Technology Talk


Will VR Make Traditional Forms of Visual Entertainment Obsolete?

Yes, it is possible. Well, maybe not completely. But in the defining way, VR may make traditional entertainment options a lot less popular. The question – how can the VR devices completely replace traditional forms of visual entertainment like television obsolete – might seem ridiculous. So, for starters, just think back some 25 years ago. Would anybody have thought that video rental stores would not be required, because people will be able to download content on-demand from the internet? Could anybody have predicted that fixed line phones would no longer be a necessity, because mobile phones would completely take over? These and many other such questions would have a straight up ‘No’ for an answer. But, they all did happen with the advent of streaming services, mobile phones, and what not. This is how technology works and 25 years is a long time in technology.

The trends are all in the favor of VR. In a report that came out recently, Goldman Sachs has estimated that the VR market will generate more revenues than the television industry within a decade. It has predicted that while the television industry will do a total business of $99 billion in the next ten years, VR will be generating an income of $72 billion in software and $110 billion in hardware, coming to a total of $182 billion. This is almost double of what television manufacturers are going to earn. This is mind-blowing!

Palmer Luckey, the founder of Oculus, the creator of Oculus Rift, has always been open about his vision for the VR technology. He has gone on record to say that he has no doubt that VR is going to be the future of entertainment. His argument is logical too. Palmer says that as the demand for the technology increases, the price for the VR goggles is only going to go down. So, more and more people are going to own them. In such a world, the user can have an interactive and completely immersive experience for the price of a low end smartphone. Now, Palmer’s argument is that when people can get such an experience with VR, there will be no need to buy a television set, even at lower prices, while paying the cost of shipping for a 40” screen.


Now, a counter to that argument can be that television might not be an immersive experience, but a communal one. When you watch television, you are sitting with your family, having conversations while eating a meal, and so on. Of course, you can eat and be with your family while wearing VR goggles as well. But, it is not the experience that you can share. Also, you can be with your favorite actor in the video, but not with your friends. This is the kind of entertainment experience television delivers.

Moreover, VR goggles completely block the real world view. So, you are oblivious to what is happening in your immediate environment. This makes you very vulnerable to accidents. You may have heard about the Pokemon Go incidents that are happening, because people are completely involved in the augmented reality that has been presented to them. Virtual reality is completely immersive, which can become a major safety concern. If you are wondering what accident you could be prone to when you are on your ultra-comfortable couch in a peaceful suburb, then here’s is the answer – you might not hear your crying baby. You may not see the vibrating phone beside you or will be able to realize that someone needs your help. Sure, the companies will be working towards mitigating the security concerns for its users. But, in its current form, there is no real solution. So, a consumer grade product that can be used as extensively as a television is far from reality.

People will surely own a VR goggle to enjoy the experience, and may soon become a novelty product in most living rooms. But, it is hard to say that they will completely forego that unique experience that the traditional modes of entertainment bring to the table. So, the VR market is undoubtedly going to be big. But, these factors put a big question mark on the idea that it will be a mass market.

At best, VR can become another way to consume entertainment in the future, but it has a long way to go and a lot of its issues need to be addressed before it can become a mainstream product of choice. Today, we are leaps and bounds ahead of where we were two or three decades ago. So, it is possible that we find a solution to all the caveats that VR presents. For now, VR is no match for a television. Then again, it is almost impossible to predict what trajectory technology will take in the future.


What is TVSquared?

TVSquared is quite a hot topic among the marketing professionals across all business circles. It has gained immense popularity, especially in the recent months. But, if you have not heard about it, then don’t worry. It is a service that is generally used by businesses with sizeable pockets. The reason is that TVSquared is a powerful TV advertising attribution platform that helps advertisers calculate the ROI of various television campaigns designed by the marketers.

TVSquared is a powerful technological solution that considers a variety of factors, various media options, and other contact points between the businesses and their audience, to understand the impact caused by various marketing activities on a business’ audience. There are many services in the market that can provide reliable information on when to schedule your marketing campaigns on television, and also help you understand their impact on your audience. But, TVSquared goes a step ahead from the rest of them.

The company features two solutions for the businesses – ADvantage and Predict. Both of the solutions are interrelated, and provide the best results when used together. The ADvantage platform allows the businesses to track the performance of their television advertisement campaigns in real time. If you are wondering what is so special about them, think about it. It is not so easy to track the performance of television ads. Suppose, you watch a camera ad on television, and happen to visit the website. But, you do not purchase the camera right away. However, a week or so later, you click on a link on Facebook, and come to the same website again. But, this time you make the purchase. So, what would factor would you attribute for your purchase – the TV ad or Facebook link? The ADvantage platform recognizes the contribution made by both the platforms. In your case, it attributes the conversion success to both TV ad and Facebook. However, the contribution from both TV and Facebook are calculated depending on how much time you spent on the website, each time. If you spent more time the first time you visited the website, then ADvantage assigns the television a larger share of the success in your conversion, and vice versa.

This is what makes the service unique. It considers multiple factors that affect audience’s conversion into buying customers. Thus, it provides a far more accurate and insightful look into the behavior of the television audience.


Predict, on the other hand, is a powerful solution to “predict” the response to your TV ads even before you embarked on an ad campaign. This particular product makes use of the historical data from ADvantage, and employs machine learning techniques to predict the performance of ads that will be aired during a particular airtime. This has tremendous implications. Just imagine. Instead of just guessing when to schedule your ads, wouldn’t it be amazing if you could schedule your ads at the airtime when you are guaranteed to get desirable results? Predict makes that possible.

So far, TVSquared’s both products have been immensely popular, and rightly so. It is estimated that the two products result in a 25% decrease in cost to the advertisers on their ad campaigns, and a 30% increase in their conversions, which can be purchases, signups, or something else.

The impressive potential of the service has naturally attracted the advertisers from all across the world. The company already serves more than 300 clients from over 40 countries.

The applications of the two products are not limited to just minimizing costs. They provide a wealth of analytics information that is invaluable to businesses. TVSquared has successfully managed to bring the mainstream television advertisement to the internet age. With the power of ADvantage and Predict, markets can plan and schedule the TV ads just the way they do with digital ads. They allow the marketers to explain the performance and predicted performances of TV campaigns in terms of site visits, CPM, conversions, sales, CPC, and so on, thus enabling them to strategize a seamless media campaign encompassing both digital as well as TV ads.

It takes does a genius to see that TVSquared is all set to bring a paradigm shift in how TV ad buyers conduct their business. They will now be held accountable as per the same metrics that online ad buyers are. So, they will have to adapt, and rethink their TV ad buying strategies. The results they deliver will be watched closely, and continuously compared with those of the online ad buyers. After all, every business wishes to pursue media options that bring about the highest ROI, which can be achieved either by reducing costs, or by increasing revenues.


Are Holographic Television Sets a Possibility?

The Holographic TV sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie, but it may actually be coming to an electronics retailer near you sooner than you might think.

In fact, in September 2016, the BBC demonstrated that a basic holographic television set could be constructed out of low-tech, low-cost materials. What the team from the BBC did was ask a local plastics company to create a simple acrylic pyramid shape that could rest on top of the viewing screen of a 46-inch flat screen TV. The team from the BBC then slightly adapted old archival footage – both from a London New Year’s Eve fireworks display and a dinosaur history documentary – so that these archived clips would display properly on the TV.

When the footage played – presto! – a holographic image would appear within the acrylic pyramid shape, appearing to float and move in the middle of the air. You can actually watch YouTube videos of this BBC demo to get an idea of how easily holographic images can be generated that fool the human eye.

However, here’s the catch – the BBC technology was really just a 21st century adaptation of an old 1860s Victorian era parlor trick and optical illusion known as “Pepper’s Ghost.” What John Henry Peppers discovered back in 1862 was that similar types of holographic images could be created if images are displayed at a certain angle, against a piece of reflective material held at an angle. (In fact, this is the same technology used by modern Teleprompters.) Imagine the surprise and dismay of audiences almost 150 years ago, when they saw a ghostly image appear to float in mid-air in the room next to them!

The holographic video is a parlor trick that anybody can create today using just a smartphone that plays YouTube videos and a few basic materials – a sharp knife, some graph paper, a clear CD case, tape and scissors. By using the graph paper to create a trapezoid with exact proportions (1” x 3.5” x 6”), and then cutting and taping pieces of the clear CD case to match those dimensions, it’s possible to re-create the type of acrylic pyramid that the BBC team created. When you place this pyramid on top of your smartphone and play a video on your phone, a ghostly holographic image appears to float in mid-air over your smartphone.


Of course, when people talk about a holographic TV, they are really talking about more than just a visual illusion – they are talking about a real 3D image that appears to move in front of you. One area where these holographic images are already being used is within the entertainment industry, where holographic images of deceased stage performers can be projected onto a stage and seemingly interact with other members on stage. The most famous example of this is perhaps the Tupac Shakur hologram from 2012, in which the murdered rapper appeared on stage for one last time with fellow rappers Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog at the Coachella music festival.

In New York State, in fact, they are actually building a holographic museum, in which visitors will be able to view holograms of their favorite historical figures, in much the same way that people once attended wax history museums to see life-size versions of real historical figures. Using that same technology, Michael Jackson was able to “appear” on stage at the 2014 Billboard Music Awards.

The next stage in the development of a real holographic TV will involve the use of what experts refer to as “mixed reality” – a combination of “augmented reality” and “virtual reality” in which users strap on headsets and view holographic images in front of them that appear to be real. In fact, the line between the real world and the virtual world could become so blurred, that it’s actually preferable to remain in the virtual world for as long as possible. That’s actually the premise of a bestselling book about virtual reality called “Ready Player One” – it’s already being adapted by legendary filmmaker Steven Spielberg and could hit movie screens by 2018.

To understand the future of holographic TVs, it’s important to understand the important work that Microsoft is doing with its most innovative creation yet – the HoloLens, which the Seattle company is billing as the “first fully self-contained holographic computer enabling you to interact with high-definition holograms in the world.” This is perhaps the closest yet that we have come to the blurring of the digital world with the real world.

And it’s not just a science fiction dream – at the end of March 2016, Microsoft actually started shipping $300 developer kits. Known as “Project Baraboo” within Microsoft, this holographic initiative is based around the innovative work that was done to create the Kinect for the Xbox in 2010. With the Kinect, you are able use your voice and gestures to simulate a movement in the virtual world, such as playing tennis or evading alien intruders. It is truly a natural user interface, and one that immerses the user in the gaming experience.

There are plenty of innovative uses for such holographic technology within a true holographic TV. It’s easy to see how this could become a core part of any gaming experience played on the TV. And, as Microsoft explains in the trailer video for the HoloLens, it could be used for rapid prototyping (in which you change a prototype by simply interacting with a 3D holographic image in front of you), for sharing ideas with colleagues (in which holographic representations of your colleagues follow you around wherever you go), and in new ways to educate and learn (in which holographic images – like those BBC dinosaurs – appear in front of you to illustrate certain concepts).

Putting all this together – the BBC holographic TV, the work with entertainment industry holograms and the exciting new developments in mixed reality such as the Microsoft HoloLens – it’s possible to get a glimpse of the future. Most likely, it will involve a large television screen, some type of “performance space” between the TV and the couch, and a special headset that you wear while watching the TV. Theoretically, you would be able to watch the action that’s happening on the screen – as well as action taking place off-screen, which might appear as holographic images to the left or right of the performance area. And, of course, with extras such as special haptic gloves or other user interfaces, you might be able to interact, touch and play with the holographic images right in front of you. Your brain would literally “trick” you into thinking that these marvelous holographic images on the TV were actually real!


Has 3D TV Given Up?

2010 brought about a change in television that was heavily pushed by manufacturers and service providers – 3D television technology. However, it did not excite the critics and received a lukewarm response at best from buyers. 3D mostly thrived in the film industry, and there is a very little chance 3D television will thrive in the future.

3D TV was never really at the top of TV entertainment, and its downfall began fairly soon after its inception. The larger TV audience was never impressed with the technology, and a variety of reasons such as silly glasses and bad visibility resulted in a negative experience for them. After the initial rush to buy the latest television slowed down, users really didn’t find any inherent value in owning the technology due to the lack of content. Watching one movie every few months that looks better in 3D wasn’t enough for customers to be hooked on it. The manufacturers also slowly lost interest in promoting this offering. A 3D TV, which was initially accompanied by 4 pairs of glasses, eventually came with only two, and later, only one pair of 3D glasses, which isn’t enough if you want to enjoy the 3D entertainment with your family.

Perhaps, the biggest blow to 3D TV yet came from the top television manufacturer, Samsung. The company made a conscious decision to not offer 3D functionality with any of its new models. The first cue to the development was the news that Samsung did not place any fresh orders for more 3D glasses. Then, at the Consumer Electronic Show (CES) 2016, no 3D supported televisions were up on display. By now, it is clear that Samsung will not be channeling its resources to 3D functionality, which is a welcome change. The company’s arm in Europe and Korea have already made it clear that the market will not see any new 3D TV from the manufacturer, and the company is sticking to this strategy in the US markets as well.


The story with other manufacturers is similar as well. LG has not completely abandoned 3D TV, unlike Samsung, but the future of 3D TV is not bright at LG either. About one-third of all the LG television sets released in the US in 2016 will support the feature. However, LG’s flat 4K OLED series for 2016 will not follow suit, which is really bad news for 3D fans. EF9500 series was really the best 3D product that the market had seen so far. Even Sony is only going to offer 3D with only the X930D and X940D series TV sets in 2016.

Vizio is not a global brand like Samsung and LG, but it is a big name in the US market. This TV manufacturer hasn’t released a 3D TV since 2013, even in its higher end model, which is again not encouraging.

This is not to say that 3D content is just going to disappear from the planet; gamers in particular love 3D television sets, because they offer a much better gaming experience. Moreover, 3D movies will be released and streaming services like Netflix and Amazon also offer select 3D titles. So, you will find the 3D functionality in your TV useful in the coming months and years — you can finally use the funky 3D glasses more frequently now. However, 3D will definitely not be in the game for the long haul. The VR headsets that are coming into the market now are basically an upgrade to 3D in every way. With the emergence of Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR and other VR devices, 3D has taken another big blow.

So, has 3D given up? It has failed to create a loyal fan following for itself for obvious reasons. The consumers have given up on it for the lack of content, and the manufacturers have given up on it because they do not see any real demand for it. The advent of new technology has only dug the grave deeper for the 3D television.

If you are one of the few that like 3D television, then you will have to choose from a very limited spread of TVs in the market. Not only this, but whatever option you do end up choosing will probably cost you more. So, it might be a better decision on your part to give up on 3D now since it most certainly will not be a part of the next generation of entertainment that will rule the market.


What VR Means for Music Videos

Immersive is the one word that can sum up Virtual Reality (VR) pretty aptly. Gaming is one of the first industries that experimented with VR and the consumers fell head over heels in love with the technology. Some analysts hypothesize that VR will be a $30 billion industry by 2020. Also, it is predicted that there will be well over 100 million VR headsets in use by 2025, so everyone wants a piece of this quickly expanding pie. Considering the recent developments, it is not hard to predict that music will be the next industry to benefit greatly from VR.

The fact that VR is seen as the future of entertainment can be established from the news that major media companies like Universal Music Group and iHeartMedia are putting aside resources to explore opportunities in this field. Hip hop duo Run the Jewels have already experimented with VR technology in music videos, and other popular music icons will probably start utilizing the technology soon enough. The veterans see potential in VR and they are interested in bringing more such experiences to audiences. How is this development going to change your experience of watching music videos?


A new generation of cameras and software allow users to have an interactive and lifelike experience that trumps the conventional way of watching music videos. You will be able to watch not only the artist playing for you, but also catch a complete 360o view of the music video you are watching. You’ll feel like you are there with the artist and you have the freedom to move around as you like. Music itself is already pretty immersive. Just imagine the possibilities and pure joy you will feel by being inside the music video with the artist.

Imagine the possibilities. You are in a Rihanna video, and the next time she offers for you to come under her umbrella, you actually can. It is not just a video then; it is like an exciting journey with a companion right out of your bucket list. This is a world where you can see snow fall, see that tear-intense emotion on the face of your pop star, be a part of their entourage, and whatever you can imagine. Simply put, very soon, you will not be just watching a music video: you will be in it! Your favorite star is not just singing in front of you; you are in there with them living through the video. Apart from the sensations that the music itself can bring out in you, there will be the added intrigue of what will happen next. So, if your beloved music star is fighting in the video, then you can witness it firsthand and even pretend to fight with them if you wish. If they are yearning a loved one, you can sit beside them. You will be on the tallest building or in the darkest cave, if they decide to sing there. This is huge for all the music fans out there, and artists who choose to delve into the VR world will easily please their fans who use the technology.


Next time you watch your favorite artist on stage, you might actually be present on the stage, watch all the madness from there, take in the moment or enjoy the concert from the first row. Moreover, you never have to worry about missing a live concert anymore. With VR, you can live the moments again whenever you want, and of course, from the best of seats.

So, for music videos, VR can offer a whole body experience like nothing else can. The future of music looks really bright with VR. For the audience members, they will be able to understand the story in more depth and connect more with the artist than they would in a 2D video. The music video industry is all set for a revolution of sorts;  VR technology will make the whole experience of listening to music an ethereal one. It’s only a matter of time before more artists and labels embrace this change and start producing more content for VR.

HDR Technology: A Simple Guide to the Next Revolution in Television

It’s late 2016 already, and 4K continues to gain popularity like wildfire. So, what is the next big thing in television then? 8K? Augmented Reality? Well, actually the answer is HDR or High Dynamic Range.

If you have been shopping for a television lately, or have been following tech news related to the television industry, then it’s impossible that you’ve missed HDR. Frankly, HDR has been the talk of the town for all of 2016.

You might have heard from TV manufacturers that there are many kinds of HDR: advertisers will always be advertisers, and in their hunger to differentiate their products, they will mislead the consumers. Take their words with a grain of salt. There actually aren’t that many HDR technologies floating around the electronics industry. In fact, there are only two approaches to HDR as far as televisions are concerned. But before we get into all the nitty-gritty details, let us first understand what HDR is.

What is High Dynamic Range?

If you own any of the fairly recent smartphones, then you’ve probably come across the HDR option in the camera. When you click a picture in HDR mode, a camera will take a range of photos at multiple exposures simultaneously, and then combine them together to produce a final picture that is more dynamic. This way, the bright regions are brighter, and the dark regions are darker than a regular picture. However, this is only HDR with respect to photography.

When it comes to television, the High Dynamic Range works slightly differently. HDR video recordings retain a much larger brightness range. They contain a much wider breadth of the visible light spectrum, which makes television picture quality much sharper and crisp. It’s the closest to what your naked eye sees in the real world. You may have noticed that many of the low-end to mid-price segment cameras tend to miss out on the small details in low light conditions. Cameras equipped with HDR can capture images just like our eyes see in low light conditions.

The great thing about HDR is that you don’t have to invest in a TV the size of your wall to actually notice it. Even small and medium size televisions can come equipped with this technology. And the result? The quality of pictures on your HDR TV will be as brilliant as those on high-end cinema screens, which is why HDR will revolutionize the television industry.


So, when can I start watching HDR content?

Well, there is a catch. The catch is what it typically is in the industry – format war. Remember HD DVD vs Blu-Ray, DVD vs DIVX, etc? Now similar battles are happening in HDR, but this time, the format war is between the two approaches to HDR itself.

One approach to HDR is developed by the manufacturing giants Sony and Samsung: HDR10. This format has already gained widespread traction in the entertainment industry. A number of movie studios, industry associations, and content providers are already backing this technology.

The other format is developed by one of the biggest names in audio technology – Dolby. Dolby’s homegrown HDR format – Dolby Vision – is at least easy to remember.

HDR10 is topping the Google Trends charts, in comparison to Dolby Vision, but that doesn’t mean Dolby Vision is taking a nose-dive. It’s gaining popularity, but not as much as HDR10. In fact, those who matter in the industry have been happy to accommodate both the formats. Television manufacturers, especially LG and Vizio, have developed their TVs to support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision. Likewise, content producers and providers like Netflix and Amazon have already backed both the technologies.

At present, it appears that the industry will continue to support both the standards, and this is good news for TV viewers. Now that most of the wrinkles have been straightened out, customers will soon be able to enjoy HDR-compatible content on their televisions.

How do I check whether my TV supports HDR?

It’s quite simple. Manufacturers are happy to announce to the customers that the television they are buying is HDR compatible. So, you can see the same mentioned in the list of specifications on the box in which the TV ships, as well in the manuals that are shipped with it. If you want to buy television sets that support both formats of HDR, then great. Alternatively, if you want an inexpensive TV, then you can buy one that supports at least one of the HDR formats. As the content will be produced to support both formats, you will still be able to enjoy content in HDR.


Which HDR format is the future?

The main reason why HDR10 is more popular than Dolby Vision is that HDR10 technology is a standard developed by a group of industry members. Hence, the technology is open for adoption by everyone. On the other hand, anyone who wants their hardware to support Dolby Vision has to buy a license from Dolby. Plus they need dedicated Dolby Vision decoder chip in their hardware. There are other differences between the two technologies, but the license fee is the most important one. This is the primary reason why Dolby Vision-compatible TVs are only handful in number.

Most HDR TVs support HDR10, irrespective of whether they support Dolby Vision or not. but it’s too early to say which one will triumph over the other in the future. As far as the consumer is concerned, there is no need to worry about this war. Most TVs are indeed compatible with both formats, making their televisions future-proof.


What do I need to enjoy HDR-compatible programs, and how can I do it now?

The first thing you have to understand about HDR is that it’s an end-to-end technology. To enjoy HDR content, it has to be supported all the way through. What this means is that the content must first be produced in HDR quality; it must be broadcasted on HDR-compatible systems; then, it has to be viewed on HDR compatible televisions.

As you can see, you might have an HDR compatible TV in your living room., but unless you have a source that brings HDR compatible content to you, you cannot enjoy content in HDR on your television. As of now, very few services offer HDR-compatible content, the likes of which include Amazon, Netflix, VUDU, FandangoNow, and some others. These services are pioneering the adoption of HDR. As they manage to get more HDR content into the mainstream, cable channels and other streaming services will be under pressure to match them as well. Considering the way things are going now, you can expect to enjoy a lot of HDR compatible content by early 2017.

For now though, you can stick with the ones mentioned above that support HDR content.


Do all HDR TVs produce the same type of images?

It is perfectly logical to think that two TVs manufactured by two manufacturers that use same technology (in this case, HDR), should produce similar quality images. But in reality, there can be significant differences. Apart from the HDR technology, there are a lot of other technologies that a particular TV can support, and each manufacturer uses a lot of different technologies in their televisions: so, the combined effect of these technologies is a unique final image for different televisions.

Each TV comes with its own range of brightness, contrast, resolution, color gradient, and other specifications that have their own effect on the HDR picture quality.


What televisions are the best for enjoying HDR programs?

There is no universally accepted “best HDR TV,” or specifications. To their credit, the Ultra HD Alliance has come up with a set of specifications for color, brightness, and resolution for HDR compatible TVs. The televisions that qualify for these factors are awarded the badge of Ultra HD Premium by the Alliance. However, not all TV manufactures are enamored by this badge, so they ignore it completely and simply promote their products as HDR compatible.

Despite this, there are ways in which you can differentiate between different HDR compatible televisions. LCD TVs use external light sources, which can cause light-related issues like brightness problems. The answer to this is OLED TVs: in OLED TVs, each pixel produces its own light, eliminating the light-induced problems of LCD TVs. However, OLED TVs are not capable of achieving the same peak brightness levels as that of LCD TVs. Nevertheless, the picture quality on OLED TVs is significantly better than LCD TVs due to the improved contrast, but consequently, OLED TVs are much more expensive than LCD TVs. So, even two HDR-compatible TVs that work on different technology can produce different image qualities.

It’s ultimately up to you to decide what type of TV you like. More peak brightness or better contrast?



Since this is actually a point of concern, you can soon expect there to be another war on these aspects of HDR as well. There could be competition between HDR TV manufacturers to produce higher peak brightness, better contrasts, and so on.

HDR is the technology that is going to drive the next big wave in the television market, and it will be interesting to see where it will take the industry. All Aboard!

What to expect from Hulu + Yahoo

Netflix is currently the biggest streaming service in the market with around 83 million subscribers. That is an intimidating number and its competitors are gearing up to give Netflix a fight for its top slot: the recent partnership between Yahoo and Hulu is a step in this direction. It is clear that both Yahoo and Hulu have decided to take on Netflix together, as both of them have media behemoths backing them. While Verizon has acquired Yahoo’s core business for $4.83 billion, Hulu was started by media barons, and Time Warner has also bought a 10% stake in Hulu for $583 million recently. Now, in light of these recent events, what can a streaming service subscriber like you expect from this new team?

Yahoo and Hulu have recently floated their own free streaming service called Yahoo View. All the content that is currently available with the free Hulu subscription will now be available on Yahoo View. Yahoo View will predominantly focus on offering TV show episodes to its subscribers, but they will also be able to watch a variety of videos and content from Tumblr on this streaming service. In fact, Yahoo View is the only service at the moment that offers access to both movies as well as television shows available on Hulu.

This leads to the next obvious question – if all the content from Hulu is available on Yahoo Live, will that not make Hulu redundant? The simple answer is – Yes. And this is the reason why Hulu is pulling the plug on its free streaming service. Subscribers will soon be left with only the premium Hulu Plus services — they can either go for the $7.99 monthly plan with limited commercials or the no commercial plan of $11.99 per month. The management at Hulu thinks that the company has always tried to offer richer and more personalized content to their subscribers, and over the years, the free service has become very limited, which is not something Hulu believes in offering to its customers.


So, how will this move impact the current lot of subscribers? The ardent Hulu fans, who watch TV shows regularly on the free Hulu plan, may understandably not welcome this move for obvious reasons. But, for a casual viewer, this change of plans will not really make much of a difference. Hulu does not really offer a great variety with its free subscription. There are only a limited number of television shows like South Park, America’s Got Talent, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, and a few more, available with the free version. The five latest episodes of these shows are what you can enjoy on Hulu now. These are also only available for a week after they are aired on live television. So, it’s quite apparent that taking the free Hulu service will not really have any big impact on most of the subscribers, because they weren’t enjoying any kind of exclusive programming anyway. The die-hard fans of the service should also not feel abandoned, because Yahoo View will be offering all the content that was previously available on Hulu for free as well.

Yahoo and Hulu are pushing to make Yahoo View a sort of ultimate destination for cord-cutters to come to get their TV fix. Apart from the free Hulu shows, it will also feature a lot of ad-supported popular television shows. Both the companies are trying to create a brand in the market and they want people to identify Yahoo View as the television of the internet.


It appears that Tumblr will help them get the word out. The social media platform boasts of 550 million users a month and over 280 million blogs, and it was acquired by Yahoo for a whopping $1.1 billion in 2013. Yahoo is definitely going to encourage people to share their favorite shows and other offerings on their blogs. Netflix, on the other hand, does not have such a huge social media tool in its arsenal.

So, as a cord-cutter, you should be happy that another streaming service is entering the market. The big investors behind the service will ensure that you get a lot of great content to watch, mostly for free. As for Hulu, it will now focus more on the 12 million paid subscribers that it has. You can expect it to put all of its energies on increasing that number by way of more original programming and a bigger content library. As a consumer, you will certainly be a winner.

How Watching the Olympics Changed this Summer

The Olympic events are a celebration of sports and sportsmanship, but this Summer Olympics in Rio will be remembered for a little something other than sports. Entertainment technology took a huge leap at the Rio Olympics this year. Whether it was the Opening Ceremony at the Maracana Stadium or the beach volleyball matches on the Copacabana Beach, NBC made sure that each and every viewer got the front row seats to the biggest sporting event in the world. Yes, Virtual Reality (VR) came to the Olympics and completely changed the way fans got to enjoy their most favorite sports.

The Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) captured the Olympic events and the matches were broadcasted by the NBC Network. OBS already tried the VR technology at the Winter Youth Olympic games this year in Norway, but at a much smaller scale. Hence, the Rio Olympics 2016 have been rightly touted by the NBC as the ‘most live Olympics ever.’

NBC announced well in advance that it would provide selective VR coverage of the 2016 Summer Olympics, and that Samsung would act as its technology partner. Users with compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones were the only ones who were able to access the entire Olympics broadcast via the NBC Sports app. These Samsung smartphones included Samsung’s Galaxy S7 Edge, Galaxy S7, Galaxy S6 Edge+, Galaxy S6 Edge, Galaxy S6, and Galaxy Note5 — they could be connected to the Samsung Gear VR Headset to get the VR Olympic experience.


As for the programming, NBC offered a total of 85 hours of 360o coverage of the selective Olympic programming to its users; of course, the VR broadcast included the opening and closing ceremony from Rio. Some of the sporting events that could be enjoyed via VR were gymnastics, basketball, beach volleyball, boxing, diving, fencing, field events, etc. The highlights of most of these events were also available for VR viewing. However, all the VR programming was not broadcasted live, as there was a delay between the live and the VR broadcasts.

This was the first time ever that the Olympic events could be viewed in virtual reality. The idea of watching the greatest celebration of sports is an exhilarating one. The technology enabled millions of fans to experience what it would be like to be in the Olympic stands themselves and watch world-class athletes perform. The VR actually brought the viewers too close to the action, as if they could almost reach out for the medal. This made the people not only more engaged in the events, but allowed them to get close to their beloved sports stars. As the President of the NBC Olympics, Gary Zenkel summed it up, “The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and Olympic Broadcasting Service to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality.”


In fact, covering a high profile event like the Olympics is a milestone for the rather new and upcoming field of VR technology as well. An event like this will give the VR technology much-needed exposure. So, the sports fans who would otherwise not indulge in this nascent technology will give it a try. VR is a completely immersive and interactive experience, and it is a great way to enjoy sports, and sports fans are going to notice that. This will allow VR to take further strides into the huge market of sports entertainment, which is now easier for it to tap into.

If you saw the Summer Olympics this year in virtual reality, then you know that it has the potential to change the way people watch sports. For all practical purposes, you were in Rio cheering for your favorite athletes; in fact, it is entirely possible that you had a better view of the event than the people who were actually present in Brazil. This is the power of virtual reality: it can transport you to any place in the world in an instant. With big events like the Olympics in its pocket and major networks like NBC supporting the technology, there is no doubt that we will see a lot more content in the world of VR. Get ready for the future!


9 Best Smart TV Apps

Smart TVs have become quite a phenomenon. They are not prohibitively expensive, and promise to offer a much better experience. Naturally, new TV buyers are opting for them. But, only a few of the households bother to enjoy the many additional benefits offered by smart TVs. The true potential of these television sets can only be realized when you connect them to the internet, download the apps, and enjoy a deluge of content available on them. Here are some of the best apps for your smart TVs, which may end up making your cable connection pretty much redundant.


In the world of streaming services, Netflix is an unchallenged leader of entertainment. Its library of TV shows, movies, documentaries, and other interesting content, is simply unparalleled. Unlike cable television, you don’t have to wait for new episodes to be released each week. Netflix offers entire seasons for binge watching. It even has its own award-winning original shows that you will fall in love with.


Skype gives you the purest form of ultra-futuristic experience that you can get with current technology. You can download the app on your TV, and use it to speak face-to-face with your buddies, and family. The entire experience feels like something that is right out of a sci-fi movie. You will love it.

HBO Go or HBO Now

HBO Go and HBO Now are two apps from HBO, which allow you to enjoy all of HBO’s content on the internet. If you already subscribe to HBO on your cable or satellite TV connection, then you can use your credentials to access HBO Go. If you don’t have the pay TV subscription to HBO, then you can download HBO Now, which allows anyone to access it as long as you purchase the subscription for HBO Now.



The thing about YouTube is that it won’t bring you latest movies or TV shows like cable TV, at least not for free. But, it does offer a lot of excellent content in the form of viral videos, funny videos, latest music, special interest videos, educational videos, and what not. You get unlimited entertainment on YouTube, all for free when you download this app.

Amazon Instant Video

Amazon offers the app with two options – you can either pay for each video you watch, or buy a monthly or yearly blanket subscription. If you do subscribe, you get a Prime subscription, which comes with Amazon’s two-day delivery guarantee, multiple free Kindle books, and other freebies. Amazon does offer a huge library of content, which is worth the subscription. It even brings to you a lot of exclusive content to you too.


If you are wondering why anyone would bother to play music tracks on big TV, well, it depends on the person. Perhaps, you like to keep the music playing in the background while you go about your routine, or maybe you wish to enjoy the music while you and your friends are playing games. Whatever your reasons, you can’t deny that the big speakers connected to your TV give you a great experience.


Hulu Plus

The USP of Hulu Plus is that it not only offers you older seasons of a TV show, but also the latest episodes. In fact, it updates the episodes the very same day or the day after they have been aired on cable television. It comes with two premium packages, out of which the lower package features ads, while the higher package is mostly ad-free. If you love TV shows, it is difficult to find a replacement for Hulu Plus.


AccuWeather is your personal weather channel. You don’t have to wait for the weatherman to appear on TV. Any time you want to check the weather condition, forecasts, and other relevant information in your home city or in a city you are planning to go, you can just check this app. The app provides you a mine of weather related info that your weatherman would never bother to.


If you are a baseball fan, then MLB.TV is a must have for you. The app gives you access to everything baseball in America. You can stream and enjoy the latest matches and other games of the current season in HD. You can also enjoy games from the previous seasons. In addition to all of this, you get news updates, real time scores, and other information from around the league in real time. The subscription fee depends on whether it is the on-season or the off-season.


6 Best TV remote apps for Android

Imagine an alternate universe where there were not remote controls. Every time you had to change a channel, you had to get up from your couch and press the buttons on the TV. For a majority of us TV buffs, that is worse than a Zombie apocalypse. Sure, we don’t have to suffer that because in our universe we have remote controls. But, not all the time. Sometimes, it can be a pain to locate those remote controls. Checking under pillow covers, cushions, and below sofas does not always work. That is why a lot of smartphones today come equipped with an IR blaster, which allows you to transform your smartphone into a universal remote for operating all your remote controlled devices at home. The biggest advantage of using phone for this purpose is that it is always with you. Even when it is not with you, you can just give it a call to find its location in the home. Quite handy, isn’t it! Here we bring you top universal remote apps, which you can use to control your TV right from your smartphone.

Smart IR Remote – AnyMote

Without a doubt, this is one of the best remote control apps on Android. Its interface is simple, and it is super easy to configure the remote for your devices. It supports a wide variety of devices, and it is unlikely that your TV isn’t supported. In the event that your device is not supported, you can configure the remote specifically for your device too. Also, the app provides a lot of automated functions like reducing the TV volume when you get calls, and so on. It is a premium app, but people love it.


Peel Smart Remote

Peel Smart Remote does two jobs perfectly – replace your TV remote, and provide you a complete TV guide. The app requires you to mention a few details such as your cable provider, and/or zip code. With that info, it extracts your live cable programming schedule. It even allows you to create personalized lists of which programs you like and which you don’t. Later, it reminds you of upcoming screen times of the programs.

ASmart Remote IR

ASmart Remote IR is possibly the most user-friendly TV remote app out there. It is a universal remote that can control a host of devices, including TVs, cameras, and ACs. The best thing about this app is that you can create multiple rooms in the app to reflect the rooms in your home with sets of remotes for each room’s devices. The rooms are displayed as tabs at the top, and whenever you enter a room, you can click on it, and access the remotes configured for that room.

SURE Universal Remote

If you do not have an IR blaster on your phone, then SURE Universal Remote can easily be the best TV remote app for you. The app features for IR and Wi-Fi compatibility. So, even if you do not have an IR blaster, you can control your TV from this phone via Wi-Fi. Further, the app is compatible with the Wi-Fi to IR transmitters available in the market, which enable you to use the remote via IR, even if your phone does not have a built-in IR capability. The interface is fluid, and very intuitive to use.

Easy Universal TV Remote

The Easy Universal TV Remote app stays true to its name – it is easy, and it is a universal remote. The app can be configured for using with pretty much every device. It supports all popular brand TVs, and can be easily connected to them. If your phone has an IR blaster, then you will love your experience with using this app. If you don’t have an IR enabled phone, then the remote app works with a Wi-Fi connection to control your TV. Moreover, you can also attach an external IR blaster to your phone as well to use this app.


Twinone TV Remote

If you are not tech savvy or have family members who find it hard to use technology, then Twinone TV Remote is the best remote app for you. The app has an amazingly simple interface that is easy to use for anybody. The app comes with all the basic functions like changing channels, changing volumes, and so on. This is a complete no-frills app, which brings essential functions, without confusing the users with too many options and buttons.

New TV Technology

1. Samsung 65" 4K SUHD Smart TV Exceptional color. Authentic images. Dynamic brightness reveals hidden details. Remaster your non-SUHD content. See small details come to life. Designed to excite the senses. Looks great from any angle. Easily connect, share and play your favorite content. UHD Dimming optimizes color, contrast, and image detail by processing the image characteristics prior to them being displayed on the screen $2,297.99
2. Samsung 55" 1080p LED Smart HDTV Full HD 1080p. Wide Color Enhancer. Smart TV, Smart Apps. Screen Mirroring. Motion Rate 120. DTS Premium Sound | 5.1™ decoding with DNSe+. Eco Sensor. $598.00
3. LG 43” 4K Ultra HD webOS 3.0 Smart TV 8.3M Pixels for 4x the Resolution of Full HD TVs. HDR Pro Supporting High Dynamic Range Content. Any seat becomes the best in the house with IPS. True Black Panel. ENERGY STAR® Qualified. 43" Class 4K Ultra HD Smart TV. UHD. TruMotion 120Hz. $597.95
4. LG 55" 1080p LED Smart HDTV Full HD 1080p Resolution. Triple XD Engine. Smart TV. ENERGY STAR® Qualified. LED with Full HD 1080p Resolution. Audio: Mono/Stereo/Dual (MTS/SAP). $599.99
5. Panasonic TH-98LQ70U Digital Signage Display In-plane Switching (IPS) Technology. Portrait Capable. Screen Saver. High resolution of approximately 8,290,000 pixels. It can safely be used in public spaces where a lot of people pass by, such as commercial facilities, train/bus stations and airports. $ 30360 .99 / each
6. Planar UR9850 Professional 4K 98" Display 98" Ultra HD resolution (3840 x 2160) professional LCD displays. With a native 4K resolution, Planar UltraRes Series displays have four times the resolution and pixel density of comparably-sized Full HD displays. produce resolution and picture quality not before seen in large format LCD displays. $ 33258 .99 / each
7. Samsung UN65KS9800 64.5" screen (measured diagonally) Ultra High Definition TV with 4K screen resolution (3840 x 2160 pixels). HDR 1000 (High Dynamic Range) for extended picture contrast and brightness with streamed and external HDR sources. full array multi-zone LED backlight with Supreme UHD Dimming and Precision Black Pro local dimming for exceptional contrast and black levels. Peak Illuminator Pro for enhanced brightness. Quantum Dot Color nanocrystal backlight technology for increased color range and brightness. 10-bit panel can display over one billion colors. Supreme Motion Rate 240 blur reduction (120Hz refresh rate plus backlight scanning). UHD Upscaling upconverts high-definition and standard-definition video content. HEVC/VP9 decoding for watching streamed 4K video sources like Netflix®, Amazon Instant Video, and YouTube (requires Internet speed of at least 20Mbps). DIRECTV 4K Ready — DIRECTV subscribers with the Genie Whole-Home HD DVR can enjoy 4K service and full DVR features without an additional receiver. tuner receives over-the-air HDTV broadcasts (antenna required). QAM cable TV tuner (subscription required to receive cable channels — contact your local service provider for details). built-in down-firing speaker system (20 watts x 2, plus 10 watts x 2 for woofers). Bluetooth® wireless audio streaming to a compatible speaker or set of headphones. Smart Touch remote with built-in microphone for voice control. detachable stand. wall-mountable (bracket not included). 56-13/16"W x 32-13/16"H x 4-5/8"D (36"H x 14-1/2"D on stand). weight: 69 lbs. with stand; 62.2 lbs. without stand. warranty: 1 year parts & labor — in-home service or pick-up for service. $4,499.99

New TV Technology

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