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Now Facebook Users Can Tell Their Music Stories
November 6, 2015
Facebook on Thursday announced Music Stories, a feature in its iPhone app that lets users post links to music they like with comments. Clicking the link will launch a 30-second preview of the music, which is streamed from either Apple Music or Spotify. Listeners then can purchase the music from the service or save it to their account there.
For Tech-Savvy Teens and Tweens, TV and Music Still Rule
November 6, 2015
Although teens and tweens have more choices than ever when it comes to media activities, watching television and listening to music are their top preferences, according to a report Common Sense Media released this week. Among tweens, ages 8 to 12, watching TV was the top media activity, with nearly 62 percent saying they did it every day. For teens, ages 13 to 18, listening to music was the top media activity.
Circle With Disney Lets Parents Unglue Kids From Media
November 5, 2015
Circle Media and Disney Interactive on Wednesday launched Circle With Disney, a device that gives parents greater control over the management of their children's online activities. Circle With Disney provides curated Disney content through a licensing agreement. Paired with a companion iOS app, it allows users to limit and filter content streaming to a variety of devices.
Live-Action Trailer Hypes Fallout 4 Release
November 5, 2015
Bethesda on Thursday released a preview trailer for its postapocalyptic video game Fallout 4. The game will be released worldwide next week for Microsoft Windows and Xbox One as well as the Sony PlayStation 4. Despite the title, it's actually the fifth major installment in the series. Bethesda has pulled out all the stops, including cross promotions, to build excitement for the release.
Film Industry Claims Victory in Shutdown of Major Piracy Sites
November 4, 2015
The Motion Picture Association of America ran a victory lap after announcing the shutdown of movie and television torrent sites Popcorn Time and YTS. The shutdowns resulted from major legal wins in Canada and New Zealand. The MPAA last month obtained injunctions against the sites in those countries, effectively blocking them from further operation.
Is Apple TV a Worthy Upgrade? Sort Of
November 3, 2015
For Apple TV fans, the new Apple TV is the long-awaited upgrade we've been pining for, but I'm only half as impressed as I thought I would be. It comes down to this: The new Apple TV is an excellent set-top box, and it provides a foundation for the app-centric living room TV experience of the future... but damn, Apple, you spent how many years not getting this thing polished?
Using Tech to Fix the Horrid US Political Debates
November 2, 2015
I watched with interest last week's Republican debate and realized very quickly that whatever that was on my TV, it sure as hell wasn't an actual debate. The idea is for us to be able to compare the qualifications and positions of a variety of candidates and then make a more informed choice -- but if every candidate is asked a different question, then how do we compare the answers?
T-Mobile Rumored to Roll Out Unlimited Video
October 30, 2015
Rumors that T-Mobile plans to introduce an unlimited data plan for streaming video services circulated Thursday following a Twitter post from journalist Evan Blass, who tweets under the handle @evleaks. The company would allow unlimited high-speed data to be used to watch select streaming from services such as Netflix and HBO under its "Uncarrier 10" campaign, he suggested.
Apple TV Reviews: Kinda Buggy, Kinda Great
October 29, 2015
The latest version of Apple's streaming media set-top box has gathered a bundle of mixed early reviews. Some reviewers saw great potential in the $149 diminutive black box designed to pump movies, TV shows, games and apps from the Internet to a television set. Others found plenty to criticize. "I was a little shocked to see how buggy it was," wrote David Pogue.
Sony Talks VR and 2016 Games in Paris
October 29, 2015
While Microsoft has been driving home the potential hits it has for the holidays, Sony has sat silent. That changed this week at Paris Games Week, when Sony set the tone for the next year or so by touting 21 games poised to redefine the PlayStation 4 experience. It put on a console-selling show that evidenced the potential of the latest PlayStation and the upcoming PlayStation VR headset.
SXSW May Put Online Harassment in the Spotlight
October 28, 2015
SXSW Interactive reportedly might include a daylong event on combating online harassment. The news followed SXSW's cancellation of two planned panels that were expected to focus on opposite ends of the Gamergate debate. Threats of on-site violence spurred the decision to cancel both panels, according to SXSW officials. However, that decision immediately drew fire.
Apple Fans to Get Their Hands on New Apple TV This Week
October 27, 2015
Apple on Monday opened up advanced orders for the next generation of Apple TV. The set-top boxes are expected to hit homes between Oct. 30 and Nov. 3. It's offering two versions: A 32-GB version is priced at $149 and a 64-GB model is $50 more. With Apple TV losing ground to newcomers to the streaming hardware market, the company has given its set-top box a booster shot: a syringe containing Siri.
YouTube Red Offers Paying Customers Ad-Free PewDiePie
October 22, 2015
YouTube on Wednesday introduced YouTube Red, a $10 a month ad-free channel. Membership extends across devices, and consumers can access the service from other YouTube channels or apps, including YouTube Gaming. Subscribers to YouTube Red will get a twofer -- it automatically provides access to Google Play Music, which also carries a $10 subscription tag.
Apple Music Converts 6.5 Million to Paid Subscribers
October 20, 2015
CEO Tim Cook has revealed that Apple had signed up 6.5 million customers willing to pay for its Apple Music streaming service. Another 8.5 million users currently are giving the service a look-see during a free three-month trial period. Cook unveiled the hard numbers of paid subscribers for the first time, as the industry waited to hear whether Apple would be able to make inroads against Spotify.
Ingress Maker Niantic Scores $20 Million for AR Gaming
October 16, 2015
Niantic on Thursday announced that it was the beneficiary of a big bet pooled together by benefactors Google, Nintendo and The Pokémon Co. Niantic, which develops augmented reality games, will receive $20 million in the Series A funding round and could receive another $10 million if it realizes certain undisclosed goals. The company was founded by Google Earth cocreator John Hanke.
Fantasy Sports: Socializing Betting
October 16, 2015
It passes through the channels of federal laws, spills across state lines and even bleeds into the protected realm of college sports. The multibillion-dollar industry that is fantasy sports has stood up to legal challenges so far, but the surging sector still battles problems with perception and faces questions about its future. Allegations of insider trading recently aren't the only issue.
Facebook Sets New Lures for Video Viewers
October 15, 2015
Facebook on Tuesday revealed it's experimenting with making video clips easier for users to find in its mobile and desktop applications. In coming days, a limited number of users will see the new format. "We look forward to seeing how people use it to discover, watch and share videos with their friends," said Will Cathcart, vice president of product management at Facebook.
Will Insider Trading Sideline Fantasy Sports?
October 8, 2015
The field of fantasy sports is faced with a fresh set of legal questions, following this week's allegations of insider trading on DraftKings and FanDuel. Having been validated by their skill component, fantasy sports have spilled across state lines and even into the world of collegiate athletics, a realm that has been closed to other forms of gambling.
Amazon Banishes Apple and Google Streamers
October 5, 2015
Amazon last week said it planned to stop selling streaming devices from rivals Apple and Google. A pillar of its Prime ecosystem, Prime Video, was incompatible with Apple TV and Google's Chromecast, the company suggested. It made the decision to "avoid customer confusion," according to a company statement. Other devices with streaming capabilities would continue to be available, the company said.
Gadget Ogling: Eyes on Google
October 3, 2015
Chromecast helps people easily stream whatever they want through their TV via a simple dongle. Now Google's adding a splash of color to the device, along with a string of new features. Instead of resembling a USB stick, Chromecast 2 is more like a colorful button, and Google says it is easier to plug into an HDMI slot. Also, it apparently can stream videos faster and with less buffering.
TiVo Bolt Zaps Ads
October 1, 2015
TiVo on Wednesday urged users to give commercials the finger with its Bolt set-top box, which allows ad-skipping on some shows. The Bolt is available immediately online, and it will show up on store shelves this weekend. It comes in 500-GB and 1-TB versions, priced at $300 and $400, respectively, inclusive of one year of service. After that, users will pay $150 a year for the service.
New Sonos Speaker Costs $500 but New Smart Tuner Is Free
September 30, 2015
Sonos has unveiled a new version of its top-of-the-line Play:5 speaker, which includes three mid-woofers and three tweeters. It can be set up in three orientations: by itself, or paired with another speaker -- either vertically for tight sound, or horizontally for a more immersive experience. Sonos also introduced Trueplay, an iOS app for tuning its wireless speakers to a room's acoustic profile.
Google Lines Up a Batch of Marshmallow-Ready Hardware
September 30, 2015
Google on Tuesday introduced a pair of new phablets, a couple of Chromecasts and the first tablet it built by itself. The unveilings took place at its Nexus event in San Francisco. Months of leaks drew very accurate portraits of the $499 Huawei Nexus 6P and $379 LG Nexus 5X and other Android hardware, but Google filled in the details ahead of Android Marshmallow's expected Oct. 5 release.
Flights of Fancy: The Multibillion-Dollar World of Fantasy Sports
September 30, 2015
Americans are expected to spend $4.6 billion on fantasy sports this year, while vying for a payout of around $107 -- the average prize for winning the biggest fantasy league games, according to American Express. Driving that spending and risk taking are a passion for sports, the promise of purses, the push of new platforms, and the pull of camaraderie.
Malware Jumps Apple's Garden Wall
September 22, 2015
Developers who unknowingly used a malicious tool to code their programs uploaded hundreds of malware-infected apps to the iTunes App Store, China-based iOS developers reportedly discovered last week. Security researchers around the world have analyzed it. Called "XcodeGhost," the malware is hidden in an unauthorized version of a program Apple distributes to create iOS apps.
Amazon Fans Fire's Flames
September 21, 2015
Amazon last week confirmed and detailed the bare-bones Fire tablet, which will sell for just $49 -- and it announced five other Fire family additions while it was at it. Flanking the Fire tablet are the refreshed Fire HD, the Fire TV with 4K, the Fire TV Stick with Voice Remote and the updated Fire Kids Edition. Amazon announced two flavors of the revisited Fire HD.
Gadget Ogling: Fresh Fires, Tablet Touches, and Underwater Drones
September 19, 2015
In case you didn't already know it, Amazon has designs on taking over your television, and Fire TV seems a strong competitor to the refreshed Apple TV. Fire TV's big advantage is that it can stream video in ultra high-def 4K, while Apple TV cannot. Nor can Roku or Chromecast. There already are some fine games available for Fire TV, and there's a gaming edition available with a controller.
Trust and Value Will Bring IoT Home
September 17, 2015
The connected car and smart home markets are at an early stage of development, but in many ways they have been growing in parallel. Both markets are enabled by the falling costs of sensors, networking technologies and data, as well as by expanded cloud services, the mass penetration of smartphones, and consumer demand for the connected lifestyle. These ecosystems now are beginning to converge.
Devs Shine Light on Halo 5's Overhauled Engine
September 17, 2015
Weeks away from the launch of Halo 5: Guardians, 343 Industries and Microsoft have revealed some of the technical ingenuity behind what's expected to be the biggest Xbox One game of the 2015 holiday season. The game's developers have been raving about their playtime with the upcoming sci-fi shooter. For starters they're promising first-class digital tourism in Halo 5: Guardians.
Gadget Ogling: All About Apple
September 12, 2015
Apple's latest iPhones -- the 6s and 6s Plus -- are faster, stronger and smarter than the previous models. A zippier processor and faster Touch ID, LTE, and WiFi feature among the incremental upgrades. There are a couple of interesting new features with this generation, primarily 3D Touch. This makes the screen receptive to pressure beyond lightly tapping or holding one's finger on an icon.
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