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HBO Max, the AT&T-owned streaming service that combines HBO with WarnerMedia content, has grown to 4.1 million subscribers, since its launch on May 27. Combined, HBO and HBO Max reached a total of 36.3 million U.S. subscribers by the end of the second quarter, according to statements made by AT&T CEO John Stankey on today’s earnings call. That figure has grown 5% from the 34.6 million subscribers the properties together had at the end of last year.

The 4.1 million figure breaks down as around 3 million retail subscribers and over 1 million were wholesale subscribers who came to the new service via one of AT&T wireless plans, where the service is bundled.

Though it’s still early days for HBO Max, these numbers indicate that the vast majority of traditional HBO customers have not yet tried HBO Max, even though it’s free for them to use. Currently, HBO customers can authenticate with HBO Max using their cable or satellite TV provider account information. HBO Now subscribers, meanwhile, are automatically upgraded to Max across Hulu, mobile apps, select ISPs, and the HBO Now site.

The HBO strategy, from a consumer perspective, has been confusing. HBO is known as premium channel with mostly adult content. This chanel had been distributed across mobile devices as HBO GO for traditional pay TV customers and HBO Now for over-the-top users. With the launch of HBO Max, the goal has been to transform HBO into a broader offering for the whole family, similar to Netflix. To do so, HBO, WarnerMedia and other licensed content was combined under one roof.

AT&T said today that HBO Max customers spent, on average, 70% more time viewing the service on a weekly basis, compared with HBO Now. It also stressed the popularity of its original content, noting that all 6 of its new originals found themselves ranked among the top 25 viewed series on the platform. By August, HBO Max will have 21 new original series on the platform.

But WarnerMedia still wants to distribute “standard” HBO to its larger, existing customer base, and has a number of deals in place to do so across a variety of streaming TV services, like Hulu, and platforms, like Apple TV, in addition to numerous pay TV providers. In addition, HBO is sold as an add-on premium subscription across some platforms, like Amazon and Roku.

That makes it difficult for consumers to understand which version of HBO they can get and where it will work.

That significant challenge is made worse by the fact that WarnerMedia has not yet been able to ink deals for HBO Max with the two top streaming media platform providers in the U.S.: Amazon and Roku, which control 70% of the market. That means consumers who have heard of the new service won’t be able to find the app on these devices.

Stankey addressed this problem today when speaking to investors.

“We’ve tried repeatedly to make HBO Max available to all customers using Amazon Fire devices, including those customers that have purchased HBO via Amazon,” he said. “Unfortunately, Amazon has taken an approach of treating HBO Max and its customers differently than how they’ve chosen to treat other services, and their customers.”

The comments, which notably skip over any mention of Roku, come only days before Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is set to testify before the House Judiciary Antitrust Subcommittee, along with CEOs from Apple, Google and Facebook, as part of the Committee’s ongoing investigation of potential anti-competitive practices in the digital marketplace.

One area of concern for the Committee is the power and control the tech companies have over their digital marketplaces, where they set terms, ban apps and services from distribution, and take commissions from businesses that compete with their own.

AT&T’s issue with Amazon, in this case, has to do with how it wants to distribute HBO Max across the media platforms. With its shift in strategy, AT&T aims to offer consumers a standalone app, similar to Netflix — as it does now on Apple TV and Android TV. But Amazon and Roku want to also sell subscriptions to HBO Max like they currently do for HBO through the Amazon Prime Video Channels platform and Roku’s Premium Subscription platform on The Roku Channel.

With Roku’s investment in The Roku Channel it’s been distancing itself from being the neutral platform it once was, as it’s now motivated to make deals that benefit its own goals around The Roku Channel’s subscription marketplace, the same as other non-neutral players, like Amazon. This is not a problem unique to HBO Max, either. NBCU’s new streaming service Peacock also failed to offer Roku and Fire TV support at launch, for similar reasons. Unfortunately, the consumer is the one who ultimately loses here as tech giants grapple over not only the dollars, but who will own the customer relationship in the long run.

Without distribution, AT&T’s WarnerMedia could be challenged to meet its goals for HBO Max.

The company, however, claims it’s still on track for 50-55 million HBO Max subscribers in the U.S by 2025. As part of this strategy, WarnerMedia also plans to launch HBO Max internationally and offer a lower-cost, as-supported version of the service sometime next year.

 



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Realme Q Series Phone Allegedly Spotted on TENAA, Key Specifications Tipped

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Realme Q series seem to be getting a new smartphone and it allegedly been spotted on TENAA, offering a glimpse of the possible specifications. A Realme smartphone with model number RMX2117 was spotted on the regulator’s website and it is being speculated that the phone could be a part of the company’s Q series that already includes one phone. The TENAA listing shows the phone sporting a 6.5-inch display and powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz. The listing also hints that the phone may carry up to 8GB of RAM and up to 256GB of onboard storage. Realme hasn’t officially confirmed any of the specifications.

As per the listing on TENAA, the smartphone with model number RMX2117 sports a 6.5-inch full-HD+ (1,080×2,400 pixels) display with a 20:9 aspect ratio. Allegedly belonging to the rumoured Realme Q series, the smartphone supports 5G and is powered by an octa-core SoC clocked at 2.4GHz.

The Realme Q series phone may be launched in China in three RAM options – 4GB, 6GB, and 8GB, that may be coupled with three inbuilt storage configurations – 64GB, 128GB, and 256GB. The listing also shows a microSD card slot for storage expansion. It may be launched in four colour options – Black, Blue, Gray, and Silver.

The phone is seen featuring a rectangular camera module that includes a 48-megapixel primary sensor, an 8-megapixel snapper, and a 2-megapixel shooter. For selfies and video calls, the phone features a 16-megapixel camera at the front. The Realme RMX2117 smartphone packs a 4,900mAh battery. The handset runs on Android 10 and features a side-mounted fingerprint scanner. The smartphone measures 162.2 x 75.1 x 9.1mm and weighs 194 grams.

The development comes a week after Realme vice president Xu Qi Chase teased the arrival of a new series, including the Q series, V series, and X series, with in a poster. Chase noted that the upcoming phone will be powered by a 5nm flagship chipset.


Redmi Note 8 or Realme 5s: Which is the best phone under Rs. 10,000 in India right now? We discussed this on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.

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How to remove the 3D Objects folder from File Explorer in Windows 10

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The 3D Objects folder is not useful for many users but removing it from File Explorer in Windows 10 requires a tweak of the Registry File. We show you how.

Image: scyther5, Getty Images/iStockphoto

In addition to the traditional Paint application, which has been a part of Windows since its beginning, Microsoft has also added Paint 3D to its list of standard Windows 10 applications. When combined with a touch display and a stylus or pen, Paint 3D can be a powerful tool for creating three-dimensional objects, a feature many artists and designers find useful.

SEE: 30 Excel tips you need to know (TechRepublic Premium)

However, if you are not inclined to use Paint 3D, you may find the prominence of a 3D Objects folder, and possibly several other folders, on the This PC screen of File Explorer obtrusive and unnecessary. Unfortunately, you cannot remove those folders from File Explorer with a simple change to default settings. That procedure requires an edit of the Windows 10 Registry File.

This how-to tutorial shows you how to remove the 3D Objects folder, and other folders, from the This PC screen of the Windows 10 File Explorer.

How to remove 3D Objects folder from File Explorer

Disclaimer: Editing the Windows Registry file is a serious undertaking. A corrupted Windows Registry file could render your computer inoperable, requiring a reinstallation of the Windows 10 operating system and potential loss of data. Back up the Windows 10 Registry file and create a valid restore point before you proceed.

To get a better idea of what we are talking about, open File Explorer in Windows 10 and then navigate to the This PC screen, as shown in Figure A. Take note of the default listing of folders in the right-hand window.

Figure A

a-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

We are going to concentrate our efforts on the 3D Objects folder, but this technique will work for any of the default folders listed in that section of File Explorer, if you know the code. Further, if you are running the 64-bit version of Windows 10, you will have to perform two edits.

Type “regedit” into the search box on the Windows 10 desktop and select the appropriate result to start the Registry Editor application. As shown in Figure B, navigate to this key (it’s a deep dive):

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMyComputerNameSpace

Figure B

b-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

To complicate matters, the subkeys in the NameSpace section are coded, so you have to carefully choose the key with this code (on my computer, it was in the second position, see Figure C):

{0DB7E03F-FC29-4DC6-9020-FF41B59E513A}

Figure C

c-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and confirm your action.

If you are running the 32-bit version of Windows 10, you have completed the procedure, however, if you are running the 64-bit version, you will have to perform a second edit. As shown in Figure D, navigate to this key:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREWow6432NodeMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerMyComputerNameSpace

Figure D

d-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

As before, locate this coded key in the NameSpace folder, as shown in Figure E:

{0DB7E03F-FC29-4DC6-9020-FF41B59E513A}

Figure E

e-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

Right-click the key and select “Delete” from the context menu and then confirm your selection to complete the process. Exit out of the Registry File editor. The change should take effect the next time you open File Explorer.

The 3D Objects folder is located in the Users folder and will still be there after implementing this procedure, but it will no longer be displayed so prominently in the This PC section of File Explorer, as shown in Figure F.

Figure F

f-remove-folders-file-explorer.jpg

To restore the 3D Objects folder to File Explorer, add the coded key back into the two NameSpace Folders using the Registry File Editor.

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Twist on CRISPR Gene Editing Treats Adult-Onset Muscular Dystrophy in Mice

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Myotonic dystrophy type I is the most common type of adult-onset muscular dystrophy. People with the condition inherit repeated DNA segments that lead to the toxic buildup of repetitive RNA, the messenger that carries a gene’s recipe to the cell’s protein-making machinery. As a result, people born with myotonic dystrophy experience progressive muscle wasting and weakness and a wide variety of other debilitating symptoms.

CRISPR-Cas9 is a technique increasingly used in efforts to correct the genetic (DNA) defects that cause a variety of diseases. A few years ago, University of California San Diego School of Medicine researchers redirected the technique to instead modify RNA in a method they call RNA-targeting Cas9 (RCas9).

Twist on CRISPR Gene Editing Treats Adult Onset Muscular Dystrophy in

Green muscle fibers with RCas9 (the therapeutic candidate for myotonic dystrophy) have eliminated their toxic RNA (red), whereas fibers lacking RCas9 (dark) have persisting toxic RNA (red). Credit: UC San Diego

In a new study published in Nature Biomedical Engineering, the team demonstrates that one dose of RCas9 gene therapy can chew up toxic RNA and almost completely reverse symptoms in a mouse model of myotonic dystrophy.

“Many other severe neuromuscular diseases, such as Huntington’s and ALS, are also caused by similar RNA buildup,” said senior author Gene Yeo, PhD, professor of cellular and molecular medicine at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “There are no cures for these diseases.” Yeo led the study with collaborators at Locanabio, Inc. and the University of Florida.

Normally, CRISPR-Cas9 works by directing an enzyme called Cas9 to cut a specific target gene (DNA), thereby allowing researchers to inactivate or replace the gene. RCas9 works similarly, but Cas9 is guided to an RNA molecule instead of DNA.

In a 2016 study, Yeo’s team demonstrated that RCas9 worked by using it to track RNA in live cells. In a 2017 study in lab models and patient-derived cells, the researchers used RCas9 to eliminate 95 percent of the aberrant RNA linked to myotonic dystrophy type 1 and type 2, one type of ALS and Huntington’s disease.

The current study advances RCas9 therapy further, reversing myotonic dystrophy type 1 in a living organism: a mouse model of the disease.

The approach is a type of gene therapy. The team packaged RCas9 in a non-infectious virus, which is needed to deliver the RNA-chewing enzyme inside cells. They gave the mice a single dose of the therapy or a mock treatment.

RCas9 reduced aberrant RNA repeats by more than 50 percent, varying a bit depending on the tissue, and the treated myotonic dystrophy mice became essentially indistinguishable from healthy mice.

Initially, the team was worried that the RCas9 proteins, which are derived from bacteria, might cause an immune reaction in the mice and be rapidly cleared away. So they tried suppressing the mice’s immune systems briefly during treatment. As a result, they were surprised and pleased to discover that they prevented immune reaction and clearance, leaving the viral vehicle and its RCas9 cargo to persist, and get the job done. What’s more, they did not see signs of muscle damage. In contrast, they saw an increase in the activity of genes involved in new muscle formation.

“This opens up the floodgates to start testing RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas9 as a potential approach to treat other human genetic diseases — there are at least 20 caused by buildup of repetitive RNAs,” Yeo said.

It remains to be seen if RCas9-based therapies will work in humans, or if they might cause deleterious side effects, such as eliciting an undesired immune reaction. Preclinical studies such as this one will help the team work out potential toxicities and evaluate long-term exposure.

In 2017, Yeo co-founded a company called Locanabio to accelerate the development of RNA-targeting CRISPR-Cas9 through preclinical testing and into clinical trials for the treatment of myotonic dystrophy and potentially other diseases.

Source: UC San Diego




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