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Wednesday Wrap: Apple trade-in, Roksan price drop, 4K problems

The Juncker Commission, the European Commission in office since 1st November 2014, has outlined plans to remove 'online borders' in order to create a Digital Single Market.

The EU Commission says “it no longer makes sense for each EU country to have its own rules for telecommunications services, copyright, data protection or the management of radio spectrum”.

The plans include improving cross-border e-commerce, with a particular focus on lowering delivery charges, and modernising copyright law.

What does this mean to you? Services such as Netflix may no longer be able to offer different programmes in different markets, and the same will apply to other apps and services.

A full Digital Single Market Strategy will be unveiled in May.

Source: Europa

Freeview Play standards

The Digital TV Group (DTG) has published the new D-Book 8, which provides the TV industry with the tools and information to support Freeview Play. It also includes support for future HEVC broadcasts.

Freeview Play is a new service that will rival the likes of YouView by offering live, catch-up and on-demand television from one box.

Due to it needing an internet connection, the D-Book 8 covers the changes to broadcast metadata to ensure that Freeview Play boxes and devices work properly.

While the D-Book 8 is aimed at supporting Freeview and YouView platforms, it can also be used as reference for other digital platforms such as EE TV.

Source: DTG

MORE: Freeview rebrands to launch Freeview Play connected TV service

HEVC patent issues

HEVC Advance, a licensing administrator, has announced a new HEVC Advance patent pool. It will run alongside another HEVC patent pool from MPEG LA.

HEVC Advance says its pool will “provide an efficient and transparent means for accessing and licensing HEVC essential patents.”

An initial list of licensors is expected to include General Electric, Dolby, Technicolor, Philips and Mitusbishi Electric. The patent pool will officially launch in Q3 of 2015.

HEVC says its simplifying licensing and wants to “deliver a balanced business model that supports HEVC commercialisation", but there could be implications for the release of 4K-compatible products.

Source: HEVC Adavnce, CNET

Image credit: After Dawn

Aivvy Q self-learning headphones

Described as the first Internet of Things (IoT) headphones, the Aivvy Q on-ears learn your music preferences and recommend additional music from the Aivvy cloud for playback.

The headphones feature active noise cancellation and are gesture-controlled, allowing you to tap and swipe your way through your music collection on the headphones' 32GB internal storage.

Interestingly, Aivvy claims the music stored in its cloud is “CD quality or higher” and the built-in rechargeable battery provides up to 40 hours of continuous playback.

They’re made from a combination of leather, aluminium and plastic and come in various colour choices.

The product is seeking funding on Kickstarter, with pledge amounts starting from $249. The headphones have already surpassed their main funding target of $125,000, so they’re expected to ship worldwide from October 2015.

Source: Kickstarter

Apple hires Dolby executive

Following the recruit of BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Apple has hired another big name in the form of Mike Rockwell, the Executive Vice President of Dolby.

A source, speaking to, has said Apple has hired Rockwell “to bolster the audio and display performance of future Apple products”.

Rockwell was in charge of Dolby's Advanced Technology Group, which was responsible for the Dolby Vision TV service. Before becoming executive VP, he headed up all of Dolby's product technologies, leading development for "innovations in sound quality in the cinema, in the home, in mobile and portable devices".

It's clear that Apple is looking to improve its audio technologies, with the new Apple streaming service expected to launch later this year.


Roksan K2 price drop

Roksan has reduced the price of its K2 range: the K2 integrated amplifier; K2 BT (pictured) and K2 stereo power amplifier.

The price drop is in part due to the arrival of the K3 series. Roksan says the price changes will mean the products “appeal to a wider pool of hi-fi enthusiasts than ever before”.

The K2 integrated amp has gone from £875 to £700, the K2 BT has dropped from £945 to £800, and the K2 Stereo Power Amp was £775 and is now £650.

Apple trade-in programme

If you’re an Android user who’s tempted by the iPhone but put off by the cost, you’re now in luck.

Apple will soon be introducing a trade-in programme that will accept non-iOS devices, including both Android and Blackberry phones, giving you a discount on an Apple product when you turn over your non-Apple phone.

Apple Store staff are being trained to transfer contacts from non-iOS phones over to the iPhone. Other stored data will have to be done by the customer.

The new trade-in programme will be available in multiple countries, including the US and UK.

Source: 9to5 Mac

MORE: Apple iPhone 6 review

Red Button+

The BBC has introduced a new Red Button+ service, that will run alongside the current Red Button service.

Red Button+ will bring together live TV, online and BBC iPlayer on your TV, and as such, is only available on Internet connected TVs.

The service has been available on Virgin Media’s TiVo platform since December 2012 and on a range of internet connected TVs from Sony, Samsung, LG and Panasonic. It’s also available on EE TV and YouView. You can find a full list of compatible TVs here.

As well providing access to BBC News, Weather and Sport, the new service will have dedicated sections for Glastonbury and Wimbledon.

Source: BBC

Image credit: Gizmodo

Max was a staff writer on What Hi-Fi? and subsequently spent a good few years writing news and features for various technology and hi-fi publications, before jumping on a plane in search of a more fruitful life in Australia. Now based in Byron Bay, he writes about tech, health, fitness and style.