Audio and video trends for 2016

My picks from audio and video trends for 2016:

Smartphone have increased screen sizes and have finally become mobile TVs: Smartphones have overtaken the tablets as the most popular mobile device for viewing videosThe most watched content were targeted at teenagers videos and animation series for children.

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. Compared to a DSLR, smart phone cameras are lousy because they use tiny sensors, but still the camera in your pocket is crazy good considering the limitations manufacturers work under. The vast majority of top-tier smartphones use Sony sensors for their main cameras. The molded plastic lens elements in many cameras have reached the point where they’re essentially perfect. Smart phones are already deployed in many newsrooms for mobile journalism video shooting as it is easier (and cheaper) to learn how to film and edit on your phone than it is to use a big camera.

For new smart phone camera technologies you could see array of lenses to enable Lytro-like refocusing, create 3-D depth maps, and improve image quality in low light. In many cases smart phone cameras and DSLR are complimentary: Although the smartphones have decimated the point-and-shoot segment, sales of DSLR and other high-end rigs remain.

Live streaming video from smart phone becomes mainstream. Periscope was one of the first apps to really make live streaming events simple and easy enough that people wanted to do it. Many other apps are following the trend. Facebook begins testing live video streaming for all users.

Drone videography will ger more popular as drones become more popular. Many people will learn basic and creative aerial filming techniques for drone video cameras.


Whether or not the 2016 International CES holds any big surprises remains to be seen. This year’s CES will focus on how connectivity is proliferating everything from cars to homes, realigning diverse markets.  It is quite probable that 4K TV will be big at this years’ CES show due to growing demand and falling prices. 4K becomes mainstream in 2016. CES will also have some 8K sets, though the market for 8K is at least five years away if not more (Tokyo Olympics in 2020 may be broadcast in 8K). Some new display technology is coming. LG has already demoed rollable 55, 66 and 77-inch OLED-based panels. Avegant’s Glyph technology literally beams video content onto your retinas. Analysts Predict CES 2016 Trends article gives you more ideas what to expect.

We can finally declare that 3D image in TV was a flop.  Five years ago, it was estimated that the 3D technique can occupy the rapid pace of living cinemas addition. Then slowed different with technologies. But why the technology is virtually failed even though every new TV set has been added to display the 3D image as an option? Analysts said some people lack the ability to stereoscopic vision and for many, the 3D image caused eyestrain or nausea. Stereo image is to be left to various virtual reality applications.

After a year in which the weakness of smart TVs were exploited, Samsung goes on the offensive in 2016. Samsung’s new Tizen-based TVs will have GAIA security with pin lock for credit card and other personal info, data encryption, built-in anti-malware system, more. Samsung’s betting big on the internet of things and wants the TV to sit at the heart of this strategy. Samsung believes that people will want to activate their lights, heating and garage doors all from the comfort of their couch. If smart TVs get a reputation for being easy to hack, then Samsung’s models are hardly likely to be big sellers.


Whole TV industry need to go through a major transition as in most major developed markets, TV growth is slowing and in some cases stagnating. TV will account for 38.4 percent of the $503 billion global ad market in and will drop to 38 percent of the market in 2016. Digital ad spending will overtake TV as biggest category by 2017 or 2018.

Streaming video will be big in 2016. Almost all of the networks are streaming their content and streaming media is going mainstream fast. Third, 15% of American adults report they have become “cord cutters” – meaning they have abandoned paid cable or satellite television service. Many of these cord cutters say that the availability of televised content from the internet and other sources is a factor in their move away from subscription television services.

There seems to be a strong nostalgic audio trend going in. Whether it’s a sweet portable record player, a tabletop wooden radio or a full-size jukebox, the market for vintage-inspired electronics remains strong. Aside from record players, the vintage trend carries over to radios and speakers.

It seems that Americans were willing to spend on vinyl recordsNielsen numbers show that vinyl record sales rose 260 percent between 2009 and 2014, and sales for 2015 are on track to beat 2014’s total vinyl sales of 9.2 million units. Vinyl records generated more revenue in the first half of 2015 than free-to-use streaming services, but that’s not the full story. Despite vinyl sales increase it’s clear that the future of the music industry is digital. Total revenues from the digital music sector is expected to rise while physical sales will drop. Future is filled with streaming music services – both subscription services and free.

On the other end of audio spectrum High resolution audio tries to push to market at CES (again). Hi-Res Audio is the fastest growing category in music. Apple Music is planning to launch new its Hi-Res music streaming in 2016.

W3C group formed in the summer of 2015 a new working group: The Music Notation Community Group consists of representatives from some of the biggest names in the music notation software business who’ve come together to create a standardised way to display western music notation in your browser. It believes are achievable goals that can be met in 2016.


  1. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Script Your Way Out Of Video Editing Drudgery

    Ingest-a-Tron 9000
    Automating the media ingestion, transcoding, and transfer process using Windows Batch scripts, FFmpeg, Fastcopy, and PsExec. God help me.

  2. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nathan McAlone / Business Insider:
    YouTube has paid over $1B to the music industry in the last year, from advertising alone

    In the last year, YouTube has paid out over $1 billion to the music industry from advertising alone, the company revealed on Tuesday.

    Bolstered by music subscription revenue, the music industry is growing again for the first time in over a decade. Last month, analysts at Macquarie even predicted that global recorded music revenues will double over the next 10 years.

    On Tuesday, YouTube pointed to its $1 billion advertisement pay-out as evidence that “multiple experiences and models are succeeding alongside each other.”

    Not everyone in the music industry agrees with that sentiment.

    “In 2015, fans listened to hundreds of billions of audio and video music streams through on-demand ad-supported digital services like YouTube, but revenues from such services have been meager — far less than other kinds of music services. And the problem is getting worse. Check out the alarming disparity between the growth in the number of ad-supported streams compared to the growth in revenues generated from those streams.”

    Here’s the basic problem: Label execs are convinced that many people use YouTube as an alternative to services like Spotify and Apple Music, which pay higher rates. But YouTube argues that it’s fundamentally a different type of service.

    Streaming music has finally became the biggest part of revenue for the industry this year

    Now YouTube is making the case that the streaming industry needs two pillars: advertising and subscription. And $1 billion is a big chunk of change, especially considering Spotify paid out $1.8 billion to the music industry in 2015.

  3. Tomi Engdahl says:

    OTT to Skyrocket in Eastern Europe

    According to Digital TV Research, eastern Europe will have 18.19 million paying OTT subscription VOD (SVOD) subscribers (for TV episodes and movies – excluding sports, for example) across 18 countries by 2021, up from 3.33 million at end-2015 and the 5.58 million expected by end-2016 – almost sextupling between 2015 and 2021.

    The research house estimates that Russia accounted for 44% of the region’s SVOD subs in 2016, with that proportion expected to slowly grow to half the total by 2021.

  4. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Old television disappears for smartphone

    The traditional linear television is being squeezed. Ericsson ConsumerLabin research shows that TV viewing is constantly decreasing, while a variety of streaming services and the popularity of mobile viewing is growing at a rapid pace.

    Videos considered to be more and more smart phones and other mobile devices. Mobile devices currently considered to weekly videos 85 per cent more than in 2010 and the annual average of 200 hours more than in 2012.

    Ericsson seventh time published by the TV and the media report. Also shows that the use of a variety of streaming services is on the rise and consumers appreciate these services more than traditional linear TV.

    Watching streaming service content such as TV shows, movies and other TV programs has increased by 50 percent since 2010. Consumers, inter alia, hobbies series marathon viewing even more. YouTube watching is also popular.

    However, consumers are dissatisfied with the way the different services offer exciting new content for them. 44 percent of American consumers say that they have every day struggling to find love to linear TV content offerings.


  5. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Talking Neural Nets

    Speech synthesis is nothing new, but it has gotten better lately. It is about to get even better thanks to DeepMind’s WaveNet project. The Alphabet (or is it Google?) project uses neural networks to analyze audio data and it learns to speak by example. Unlike other text-to-speech systems, WaveNet creates sound one sample at a time and affords surprisingly human-sounding results.

  6. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Flexible Sheet Camera Wraps Around Objects

    A novel sheet camera developed by Columbia Engineering researchers can be wrapped around everyday objects to capture images that cannot be taken with one or more conventional cameras.

    The flexible lens array adapts its optical properties when the sheet camera is bent. The sheet camera produces high-quality quality images over a wide range of sheet deformations.

    “The adaptive lens array we have developed is an important step towards making the concept of flexible sheet cameras viable,”

    A Flexible Camera: A Radically Different Approach to Imaging

    Columbia Engineering researchers develop a deformable lens array and set the stage for thin and flexible sheet cameras

    New York, NY—April 12, 2016—A team led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, has developed a novel sheet camera that can be wrapped around everyday objects to capture images that cannot be taken with one or more conventional cameras.

    “Cameras today capture the world from essentially a single point in space,” says Nayar. “While the camera industry has made remarkable progress in shrinking the camera to a tiny device with ever increasing imaging quality, we are exploring a radically different approach to imaging. We believe there are numerous applications for cameras that are large in format but very thin and highly flexible.”

    If such an imaging system could be manufactured cheaply, like a roll of plastic or fabric, it could be wrapped around all kinds of things, from street poles to furniture, cars, and even people’s clothing, to capture wide, seamless images with unusual fields of view. This design could also lead to cameras the size of a credit card that a photographer could simply flex to control its field of view.

    The new “flex-cam” requires two technologies—a flexible detector array and a thin optical system that can project a high quality image on the array.

    To solve this problem, the Columbia Engineering team developed an adaptive lens array made of elastic material that enables the focal length of each lens in the sheet camera to vary with the local curvature of the sheet in a way that mitigates aliasing in the captured images. This inherent optical adaptation of the lens is passive, avoiding the use of complex mechanical or electrical mechanisms to independently control each lens of the array.

    “The adaptive lens array we have developed is an important step towards making the concept of flexible sheet cameras viable,” Nayar says. “The next step will be to develop large-format detector arrays to go with the deformable lens array. The amalgamation of the two technologies will lay the foundation for a new class of cameras that expand the range of applications that benefit from imaging.”

  7. Tomi Engdahl says:

    This Algorithm Taught Itself to Animate a Still Photo

    A team of researchers at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) have created a deep-learning algorithm that is able to generate its own videos and predict the future of a video based on a single frame.

    As detailed in a paper to be presented next week at the Conference on Neural Information Processing Systems in Barcelona, the CSAIL team trained their algorithm by having it watch 2 million videos which would last for over a year if played back to back. These videos consisted of banal moments in day to day life to better accustom the machine to normal human interactions. Importantly, these videos were found “in the wild,” meaning they were unlabeled and thus didn’t offer the algorithm any clues as to what was happening in the video.

    Creating Videos of the Future

  8. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Planet Earth II in Ultra High Definition is Psychedelic as Hell

    “Fancy trying out better quality video as part of some tests we’re doing?”

    This is the understated way the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) will today notify certain lucky television viewers that they can bear witness to a glorious four-minute trailer for Planet Earth II in ultra high-definition and Hybrid Log-Gamma—the highest quality picture the BBC has ever broadcast.

    Motherboard can confirm the experience was mind-blowing, emotional, and verging on hallucinogenic.

    Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG), essentially a modified form of HDR that enables images to be shown in extremely high contrast, has been jointly developed by BBC R&D and Japanese broadcaster NHK. It boosts the shadows and dark areas of the picture and supplies your retinas with more natural and brighter highlights. BBC R&D even told Motherboard that a frog’s particular shade of red was never before able to be broadcast so accurately to traditional TV monitors.

    HLG is backwards compatible and based on open standards, while providing boosted HD quality from 32-inch monitors to 100+-inch TVs. “When we innovate we do it for everyone,” said a BBC R&D spokesperson.

    While the BBC isn’t the first to broadcast in UHD 4K, with stellar programming such as Planet Earth, the organization’s certainly got a reason to keep pushing the boundaries of picture quality.

    High Dynamic Range Television and Hybrid Log-Gamma
    Adding sparkle to television pictures

    High Dynamic Range increases the difference between black and white beyond the contrast range of conventional television. That means water can glisten, stars can twinkle, and sunlight can be golden, all whilst maintaining detail in the shadows. Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) is an HDR system that was specifically developed for television by the BBC and Japanese broadcaster NHK.

    High Dynamic Range will offer a step-change in quality to viewers, making pictures more realistic and more immersive. In order for HDR programmes to be enjoyed in the home, a complete broadcast infrastructure must be in place. HLG’s native compatibility allows much of the existing SDR infrastructure to be re-used for HDR.

  9. Tomi Engdahl says:

    21st Century Fox has agreed to buy Sky for $13.51 per share in cash valuing the broadcaster at $14.1B; Sky’s share price jumps more than 26% — 21st Century Fox Inc. reached a preliminary deal to acquire full control of Sky Plc, valuing the pay-TV provider at 18.5 billion pounds ($23.2 billion)

    21st Century Fox Agrees to Buy Sky

    21st Century Fox Inc. reached a preliminary deal to acquire full control of Sky Plc for 11.2 billion pounds ($14.1 billion), as billionaire Rupert Murdoch seeks to consolidate his television empire.

    Fox, which already holds a 39 percent stake in Sky, proposed acquiring the rest of the stock for 10.75 pounds a share, according to a filing Friday in the U.K.

    Gaining total ownership of Sky would give Fox, which owns cable networks including FX and National Geographic, a powerful distribution platform in Europe for pay television and internet. Sky provides satellite TV service to 21.8 million customers across the U.K., Ireland, Italy and Germany.

    The satellite provider has staved off competition from phone and cable companies in part by securing rights to exclusive programming, such as sports and HBO shows, along with original content.

    Murdoch has long made clear his desire to own all of the asset.

    Content, Distribution

    Murdoch’s attempt to put television programming and distribution under one roof follows AT&T Inc.’s $85.4 billion deal earlier this year to acquire Time Warner Inc. Both transactions are likely to face heavy scrutiny from regulators who may seek to ensure that the companies don’t prioritize their own networks’ content over competitors’.

    Britain’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport, which has responsibility over media takeovers, had no immediate comment on the deal.

  10. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Recode Daily: Magic Leap’s much-hyped AR tech is nowhere close to reality
    The company has raked in $1.4 billion in funding at a valuation of $4.5 billion.

    Secretive augmented-reality startup Magic Leap dazzled consumers, recruited employees and attracted $1.4 billion in funding using videos created with special effects and technology that will not make it to commercial release. The gear currently being prototyped is something closer to Microsoft’s HoloLens, but not as far along.

  11. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Nathan McAlone / Business Insider:
    Amazon and Netflix make up 40% of Golden Globe nominations this year, receiving as many individually as the broadcast networks combined — Streaming heavyweights Netflix and Amazon are spending gargantuan amounts of money on TV shows, and it’s getting results.

    Netflix, Amazon, and HBO combined for 70% of the best TV show Golden Globe nominations

    Streaming heavyweights Netflix and Amazon are spending gargantuan amounts of money on TV shows, and it’s getting results.

  12. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Darrell Etherington / TechCrunch:
    Instagram will roll out live video broadcasting feature to US users over next few days — Instagram announced its Live video broadcasting features in November, which allow users to show your followers what you’re up to in real-time, and also let users browse for Live videos happening …

    Instagram brings live video broadcasts to all U.S. users

  13. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Farnell element14 – Robust loudspeaker audio connector for harsh and demanding environments (Neutrik NLT4FP)

    The NLT4FP from Neutrik, and available from Farnell element14, is a four-pole speakON female chassis connector with metal housing and solder contacts. This female chassis connector is especially designed for heavy duty amplifier/loudspeaker applications.

    The extremely robust metal housing designed for harsh and demanding environment. The connector has a current rating of 40A continuous, 50A audio with 50% duty cycle.

  14. Tomi Engdahl says:

    World’s First Demodulator IC for ISDB-S3 and ITU-T J.183

    Socionext Inc. has developed the world’s first demodulator IC that is compatible both with the Advanced Wide -Band Digital Satellite Broadcasting (ISDB -S3) and ITU -T Recommendation J.183 based channel bonding technology.

    The new SC1501A can receive both the direct signals from the satellites and the retransmission of satellite signals through cable systems (IF pass-through, transmodulation) for 4K and 8K broadcasting. Socionext has also developed prototype receiver systems equipped with the SC1501A, one of which will be used in the experimental retransmission of Advanced Wide -Band Digital Satellite Broadcasting thorough the cable TV system, jointly conducted by Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), KDDI Corporation (KDDI), Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Ltd. (J:COM), and Japan Digital Serve Corporation (JDS).

    In Japan, test broadcastings of 4K and 8K have started, and the full services are scheduled in 2018. Testing and prototyping is underway across the industry, aiming for the popularization of the broadcasting formats by 2020.

    These two prototype receivers, for “ISDB -S3 (satellite) and ITU-T J.183-based channel bonding” and for “ISDB -S3-only”, are to be used as the reference models for equipment makers, to help expand Socionext’s visual systems businesses.

  15. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
    Facebook launches Live 360 video from NatGeo now, everyone next year

    Following YouTube’s rollout of 4K 360 live broadcasting, but beating Twitter’s Periscope to the punch, Facebook today announced initial support for 360-degree Live streams. National Geographic‘s Facebook Page will publish the first 360 Live video tomorrow

  16. Tomi Engdahl says:

    British TV giants to launch US streaming service next year

    Netflix-like BritBox service will feature current shows 24 hours after UK broadcast, as well as classic programming.

    British broadcasting giants BBC Worldwide and ITV announced a partnership on Tuesday to launch a Netflix-like streaming video service called BritBox in the US next year. The ad-free service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017 on the web as well as Roku, AppleTV, and Chromecast.

    The venture plans to take its service international eventually. Subscription pricing was not revealed.

  17. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Radio.Garden lets you tune into the globe

    Some of the most beautiful products are the simplest. Take Radio.Garden, for example. This project by Golo Föllmer at Martin-Luther University Halle displays a photorealistic globe full of green dots. Swing your mouse over one of the dots — in Iran, Estonia or the Faroe Islands — and you can hear a local radio station.

    The interface itself is surprisingly calming. You’re immediately drawn to the farthest corners of the Earth. Rolling over Iceland brings up some Spice Girls and some local talk radio.

    “By bringing distant voices close, radio connects people and places,” writes Föllmer. “Radio Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away — or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes.”

  18. Tomi Engdahl says:

    The Grand Tour unseats Game of Thrones as the most pirated TV show ever

    And just like that, Game of Thrones’ long reign as the most pirated TV show appears to be over as early data from industry analyst Muso suggests Amazon’s new motoring show is the new number one.

    According to the firm, the first episode of The Grand Tour was downloaded 7.9 million times with the second and third episodes having been downloaded 6.4 million times and 4.6 million times, respectively (the downward-trending numbers are a shame considering the show has actually gotten much better each week but I digress).

    An Amazon spokesperson told The Guardian that The Grand Tour has become the biggest show premiere ever on Amazon Prime Video, breaking records around the world. Specific view counts, however, weren’t supplied.

  19. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Ryan Faughnder / Los Angeles Times:
    Hollywood studios win preliminary injunction against VidAngel, the streaming service that lets users filter language, sex, and nudity from movies

    Hollywood studios win preliminary injunction against VidAngel, the streaming service for cleaned-up movies

    A U.S. district judge has sided with Hollywood studios in their legal battle to block VidAngel, the streaming service that lets users filter unwanted language, sex and nudity from movies.

    Judge Andre Birotte Jr. in Los Angeles granted a preliminary injunction against the Provo, Utah-based start-up, which allows people to stream cleaned-up versions of movies including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Deadpool” for $1 each.

    Walt Disney Co., Lucasfilm, 20th Century Fox Film and Warner Bros. Entertainment in June sued VidAngel for illegally ripping DVDs and streaming without a license.

    VidAngel, which gained support from many families and religious leaders, relied on a quirky business model to eschew Hollywood’s permission to stream movies. The company purchased thousands of DVDs and Blu-rays to make them available to stream through its website.

    Users could purchase a new movie like “Zootopia” for $20. After they watched it, they could sell back the movie for a $19 credit, meaning the consumer actually paid only $1 to see the film — much less than they would have to pay iTunes or Amazon.

    VidAngel’s lawyers argued that the nascent company was protected from piracy accusations by a 2005 law called the Family Movie Act that says consumers can tweak movies they own for personal use.

    The company recently said it raised $10 million in a public offering to support its legal defense against the entertainment industry titans.

    The business is the latest in a long line of filtered streaming companies to fight the entertainment industry and lose.

  20. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Filmmakers and journalists ask camera companies to embrace encryption
    Hard drives can be encrypted, so why not cameras and the files they create?

    The Freedom of the Press Foundation is asking major companies like Canon, Nikon, Sony, and Fujifilm to build encryption features into their products in a new open letter published today. The letter was signed by over 150 filmmakers and photojournalists, including Citizenfour director Laura Poitras.

    Encryption has become an increasingly prominent (and hotly debated) topic in the tech world over the last few years, especially with respect to messaging apps and mobile phones in general. But while encryption has become standard in those parts of our lives, camera and memory card companies are well behind that curve, the FPF argues

    Poitras, who is on the board of directors for the FPF, somewhat famously had to destroy some of the SD cards she used when filming Edward Snowden for her Citizenfour documentary. While there are encrypted hard drives and even USB sticks, cameras (and the memory cards they use) don’t have built-in file protection. That means a journalist or filmmaker’s work is in jeopardy if those things get confiscated at any point in the time between shooting and storing those files.

    150 Filmmakers Ask Nikon and Canon to Sell Encrypted Cameras

  21. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Give us encrypted camera storage, please – filmmakers, journos
    Photojournalists plead for secured data in professional cams

    Over 150 prominent filmmakers and photojournalists have asked leading camera makers to add support for data encryption to their devices.

    An open letter published on Wednesday by the Freedom of the Press Foundation – a group that includes Academy Award winners Laura Poitras and Alex Gibney – states that encryption is absent from all commercial cameras being sold today and that the technology is needed to protect both those capturing images and those depicted in them.

    “Without encryption capabilities, photographs and footage that we take can be examined and searched by the police, military, and border agents in countries where we operate and travel, and the consequences can be dire,” the letter states.

    The list of camera makers contacted includes Canon, Fuji, Nikon, Olympus, and Sony.

  22. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Converting Film Camera to Digital the Hard Way

    [Robin] is a hobby photographer with some very nice old film camera gear. But who has the money or patience for developing film these days? (Well, lots of people, especially artists, but that’s a different Hackaday article.) So to update his old gear without breaking the bank, he glommed a Sony Nex digital camera onto the back of a nice old Nikon, and documented the process for us.

    A friend of mine once said, “never underestimate what a good engineer can do with a file and patience.”

    Film Cameras to Digital
    Customising classic old cameras to shoot with film and digital

    Sensor at Film Plane

    Fit Sony Nex digital Exmor Sensor to 35mm Film Camera

    This is the start of a series of pages to assist owners of collectable film cameras with the knowledge to be able to to fit a Sony Nex 14 or 16 mp CMOS Sensor into the film rectangle area, at near to exact, the crucial Film Plane depth. The inserted sensor should still be clear of the shutter enabling your film camera to take perfectly in-focus digital photos by fitting a Sony Nex to the rear of the film camera as the “Electric Film”.

    I have tested the clearance on the following cameras so am fairly confident that it will apply to all 35mm Film Cameras. Tested – Leica M3, Leicaflex SL2, Canon A1, Nikon FE, Nikon FE2.

    With a digital sensor it is hard to ascertain just where the Film Plane location is.

  23. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Amazon expands its Prime Video service to over 200 countries, but China isn’t included

    A month after it dropped major hints, Amazon has made its Prime Video service available in more than 200 countries worldwide bringing some serious competition to Netflix’s global plan.

    Netflix expanded its service to 130 new countries in January, thereby making its streaming site available in almost every part of the world, and finally Amazon has responded. Notably, the Amazon service isn’t available in China, a country where Netflix is also not present, but India, which initially got Amazon’s Prime service in July, is among the places where Prime Video is now present.

    Amazon’s video service is free for subscribers of its Prime package — which gives benefits such as faster delivery times and discounts for its e-commerce — but Prime isn’t available worldwide yet. In countries where there is no Prime subscription option, Prime Video will be priced at $5.99 (or €5.99 in parts of Europe) per month. Right now, Amazon is offering an initial 50 percent for the first six months to encourage new signups, while a seven-day trial is available for free. For comparison, Netflix costs upwards of $7.99 each month.

  24. Tomi Engdahl says:

    High-Quality Film Transfers with this Raspberry Pi Frame Grabber

    Untold miles of film were shot by amateur filmmakers in the days before YouTube, iPhones, and even the lowly VHS camcorder. A lot of that footage remains to be discovered in attics and on the top shelves of closets, and when you find that trove of precious family memories, you’ll be glad to have this Raspberry Pi enabled frame-by-frame film digitizer at your disposal.

    With a spare Super 8mm projector and a Raspberry Pi sitting around, [Joe Herman] figured he had the makings of a good way to preserve his grandfather’s old films. The secret of high-quality film transfers is a frame-by-frame capture, so [Joe] set about a thorough gutting of the projector.

    How to Convert Old Film Reels With a Raspberry Pi
    A projector with a Pi-controlled motor and camera can capture frame-by-frame transfers

  25. Tomi Engdahl says:

    AmpMe lets you sync Bluetooth speakers together to make a giant wall of sound
    iOS or Android, too

    In 2015, a small company called AmpMe rolled out an app with a clever premise — it let you sync audio playback across any number of phones, offering users a (hopefully) better option for filling a room with music than just placing a phone in a bowl. Today the company is taking the idea a step further with an update to the app that extends AmpMe to Bluetooth speakers.

    The basic workings remain the same. Everyone still needs to use the AmpMe app — which is free and available on iOS or Android. One person acts as the “host,” and they can play music from SoundCloud, YouTube, or their own local library. AmpMe uses high-frequency sounds to sync all the devices together, and rom there, there’s no upper limit on the amount of speakers or phones you can loop together. The only limit is that you can only connect one speaker to each phone.

    The AmpMe team has also found a clever way to fix those slight delays in the syncing. If your phone or speaker is lagging behind (or running ahead of) the others, you just adjust a slider in the app. The app will even learn how much delay your phone is dealing with over time so that you don’t always have to make those adjustments.

    AmpMe will remain free for the foreseeable future

  26. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Millennials, Males Lead in Online Video Viewing

    According to Limelight Networks’ (NASDAQ:LLNW) fourth semi-annual “State of Online Video” report, Millennials and males are leading the trend toward over-the-top (OTT) online video viewing.

    More than three-quarters of consumers surveyed watch online video every week, and there are significant differences in video adoption by age and gender. While just over half of all consumers watched more than 2 hours of online video per week, 68% of Millennials do so. There is also a significant disparity by gender, with more than 58% of men watching more than 2 hours per week, compared to less than 45% of women.

    “Consumers – in particular younger generations – are increasingly turning to online streaming to access video content,” said Michael Milligan, senior director at Limelight. “As adoption continues on mobile devices, expectations are for high-quality video anywhere, any time, on any device.”

    Smartphones continue to grow in popularity for online viewing: Although a computer or laptop remains the most common device for online video viewing, their use has been shrinking while smartphone usage continues to grow.

    Consumers expect a high-quality online video experience and are frustrated with buffering: More than half of consumers think buffering is the most frustrating aspect of watching online video. Nearly half of respondents (46%) will stop watching a video after the second time it buffers, and 78% will stop if it buffers three times.

  27. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Streaming Video Alliance: Smartphones Reshaping TV

    According to a study from the Streaming Video Alliance, mobile video plays a critical role in the transformation of television and increasingly influences how people consume video content due to its ease of use and accessibility. The study indicated that 40% of people surveyed watch an hour or more of video on their smartphone each week, and 25% watch more than 2 hours.

    Conducted by the Streaming Video Alliance, the report was based on a survey of 500 respondents in the United States. Findings indicate:

    Apple iOS is the dominant mobile operating system through which consumers watch video, while Android is a close second.
    Millennials are watching more video on mobile than other demographics and tend to stream video

    “The trend toward mobility has consumers watching more content away from primary televisions, which is playing an important role in the evolving television experience,”

  28. Tomi Engdahl says:

    NPD: 238 Million Internet-Connected TV Devices by 2019

    The trend toward Internet video delivery continues. According to the NPD Group, by the end of 2019, 238 million installed devices are expected to be connected to the Internet and able to deliver apps to TVs, representing 59% growth from 2015 to 2019. Connected TVs are projected to drive 45% of the growth over the coming four years, while less expensive, content-heavy streaming media players are projected to drive 35% growth.

    The rate of connecting these devices is projected to increase from 70% in 2015 to 80% of installed units by the end of 2019, driven primarily by hardware prompting connectivity, an increase in quality app programming from TV networks, and improvements to user interfaces.

    “The integration of streaming media player operating systems into TVs points to the beginning of a consolidation of operating systems that app developers will need to focus on in order to reach their audience,”

  29. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Josh Constine / TechCrunch:
    Facebook Live Audio launches with select publishers and authors including the BBC, LBC, and Harper Collins, will open up to more next year — Book readings, interviews, and news radio are coming to Facebook thanks to its new Live Audio feature launching today with a few publishers and authors before opening up next year.

    Facebook Live Audio makes talk radio social, starting with the BBC

    Book readings, interviews, and news radio are coming to Facebook thanks to its new Live Audio feature launching today with a few publishers and authors before opening up next year. A complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, it could bring audio-first content like podcasts to the News Feed, and provide a low-bandwidth real-time broadcasting options to publishers in low-connectivity areas.

    The first publishers with access will be BBC World Service (news radio), LBC (Leading Britain’s Conversation talk radio), Harper Collins (book publisher), and authors Adam Grant (Originals, pop psychology), and Britt Bennett (fiction addressing race). Facebook writes “Early next year, we plan to make this new format more broadly available to publishers and people.”

  30. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dish’s AirTV Player set-top box will combine Sling TV, Netflix, and OTA live channels
    Putting streaming and antenna TV channels all in the same guide

    Dish’s Sling TV website has (perhaps prematurely) unveiled a new set-top box, the AirTV Player. The device will let Sling TV subscribers stream live cable channels on their television — just like you can do right now with Sling TV on an Apple TV, Roku, or other streaming devices. But where the AirTV Player is different is that it will also integrate live, over-the-air network programming into that same interface with the help of an antenna (sold separately)

  31. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Martin Brinkmann / gHacks Technology News:
    Open source cross-platform video transcoder HandBrake updated to version 1.0.0 after 13 years of development — HandBrake 1.0.0, a new version of the popular open source cross-platform video converter, was released on December 24, 2016. — I reviewed HandBrake for the first time in the year 2007 …

    Video Converter HandBrake 1.0.0 released

    The video conversion program is easy to use on the one hand, but offers advanced options for users who want more control over the conversion process.

    In the best case, all you need to do is load one or multiple video files in the program, select one of the available output presets — e.g. Android 720p30, Playstation 1080p30 Surround, or Super HQ 1080p30 — and start the conversion process with a click on the “start encode” button.

    So what is new in HandBrake 1.0.0? A lot. The presets that the program ships with have been updated big time. You get new device presets for devices released in recent time, new general use presets for best compatibility, new presets for web publication or sending, and new Matroska presets that include support for VP9 video with Opus audio.

  32. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Industrial camera applications, technologies and interfaces

    Camera pricing

    After a high of 70% in 2014, manufacturers production roadmaps have steadily declined to 44% for production of cameras in the mid-price range between $150 and $650, which reveals some price stabilization after successive drops in the previous years. Low-cost cameras less than $150 are least significant to manufacturers and users in terms of percentage, at 26% and 11%, respectively. Compared with 2015, high-priced cameras from $650/$1,000/$3,000 have dropped by 12% points

    CMOS vs. CCD

    In the light of Sony’s discontinuation of CCD imagers, users see the greatest growth for companies such as ON Semiconductor, which currently holds a 29% market share. The declines foreseen by users and manufacturers for Sony in last year’s study haven’t materialized with 32% of all camera manufacturers currently relying on Sony. In 2 years, Sony is expected to grow back to the 37% levels it had before the discontinuation. Even more users this year rely on Sony compared to last year, with an increase from 35% to 53%.

    Camera vendors cite that CMOS technology accounts for 85% of camera sales. Camera users expect to reach this purchasing level in the next two years.

    While approximately 30% of users relied on sensors under 1 MPixel last year, in 2016, only 10% do.

    Standard interfaces

    GigE Vision dominates according to manufacturers, with 33%, followed by Ethernet with 15%. Compared with last year and based on a low proportion of American participants, the previously high Ethernet percentage has been reduced. Manufacturers and users expecting USB 3.0 and GigE Vision to grow fastest with an increase of 8% and 10% points, respectively.

    More than 75% of manufacturers and, 60% of users expect bandwidths greater than 5 GB to become relevant or very relevant. 50% of manufacturers believe that USB 3.1 is the most important interface for high-speed applications, followed by 38% for 10 GigE. In contrast, 44% of users favor 10 GigE for fast transmission, and only 37% of users vote for USB 3.1.

  33. Tomi Engdahl says:

    World’s largest map of visible universe released

    Images captured by the Panoramic Survey Telescope and Rapid Response System (Pan-STARRS1) compiled to form the world’s largest map of the visible universe have been released to the public.

    Pan-STARRS1 (PS1), one of the two telescopes located on site in Haleakala, Hawaii, captured half a million exposures, each about 45 seconds in length, over a period of four years. The shape of the image comes from making a map of the celestial sphere, like a map of Earth, but leaving out the southern quarter. If printed at full resolution, the image would be 1.5 miles long, and one would have to get close and squint to see details, according to the University of Hawaii Institute for Astronomy.

    PS1 has a 3° field of view and is equipped with a 1.4 Gigapixel mosaic focal plane CCD camera. The focal plane has 60 separately mounted, close-packed CCDs arranged in an 8 x 8 array. Each CCD device, called an Orthogonal Transfer Array, has 4800 x 4800 pixels, separated in 64 cells, each of 600 x 600 pixels. This Gigapixel camera (Or “GPC) saw first law on August 22, 2007, imaging the Andromeda Galaxy. Each image captured by the camera requires about 2 GBytes of storage, and exposure times will be 30 to 60 seconds, with an additional minute or so for computer processing.

    “The Pan-STARRS1 Surveys allow anyone to access millions of images and use the database and catalogs containing precision measurements of billions of stars and galaxies,”

    Pan-STARRS Releases Largest Digital Sky Survey to the World

  34. Tomi Engdahl says:


    LG Levitating Portable Speaker Hovers Magically in Midair While Delivering Great Audio Performance

  35. Tomi Engdahl says:

    B&O’s colossal BeoLab 90 loudspeakers pump out 8,200 watts, cost $40K

    It’s safe to say that Bang & Olufsen isn’t about to trash its reputation for head-turning, high-end speaker design with the new BeoLab 90. Named in honor of the the Danish company’s 90th anniversary, the gargantuan BeoLab 90 stands 4 feet (123.5 cm) tall, weighs in at over 300 pounds (137 kg) and delivers an earthshaking 8,200 watts through a complex array of drivers and amplifiers … all for just under US$40,000.

    This is a loudspeaker that breaks the traditional form. Buried within the beautiful 360-degree design are 18 speaker drivers (7 tweeters. 7 mid-range and 4 woofers), each with its own custom designed amplifier.

    The key is a combination of technologies that take into account room acoustics and give the listener far more control over the actual direction and width of the sound that comes from the loudspeaker.

    Active Room Compensation technology adjusts the sound output according to factors like room composition, furniture location, and the placement of the loudspeaker relative to where you’re sitting. In addition, Beam Width Control allows you to select a different “sweet spot” to suit different listening locations and the number of people in the room. These features, along with various presets, can be controlled using a smartphone app.

    The BeoLab 90 sports an array of wired connections along with WiSA-compliant wireless connectivity, which uses the 5.2 – 5.8 GHz band for the transmission of uncompressed 24-bit wireless audio at sample rates of up to 96 kHz in.

  36. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Instant Camera with This Year’s Hottest Dithering Technique

    Fabien-Chouteau]’s thermal printing camera isn’t the first — you’ve got the Gameboy Camera/Printer and a few others to thank for that. But it’s a great example of the form. The camera combines an Adafruit thermal receipt printer with an OpenMV camera, both easily sourced, if not exactly cheap. It even adds a ST7735 LCD for live display of the camera’s image, just like consumer-grade cameras!

    DIY instant camera
    DIY camera with an OpenMV module and thermal printer

  37. Tomi Engdahl says:

    OpenELEC 7.0 Linux Distribution Now Available For PC and Raspberry Pi

    Some operating systems are targeted at a single use to minimize the overhead and maximize the power of the hardware. One such focused OS is OpenELEC. This Linux distribution is designed to serve as a media center — nothing more, nothing less. Today, the popular distro reaches stable version 7.0. There are images for both x86 and Raspberry Pi 2 and 3, meaning there is a very good chance you own compatible hardware.

    OpenELEC 7.0 Linux distribution now available for PC, Raspberry Pi, and WeTek Core

    “OpenELEC 7.0 release contain a Kodi major version bump.”

  38. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Dan Rys / Billboard:
    Source: Facebook is working on a system to find and remove videos with copyrighted music, is in preliminary licensing talks with major record labels

    Facebook Developing Copyright ID System to Stem Music Rights Infringement

    As Facebook continues to grapple with its role in proliferating “fake news” amidst the heated U.S. election this year, it has another showdown looming on the horizon — this one with the music industry. In the wake of NMPA president/CEO David Israelite’s op-ed in Billboard in October, in which he called out the social media giant for hosting videos with copyrighted music without securing licensing deals or paying creators, Facebook is working to develop a copyright identification system — similar to YouTube’s Content ID — that would find and remove videos containing copyrighted music, a source tells Billboard. The story was first reported by the Financial Times.

  39. Tomi Engdahl says:

    Matthew Strauss / Pitchfork:
    Nielsen: US on-demand music streaming up 76% to 250B+ streams in 2016, becoming the dominant form of music consumption with 38% of the market — Streaming consumption beat digital sales for the first time in history, according to new Nielsen report — It’s official: according …

    Streaming Now Officially the Number One Way We Listen to Music in America

    Streaming consumption beat digital sales for the first time in history, according to new Nielsen report

    It’s official: according to a new year-end report released by Nielsen, over the course of 2016, streaming became the primary mode of music consumption in the U.S. Overall on-demand audio streams surpassed 251 billion in 2016–a 76 percent increase that accounts for 38 percent of the entire music consumption market. Plus, “the on-demand audio streaming share [of total music consumption] has now surpassed total digital sales (digital albums + digital track equivalents) for the first time in history.”

    (An average of 1.2 billion streams per day versus 734 million downloads for all of 2016.)


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