Xfinity Sports baseball extras

If you're a baseball stats hound, you probably don't enjoy tearing your eyes away from the game just to dig up facts about the latest at-bat matchup. You might not have to distract yourself for much longer if you're a Comcast subscriber, though -- the cable TV giant has introduced a Baseball Extras feature to its Xfinity Sports app that turns your X1 set-top box into a real-time stats machine. Fire it up and you'll get a carousel of info that pops up as it becomes relevant, such as the batter's chances of defeating the pitcher or post-game recaps. You can also use it to track a game even when you're watching something else, so you don't have to interrupt your kids' show to get a better sense of how your favorite team is doing. This isn't as unintrusive as keeping your phone out while you watch, but it's definitely more convenient.

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IOC Olympics

Think of the Olympics and you'll likely remember catching some action on the BBC. The Beeb has helped televise the Games since 1948 and delivered more coverage than ever before in 2012, but from 2020, it may no longer be involved. The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced today that it has struck a £922 million deal with Discovery for the rights to the 2018-2024 Summer and Winter Games, meaning Eurosport will become the default place for all things Olympics related.

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Sonos' Blue Note edition Play:1 speaker

When Apple Music showed up, one of the biggest questions was whether or not it would get at least the same level of third-party hardware support as Beats. Will you have to chuck your Sonos speakers in favor of some Apple-blessed streaming audio gear? Not at all, apparently. The team at 1 Infinite Loop says that Sonos devices will play Apple Music by the end of this year -- "ASAP," as the iPhone maker's Ian Rogers puts it. There's no word of compatibility other hardware, but it's evident between this and Android support that Apple is more interested in having a Spotify-like ubiquity than locking you into its ecosystem.

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Recommended Reading highlights the best long-form writing on technology and more in print and on the web. Some weeks, you'll also find short reviews of books that we think are worth your time. We hope you enjoy the read.

Assorted Tech Product Shoots

TV Wars: Inside Roku's Plan to Beat Apple, Amazon and Google
by Jared Newman
Fast Company

Ever wonder how a smaller company like Roku can keep pace in the streaming war against the likes of Amazon, Apple and Google? Fast Company takes a look at all the ways Roku is keeping pace, what makes its version of streaming video unique and why the company's survival is important.

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Chromecast

In case you needed another way to beam photos and videos to your Chromecast, the Android OneDrive app has you covered. The latest update for Microsoft's cloud-storage service will take all those gorgeously arranged images from your device running Google's mobile OS and put 'em on your TV via Mountain VIew's HDMI wunderstick. Pretty handy, right? Your Galaxy S6 (or any other Android device with the app installed) should see the update shortly if it already hasn't downloaded. As for iOS users, they'll likely have to wait a bit longer -- the last update only mentions bug fixes and stability improvements.

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Jon Snow Game of Thrones

Whether they're tuning in as it airs or grabbing a copy via their favourite file-sharing site, people just can't get enough of Game of Thrones. The fifth season has only just drawn to a close, but during its run, the HBO fantasy series managed to smash its own piracy records and break a few broadcast milestones too. In fact, the season finale became the most popular "entertainment programme ever" on Sky, reaching a record 3.1 million homes on June 15th.

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YouTube might have Music Key in its hat (sort of), but apparently it's having issues locking down deals for the proposed ad-free subscription service that'd cover the rest of its media. Google's video wing is having troubles getting content creators onboard with the service, according to The Information. As the site's sources tell it, YouTube has even threatened to set certain channels to private so the videos therein won't show up in searches. That's if the creators don't play ball, of course. YouTube tried strong-arming indie musicians in a similar way last year. The Information notes that where the biggest difficulties might lie would be with TV networks that have a presence on the video portal because plenty of them are already married to the likes of Hulu for subscription content. All in all, if you were holding out for ad-free YouTube -- at a nominal fee -- you're going to be waiting a bit longer.

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In just under two weeks, Jurassic World has absolutely demolished box office records around the globe and has raked in over $1 billion to date according to Box Office Mojo. The film series is a natural fit for video-game (and virtual reality) tie-ins and since you gals and guys enjoyed us streaming a pair of those not too long ago, we figured it'd only be fitting that we'd go back to the island with Lego Jurassic World. Join me at 7 p.m. Eastern / 4 p.m. Pacific as I wade through the muddy jungles of Isla Nublar completely blind on PlayStation 4.

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Hatoful Boyfriend is a pigeon-dating simulator. You read that correctly and, yes, it means exactly what it sounds like. However, Hatoful Boyfriend is also much more than a pigeon-dating simulator: It's a dark tale of science experiments gone awry and a formerly human world now run by birds. In Hatoful Boyfriend -- released on Steam in September and on its way to PlayStation 4 and Vita this year -- you play as a young (human) woman and uncover truly terrifying things about this strange new avian world. Hatoful Boyfriend: Holiday Star is a new game in the same pigeon-dating universe, due to hit PS4, Vita and PC this fall. As Mediatonic Producer Luke Borrett explains direct from E3 2015, Holiday Star features even wackier stories, including scenes reminiscent of Sailor Moon, a trip to a manga convention and birds in tanks. Watch a portion of our interview with Borrett below.

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Amazon is offering Echo voice tech to other manufacturers

Now that Amazon's voice-controlled Echo speaker is available to everyone, the company is hinting at third-party devices that will make use of the same voice tech that powers the Echo's built-in assistant, "Alexa." Additionally, Amazon is giving developers access to the Alexa Skills Kit, a free SDK that will make it easy for them to create new features for the Echo platform. Lastly, the company launched the Alexa Fund, a $100 million endowment designed to support developers, manufacturers and startups who are interested in making voice-powered products for its ecosystem. To be a part of it, Amazon says it's going to base those decisions on the technology's ability to influence the Alexa Skills Kit or the Alexa Voice Service. What this tells us, though, is that Amazon is getting serious about what appeared to be a simple side-project from the beginning.

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Taylor Swift demonstrated her power in the entertainment industry when she wrote an open, widely publicized letter to Apple slamming the company for not paying artists during Apple Music's three-month trial period for each new customer. Apple quickly reversed that policy, promising to pay every artist, even indies, during the trial period. It seems Swift is ready to forgive and forget -- today, she announced that her newest album, 1989, will be available on Apple Music. "After the events of this week, I've decided to put 1989 on Apple Music... and happily so," Swift tweeted.

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The excitement around virtual reality may have started when Sony unveiled Project Morpheus last year, but last week's E3 was its coming out party. The thing is, I've been around long enough to remember the hype and subsequent commercial flatline over gaming in stereoscopic 3D. So going into this year's grand gaming gala, I was skeptical -- I had that awkward tech history footnote in mind -- and to a point, I still am. But Oculus helped me get over that a bit. All it took was a game from a trusted developer -- Insomniac Games -- and an input solution that makes VR feel less isolating.

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Elton John

With Apple Music launching in less than a week, much of the focus has been on its relationship with artists and the royalties it pays. Thanks to Taylor Swift, it appears to have weathered its minor storm, allowing it to focus on other parts of its upcoming launch. Beats 1, for example, will begin broadcasting on June 30 and will be fronted by ex-Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe in Los Angeles, Ebro Darden in New York and Julie Adenuga in London. When Apple's first live radio station was announced, it wasn't known how the company intended to fill the programming gaps between the three main hosts. However, the New York Times reports that it has lined up a number of high-profile musicians to do their part, with Dr. Dre Pharrell Williams, Drake, Jaden Smith, Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age, Disclosure and even Elton John due to present their own shows.

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At E3 Bungie announced The Taken King expansion for Destiny, and as we explained this morning that didn't go over very well with existing players. One of the main reasons is that, aside from a $40 price for the expansion itself, Bungie made exclusive downloadables that only people buying the complete game as part of a new collector's edition could get. Tonight the developer published an early "Part 1" of its usual weekly update, apologizing for that awkward Eurogamer interview and explaining that existing players can get the new items (three specific class emotes, three color schemes for their armor, and three exotic class items) by shelling out $20 for an upgrade bundle it will put on sale September 15th. That's certainly better than not being able to get it at all -- and cheaper than buying the new $80 CE -- but let us know if that's enough, or if you're still calling BS.

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