We get it, you're a busy person. Game-broadcasting outfit Twitch understands too, which is why it's brought some new features to its mobile apps. In a move that benefits everyone (assuming that "everyone" means Android and iOS users, exclusively), the application's getting a persistent player window. That means you can fire up a stream, have it play and look for another that might suit your fancy more all at once. Not a fan of what's playing? One swipe and it's gone. Yup, it's a lot like how YouTube's mobile apps work. And speaking of Google, fans of its mobile OS with newer devices have a feature to call their own (for now): audio only mode. This allows you to listen to just the commentary from your favorite broadcasters while the app runs in the background or if your screen is locked, controlling everything via system notifications -- no foolin'.
Interested in watching thought-provoking discussions, music videos and college sports on your TV through a Chromecast stick? You're covered as of today. Google has announced that the mobile apps for MTV, Pac-12 sports, TED Talks and Qello Concerts now have Chromecast support, so you can check out that inspirational presentation on the big screen without buying a set-top box or connecting your PC. This isn't the most significant thing that Google is putting on your TV today, but it'll mean a lot if your phone regularly doubles as a media hub.
In 1929, famed artist Salvador Dalí and filmmaker Luis Buñuel awoke from a night of strange dreams, Buñuel recalling the image of a razor blade cloud slicing through the moon as if it were an eyeball, and Dalí describing a human hand covered in ants. They turned these images into a silent, surrealist short film called Un Chien Andalou, which opens on a woman with one eye held open, a cloud cutting across the moon and a blade slicing through the eye of a dead calf. The hand, crawling with ants, also makes an appearance. The film has no plot, but it's rife with emotive and disturbing imagery.
Cut to 2014, when Russian game developers Ilya Kononenko and Yuliya Kozhemyako decided the first scene of Un Chien Andalou would make the perfect setting for their entry in a local game jam with the theme "Phobias." Their completed game is now due out on April 3rd, called The Tender Cut.
Sid Meier scares the crap out of me. I'm deeply familiar with the famed strategy game creator's resume -- from the history-spanning Civilization series to the high seas simulations in Sid Meier's Pirates! -- but I've only ever played one of his games. The reason I never picked another up after trying Civilization III is that once I started playing I didn't stop for about 36 hours. The man makes a deeply cerebral game but also a deeply addictive one. Let it never be said that I won't try things twice, though! Today on JXE Streams, I'll give into the allure of deep space exploration and play Sid Meier's Starships.
Charter lost out on its chance to snatch Time Warner Cable before Comcast made its move, so it's settling for the next best thing. The company just unveiled plans to acquire Bright House Networks, a cable provider that's mostly big in Florida, for about $10.4 billion. Reportedly, the move is about getting "strategic flexibility" and solidifying Charter's position as the second-largest cable company in the US. In other words, it wants to both improve its clout in relation to Comcast (even if the two don't have competing networks) and streamline its costs. That last part is important in an era where services like Netflix are diminishing the importance of conventional TV. If Charter can't have TWC, it can at least prepare for a future where it can't depend on expensive programming bundles to turn a profit.
[Image credit: AP Photo/Matt Rourke]
Google has unveiled a whole new type of Chrome device, and it's one that can fit in your pocket. It's called the Chromebit, and it's essentially a Chromebook crammed in a dongle. This tiny little package contains a Rockchip 3288 SoC, 2GB of RAM, 16GB of eMMC memory, a USB 2.0 port, WiFi 802.11 ac support, Bluetooth 4.0, a Smart Ready controller and an ARM Mali 760 quad-core GPU. Just like Intel's Compute Stick, all you have to do to get the Chromebit working is to attach it to any display with a HDMI port, and voila, you've turned it into a computer. Unlike the Intel stick though, the Chromebit's HDMI end actually swivels around so that the dongle doesn't stick out in an unsightly way behind a monitor or TV. As for battery life, well, Google says it doesn't really know that just yet as the product is still in testing. Google promises that the Chromebit -- the first is made by ASUS -- will retail for less than $100. It'll be available in either silver, blue or orange and will be out later this summer.
Spring has sprung and while you may have been huddled by your PC's GPU all winter for some scant warmth, you can now continue your gaming sessions under the sun's rays. NVIDIA's GRID gaming service streams popular PC games right to its Shield devices, giving you some operational freedom beyond the desktop. GRID offers titles like Borderlands: The Pre-Sequal, Resident Evil 5 and Crysis 3, and the Shield Tablet, which packs a 192 Core Kepler GPU, a 2.2 GHz quad-core CPU and an 8-inch 1080p display, is up for the task. It's not just for gaming, either; this top-performing Android slate can stream movies and handle everyday multitasking with the best of them. If you have a Shield Tablet, you can take advantage of the GRID streaming service for free until June 30th, 2015. If you don't, just head to the Rafflecopter widget below, where you can get up to three chances at winning one along with its much needed accessories. The company has provided us with five complete sets, each including a Shield Tablet, a Tablet Cover and the indispensable Shield Controller for a total of five lucky Engadget readers this week. Game on!
BitSummit has been at the forefront of Japan's independent gaming scene for the past two years, hosting an event that shows off projects from small studios and industry veterans alike, plus live music and an awards show. Last year's showcase attracted 5,000 fans and 130 game developers, including Mega Man designer Keiji Inafune, Epic Games, Sony and Microsoft.
For the 2015 show, BitSummit has partnered with four studios -- 17-Bit, Vitei, Q-Games and Pygmy Studio -- to establish the Japan Independent Games Aggregate, which will oversee all event planning. Plus, one of the leading indie-game promotion houses in the Western world, Indie Megabooth, will help organize BitSummit 2015, lending it an extra layer of delicious credibility. Indie Megabooth President and CEO Kelly Wallick joins JIGA on its board of advisers, and she spoke with us briefly about the new collaboration.
The NCAA men's basketball tournament is down to its Final Four, and this weekend we'll find out which two move on to the championship game. Of course, we'll be glued to the couch watching Interstellar on Blu-ray. The film will even bring its IMAX sequences home The Dark Knight-style, pushing black bars aside to fill up the 16:9 screen. On TV, AMC's Mad Men begins to run its final few episodes, while we also have the season finale of Archer on FX. PS4 gamers can check out a new Metroid-ish shooter called Axiom Verge, while on Xbox One the free MMO Neverwinter is launching. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
We trotted out some truly precious puppies to announce the winners of this year's Readers' Choice Awards, but now it's time to get down to business. As we do every year, we tasked our editor's with the monumental feat of sifting through the previous year's biggest innovations to select the absolute best in show. While there's some crossover with our Readers' Choice winners (sorry Fire phone), there were a few notable exceptions. But you'll have to check out the gallery below to find out what made the cut.
Remember the Sony-published video magazine PlayStation Underground? Well, it's back after a 14-year hiatus, and like so much of the video world, it's gone digital and now exists as a YouTube show. A post on the PlayStation Blog says that new episodes should publish twice a month, with a plan to change that to once a week in the future. The first show is all about developer Harmonix's Amplitude revamp, with the PS Blog crew playing and talking about the game with studio publicist Nick Chester. In its initial run, Underground snagged interviews with David Jaffe (Twisted Metal) and father of the PlayStation, Ken Kutaragi, so expecting to see some pretty big names grace the new show's couch doesn't seem too far fetched. And unless Amplitude appears on the PlayStation Store tonight, the original release window was this March, Underground's 21-minute clip below is probably your best chance at peeping new game-play for now.
Nowadays, most TV networks offer live and on-demand content through mobile apps, including their own and those from service providers like Time Warner Cable, Dish and DirecTV. Today, just as ABC and others have done, BET is set to start broadcasting live on its iOS and Android applications, making it easy for fans of the channel to keep up with their favorite shows while on the go. The BET NOW app has served up access to on-demand programming for quite some time, but the addition of a live video feed will likely put a smile on the face of BET viewers.
Good riddance Music Unlimited; welcome to the party, PlayStation Music. The Spotify-powered music service goes live on PlayStation devices in 41 nations starting today. As we've reported previously, this means even if you're listening to Spotify's free, ad-supported tier you can listen to your favorite playlists in-game. Whether or not your top Drake songs work as well for bounty runs in Destiny as they do for Saturday morning cleaning is another matter entirely, though. And Xbox fans? For now, there's a 40-page thread on the Spotify forums where you can make a case for the app coming to your console of choice -- alas, that's not likely to happen in the immediate future it seems.
If you were intrigued by PlayStation Vue as a substitute for cable TV but refused to sign up until you could watch The Walking Dead, it's time to hop aboard. Sony has added AMC Networks to Vue's channel roster, giving you AMC proper as well as IFC, Sundance and WEtv. Be prepared to pony up if you just have to catch Portlandia, though -- while you'll get AMC and WEtv in the base Access package, IFC and Sundance are only available if you've subscribed to Core or Elite. This certainly isn't the best deal if you care about AMC or IFC above all else (Sling TV offers it as part of its $20 bundle), but it'll make Vue a better value for your cord-cutting dollar.