The usual pre-CES flood of information is under way, and LG is announcing details of the webOS 2.0 package its smart TVs will ship with in 2015. Improving on the menus we already dug at last year's show, LG says that the new versions will improve mainly in speed, with power-on boot time reduced by 60 percent, and a 70 percent improvement when switching from the home screen to YouTube. Sluggish, unresponsive apps have been a major pain point for "smart" TVs since their introduction, so it's good to see that addressed. One thing that will remain an issue however, is that the 2.0 upgrades will require a new display, as we haven't heard about an upgrade for existing sets (or other platforms like smartwatches, or even phones). According to LG, the first webOS sets were quite popular, with over five million sold through eight months.

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The future?

You can finally buy a virtual reality headset and use it in your home. Right now -- today -- that is possible. It doesn't cost $10,000 and it doesn't come with caveats like, "This is made for developers." Samsung is officially the first to market with an accessible, impressive virtual reality headset, all powered by software from Facebook's recently acquired Oculus VR team. That alone is very exciting: We are standing at the precipice of a new medium, finally technologically possible. Wireless, consumer-grade virtual reality! In your home! Today!

Samsung's Gear VR is both an astounding feat and an illuminating vision into our near future; it's the closest anyone's come to making virtual reality into a palatable consumer experience, and a stark example of how far we still have to go before that dream is completely realized.

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Netflix on a Dish Hopper DVR

Not all conventional TV providers are at odds with Netflix. Dish just announced that its second-generation Hopper DVRs (and eventually Joeys) are getting an integrated Netflix app starting today. Yes, you can now jump from satellite broadcasts to internet streaming without switching devices. The interface will be familiar if you've used Netflix elsewhere, but Dish hopes to one day integrate Netflix's library into search results -- you could find House of Cards sitting next to recordings and Dish's own internet services. The app may not make the biggest difference when you probably have at least one living room device that already does subscription internet video. Nonetheless, it's good to see at least one TV giant treating Netflix as a complement to its own services, rather than a mortal enemy.

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When Plex first arrived on the Xbox One, we figured it would only be a matter of time before the service made its debut on the PlayStation 4. It's taken two months, but finally the company has released an app for Sony's latest console, giving Plex Pass subscribers another way to stream their favorite shows and movies on their TV. It's begun rolling out in Europe and Asia, but we suspect it'll reach the US PlayStation Store soon enough.

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While Amazon and Netflix take their fight to the awards arena, Hulu is still looking for ways to make its content library stand out. Of course, it has plenty of recently or currently airing TV shows, but these days it's all about the exclusives and that's at the heart of a new deal between Hulu and ABC / Disney. According to a blog post, Hulu is the "exclusive subscription video on-demand" home for Resurrection, Mistresses, and those Devious Maids episodes you've been meaning to watch. While we wait for The Wrong Mans to fill in the holes, it's also adding some non-exclusive shows, including the X-Men cartoon (RIP Saturday mornings, and it looks like they're not on Netflix anymore), Melissa & Joey, Alias, Body of Proof, Twisted, Make it or Break It, Spider-Man and Iron Man: Armored Adventures.

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Apple isn't the only one making changes to how it deals with the Russian ruble. Valve is taking measures to protect PC game publishers on its Steam platform too, as spotted by NeoGAF's ever-vigilant eyes. The online storefront is region-locking games in an effort to prevent users from exploiting low currency values. For example, you could buy a Russian game on Steam for a few bucks as opposed to, say, $40 to $60 when purchased through the US storefront. Now, that's a little harder to do and it's causing a bit of an uproar because PC games have typically not been subject to region locks the way console games, on the other hand, have. The move has an impact on areas outside of Putin's backyard too, with reports that Brazil, Indonesia and their neighboring areas are affected too.

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AMC movie theater seat

MoviePass' usual watch-every-day subscription is tempting, but it's limited to standard presentations. What if you want to see that shiny new blockbuster in an advanced format? That's where the company's new, experimental MoviePass Premium comes into play. Paying up to $45 per month lets you see a movie each day at an AMC theater regardless of the technology involved -- 3D, IMAX and AMC's own ETX are fair game. The main catch, aside from finding time to visit the theater that often, is the availability. Premium is currently in a trial phase in Boston and Denver, and it'll only be available elsewhere in the US if and when the test run proves successful.

[Image credit: Jeff, Flickr]

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Constantine

If you've wanted to (legally) watch NBC's live broadcasts away from home, you're in luck... more or less. The media giant is offering live TV streams on its website starting today, and mobile app viewing is due in early 2015. Unfortunately, it's not the independent service you may be looking for. Unlike CBS and HBO, you'll need a conventional TV subscription (as with WatchABC) to tune in online -- not surprisingly, Comcast (NBC's parent) would like to keep you paying for cable programming. With that limit in mind, this is still big if you've ever wished that you could watch that new episode of Constantine without retreating to the living room.

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GTA V Heists

It's no secret that four-player online heists are coming to Grand Theft Auto Online, but information on what Rockstar's new co-op missions will entail has remained scarce. Well, thanks to an in-depth interview with IGN and a brand new trailer (embedded below), we're finally getting an idea of what we can expect when the company drops the long-awaited DLC early next year. According to GTA Online producer Imran Sarwar, the update will deliver "five unique strands involving over 20 total missions, which will add up to around 20 hours of gameplay." Each online mission will require four players who have levelled to rank 12 or higher, with one player assigned the role of leader.

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Netflix has taken its sweet time bringing its Android app up-to-date, but at least it's bearing extra nice gifts for you and your inner circle. You can now privately endorse shows to Facebook friends without clogging their news feeds -- a feature that's already been available on the web and iOS for several months. Netflix did throw in a couple of exclusive Android extras, though: you'll be able to use your smartphone to thank a friend for a recommendation, see movie info and images, and even pause or play shows. But, the best part for nerdy film-lovers: you can now use an Android Wear smartwatch to do all that too, including remotely controlling shows (as shown above). Being the last to get an update sucks, but I'll gladly trade that for the double-takes when I launch House of Cards from my watch, Dick Tracy-style.

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On the same day HBO announced its streaming service is on the Amazon Fire TV, Roku has news of its own. Re/code found an FCC filing revealing that the media streamer folks have come to an agreement with Comcast. That means the cable giant's customers will finally be able to use HBO Go and Showtime Anytime on Roku media streamers, after years of the apps refusing to authenticate, making an ugly joke of the "TV Everywhere" slogan. While neither side has commented publicly or announced when the change will take effect, we've also heard that Comcast is talking to Amazon and could allow HBO Go access on its box / dongle soon.

Update: And... it's live right now. Roku has put up a blog post announcing the change and interested users should be able to try it out immediately. We still don't know why it took so long, but we're glad it's done.

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LG has announced that next year, it will have a new set of 4K TVs to slot between its existing Ultra HD LCDs and super-colorful OLED models. These are different because they use quantum dot technology, which LG says will make for a wider color palette and better color saturation than regular LCDs. Sony's already using the technology in its high-end TVs, and reports have indicated that Samsung will offer LCDs with quantum dots as well. The tech used here will use nanocrystals in sizes of 2 to 10 nm that show a different color based on their size, laid in a film over the usual IPS LCD. LG has committed heavily to OLED as a display technology of the future, but even with prices dropping rapidly, it's still out of range for most buyers. As a result, improving traditional LCDs -- and trying to convince folks to upgrade to 4K at all -- is where the key battles will be. The new TVs will be available in 55- and 65-inch versions at first, and you can be sure we'll be taking a close look at them in Las Vegas next month.

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While we enjoy the holiday reruns, this week some will be unwrapping an early present, as the acclaimed anime series Cowboy Bebop is released on Blu-ray. Also worth checking out is Syfy's three-episode mini-series Ascension, as well as the season finale of Homeland. PS3 gamers can expect a version of Resogun ported back to their console, while The Maze Runner, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Tootsie (Criterion) come to Blu-ray. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).

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Bose headphones

Bose doesn't want to rely solely on fashionable audio gear to compete with the likes of Beats and Sonos --it's venturing into the online music space, too. Hypebot highlights a job listing for a senior designer that would help shape a "next generation streaming music platform" and a matching "ecosystem of products." Just what it would entail isn't clear, but the future recruit would ideally have experience at a big-name streaming service, whether it's Beats, Pandora or Spotify.

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It only took seven or so months since it was first announced, but HBO Go is now available on Amazon's Fire TV (along with SlingPlayer). Owners of the Fire TV Stick dongle will have to wait until this spring for access, but since they're probably Amazon Prime subscribers too, at least they have plenty of older HBO shows to stream in the meantime. The other bad news? HBO tells us that Comcast and Charter are currently not on the list of supported streaming providers. According to Amazon its selection of apps has quadrupled since launch, and the box is currently on sale for $79 instead of the $99 regular price, in case your holiday shopping isn't over with yet.

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