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Online video wars: 5 stories about to disrupt the industry

April 29, 2016

By Alexander N. Lucas

Last week was huge for online video news, largely due to the 2016 NAB Show in Las Vegas, which brings media and entertainment professionals together. Here are the top five stories over the last few weeks about the future and trends in online video.  And you can chill, because the stories are bigger than just Netflix.

No. 1:  VR and AR meet MR

One of the most enigmatic releases last week was a video from Magic Leap that showed a futuristic heads-up display. While the video is compelling, as are their others, there is little information straight from the company about their mixed-reality (MR) headset. Unlike full goggles like the Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR, Magic Leap is much more like the failed Google Glass, with semi-transparent lenses with visual overlays (and likely spatial audio). Sound intriguing? Check out this fantastic article from Kevin Kelly at Wired that goes behind the scenes of Magic Leap.

No. 2: The Prime stands alone

After snagging more primetime Emmys than Netflix last year, Amazon is seeking to expand its viewer base by allowing a monthly Prime video subscription. This $8.99 monthly service comes at the same time Netflix is raising its monthly cost to $9.99. The interesting thing about this model is that the $8.99 monthly is only about two dollars a month less than the full Prime membership, though consumers must pay for Amazon Prime in one lump sum. The subscription wars are heating up!

No. 3: All the beautiful colors

Netflix quietly rolled out high-dynamic range (HDR) color support earlier this year, but last week the company announced an expanded lineup through 2016, primarily in this year’s crop of original Marvel series. Netflix is far from the first into this space, as YouTube and Amazon have also added HDR support, though all of these providers will need to wait until consumers have televisions capable of showing this broad range of colors and contrast. It is important to note the speed of the technology arms race not only with HDR but with 4K resolution.

No. 4: 360˚ and live

While 360˚ video is still trying to gain widespread adoption, YouTube has further pushed forward launching live 360˚ video broadcasts. Last weekend was the grand demonstration, as Coachella was broadcasted live in 360˚ video. While in large part a gimmick, it will truly be impressive if the spatial audio, which changes the audio as you rotate the camera, can accurately create the sense of moving you around during a concert.

If you haven’t seen any 360˚ video yet, be sure to check out this demo from last year in anticipation of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

No. 5: Facebook finally to start policing itself

Many online content creators have been furious with how Facebook has turned a blind eye to “freebooting,” or the unauthorized piracy of content for profit. While Facebook has attempted to add tools in the past to stop some of this practice, a new Rights Manager was unveiled last week to proactively match pirated content to the creator’s digital library. Rights Manager will require digital content creators to upload all their content onto Facebook to ensure the ability to flag content, further pushing content creators into using the platform.

To see why this was a much-needed tool, check out the video above created by Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell


Online video continues to grow, and competition in the space is leading to both more quality content and innovative technological advances. At this pace, I couldn’t even get to the stories about Redbox rebooting their digital presence, IBM’s moves in the video market or the other tidbits coming out of the NAB Show. Which of these stories strikes you the most intriguing? Join the conversation on LinkedIn. Meanwhile be sure to check out some of our other related blog articles:

A self-styled storyteller, Alexander Lucas loves to share his vast knowledge of tech, innovation and design trivia. TEKsystems’ resident video designer is also an avid history buff and writes about technology innovation through time.

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