AT&T details its streaming service plans as it weighs a sale of its Hulu stake

AT&T may be ready to sell its stake in Hulu, the company revealed in an analyst presentation on Thursday. The company currently owns a 10 percent stake in the service by way of WarnerMedia, as a result of its Time Warner acquisition. But AT&T today is running its own streaming services, including live TV service DirecTV Now aimed at cord cutters, and a more lightweight WatchTV. It’s also preparing to launch yet another direct-to-consumer streaming service in 2019 that leverages its WarnerMedia properties.

The company offered a few more details about this new service during the presentation, noting that it will have three tiers of service.

The entry-level package will be focused on movies, followed by a premium service with original programming and “blockbuster movies.” The third service will include content from the first two tiers, then add an “extensive library of WarnerMedia and licensed content,” including classics, kids & family programing, comedy, and other theatrical releases and niche content.

The service will launch into beta in Q4 2019, AT&T said, and will complement WarnerMedia’s existing business. It will also work across devices, and will expand over time to include third-party content through partnerships.

As for selling its stake in Hulu, the company is “looking for opportunities to monetize assets” that are not essential to its current strategies, explained AT&T CFO John Stephens. He said the company was looking at its “minority investments in things like Sky México or Hulu or a variety of other things.”

The mention of the Hulu sale was a part of a larger discussion about paying down $18 billion of AT&T’s $20 billion in debt by the end of next year, which involved raising up $8 billion in cash by the sale of some assets.

Also of note was the company’s not-so-vague threat that WarnerMedia would not be renewing its licensing deals with rival streaming services when their rights expire.

Asked how the new direct-to-consumer effort will be able to compete with incumbents, WarnerMedia CEO John Stankey responded that over the next 18 to 24 months, “we’re going to see a pretty substantial structural shift that’s going to occur…some of the incumbents in that are in that space today should expect that their libraries are going to get a lot thinner,” he said.

“75 to 80 percent of their total viewing tonnage is sitting on a lot of that licensed content. So their pressure is they’ve got to make this pivot over the next 18 to 24 months to get people off of viewing the licensed content that maybe sits in our library or sits in a Disney/Fox library, and get it onto their own,” Stankey added.

The company believes that, over time, it will be able to bring in enough new subscribers to its streaming offers to offset the declines related to cord cutting, which is impacting its satellite TV company DirectTV. In Q3 2019, the company lost 359,000 net DirecTV subscribers as more consumers dropped pay TV in favor of streaming services, like Netflix.

 

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TypeScript 3.2 now available

Microsoft has announced a new update to its open-source, superset of the JavaScript programming language. TypeScript 3.2 adds a number of new features such as improved narrowing for tagged unions, error message improvements and editing enhancements.

NuGet users and Visual Studio 2015 users should be aware that with this release and future releases, the team will only be shipping a MSBuild package instead of a standalone compiler package, which will depend on an invokable version of Node.js, according to the company.

“If you’re unfamiliar with TypeScript, it’s a language that brings static type-checking to JavaScript so that you can catch issues before you even run your code – or before you even save your file. It also includes the latest JavaScript features from the ECMAScript standard on older browsers and runtimes by compiling those features into a form that they understand,” Daniel Rosenwasser, program manager of TypeScript, wrote in a post. But beyond type-checking and compiling your code, TypeScript also provides tooling in your favorite editor so that you can jump to the definition of any variable, find who’s using a given function, and automate refactorings and fixes to common problems.”

Some of the major features of this release include:

strictBindCallApply
The latest release comes with stricter checking for bind, call and apply. “In JavaScript, bind, call, and apply are methods on functions that allow us to do things like bind this and partially apply arguments, call functions with a different value for this, and call functions with an array for their arguments,” Rosenwasser wrote. “Unfortunately, in its earlier days, TypeScript lacked the power to model these functions, and bind, call, and apply were all typed to take any number of arguments and returned any. Additionally, ES2015’s arrow functions and rest/spread arguments gave us a new syntax that made it easier to express what some of these methods do – and in a more efficient way as well.”

To address this, Microsoft added parameter types from TypeScript 2.0 and modeling parameter lists with tuple types in TypeScript 2.0. These enable bind, call and apply to be abstracted accurately without hard coding, the company explained. Combined, the two create strictBindCallApply, which declare stricter versions. However, Rosenwasser explained a caveat of this is that it is not able to fully model generic functions or functions with overloads.

Object spread on generic types
While TypeScript already does a good job of supporting the copying of existing properties from existing objects into a new one known as spreads, it had trouble working with generics. Object spread type now permits spread on generics and models.

Configuration inheritance via node_modules packages
“TypeScript 3.2 now resolves tsconfig.jsons from node_modules. When using a bare path for the ‘extends’ field in tsconfig.json, TypeScript will dive into node_modules packages for us,” Rosenwasser wrote.

Object.defineProperty declarations in JavaScript
TypeScript now recognizes declarations that use Object.defineProperty, giving users better completions and stronger type-checking, Rosenwasser explained.

The release also adds support for printing the implied configuration object to the console with –showConfig and type-checking for BigInt. BigInts are an upcoming proposal for ECMAScript for modeling theoretically large integers. “TypeScript 3.2 brings type-checking for BigInts, as well as support for emitting BigInt literals when targeting esnext,” Rosenwasser wrote.

Other features include fixes to type assertions, missing new keyword, infer types from usage outside of noImplicitAny and infer JSDoc types from usage.

As far as improvements, version 3.2 addresses formatting, editing, narrowing for tagged unions, and error messages.

The team is already working on the next release of the language, which is expected to be released in January. Some things on the roadmap include partial type argument inference and improvements to scaffold out declaration files. The full roadmap is available here.

The post TypeScript 3.2 now available appeared first on SD Times.

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Toyota taps Docomo 5G to remotely control its humanoid robot

Toyota introduced T-HR3 to the world right around this time last year. The humanoid robot is capable of mimicking to the motions of a plugged-in human, a la Pacific Rim and countless other sci-fi franchises. The ‘bot’s learned a few new tricks in the intervening years, including, notably, untethered control via 5G.

Using the next-gen wireless tech, a plot is able to remotely control the robot from a distance of up to 10 kilometers (~6 miles). Toyota notes in a press release tied to the news that, in spite of earlier images, demos have been performed with a tethered robot. Using 5G tech from Japanese carrier  Docomo, however, the robot can be controlled from a distance with low latency.

As for what such a robot might actual be good for (beyond knocking the snot out of pint-sized kaiju), Toyota sees potential in homes and healthcare, with an eye on “a prosperous society of mobility.”

At the very least, it’s a nice little bit of press for the promise of 5G connectivity, which networking companies aim to frame as being a relevant technology well beyond just smartphones and computers. The tech will be demoed at a Docomo event in Tokyo early next year. 

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Toyota taps Docomo 5G to remotely control its humanoid robot

Toyota introduced T-HR3 to the world right around this time last year. The humanoid robot is capable of mimicking to the motions of a plugged-in human, a la Pacific Rim and countless other sci-fi franchises. The ‘bot’s learned a few new tricks in the intervening years, including, notably, untethered control via 5G.

Using the next-gen wireless tech, a plot is able to remotely control the robot from a distance of up to 10 kilometers (~6 miles). Toyota notes in a press release tied to the news that, in spite of earlier images, demos have been performed with a tethered robot. Using 5G tech from Japanese carrier  Docomo, however, the robot can be controlled from a distance with low latency.

As for what such a robot might actual be good for (beyond knocking the snot out of pint-sized kaiju), Toyota sees potential in homes and healthcare, with an eye on “a prosperous society of mobility.”

At the very least, it’s a nice little bit of press for the promise of 5G connectivity, which networking companies aim to frame as being a relevant technology well beyond just smartphones and computers. The tech will be demoed at a Docomo event in Tokyo early next year. 

via Click on the link for the full article

Toyota taps Docomo 5G to remotely control its humanoid robot

Toyota introduced T-HR3 to the world right around this time last year. The humanoid robot is capable of mimicking to the motions of a plugged-in human, a la Pacific Rim and countless other sci-fi franchises. The ‘bot’s learned a few new tricks in the intervening years, including, notably, untethered control via 5G.

Using the next-gen wireless tech, a plot is able to remotely control the robot from a distance of up to 10 kilometers (~6 miles). Toyota notes in a press release tied to the news that, in spite of earlier images, demos have been performed with a tethered robot. Using 5G tech from Japanese carrier  Docomo, however, the robot can be controlled from a distance with low latency.

As for what such a robot might actual be good for (beyond knocking the snot out of pint-sized kaiju), Toyota sees potential in homes and healthcare, with an eye on “a prosperous society of mobility.”

At the very least, it’s a nice little bit of press for the promise of 5G connectivity, which networking companies aim to frame as being a relevant technology well beyond just smartphones and computers. The tech will be demoed at a Docomo event in Tokyo early next year. 

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And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2018 is… Legacy

At the very beginning, there were 13 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner.

Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.

After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to five finalists: Imago AI, Kalepso, Legacy, Polyteia and Spike.

These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Sophia Bendz (Atomico), Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst), Luciana Luxiandru (Accel), Ida Tin (Clue), Matt Turck (FirstMark Capital) and Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch).

And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018.

Winner: Legacy

Legacy is tackling an interesting problem: the reduction of sperm motility as we age. By freezing men’s sperm, this Swiss-based company promises to keep our boys safe and potent as we get older, a consideration that many find vital as we marry and have kids later.

Read more about Legacy in our separate post.

Runner-Up: Imago AI

Imago AI is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. To accomplish this, it’s using computer vision and machine learning technology to fully automate the laborious task of measuring crop output and quality.

Read more about Imago AI in our separate post.

via Click on the link for the full article

And the winner of Startup Battlefield at Disrupt Berlin 2018 is… Legacy

At the very beginning, there were 13 startups. After three days of incredibly fierce competition, we now have a winner.

Startups participating in the Startup Battlefield have all been hand-picked to participate in our highly competitive startup competition. They all presented in front of multiple groups of VCs and tech leaders serving as judges for a chance to win $50,000 and the coveted Disrupt Cup.

After hours of deliberations, TechCrunch editors pored over the judges’ notes and narrowed the list down to five finalists: Imago AI, Kalepso, Legacy, Polyteia and Spike.

These startups made their way to the finale to demo in front of our final panel of judges, which included: Sophia Bendz (Atomico), Niko Bonatsos (General Catalyst), Luciana Luxiandru (Accel), Ida Tin (Clue), Matt Turck (FirstMark Capital) and Matthew Panzarino (TechCrunch).

And now, meet the Startup Battlefield winner of TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin 2018.

Winner: Legacy

Legacy is tackling an interesting problem: the reduction of sperm motility as we age. By freezing men’s sperm, this Swiss-based company promises to keep our boys safe and potent as we get older, a consideration that many find vital as we marry and have kids later.

Read more about Legacy in our separate post.

Runner-Up: Imago AI

Imago AI is applying AI to help feed the world’s growing population by increasing crop yields and reducing food waste. To accomplish this, it’s using computer vision and machine learning technology to fully automate the laborious task of measuring crop output and quality.

Read more about Imago AI in our separate post.

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SD Times news digest: Mozilla’s Firefox Reality 1.1, Code Dx Enterprise 3.5, and Linx AWS plugins

Mozilla has released a new update to its mixed reality browser, Firefox Reality. Firefox Reality 1.1 features support for 360 videos, localization to seven new languages, a new dedicated theater viewing mode, and performance improvements.

In the future, the Firefox Reality team hopes to add more content sharing and syncing features, multiple windows, and tab support.

Code Dx Enterprise 3.5 now available
Code Dx has announced a new version of its security tool, Code Dx Enterprise. Code Dx Enterprise 3.5 includes a new dashboard with metric visualization. This gives security professionals more critical information about their application testing activities.

The latest release also includes two-way integration with Jira and MISRA (Motor Industry Software Reliability Association) compliance.

“We partnered with leading cybersecurity visualization experts to conduct research to determine what information AppSec practitioners really need to see and how that data should be shown,” said Ken Prole, chief technology officer at Code Dx. “Now, users of Code Dx Enterprise have a complete dashboard that guides them through the entire AppSec testing process, presenting all the information from multiple testing tools in one place and in a way that makes sense to them.”

Linx adds new AWS plugins
Low-code tool provider Linx has added new plugins for AWS in its latest release. According to the company, this addition will enable the platform to better serve IT professionals looking to automate processes.

“Linx and its drag-and-drop methodology offers IT professionals the power of assembling complex automation tasks without writing a single line of code,” said Gawie Yssel, CTO of Linx. “Our customers find that they can develop and maintain automated tasks faster than ever before. We see this update as an effective enabler to reduce development time for IT teams and businesses who are adopting AWS services.”

NodeSource launches the N|Solid runtime layer for AWS Lambda
NodeSource has launched the N|Solid runtime layer for monitoring the performance of functions running on AWS Lambda. N|Solid provides low-impact monitoring and improved security for Node.js applications.

“As enterprises choose AWS Lambda and embrace Node.js to power their digital transformation experiences, additional security, insights and metrics are required to balance performance and costs,” said Thomas DeMeo, CEO of NodeSource. “These mission-critical insights are mandatory for any environment that cares about delivering the best customer experience.”

 

The post SD Times news digest: Mozilla’s Firefox Reality 1.1, Code Dx Enterprise 3.5, and Linx AWS plugins appeared first on SD Times.

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U.S. mobile app stores had their biggest day ever on Black Friday 2018

Black Friday wasn’t just a boon for e-commerce retailers, it helped the mobile app stores break new records, too. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, the combined consumer spending across the U.S. Apple App Store and Google Play on Black Friday 2018 reached $75.9 million – a record for the most ever spent in a single day on both stores.

The App Store accounted for most of that figure, however, with U.S. consumers spending a record $52 million on Black Friday. That’s a 31.6 percent increase in spending over last year’s shopping event, when consumers then spent $39.5 million.

It’s also notably higher than Christmas 2017, when spending reached $39.8 million – typically a strong day for app purchases and in-app sales, as consumers unwrap new iPhones.

The App Store’s $52 million was more than double the $23.9 million spent on Google Play during the same time.

Sensor Tower attributes the increased spending to a variety of factors, largely driven by mobile gaming. Game makers this year got in on the Black Friday action by offering players discounts on in-app purchases and other special bundles.

On the U.S. App Store, mobile gaming accounted for 68 percent of Black Friday spending, with consumers spending $35.4 million on games. That’s a 63 percent increase from the week prior, the report notes.

Other categories saw a boost, too, including Food & Drink and Sports – both reflective of the leisure time consumers had over the holidays. Food & Drink grew 34 percent while Sports grew 49 percent, Sensor Tower found, with top apps like NYT Cooking and ESPN: Live Sports and Scores benefitting from the surge.

Though the Black Friday shopping holiday is heavily associated with the U.S. because of its ties to Thanksgiving, the sales event is making its way around the world, too.

On the mobile app stores, that meant worldwide consumer spending saw a jump this year, as well.

The firm found that $117.3 million was spent by App Store users outside the United States on Black Friday, bringing the global total to $169.3 million, up 18.4 percent from 2017. The spending outside the U.S. was up 13.9 percent year-over-year, but that’s lower than the U.S.’s year-over-year growth of 31.6 percent between Black Friday 2017 and Black Friday 2018.

Also of note: while Amazon had its biggest day ever on Cyber Monday 2018, Cyber Monday didn’t perform as well on the app stores. In the U.S., app revenue was up about 20 percent versus the previous Cyber Monday to reach an estimated $37 million.

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Lawmakers say Amazon’s facial recognition software may be racially biased and harm free expression

Amazon has “failed to provide sufficient answers” about its controversial facial recognition software, Rekognition — and lawmakers won’t take the company’s usual silent treatment for an answer.

The letter, signed by eight lawmakers — including Sen. Edward Markey and Reps. John Lewis and Judy Chu — called on Amazon chief executive Jeff Bezos to explain how the company’s technology works — and where it will be used.

It comes after the cloud and retail giant secured several high-profile contracts with the U.S. government and at least one major metropolitan city — including Orlando, Florida — for surveillance.

The lawmakers said that they expressed a “heightened concern given recent reports that Amazon is actively marketing its biometric technology to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, as well as other reports of pilot programs lacking any hands-on training from Amazon for participating law enforcement officers.”

They also said that the system suffers from accuracy issues — which could lead to racial bias, and harm citizens’ constitutional rights to free expression.

“However, at this time, we have serious concerns that this type of product has significant accuracy issues, places disproportionate burdens on communities of color, and could stifle Americans’ willingness to exercise their First Amendment rights in public,” the letter said.

The lawmakers want Amazon to explain how Amazon tests for accuracy and if those tests have been independently verified — and how the company tests for bias.

It comes after the ACLU found that the software failed to facially recognize 28 members of Congress, with a higher failure rate towards people of color.

The facial recognition software has been controversial from the start. Even after concerns from its own employees, Amazon said it would push ahead and sell the technology regardless.

Amazon has a little over two weeks to respond to the lawmakers. A spokesperson for Amazon did not respond to a request for comment.

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