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Splatoon: Nintendo Hits You With Its Best Shot
May 7, 2015
Nintendo has invited players to paint the town red -- and green and blue and a palette of other colors -- in Global Testfire events over the weekend for Splatoon, a new game launching May 29 exclusively on the Wii U. The Testfire events will provide three hour-long windows to try out Splatoon and provide Nintendo with the server stress-testing the game will need for a successful launch.
YouTube Marks 10 Years of Nondisruptive Revolution
April 23, 2015
YouTube on Thursday celebrated its first full decade in business. It was 10 years ago to the day that cofounder Jawed Karim uploaded the site's first video. It was a humble beginning: a 19-second clip of elephants, with Karim declaring that the pachyderms have "really, really long trunks." In fairness, it may have been in keeping with other notable firsts in technology.
Guitar Hero Strikes Back
April 15, 2015
Rock Band 4's race to the top of the gaming charts this fall will be rivaled by a new release from Activision. Returning with a music video mode and first-person perspective, Guitar Hero Live offers a unique take on the music game genre. It "lets people rock real crowds with real reactions," said Activision CEO Eric Hirshberg. "Our goal was literally to give people stagefright."
Gadget Ogling: Dashing Buttons, a Plug-In PC and a Smart Teakettle
April 7, 2015
Amazon Dash is a series of WiFi connected buttons you dot around your home for various products. Once you run out, hit the button, and Amazon will ship out more of what you need. Run out of things like trash bags, razors, detergent, diapers, paper towels, dog food or toilet paper, and Amazon can ship you more at the touch of a button. It's wonderfully simple.
Roku Offers Shiny New Streamers
April 7, 2015
Roku, the original "Netflix box," has seen a good deal of its market share divvied up by newcomers with names like "Fire" and "Chrome." However, what Roku has going for it that other streaming device manufacturers don't is freedom. "They aren't shackled to their own content business, so they can offer the widest choice of content -- and a big choice of apps," noted Sky VP Hilary Perchard.
John Oliver Tackles Surveillance in Surprise Snowden Scoop
April 6, 2015
Comedy talk show host John Oliver boldly went where few journalists from the mainstream media have dared to tread, grilling whistle-blower Edward Snowden about his leaking of thousands of NSA documents to the press. He raked Snowden over the coals for not having read every one of the documents, insisting there's a difference between understanding what's in documents and reading them.
Apple TV Won't Go Out on 4K Limb
April 6, 2015
The fourth generation of the Apple TV set-top box won't support 4K video when it arrives later this year, according to a Monday report on Buzzfeed News, which cited unnamed sources in a position to know. This is a bit of a surprise, given that the third-generation Apple TV incorporated the higher-resolution 1080p video standard and included HDMI-video outputs.
Top Talent Jumps on Tidal Wave
April 1, 2015
It has about 5 million songs fewer than Spotify's streaming library, but the big draw to Tidal is audio quality. Its premium tier streams FLAC audio at up to 1411 kbps, which requires lots of bandwidth. The service now counts 25 million-plus music tracks in its library and more than 75,000 music videos. It's available via dedicated apps for Android and iOS, as well a Web player for Macs and PCs.
Halo Fans Hunt for Truth, Microsoft Hunts for Hearts
March 31, 2015
Xbox and 343 Industries have released two live-action trailers for Halo 5: Guardians to encourage both Xbox One owners and holdouts to "hunt the truth." The trailers aired during The Walking Dead's season finale. In one, the story catches up with Master Chief scorning an injured and supine Spartan Locke with an unsettling benediction. In the other, their roles are reversed.
PlayStation Vue Could Put Cable TV in Rear-View Mirror
March 19, 2015
Sony on Wednesday launched its PlayStation Vue streaming service in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. A combination of live and on-demand TV with a cloud-based DVR, Vue is available on the PS4 and PS3 in those cities. Users' favorite shows and channels will be right on the home screen whenever they fire up the service. The DVR lets users save favorite shows and store them for up to 28 days.
Apple's TV Plans Come Into Focus
March 18, 2015
Apple is expected to launch a Web-TV service this fall, offering 25 channels of content from various providers. Its pending move "is yet another sign that the traditional pay-TV provider lock on programming distribution continues to erode," said IDC analyst Greg Ireland. "The availability of more options ... will attract attention from cord-cutters and current pay-TV subscribers alike."
Samsung Offers Free Milk to All
March 12, 2015
Samsung has opened its Milk Music streaming music service to anyone via a Web browser, one year after introducing it on its mobile devices. "In a word, why?" questioned Mike Goodman, director of digital media at Strategy Analytics. "There's Pandora, there's Spotify, there's Google Music Play ... . They're offering a lot of the same things everybody else is offering."
Apple Springs Bevy of New Products at Watch Event
March 9, 2015
The Apple Watch wasn't the only new product to take the stage at Apple's Monday media event -- Apple also introduced an all-new sleek MacBook. In addition, Apple nabbed the chance to be the exclusive launch partner for HBO's new streaming subscription service. Among the event highlights: Apple Watch will be available for preorder April 10, sale April 24; and Apple Watch Edition starts at $10,000.
The Great War's Untapped Video Game Opportunities
March 5, 2015
It's fair to say that game developers have missed an opportunity with World War I. It was the first conflict to see aircraft used in combat, the first to see tanks and other armored vehicles make an appearance on the battlefield, and the first war in more than a century to completely draw in the major powers of the world. WWI should be a setting ripe for action and strategy games.
Nvidia's Shield Takes On Crysis With Confidence
March 4, 2015
Nvidia on Tuesday unveiled Shield, an Android TV console that in addition to playing content locally, can stream video games, movies, music, apps and more. Yes, it can play Crysis. That claim, a measure of a gaming PC's power a few years ago, is how Nvidia is marketing the Shield console. Nvidia's Shield Tablet led the way with its Tegra K1 processor and its ability to play Android ports of AAA games natively.
Making Sense of the Muddled In-Home Entertainment Market
February 20, 2015
The global access and entertainment services marketplace continues its pace of dramatic change, as broadband services achieve new levels of penetration and speed worldwide. Emerging markets are experiencing rapid growth, as many homes obtain high-speed broadband services for the first time. Pay TV is seeing a similar pattern in global growth.
BitTorrent's Original Content Deal Makes Bid for Reputability
February 11, 2015
BitTorrent will begin to offer a series of original movies, dubbed "BitTorrent Originals," in a bid to enter the content entertainment space later this year. BitTorrent inked a deal with Rapid Eye Studios to handle original video content for its BitTorrent Bundle platform, which launched in May 2013. More than 10,000 publishers have joined the platform, according to company officials.
Dish Network Slings New TV Service
February 9, 2015
Dish Network on Monday officially launched Sling TV, its widely anticipated US$20 per month streaming service, and further announced that customers could sign up for a "Sports Extra" add-on pack for $5 per month. The service, which is available now via a one-week free trial, can be accessed via Roku devices, and through Android, iOS, Mac and PC devices -- with support for Amazon Fire TV and Fire TV Stick coming soon.
YouTube Halftime Show Sets Stage for Cross-Channel Ads
February 3, 2015
On Sunday evening, as a record 114.4 million people watched Katy Perry, Lenny Kravitz and Missy Elliott rock out during the Super Bowl's halftime show, another show was under way, as well. For the first time, Google's YouTube hosted its own version of halftime on Super Bowl Sunday during roughly the same time slot.
Amazon to Produce Original Movie House Fare
January 20, 2015
Amazon Studios on Monday announced it would begin to produce and acquire original movies for release in theaters. Amazon Prime customers will be on an early distribution list, with the movies becoming available to them four to eight weeks after their theatrical debuts. The goal is to create around 12 movies a year. Amazon will focus on up-and-coming filmmakers.
Dish Slings Tastier TV to Millennials
January 6, 2015
Dish Network on Monday unveiled Sling TV, its live OTT television service, at the 2015 International CES in Las Vegas. Sling TV will be offered to consumers without a contract, starting at $20 per month. It will be available early this year through a variety of devices. This new service is not meant to complement Dish Network's existing satellite pay-TV service. Instead, it targets cord-cutters.
Netflix's Very Big Deal
December 22, 2014
Dish Network last week announced that it had integrated the Netflix app into its set-top box. The video streaming service is now available to Dish subscribers with a second-generation Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR. This integration of the services allows Dish customers the ability to stream Netflix movies and TV shows from the same platform that is used to access linear TV channels.
Google's Cardboard VR Kit Is Really No Joke
December 17, 2014
Google last week announced an updated app for its minimalist Cardboard virtual-reality viewer, as well as software development kits for both Android and the Unity game engine. It also published new building specifications for those interested in making their own Cardboard viewers and announced that it's hiring more people to work on the project, with five new positions now open.
2014's Top Google Play Picks: Fitness, Netflix, Frozen and More
December 12, 2014
Health and fitness was the fastest-growing category of apps on Google Play this year, according to a report Google published on Thursday. MyFitnessPal was the most-downloaded app within that category, while Duolingo led the education category. Facebook was top among social apps named in the report, which listed the most popular apps, games, movies, music, news and books in 2014 on Google Play.

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