Seagate has announced what it claims is the “industry’s first” 4TB video hard disk drive, that is, a 3.5in HDD that is engineered specifically for use in video applications such as digital video recorders (DVRs), set-top boxes (STBs) and surveillance systems.
“Purpose-built for video solutions, the Video 3.5 HDD can store up to 480 hours of HD content making it the industry’s highest-capacity drive designed specifically for video,” the firm said.
When we asked how the hard drive is engineered for video applications and is not just a bog standard hard disk drive, Seagate explained that the hard drive supports up to 16 HD video streams or 20 standard definition video streams simultaneously, as well as having 24×7 operation capabilities.
To clarify what exactly this means, we asked Seagate to explain how the video hard drive differs from a desktop hard drive. A Seagate spokesperson said that the video hard drive is built for DVR like applications that run 24 hours a day seven days a week in warmer environments, such as a DVR inside an entertainment center, with support for profiles to ensure continuous smooth delivery of video content.
“They’re built to support an ATA-8AV command set which means they’re optimised for streaming, meaning we can support 30 percent more HD streams on this drive than on a laptop drive,” Seagate explained.
“ATA commands are also paired with command completion times that are optimised for video so if your drive has corrupt data, which likely is a single pixel on one frame of your screen, the drive knows to skip over it rather than go back to correct or rebuild that data which would cause your video to pause while this happens.”
The video drive has also been built for low power consumption and heat emission so device designers and manufacturers can build the drive into designs more flexibly. It also offers “superior acoustic management” to limit audible distractions during operation of DVRs and STBs, so designers can build nearly silent home entertainment systems.
“Boasting near silent acoustics, the drive operates below the range of audible sound for the human ear at just 2.3 decibels providing optimised acoustics for home entertainment components, crucial for consumer electronics and video applications,” the firm added.
4TB of data is capable of storing around 100 full length DVD quality movies. Compressed movies take up much less space, with the drive being able to store around 4,000 lower quality films. For movies that have been condensed into the popular HD compression format Matroska video (MKV) at HD 720p, the drive can store around 1,000 two-hour movies, or 120,000 minutes of video, making it idea for storing all your favourite episodes of cheesy American TV shows such as Gossip Girl or 90210.
Seagate hasn’t yet announced a release date or pricing for its 4TB video hard disk drive.
A day that SEGA fans thought would never come has arrived: SEGA has entered into a deal with Nintendo where Nintendo consoles will get the next three Sonic the Hedgehog titles as platform exclusives. The once bitter rivals are calling this a “worldwide partnership,” which despite being a bit short on details apparently leads us to believe that SEGA will be developing additional new software for the Wii U and 3DS consoles going forward.
The next three Sonic titles will include Sonic: Lost World, Mario & Sonic at the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympic Games, and a third unannounced title that the company is expected to officially announce at E3. The reason for the Sonic exclusive deal has to do with the past performance of Sonic titles on Nintendo consoles, and since they have proven to be good sellers, the deal does seem to make a lot of sense for both companies.
What is more interesting, however, is the other aspects of the partnership that will see additional titles developed for the Wii U. Nintendo needs all of the software support it can get for the Wii U, and just getting SEGA to continue to release new titles for the Wii U is a good thing. Sources tell us that SEGA has some new Wii U titles planned for announcement at E3, but it isn’t known exactly what SEGA might be cooking up.
While a big deal with Activision or Take-Two is really what Wii U owners might want, at least getting SEGA to continue producing Wii U titles is a positive news thing. It does remain to be seen, however, if SEGA can deliver the kinds of titles that will be successful sellers on the Wii U when so many owners are looking for the big titles from some of the other publishers.
The person acknowledged that other parties were involved, adding that DirecTV was “one of many” suitors. Media reports have previously identified Time Warner Cable Inc as another company weighing a potential stake in the company.
Representatives of DirecTV and Time Warner Cable declined to comment on Friday.
Reuters reported in April that former News Corp president Peter Chernin had bid around $500 million for Hulu, the service he helped create in 2007. Reuters also reported that Guggenheim had been hired to advise Hulu and was also contemplating a bid.
DirecTV had circled Hulu once before, when the video company put itself on the block in 2011. Other suitors at the time included Google Inc,Amazon.com Inc and Dish Network Corp. Talks collapsed over the price of that deal.
Hulu has more than 3 million subscribers paying $7.99 a month for its premium service, and generated revenue of around $700 million last year. It sells advertising for its free service.
The Wall Street Journal was the first to report DirecTV’s interest late last Friday.
Tumblr, a place for posting cat memes and duck faces, is apparently in Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer’s sights, with Allthingsd reporting that she is the main driver of a possible acquisition. Yahoo and Tumblr are in “had been in serious talks,” with Mayer having had her eye on the company ever since she worked for Yahoo rival Google.
The report also claims that Tumblr has been “stepping up its efforts” recently to raise funding that could value the company at $1bn, seemingly interested in a potential buyout by Yahoo as long as the price is right.
Yahoo CFO Ken Goldman quoted said that the firm is looking to attract more 18-24 year olds, which is the demographic of the blogging service.
“One of our challenges is we have had an aging demographic,” Goldman said. “Part of it is going to be just visibility again in making ourselves cool, which we got away from for a couple of years.”
One of Allthingsd’s closely guarded sources said that Yahoo acquiring Tumblr fits in nicely with Mayer’s plans.
“If you could pick a company that fits in with what Marissa Mayer has demonstrated in her career – aesthetics, software technology and fast-growing – you could not land on a better choice,” the unnamed source said.
The merger will come as no surprise, as Tumblr boasts 117 million visitors each month, the majority of which are in the 18-24 demographic. However, it still remains unclear what Yahoo would do with Tumblr.
Yahoo will reportedly announce this afternoon.
Google said it is expanding the amount of free storage for users of its cloud storage service Google Drive. Google Drive on Monday announced it’s increasing the amount of free storage it offers subscribers from 10GB for Gmail and another 5GB for Drive and Google+ Photos.
Combined, Google subscribers will get a net total of 15GB of free unified storage and will be able to share all the additional data among the Drive cloud storage service, Gmail and Google+ Photos.
Clay Bavor, director of product management at Google Drive, wrote in a blog that with the new combined storage space, “you won’t have to worry about how much you’re storing and where.
“For example, maybe you’re a heavy Gmail user but light on photos, or perhaps you were bumping up against your Drive storage limit but were only using 2 GB in Gmail. Now it doesn’t matter, because you can use your storage the way you want,” he wrote.
Google has been increasing its competitive pressure on other cloud storage providers since launching its Drive service last year.
Among Google Drive’s competitors is Microsoft’s SkyDrive and Apple’s iCloud, but the companies most threatened by Google’s move into online storage are smaller specialized service providers, such as DropBox, Box, SugarSync and YouSendIt, according to analysts.
Dropbox offers 2GB for free, and its first paid upgrade option is to 50GB for $9.99 a month or $99 per year.
“[Average consumers] don’t have much of a relationship with these smaller [cloud] companies,” Gartner analyst Michael Gartenberg said at the time of Google Drive’s launch. “The challenge for these smaller companies is reaching out to consumers or shifting to somewhat of a different market; the problem is that Google also wants the business market, the small business market and ultimately the enterprise IT market.”
The new tools represent yet another expansion of the Microsoft search site to make it more interactive and useful as the company seeks to distinguish itself from Google search.
In March Bing expanded its center column to incorporate more social information from Facebook, Twitter and Klout into how it displays search results involving people. In January its right-hand Social Sidebar was scaled out to include more content from users’ Facebook friends such as status updates, shared links and comments.
Previously, users could see that content, but could not interact with it without leaving the Bing site. But with the latest expansion, they can.
“Now you can see what your friends might know about what you’re searching for and engage with them directly without leaving the search page,” Bing said last Friday in a blog post.
As an example, if a person is searching for tickets to a Beyonce concert, and a friend posted on Facebook that she has an extra ticket, the person could comment directly on the post on the Bing site to let the friend know that he would like to join her for the concert, Bing said.
The person has to be signed into Facebook for the feature to work. The tool honors the user’s account settings and won’t share any information without the person’s approval, Bing said.
There does not appear to be any restriction on how old the Facebook posts can be.
The feature’s focus is on surfacing the most relevant information for the searcher, but on average the technology looks at roughly two years’ worth of Facebook data for each person, a Microsoft spokesperson said.
For instance, searching for the just-released film “The Great Gatsby” displayed Facebook posts from as far back as 2011, some of which did not even refer to the recent Hollywood adaptation of the book.
The flow of information between Bing and Facebook goes both ways. In January Facebook announced the beta launch of Graph Search, a social search tool designed to let users discover a wider range of information across the social network. When there are holes in the Graph Search results, information from Bing will be weaved in, Facebook said.
Bing originally rolled out its right-hand Social Sidebar last year, and since then “we’ve been exploring ways to make it more useful,” the site said last Friday.
Nokia will offer a new high-end smartphone through U.S. carrier Verizon Wireless, it said on Friday, hoping to expand its share in the high-margin premium market after years of falling behind Samsung and Apple Inc.
The new Lumia 928, priced at $99 if customers mail-in a $50 rebate and agree to a two-year deal with Verizon Wireless, is similar to the 920 model currently sold through AT&T, but is lighter and slightly different in appearance.
It weighs 162 grams compared with 185 grams for the 920, which some critics had said was too heavy.
The 928′s 4.5-inch screen also extends to the edge of the phone, giving a sharper impression than the curved edges of the 920. The new models also come in black and white compared with the colorful options of the earlier Lumia range.
Most other features, such as a 8.7 megapixel camera and 1.5-gigahertz dual core processor by Qualcomm, are the same as the 920′s.
The 928 is the latest in Nokia’s Lumia range of smartphones which use Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8 software.
Nokia switched to Windows in 2011, aiming to compete with Apple’s iPhones and rivals using Google’s Android system. Sales of Lumia phones have grown in recent quarters, but at 5.6 million in first quarter, they still account for only around 5 percent of the market.
The company has recently launched new products in the lower and mid-tier range to protect its position in emerging markets, but analysts have said its success in the high-margin smartphone market will be crucial for its long-term survival.
Nokia is due to unveil its new Lumia strategy at an event in London on Tuesday.
Amazon.com has updated its mobile app store to include support for its Chinese customers, a potential signal that the U.S. company may be preparing to sell its Kindle e-readers and tablets in the country.
The update effectively launches a new version of Amazon’s app store built in the Chinese language. The store comes in the form of an Android app, and the company has been promoting it since this past weekend.
The arrival of the new store comes just months after Amazon launched its Kindle e-book service in China last December. Both are key platforms for bringing content to the company’s Kindle devices in the U.S. market. But in China, Amazon has yet to start selling its tablet and e-reader hardware, and its local offices have been mum on a future release date. The company on Monday did not immediately respond for comment.
Despite the absence of official sales, the Chinese market is showing some “pent-up demand” for Amazon’s e-readers, said Mark Natkin, managing director of Beijing-based Marbridge Consulting. Research data from last year showed that Chinese consumers were increasingly buying the e-readers from overseas markets, he added.
Amazon’s Kindle Fire tablets could also sell well in the country, Natkin said. Apple currently dominates the nation’s tablet sector, but the company largely focuses on the higher-end market. Amazon’s Kindle Fire products, which start at $159, could appeal to many consumers wanting a lower-priced device from a well-known brand, he added.
Lenovo became the country’s second-largest tablet vendor after Apple, with a 14% market share, by its focus on budget tablets, according to analysts.
Though a big name in the U.S., Amazon is, however, a small player in China’s e-commerce market. It faces fierce competition from the local rivals, including Alibaba Group’s Taobao sites and 360buy, another major online shopping mall. Both Taobao and 360buy also sell e-books.
China’s market is also already saturated with local app stores, some of which are operated by handset makers and telecom operators. Amazon’s new Chinese app store has been designed to include more local products. Software from Chinese social networking site Sina Weibo and video-sharing hub Youku Tudou are listed, but U.S. apps including Netflix and Twitter are not.
Eagle-eyed Twitlio developer Jonathan Gottfried noticed the apparent confirmation of a Twitter app for Google Glass, having seen someone tweeting a picture from the source “Twitter for Glass” .
Is @mogroothmuddler beta testing an official Twitter for Glass app? Certainly looks like it. twitter.com/jonmarkgo/stat…
— Jonathan Gottfried (@jonmarkgo) April 29, 2013
According to Allthingsd, this leak is likely to be the real deal. Why? Because Twitter restricts the creation of apps with “Twitter” in the name, so it’s unlikely that someon has knocked up a fake application with the word “Twitter” in its name.
What’s more, the tweet in question came from @MogroothMuddler, an account that has since been deleted. However, this Twitter account has been traced back to a man called Shiv Ramamurthi, who works as an engineering manager at Twitter. If anyone was going to get their mitts on an early release of Twitter’s Google Glass application, it would be a Twitter engineer.
It’s unlikely that we’ll be seeing the release of Twitter for Google Glass any time soon, given that Google recently said that it is unlikely to release its spectacles until 2014.
However the leak does suggest that other software developers like Facebook and Instagram might be working on apps for Google’s eyewear.
Twitter said that it was unable to comment.
DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc has agreed to acquire teen- oriented YouTube network AwesomenessTV to secure an online platform to showcase family-focused movie franchises such as “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda.”
DreamWorks said on Wednesday it will pay about $33 million in cash to acquire AwesomenessTV, with additional payments of up to $117 million ifearnings targets are met in 2014 and 2015. The transaction is expected to be completed this month, it said.
AwesomenessTV is a network of 55,000 YouTube channels, with 14 million subscribers, that feature online talk shows, sketch comedy and scripted and reality series aimed at teens. It is among the original channels that Google Inc-owned YouTube helped bankroll over the past year and a half.
YouTube has spent more than $100 million to help about 150 media partners create and promote specialized YouTube video channels dedicated to topics ranging from food to sports. The idea is to improve the quality of videos on YouTube and to attract a bigger share of television advertising dollars.
AwesomenessTV was founded by Brian Robbins, an executive producer of TV shows, including “One Tree Hill” and “Smallville.” Hollywood talent firm United Talent Agency helped Robbins set up AwesomenessTV in 2010, negotiating its early venture capital funding, the deal with YouTube and the sale to DreamWorks.
Under the deal with DreamWorks, Robbins will take an executive role at the movie studio to develop a digital family channel. DreamWorks movie franchises include “Shrek,” “Kung Fu Panda,” “Madagascar” and current box office hit “The Croods.
DreamWorks CEO Jeffrey Katzenberg has talked about creating a family-themed cable channel since last July, when the company acquired characters such as “Casper the Friendly Ghost” and “Lassie” through its purchase of Classic Media.
On Tuesday, Katzenberg said the company was still pursuing the idea.
“On the cable side of it, again we continue to explore that. We continue to have interest,” Katzenberg told analysts on a conference call after the company released quarterly earnings.
Hollywood talent firm United Talent Agency helped Robbins set up AwesomenessTV in 2010, negotiating its early venture capital funding, the deal with YouTube and the sale to DreamWorks.
Microsoft is unveiling a sneak-peek version of Skype for Outlook.com, allowing users to make calls and send instant messages from within the web mail service using a browser plugin.
For the Outlook.com version of Skype to work users have to download a plugin for their browser. The plugin is available for the most recent versions of Internet Explorer, Chrome and Firefox. The next and final step is to connect Skype to Outlook.com using a Microsoft account. Customers with an existing Skype account will be asked to merge their Microsoft and Skype accounts, which will allow them to add all of their Skype contacts to Outlook.com, according to the blog post.
The integration allows users to make audio or video calls and send instant messages from Outlook.com. For example, to start a call while reading an email from a contact on Outlook.com, users just have to move the mouse over the contact’s picture and click on the Skype audio or video call button.
Microsoft acquired Skype in 2011 to add voice and video communications to its existing software. Outlook.com is a free personal email service from the company. Recently Microsoft also launched a version of Skype that integrates with its smartphone operating system Windows Phone 8.
The tablet became available first in the U.S. through its website. The tablet is also available for order on the company’s U.K. website, and is scheduled to ship on May 1.
The Slate 7 weighs 370 grams, offers five hours of battery life on video playback, and is the company’s first tablet with Android OS. The 7-inch screen displays images at a resolution of 1024 x 600 pixels. The tablet has 8GB of internal storage, but has a micro-SD slot for expandable storage. It has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A9 processor running at 1.4GHz and key features include a 3-megapixel back camera, a VGA front camera and Wi-Fi. Other features include Beats audio, which is also found on HP’s laptops and desktops.
HP hopes buyers will choose its aggressively priced tablet over other Android tablets like Google’s Nexus, Samsung’s Galaxy Tab and Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD, which are priced at $199. But HP’s well-entrenched rivals offer a suite of services and content including music and movies along with the tablets. HP is relying on Google for delivery of music, movies and TV shows to its tablets, but has said it could offer its own cloud service when the time is right.
Slate 7 is HP’s first consumer tablet offering since the 2011 debacle of the webOS-based TouchPad tablet, which was nixed after HP that year announced it would either sell or spin off its Personal Systems Group, which dealt in PCs and tablets. In a fire sale, HP sold off its remaining TouchPad tablets at prices starting at $99 and people lined up outside stores to buy the product. HP ultimately retained the PS, and sold off the webOS assets to LG in February this year.
Analysts have said that the tablet’s price, specifications and HP brand name are attractive.
HP has said it is experimenting with different screen sizes, and has said more consumer tablets would be released this year. HP also offers business tablets like the ElitePad 900 based on Windows 8. The $649 Envy X2 with Windows 8 is a hybrid that can be used as a tablet or a laptop.
Samsung is making an aggressive sales play in the U.S. market by moving into thousands of third-party retail outlets where dedicated staff will sell and provide advice on the company’s smartphones,tablets and entertainment products.
Samsung has established “pop-up” stores in the past and had a full-scale outlet in New York that was ultimately shut down. A part of the new expansion plan includes retailer Best Buy, which on Monday announced that it would establish a special zone in its 1,400 U.S. retail stores to sell Samsung products.
The company already has authorized resellers, and the Best Buy partnership is an effort to give users a hands-on experience with its products, said Tim Baxter, CEO of Samsung Electronics America, during an event in New York on Wednesday to announce the Samsung and Best Buy partnership.
Providing a hands-on experience is a “vital” part of getting users to buy Samsung products, Baxter said.
Also, mobile computing is headed in a direction where tablets, smartphones and other devices such as TVs are able to easily interact with each other. A larger in-store presence will educate users on how these products work together, Baxter said.
Baxter declined to say if Samsung would open its own stores in key locations, but said that the company would partner with more retailers. Samsung spends $8 billion to $9 billion on product research every year, and a larger retail presence will also help understand product trends in the U.S., Baxter said.
The U.S. is a key market for Samsung, and the company believes it can grab a larger share in smartphones, tablets and PCs through a larger in-store presence. Samsung’s smartphone rival Apple already has a large retail presence where customers can buy products and get support.
The privately held social-networking and blogging site introduced sponsored posts to its desktop service less than a year ago. These ads have allowed fashion, entertainment and other brand partners to pay to have their posts appear in Tumblr’s “Radar” right rail. Radar ads are responsible for more than 120 million daily impressions, Tumblr says.
“We’re incredibly proud of our partners’ creativity and have been constantly amazed by how well these creations can fit into our Dashboards,” Lee Brown, Tumblr’s vice president of sales, said Monday in a blog post. “So today we’re bringing these posts over to our mobile apps,” he said.
The mobile ads program comprises six partners including ABC Entertainment and ABC Family, GE, Pepsi and Warner Brothers. Android and iOS users will know what they’re looking at is an ad by the animated “$” sign appearing in the top-right corner of the post.
Tumblr, a site designed for personal and artistic expression, is aiming to make the corporate ads integration seamless. Only “every now and then” will people see promoted posts as they scroll through their mobile feeds, the site said. Or specifically, up to four times a day, the company noted.
That characterization of the ads’ frequency appears accurate — a quick scroll-through of the Tumblr app on iOS revealed relatively few promoted posts.
But more ads are likely on the way, with Monday’s announcement marking “the first of many” planned Tumblr ad launches in 2013 “to empower marketers to engage with and add to the most vibrant community online,” Tumblr’s Brown said in a statement.
Still, the hope seems to be that users will engage with the mobile ads in the same way they interact with user-generated content on Tumblr: by commenting, “liking” and re-posting to their own blogs.
Two years in the making, the DLPA will make available to the public 2.4 million records at its launch, including electronic images, video and audio from America’s libraries, archives and museums. It also makes many scientific records available.
“You will find gems that include daguerreotypes of … former [President] Abraham Lincoln, images of women marching for the vote in Kentucky, news film clips of the Freedom Riders during the Civil Rights movement, The Book of Hours, an illuminated manuscript from 1514, Notes on the State of Virginia, written by Thomas Jefferson, and paintings by Winslow Homer,” Emily Gore, DPLA Director for Content said in a statement.
The portal contains materials found in American archives, libraries, museums and cultural heritage institutions. The portal provides various ways to search and scan through its collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data.
“The wonder and joy of entering an expansive library for the first time is truly a special feeling. We are delighted to be able to share this unified, open collection with Americans and the world, and can’t wait to see what people discover, and what new applications and knowledge will be created,” Dan Cohen, executive director of the DPLA, said in a statement.
The effort to build the digital library was led by the Library of Congress, the Hathi Trust Digital Library and the The Internet Archive, which provided books, images, historic records, and audiovisual materials.
While many universities, public libraries, and other public and private organizations have digitized materials, they are often digital collections that exist in silos.
In December 2010, the Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University, along with the the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, hosted a conference of leading experts in libraries, technology, law and education to begin work on the digital library project.
In October 2011, the Berkman Center hosted hundreds of public and research librarians, technical innovators, digital humanists, and other volunteers who formed six work teams to map out the scope, design, and construct the DPLA.
The DPLA portal is powered by a rich repository of information, known as the DPLA platform, and uses an open API that can be used by software developers, researchers and others to create novel environments for learning, tools for discovery and engaging apps.