Half a year after being announced at Google I/O, Android TV is picking up steam: Sony, Sharp and TP Vision will all start to ship Android TV-powered TV sets this spring, Google announced at CES in Las Vegas Tuesday. And Razer officially introduced its micro-console at the show, which the company had first announced at I/O as well. The $100 device ($150 if you buy it with a controller) combines Android TV with the ability to stream games from your PC.
Google is pushing ahead with its VP9 video codec, and a bunch of partners are actually going to show off products at CES in Las Vegas this week: Sony, LG and Sharp are all getting ready to ship 4K TVs that support VP9, and the YouTube app on those devices is already taking advantage of it to stream high-resolution content with lower bit rates. Altogether, there are now 26 partners launching products that use VP9 for different kinds of screens, according to a YouTube blog post, which also pointed out that VP9 helped to more than double YouTube HD and 4k video consumption in emerging markets.
Remember iTunes? Digital music downloads may not be dead yet, but the format is quickly following the CD in its decline. New numbers from Nielsen show that digital album sales in the U.S. declined by 9 percent in 2014, to 106.5 million, down from 117.6 in 2013. Including CDs, album sales even fell 11 percent. Digital song sales are also down 11 percent, with iTunes & Co. selling 1.1 billion tracks, down from 1.26 billion in 2013. But there’s also good news for the music biz: On-demand streaming was up 54 percent over 2013, with 164 billion songs streamed throughout the year.
The ebook subscription service Scribd has raised $22 million in new funding, TechCrunch reported Friday, in a round led by Khosla Ventures and including Redpoint Ventures, Charles River Ventures and Silicon Valley Bank. The company’s total funding is $48 million. Scribd now works with two of the big five publishers — HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster — and recently added audiobooks to its $8.99-per-month service.