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Streaming TV services are now used by 5 percent of US households with Wi-Fi

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

We’re seeing a lot more households that choose to stream their favorite shows instead of watching them on cable.

According to newly released analytics from the media pros at Comscore, that number has spiked by 58 percent in the past year. The total number — 4.9 million — is a whole 5 percent of US households that choose to stream over Wi-Fi-based services, without the bells and whistles of traditional paid TV.

Comscore specifically looked at “pure play” systems: streamers that don’t offer their own original shows the same way that other services, like Netflix , Hulu, and Amazon Prime do. Right now, these pure players include Sling, along with DirectTV Now, Playstation Vue, YouTube TV, and others. A full 10 percent of streaming time…

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Netflix is testing video promos that play in between episodes

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

Netflix’s latest test feature is a video promo that plays in between episodes of a series you’re watching. The test is only appearing for select users globally and it’s a full-screen video of content Netflix’s algorithms are recommending to a viewer, as spotted by TechCrunch.

Users who have spotted the test feature have taken to (since deleted) Reddit and Twitter to voice their annoyance at having their show-binging interrupted by an ad for other shows. A bug appeared for some users where they were unable to skip the promo and had to watch a certain amount — like with ads on YouTube — before they were able to get to the next episode of their show. Netflix told The Verge that the video promos are supposed to be skippable and that the…

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Amazon is reportedly working on a Tivo competitor

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

Bloomberg reports today that Amazon is reportedly working on a new device that’ll record live TV with the goal of letting users play content back on their phones later. The device, which is internally called “Frank,” would have physical storage and connect to Fire TV boxes. It’d rely on the same wireless technology that allows Amazon’s Echo speakers to pair with those boxes. Bloomberg’s source says the product isn’t official yet and might not roll out.

Additionally, the company reportedly plans to update its Fire TV stick with new software and is also exploring the possibility of expanding its Fire TV software and video content to outside TV makers, beyond its current manufacturing partners. This would be similar to Roku’s efforts that…

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Be careful what you believe about screen time making you blind

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

If you believe the headlines that have been circulating over the past few weeks, staring at screens is ruining our eyes. “Blue light from phones, tablets could accelerate blindness and hurt vision, study finds,” USA Today declared. Only, that particular study didn’t actually test the blue light that comes out of screens — and it didn’t look at the light’s effects on actual eyeballs.

We’ve been through this before: there is some evidence that blue light can disrupt your sleep schedule. And some research suggests blue light might damage rat retinas. But that doesn’t mean that the blue light from screens does the same thing to people — and ophthalmologist Rebecca Taylor told The Verge earlier this year that “the devices that we use do not…

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Exclusive: U.S. government seeks Facebook help to wiretap Messenger – sources

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

The U.S. government is trying to force Facebook Inc to break the encryption in its popular Messenger app so law enforcement may listen to a suspect's voice conversations in a criminal probe, three people briefed on the case said, resurrecting the issue of whether companies can be compelled to alter their products to enable surveillance.

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YC-backed Sterblue aims to enable smarter drone inspections

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

As government regulation for commercial drone usage seems to be trending in a very positive direction for the companies involved, there is an ever-growing opportunity for drone startups to utilize artificial intelligence to deliver insights without requiring much human effort.

Sterblue, a French drone software startup that is launching out of Y Combinator’s latest class of companies, is aiming to get off-the-shelf drones inspecting large outdoor structures up close with automated insights that identify anomalies that need a second look.

The startup’s software is specifically focused on enabling drones to easily inspect large power lines or wind turbines with simple automated trajectories that can get a job done much quicker and with less room for human error. The software also allows the drones to get much closer to the large structures they are scanning so the scanned images are as high-quality as possible.

Compared to navigating a tight urban environment, Sterblue has the benefit ..

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6 million users had installed third-party Twitter clients

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

Twitter tried to downplay the impact deactivating its legacy APIs would have on its community and the third-party Twitter clients preferred by many power users by saying that “less than 1%” of Twitter developers were using these old APIs. Twitter is correct in its characterization of the size of this developer base, but it’s overlooking millions of third-party app users in the process. According to data from Sensor Tower, six million App Store and Google Play users installed the top five third-party Twitter clients between January 2014 and July 2018.

Over the past year, these top third-party apps were downloaded 500,000 times.

This data is largely free of reinstalls, the firm also said.

The top third-party Twitter apps users installed over the past three-and-a-half years have included: Twitterrific, Echofon, TweetCaster, Tweetbot and Ubersocial.

Of course, some portion of those users may have since switched to Twitter’s native app for iOS or Android, or they may run both a third-pa..

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YC-backed Mutiny helps B2B business personalize their website for each visitor

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

Mutiny, which is part of the current batch of startups at accelerator Y Combinator, helps business-to-business, software-as-a-service companies present a message that’s customized to each visitor on their website.

Co-founder and CEO Jaleh Rezaei said this concept is alive and well in the analog world: When she was at VMware, sales reps were given materials to help them tailor their pitch for each prospective customer. Then, when she was one of the early employees at HR services startup Gusto, she tried to do something similar online, only to find that existing software wasn’t quite up to the task.

There are landing page optimization tools, but Rezaei asked, “Who wants to create a thousand versions of your website?” And there are A/B testing tools, but Rezaei argued that they’re really designed to test “generic content” and use “very little audience intelligence.” And as for creating your own personalization tools, many companies will find that it requires “way too much engineering ef..

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Movado Group acquires watch startup MVMT

August 17, 2018 Alex 0

The Movado Group, which sells multiple brands including Lacoste, Tommy Hilfiger and Hugo Boss, has purchased MVMT, a small watch company founded by Jacob Kassan and Kramer LaPlante in 2013. The company, which advertised heavily on Facebook, logged $71 million in revenue in 2017. Movado purchased the company for $100 million.

The acquisition of MVMT will provide us greater access to millennials and advances our Digital Center of Excellence initiative with the addition of a powerful brand managed by a successful team of highly creative, passionate and talented individuals,” Movado Chief Executive Efraim Grinberg said.

MVMT makes simple watches for the Millennial market in the vein of Fossil or Daniel Wellington. However, the company carved out a niche by advertising heavily on social media and being one of the first microbrands with a solid online presence.

“It provides an opportunity to Movado Group’s portfolio as MVMT continues to cross-sell products within its existing portfolio, e..