Tag: entertainment

Xbox One can now stream YouTube video in 4K

The Xbox One X and S both allow you to watch 4K video, but the consoles didn't have a way to watch YouTube in 4K. That is, until now. This week, Microsoft is rolling out an app for both versions of the Xbox One console that provides support for 4K videos at up to 60 fps -- but not HDR.

While the Xbox One X is a tough sell for us, we think the 4K experience on the Xbox One S (which doesn't allow for 4K gaming, but does upscale graphics and supports HDR) is definitely worth it if you're in the market for a new console. Adding (long overdue) 4K YouTube support just makes it even better. If you have the console, you'll see the updated YouTube app this week, or if you're impatient, you can download it from the Windows Store today.

Via: The Verge

Source: Microsoft Store


Apple confirms it’s buying music recognition app Shazam

Well, that was fast. Following reports on Friday that Apple was planning to buy music recognition app Shazam, CNBC reports that Cupertino has confirmed the purchase. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but TechCrunch estimates the agreement to be worth around $400 million. The site was also the first to report news of the acquisition Friday afternoon.

"We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS," Apple said in a statement to CNBC. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users."

As we mentioned last week, Shazam's tech already works with Siri to identify songs and it's available for use on both iOS and the desktop. Pairing Shazam with Apple Music makes a lot of sense, but given the fact that the app also offers image recognition tools, Tim Cook & Co. could have bigger plans for its new purchase than just audio.

Source: CNBC


Apple confirms it’s buying music recognition app Shazam

Well, that was fast. Following reports on Friday that Apple was planning to buy music recognition app Shazam, CNBC reports that Cupertino has confirmed the purchase. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed, but TechCrunch estimates the agreement to be worth around $400 million. The site was also the first to report news of the acquisition Friday afternoon.

"We are thrilled that Shazam and its talented team will be joining Apple. Since the launch of the App Store, Shazam has consistently ranked as one of the most popular apps for iOS," Apple said in a statement to CNBC. "Apple Music and Shazam are a natural fit, sharing a passion for music discovery and delivering great music experiences to our users."

As we mentioned last week, Shazam's tech already works with Siri to identify songs and it's available for use on both iOS and the desktop. Pairing Shazam with Apple Music makes a lot of sense, but given the fact that the app also offers image recognition tools, Tim Cook & Co. could have bigger plans for its new purchase than just audio.

Source: CNBC


Netflix leads the streaming pack with nine Golden Globe nominations

Nominations for next month's Golden Globes ceremony were announced this morning and streaming services had a pretty decent showing. Netflix led the pack with nine TV nominations while Amazon and Hulu each received three.

Netflix's The Crown took two nominations -- one for Best Drama Series and another for Best Performance by an Actress, which went to Claire Foy. Stranger Things also received two nominations -- another Best Drama Series nod and one for David Harbour, nominated for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. Master of None received two as well with the first going to the show itself for Best Comedy Series and the other going to Aziz Ansari for Best Performance by an Actor. Ozark, 13 Reasons Why and Glow each received one nomination each. All were for Best Performance by an Actor or Actress and they went to Jason Bateman, Katherine Langford and Alison Brie.

Two of Amazon's went to the brand new show The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. One nomination was given to the show for Best Comedy Series and the other to the show's lead, Rachel Brosnahan. The third nomination was for Kevin Bacon's role in I Love Dick.

All three of Hulu's nominations were for The Handmaid's Tale. It received a Best Drama Series nomination and Elizabeth Moss and Ann Dowd received nominations for Best Performance by an Actress and Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role.

The Golden Globes ceremony will air on January 7th on NBC.

Via: Variety

Source: Golden Globes


Verizon’s NFL streaming isn’t restricted to its own customers anymore

Verizon and the NFL signed a new $2 billion, five-year deal today. In it, Verizon traded its previous status as the exclusive US wireless carrier for NFL games for the exclusive rights to livestream games to any device, whether a cell phone, a computer or a streaming device attached to a TV. The new deal kicks off in January 2018, and brings the NFL playoffs fo Yahoo and Yahoo Sports.

The key here is that the in-market games (this doesn't cover Sunday afternoon out-of-market games) are available to anyone, regardless of carrier or service provider. Verizon has the rights to stream these games through its Oath properties (such as Yahoo Sports), which apparently it sees as more valuable than restricting these games to its current, paying customers. Previously, Verizon's deal with the NFL only covered mobile streaming.

This is a big shift in Verizon's thinking. The company seems to be using the NFL deal as a traffic driver to sites such as Yahoo Sports. The agreement also covers access to NFL highlights and news throughout the year. Presumably, all of this will be available within the Yahoo Sports app.

Via: Variety

Source: Verizon


Google’s high-quality Home Max speaker goes on sale for $399

Google launched its high-quality Home Max speaker with Google Assistant in October, and the last we heard (via a Best Buy leak), it was set to arrive on December 11th. That date was spot on, it turns out, as the Home Max has indeed gone on sale at both Best Buy and Verizon. It's still not up on Google's own store (the "buy" button still says "join waitlist"), but it just seems like a matter of time now.

The Home Max speaker sports a pair of 4.5-inch high-excursion woofers and custom tweeters, putting it in the same class as serious audio products like the Sonos Play:5. We had a brief hands-on with it during the launch, under controlled conditions, and found it to be "extremely loud, well balanced and crystal clear, with well-defined bass."

Google Home Max, as mentioned, costs $399 and comes in charcoal and white with both Chromecast and the voice-controlled Google Assistant. That's $100 less than the Sonos Play:5, which doesn't have either of those two features. Sonos did say that Google Assistant was coming to the Play:1 in 2018, but the company hasn't said if it'll come to any other products.

Source: Best Buy, Verizon


BBC launches Alexa skill for live radio and podcasts

Every BBC radio station and podcast is now accessible through Amazon's Alexa assistant. So if you have an Echo or Echo dot in your home (or any Alexa-enabled speaker, for that matter), you can now launch Radio 1, 6 Music, or an episode of Desert Island Discs with your voice. The new Alexa "skill" offers granular control too, including "play," "pause" and "resume." You can also skip back to the "previous" episode of a podcast at any time.

It's not the first time the BBC has backed Alexa, however. The news organisation is one of many that support Amazon's "flash briefing," a quick rundown of the day's top stories. The broadcaster has also experimented with an interactive sci-fi drama called The Inspection Chamber, which lets you answer various questions and choices during its 20-minute run-time.

Source: BBC (Press Release)


The Morning After: Monday, December 11th 2017

Welcome to your Monday morning news missive. An anniversary Street Fighter game that crams in 12 (vaguely) different titles, a hacked way of cranking up the sound quality on your cheap Google Home Mini and Welcome To Night Vale gets its own TV show. It's a good start.


The 30th Anniversary Collection arrives in May.
'Street Fighter' anthology brings online play to classic brawlers

Street Fighter turned 30 this year, and Capcom is marking it in -- belated -- style. Street Fighter 30th Anniversary Collection arrives May 2018 and not only includes a bunch of pre-3D titles but also adds online multiplayer. It'll be available on the PS4, Switch, Windows PCs and the Xbox One. No Street Fighter: The Movie, the game, though. Sad.


Pump up the digital-assistant volume.
Mod gives Google's Home Mini speaker its 'missing' line-out jack

Google's Home Mini speaker has one key disadvantage over Amazon's Echo Dot: no line-out jack. If you want more powerful sound without buying a higher-priced model, you have to stream to a Chromecast-equipped speaker system. However, that didn't deter SnekTek -- the site added an aux audio port to the Mini through a clever homebrew mod. To say this required some delicate surgery would be an understatement, however.


Its research has come a long way in a short time.
Apple AI chief reveals more progress on self-driving car tech

Apple is now more than eager to share how much progress it's making on self-driving car technology. AI research director Ruslan Salakhutdinov made a presentation this week that revealed more of what the company's autonomous-driving team has been up to. While some of the talk was familiar, there were new examples of how far the fledgling project had come.

To start, Apple has crafted a system that uses onboard cameras to identify objects even in tricky situations, such as when raindrops cover the lens. It can estimate the position of a pedestrian even if they're hidden by a parked car. Other additions include giving cars direction through simultaneous localization and mapping, creating detailed 3D maps using car sensors and decision-making in urgent situations.

The bigger mystery of the project is how Apple will commercialize its self-driving know-how. At the moment, its next goal is to produce driverless employee shuttles. The company isn't currently expected to sell its own cars, but licensing its work to others would be unusual when Apple typically prefers to develop everything in-house.

But wait, there's more...


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New ‘Ready Player One’ trailer reveals more of the real-world story

The initial trailer for Steven Spielberg's adaptation of Ready Player One focused on the virtual world of OASIS, and for understandable reasons: it's a visual showcase for a crucial part of the story. However, Warner Bros. wants to remind you that reality plays an important part as well. It just posted a new trailer that dives deeper into the real-world story, even as it makes a few extra nods to video game nostalgia.

As with Ernest Cline's book, the story centers on Wade Watts and his bid to win James Halliday's Easter Egg hunt, which promises both half a trillion dollars and (more importantly) control of OASIS. That, in turn, leads to an ideological battle -- Wade and fellow competitor Art3mis are racing to find all the clues before the megacorporation IOI gets them and exploits OASIS for profit. Wade is effectively drafted into a resistance movement, and his moves will have consequences in both VR and real life.

There aren't quite as many tributes to digital culture as in the first trailer, but there are a few pleasant surprises -- there's even a certain iconic Overwatch character that shows up. It's hard to say if Ready Player One will live up to the rapidly mounting hype when it premieres on March 30th. However, the trailer shows that Spielberg and crew are aware that clever references and dazzling visuals aren't enough to carry the movie.

Oh, and there's one more thing: Cline revealed in a livestream (shortly after the 27-minute mark) that he's writing a sequel to Ready Player One. He has precious few details, but he noted that Spielberg's movie helped jumpstart his work on a follow-up. Even if the movie falls flat, you'll have something to look forward to.

Source: Warner Bros. (YouTube), Ready Player One (Facebook)


FX will turn podcast hit ‘Welcome to Night Vale’ into a TV show

It's not just Amazon hoping a podcast's success will translate to a TV series. FX has reached a deal with Sony Pictures Television to turn Welcome to Night Vale into a TV show. Most of the details haven't been nailed down, but Better Call Saul executive producer Gennifer Hutchison will handle the adaptation with the blessing of podcast co-creators Jeffrey Cranor and Joseph Fink. The story certainly lends itself to TV: it imagines the fictional town of Night Vale as a place where every conspiracy theory is true.

It's not hard to see why FX made the move. Popular narrative-driven podcasts like Night Vale frequently have rich stories and large numbers of passionate fans, but they also tend to operate on shoestring budgets even with touring shows involved. TV producers can snap up the rights at a relatively modest cost but still get plenty of quality source material.

Whether or not it succeeds is another matter. Night Vale is better primed than most, but we've seen podcast adaptations produce so-so results. Amazon's take on Lore premiered to mixed reviews, and the snappy comedy of My Brother, My Brother and Me wasn't enough to save NBC's Seeso. FX's Night Vale show will have to do more than pull in loyal listeners if it's going to have a long run.

Source: Night Vale Podcast (Twitter), Deadline