Dualing Webcasts from Apple and Intel

Dualing webstreams are expected Tuesday, reports The Oregonian. Apple is livecasting their new line of laptops, phones and wearables — but not for Windows users — you’ll need a Safari browser or Apple TV to see it.

Forty miles north, Intel will have its own livestreaming keynote by chief executive Brian Krzanich at the big (but overshadowed) Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco.

Krzanich takes the stage at 9 a.m. Tuesday, an hour before Apple CEO Tim Cook begins speaking at 10 a.m. This is the second straight year that Apple has jumped in with their iPhone show on the same day.

Intel has already made a flurry of announcements leading up to its keynote, showing off a fashion-conscious smart bracelet, a tablet designed for seniors, a smartwatch development deal with Fossil and formally launching its Core M processor – the company’s first chip based on 14-nanometer circuitry.

Intel shares are up 35 percent this year, fueled by unexpected strength in PC sales, its nascent contract manufacturing business, its growing tablet business and Krzanich’s efforts to diversify into wearable technologies and “the Internet of Things.”

Tablets with Core M could be priced as low as US$699, but the initial batch of detachable tablets introduced at IFA last week are priced much higher. Lenovo’s 11.6-inch ThinkPad Helix 2 starts at $999, Dell’s 13.3-inch Latitude 13 7000 starts at $1,199, and Hewlett-Packard’s 13.3-inch Envy X2 starts at $1,049.99. Those products are expected to ship in September or October.

The new Core M processors will likely be included in Apple’s iMacs and MacBooks this year. Perhaps Apple will offer both OSX and IOS functionality in a 2-in-1 device. Unfortunately, OSX doesn’t have the touch capability of Windows 8.

Amazon Buys Twitch for $1 Billion

Amazon today announced that it has reached an agreement to acquire Twitch Interactive, the leading live video platform for gamers for approximately $970 million in cash.

Google was in talks to acquire Twitch for more than $1 billion. But Google did not close the deal on anti-trust fears, according to Forbes. Google already owns YouTube, the world’s most-visited content streaming site, which competes with Twitch to broadcast and stream live or on-demand video game sessions.

It’s one of Amazon’s biggest deals. Twitch lets users watch other users play video games. Content on Twitch can either be viewed live, or viewed on an on-demand basis.

Amazon says more than 55 million unique visitors viewed more than 15 billion minutes of content on Twitch produced by more than 1 million broadcasters, including individual gamers, pro players, publishers, and stadium-filling esports organizations.

“Broadcasting and watching gameplay is a global phenomenon and Twitch has built a platform that brings together tens of millions of people who watch billions of minutes of games each month,” said Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon.com.

Twitch is by far the leading live-streaming site in the United States, at over 43% for all live-streaming traffic by volume, more than ESPN, Major League Baseball, and the WWE combined. In February 2014, The Wall Street Journal ranked Twitch as the 4th largest website in terms of peak internet traffic in the U.S.

Twitch launched in June 2011 to focus exclusively on live video for gamers. Twitch really took off when it struck deals with Microsoft and Sony to power live streaming on the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 consoles. Twitch is used for both live and on-demand distribution for the entire video game industry, including game developers, publishers, events, and user generated content.

Electronic sports (or esports) is a term for organized video game competitions, especially between professionals. The International e-Sports Federation is a global organisation based in South Korea that attempts to get Electronic Sports recognized as a legitimized sport.

Clip Radio: Connecting Terrestrial Radio to Smartphones

Sirius/XM satellite Radio with 25M paid subscribers, is getting beaten up by Pandora’s 60 million listeners while AM radios are becoming artifacts. But radio may be making a come back – on phones.

Clip Interactive is a new mobile application that’s available on Android and iOS that allows everything that you hear over terrestrial radio to be interactive for the listener.

You listen, hit the Clip button on their application, and connect with whatever content is playing on the radio: Music, contents, promotions, advertising, and spoken-word content.

Portland is the first city where Clip Radio has fully integrated nearly every radio station broadcast, and the company plans to introduce the app to several other markets over the coming months.

Mark Ramsey, a media stategist, has a good interview with Bill Freund, Clip’s Chief Revenue Officer.

Clip brings Shazam’s music recognizing capability to the broadcaster. It makes local radio interactive and attributable and brings the scale of the 240 million people who listen to the radio.

The Android and IOS app allows Portland radio listeners to:

  • Detect almost any radio station in Portland
  • View what has broadcast in the last hour (including songs, ads, contests, promotions and more)
  • “Clip” to save what you want
  • Interact with content (enter contents, redeem offers, download songs, etc.)

Clip is partnered with Alpha Broadcasting, which has 6 stations in Portland and Salem Broadcasting giving them ten partner stations who promote the Clip app or promote their station app with Clip capabilities.

For advertisers, Clip Radio insists that it can provide better ad tracking and more accurate listener numbers. For music labels it says the Clip Radio app can “increase listener engagement, sell tickets, solicit fan opinions, drive interaction with artists via Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social media networks.

Other approaches to bringing broadcast radio to mobile users include:

  • I Heart Radio, owned by Clear Channel Broadcasting, functions as both a music recommender system and a radio network that aggregates audio content from local Clear Channel radio stations. With 850 stations, Clear Channel is the largest radio station group owner in the United States.
  • Next Radio is an FM tuner application that receives FM radio broadcasts in your local area. Consumers can tune into their favorite local FM radio stations with Next Radio and get song and artist information to share online, or purchase straight from your phone. It’s mostly supported by Sprint, which gets a kickback from ad revenue.
  • Stitcher Radio, which claims to be the largest independent source of on demand radio listening, announced the launch of Listen Later for the Web, an embeddable feature for audio creators and podcasters to use on their websites to bring content to more listeners through a playlist. Visitors to the sites of radio producers can save episodes of popular shows and the audio portions of articles to their Listen Later playlists on Stitcher.

Pandora, the internet-based on-demand service, allows users to stream music and build virtual stations based on format and/or a particular song. The Pandora media player incorporates hundreds of different “musical attributes” and “focus traits” based on OpenLaszlo.

Apple’s iTunes Radio, unveiled at the 2013 WWDC, has similar features but is built directly into the iOS 7 Music app.

HD Radio is the trademark for iBiquity’s in-band on-channel (IBOC) digital radio technology used by AM and FM radio stations, using a digital signal embedded “on-frequency” immediately above and below a station’s standard analog signal.

Artist Experience allows broadcasters to embed album art, station logos and other graphic content. It’s incorporated into the digital bit stream and displayed on compatible receivers with screens.

Artist Experience is like a slide show, synched to the radio stream, displaying album art and advertising. Jump2Go and Emmis TagStation have products that insert the AE content, which is multiplexed along with the HD audio signal.

The NextRadio app works in conjunction with the Emmis’ TagStation middleware, where the audio feed is synched with visual elements. Sprint gets a portion of this ad revenue since the radio service is free and off the air.

You could make a case that the NAB blew the development of Digital FM radio and Digital TV. Mandatory digital FM tuners in cellphones would have made a huge difference for both listeners and broadcasters. But cellular operators would rather take the tuners out of phones and force you to pay for data.

NAB also stuck with the ATSC standard for television. The NAB sacrificed mobility that COFDM modulation could have delivered more cost/effectively to mobile users.

See: Radio Station Tour, TWIT: This Week in Radio Tech, World Radio Day, Digital FM Comes to Smartphones.

Google Buying Drone Company Titan

Google is buying drone maker Titan Aerospace, a startup maker of high-altitude drones, reports the WS Journal. Google didn’t disclose a purchase price for Titan, of Moriarty, N.M., whose solar-powered drones are intended to fly for months at a time.

Facebook was also reportedly looking to buy Titan Aerospace, and was rumored to offer $60 million to buy Titan, but ultimately bought Ascenta, for $20 million. Ascenta is a U.K.-based aerospace company that also is developing solar-powered unmanned aerial vehicles.

Titan’s Solara 60 can carry a payload of 250 lbs while the Solara 50 maxes out at 85 kilograms (187 lbs). As a broadband relay, it could provide coverage over about 17,000 square kilometers, an area equivalent to the reach of more than 100 cellular towers. Titan says it aims to sell the Solara for around US $1 million and already has customers lined up to buy the first three in early 2014. The Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) has sent a letter to the FAA encouraging the agency to allow limited unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) operations.

As a communications relay, the Solara offers about an 18-mile radius of coverage easily covering all of New York City’s five boroughs, as shown in the map above. Of course 10 million people can’t simultaneously access one cell tower 12 miles away.

Facebook’s Yael Maguire explained some of its plans for low earth orbit satellite and solar powered drones. Facebook estimates that some 5 billion people — or two-thirds of the world — are without Internet access, and it wants to change that. Internet.org said it is working with Ascenta, in the UK that specializes in high-altitude long-endurance aircraft.

Both Ascenta and Titan Aerospace are in the business of high altitude drones, which cruise nearer the edge of the earth’s atmosphere at 65,000 feet (12 miles).

Google recently demonstrated how its Loon prototype balloons could traverse the globe. Drones could provide connectivity and imagery with a higher degree of control. Google also bought Boston Dynamics and seven other robotics companies under Andy Rubin.

Outernet hopes to use datacasting technology over a low-cost CubeSat constellation. The startup says it will be able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy, and offer a universally-accessible information service at no cost to global citizens. Outernet’s motto is “Information for the world from outer space.” The startup says the entire constellation utilizes globally-accepted, standards-based protocols, such as DVB-S2, Digital Radio Mondiale, and UDP-based WiFi multicasting.

Planet Labs’ mini photo satellites were released from the International Space Station in December, 2013.

Planet Labs wants to create – essentially – a live view version of Google Earth. Four satellites were launched February 2013 in what is expected to become a steady stream of miniature satellites ejected from the ISS.

Located at 78 degrees north latitude, SvalSat is the world’s only established commercial station capable of downlinking on every satellite orbit. The Svalbard facility offers a high speed backhaul link via redundant fiber optic cables to transmit all data to exactEarth’s data center in Canada.

Satellite Backhaul of 3G and LTE is the way to go according to Hughes.com.

SES announced today that they have signed a capacity and ground satellite deal to provide SES’s NSS-9 satellite to provide connectivity to the Italian research station located at Terra Nova Bay, Antarctica. SPIE has a collection of Remote Sensing articles.

Near-space platforms at 12 miles (20K meters/65K feet) are 20 times closer than a typical 400-kilometer LEO satellite at 250 miles. High altitude UAVs can stare — 24/7 — without blinking or human needs. Mercury’s sigint computers are powered by nVidia GPUs and Intel processors for TeraFLOPS processing.

IEEE Spectrum has Five Ways to Bring Broadband to the Backwoods, including solar-powered drones, MEO and LEO satellites, balloons, blimps, and White Spaces. Perhaps the NRO and Aerospace.org will become obsolete if UAVs can deliver the goods faster, cheaper and better.

Related DailyWireless Space and Satellite News includes; Facebook Announces Connectivity Lab , OuterNet: CubeSat Datacasting?, Satellite Swarms Revolutionize Earth Imaging , Planet Labs’ Photo CubeSats Released, Arctic Technology, Sea Launch: 15 Years Later, Facebook Buying Drone Company, Inside Google’s Loon Project, Project Loon Field Trip Hangout, First Four O3B Satellites Launched, Google Backhaul: Balloons & Satellites, Kymeta’s Flat Beamforming Antenna Links to Satellite, Blimp In A Box, ExactEarth Launches 5th AIS Satellite, Dish: Lower 700MHz Power Ups Speculation, Earth to Space Optical Communications – Again, O3B: Funded for Launch, Arianespace: Busy 2013, Gilat Does Satellite Cell Backhaul, SkyTerra 1 Launched, Broadband Satellites: Black Hole?, LightSquared: Phase 1, Intelsat Announces EpicNG Satellite Platform , Satellite 2012, Formation Flying Swarmbots, Flying Cell Towers, Range Networks: Open Source Cellular Networks

OuterNet: CubeSat Datacasting?

Outernet hopes to use datacasting technology over a low-cost CubeSat constellation. The startup says it will be able to bypass censorship, ensure privacy, and offer a universally-accessible information service at no cost to global citizens. Outernet’s motto is “Information for the world from outer space.”

Outernet provides few technical details on how this constellation will work. The startup says the entire constellation utilizes globally-accepted, standards-based protocols, such as DVB-S2, Digital Radio Mondiale, and UDP-based WiFi multicasting.

“Outernet will broadcast the Internet to you and allow you to flick through certain websites,” explains the company.

Each satellite receives data streams from a network of ground stations and transmits that data in a continuous loop until new content is received.

It sounds kind of like a multi-media version of teletext where packets are sent in a carousel, then stored on the device.

Project Lead of Outernet Syed Karim, fielded some questions on Reddit.

“We’re definitely shooting for 802.11-spec compliance. It’s going to be tough, but it’s not outside of the realm of possibility. It’s actually a lot easier and cheaper to not be wifi compatible, but if this is a media platform for the world, it’s hard to ignore the 10,000,000 wifi devices that currently exist.”

“The signal on the ground will be fairly weak, in order to not interfere with local networks. At this time, we’re shooting for receive sensitivity of about -90dBm.”

The non-profit Media Development Investment Fund (MDIF), is funding the idea, reports the UK’s Daily Mail.

Their website notes that development of prototype satellite and testing of long range Wi-Fi multicasting is scheduled for this June, with transmission testing in flight-like environments is set for September.

Launch and test of constellation operations is supposed to begin next January. By April 2015, Outernet hopes to establish a manufacturing process for turning out the hundreds of satellite needed, with deployment of Outernet supposed to happen in mid-2015, subject to launch schedules.

If the idea of a smartphone receiving WiFi signals from space and assembling news and information with an app sounds like a hoverboard, you’d be forgiven.

Maybe the time has arrived for a free global network. Or maybe it hasn’t.

Whatever. Getting a 20 MHz wide WiFi channel to travel 150 miles would require a huge antenna.

A 5 kHz-100 kHz wide channel (used by digital audio broadcasting), would have a much better chance of getting received several hundred miles away.

Digital Radio Mondiale (DRM) is derived from mondiale being Italian and French for “worldwide”). It’s a set of digital audio broadcasting technologies for AM, FM and Shortwave Radio.

DRM30 can be used for digital broadcasting on short, medium and long wave broadcasting bands up to 30 MHz, and provides large coverage areas with low power consumption.

DRM+ is designed to fit in the FM broadcast band (VHF) with a frequency bandwidth of 100 kHz (like FM stations). It provides bit rates from 37 kbps to 186 kbps and permits up to four services. It’s a flexible solution allowing single or small numbers of audio services to be broadcast together.

Perhaps a $20 modular clip-on would translate the digital shortwave output to a Bluetooth/WiFi signal so a $100 smartphone could receive it (and play it with an app).
A 5MB file might be downloaded in about 5 minutes at 128Kbps, while a 16MB file plays for about an hour at 32 Kbps.

Since TV channels 5 and 6 are adjacent to the FM band in the United States, maybe that 12 Mhz could deliver world-wide, store and forward satellite broadcasting with over 100 multi-media channels. A 5 minute download might cover the 90 minute stream until the next satellite pass. Great for e-book delivery, too.

$50 Roku Streaming Stick

Roku’s new Streaming Stick works with most TVs for $50, notes Engadget. The company essentially crammed their Roku 1 box into a $50 dongle. You stick it in a TV’s HDMI slot and then stream from your wireless router. “Channel” selection is controlled from a remote.

While it’s not quite as cheap as the $35 Google Chromecast stick, it plays more streaming content, from over 1,000 niche channels of video programming.

The Stick also ships with free Roku apps for Android and iOS devices. You can “cast” to TV, direct from the Netflix and YouTube apps.

That means users can stream Netflix, YouTube and personal media from their phones and tablets to a TV.

Additional mobile features are promised, such as the ability to cast content from a computer to the TV.

Google is adding Chromecast support for Android. In addition to streaming video to your TV from apps like Netflix and Hulu Plus, you may soon visit websites using your Android phone or tablet and be able to send it to your TV, although its’ not an official feature, yet.

Google’s Chromecast stick generally needs a Chrome browser or dedicated app, unlike Intel’s WiDi or Miracast which are peer-to-peer wireless screencasting standards. The Miracast protocol uses a 5 GHz direct Wi-Fi connection between the two devices. Miracast mirrors your device screen, while Google’s Chromecast lets you surf the net while streaming a separate video channel to your TV.

Roku has a better selection of mainstream channels than rivals like Apple’s $99 TV box since it allows access to Netflix, Hulu Plus and HBO GO, Amazon Prime Instant Video, Vudu, Redbox Instant and others.

Why pay a service provider like Comcast $120/month when a tablet with a few $8/month subscription services can do the job?

The new Roku Streaming Stick (HDMI version) is $49.99 and available for pre-order now. It will ship to consumers and arrive in retails stores in April.