MEMS mics are taking over. Almost every mobile device has ditched its old-fashioned electret microphone invented way back in 1962 at Bell Labs. Expect new piezoelectric MEMS microphones, which promise unheard of signal-to-noise ratios (SNR) of up to 80 dB (versus 65 dB in the best current capacitive microphones) in 2015. MEMS microphones are growing like gangbusters.

Analysts and veterans of the International CES expect to see plenty of 4K ultra-high-definition televisions, new smartwatch uses, and a large section of the show floor dedicated to robotics.  2015 will be the first year CES gets behind 4K in a big way, as lower price points make the technology more attractive to consumers. Samsung, Sony, Sharp, and Toshiba will be big players in the 4K arena. OEMs must solve the problem of intelligence and connectivity before 4K will really take off. CES attendees may also see 4K TVs optimized for certain tasks, along with a variety of sizes. There will be 10-inch and 14-inch and 17-inch UHD displays.

4K is not enough anymore? 8K – finally come true? Korean giant LG has promised to introduce ehdan 8K TV at CES 2015 exhibition in January8K means a total of 33.2 million pixels, or 7680 x 4320 resolution. 4K video material fate is still uncertain, 8K video can not with certainty not available for a long time.

Sound bars will be a big issue at shows. One problem with new TVs — the thinner they are, the harder it is to get sound out.

Open file formats Matroska Video (MKV) and  Free Lossless Audio Codec (FLAC) gets more widely used as Windows 10 To Feature Native Support For MKV and FLAC.

Watching shows online is more common now. More people are watching videos on smaller screens. You can use a tablet as personal TV. Phablets and portable televisions have taken off in China, Japan, and Korea, where many people watch videos during long commutes. Tablets now have become so ubiquitous and inexpensive that you can buy them for a specific application. Much of the innovation will be in software, rather than hardware — tuning the tablets to boot up like a television instead of an Android tablet

We’re all spending more time with smartphones and tablets. So much so that the “second screen” may now be the “first screen,” depending on the data you read. It seems inevitable that smartphones and tablets will replace the television in terms of time spent. Many metrics firms, including Nielsen, report on the rapid increase of mobile device usage—especially when it comes to apps. Half of YouTube’s views now come from phones and tablets.

Qualcomm will push this year broadcast LTE. That will be picked up more and more by some vendors in tablets, so they can have broadcast TV signals, but it doesn’t have to be generic LTE.

There will be lots of talking on traditional TV vs new streaming services, especially on who gets which program material and at what price. While it’s possible to create a TV platform that doesn’t deal with live channels, smart TVs and game consoles alike generally try to integrate the content as best they can.

Netflix’s new strategy to take on cable involves becoming best friends with cable to get its app included on set-top boxes of cable, fiber and satellite TV operators. Roughly 90 million U.S. households subscribe to cable or other forms of pay TV, and more than 73 million subscribe to the biggest five operators alone. That’s why Netflix has been working hard to team up with one of these major operators.

Google intends to integrate content best it can. Google Publishes ‘Live Channels For Android TV’ App Into The Play Store. G  The “Live Channels for Android TV” app is unsurprisingly incompatible with phones and tablets, maybe because for some reason those markets are intentionally artificially tried to be kept separate.

Virtual reality video is trying to get to spotlight. Samsung’s new Milk VR to round up 360-degree videos for Gear VR article tells that Milk VR will provide the videos for free as Samsung hopes to goose interest in virtual reality. Milk VR service will provide free 360-degree videos to anyone using a Gear VR virtual-reality headset (uses Galaxy Note 4). Samsung wants to jump-start the virtual-reality movement as the company is looking at virtual reality as a potential growth engine at a time when one of its key traditional revenue sources — smartphones — has slowed down. The videos will also serve as a model for future filmmakers or artists looking to take advantage of the virtual-reality medium, as well as build up an ecosystem and viewership for VR content.

Although digital video is increasing in popularity, analog video remains in use in many applications.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Want Nokia’s OZO VR Camera? $60K, Please,2817,2495939,00.asp

    The pro VR camera features real-time preview, wireless operation, and full 3D 360 audio and video broadcasting.

    Nokia this week formally debuted its OZO professional VR camera, with features like real-time preview, wireless operation, and full 3D 360 audio and video broadcasting.

    “We’re at the dawn of an exciting new medium that will transform the way people connect to stories, events, and the world around them,” Nokia President Ramzi Haidamus said in a statement.

    Initially teased in late July, the somewhat spherical device (a long handle protrudes from the back) was designed and built for professional content creators, and comes with the price tag to prove it.

    Nokia this week formally debuted its OZO professional VR camera, with features like real-time preview, wireless operation, and full 3D 360 audio and video broadcasting.

    “We’re at the dawn of an exciting new medium that will transform the way people connect to stories, events, and the world around them,” Nokia President Ramzi Haidamus said in a statement.

    Initially teased in late July, the somewhat spherical device (a long handle protrudes from the back) was designed and built for professional content creators, and comes with the price tag to prove it.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Kafka / Re/code:
    Streaming video accounts for 70% of home broadband usage during peak evening hours in North America, with Netflix leading at 37% and YouTube at 17.85%

    Streaming Video Now Accounts for 70 Percent of Broadband Usage

    You use your Internet connection to do all kinds of things. But you use it for one thing much more than anything else: To stream video and music.

    If you’re reading this site (or if you work at a giant TV and broadband provider), the odds are you know that already. But it’s always useful to see it in a chart, so here you go. Here’s the latest breakdown from broadband services company Sandvine of “fixed access” — for the purposes of this piece, read it as “home broadband” — Internet usage during peak evening hours.

    Again, it’s not surprising to learn that broadband is moving from “the thing that brings you websites and email” to “the thing that brings you video.” But change over time drives it home: Sandvine says that five years ago, video/audio represented 35 percent of prime-time usage. Now it has doubled, to 70 percent.

    Much of the increase comes from YouTube and Netflix, which already accounted for more than half of your broadband usage a couple of years ago and continues to grow. But now those services are joined by relatively new entrants, like Amazon* and Hulu, which barely registered a couple of years ago and now account for nearly 6 percent of usage.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Billy Steele / Engadget:
    Adobe Lightroom mobile on Android is now available for free

    Adobe nixed the Creative Cloud requirement for its mobile photo-editing software.

    Adobe ditched the Creative Cloud requirement for Lightroom mobile on iOS back in October, and now it’s doing the same for Android. With an update to version 1.4 for the Android app, the photo-editing software is now free to use.

    Lightroom mobile offers handy tools, like the ability to copy and paste edits, to help streamline your workflow.

    Adobe Photoshop Lightroom

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chimpanzees get video conferencing gear in experiment backed by Peter Gabriel

    Chimpanzees around the world are to be given access to video-conferencing equipment to see if they use it to communicate with one another. The experiment, which is backed by musician Peter Gabriel, aims to study how apes embrace social technology and will analyse the ways their online communication techniques compare with humans.

    The experiment is due to begin next spring, with the initial focus being a troupe of chimpanzees living at Monkey World – a 65-acre rescue centre in Dorset.

  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Sydney Ember / New York Times:NEW
    Digital ad spending will overtake TV as biggest category by 2017 or 2018, forecasts say

    Digital Ad Spending Expected to Soon Surpass TV

    Television has lost its longtime grip on advertising budgets as digital ad spending continues to surge, according to some of the advertising industry’s most closely watched forecasts to be released on Monday.

    Television ad sales are expected to fall slightly this year, decreasing globally for the first time ever aside from a recession year, according to the Interpublic Group’s Magna Global.

    TV will account for 38.4 percent of the $503 billion global ad market this year and will drop to 38 percent of the market in 2016, according to the forecast.

    In the meantime, digital media will continue its meteoric rise. Digital ad spending will grow 17.2 percent this year, to nearly $160 billion, and 13.5 percent in 2016, and is expected to overtake TV as the biggest advertising category by the end of 2017, the forecast says.

    Publicis Groupe’s ZenithOptimedia expects digital media to pass TV in 2018.

    “TV global growth is diminishing,” Vincent Letang, the head of global forecasting at Magna Global, said. “In most major developed markets, TV growth is slowing and in some cases stagnating.”

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jacob Demmitt / GeekWire:
    Redbox President Mark Horak stepping down as DVD business continues to shrink, stock takes a dive

    Redbox President Mark Horak is leaving the shrinking DVD kiosk business after less than two years at the helm, according to an SEC filing.

    The news comes as Redbox stares down an uncertain future, with even company executives admitting they’re riding the tail of the DVD industry. Outerwall tried to pivot the business into the world of video streaming last year, but that venture fizzled out without much success.

    In the meantime, the company continues to see less interest in DVDs. It shut the Redbox business down in Canada and has been pulling back on underperforming kiosks across the U.S. Redbox revenue declined by more than 9 percent last quarter, while he number of rentals dropped from 171 million in Q3 2014 to 133 million for the same time this year.

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Georg Szalai / Hollywood Reporter:
    AT&T launching OTT mobile service in January, is considering developing original content

    AT&T to Launch Mobile Entertainment Service, CEO Says

    Randall Stephenson at the UBS media and communications conference in New York also discusses hopes to create more original content for DirecTV or mobile, including via a partnership with Peter Chernin.

    Telecom giant AT&T is planning a mobile entertainment service, chairman and CEO Randall Stephenson told an investor conference Tuesday.

    He spoke about hopes to launch an offer along the lines of competitor Verizon’s Go90. Stephenson said AT&T is aggressively pursuing rights to offer an OTT bundle of content for people without a satellite TV subscription for a mobile or single home screen, citing 30 million homes without pay TV subscriptions in the U.S. He said the company was “very interested” in such an offer for cost-conscious consumers and would discuss this topic soon. It wasn’t immediately clear if that offer would be immediately available.

    Stephenson also said that AT&T would soon announce and in January launch a “premium content” package that will offer “mobile stacked content together with a really robust wireless asset.”

    The AT&T boss also discussed a push into original content. Differentiating content is key, these days and Netflix is the master at it, so the company is looking to develop more “proprietary content,” he said. Stephenson said it could do so for DirecTV or mobile and could do it through Otter Media, the online video joint venture with Peter Chernin that has acquired a majority stake in YouTube multichannel network operator Fullscreen.

    With its $49 billion acquisition of satellite TV giant DirecTV this summer, AT&T now is the largest pay TV provider in the U.S. and the world, providing service to more than 26 million subscribers in the U.S. and more than 19 million in Latin America.

    AT&T has said it expects $2.5 billion or more in annual cost synergies from the DirecTV transaction by 2018. It has also highlighted the opportunity for programming cost savings, highlighting that AT&T’s U-verse video service pays $17 per subscriber per month more in content costs than DirecTV, providing an opportunity to negotiate with “the content guys,” according to management. Executives have said content companies could in return benefit from more data on who is watching and more targeted advertising opportunities.

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Kafka / Re/code:
    Amazon Starts Building Its Own Bundle by Selling Showtime, Starz and More With Amazon Prime — Amazon has a new weapon to boost its video streaming service against competitors like Netflix and YouTube: Other people’s streaming services. — Starting today, Amazon will give its Amazon Prime subscribers …

    Amazon Starts Building Its Own Bundle by Selling Showtime, Starz and More With Amazon Prime

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Joan E. Solsman / The Wrap:
    Streaming services now account for 70% of internet traffic, including 37.1% by Netflix

    Netflix and Other Streaming Services Hog 70 Percent of the Internet

    Netflix now gobbles up a bigger chunk of traffic than all streaming audio and video did five years ago

    Streaming media sites now devour more than 70 percent of internet traffic in North America, with No. 1 Netflix accounting for 37.1 percent of all data sent to people logging into non-mobile connections.

    YouTube and Amazon Video rounded out the top three sources of traffic. All three increased their share in the twice-a-year “Global Internet Phenomena Report” from network equipment maker Sandvine, with Amazon and Hulu making particular increases that moved them up the ranks.

    The data provides a glimpse at how much people are watching entertainment on sites like Netflix, which in the last two years has aggressively produced original shows it characterizes as hits but has kept mum on viewership stats. The traffic increase underscores the growing popularity of these services, but the findings also reflect how their streaming content is growing more data-heavy. Formats like 4K high-definition video, which is slowly becoming more common, eat up much more traffic than the exact same show in a lower quality.

    “The leading service in 2015, Netflix, now has a greater share of traffic than all of streaming audio and video did five years ago,” Sandvine CEO Dave Caputo said in a release.

    Global Internet Phenomena Report
    Latest Internet and Subscriber Trends at Your Fingertips

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ron Miller / TechCrunch:
    IBM Snags Clearleap Video Service As It Continues To Pick Off Strategic Cloud Properties

    This morning IBM announced it was acquiring Clearleap, a company that gives it enterprise-grade video content management services in the cloud, and which adds another layer to its burgeoning cloud strategy.

    IBM would not disclose the purchase price.

    Clearleap, whose customers include HBO, The History Channel, Time Warner Cable and Verizon (the parent company of TechCrunch) provides customers with multi-screen video processing and video asset management — and perhaps most importantly the ability to expose these features and functions as open APIs on IBM’s Bluemix Platform as a Service.

    IBM has been thinking about video for some time and sees it as an increasingly important content type, says Jim Comfort, general manager of cloud services at IBM. “Video will represent 65 percent of Internet traffic going forward,” he said. “[It] is becoming a first class citizen as a data type. [Customers] need ways to acquire, store, distribute, enhance and manage it,” he explained.

    With this purchase, IBM is getting the manage and enhance pieces, and at least part of the distribute piece he said.

    It was the second cloud purchase in two months, following the purchase of Cleversafe in October, and the two purchases are not coincidental. Cleversafe handles the storage piece for those fat video files in the cloud. It’s all linked and IBM has a plan to make this all fit together into a coherent strategy to increase revenue.

    “Clearleap’s customers are big media companies, after all. IBM’s challenge is to translate the [storage] capacity these customers need into IBM cloud revenue,” John Rymer, an analyst with Forrester Research told TechCrunch by email.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ISIS stole this guy’s photo, used it as propaganda

    If, as a photographer, you discover somebody stealing your photo and using it for their own purposes, there’s plenty you can do.

    You can send a DMCA (Digital Millennium Copyright Act) takedown that criminalizes the dissemination of copyrighted material, or you could get Pixsy—a website that gives “photographers and independent creatives an opportunity to stand up for themselves”—to send an invoice to the person who helped himself to your photograph without acquiring permission and then threaten legal action.

    But when the Islamic State steals your photo, manipulates the image to suit their needs, and then disseminates it as propaganda, there’s probably not much you can do. And that’s where Brian McCarty finds himself.

    “I’m not happy about [commercial theft], but I’ve had to get pretty thick-skinned,” McCarty told Hyperallergic. “The ISIS theft is something completely different and far more disturbing.”

    McCarthy has been working on his essay for the past four years, and he says it’s “about articulating children’s experiences of war.”

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Martyn Williams / PCWorld:
    DJI teams up with thermal imaging firm FLIR to create the Zenmuse XT, an infrared camera for use on drones

    FLIR to develop infrared cameras for DJI drones
    Drones could become much more useful for police, fire, farmers

    Thermal imaging camera maker FLIR Systems has started working with drone maker DJI Technology on infrared cameras that can be attached to DJI’s drones.

    The partnership could expand the drone market, making the small flying craft significantly more useful for firefighters, police, farmers and others that use thermal imaging.

    As a start, FLIR has developed a version of its Tau 2 thermal imaging camera for use on DJI drones. The Zenmuse XT, as it will be called, will be available in early 2016 at a price yet to be announced.

    Infrared cameras produce images with high contrast between areas of high and low temperature and are useful in a number of situations.

    In a YouTube video, DJI presented the drone being used by firefighters. The infrared camera provides a quick look at what areas of a structure and hot and cold. In the image below, the roof appears cold, which indicates the fire hasn’t yet spread to the upper level of the building and so the roof might be safe to walk on.

    Security services such as police departments use thermal imaging in several applications, including the detection of people during searches. As a person is typically much hotter than their surroundings, they often appear bright on the images, even during nighttime.

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Tomer Shekel / Google Chrome Blog:
    Chromecast Audio update adds multi-room support, high-resolution audio

    Even more to love about Chromecast Audio

    A couple of months ago we launched Chromecast Audio to provide an easy way to stream your favorite tunes from your phone, tablet, or laptop to your existing speakers. At $35, Chromecast Audio is an affordable way to connect your speakers via WiFi so you can stream tons of popular apps including Spotify, Pandora, and Google Play Music from anywhere in your home.

    Introducing Hi-Res audio support
    Close your eyes and imagine the musician is playing in the room. Today we’re rolling out high-resolution audio support, which gives you even higher quality music playback using Chromecast Audio. With support of up to 96KHz/24bit lossless audio playback, you can enjoy higher-than-CD-quality audio on your existing high fidelity audio equipment.

    Blast the same song in every room
    Now you can easily fill every room in your home—bedroom, kitchen, living room, or wherever you have a Chromecast Audio connected—with synchronous music. Multi-room lets you group Chromecast Audio devices together so you can listen to the same song on multiple speakers.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Lytro Illum
    A creatively original camera with collectors’ cachet

    It’s rather bulky too, at 940g and 14.5cm from back to front, due to its big, 30mm to 250mm optical zoom lens and Star Wars-sounding 40-megaray light-field sensor.

    What’s the use, then, of the Lytro Illum? Well apart from being a marvellous collectors’ piece even while still in production, it does offer some wonderfully creative possibilities. By altering its strange 3D-like “live” pictures to maximise drama. It gives “a subtle but immersive sense of the picture being living”, as inventor Dr Ren Ng correctly puts it. The pictures look particularly impressive on an iPad. One for tech enthusiasts.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Yahoo’s new Video Guide app offers universal search across streaming services

    Yahoo today released a new “Yahoo Video Guide” app for mobile devices that acts as one central location for users to find content from across a long list of competitive video services and networks.

    The app allows users to search from one place and then offers links to buy or start streaming the content in other apps like Amazon, Netflix, HBO GO, and many others. So you’ll still need to be a subscriber, have the app downloaded, and or purchase the content once the Yahoo Video Guide app redirects you.

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Chris Welch / The Verge:
    Google Play adds family groups, allowing family members to make purchases using a family payment method — Google’s new family plan lets everyone buy more than just music — Google’s new family plan for Play Music is probably the best deal you can get in streaming, but it actually extends way beyond just music.

    Google’s new family plan lets everyone buy more than just music
    Apps, games, movies, TV shows, ebooks, and more

    Google’s new family plan for Play Music is probably the best deal you can get in streaming, but it actually extends way beyond just music. Once you set up a family payment method and invite everyone in, each individual family member will be able to purchase apps, games, movies, TV shows, ebooks, and magazine issues. Google outlines all that’s possible with the new plan at this FAQ page.

    “Members of your family group can make purchases on Google Play using the family payment method without your approval,” Google warns. That payment method is separate from whatever payment method is linked to your individual account; the new family option just shows up as another payment method when buying digital media.

    And though family members don’t need permission to make purchases, you’ll at least get an email each time one is made — and can require approval for every in-app purchase across the entire family.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Analyzer performs Bluetooth audio measurement

    An option for the U8903B audio analyzer from Keysight Technologies enables the two-channel instrument to perform Bluetooth 4.0 audio testing and link monitoring. The U8903B supports AGHSP/HSP 1.2, AGHSP/HSP 1.6, A2DP, and AVRCP profiles. It transmits a maximum output power of 5 dBm to ensure that engineers can connect to and accurately test a wide variety of Bluetooth devices, such as headsets, smart devices, and automotive head units.

    To monitor the quality of the Bluetooth link and troubleshoot connection issues, the U8903B comes with a received power indicator and bit error rate measurement.

    U8903B Performance Audio Analyzer

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Janko Roettgers / Variety:
    Netflix re-encoding its entire catalog to improve quality, save users up to 20% of data — Inside Netflix’s Plan to Boost Streaming Quality and Unclog the Internet (Exclusive) — The company is on a quest to re-encode its entire catalog — Over the past few months …

    Inside Netflix’s Plan to Boost Streaming Quality and Unclog the Internet (Exclusive)

    Over the past few months, Netflix has dared some of its employees in its Los Gatos offices with a special kind of challenge: Two TVs mounted side-by-side were playing the same TV show episode. One was coming straight from Netflix’s existing service, the other was based on a new bandwidth-saving technology that the company has been working on for four years. Anyone capable of pointing out the difference could win a bottle of champagne. But in the end, even eagle-eyed employees had to give up, and the prize went unclaimed.

    Encouraged by these results, as well as months of additional testing, Netflix now has begun to embark on one of the biggest changes to its streaming technology since it launched its online video service in 2007. If all goes according to plan, the switch could help consumers get better-looking streams while also saving up to 20 percent of data — which is significant in North America, where Netflix usage single-handedly accounts for more than a third of all data consumed during peak times, and an even bigger deal in all those countries with relatively slow internet speeds that the company is looking to enter in 2016.

    Netflix has been working on this new technology since 2011, when members of its video algorithms team realized that they had gotten it all wrong.

    Based on these use cases, Netflix’s video algorithms team had developed a number of quality levels, or recipes, as they’re called in the world of video encoding. Each video file on Netflix’s servers was being prepared with these same recipes to make multiple versions necessary to serve users at different speeds. At the lowest end was a file encoded with a bitrate of 235 kbps, which would work even on very slow connections, but also only deliver a resolution of 320 by 240 pixels. Somewhere in the middle was a 1750 kbps file for a resolution of 1280 by 720, and the best quality was a 5800 kbps version for a great-looking 1080p experience.

    Netflix’s service has been dynamically delivering these versions based on a consumer’s bandwidth needs

    But across its entire catalog of movies and TV shows, the company has been using the same rules — which didn’t really make sense. “You shouldn’t allocate the same amount of bits for ‘My Little Pony’ as for ‘The Avengers,’”

    Animated shows like “My Little Pony” can be reproduced with relatively little data

    The “Avengers” on the other hand is full of fast-paced action, which plays out in front of cityscapes and other environments with lots of visual details. And, of course, explosions, rubble, smoke, and lots of it. Or as video engineers like to call it: noise. “Noise is hard to encode,” said Aaron.

    Instead, they decided that each title should get its own set of rules. This allows the company to stream visually simple videos like “My Little Pony” in a 1080p resolution with a bitrate of just 1.5 Mbps. In other words: Even someone with a very slow broadband or mobile internet connection can watch the animated show in full HD quality under the new approach. Previously, the same consumer would have just been able to watch the show with a resolution of 720*480, and still used more data.

    The images on both TVs looked virtually identical — but one streamed with 5800 kbps, using Netflix’s legacy encoding scheme, whereas the other displayed the show with 4640 kbps. The difference? 20 percent in bandwidth savings.

    In recent months, Netflix has been silently testing the new encoding scheme by sending out streams with new and improved bitrates and resolutions to randomly selected customers. The company did keep a close eye on completion rates and streaming duration, but it also wanted to make sure that all devices out in the field were able to deal with the new bitrates.

    Movies are re-encoded while you’re asleep

    This whole endeavor couldn’t have been possible without some considerable technical advances. First of all, Netflix needed a good way to analyze the visual quality of a video file when encoded with different settings.

    It’s impossible for Netflix’s employees to visually inspect every single one of these videos in all available resolutions and bitrates. That’s why Netflix partnered with researchers at the University of Southern California, the University of Nantes and the UT Austin to develop technology to automate this process.

    Netflix has long used cloud computing instead of its own data centers to run its service, and the encoding is also done on Amazon’s web services. However, the sheer amount of computing power necessary for a redo of its entire catalog is still significant, even in a cloud world where capacity can be added on demand. That’s why Netflix is shifting around its encoding jobs on the server instances it rents from Amazon to make use of any idle time.

    Netflix’s impact on the internet has been a bit of a touchy subject in the past. Cable companies like Comcast and Time Warner Cable wanted Netflix to reimburse them for sending so much traffic to their customers. Netflix argued that this would amount to double billing because those customers are already paying for their service. The internet companies disagreed, and a public stand-off temporarily led to Netflix speeds going down for many customers. In the end, Netflix gave in and agreed to pay up. But as the company is expanding around the world, similar issues are likely to pop up again

    What’s more, many of Netflix’s future markets have much slower internet speeds. Netflix has said that it wants to be in all countries around the world by the end of 2016.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Flir Lepton Thermal Camera Breakout
    This is a Breakout board for the Lepton Thermal Camera Module.

    This is a Breakout board for the Lepton Thermal Camera Module. This board provides the socket, power supply’s, 25Mhz Crystal Oscillator, 100 mill header for use in a breadboard or wiring to any host system such as an ARM based Arduino or a Raspberry Pi. Sample code has been written to get it off the ground and posted on github. Enjoy!

    Thanks Everyone for the Support and the skulls! This project has helped the flir lepton get out into the wild to the DIY community.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Laurie Burkitt / Wall Street Journal:
    Disney and Alibaba announce DisneyLife, an OTT service with Disney content for China, $125 for device and one year subscription available from Tmall Dec. 28

    Alibaba, Disney Strike Deal to Sell Content System in China
    The companies struck a multiyear licensing deal for the Mickey Mouse-shaped DisneyLife system

    BEIJING— Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Walt Disney Co. are launching a so-called over-the-top content system in China to rev up sales of movie-related toys, books and trips to Disneyland.

    The two companies announced Tuesday that they struck a multiyear licensing agreement and will begin pre-sales of the system, called DisneyLife, immediately through Alibaba’s online shopping site Tmall. Devices ship from Dec. 28, a Disney spokeswoman said.

    The Mickey Mouse-shaped device, priced at $125, will connect users to Disney content, such as films, cartoon series and games. Customers will also be able to use it to plan a visit to the Hong Kong and Shanghai Disneyland theme parks.

    Unlike the U.S., the over-the-top box and set-top box markets in China are in their infancy and companies like Alibaba are attempting to entice customers with products that other entertainment companies can’t provide.

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Netflix has created ‘smart’ socks that sense when you fall asleep and pause the show you’re watching

    Falling asleep during a Netflix binge can be annoying.

    Depending on how far down the rabbit hole you are, when you wake up, you might have no idea where you fell asleep in the episode. You might not even remember which episode you were in altogether.

    Fortunately Netflix has a cheeky solution to your problems: “Netflix socks.” Netflix has built socks that read your body to understand when you fall asleep, and then automatically pause your Netflix show.

    Netflix not only built the prototype of these socks, but it also actually put some totally do-able DIY plans online so you can make your own.

    Netflix based the sleep-detection system in the socks off of “actigraphy,” which uses an accelerometer to tell when you’ve stopped moving for a while (presumably when you’ve fallen asleep).

    Go ahead.
    Watch yourself to sleep.
    Netflix socks pause your show automatically, so you never miss a moment.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Camera series designed for medical, food and beverage applications

    Teledyne Dalsa’s series of Genie nano area cameras that deliver fast frame rates in a small, robust body, and are ideal for machine vision applications.

    Teledyne Dalsa’s series of Genie nano area cameras that deliver fast frame rates for various vision applications such as intelligent traffic systems (ITS), medical, food and beverage inspection, and electronics and printed circuit board (PCB) inspection. These cameras have three resolution options, including 640 x 480 (running up to 850 frames per second in VGA), 800 x 600, and 1280 x 1024 pixels.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An update to our Windows 10 app

    We have published a new version of our Windows 10 app to the Windows Store. This update features an updated user experience that is powered by an entirely new implementation on the Universal Windows Platform.

    Using the Universal Windows Platform
    Over the last few years we have launched several applications for Windows and Windows Phone. The applications were built from a few code bases that span several technologies including Silverlight, XAML, C#. Bringing new features to our members on Windows platforms has required us to make changes in several code bases and ship multiple application updates.

    With the Universal Windows Platform, we’re able to build an application from a single code base and run on many Windows 10 devices. Although the initial release of this application supports desktops, laptops and tablets running Windows 10, we have run our application on other Windows 10 devices and we will be adding support for phones running Windows 10 in the near future.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Micah Singleton / The Verge:
    Facebook expands its Music Stories in News Feed to the web, coming to Android in late January, adds Deezer, Rhapsody, Taiwan-based KKBOX support

    Facebook brings music previews to the desktop and adds support for three more services
    Music Stories on Android will begin rolling out in late January

    Six weeks after launching a new post format that allows users to listen to song snippets in the News Feed, Facebook is following up on its promise to add more streaming services alongside Spotify and Apple Music. It’s also bringing the feature to the desktop.

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Mobile display will be more accurate than eye

    Few enjoys a 4K-quality image even in his living room, but by the end of next year, the same accuracy can be your smartphone. ETSI is preparing for development.

    Standardization Organization has set up a working group that seeks solutions UltraHD box to scale the technology for small devices.

    ETSI CCM working group (Compound Content Management) already had time on Wednesday, the first meeting of the French in their own “Silicon Valley”, ie in Sophia Antipolis. Its purpose is to find a decoding technique, which would solve the fitting of 4K content to mobile phone screen, including the next generation of receivers.

    ETSI, such a scalable 4K signal requires a very high dynamics (HDR, high dynamic range), as well as the WCG wider color space (Coloc Wider gamut). Such HDR / WCG techniques has only slowly been add to TV broadcasting. Yet the future of decoding must also be backwards compatible with all the devices that use older decoders.

    One can of course ask whether UltraHD- or 4K image are planting a cell phone make any sense. Display Manufactured by Sharp pn already announced that it would launch 4K-level mobile phone available in the screen during the next year. The idea is that the first 4K-mobile phones come to market by the end of next year.


  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    YouTube Live Events

    Introduction to live streaming

    Go live. Any time. For any reason.

    Welcome to the guide for live streaming on YouTube!

    First things first, you’ll need to enable Live for your channel.

    Confirm that your channel is verified and in good standing.

    Then, enable live streaming from Creator Studio tools –> Live Streaming.

    Once enabled, you have two options to start live streaming on YouTube.

    We have an easy, instant way to start streaming now. Start sending content – we’ll automatically start and stop the stream for you.
    You can also schedule a live event. Preview before going live, change privacy settings, setup a backup for redundancy and manually start & stop.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Jean-Baptiste Kempf / Yet another blog for JBKempf:
    VLC for Chrome OS, built using Android Runtime for Chrome, is now available to download

    VLC on ChromeOS

    ChromeOS is one of the last Operating Systems where you could not run VLC and play all your media as you wished.

    Even worse, it was the only significant Desktop Operating Systems that we did not support (so far, VLC exists for Windows, OS X, Linux, BSD, Solaris, OS/2, Haiku/BeOS, ReactOS).

    At the same time, VLC for Android is quite popular and is supported on most phones and tablets, and is currently being expanded to Android TVs or other forms of Android.

    Today, I’m pleased to tell you that you can use it now! DOWNLOAD!

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Kurt Wagner / Re/code:
    Twitter’s Head of Video, Baljeet Singh, Is Leaving the Company

    Twitter’s product lead in charge of video, Baljeet Singh, is planning to leave the company early next month, according to multiple sources.

    Singh, whose title is senior product director, joined Twitter nearly two years ago after more than five years working at YouTube. He oversees, among other things, the consumer video product for the main app. (He does not, however, oversee Twitter’s other video properties, Periscope and Vine).

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook Media:
    Facebook opens up its Live video streaming feature to verified Pages

    Introducing Live for Verified Pages

    In August, we introduced Live for public figures using Facebook Mentions. Since then, thousands of athletes, musicians, politicians, and other influencers have used Live to take millions of fans behind the scenes in real time. Earlier this month, we also began testing the ability for more people on Facebook to share live video.

    Today, we’re beginning to roll out the ability for verified Pages to share live video using Facebook for iOS. With Live, sports teams, media companies, brands, and other verified Pages can make announcements, share breaking news updates, take fans behind the scenes, host Q&As, and more.

    To share live video, go to your Page on Facebook for iOS and tap Publish. Select Live Video and write a quick description before going live. During your broadcast, you’ll see the number of viewers, the names of other verified people or Pages who are tuning in, and a real-time stream of comments. When you end your broadcast, it will be published on your Timeline so that fans who missed it can watch the video at a later time, although you have the option to remove it just like any other post.

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Paul Bond / Hollywood Reporter:
    Star Wars sets a record with $57M in opening-day sales, but Disney stock falls about 4% amid analyst concerns about ESPN sports rights, other TV licensing deals — Walt Disney Stock Tumbles as ‘Force Awakens’ Soars — “Even The Force cannot protect ESPN,” says BTIG analyst Richard Greenfield as he downgrades the stock to “sell.”

    Walt Disney Stock Tumbles as ‘Force Awakens’ Soars

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Spotify launches beat-matching Party mode with a new mix from Diplo
    Just slide the mood tuner to rager

    Spotify has been rolling out a number of features over the past year that encourage users to lean back and let the service handle the task of picking the next track. It created a feature for running that picked songs to match your pace. And its Discover Weekly playlists are the pinnacle of algorithmic personalization. Today it’s introducing a new feature on mobile, Party, that tries to pull off a similar trick.

    Party automatically beat-matches tracks and blends one into another so the music never stops and the transitions sound smooth. That’s a crucial addition because, no matter how good your previous Spotify playlists were, you couldn’t avoid awkward gaps or abrupt shifts without manually standing at attention to handle the transition between each song.

    Party mode is premiering with a new 120-track playlist from Diplo, and Spotify is promising there will be more original mixes coming soon.

    The feature rolls out today on Android and iOS (sorry desktop DJs you’ll need to pull out your phone).

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Facebook Replaces Flash With HTML5 For Videos

    Facebook announced that it officially replaced Flash with HTML5 for its video player. They made the change because of security reasons, but developers also found it easier to work with — it led to quicker turnarounds for site-wide changes, and had better integration with code testing platforms.

    Facebook reports that user engagement has gone up since the switch was made.

    Facebook Ditches Flash for HTML5 Video

    Facebook announced today that it would no longer serve videos via Flash anymore, ditching the much-maligned technology for the newer, cooler, and much safer HTML5 alternative.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    I would have not expected this: Vinyl is till big business!

    Vinyl produce more revenue than YouTube, Spotify and VEVO total

    News from around the world about the sale of LPs tahkovan music for business more money than YouTube, Spotify is free, and VEVO total. Information will be Riaan (Recording Industry Association of America) report.

    The report shows that even these on-line music servers generated more money than ever (163 million USD this year’s 1st half), vinyl record sales reached 222 million.

    Stamped with an antique format already covers almost a third of all sales of physical formats and 52% of the annual change makes it part of its fastest growing sales.

    Sales of CDs were down by almost a third from the year before.
    Digital music relies almost entirely of streaming services and download.


  34. Tomi Engdahl says:

    An on-demand video subscription isn’t just for Christmas… Oh. It is
    OTT services must overcome hideous churn rates to find success

    Premium video content is a must have for the Christmas period and to avoid missing out consumers are signing up to a multitude of OTT services, but this will only be a festive fling for a large proportion.

    According to results of a recent survey from UK subscription and billing specialist PayWizard, 69 per cent of respondents that plan to go OTT this Christmas would consider signing up to more than one OTT service over Christmas. Of these, 41 per cent are already subscribers to an OTT service, but are still considering additional subscriptions to expand their choice of content.

    This might not have a happy ending for some OTT services, as 40 per cent of planned subscribers intend to scrap their subscription after just three months and 56 per cent after six months – for many, this will be when the free trial or discount period ends, thanks to subscriptions offers from “Black Friday”. The findings state that 21 per cent of planned subscribers are “free trial bingers”, who will cancel immediately after finishing certain content or, alternatively, purchase a subscription as a present for someone else – presumably for someone living in the same house as them.

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Your Smartphone Camera Should Suck. Here’s Why It Doesn’t

    Smartphone cameras are great, or at least close enough to great that you don’t notice the difference. We’ve reached the point where you’ve got to work pretty hard to find a phone with a mediocre camera, and when you do, it is an anachronism to be mocked and derided—and passed over for a phone with a better one.

    It wasn’t always this way, of course. There was a time, not too long ago, when smartphone cameras sucked. They took genuinely bad photos that were underexposed or overexposed or grainy or … well, you remember. And if you don’t, consider yourself lucky. It’s taken a few years, but nowadays people take a great camera for granted. Thank companies like Nokia, which started pushing that envelope in 2007, and Apple, which gave the iPhone 4 the first camera that made people go, “Daaaaaaaamn.”

    How did this happen? When you consider things like sensor size, pixel density, controls, and optics, smartphone cameras should be pretty lousy.

    Compared to a DSLR, they still are. But the camera in your pocket is crazy good considering the limitations manufacturers work under. And the advancements keep coming. As we look to the future, the cameras in our phones are only going to get better.

    The Limits of Size

    No matter what kind of camera you’re talking about, there’s a universal truth: the bigger the image sensor, the better the image. A bigger sensor will capture more detail with wider dynamic range (the detail in dark and light areas), offer superior low-light performance, and focus more sharply on moving objects. However, with few exceptions, smartphone cameras have tiny sensors.

    The vast majority of top-tier smartphones use Sony sensors for their main cameras and Samsung sensors for their front-facing selfie cameras. And every phone on DxOMark’s list of the 10 smartphones with the best image quality has a sensor size between 1/2.3 and 1/3 inches. In terms of surface area, the one-inch sensor in a nice point-and-shoot like Sony’s RX100 is more than six times bigger than any of the top smartphone camera sensors, while the sensor in a consumer DSLR is around 19 times bigger. Drop the cash for a pro-grade DSLR and the sensor is 50 times the size of that puny thing in your iPhone 6 S.

    This means smartphone sensors struggle to harness light

    The sensor simply senses light and converts it into an electrical signal.

    So while a high-quality sensor helps, it’s hardly the most important component. The lens is important, of course, but the biggest difference between a great camera and a good camera is the image signal processor.

    Hung says that the image sensor isn’t the only thing feeding information into the ISPs. A modern smartphone has several sensors at its disposal. “The gyroscope has evolved in terms of image stabilization,”

    Apple and Samsung use their own image signal processors for the iPhone and Galaxy phones, respectively. However, many high-end Android handsets use the integrated image signal processors in Qualcomm’s Snapdragon system-on-a-chip, which keeps camera features relatively consistent from phone to phone

    The molded plastic lens elements in many cameras have reached the point where they’re essentially perfect. They’re also cheap.

    Oh sure, critics argue they don’t have an optical zoom. There’s a reason for that. Optical zooms have moving parts

    You want an optical zoom? You’ll have to accept fatter phones.

    “I think most users care more about a good-looking phone and image quality than perhaps that extra bit of functionality,” Hung says. “The people that care will get lens accessories to do those things. I don’t see those more advanced things being built into many phones.”

    However, some patented technologies could hasten the arrival of optical zooms.

    The Future of Smartphone Cameras

    Earlier this year, Apple bought the image-sensor company LinX, which uses an array of lenses to enable Lytro-like refocusing, create 3-D depth maps, and improve image quality in low light. The Light L16 camera, which uses 16 lenses and sensors to recreate the surface area and low-light capabilities of a DSLR sensor, is also due next year. The company’s founders hinted that the L16’s multi-sensor technology could show up in smartphones before long.

    But as good as they are, smartphone cameras probably won’t ever match the quality of a DSLR. And they probably won’t have to. For all but the most serious photographer, the ease of a smartphone camera, and the plethora of apps that can make a crappy photo look good, is plenty.

    And the two approaches are complimentary. Although the smartphones have decimated the point-and-shoot segment, sales of DSLR and other high-end rigs remain strong.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Caitlin McGarry / Macworld:
    Hands-on with Adobe Post: New photo app creates Instagram-worthy graphics

    Hands-on with Adobe Post: New photo app creates Instagram-worthy graphics
    Adobe’s latest iOS app turns your photos into promotional (or inspirational) posters.

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    John Archer / Forbes:
    HEVC Advance, a group licensing the HEVC video compression format used by Netflix and others, reduces royalty rates and introduces annual cap after criticism

    4K TV Owners Rejoice: New Streaming Tech Deal Means Your TV Isn’t A Dead Duck

    For months now the 4K UHD TV world has been operating under a dark and potentially catastrophic cloud of uncertainty thanks to a major disagreement between the most important video streaming services – think Netflix, Amazon, Ultraflix and M-Go among others – and a group representing what most would agree is the most important streaming technology for the current 4K age: HEVC.

    So far-reaching has this spat been that it had the potential to render all of the current 4K TVs more or less redundant if it wasn’t resolved. So as a 4K TV owner myself, I’m relieved to report that it appears that an agreement has been reached.

    The changing face of HEVC

    The issue that blew up pretty much out of nowhere back in the summer was caused by the emergence of a new negotiating group, called HEVC Advance, representing the many patent holders with a stake in the HEVC compression system. This new group – which claimed such big hitters as Technicolor, Dolby, Philips, General Electric and Mitsubishi Electric among its members – laid out royalty and licensing demands that were far more far-reaching and expensive than those operated by the previously dominant HEVC negotiating group, MPEG LA.

    Particularly problematic was the inclusion in the HEVC Advance scheme of content producers and video streaming services – parts of the AV world that had not been required to pay licensing fees under the previous MPEG LA royalties arrangement. Also, the HEVC Advance wanted to scrap the caps MPEG LA had placed on the amounts individual royalty paying organisations would have to pay.

    The new price of streaming

    Under the terms of the new HEVC Advance scheme, for instance, the video streaming services would be looking at having to pay 0.5% every month for every 4K-related subscription on their books. So Netflix would have to pay around $0.06 a month for each subscriber to its $11.99 UHD package, while Amazon would be looking at around $0.50 per annum for its $99-a-year Prime subscribers.

    These numbers don’t look too high in themselves, but multiply them by the numbers of subscribers involved and it’s easy to see why the streaming services would be unhappy

    Especially given that they had built their 4K streaming services on the HEVC H.265 codec on the assumption that this would be licensed on more or less the same terms arranged by MPEG LA group for the previous H.264 system.

    t’s easy to see why the HEVC Advance group might want some of the 4K streaming action given the sort of money the big streaming players are making at least partly on the back of the H.265 technology.

    HEVC is not the only compression fruit

    However, while shifting away from H.265 would undoubtedly be a huge technical and commercial challenge for the streaming platforms, the bottom line is that there are alternative compression technologies out that they could convert to – most notably Google’s VP9 system. So the video streamers don’t HAVE to use H.265, however much the HEVC Advance group might think they’d want to.

    Why did all this mess threaten the usefulness of 4K TVs in the market? Because the sets that support 4K streaming have been equipped with HEVC H.265 decoders to handle the streams of Netflix, Amazon’s and others.

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Disney Is Making a Fortune and Safeguarding Its Future By Buying Childhood

    Disney has been successful for the better part of a century. But they haven’t always had to work as hard to do it. Over the past couple of decades, they’ve been facing more and better competition than ever before, and they’ve had to change their business strategy in response. An article at The Economist details this strategy, which seems to have a central theme: buy up things people loved as kids, and commercialize the hell out of them. The recent Star Wars film is the latest example

    The force is strong in this firm
    Disney is making a fortune and safeguarding its future by buying childhood, piece by piece

    In remodelling itself to prize content over the means to distribute it, Disney has become the envy of the industry. Profits have more than doubled over the past five years, to $8.4 billion, and Disney’s share price has risen nearly fivefold in a little over a decade, easily beating its rivals. Comcast comes closest. Its share price has tripled in the same period; that of 21st Century Fox has doubled. Time Warner’s is up by only 20% and Viacom’s is lower. Disney is the most valuable of the lot, worth a star-studded $187 billion.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    BBC launches machine-translated synthetic voiceovers

    The BBC has announced the launch of a new production tool to provide audio in alternate languages for its news outputs, apparently incorporating existing translation technologies.

    Built by BBC news labs, the workflow involves uploading the script of a video news item and the subsequent voice-synthesis of the resulting translation. The service is launching initially in Japanese and Russian. The video, embedded below, shows the process in action, with the narration provided by one of the synthetic voices – and even if the Hawking-style choppiness gives the simulant away immediately, it does appear to provide an above-averagely authentic flow of speech.

    Digital Development Director James Montgomery comments in the post “I’m very excited about this trial. The BBC has some of the best original journalism in the world, with correspondents around the globe. Technology like this means we can bring more of our international journalism to more people.”

    The initial pilot will run until April of 2016, with the Japanese iteration already available at

  40. Tomi Engdahl says:

    LED intensifies projection lighting

    Osram’s Ostar Projection Power LED enables standard office projectors with luminous intensities of 2500 to 3500 lumen to be equipped solely with LED lighting. Housed in a 27×16×2.1-mm package, the monochrome LED consists of six chips and is available in red, converted green, and blue

    At 36 A pulsed, the typical brightness of the Ostar Projection Power LED is 4500 lumen for the red version; 11,000 lumen for the green version; and 33 W for the blue version. Three LEDs—one red, one green, and one blue—operate in parallel when used as the light source in a projector.

  41. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Scratching Vinyl Straddles Physical and Digital Realms

    The life of a modern DJ is hard. [Gergely] loves his apps, but the MIDI controller that works with the app feels wrong when he’s scratching, and the best physical interfaces for scratching only work with their dedicated machines. [Gergely]’s blog documents his adventures in building an interface to drive his iPad apps from a physical turntable. But be warned, there’s a lot here and your best bet is to start at the beginning of the blog (scroll down) and work your way up. Or just let us guide you through it.

    After experimenting a lot with timecode vinyl, [Gergely] gives up on that and looks for an easier alternative. He also considers using an optical mouse, but that turns out to be a dead-end as well. Finally, [Gergely] settled on using a Tascam TT-M1, which is basically an optical encoder that sits on top of the record, and that makes the microcontroller’s job a lot easier. You can see the result in the video below the break.

    iPad turntable controller
    The turntable MIDI controller for iPad

  42. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Toshiba Reorg Cuts Consumer Unit
    Move highlights decline of notebooks

    Toshiba slashed its consumer systems division in a broad reorganization that throws a spotlight on the decline of the consumer notebook business. The corporation will lay off 6,800 people or about 30% of the division designing and making PCs, TVs and appliances.

    The move is part of a restructuring program in the wake of an estimated loss of US$4.53 billion (550 billion yen) for its fiscal year ending in March.

  43. Tomi Engdahl says:

    A Proposal For Dealing With Terrorist Videos On the Internet

    Recent claims by some (mostly nontechnical) observers that it would be “simple” for services like YouTube to automatically block “terrorist” videos, in the manner that various major services currently detect child porn images are nonsensical. One major difference is that those still images are detected via data “fingerprinting” techniques that are relatively effective on known still images compared against a known database, but are relatively useless outside the realm of still images

    December 21, 2015
    A Proposal for Dealing with Terrorist Videos on the Internet

    As part of the ongoing attempts by politicians around the world to falsely demonize the Internet as a fundamental cause of (or at least a willing partner in) the spread of radical terrorist ideologies, arguments have tended to focus along two parallel tracks.

    First is the notorious “We have to do something about evil encryption!” track. This is the dangerously loony “backdoors into encryption for law enforcement and intelligence agencies” argument, which would result in the bad guys having unbreakable crypto, while honest citizens would have their financial and other data made vastly more vulnerable to attacks by black hat hackers as never before.

    The other track in play relates to an area where there is much more room for reasoned discussion — the presence on the Net of vast numbers of terrorist-related videos, particularly the ones that directly promote violent attacks and other criminal acts.

    Make no mistake about it, there are no “magic wand” solutions to be found for this problem, but perhaps we can move the ball in a positive direction with some serious effort.

    Both policy and technical issues must be in focus.

    In the policy realm, all legitimate Web firms already have Terms of Service (ToS) of some sort, most of which (in one way or another) already prohibit videos that directly attempt to incite violent attacks or display actual acts

    When we move beyond such directly violent videos, the analysis becomes more difficult, because we may be looking at videos that discuss a range of philosophical aspects of radicalism

    Politicians tend to promote the broadest possible censorship laws that they can get away with, and so censorship tends to be a slippery slope that starts off narrowly and rapidly expands to other than the originally targeted types of speech.

    We must also keep in mind that censorship per se is solely a government power — they’re the ones with the prison cells and shackles to seriously enforce their edicts.

    The correct way to fight this class of videos is with our own information, of course. We should be actively explaining why (for example) ISIL/ISIS/IS/Islamic State/Daesh philosophies are the horrific lies of a monstrous death cult.

    Yes, we should be doing this effectively and successfully. And we could, if we put sufficient resources and talent behind such information efforts. Unfortunately, Western governments in particular have shown themselves to be utterly inept in this department to date.

    Have you seen any of the current ISIL recruitment videos? They’re colorful, fast-paced, energetic, and incredibly professional. Absolutely state of the art 21st century propaganda aimed at young people.

    By contrast, Western videos that attempt to push back against these groups seem more on the level of the boring health education slide shows we were shown in class back when I was in elementary school.

    Small wonder that we’re losing this information war. This is something we can fix right now, if we truly want to.

    The foundational issue is that immense amounts of video are being uploaded to services like YouTube (and now Facebook and others) at incredible rates that make any kind of human “previewing” of materials before publication entirely impractical, even if there were agreement (which there certainly is not) that such previewing was desirable or appropriate.

    Services like Google’s YouTube run a variety of increasingly sophisticated automated systems to scan for various content potentially violating their ToS, but these systems are not magical in nature, and a great deal of material slips through and can stay online for long periods.

    These facts tend to render nonsensical recent claims by some (mostly nontechnical) observers that it would be “simple” for services like YouTube to automatically block “terrorist” videos, in the manner that various major services currently detect child porn images.

  44. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Vintage Video Projector Lives Again

    Projectors are getting a lot less expensive these days, what with China pumping out Pico projectors by the boat load and all. But did you know it’s not that hard to convert an old slide projector to digital? [Alec Smecher] shows us how with a 1950’s LaBelle 75 slide projector, and the result is pretty awesome.

    DIY Projector Conversion

    So obviously I wanted to make it into a working video projector. People have made DIY projectors ever since LCD displays became available; the normal way to do it is to separate the built-in backlight from the LCD itself, which is transparent, and use a high-power light source instead. I’ve done this before

    The Achilles’ heel for this technique is heat. A projector bulb generates a lot of heat, and LCDs don’t like variations in temperature. The brighter the light, and the smaller the LCD, the worse it gets.

    In recent years we’ve gained a very good solution: high-power LEDs. These are stunningly efficient, meaning low power and less heat — but another less obvious improvement is that they really only output light on the visible spectrum. Other kinds of projector bulbs typically output light all over the spectrum, which the LCD absorbs and has to dissipate as heat.

    So instead of a 500W bulb you can throw a 10W LED in, mounted on a modest heat-sink, and basically forget that heat was ever a problem. A 10W LED isn’t going to give anyone a tan, but it’s bright enough for my purposes.

    I decided to work with the optics of the slide projector as unmodified as possible, and the existing physical limits of the slide mount were roughly 45x45mm, so I opted for an Adafruit 2.2″ LCD

    With the display mounted, I built a short ribbon cable connecting the SPI interface for the LCD to the 40-pin Raspberry Pi header

    The verdict? It’s quite watchable. The resolution isn’t stunning (320x240x18-bit colour for the original display, minus a little bit of that due to cropping) but I didn’t find it distracting. The aesthetic worked best showing something classic — I chose Chaplin’s “Modern Times” for the demo.

  45. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Hacklet 88 – Projector Projects

    Everyone loves a big screen TV. Back in the old days, anything over 27 ” was considered big. These days if you’re not sporting at least 50″, you’ll end up with display envy. One thing hasn’t changed though, those who want to go really, really big get into projectors. Hacking and projectors seem to go hand in hand. Anyone else remember those old DIY projection setups where the user would put their TV in a box upside down? This week’s Hacklet is all about projector hacks!

  46. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Google Brings Its Interactive, 360-Degree “Spotlight Stories” To YouTube

    Google is bringing its Spotlight Stories – immersive, 360-degree animated videos meant to introduce a new form of storytelling – to YouTube, the company announced this morning. The first story to arrive is a holiday film called “Special Delivery,” from Wallace and Gromit creators Aardman Animations. This movie will now be viewable on the YouTube app on many Android devices, allowing you to experience the interactive movie by moving your phone around to watch various scenes.

    Google this year has been rolling out other types of viewing experiences on YouTube, beyond traditional video, including VR features to YouTube’s Android application and 360-degree video. Spotlight Stories, however, are a bit different because they actually take advantage of a phone’s sensors to create the interactive experience.

    #SpecialDelivery: Google Spotlight Stories come to YouTube with interactive 360-degree storytelling

  47. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Pirate Bay Founder Builds The Ultimate Piracy Machine
    By Ernesto on December 19, 2015

    Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde served his prison sentence last year but still owes the entertainment industries millions in damages. Some might think that he’s learned his lesson, but with a newly built copying machine he’s generating millions of extra ‘damages,’ which might be worth a mention in the Guinness Book of Records.

    One of Peter’s major frustrations is how the entertainment industries handles the idea of copying. When calculating the losses piracy costs, they often put too much value on pirated copies.

    This is something Peter knows all too well, as he still owes various movie and music companies millions in damages.

    However, this hasn’t stopped him from continuing to copy. In fact, he’s just built the ultimate copying machine using a Raspberry Pi, an LCD display and some Python code.

    With these three ingredients the “Kopimashin” makes 100 copies of the Gnarls Barkely track “Crazy” every second. This translates to more than eight million copies per day and roughly $10 million in ‘losses.’

    Crazy indeed.

    Peter’s machine is part of an art project about the value of digital copies which he’s preparing for an upcoming exhibition.

    “I want to show the absurdity on the process of putting a value to a copy. The machine is made to be very blunt and open about the fact that it’s not a danger to any industry at all,” Sunde tells TF.

    “But following their rhetoric and mindset it will bankrupt them. I want to show with a physical example – that also is really beautiful in it’s own way – that putting a price to a copy is futile.”

    KH000 // Kopimashin

    The Kopimashin creates an endless amount of copies of a specific audio track (gnarls barkley’s crazy). The audio track is copied to /dev/null, a unix data pipe for avoiding permanent storage. The Kopimashins lcd display consists of three rows of information, the serial number of the mashin, amount of copies created and the dollar value it represents in losses for the record labels (Downtown Records / Warner Music), currently represented by USD1,25 per copied piece.

  48. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Peter Kafka / Re/code:
    Sources: The Beatles will be available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, Tidal, Amazon’s Prime Music, and others on December 24

    The Beatles Are Coming to Apple Music, Spotify and Everywhere Else on Christmas Eve

    You can spend Christmas streaming the Beatles.

    The world’s most famous band will finally be available on streaming music services, starting this Thursday, Christmas Eve. And they’ll be available very, very widely: Industry sources say that the Fab Four’s music will be on all of the obvious music services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play and Tidal, as well as some you might not expect, including Amazon’s Prime Music.

    It is also worth noting that unlike Taylor Swift, the Beatles will be available on the free versions of services like Spotify. It is also worth noting that streaming is becoming the music industry’s most important music source, and has been headed that way for a while.

  49. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nikon Resurrection: Repairing a Broken Lens

    Modern DSLR cameras are amazing devices. Mechanics, electronics, and optics, all rolled up in a single package. All that technology is great, but it can make for a frustrating experience when attempting any sort of repair. Lenses can be especially difficult to work on. One misalignment of a lens group or element can lead to a fuzzy image.

    [Kratz] knew all this, but it didn’t stop him from looking for a cheap lens deal over on eBay.

    Nikon Lens Repair #1

  50. Tomi Engdahl says:

    ‘Game of Thrones’ Most Pirated TV-Show of 2015

    For the fourth year in a row Game of Thrones has taken the crown for the most pirated TV-show on the Internet. The Walking Dead is firmly in second place, followed by The Big Bang Theory.

    With an estimated 14.4 million downloads via BitTorrent, the 2015 season finale has beaten the competition by a landslide.

    More than half of the downloads occurred in the first week after the show aired and the total exceeds the number of traditional viewers in the US.

    US. The Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory complete the top three with an estimated 6.9 and 4.4 million downloads respectively.

    Pirates have shown an increase in interest for higher quality releases compared to earlier years. However, the lower quality 480p copies of TV-shows remain by far the most popular among downloaders, followed by 720p and 1080p respectively.


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