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Nicholas DiMeo

Nicholas DiMeo

Former Segment Host

Current Host

Current UpStream Contributor

Current Product Reviewer

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With over ten years of audio engineering experience, Nick's addition to PLuGHiTz Corporation is best served when he is behind the mixing board every Sunday night to produce the audio side of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology, Piltch Point and PLuGHiTz Live Night Cap. While mixing live every week, his previous radio show hosting experience gives him the ability to co-host as well, giving each show a unique flare with his slightly off-center, yet still realistic take on all things tech. An integral part of the show, you can find Nick always enveloped in coming up with new (and sometimes crazy) ideas and content for the show and you can always expect the most direct opinion on the stories that he feels need to be shared with the world. During the few hours where Nick isn't sleeping or working on ways to improve the company, he spends his free time going to hockey and football games and playing the latest titles on Xbox 360. Email him for his gamertag and add him today for a fun escape from the normal monotony and annoyance that the Xbox LIVE gaming community can sometimes be!

Recent UpStream Articles

Rovio to Produce Angry Birds Movie, TV Show

posted Sunday Mar 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Rovio to Produce <i>Angry Birds</i> Movie, TV Show

Ever get so saturated with a brand or a concept that you never want to see it again, and then a movie comes out about it? Good news: this is exactly what's going to happen with Angry Birds as Rovio tries to revive the franchise and bring in more sales with its name.

The Finnish game studio will be heading up a 3D movie to bring more awareness to the Angry Birds brand, as if we don't already know about it. The company did report a 73 percent decline in profits recently though, which make have lead to this decision. Rovio attests this loss to a lack of merchandising sales and a drop in licensing deals.

Total sales this year have been down 9 percent at $169 million, however mobile revenue is up 16 percent to almost $120 million. The company also saw a loss in operating profit of $12 million. With competition in the market from big players like Disney Infinity, Skylanders and Nintendo's amiibo, virtual games have started to win out over quick-hit mobile titles by adding in the physical touch to an otherwise digital product.

This move into TV is definitely placing Rovio into an entertainment empire over just being a game company who licenses merchandise. The film is estimated to cost around $80 million, and part of the marketing costs will be paid by Sony Entertainment. It's said that the marketing budget will exceed the actual production budget for the movie. On top of the 3D movie, a TV series is being worked on simultaneously.

The movie sales may be the jump Rovio needs in order to figure out where the company needs to focus. Looking at the past two years, the studio has failed to quickly adapt to the market, and still charges for some of its Angry Birds titles, where the norm lately has been around free-to-enter games with paid content inside of it (no matter how much I dislike the idea, save for one). If the movie does well, the public will have more demand in games, and in turn, Rovio will have to create something new to satiate the consumers who just left the movie theaters. If they're smart, they launch a game based around the movie and include a free download link with your paid movie ticket. Just so it's on record, if they do this, I expect to see royalties for the idea.

read more...

Sony Posts Third Quarter Net Profit

posted Sunday Mar 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Sony Posts Third Quarter Net Profit

For the past few years, we've covered the majority of Sony's downfalls and losses. That's not even counting the massive data breaches and the PSN attack. So it's only appropriate that we also report the good news, like we did last month. This week adds to the rare occurrence of a Sony positive, where the company actually posted a profit.

Sony announced this week that it made $1.5 billion in profit for its third quarter, which is up 2.2 percent from its original estimate and is definitely a sign of the company finally turning the ship in the right direction. The report attributes the success to several heavy cost-cutting measures, as well as strong sales in sensors and in the PlayStation brand. This is also better than the previous year, as Sony doubled its profits this year against last.

For Sony Pictures, the division that was the target of a quarter-billion dollar budget cut that included two movies, as well as the same division that fell victim to the #GOP attack, the studio saw some light at the end of this arduous tunnel. Revenue was up 6.5 percent from last year, which is just slightly over their predictions and estimates for the quarter.

Outlook for the year, however, has not changed, as Sony still predicts an annual loss. The good news is that shares have risen more than 30 percent based off the good news and off the heels on the huge budget cuts the company has done. But despite the cuts to bring profit to the quarter, the story here is that Sony put up a profit for a quarter and is continuing a promising, yet painstakingly slow path to recovery. The PlayStation brand still remains strong and we're seeing changes in divisions that haven't been close to breaking even for some time.

read more...

Jay-Z Acquires Controlling Stake in High-Quality Music-Streaming Company

posted Sunday Mar 22, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hip-hop and business mogul Jay-Z has been known to put his heavily-wealthy hands into a lot of different types of endeavors. He owns clubs, fitness centers, a sports management team and even a basketball team. But now, Mr. Carter had looked towards a music service company that is poised to rival Spotify.

Jay-Z has placed a $56 million bid in order to buy a controlling stake in Swedish technology company Aspiro. Aspiro might be best recognized in the United States for its two streaming companies, WiMP and Tidal. The offer was made in January underneath Project Panther Bidco, a holding entity that he owns. The offer to acquire was made in January, with shareholders having until this week to approve, and over 90 percent approved of the deal.

The important acquisition for Jay-Z is Tidal, which is a high-fidelity music-streaming service. It's not only made for the audiophile, but is made for anyone who has a nice set of headphones or other top audio equipment. Most recently, Jay-Z has been involved in production work for musical scores and soundtracks, so his interest in a platform that can offer higher-quality audio files is certainly justifiable. Not only does Tidal serve up better quality music, but WiMP also offers up a high-definition subscription package. 20,000 of its 512,000 paying customers have signed up for the premium service.

A spokesperson for Project Panther finalized the deal in a statement.

All conditions for completion of the offer have been fulfilled, and the offer is therefore declared unconditional. Accordingly, Panther will complete the acquisition of the shares tendered in the offer.

Aspiro will also be removed from the Nasdaq Stockholm. Jay-Z added to the announcement by saying, "Panther's strategic ambition revolves around global expansion and upscaling of Aspiro's platform, technology and services." Beyond that, Mr. Carter has not mentioned his plans for Aspiro. WiMP and Tidal moving forward.

In the end, more and more consumers are seeking higher-quality audio files for their higher-quality headphones, and many want to take that music on the go. Those files, however, take up a lot more space, allowing less music to be carried with you. Cue the latest entrance of applications like Tidal, Deezer and Pono.

read more...

NBCUniversal to Launch Comedy Video Platform

posted Sunday Mar 8, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

NBCUniversal to Launch Comedy Video Platform

Aereo's demise, by coincidence or not, has sprung a bunch of standalone video on-demand subscription apps created by major broadcasters or cable companies. HBO Now, SlingTV, Starz and CBS all come to mind, and mixed in with that are the time-tested services like Netflix and Hulu. However, even with NBCUniversal's involvement in many services already, including their own monthly subscription platform, the company is launching yet another online video network.

This one is a little different, as it will be focused on NBCUniversal's comedy, but it will certainly add to the company's portfolio of Internet offerings that they're involved in. The service is still in the beginning phase of development, but it is said that it will contain The Tonight Show and Saturday Night Live. NBCUniversal's newest employee, Evan Shapiro, who is the executive VP for digital enterprises, will be spearheading the endeavor.

This gives NBCUniversal four different video on-demand services they're directly involved in, with Radius, NBC's fitness-based channel, being the newest and latest project. Could so much parity between offerings cause NBC more trouble? Or will genre-specific programming play better to the consumer? We'll know the fate of this comedy-based channel in just a few short months.

read more...

Microsoft Stays Committed to the Xbox 360 with New Preview Program

posted Sunday Mar 8, 2015 by Nicholas DiMeo

Microsoft Stays Committed to the Xbox 360 with New Preview Program

If you wanted concrete proof that Microsoft was still committed to the Xbox 360, Major Nelson's announcement this week should have been the proof you were looking for. The 360 is here to stay, for at least the next handful of years, and the new Preview Program for the 360 should eliminate any doubt that the console would be phased out.

From Major Nelson's blog,

Starting in early March select invitees will be able to join the Xbox 360 Preview program. This will work much like the Xbox One preview - and selected customers will be able to sign-up directly from their Xbox 360. Look for a special Xbox Live message then head to Settings, then account then under account management if you've been selected, you'll see Xbox 360 Preview Registration. Sign up there and enroll your console. Nothing will happen yet, but we'll let you know when the Preview is ready to begin through a Xbox Live message.

In our upcoming release will be addressing common customer issues including improving the ability to troubleshoot common network issues from the 360 and adding a Network Connectivity test including Download and Upload speed tests.

There will be even more changes coming later this year - so sign up to be a part of the Xbox 360 Preview Program.

I've already received my invite and have accepted the new terms, but it doesn't appear that any updates have been pushed yet. Rumors are that we'll see a Windows 10-style skin in the coming months, along with some enhancements towards the media side of the console. Of course, all of that could change and we could see new game additions. At this point, all we know is that Microsoft is still committed to the Xbox 360 and it's here to stay for a while. It's been my favorite go-to media device in the bedroom and spare room, with the Xbox One taking its throne as my living room device.

Do you still have a 360? What do you use it for more, gaming or media? Let us know in the comments section.

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