Another blow to Blu-ray: Samsung will no longer make Blu-ray players for the US

https://arstechnica.com/?p=1458715

  • Samsung’s UBS-K8500, introduced in 2015, was positioned as the world’s first UltraHD, 4K Blu-ray player.

  • Here it is at IFA 2015.


    Mark Walton

  • The port situation was minimal.


    Mark Walton

  • It hasn’t been that long since the market for these players opened up, and Samsung was one of the first to move into it.


    Mark Walton

If you didn’t notice any Blu-ray player announcements from Samsung at CES this year, there’s a reason for that: the company has told both Forbes and CNET that it is getting out of the Blu-ray player business in the United States.

The large chaebol conglomerate will introduce no new Blu-ray players anywhere, it seems, and will stop making existing players for the US market. This comes as a confirmation of what many observers expected, given that the company last released a new player in 2017. Samsung was reportedly working on a high-end Blu-ray player for release in 2019, according to Forbes, but those plans have been scrapped.

Samsung didn’t tell either publication why it decided to exit the business, and there is probably no big, single reason for this shift. But there are a lot of small ones.

Samsung’s Blu-ray players lacked Dolby Vision HDR support and relied instead on HDR-10 or the Samsung-backed HDR-10+. This was an important omission for the target audience; Dolby Vision is attractive to home theater enthusiasts because of its theoretically superior specifications and because it allows moviemakers to more finely tune the experience as compared to HDR-10.

Most people probably don’t care about the differences between HDR-10 and Dolby Vision, but if anyone does, they’re buyers of UltraHD Blu-ray players who may feel that the bitrate of content streamed from Netflix, Amazon, or Apple is inadequate for their setups.

Also, streaming has come to dominate Americans’ viewing habits, especially in high-income households that would be enticed by expensive 4K HDR Blu-ray players. Physical media sales have been

declining

at double-digit percentage rates for a few years running. Even within those sales, 4K Blu-rays account for only 5.3 percent of sales compared to the aging DVD format, which still sits at 57.9 percent, according to Forbes.

Sony and Panasonic currently lead in the Blu-ray player market, and they have not announced plans to discontinue production. Samsung may have made this decision in response to its market dominance, not just the shrinking marketplace for physical media. And it probably doesn’t help that the widely owned PlayStation 4 and Xbox One game consoles are also perfectly adequate Blu-ray players for most consumers.

Samsung is not alone in abandoning the market, though. Last year, Oppo also left Blu-ray players behind.

Listing image by Mark Walton

via Ars Technica https://arstechnica.com

February 18, 2019 at 04:41PM

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Facebook Is Negotiating a Record Multi-Billion Dollar Fine for Its Privacy Problems: Report

https://gizmodo.com/facebook-is-negotiating-a-record-multi-billion-dollar-f-1832633623

Facebook is in active negotiations to resolve the Federal Trade Commission’s investigation into the company’s privacy failures, according to a new Washington Post report, talks that could result in a multi-billion dollar fine or a heavyweight court battle. The report didn’t include an exact figure and said that …

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via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

February 14, 2019 at 04:54PM

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Elon Musk-backed AI Company Claims It Made a Text Generator That’s Too Dangerous to Release

https://gizmodo.com/elon-musk-backed-ai-company-claims-it-made-a-text-gener-1832650914

Researchers at the non-profit AI research group OpenAI just wanted to train their new text generation software to predict the next word in a sentence. It blew away all of their expectations and was so good at mimicking writing by humans they’ve decided to pump the brakes on the research while they explore the damage…

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via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

February 15, 2019 at 11:18AM

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Video Of A Real-Life Robotech Mecha Transforming

https://geekologie.com/2019/02/video-of-a-real-life-robotech-mecha-tran.php


This is a shaky video of a Macross (english adaptation Robotech) VF-1S mecha transforming at a previous Beijing Comic Convention. The all-metal 1/9 scale model was created by artist Sun Shiqian and transforms back and forth from its two forms all on its own. I know, I thought it was the Decepticon’s Starscream at first too. It’s not though, it’s a Robotech VF-1S mecha. I’ll admit, I’m not that familiar with the Robotech franchise. With the local Dairy Queen franchises? All the owners know me by name. And that name, of course, is — "Sir Eatalot?" IT’S THE BLIZZARD KING, JERK.
Keep going for a couple shots of the mecha and the video of its transformation, which is really just the gif in higher quality.
robotech-transforming-1.jpg
robotech-transforming-2.jpg

Thanks to my good pal/worst enemy Terry, who I will undoubtedly have to mech battle to the death one day. The future just isn’t big enough for the two of us.

via Geekologie – Gadgets, Gizmos, and Awesome https://geekologie.com/

February 15, 2019 at 11:07AM

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Rivian EV truck maker gets big money from Amazon

https://www.autoblog.com/2019/02/15/amazon-invests-in-rivian-ev-truck-maker/

While Amazon was shocking New York this week by ditching its plans to place a second headquarters there, it has been spending lavishly on another front: the automotive sector. U.S. electric pickup truck maker Rivian Automotive on Friday announced an equity investment of $700 million, led by Amazon.

Reuters reported on Tuesday that Amazon and General Motors were in talks to invest in Rivian in a deal that could value the company between $1 billion and $2 billion. Both Rivian and Amazon declined to comment on the valuation.

The investment comes on the heels of Rivian unveiling its all-electric R1T pickup and R1S SUV at the Los Angeles Auto Show last November, the company said.

The funding will be a major boost for the Plymouth, Michigan-based startup, which aspires to be the first carmaker to the U.S. consumer market with an electric pickup.

Last week, meanwhile, Amazon invested $530 million in self-driving car startup Aurora Innovation. The new funding brings Aurora’s valuation to more than $2.5 billion.

Aurora Chief Executive Chris Urmson, who earlier led Alphabet’s self-driving program, said the financing allows Aurora to expand and refine the testing and development of its autonomous driving system, and to hire, growing its staff of more than 200 people spread between offices in Pittsburgh, San Francisco and Palo Alto, California.

Rivian’s existing financial backers include Saudi auto distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Co, Sumitomo Corp of Americas and Standard Chartered Bank.

Related Video:

via Autoblog http://bit.ly/1afPJWx

February 15, 2019 at 09:34AM

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A ‘Stranger Things’ version of ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ arrives April 22nd

https://www.engadget.com/2019/02/14/stranger-things-dungeons-and-dragons-trivial-pursuit-arcade-console/

The third season of Stranger Things won’t arrive until July, but you might be able to while away some of the time by checking out the Dungeons and Dragons adventure the gang plays in the first episode. Hasbro is releasing a D&D starter kit based on "Hunt for the Thessalhydra" on April 22nd.

The $25 pack includes D&D basics such as character sheets, dice and a rule book, so Hasbro is making sure beginners can join in. There are also five Stranger Things character sheets based on those used in the show, including Will the Wise and Dustin the Dwarf.

A Stranger Things x D&D crossover always seemed inevitable. It was from D&D that the boys borrowed the name for the violent Demogorgon monster in Season 1. Naturally, there’s a place for the creature in this kit. It includes two Demogorgon figures, one of which is prime for painting. You’ll also have to battle the beast if you’re to be successful in "Hunt for the Thessalhydra." Hasbro unveiled the kit at the New York Toy Fair, and you can preorder a set now.

'Stranger Things' version of 'Trivial Pursuit'Elsewhere in Stranger Things games news, an ’80s-themed version of Trivial Pursuit is on the way. It includes questions on pop culture, famous people, events, trends, technology and, yep, Stranger Things. There’s a twist, as there are several portal spaces dotted around the board. Land on one, and you’ll have to flip the board so that every player will be in the Upside Down, a place where you can lose those all-important wedges if you get questions wrong. It also ships April 22nd, and you can pre-order it for $20.

'Stranger Things' mini arcade game

That’s not all, though, as a mini arcade console will be available on that same date. It has 20 games, including 16 Stranger Things-themed titles along with Pac-Man, Dig Dug, Galaga and Galaxian. It will cost $30. Meanwhile, if that’s not enough Stranger Things to add to your life before Season 3, there are also official tie-in novels.

Update, 2/14/19, 3:30PM ET: Updated to change release date from May 1st to April 22nd, per full details we received from Hasbro. Also, Hasbro says that the mini arcade console isn’t a Target exclusive, but instead will be available at "most major retailers nationwide."

Via: BuzzFeed, Polygon

via Engadget http://www.engadget.com

February 14, 2019 at 01:12PM

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This Walking Robot Navigates Using the Sun, No GPS Required

https://gizmodo.com/this-walking-robot-navigates-using-the-sun-no-gps-requ-1832599931

Researchers in France are calling their six-legged creation the “AntBot.” This 9-inch robot doesn’t just skitter around like a desert ant, though—it also borrows their unique navigational skills.

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via Gizmodo https://gizmodo.com

February 14, 2019 at 08:36AM

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