Category Archives: video

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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Digital Ski with AR Goggles at CES



There are all kinds of fitness and sports trackers coming onto the market, from the generalists like Fitbit through to the specialists for single sports, like basketball or baseball. Digital Ski is in the latter category, bringing specialist sensors to both downhill and cross-country skiing. Dr Hermann Schindler of HS Innovations shows Jamie and Nick what’s possible with two sensors instead of one.

skiUnlike most sports trackers, Digital Ski uses two intercommunicating sensors, one for each ski. The dual sensor approach brings the benefit of better motion analysis as with only one tracker, it’s not always easy to see if a motion was cause or caused.

Impressively, the sensor information is reported in real-time to the skier’s (augmented reality) googles which can show the skis’ movements and forces while in motion. There’s a German language video here which shows it off to good effect. Of course, there’s an app too for post-race analysis.

For runners, there’s Run Rockets, which uses a similar dual sensor strategy to provide data while on the hoof, as it were.

Digital Ski isn’t available for purchase yet but those interested can register on the 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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BeON Home Protection at CES



BeON Home LogoImproved home security is one of the benefits often cited by proponents of the smart home, but setting up everything can be technically daunting and require a little DIY. The team at BeON have taken a different approach, developing home protection that can easily be installed without any geek or DIY credentials. Jamie and Nick learn more about this original thinking from Alexei Erchak, CEO of BeON.

The BeON Home system is a set of smart LED lightbulbs (or lamps) that screw in to replace existing lights. How are the bulbs smart? To start with, they learn the lighting patterns in the house so that when the building is unoccupied, the lights mimic the normal activity. Next, they learn the sound of the doorbell, so that when the doorbell rings, the lights will come on as if the householder is answering the door. Similarly, the BeON Home bulbs learn the sounding of smoke detectors and will automatically turn the lights on if a fire is detected in the building. Finally, the bulbs come with a backup battery which keep the lamps on even if the power fails.

All-in-all, it looks a pretty neat solution providing a deterrent to intruders and enhanced safety for the home-owner and family. The BeON Home is available now and a starter kit costs US$199.

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

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