Category Archives: video

Toughest Mudder Race Sets Live Streaming Video Viewership Record



Mudder LogoThe World’s Toughest Mudder is a race that tests the limits of its competitors athletic abilities. The race takes place over 24 hours. It challenges teams, as well as individual male and female contestants, to complete as many five-mile obstacle course laps as possible. The World’s Toughest Mudder crowns champions in all of these categories. The contest also honors racers who rack up 25, 50, 75, and 100 miles during the competition.

Multiple World’s Toughest Mudders are held during the year. The most recent Mudder event, held last month in Lake Las Vegas, Nevada, was streamed live to a record-breaking audience:

…the 24-hour World’s Toughest Mudder race on Saturday, November 12 and Sunday, November 13 at Lake Las Vegas, drawing 3.6 Million views with more than 3.5 Million minutes of coverage produced across Tough Mudder digital platforms with fans in more than 200 countries tuning in, including the United Kingdom, Germany, Australia, the Netherlands, Brazil, Spain, China, South Africa, United Arab Emirates and Indonesia. This is 5X Tough Mudder’s 2016 live stream season average (723,000 views), handily surpassing the company’s largest live stream event to date, Tough Mudder Los Angeles 2016, and setting viewership records in the obstacle course racing and endurance sporting events categories, establishing Tough Mudder as a leader in live sporting event coverage.

The World’s Toughest Mudder competition will have another opportunity to break its viewership record later this month. The next Mudder race will be held on Christmas Day and will be shown on broadcast television along with internet streaming.


Devolo dLAN 550 WiFi Starter Kit Review



Devolo LogoDevolo’s recent expansion into smart homes and home automation doesn’t mean that they’ve been neglecting their powerline network business. After upping their game with their top-of-the-line dLAN 1200 series, they’ve turned their attention to the mid-range, refreshing the design and boosting speeds. The new dLAN 550 series updates the dLAN 500s, offering greater in-house range and faster WiFi transmission rates. For those unaware of powerline networking, it’s a system that uses electrical wiring to carry network data, with ethernet-to-power adaptors where networking is required. Devolo kindly supplied me with a dLAN 550 WiFi Starter Kit to check out. Let’s take a look.

Devolo 550 Starter Kit Box

The box is Devolo’s usual fare, with a printed outer box and a plain cardboard inner box. In the box there are two powerline adaptors, one 550 Duo+ and one 550 WiFi. There’s also a white network cable, instructions and a couple of flimsies on “conformity”. The new style Duo+ is roughly twice the size of the WiFi unit, extending upwards from the UK-style power plug. The unit has twin network ports on the top and power pass through. There’s a small button on one side and a single white LED above the power socket. As for the more compact WiFi unit, it’s had a design refresh too, with a single ethernet port on the bottom, and two round buttons on the front which double up as indicator LEDs.

Devolo 550 Starter Kit

Getting going is easy. Plug the Duo+ into a power socket near a router and connect both of them with an ethernet cable. Plug the WiFi adaptor into a socket where additional wireless coverage is need. The two adaptors are paired out of the box and a few seconds after plugging in the units, the white LEDs will stop flashing and go solid. If the adaptors need to be paired (or added into an existing powerline network), it’s simply a case of pressing the pair button on both devices for a few seconds and they’ll sync up.

Devolo 550 Starter Kit Side View

To setup the WiFi, there’s a couple of options. Devolo have desktop app, Cockpit, for Microsoft Windows, Apple OS X and Ubuntu Linux which can be downloaded from Devolo. This provides a graphical representation of the dLAN network which clicks through to individual adaptors. The application finds everything automatically and can check that all the adaptors are running the latest versions of their respective firmware, upgrading as necessary. I take some of the data transmission speeds with a pinch of salt, and rely on “bigger is better”.

Devolo Cockpit

There’s a mobile version of Cockpit available from Apple’s App Store and Google Play, called “My Devolo”. It’s not as graphical as the full software but it’s still feature rich, allowing access to a wide range of device features. Here’s detail for the 550 WiFi.

Devolo dLAN 550 WiFi  Devolo dLAN 550 details  Devolo dLAN 550 features

Devolo 550 WiFi wirelessIn the app, the wifi network can be configured as preferred with SSID, passphrase, channel, mode and encryption standard. Everything expected of a wireless access point. Aside from the wireless settings, there are sections for parental controls, guest access and MAC address filtering and WPS features.

The 550 WiFi is an 11n device working in the 2.4 GHz frequencies. It’s not 11ac 5GHz, but the 550 boosts transmission rates to 300 Mb/s over the 500’s lower 150 Mb/s by using 2×2 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) technology. Obviously, the laptop or tablet has to support the faster wireless rate and while the base data rate may have doubled, actual data transfer won’t. A quick bit of testing suggests that a real-world increase of around 50%-60% is realistic under good conditions. YMMV.

Returning to the Duo+, the adaptor uses all three electrical cables (live, neutral and earth) for networking, which increases performance and range by a third from a notional maximum of 300m to 400m, though this will be affected by local circumstances. My house isn’t big enough to test this, so we’ll just have to trust Devolo on this one.

The dLAN 550 WiFi is now available online and in stores. The Starter Kit costs GB£99.99 and consists of a dLAN 550 WiFi and an additional dLAN 550 duo+ adapter. A Network Kit with three adapters (two 550 dLAN WiFi adapters and one dLAN 550 duo+) is available for £149.99, while single adapters for extending the WiFi network are available for £59.99.

Thanks to Devolo for the 550 WiFi Starter Kit for review.


Netflix Lets You Control Mobile Data Usage



INetflix_Web_Logot’s never good to go over your mobile data plan’s monthly limit. This can lead to higher bills as well as service slowdowns and suspensions. Tools have gotten better over the years for measuring mobile data use. But they still leave much to be desired. Consuming rich media media like streaming video on mobile devices can eat thru a data plan quickly. But by default, most mobile video apps don’t provide any indicator of how much data they’re using, and rarely are the default video quality settings in these apps configured to a lower setting that’d use less data. Netflix is hoping to take some of the pain out of mobile video consumption with new in-app settings that allow users to control how much data the app can use.

In the recently updated version of its iOS and Android apps, Netflix users will find a setting called Cellular Data Usage. This setting can now be changed from the default selection, which uses about a gigabyte of data for every three hours of viewed content, to a lower or higher setting. There’s even an unlimited data option for those who aren’t worried at all about how their video-viewing habits affect their data usage.

This change should come as a welcome relief to anyone who’s been burned in the past by Netflix-related overages. Hopefully, other video app developers will follow suit and add similar options to their own offerings.


Milo and Lego Education Brings STEM to School



Lego LogoLego have a history stretching back to the 1930s and for the last few decades, Lego has run an education program to bring Lego to the classroom in relevant way for all levels of schooling. Nick learns from Leisha Hoot about Lego Education and how it gets students interested in science.

At CES, Lego announced Lego Education WeDo 2.0, an elementary level STEM program that uses robotics to work with children in science. Through Milo, a small robotic rover, it gives them experience of programming, sensors and motors. It’s all very easy to use partly because children are already familiar with Lego bricks, but Lego has taken great care in designing the software too. In addition, WeDo 2.0 is going to be part of the First Lego League. The WeDo core set starts at around US$160 and is available now.

Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Keep In Touch with GoTenna at CES



goTenna LogoThere are still parts of the country where there is no mobile (cell) phone coverage. There are those who would say this is a good thing, especially when it comes to wildness areas and places of outstanding beauty. However, there are times when it’s good to be able to get in touch with others when out hiking or skiing, especially if people get separated. Aylee talks about the great outdoors with Jorge Perdoma, co-founder of goTenna, about their solution to this problem.

goTenna is a small radio transceiver that pairs with smartphones to provide point-to-point communication when there’s no cell tower in range. It’s a bit like converting your phone into a walkie-talkie but with modern features like text and GPS. The goTenna app on the smartphone works with the goTenna itself to handle all the communication and the transceiver doesn’t need to be in the hand at all – it can be stashed in the outer pocket of a backpack. Range is anywhere from a mile to a couple of miles depending on the environment.

The goTenna has been shipping for a few months and it’s US$200 for a pair of units from goTenna.

Aylee Nielsen is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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CogniToys’ Dino Grows With The Child



CogniToys DinoDeveloped on the back of a successful Kickstarter campaign, CogniToys are Internet-connected smart toys with speech recognition that interactively engage and grow with a child. The first CogniToy is a (roughly) six inch friendly green dinosaur – what’s not to like? Aylee talks with Donald Coolidge, co-founder of CogniToys to find out more.

As if being a friendly colourful dinosoaur isn’t enough, the CogniToys Dino is personalised to grow with the child, slowly adjusting its content and interactions based on how the child is playing with Dino, what the toy is asked, the words used and so on. The child can talk to the toy and Dino talks back.

The toy is wi-fi connected and the heavy processing is done in the cloud using technology developed from IBM’s Watson. This drives the experience and the engagement to the child, allowing natural responses to questions. If the kid asks why the sky is blue, it’s Watson that provides the answer.

Dino can be pre-ordered for US$119 with shipping expected in June 2016.

Aylee Nielsen is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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3D Sounds Labs Keeps Audio in Place at CES



3D Sound Labs LogoStereo headphones have been around since the middle of the last century and 3D audio in headphones from the 1990s. Impressive as the spatial effect from 3D can be, the sound is still always relative to the listener as the headphones are on the wearer, whereas speakers position the sound relative to the room or other space.

Until now, that is. 3D Sound Labs new headphones keep sounds in their place, even as the wearer moves their head. Scott finds out more from Maxime Sabahec of 3D Sound Labs on how their headphones keep sounds still.

The 3D Sound One headphones use motion sensors to understand the position of the wearer relative to the sound stage. The embedded gyroscope, accelerometer and magnetometer send information back to the PC via Bluetooth which then adjusts the positions of the sound in real-time as the person moves. This realism increases the immersive experience and while it’s good for movies, it’s great for VR.

The 3D Sound One headphones are available now for US$299 from Amazon and the 3D Sound Labs website.
Scott Ertz is a software developer and video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Style and Function with New Philips Headphones at CES



Philips LogoPhilips has a range of new headphones, each addressing different consumer needs, from the runner to the fashionista. Daniele listens in with Steve Punter of Philips to find out more about the latest ‘phones.

First up are the new Wireless Freedom sports earphones, which are Bluetooth wireless headphones so there’s no cables to get tangled in gym equipment or yank out earbuds. Perfect for runners, they’re light with a four and half hour battery life. US$69

Next is the new Everlite range, lightweight “gravity-defying” on-ear headphones, that look great and fold-up neatly for toting around. With a built-in mic, these work well with smartphones, and have colours to match the latest iPhone models. US$49

Finally, the new noise-cancelling headphones have Active Shield Pro which can cancel up to 99% of the outside noise. Along with Bluetooth and a 15 hour battery life, the headphones have a touch sensitive pad on the back of an earcup which controls the playback and volume of the music. US$169

All these headphones will be on sale over the coming months.

Daniele Mendez is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Gibson Guitars and G Force Self Tuner at CES



Gibson LogoGibson produced their first electric guitar back in 1936 and since then, the name has been synonymous with the instrument. This doesn’t mean that Gibson trades on its history alone and the company remains at the forefront of instrument innovation. The latest “High Performance” series is the most innovative guitar they’ve ever made. Daniele Mendez gets a demo of the latest axe from Christopher Oliphant of Gibson.

These new SG-standard guitars have a range of new features, from physical changes to the contour of the neck heel through to auto-tuning. The new G Force tuning system self-tunes to both standard and alternate tunings, and the new version is faster and more accurate than before. Extremely easy to use, all the guitarist needs to do is press a button and strum the strings. The guitar will take care of the rest, tuning only one string or all strings. It’s not just for electric guitars either as the G-Force system is now fitted to high-end acoustic guitars too. Amazing to watch in action!

All the guitars are available now with prices from US$1,099 for the “High Performance” models.

Daniele Mendez is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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Gymwatch Fitness Tracker and Coach at CES



GymwatchFitness trackers have been around from a couple of years and they’re beginning to evolve from simply measuring steps and reps to coaching for improved performance. Jamie and Nick get a demo by Fabian Walke to show how the Gymwatch exemplifies that next stage in evolution.

The main difference between Gymwatch and other activity trackers is that it’s designed to be moved around the body to accurately measure the activity. Goes on the arm for arm exercises, on the leg for leg exercises. For the coaching, the Gymwatch reports to a companion app that not only counts the activity but also provides feedback to the wearer as to whether they’re doing the exercise correctly or not. Perhaps the wearer is overextending or perhaps they’re not doing enough: whatever it is, the Gymwatch will advise how to correct the exercise.

The Gymwatch is available now for US$149. Fabian says $99 in the interview but it’s $149 on the Gymwatch website.

Jamie Davis is the host of Health Tech Weekly at HTWeekly.com. He is a nurse, paramedic and health journalist.
Nick DiMeo is a video producer at F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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