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After several years on hiatus, an official announcement and the shockingly rapid decline of the music game market, Rock Band suddenly leapt back to life this month. Harmonix Music Systems -- the studio responsible for the music game craze, and the studio that created Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central -- announced new tracks heading to the Rock Band online store, which works with both Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Why in the world is Harmonix releasing new tracks as paid, downloadable content for games that only exist on previous generation consoles? The official word is full of public relations obfuscation:

"We had an exciting opportunity to add new content to the already-massive Rock Band library with a song from Arctic Monkeys – a band that's never been in a Rock Band title before! – as well as new music from fan favorites Avenged Sevenfold and Foo Fighters. We couldn't pass it up. Also, we wanted to see if we could still do it. Turns out we can. It's sort of like riding a bike."

Great. That out of the way, what's really happening? Companies don't just casually release new content for years old games. That's not a thing that happens. I'd call it "testing the waters."

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On Saturday morning in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it was about 30 degrees outside, but I was in my backyard enjoying a 75-degree day at the beach. That's only possible because I was testing out the first attempt at streaming virtual reality from one place to another -- in this case from Laguna Beach, California, to a Samsung Gear VR headset strapped to my head. Thanks to technology from the folks at Next VR, I could see and hear everything in 3D as though I was actually there, looking around in a virtual reality environment while on the phone with co-founder David Cole.

Next VR's demo reel takes viewers to a prerecorded NBA game, beach scene or Coldplay concert, but until now, no one outside of its labs has actually used the technology to visit another place via a live feed. A couple of years ago, we talked to the company about its plans to distribute live video in a virtual reality environment and today that dream came true.

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Sling TV, a $20-a-month service for cord-cutters, made quite the debut earlier this month, winning our Best of CES award amid a flood of attention from press and customers alike. But can the app really live up to its promise to "Take Back TV"? I've had access to the beta for a few days, allowing me to get an early look before the first batch of invitations for pre-registered customers goes out tonight at midnight ET. As far as I can tell, the answer is both yes and no. Internet TV is finally real, but it has a lot of strings left over from the old days of pay-TV, and not just because it's coming from the folks at Dish Network. Getting must-have content from the likes of ESPN has its costs, and those might make the $20 entry fee higher than you're willing to pay.

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Finally, we can stop asking Microsoft's Xbox lead Phil Spencer about virtual reality headsets. "For us, I think this is the area," Spencer told a group of interviewers at yesterday's Windows 10 event. He was responding to whether or not there's also a virtual reality headset in the works at Microsoft, just an hour after the company unveiled HoloLens: a "mixed reality" headset that enables the wearer to see holograms in real life.

For Spencer, HoloLens is both Microsoft's alternate answer to the recent virtual reality explosion and a potential answer to Sony's Project Morpheus headset -- a VR peripheral that works with the PlayStation 4, where HoloLens could work with the Xbox One. "It's very cool. To me there's not a successful consumer electronics device on the planet where gaming is not a primary form of app category on the thing," Spencer said. There's even a "Minecraft-inspired" demo -- which answers that question -- for HoloLens that shows the implications of gaming with holograms. But no demo showed the headset working with the Xbox One in any capacity. Spencer instead talked around that possibility:

"I think gaming will be important. Specific scenarios with the Xbox, we're thinking hard about. People could ask about streaming solutions. Could I use it as a display for my Xbox? We don't have answers to any of those things, but know it's all part of the same organization."

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Microsoft made a lot of sweeping statements yesterday about what it wants for the future of Xbox and Windows. We don't like broad statements here at Engadget; we like specifics. Good news! We've broken down the aforementioned statements into the stuff that really matters: how you will be affected by the upcoming launch of Windows 10, specifically as it pertains to the game console you own and the PC you use for games. We've got answers on everything from in-home game streaming to Xbox's biggest games heading to the PC, so head below for a beat-by-beat breakdown of what yesterday's big announcements mean for the future of the Xbox platform as we know it.

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In what could go down as one of the most important Microsoft events of recent years, the tech giant invited people to its Redmond, Washington, headquarters to break down the next version of Windows. As part of this, Microsoft just revealed that Windows 10 will bring the Xbox app to every PC and tablet running on the new OS. Head of Xbox Phil Spencer took the stage to announce how system-level Xbox One features, like messages and the friends list, will integrate with Windows 10. "Gaming has become a much more social activity," said Spencer during the presentation. "Gaming is personal."

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At first glance Sling TV's hype is all about the business model: no onerous contracts, a low entry price and access across a slew of devices, all with a bundle of content viewers have usually needed a cable TV package to get. But the truth about our Best of the Best CES winner is that while it's smaller and travels better -- this is still the same old pay-TV bundle, and constructed by the same old companies to repeat the model many have grown tired of. So why am I still leaving Las Vegas thinking I've had my first good look at TV's future? It's the experience.

Sling is hardly the first built-from-the-ground-up service for watching video on the internet -- Netflix, Hulu and all the rest have been doing it with TV-quality content for quite some time. This is different because it feels like the live TV experience I'm used to, but designed in the internet age. Unlike others that tried (and have mostly failed) to execute this combo by building a foundation on the shifting sands of existing cable TV and IR blasters -- we mean you, Google TV and Xbox One -- Sling TV doesn't have or need channel numbers hanging on like vestigial limbs. It's all right here: Your live TV is an app; it's organized like one; and in all of the demos I saw, it responded like one.

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Every year at CES, some of the most stunning visuals to be seen come from the TV manufacturers, and 2015 is no exception. Sure, 4K was the name of the game at this year's show, but there were also displays with four times that resolution on offer, too. And while most of the TVs were of the LCD variety, there were stunning sets using OLED and quantum dot tech to deliver better, brighter pictures, too.

If you want to see more than just the TVs of CES, check out our 2015 Field Guide.

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Sure, there are plenty of Ultra HD televisions floating around the Las Vegas Convention Center, but how will you find anything suitably super high-res to play on them? Netflix, Amazon and a few others have started 4K internet delivery, while DirecTV and Comcast also have limited approaches, but sometimes you prefer media you can hold onto. Physical media fans have help on the way in two forms, but the bad news is neither one is ready to launch right now. The Blu-ray Disc Association has confirmed the name of its 4K format (Ultra HD Blu-ray) and many of its capabilities, while the Secure Content Storage Association has its own demo for Ultra HD movies you can download and transfer (almost) at will, with backing from Fox, Warner Bros., Samsung and others.

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The most important news from CES 2015 involves hundreds of millions of dollars and a titan in the tech industry. It has its origins in a movement that scarred the latter half of 2014. It's not a gadget. It's not a service. It's not something that's for sale at all, actually.

The most important news at CES 2015 comes from Intel of all places, which announced its Diversity in Technology Initiative on Tuesday evening: an ambitious $300 million investment, intended to "increase the representation of women and underrepresented minorities in the workplace and our industry" through partnerships, hiring and oversight. As Intel CEO Brian Krzanich puts it, "This isn't just good business; this is the right thing to do." For a company that's over 75 percent male, it's about time.

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LG Music Flow

LG debuted its Music Flow series of wireless speakers last summer, offering a range of speakers targeted squarely at competitor Sonos' products. More recently, it moved away from aping Sonos with the H4 Portable, a battery-powered speaker that acts just like its larger siblings. At CES 2015, we took a closer look (and listen) at the whole Music Flow family.

The way Music Flow works is a hybrid of Sonos and a traditional Bluetooth or NFC speaker. You can pair speakers with a phone via NFC and dedicated apps for iOS and Android, or you can control them directly over a WiFi connection. They speak with one another over WiFi, but need a hub to do so -- a requirement Sonos recently dropped.

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If you've been looking to give cable the boot, Dish's announcement of a $20-a-month service that brings you TV channels over the internet may be the most exciting news of CES. Sling TV doesn't quite have the robust network lineup as Comcast, Time Warner and others, but big names like ESPN, CNN, TNT, TBS, Food Network have signed on. What's more, the subscription includes a movie rental feature, and it'll be available on a handful of smart TVs, Roku players, Amazon Fire TV (and Fire Stick), Xbox One, Nexus Player, Android TV and both Android and iOS mobile platforms when it arrives later this year. That means that if you're already itching to opt in, it won't be too difficult to find a compatible device. Read on for a quick walkthrough of the interface, and for all the details, consult more of our Sling TV coverage.

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From the show floor at CES 2015

It takes a special kind of crazy to show up to the biggest consumer electronics show on Earth, to pay for an exhibition space next to Oculus VR and then advertise your product as an "Oculus killer." That's exactly what 3DHead did with its "GCS3" headset. That phrase is even painted on their booth, as seen above.

Given all that, you're probably pretty interested in seeing the company's headset, right? It's probably super sleek, right? Forgive me, but you absolutely have to head below to see this madness. I assure you, you won't regret it.

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When Samsung announced a trio of audio products ahead of CES, the two egg-shaped speakers immediately grabbed my eye. Obviously, these don't look like regular in-home gear, and while Bang & Olufsen has been making said audio tech more decorative for quite some time, an affordable entry would certainly be welcome. As a part of that oval design, the WAM7500 and WAM6500 have so-called Ring Radiator technology that blasts sound in 360 degrees, rather than a single direction. If you're familiar with the compact UE Boom or Megaboom, this concept is similar. While that latter model is an on-shelf option, the former is meant to be used with a stand, or more awesomely, hung from the ceiling like a light fixture. Keeping with the home accent theme, Samsung is showing off not only black and white versions, but also wood and metallic models.

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"As always, the consumer Rift is in progress and we're making great progress," says Oculus VR Product VP Nate Mitchell. He told me that this week, but you could really pull versions of that response from any of the half dozen interviews we've done with Oculus VR in the past few years. It's the elephant in the room that Oculus brings with it from trade show to trade show: When is this thing going to be a consumer product? There's still no answer in January 2015, as of this year's CES. Will there be an answer in 2015? Maybe! Your guess is as good as ours, but Mitchell offered us something slightly more optimistic:

"We're on an awesome path to consumer VR and I do think that 2015 for better, for worse is gonna be a really big year for VR. Even at CES, we're already seeing it. 2015 is gonna be a big year for VR, whether it's from Oculus or otherwise, and we're excited to be a part of it."

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