03/04/2014 - New Kinect for Windows arrives this summer
Amid the volley of announcements from Microsoft's Build conference, is word that the new Kinect for Windows has a near-future release time-frame for both the hardware and its SDK. The desktop version of Microsoft's do-all sensor will be available to the public this summer, as will its development framework. Perhaps more importantly, once they're done, developers can publish their creations to the Windows Store; meaning, there'll probably be more Kinect applications for Windows in one place than ever before. As Redmond tells it, this self-publishing will happen "later this summer." Next summer (notice a theme here?), Microsoft is adding support for one of gaming's most pervasive dev toolkits to Kinect for Windows: the Unity engine -- tools developers already know the strengths and weaknesses of, which should bolster the app selection even further. Given that the Xbox One will see Unity support this year, this could mean that cross-platform apps and games are a distinct possibility. Or, maybe we'll get a cool new bank account manager instead.
Source: Kinect for Windows Blog
When Microsoft announced earlier today that universal Windows apps could run on the Xbox One, it seemed pretty...self-explanatory. A developer could easily port any Windows or Windows Phone app over to the Xbox for you to use on your TV. Right? Not exactly. Here at Build, we had the chance to sit down with Steven Guggenheimer, corporate vice president in the Developer Platform and Evangelism group, who gave us a little more insight into how this universal app thing is going to work on Xbox.
Green Throttle Games was late to the Android gaming platform party, and paid the price for it -- the company effectively wound down at the end of 2013. However, its efforts may not have been in vain. Google has confirmed to PandoDaily that it has acquired key parts of Green Throttle's business, including its parts, labor and two co-founders. The crew in Mountain View hasn't said what it will do with its new resources, but PandoDaily sources claim that Google wants to refine the Bluetooth controller for its long-fabled (and possibly gaming-focused) TV set-top box. Whether or not that's true, the move suggests that Google's interest in games is extending beyond software.
13/02/2014 - Comcast and Time Warner Cable's $45 billion merger puts 30 million customers under one roof
It's official: Confirming the leaks from last night, Comcast has announced it will acquire Time Warner Cable. This combination of the country's #1 and #2 cable companies will stretch from coast to coast, as TWC controls markets like New York City and LA, while Comcast strongholds include Philadelphia and Washington DC. TV isn't the only medium in play either, since as Gigaom points out, the two companies together account for about 33 million internet customers as well. So, what's the likely impact for customers as a result of the deal? Right away, probably not much, and for several reasons.
It will take time for the combo to gain regulatory approval from the FCC and Justice Department, just like the lengthy acquisition process we saw when Comcast snatched up NBCUniversal a few years ago. As part of the announcement, Comcast says it's "prepared to divest systems serving approximately 3 million managed subscribers," and expects to gain about 8 million net subscribers with the move.
After months of rumors and a public battle with Charter Communications, CNBC reporter David Faber reports that Time Warner Cable will be acquired by Comcast tomorrow. According to sources, the number one cable TV provider in the US make an all-stock deal worth $159 per share (about $44.2 billion) to gobble up the number two provider. Of course, any such agreement would be subject to regulatory approval from the FCC, however Faber indicates Comcast is willing to ditch about 3 million subscribers to make the deal go through. Previous rumors suggested Comcast might split TWC with Charter, but that doesn't appear to be on the table even after Charter proposed a new board of directors for TWC to get its deal done. Another rumor this might put a stake in is today's curiously-timed Apple TV leak, although we'll wait for an official announcement of some kind to judge that.
If you're like us, you were wondering what impact Samsung's acquisition of Boxee would have on Boxee's Cloud DVR service. Unfortunately, we don't have good news. Boxee is shutting down the service on July 10th, and customers will lose access to their TV recordings at the same time. We're not surprised by the move, but it effectively shuts the company down within the space of a week. When Boxee's apps, the Boxee Box and the Live TV add-on are either gone or on their way out, there aren't really products left to offer -- it's all Samsung from here.
Via: The Verge
03/07/2013 - Report: Samsung buys Boxee, keeping on full staff
Several Israeli news agencies are reporting that Korean electronics giant Samsung purchased set-top box company Boxee today. The Tel Aviv-based company apparently got less than the $30 million it was reportedly seeking, thus coming up at a loss since being founded in 2007. Boxee's approximately 40 employees are said to be staying on, including president Avner Ronen. A Boxee rep tells Engadget "We can't comment on the accuracy of those reports." Samsung has not yet responded to our inquiries, but we'll update this post as we learn more.
Update: TechCrunch is also confirming the acquisition, and cites its own "reliable sources."
Bell tried to shake up the Canadian media landscape last year by acquiring Astral Media, but it ran into a CRTC-sized roadblock -- regulators didn't want 25 TV stations moving to one provider. After some big concessions, however, Bell has received approval to buy Astral for $3.2 billion. The revised deal gives Bell control of 12 channels that include The Movie Network, HBO Canada's owner. Bell is offloading some important TV content to move forward, though. Corus gets several recognizable channels that include the Cartoon Network and Teletoon, while big stations like Disney XD and MusiquePlus are on the auction block. Not that Bell will complain too loudly when the buyout closes on July 5th, mind you. The merger still gives it 35.8 percent of the English Canadian TV market and 22.6 percent of its French Canadian equivalent, or enough to immediately eclipse rivals like Rogers and Quebecor.
Source: Astral Media
13/06/2013 - Yahoo's spending spree continues: conference call and photo apps, Sky News streaming deal
After blowing $1.1 billion on Tumblr, we'd assumed that Yahoo would need a lie down in a darkened room while its accountants hunted around for more cash. Turns out that it was just the first in a raft of new deals that the company has made in the last week. First up, the search firm has splashed out on free conference-calling service Rondee, which has been folded into Yahoo's small business team. Then there's GhostBird software, makers of iOS photography apps KitCam and PhotoForge, which will now be folded into Flickr's mobile offerings. Finally, Yahoo has signed up with the UK's Sky News to broadcast morning show Sunrise online, as well as the main Sky News feed during breaking news events. There's no word on how much this spending spree has cost, so we'll keep an ear out for any anguished screams emanating out of 701 1st Ave., Sunnyvale.
02/06/2013 - CBS acquires all of TV Guide Digital
TV Guide Digital has fared well between its web portal and mobile apps, but part-owner CBS thinks there's a lot of potential locked away. Enough so, in fact, that CBS is taking over TV Guide Digital by acquiring Lionsgate's remaining 50 percent stake in the venture. The media giant now has full control of both TVGuide.com and the TV Guide Mobile apps, both of which are folding into CBS Interactive's Technology, Games and Lifestyle division. CBS mostly hopes that the deal will make it a font of wisdom for channel surfers -- it sees TV Guide Digital's rapidly growing audience and programming knowledge as complements to TV.com. We don't yet know how the acquisition will affect the TV Guide properties themselves, but we'd expect more than just the status quo.
31/05/2013 - DirecTV reportedly bidding $1 billion for Hulu
And then there were three. Bloomberg is reporting that a trio of companies are hoping to fork out over one billion dollars for the privilege of taking online video service Hulu under their wing, and DirecTV is one of them. While we're not quite sure which other companies are involved in the process, we've been told that Yahoo, Time Warner Cable and a few others have at least thrown out offers, with no confirmation on how much they were willing to spend. We're quietly hoping that this potential bidding war will be resolved through an arm wrestling match, though DirecTV's legal team likely wouldn't approve.
Samsung's desire for deep integration of TV services was painstakingly obvious when it unveiled the Galaxy S 4's WatchON feature. However, that may prove to be just the tip of the televisual iceberg: it's buying MOVL, the developer of Samsung's own SwipeIt media sharing as well as the MOVL Connect Platform and KontrolTV. We don't know exactly how the two sides will mesh, but MOVL expects to merge its connected TV savvy with the "scale and innovation" of its new overseer, according to a company statement at TechCrunch. The only safe prediction is that existing support for generic Google TVs and iOS will likely take a back seat.
About a year and a half after Google announced its acquisition of Motorola, it's closed a deal to sell the Motorola Home half to Arris. Motorola Home covers the company's cable TV and internet device, which combined with Arris' existing businesses creates what it's calling "the Premier Video Delivery and Broadband Technology Company." Meanwhile, Google keeps the Motorola Mobility half that covers its cellphones, tablets and of course, the related patents. The move cost Arris $2.2 billion in cash along with 10.6 million shares of its stock issued to Google. That's on top of 10.6 million shares for Comcast in return for its $150 million investment, making them equal part (7.7 percent) owners with the folks from Mountain View. What does all of this mean? Your next cable-provided box will probably say Arris on it, and any faint dream of Motorola-built Android TV set-top boxes becoming widely available is officially over.
Because nothing quite says "hip brand rejuvenation" like associating your channel with an 80-year-old magazine, NBCUniversal today announced the rebranding and makeover of its G4 television channel into "The Esquire Channel" (as in Esquire magazine). G4 primarily aired video game-centric programming, as well as a vast array of re-runs -- something NBC exec Bonnie Hammer doesn't think was the best idea. "Realistically, guys who are into gaming are not necessarily watching television," Hammer said, directly refuting the 2012 statistic that 49 percent of US households own a gaming console. "Let's create a real brand, define a space, understand who we are programming for." The New York Times reports that The Esquire Channel will be pitched as "an upscale Bravo for men," though it's not exactly clear what that means -- we'll find out on April 22 when the network goes live in 62 million homes.
For now, NBC's got demographics its targeting. Specifically, "a more educated, affluent, sophisticated male viewer," says the NYT piece. One thing it won't be? Reality shows with a noun and the word "wars" behind it. "Much of today's programming targets men in a one-dimensional way ... tattoos or pawn shops or storage lockers or axes of hillbillies," Esquire Channel's general manager Adam Stotsky said. It doesn't look like the channel's beyond reality programming altogether, with its first two shows being a cooking competition named Knife Fight and its other being a celebrity-based travel show named The Getaway. Nor is it beyond the aforementioned re-runs, announcing Parks & Recreation and Party Down as headed for syndication on the forthcoming channel.
[Photo credit: The New York Times]
Source: The New York Times
06/02/2013 - Liberty Global buys Virgin Media for $23.3 billion
Some British cable subscribers will soon have a new master: international telecom giant Liberty Global has just acquired Virgin Media for $23.3 billion in cash and stock. The deal gives Liberty an even larger stake in Europe than it had before and, if you believe the new partners, creates one of the bigger broadband companies on the planet at 47 million homes covered across 14 countries. Liberty also sees Virgin as good at tackling the business and mobile spaces that have been its relative weak points. How this will affect the UK isn't immediately apparent, although Virgin Media will continue to run under its existing name -- that moebius logo isn't going anywhere in the foreseeable future. We'll at least have some room to ponder the consequences when the buyout isn't poised to close until sometime in the second quarter.
Source: Liberty Global (PDF)
08/01/2013 - Dish Network makes an offer to buy Clearwire, even though Sprint was already buying Clearwire
Surprise news this afternoon as Clearwire announced it's received an acquisition offer from Dish Network, even though Sprint was already on the hook to snap up the company for $2.2 billion. According to the press release, a special committee of the Clearwire Board of Director's has decided to negotiate with dish based on its proposal, although it has not changed its recommendation of the current Sprint transaction. Predictably, Sprint is not taking the news well, producing a series of bullet points about why Clearwire can't and shouldn't sell to Dish.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the most extravagant flashy lifestyle, the deluxe villa, the fly palace of Samsung Semiconductor Inc. It only exists as a pile of architects' drawings right now, and probably looks nothing like the Minecraft wonderment shown above, but when it's finished the 10-story San Jose structure will boast the following:
- A new sales and R&D center, built in the stead of some existing Samsung offices, with floor space totaling 1.1 million square feet.
- A layout that seeks to "encourage interaction among staff" and "foster connections with the community," while ultimately improving Sammy's "soft capabilities"
- A parking garage and an "amenity pavilion" (whatever that is, we just know we can't afford one)
So, that's pretty much it in terms of detail. But to put all this into perspective, we're talking about an HQ that will be slightly bigger than Apple's recent 3,600-worker expansion in Austin, Texas -- or around a third the size of an infinite loop.
[Image credit: MinecraftModsDL.com]
Ever since Google announced it would acquire Motorola Mobility last year there have been questions about what it would do with the company's large internet and TV set-top box business, and now that question has been answered: it's selling Motorola Home to Arris for $2.35 billion in cash and stock. Another maker of cable boxes and modems, Arris says the acquisition will both increase its product offering, and increase its patent portfolio thanks to a license to "a wide array" of Motorola Mobility patents. The transaction has been approved by the boards of both companies, and they expect the deal to close in Q2 2013. The possibility of slipping Android / Google TV into the cable box business through the back door was a tantalizing one, but unfortunately probably not something shared by the operators that are Motorola's customers. We'll be hopping on a conference call to find out any more details in a moment, check out the press release after the break. Now, who holds the rights to that Motorola home automation tablet?
13/08/2012 - AirPlay Mirroring Versus AirParrot
In the interest of keeping cool this summer, we've put together a list of the hottest products out right now. From smartphones to e-readers and everything in between, there's no time like the present to re-up that post-spring-cleaning stash. So grab a popsicle or a cold one and dive in -- the water's just right.
Forget heading outside to battle the sun, bugs and whatever other dangers may lurk in the wild -- we'll be inside near the TV. Of course, the summer programming schedule can often leave something to be desired, so we'll have to take that into account in our hardware suggestions going into the break. Also key is access to our preferred programming wherever it might be, broadcast or online. So, which devices are absolute must-have's to keep you chilling where the AC blows through October and beyond? Check past the break to find out.
Engadget's summer gear guide 2012: home entertainment originally appeared on Engadget on Fri, 01 Jun 2012 07:30:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | | Email this | Comments
31/07/2011 - Is Windows Media Center not dead after all?
Dish completes Blockbuster purchase, receives more time to decide on store closings originally appeared on Engadget HD on Tue, 26 Apr 2011 23:50:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
Google spends a few more million, picks up Widevine DRM software firm originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 05 Dec 2010 13:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Permalink | Email this | Comments
AT&T CruiseCast satellite service halts activations, will refund customers originally appeared on Engadget HD on Tue, 03 Nov 2009 15:51:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.Read | Permalink | Email this | Comments