streaming video

Technique to beam HD video with 99 percent less power could sharpen the eyes of smart homes

Posted by | backscatter, Gadgets, hardware, Mobile, science, streaming video, TC, wireless | No Comments

Everyone seems to be insisting on installing cameras all over their homes these days, which seems incongruous with the ongoing privacy crisis — but that’s a post for another time. Today, we’re talking about enabling those cameras to send high-definition video signals wirelessly without killing their little batteries. A new technique makes beaming video out more than 99 percent more efficient, possibly making batteries unnecessary altogether.

Cameras found in smart homes or wearables need to transmit HD video, but it takes a lot of power to process that video and then transmit the encoded data over Wi-Fi. Small devices leave little room for batteries, and they’ll have to be recharged frequently if they’re constantly streaming. Who’s got time for that?

The idea behind this new system, created by a University of Washington team led by prolific researcher Shyam Gollakota, isn’t fundamentally different from some others that are out there right now. Devices with low data rates, like a digital thermometer or motion sensor, can something called backscatter to send a low-power signal consisting of a couple of bytes.

Backscatter is a way of sending a signal that requires very little power, because what’s actually transmitting the power is not the device that’s transmitting the data. A signal is sent out from one source, say a router or phone, and another antenna essentially reflects that signal, but modifies it. By having it blink on and off you could indicate 1s and 0s, for instance.

UW’s system attaches the camera’s output directly to the output of the antenna, so the brightness of a pixel directly correlates to the length of the signal reflected. A short pulse means a dark pixel, a longer one is lighter, and the longest length indicates white.

Some clever manipulation of the video data by the team reduced the number of pulses necessary to send a full video frame, from sharing some data between pixels to using a “zigzag” scan (left to right, then right to left) pattern. To get color, each pixel needs to have its color channels sent in succession, but this too can be optimized.

Assembly and rendering of the video is accomplished on the receiving end, for example on a phone or monitor, where power is more plentiful.

In the end, a full-color HD signal at 60FPS can be sent with less than a watt of power, and a more modest but still very useful signal — say, 720p at 10FPS — can be sent for under 80 microwatts. That’s a huge reduction in power draw, mainly achieved by eliminating the entire analog to digital converter and on-chip compression. At those levels, you can essentially pull all the power you need straight out of the air.

They put together a demonstration device with off-the-shelf components, though without custom chips it won’t reach those

A frame sent during one of the tests. This transmission was going at about 10FPS.

microwatt power levels; still, the technique works as described. The prototype helped them determine what type of sensor and chip package would be necessary in a dedicated device.

Of course, it would be a bad idea to just blast video frames into the ether without any compression; luckily, the way the data is coded and transmitted can easily be modified to be meaningless to an observer. Essentially you’d just add an interfering signal known to both devices before transmission, and the receiver can subtract it.

Video is the first application the team thought of, but there’s no reason their technique for efficient, quick backscatter transmission couldn’t be used for non-video data.

The tech is already licensed to Jeeva Wireless, a startup founded by UW researchers (including Gollakota) a while back that’s already working on commercializing another low-power wireless device. You can read the details about the new system in their paper, presented last week at the Symposium on Networked Systems Design and Implementation.

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YouTube’s app is dominating mobile video by monthly users, time spent

Posted by | android apps, Apps, hbo now, Hulu, iOS apps, Media, Mobile, streaming, streaming video, TC, Video, video apps, YouTube, youtube kids | No Comments

 Americans spent nearly a billion hours watching YouTube videos on Android this past July, according to new data released today by App Annie. That’s the largest amount of time spent in any one streaming video app in a month. The figure is yet another data point showcasing the shift in the way people are consuming video content – less in the living room, over traditional pay TV… Read More

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Free streaming service Tubi TV grabs $20 million in new funding

Posted by | Apps, films, Fundings & Exits, Media, Mobile, movies, Startups, streaming, streaming service, streaming TV, streaming video, TC, television, tubi tv, tv, Video | No Comments

 San Francisco-based Tubi TV has raised an additional $20 million for its advertising-supported streaming service for TV and movies. Investors in the round are betting on the fact that the next big streaming competitor won’t be a direct rival to Netflix and others with a subscription-based business model, but rather a free service that offers a wide variety of titles for free viewing. Read More

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Trump’s inauguration broke live video streaming records

Posted by | Akamai, CDN, live streaming, live video, live video streaming, Media, Mobile, records, streaming, streaming video, TC, trump | No Comments

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 20:  Supreme Court Justice John Roberts (2L) administers the oath of office to U.S. President Donald Trump (L) as his wife Melania Trump holds the Bible and son Barron Trump looks on, on the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on January 20, 2017 in Washington, DC. In today's inauguration ceremony Donald J. Trump becomes the 45th president of the United States.  (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images) Though some cried while others cheered, both sides tuned into to watch President Trump’s inauguration in sizable numbers – record-breaking numbers, in fact. The event has broken new ground, becoming the largest, single live news event that content delivery network Akamai has ever hosted, the company says, following an analysis of its live video data. According to Akamai, live… Read More

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Twitch opens to vloggers with launch of “IRL,” mobile broadcasting to come next year

Posted by | broadcasting, game culture, Gamers, Gaming, live steaming, live video, mobile broadcasting, streaming video, TC, Twitch, Video, video streaming, vlog, vlogging | No Comments

twitch-irl1 After slowly testing the waters with non-game related content, Twitch is officially opening its doors to vloggers. The company today is debuting a new content category on its site called “IRL,” which is where Twitch creators can broadcast anything about their life, communicate with fans, and share their opinions. In addition, because IRL broadcasting is the sort of thing Twitch… Read More

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Toca TV is a new streaming service just for kids

Posted by | Apps, children, family, kids, Mobile, parents, streaming service, streaming video, TC, toca boca, toca tv | No Comments

screenshot_1 If you have a young child, then you probably know the name Toca Boca. The popular kids app maker has produced games that have been downloaded more than 130 million times in 215 countries, and have 10 million monthly active users. Today, Toca Boca is moving into video. The company is now launching Toca TV, a new $4.99 per month subscription service offering kid-friendly videos, original… Read More

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Fullscreen’s new streaming service aims to be the MTV for the YouTube generation

Posted by | Apps, fullscreen, Media, millennials, Mobile, streaming video, streaming video service, TC, Video | No Comments

Screen Shot 2016-04-29 at 1.46.25 PM It’s not exactly a Netflix or YouTube rival, but AT&T-backed Fullscreen is hoping to carve out its own niche in the now-crowded subscription video market with its new service, launched this week. The $5 per month offering includes a mix of shorter, original content alongside full-length Hollywood movies and TV shows, like “Hitch,” “Dawson’s Creek,”… Read More

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Consumer Watchdog Groups Complain Updated YouTube Kids App Still Exposes Children To Deceptive Ads

Posted by | Apps, children, family, kids, Mobile, parents, streaming video, TC, television, tv, YouTube, youtube kids | No Comments

YouTube Kids Screenshot YouTube announced changes to its kid-friendly YouTube Kids mobile application this week designed to better educate parents on how the app works and the protections it offers, following a number of complaints, including those to the FTC, from consumer watchdog organizations. But the groups today are saying that YouTube hasn’t gone far enough with the updated YouTube Kids app, calling… Read More

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Diary Of A Cord Cutter In 2015 (Part 12: Hands On With Comcast’s YouTube Wannabe, Watchable)

Posted by | Apps, Comcast, cord cutting, cord cutting in 2015, Mobile, Reviews, streaming video, TC, television, tv, Video, watchable | No Comments

cord-cutter1 As an increasing number of cable and satellite TV subscribers are cutting the cord – or never signing up for television in the first place – the traditional pay TV industry is scrambling to figure out how to compete in this new age of over-the-top services, on-demand streaming, and viewing that takes place on a variety of platforms beyond the living room’s big screen.… Read More

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