Audio News for November 11, 2016

Hedy Lamarr Awards in Entertainment Technology – The Digital Entertainment Group (DEG) has inaugurated two annual awards: the “Hedy Lamarr Award for Innovation in Entertainment Technology,” and the “Hedy Lamarr Achievement Award for Emerging Leaders in Entertainment Technology.” The latter recognizes female college students in their junior year who show exceptional promise in the field. Austrian-American Hollywood actress Hedy Lamarr was a legend best known for a number of film classics, and she was also a lifelong inventor whose innovative work included pioneering “frequency hopping” which became the foundation for spread spectrum technology. Working with composer George Antheil, their radio guidance system for torpedos was patented in 1942 and this technology is utilized today for a variety of cellular, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth applications.

“Subway Therapy” for Those Dismayed at Election Results – A NYC artist whose goal is to make people smile, laugh and feel less stressed, started years ago inviting commuters to write a question or share a sentiment on pastel-colored Post-it notes on the walls of a subway stop. He also provides the pens. Since the election the process has become so intense that 1500 notes were left at one place. The messages ranged from providing comforting thoughts to expressing concern and disillusionment. The artist said on his web site that the people of NYC provided the courage and candor in the face of crippling division. You can learn more about the project here.

Trojan-Horse Hardware for the Holidays – Many holiday shoppers are going for the cheapish gadgets such as the Roku box, Chromecast stick and Amazon’s Echo. Some are also offered as promotional giveaways: a free Roku box with Sling TV, or a free Apple TV or Fire TV stick with the launch of DirecTV’s Now streaming service. Mari Silbey thinks these products are technology Trojan Horses. She says consider the Roku platform: The Roku box brought Netflix to the living room and the hardware ushered in Netflix Inc.’s streaming service, helped it to crush the video rental competition, increase the bandwidth demand and raise the Pay-TV video-on-demand market. Roku and its streaming brethren enable further video experimentation: the Roku Ultra offers one of the cheapest consumer entry points for UHD and HDR video and allows providers to dole out new hi-def and hi-luminance video incrementally, rather than investing wholesale in UHD channels before the investment is likely to pay them dividends. Facebook is planning on using both Roku and Apple TV as outlets for new TV advertising. It is already an advertising king, but thru its streaming media boxes it may get its hands on lucrative TV ad budgets. Google’s Chromecast is another example – it’s the cheap gift that over time has more and more content that can be “cast” from a phone or tablet to the TV.

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