Subscribe to:

Subscribe to :: TheGuruReview.net ::

The EU Wants Anywhere, Anytime For Online Subscriptions

December 10, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

The European Union is aming to push for allowing consumers to access to their online subscriptions for services like Netflix, Sky and Canal+ when they travel in the 28-member bloc, setting it up for a battle with media groups.

The proposal was presented by the executive European Commission (EC) on Wednesday, along with a longer-term strategy for making copyrighted works more easily available across the EU, likely to run into stiff opposition from the media industry as well as from artists.

Letting people take online subscriptions abroad chimes with Brussels’ aim of tearing down borders in the online world and is reminiscent of its efforts to allow use of domestic mobile phone subscriptions abroad without paying hefty roaming charges.

Under the proposal, consumers with subscriptions to services such as Sky TV Now, ProSiebenSat.1MaxDome TV in Germany or Netflix in France, would be able to view content they have paid for when they temporarily travel abroad.

What temporarily means has been left open, but the EC expects companies to set limits on the amount of time people can use their subscriptions abroad so they do not abuse the system by buying cheaper services outside their home country.

While Netflix is already available in many European countries, content is tailored to local tastes, so a French user in Belgium, for example, will not have access to the specific French catalog without using workarounds such as virtual private networks.

“People who legally buy content – films, books, football matches, TV series – must be able to carry it with them anywhere they go in Europe,” said Andrus Ansip, commission vice-president for the digital single market.

The EC also proposed rules protecting people when they buy goods and digital content online, estimating this will spur up to an additional 13 million consumers to start buying online from other EU countries.

However, the bigger battle with the media industry is likely to come next year, when the EC plans to enhance the availability of TV and radio programs online across the 28-member bloc.

Broadcasters, film producers and rights holders fear even a modest dilution of territorial licenses would diminish their value. “Any dilution of territorial exclusivity could lead to pan-European licensing, ultimately destroying that rich, culturally diverse content offer that we are all striving to create,” said Mathieu Moreuil, head of European policy for England’s Premier League.

 

 

Microsoft Teams Up With Law Enforcement To Take On Dorkbot

December 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Computing

Microsoft announced that it has worked with law enforcement agencies in several regions to disrupt a four-year-old botnet called Dorkbot, which has infected one million computers worldwide.

The Dorkbot malware aims to steal login credentials from services such as Gmail, Facebook, PayPal, Steam, eBay, Twitter and Netflix.

It was first spotted around April 2011. Users typically get infected by browsing to websites that automatically exploit vulnerable software using exploit kits and through spam. It also has a worm functionality and can spread itself through through social media and instant messaging programs or removable media drives.

Microsoft didn’t provide much detail on how Dorkbot’s infrastructure was disrupted. The company has undertaken several such actions over the last few years in cooperation with law enforcement.

Coordinated actions to take botnet servers offline have an immediate impact, but the benefits can be short-lived. Cybercriminals often set up new hosting and command-and-control infrastructure and begin rebuilding the botnet by infecting new computers.

Microsoft said it worked with security vendor ESET, the Computer Emergency Response Team Polska, the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission, the Department of Homeland Security’s U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, Europol, the FBI, Interpol, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Cybercriminals have sold a kit that allows other bad actors to build botnets using Dorkbot. The kit, called NgrBot, is sold in underground online forums, Microsoft wrote in a blog post.

 

 

YouTube Aiming To Get Rights To Stream TV Shows, Movies

December 4, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Alphabet Inc’s YouTube is looking to get rights for streaming TV series and movies for its $9.99-a-month subscription service as it attempts to ramp up competition against rivals such as Netflix Inc and Amazon.com Inc, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

The Journal reported that executives of the company have met with Hollywood studios and other production companies in recent months to consider pitches and negotiate licenses for new content.

YouTube is eager to secure these rights and is focusing on new material. It is however not clear which TV series or movies the company is pursuing, WSJ reported.

YouTube is still deciding how much content to license, but it wants to have a strong collection of original programing and licensed programing in 2016 and beyond, WSJ reported, citing a person familiar with the matter.

The company is using existing relationships of Google Play with movie studios and other premium video content owners to negotiate streaming deals, WSJ reported.

Former programing chief of MTV Susanne Daniels and Kelly Merryman, a former Netflix content executive, are involved in these talks, the newspaper said.

The service, which is called YouTube Red, could be host to exclusively streaming these contents. The shows or movies could also be also released through traditional channels like movie theaters, cable networks and DVDs alongside YouTube Red, the person added.

YouTube Red, which was launched in October, allows viewers to watch videos from across the site without interruption from advertisements.

 

 

 

T-Mobile Announces Free ‘Binge On’ Video-streaming Service

November 12, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

T-Mobile announced that it will begin offering free streaming of wireless video to certain T-Mobile customers for services such as HBO, Hulu, Netflix and 21 others.

The service, called Binge On, will be available starting Sunday at no extra charge to T-Mobile’s Simple Choice customers paying for 3GB of data. In addition, the carrier said it doubled the LTE data caps at every level in Simple Choice at no extra cost.

“T-Mobile is un-leashing entertainment and giving customers exactly what they want,” CEO John Legere declared at an event in Los Angeles that was webcast.

He also said that neither the 24 video-streaming services involved nor T-Mobile customers will pay for the service. Binge On is powered by new technology built into T-Mobile’s network, which optimizes video for mobile screens and minimizes data consumption.

In an online FAQ, T-Mobile said its Binge On video quality “looks great” on a phone. The explanation says the service optimizes video quality for smartphone screens and minimizes buffering and maximizes quality.

Analysts had predicted the free video service would be announced today, but some were skeptical that T-Mobile could afford to offer it without leading to widespread LTE network congestion.

Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics, said T-Mobile would be using a compression algorithm that reduces video streams to one-third of their original size. Binge One won’t work with encrypted data, such as that from Google and Facebook, he said.

To be eligible for one line with sufficient data to use Binge On, a user would pay $65 a month. That cost would include $50 for one line that includes 2GB of data, but a customer would need to add 4GB more for $15 a month to get above the 3GB minimum for Binge On.

 

Chip & Pin Cards Responsible For Netflix Subscriber Slowdown?

October 16, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

Video-streaming service provider Netflix Inc reported third-quarter U.S. subscriber growth below its own forecast, blaming a transition to chip-based cards for the miss.

Shares of Netflix, known for its original shows such as “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black”, plummeted about 15 percent after the bell, before finally reversing most of the loss to trade down 2.4 percent.

U.S. credit and debit card companies have been shifting to chip-enabled cards ahead of the Oct. 1 deadline mandated for the switch.

For Netflix, the switch meant that many of the older cards on its file no longer worked as the companies gave new cards to their customers, leading to “involuntary churn,” as Chief Executive Reed Hastings put it in a letter to shareholders.

“It’s just the dumbest thing I’ve heard,” Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter said.

FBR Capital Markets analyst Barton Crockett said the issue around the chip cards is particularly confusing, given that these cards have been around for a bit.

“It begs a million questions,” he said.

Netflix said on Wednesday it added 0.88 million U.S. subscribers in the third quarter ended Sept. 30, compared with its forecast of 1.15 million.

“The slowdown in U.S. subscriber growth was particularly disappointing because one would expect that since Netflix just raised rates last week, this number would have been strong,” said Crockett.

Netflix increased the subscription rate for some new members earlier this month by $1.00 a month to $9.99 in the United States, Canada and Latin America.

Internationally, Netflix added 2.74 million subscribers, compared with its projection of 2.40 million.

Netflix, which is also battling competition from streaming services such as Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video service and Hulu, has been aggressively building its overseas presence.

The company said it was in the “early stages” of its China entry and said it was “still learning a lot”.

Netflix said in July its plans to enter China in 2016 could be delayed.

Netflix is being “more adventurous” on the news side, company executives said on a post-earnings conference call.

The company added it was not looking at live sports as an offering currently.

 

Microsoft, Google Cease Fire In Global Patent Deal

October 2, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Microsoft has been pursuing a more collaborative approach under CEO Satya Nadella, engaging longtime rivals like Salesforce, VMware and Apple. There hasn’t been much love between Microsoft and Google, but an announcement on Wednesday points towards an easing of those tensions.

Google and Microsoft have reached a broad agreement on patent matters, with a legal settlement ending some 20 lawsuits between the companies in the U.S. and Germany. Financial terms weren’t disclosed, but the deal brings a laundry list of lawsuits to a close.

“Microsoft and Google are pleased to announce an agreement on patent issues,” they said in a joint statement. “As part of the agreement, the companies will dismiss all pending patent infringement litigation between them, including cases related to Motorola Mobility.”

They also agreed to collaborate on patent matters and work together “to benefit our customers.”

The suits that have been settled include those related to mobile phones, video encoding and Wi-Fi technologies. That doesn’t mean Microsoft has given up its campaign to collect royalties from Android device makers for the mobile operating system’s alleged infringement of Microsoft patents.

It’s not clear from the statement what patent matters the companies will be working on together in the future, but changes have already begun. The two companies agreed earlier this month to work together (alongside other firms like Netflix and Mozilla) on a royalty-free video codec.

It remains to be seen if the settlement will lead to more work between Microsoft and Google in other areas. A major sticking point for consumers has been the lack of a Google-made YouTube app for smartphones and tablets running Windows.

 

 

Verizon Enters Mobile Video Space With ‘Go90′ Launch

September 9, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Mobile

Verizon Communications Inc launched a trial version of its new mobile video service on Tuesday, looking to prove that telecom players can compete with mobile ad industry titans Google Inc and Facebook Inc.

Verizon said its service, a mobile app dubbed “go90″, will be offered initially to a select set of its own customers, with advertisements from well-known brands, which it declined to name, but without newly acquired ad technology from AOL, the media company it bought in June for $4.4 billion.

Verizon is targeting young viewers or millennials with about 100 to 200 hours of exclusive content from online video networks such as AwesomenessTV and Machinima, said Brian Angiolet, Verizon’s senior vice president, consumer products. The free service will drive revenue from data usage and targeted advertising.

Verizon’s best chance to prove its advertising potential rests on technology from AOL, which has built tools to deliver targeted Web and mobile ads. That, combined with Verizon’s customer data, should improve targeting, analysts say.

The AOL technology is in the process of being integrated with Verizon’s video service, and targeted advertising tools will be available over time, Angiolet said.

The service will launch officially to all users as soon as later this month, a Verizon spokesman said.

Companies from Netflix Inc to Dish Network Corp already offer Web-based video services through subscriptions, but the No. 1 U.S. wireless company’s ad-supported, short-form video model is unusual.

Go90 pits Verizon against Internet advertising industry heavyweights Google and Facebook, and advertisers will take a “wait and see” approach to determine how many viewers Verizon captures, telecom industry consultant Tim Farrar said.

“Pretty much without exception telecom operators have not been successful as third parties in exploiting the Internet access service, whether it’s video or anything else,” Farrar said. “What percentage of people’s app viewing is going to be over a Verizon app versus YouTube or Facebook…That’s the biggest uncertainty.”

Verizon’s rival AT&T Inc has said it has mobile video services targeting young viewers in the works. Smaller rivals Sprint Corp and T-Mobile US Inc have said they are watching their competitors’ efforts closely.

 

ASUS Goes Automated GPU

June 10, 2015 by Michael  
Filed under Computing

Asus has come up with a new fully automated graphics card production method.

According to Toms Hardware it is an industry first and it should deliver more reliable, higher quality graphics cards.

Dubbed Auto-Extreme the process is supposed to remove the chance of human error in the manufacture of graphics cards.
The new production process fully automates all the steps of PCB manufacturing, which includes rolling the spools and manufacturing the MOSFETs. These PCB components used to be soldered to the PCB by hand, but now that everything is fully automated, it can be done with much more precision than before.

Process designs, which lead to smooth PCBs and neat component layouts, are optimized further due to the higher precision possible in manufacturing. Installation of the components can be accomplished without oxidation and in environments with less dust.

It reduces Asus’ production costs due to a lower failure rate in the quality control phase, and the graphics cards will likely have a longer lifetime, reducing warranty claims.

Asus’ first products to have been built using this new production line are the 20th anniversary graphics cards.

Courtesy-Fud

Netflix Has Expansion Plans For Southern Europe

June 8, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Internet television service Netflix has announced plans to enter into Italy and Portugal markets later this year, the company said on Saturday, as part of a bid to expand its popular streaming TV service to some 200 countries worldwide within two years.

The Silicon Valley-based company said that, starting in October, Internet users in Italy and Portugal would be able to subscribe to watch a selection of TV series and movies on TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices.

On Thursday, Netflix said it planned to enter Spain, also in October. Netflix is available in more than 50 countries worldwide, including 13 in Europe.

Its focus on international expansion comes as growth slows in the United States, where it has reshaped TV viewing habits since it was first launched in 2007.

 

 

AT&T To Offer Exclusive Content For Connected Cars

May 20, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

AT&T Inc is preparing to bring connected car users exclusive content such as videos and games that can be streamed onto personal mobile devices later this year, AT&T’s senior vice president of emerging devices Chris Penrose said.

“It’s no different than being able to hook onto a Wi-Fi hotspot anywhere and get access to content you already subscribe to and get unique content that you could only get in the back of the vehicle,” Penrose said.

AT&T has signed up eight automaker partners, including General Motors Co, Audi AG and Ford Motor Co, to hook up cars with Internet access. The goal is to offer free or paid content exclusively for connected car users and sell more data, Penrose said in a recent interview.

AT&T is talking to its auto industry partners and content companies to bring new content like “special” shows or gaming levels on phones and tablets in connected cars, Penrose said. This would be in addition to subscription services such as Hulu and Netflix that users can already stream on mobile devices.

Most Americans already own a mobile phone, and the $1.7 trillion U.S. wireless industry is turning to connected cars and devices for growth. Besides being the essential pipes that deliver data, telecom players such as AT&T are looking to extract revenue from content.

GM has begun testing new content on its OnStar in-vehicle service best known for connecting drivers to live operators for directions or emergency help.

The subscription-based service, which also sells data to drivers, has special offers and some exclusive content on apps such as Famigo, an educational app for kids, and TumblebooksTV, a children’s digital books app. It also has retail partnerships with Dunkin’ Donuts and travel booking site Priceline.com for location-based deals.

AT&T is exploring business models that include revenue share for data, content and advertising with automakers, content and retail partners, Penrose said without sharing specific details.

AT&T is working with automakers to design a landing page or a portal for users to log in to access content, get vehicle service updates and buy data, he said.

 

 

YouTube Planning Subscription Based, Ad-free Service

April 10, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

YouTube is planning a paid service that will allow viewers to watch select videos without ads, Google has confirmed.

YouTube began laying out the terms of the service in a letter seen by IDG News Service. The letter was sent Wednesday to members of YouTube’s Partner program, which lets YouTube video makers earn money from ads and merchandise.

It’s not clear when the new service will launch, nor the price or what it will be called.

“While we can’t comment on ongoing discussions, giving fans more choice to enjoy the content they love and creators more opportunity to earn revenue are always amongst our top priorities,” a YouTube spokeswoman said.

YouTube will pay video creators using the service 55 percent of the total net revenues from subscription fees, according to changes to the terms of the Partner program. That’s the same percentage partners collect from advertising. The changes go into effect on June 15.

A YouTube spokeswoman declined to comment on how revenue would be divided.

It’s unclear what type of content will be offered through the service, though some of it might be premium or exclusive content that can’t be found elsewhere. YouTube might position it as a premium service with its own programming, perhaps akin to Netflix or HBO’s new streaming service.

Its success is likely to depend on the number and diversity of video partners YouTube gets.

YouTube will have plenty of competition. In addition to Netflix, there’s also Vessel, a new paid video service from the former CEO of Hulu.

 

HBO Streaming Service To Launch On Apple Devices In April

March 11, 2015 by mphillips  
Filed under Consumer Electronics

HBO’s standalone streaming service will launch on Apple Inc devices in April, ahead of the season premiere of hit series “Game of Thrones,” the network said, a move to reach millions of viewers who do not subscribe to pay television packages.

The new HBO Now service will cost $14.99 a month. It will include the network’s past, present and future series plus its lineup of Hollywood movies, HBO Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Richard Plepler said at an Apple event in San Francisco.

It is the first time the premium network will be available to people with Internet access who shun traditional TV bundles with dozens of channels. Other media companies including CBS Corp and Dish Network Corp also are taking steps to reach those audiences.

“This is a transformative moment for HBO,” Plepler said after an introduction by Apple CEO Tim Cook.

The move by Time Warner Inc’s HBO could threaten the video businesses of cable and satellite companies, which are fighting to keep customers from dropping their TV packages. It also amps up competition with streaming services such as Netflix Inc. HBO’s library of hits includes “The Sopranos” and “Sex and the City.”

Starting in early April, HBO Now will be available through the Apple TV box and on iPhones, iPads and the iPod touch. The fifth season of “Game of Thrones” premieres April 12.

Apple will be the exclusive digital provider of HBO Now for three months. The network also is aiming to convince traditional TV distributors to offer the service as early as April.

 

 

 

Should AMD And nVidia Get The Blame For Assassin’s Creed’s PC Issues?

November 19, 2014 by Michael  
Filed under Gaming

Ubisoft is claiming that the reason that its latest Assassin’s Creed game was so bad was because of AMD and Nvidia configurations. Last week the Ubisoft was panned for releasing a game which was clearly not ready and Ubisoft originally blamed AMD for its faulty game. Now Ubisoft has amended an original forum post to include and acknowledge problems on Nvidia hardware as well.

Originally the post read “We are aware that the graphics performance of Assassin’s Creed Unity on PC may be adversely affected by certain AMD CPU and GPU configurations. This should not affect the vast majority of PC players, but rest assured that AMD and Ubisoft are continuing to work together closely to resolve the issue, and will provide more information as soon as it is available.”

However there is no equivalent Nvidia-centric post on the main forum, and no mention of the fact that if you own any Nvidia card which is not a GTX 970 or 980. What is amazing is that with the problems so widespread, Ubisoft did not see them in its own testing before sending it out to the shops. Unless they only played the game on an Nvidia GTX 970 and did not bother to test it on a console, it is inconceivable that they could not have seen it.

Courtesy-Fud

AT&T Delays Fiber Optic Plans Over Net Neutrality Uncertainty

November 14, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

AT&T plans to halt its ambitious fiber optic cable investments in 100 cities until U.S. regulators define the rules for net neutrality.

“We can’t go out and invest that kind of money deploying fiber to 100 cities not knowing under what rules those investments will be governed,” AT&T CEO Randall Stephenson told investors on a conference call earlier this week.

“We think it is prudent to just pause and make sure we have line of sight and understanding as to what those rules will look like,” Stephenson added.

His comments came just two days after President Obama urged federal regulators to invoke rules banning Internet Service Providers such as AT&T from requiring payments from content providers like Netflix to get higher network priority.

AT&T has promoted its U-verse GigaPower service in recent months to bring 1Gbps service to cities and has heard from 100 different cities who are candidates for the rollouts. In an online promotional video, AT&T notes that it already has 16.5 million broadband connections and has laid more than 1 million miles of fiber optic cable.

Google, meanwhile, has connected several U.S. cities with its Google Fiber 1 Gbps connections and has plans to serve dozens more cities.

The delay in AT&T’s fiber optic investment could be vast, given AT&T’s estimate in 2013 that it would spend $14 billion over three years for wired and wireless broadband infrastructure in what it called Project Velocity.

AT&T didn’t respond when asked how long the delay in its fiber rollouts could be. But the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) on Monday said it won’t create new rules in its open Internet deliberations until 2015.

The FCC’s delay came shortly after President Obama on Monday called for far-reaching rules to affect cable and phone companies, including AT&T and other wireless carriers, that operate as ISPs. Obama made it clear he opposes any attempt by ISPs to prioritize Internet traffic in exchange for a higher payment by a content provider.

AT&T is part of a large group of carriers, including the CTIA industry group, opposed to Obama’s approach. Members have argued that regulating ISPs like traditional phone companies under Title II of the Telecommunications Act, as Obama prefers, won’t hold up in court.

Groups that favor expanding Internet service to underserved populations in inner cities and rural U.S. areas have largely welcomed fiber optic expansion by both Google and AT&T. The impact of AT&T’s delay on their efforts isn’t clear.

 

 

Amazon Acquires Rooftop Media, Expands Digital Content

October 29, 2014 by mphillips  
Filed under Around The Net

Amazon.com Inc is set to acquire online comedy service Rooftop Media, a small deal that underscores the Internet retailer’s broader ambition of becoming a media and entertainment powerhouse.

Amazon is persisting in buying content to round out its service, with designs to take on Netflix Inc and other online digital media services. But that increasing spending has helped keep the company in the red, inviting criticism from investors.

Audible, the audiobooks service it bought in 2008 for $300 million, is picking up the 10-person company for an undisclosed sum. Audible founder and Chief Executive Donald Katz said in a statement on Monday the company had been attracted by Rooftop’s content as well as its pool of comic talent.

Rooftop records comedians at clubs across the country and licenses the digital rights to thousands of hours of comedy, which is broadcast either live or later on demand. The company’s media partners include Apple Inc and Yahoo, and it also works with streaming services such as Sirius XM,  Spotify and Pandora.

Its content now becomes part of Audible, itself a fast-growing seller of online audiobooks, and vastly increases Rooftop’s audience, said Rooftop Chief Executive Officer Will Rogers.

Amazon is expected to continue acquiring digital content at a rapid clip. In past years, it began investing heavily to branch out from its online retail roots, delving into Hollywood-style content production as well as developing a line of tablets, smartphones and set-top boxes to accelerate the sale of digital content.