Google Glass Home Trials Commence

The development of Google Glass continues to press on towards an eventual and long-awaited public release after reportedly initiating its next step, with a public trial release that is… private.

google_glass_previewThe trial launched by Google is believed to be one which will allow potential customers of their ‘wearable technology’ headset to practice their skills on a ‘dummy version’ of the upcoming product, though limiting the scheme to within the user’s own homes. And by ‘skills’, Google would in this context probably mean ‘the ability to wear something over one eye’.

Under the unusual initiative, the internet search engine giants are believed to be distributing upon request to any user a made-for-the-moment model of sample headset, designed primarily as physical placeholders that let customers get a feel for the device through touch, holding, and wearing, matching the specifications size-wise (and aesthetically, in offering all four primary colour schemes plus ‘Titanium Edition’ dummies) for the planned end product.

The key components that the test versions will not have, though, is function or power, with 9to5Google reporting that the sets will arrive at a user’s home with no charge and ‘deactivated USB ports’ to prevent any power from getting through.

Available only for American users, the trial is noted as being free for participation for anyone who applies, albeit with a required $50 ‘card hold’ deposit until the safe return of a unit dispatched. Even if that money would be returned, it would be a real statement of commitment to the product and/or technology industry for anyone who takes part in the trial to either ‘test wear’ or ‘try on’ the product months in advance of having a functioning version…

Aereo Confidently Optimistic After First Days Hearing

The ABC vs Aereo Supeme court case that could have wide ranging implications for internet TV, has had it’s first day of arguments from the cloud based re-transmitting company against the traditional broadcaster. Both sides came out with compelling arguments.

Aereo-expansion-2014Talking to Aereo’s lawyer, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. said,, “Your technological model is based solely on circumventing legal prohibitions that you don’t want to comply with.”

In their defense, Justice Stephen G. Breyer, said, “what disturbs me on the other side is, I don’t understand what a decision [against Aereo] should mean for other technologies,”

But in defiant mood, speaking outside the United States Supreme Court today, Aereo’s counsel, David Frederick said the following:-

“From our perspective, the issue in the case was whether consumers who have always had a right to have an antenna and a DVR in their home and make copies of local over-the-air broadcast television, if that right should be infringed at all simply by moving the antenna and DVR to the cloud.

“The court’s decision today will have significant consequences for cloud computing. We’re confident, cautiously optimistic, based on the way the hearing went today that the Court understood that a person watching over-the-air broadcast television in his or her home is engaging in a private performance and not a public performance that would implicate the Copyright Act.”

Netflix Plan $1-2 Price Hike As Member Numbers Get Close To 50 Million

Netflix seemed too good to be true, all that instant streaming content for so little. But they have revealed that prices will be going up from the existing $8 per month by a, “one or two dollar increase”, for new members later this year.

Netflix-membersThe news comes as Netflix reported first quarter profits of $53m, they also added 2.25 million new members during the same period in the US (total 35.7 million), and added 1.75 million new international subscribers (total 12.7 million), making the global Netflix family 48 million users.

Currently Netflix charge members $7.99 per month although they have experimented with alternative price points. One of those added options was allowing subscribers to have four separate users running different streams simultaneously for an $11.99 monthly cost.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said that the success of Netflix’s highly expensive original programming was partly behind its membership increase.

He said that the price increase would be for new members initially, and that existing subscribers will continue to pay the current price “for a generous time period”. He also said that increasing subscription fees would help the company, “acquire more content and deliver an even better streaming experience.”

The company believe that additional fees are justifiable because they are releasing top quality award winning content such as the Kevin Spacey drama House of Cards which has just seen it’s second season release. Although Netflix do not give viewer numbers, they have said that the show, “attracted a huge audience that would make any cable or broadcast network happy.”

Although the 50 million mark will be an astounding achievment, Hastings is not stopping there. Speaking in a letter to shareholders and quoting that HBO have 130 million subscribers. He said, “We are eager to close the gap.”

Apple CarPlay Enters Pioneering Motion-Multimedia Phase

The technological developments within Apple for their own-brand products may have slowed in recent times, but they have gained a new foothold in a different market, after a recent deal was confirmed with car dashboard manufacturers Pioneer Corporation to provide ‘Apple CarPlay’ support to their products.

apple_carplayThe ‘dashboard multimedia systems technology’ from Pioneer will be enhanced by Apple’s developed ‘in-car technology’ on no less than five of the former’s product range (AVIC-F60DAB, AVIC-F860BT, AVIC-F960BT,  AVIC-F960DAB, and the AVH-X8600BT) through a new firmware update.

The additions, marketed by Apple as bringing the ‘iPhone experience to your dashboard’, will be of ‘CarPlay support’ that provides ‘additional navigation’ and ‘embedded entertainment options’ for vehicles that carry a Pioneer model of hardware.

Users carrying an iPhone 5, iPhone 5S, or iPhone 5C (the compatible models listed for CarPlay) will be able to bring up synchronised services including phone calls, Apple Maps, iTunes, and Siri via vocal commands whilst driving.

While the official deal will help Apple gain some form of key presence in the other kind of ‘smart car’ market, is this another area in which Google Android (complete with Glass to look through the glass) will soon be able to drive in on?

Mike Haseler, head or products for Pioneer, summarised his company’s recent deal, stating: “Pioneer’s years of expertise integrating smartphone connectivity into the automotive environment has provided us the opportunity to be among the first to offer CarPlay to drivers. By providing an aftermarket option, Pioneer’s 2014 in-dash multimedia systems give many iPhone owners the ability to add CarPlay to their current vehicles.”

True Blood Release Trailer For Final Cut

While other shows have gained plenty more publicity during their pre-season trailer phase despite being likely to stick around a lot longer than the current year, HBO will be hoping that they can maintain a strong viewership and interest in one of their departing shows, as True Blood prepares for its final run-in with the launch of a first teaser trailer for the upcoming episodes.

true_blood_season_7_bloodThe 10-part seventh season of the supernatural drama, set to bring the total (and final) episode count up to 80, will premiere on 22 June airing each Sunday thereafter, putting the season finale date on-course for 24 August if previous scheduling methods are being followed.

The network have chosen two months and two days prior to the premiere date as the time-frame between their first releases of new content ‘teaser’ and ‘full’ format, with the footage below showcasing a compilation of action and drama scenes, led by telepathic lead character ‘Sookie Stackhouse’ (Anna Paquin).

HBO’s official True Blood YouTube page briefly summarizes: “The final season of True Blood premieres June 22 at 9PM on HBO. Use #TrueBloodForever to join the conversation.”

The teaser trailer in full can be viewed below:


BBC2 Oldest Show Play School Celebrates 50th Anniversary

While celebrating birthdays posthumously can become a ceremonial technicality due to the subject not being there to appreciate it, those with ties to said subject can still commemorate the occasion with plenty of attachment.

play_school_titlecardIn this instance, it would be BBC2 marking 50 years of the long-defunct children’s show Play School, which holds a special place in their history as the first-ever show to air on the public broadcaster’s new channel, which naturally also marks a half-century this year (following on from a range of other anniversaries).

Play School, one of the best-known children’s programmes for people in the UK of a certain age range, made its debut on screens on 21 April 1964 as the first-ever item on BBC Two’s regular schedule, a day after the launch of the channel itself, which to this day holds the status as one of the world’s best-known ‘secondary’ stations.

The variety show would come to a close in 1988 (stopping just short of its 25th birthday), but in the time inbetween was notable for setting a number of further landmarks, including being the first BBC children’s programme to employ a black presenter in 1965 through Paul Danquah, and becoming the first BBC2 children’s programme to be broadcast in colour as of 1968.

After the demise of Play School, some of its former employees went on to enjoy notable children’s TV success in their own right with the broadcaster, as Brian Jameson created early 2000′s CBeebies hit Balamory, and fellow ex-presenter Iain Lauchlan conceived slightly earlier series The Tweenies.

In commemoration of the 50 years since Play School’s launch, the programme will feature in a special children’s BBC exhibition named ‘Here’s One We Made Earlier’, opening in July at The Lowry gallery complex in Manchester (England). In addition, the Children’s Media Foundation will be supporting a ‘special reunion’ to which all living former employees of the show will be invited.

Anna Home, the aptly-named former leader of the BBC’s ‘Children’s and Play School Research Department’, stated: “Play School was absolutely ahead of its time in terms of its content, production techniques and presenting style. You only have to look at today’s children’s programming to see how it has inspired generations of presenters and programme-makers way beyond its 24 years on screen.”

On a day which also sees the marking of 25 years since the release of the innovative GameBoy from Nintendo (first released in Japan on 21 April 1989), a double (or rather, quadruple) dose of nostalgia can be seen below: