Online entertainment company Rovi plans to purchase digital video recording firm TiVo for $1.1 billion in a stock and cash deal, the companies announced on Friday.
TiVo has cloud-based technology for integrating live, recorded, on-demand and Internet television into one user interface, with search, discovery, viewing and recording options from a variety of devices. Its technology has been deployed by operators including Virgin Media and Vodafone Spain.
Rovi announced in March that Sharp’s new Aquos TVs would include its G-Guide electronic programming guide.
The combined company is forecast to have more than $800 million in revenue in the current year. More than 10 million TiVo-served households are expected to be added to the current base of about 18 million homes that use Rovi guides. The new entity will serve nearly 500 service providers worldwide, the companies said.
The deal between Rovi and TiVo, besides creating a large media and entertainment technology company with complementary products and services, will also lead to the setting up of a company with a worldwide portfolio of more than 6,000 issued patents and pending applications worldwide.
The two companies have a strong licensing business and have also sued key players like Comcast for patent infringement in the past. The companies said they have more than $3 billion in combined IP licensing revenue and past damage awards.
The transaction is expected to close in the third quarter and the combined company will use the TiVo name. Tom Carson, CEO of Rovi will be the chief executive of the new company.
Comments Off on Apple TV Service Delayed Again
Apple Inc will push back rolling out its live TV service to at least next year, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the iPhone maker’s plans.
The company had planned to introduce the service, which is delivered over the Internet, this year.
Discussions with broadcasters such as CBS Corp and Twenty-First Century Fox Inc to license programming are progressing slowly, and lack of content has led Apple to scrap plans to announce the service at a Sept. 9 event, Bloomberg said.
Apple also lacked the computer network capacity to ensure a good viewing experience, Bloomberg said.
The company still plans to introduce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box at the event, which will be held in San Francisco.
Apple was aiming to price the new service at about $30 to $40 a month, media reports have said.
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Toshiba has announced the world’s first 48-layer Bit Cost Scalable (BiCS) flash memory chip.
The BiCS is a two-bit-per-cell, 128Gb (16GB) device with a 3D-stacked cell structure flash that improves density and significantly reduces the overall size of the chip.
Toshiba is already using 15nm dies so, despite the layering, the finished product will be competitively thin.
24 hours after the first announcement, SanDisk made one of its own regarding the announcement. The two companies share a fabrication plant and usually make such announcements in close succession.
“We are very pleased to announce our second-generation 3D NAND, which is a 48-layer architecture developed with our partner Toshiba,” said Dr Siva Sivaram, executive vice president of memory technology at SanDisk.
“We used our first generation 3D NAND technology as a learning vehicle, enabling us to develop our commercial second-generation 3D NAND, which we believe will deliver compelling storage solutions for our customers.”
Samsung has been working on its own 3D stacked memory for some time and has released a number of iterations. Production began last May, following a 10-year research cycle.
Moving away from the more traditional design process, the BiCS uses a ‘charge trap’ which stops electrons leaking between layers, improving the reliability of the product.
The chips are aimed primarily at the solid state drive market, as the 48-layer stacking process is said to enhance reliability, write speed and read/write endurance. However, the BiCS is said to be adaptable to a number of other uses.
All storage manufacturers are facing a move to 3D because, unless you want your flash drives very long and flat, real estate on chips is getting more expensive per square inch than a bedsit in Soho.
Micron has been talking in terms of 3D NAND since an interview with The INQUIRER in 2013 and, after signing a deal with Intel, has predicted 10TB in a 2mm chip by the end of this year.
Production of the chips will roll out initially from Fab 5 before moving in early 2016 to Fab 2 at the firm’s Yokkaichi Operations plant.
This is in stark contrast to Intel, which mothballed its Fab 42 chip fabrication plant in Chandler, Arizona before it even opened, as the semiconductors for computers it was due to produce have fallen in demand by such a degree.
The Toshiba and Sandisk BiCS chips are available for sampling from today.
Chip-equipment maker Applied Materials has surprised most of the cocaine nose jobs of Wall Street with a better-than-expected third-quarter profit. It appears that contract manufacturers are spending more on technology used to make smartphone and memory chips.
The company also forecast current-quarter adjusted profit largely above analysts’ average estimate. Chief Executive Gary Dickerson said that demand for DRAM chips is expected to grow in the current quarter.
Applied Materials, which also provides equipment to make flat panel displays and solar cells, forecast an adjusted profit of 25-29 cents per share for the fourth quarter. Wall Street was expecting a profit of 26 cents per share.
Applied Materials expects revenue growth of about 10 to 17 percent, implying revenue of $2.19 billion to $2.33 billion for the quarter. Analysts on average were expecting $2.28 billion. Applied Materials’ net income rose to $301 millionin the third quarter ended July 27, from $168 milliona year earlier. Revenue rose 14.7 percent to $2.27 billion.
Revenue in the company’s silicon systems business, which brings in about two-thirds of total sales, rose 16 percent to $1.48 billion.
During the 3D Revolution 2014 presentation held in Rome, Intel has showed its updated SSD roadmap unveiling the new August Ridge SSD 750 Series which will be available in multiple form-factors, including lately popular M.2.
Spotted by Techpowerup.com, the Intel SSD 750 Series will be aimed at both the consumer and the professional market segments and be available in three form-factors, including 2.5-inch SATA 6Gbps, mSATA 6Gbps as well as the M.2 form-factor.
The new 750 SSD Series will most likely be available in all the popular capacities, up to 960GB, and be based on 20nm MLC NAND flash.
Unfortunately, the roadmap does not reveal many details regarding the performance of the SSD 750 Series but does note that it should launch in Q4 2014.
Box has made its HTML5 document viewing tool called Box View available for developers to incorporate into their companies’ products and services.
It was unveiled in beta mode last September at the firm’s annual Boxworks conference and is designed to help firms ensure that documents in any format can be viewed online. The tool is based on technology Box acquired in its acquisition of Crocodoc.
Box product manager Sean Rose explained in a blog post, “Box View is an API that converts Office and PDF documents to easily embeddable HTML5, enabling developers to create beautiful experiences around content. Gone are the days of forcing users to deal with broken and inconsistent experiences across platforms.
“With just a few simple API calls, developers can create an elegant and consistent content experience across all platforms.”
Box cited some customers that are already using this service, such as UberConference, Xero and Shake to ensure that they can send information to partners, customers and contractors quickly and easily.
Furthermore, the firm has based the pricing model for the tool on a per-use basis, rather than a traditional per-user basis.
For users of the service as a Box-branded platform – so it displays the Box logo, rather than the customer’s own logo – it’s free for 1,000 document uploads per month. After that it’s priced at 2.5 cents per document.
Custom use of the tool so the customer’s own logo is displayed costs $250 per month for 2,500 uploads. Each document after that costs five cents per upload, but enterprise users can thrash out a deal with Box for any service they expect to handle over 10,000 document uploads a month.
“Most developers will never have to pay anything for Box View, and, for those that do, Box View pricing is built to scale alongside your app’s user base,” added Rose.
As part of this encouragement to developers to incorporate Box into its tools the firm has also unveiled new pricing models around its APIs, to again focus on usage levels rather than user numbers.
Integrating with Box in general is free for developers, and up to 25,000 interactions with the Box Content API is free too. For 25,000 or more API interactions the cost is $500 per month. Any more than this and custom deals are available.
Box VP of Platform Chris Yeh explained that this move was designed “specifically for businesses that want to leverage the APIs at scale” to help keep pace with the growth the firm is seeing.
“More than 35,000 developers are building on Box. Every month, our platform sees one billion third-party API calls, and the Box OneCloud ecosystem just reached 1,000 app integration partners,” Yeh said.
The updates come at a busy time for Box after it filed to go public earlier this week in a listing worth $250m, as it looks to build on its early success in the enterprise market.
nVidia has unveiled what it claims is “the world’s first mobile supercomputer”, a development kit powered by a Tegra K1 chip.
Dubbed the Jetson TK1, the kit is built for embedded systems to aid the development of computers attempting to simulate human recognition of physical objects, such as robots and self-driving cars.
Speaking at the GPU Technology Conference (GTC) on Tuesday, Nvidia co-founder and CEO Jen Hsun Huang described it as “the world’s tiniest little supercomputer”, noting that it’s capable of running anything the Geforce GTX Titan Z graphics card can run, but at a slower pace.
With a total performance of 326 GFLOPS, the Jetson TK1 should be more powerful than the Raspberry Pi board, which delivers just 24 GFLOPS, but will retail for much more, costing $192 in the US – a number that matches the number of cores in the Tegra K1 processor that Nvidia launched at CES in Las Vegas in January.
Described by the company as a “super chip” that can bridge the gap between mobile computing and supercomputing, the Nvidia Tegra K1, which replaces the Tegra 4, is based on the firm’s Kepler GPU architecture.
The firm boasted at CES that the chip will be capable of bringing next-generation PC gaming to mobile devices, and Nvidia claimed that it will be able to match the PS4 and Xbox One consoles’ graphics performance.
Designed from the ground up for CUDA, which now has more than 100,000 developers, the Jetson TK1 Developer Kit includes the programming tools required by software developers to develop and deploy compute-intensive systems quickly, Nvidia claimed.
“The Jetson TK1 also comes with this new SDK called Vision Works. Stacked onto CUDA, it comes with a whole bunch of primitives whether it’s recognising corners or detecting edges, or it could be classifying objects. Parameters are loaded into this Vision Works primitives system and all of a sudden it recognises objects,” Huang said.
“On top of it, there’s simple pipe lines we’ve created for you in sample code so that it helps you get started on what a structure for motion algorithm, object detection, object tracking algorithms would look like and on top of that you could develop your own application.”
Nvidia also expects the Jetson TK1 to be able to operate in the sub-10 Watt market for applications that previously consumed 100 Watts or more.
It is starting to look like chip makers are having cold feet about moving to the next technology for chipmaking. Fabricating chips on larger silicon wafers is the latest cycle in a transition, but according to the Wall Street Journal chipmakers are mothballing their plans.
Companies have to make massive upfront outlays for plants and equipment and they are refusing, because the latest change could boost the cost of a single high-volume factory to as much as $10 billion from around $4 billion. Some companies have been reining in their investments, raising fears the equipment needed to produce the new chips might be delayed for a year or more.
ASML, a maker of key machines used to define features on chips, recently said it had “paused” development of gear designed to work with the larger wafers. Intel said it has slowed some payments to the Netherlands-based company under a deal to help develop the technology.
Gary Dickerson, chief executive of Applied Materials said that the move to larger wafers “has definitely been pushed out from a timing standpoint”
Samsung appears to have delivered a huge snuff to Android OS maker Google. Samsung’s new smartwatch Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo, the sequels to the poorly reviewed original Galaxy Gear are going to ship without Android.
Instead, the new Gears run Tizen, another open source operating system that Samsung, Intel, and others are working on. It is starting to look like Samsung wants to distance itself from its reliance on Google for software and services.
Samsung’s official reason is that Tizen has better battery life and performance. The new Gears can get up to an extra two days of battery life by running Tizen, even though they have the same size battery. The Galaxy Gear barely made it through a day on one charge.
To be fair Android isn’t optimized to run on wearable devices like smart watches, but Samsung didn’t want to wait around for Google to catch up. It was clearly concerned about beating Apple to market. So far Apple has not shown up.
Sinclair ZX80 and runaway success story, the Raspberry Pi might be about to get its own monitor after a Kickstarter campaign to create a low cost 9in screen for it has exceeded its $90,000 goal in a single weekend.
The HDMIPi monitor from startup Raspi.tv presently stands at $100,996 on Kickstarter, an increase of $8,000 in just the last four hours. The concept behind the monitor is to create something small and affordable but with maximum 1920×1080 resolution. Even though the project has had to scale down its ambitions to 1200×800 resolution to fit the business plan, Raspberry Pi fans have flocked to crowdfund the device.
Put in perspective, that’s higher than HD 720p resolution, or as they describe it, “slightly better resolution than the 720p HD footage on BBC iPlayer”.
Monitor cases will be available in a variety of colours, designed by none other than Paul Beech, who designed the original Raspberry Pi logo.
Although primarily designed for the Raspberry Pi, the HDMIPi is a standard HDMI monitor and can be used for other devices – Android sticks, video cameras, games consoles and beyond.
Raspi.tv has pledged to ship orders in February 2014, delays permitting, and is already working on enhancements. It has described touch functionality as something that might become available as a bolt-on at a later date, saying that “enough people have mentioned it that we are sitting up and taking notice”.
As ever with the Raspberry Pi ecosystem, everything is a bit Ryanair, and power supplies, surrounds and so on are not automatically included, though of course, in the true DIY spirit, you can always make your own.