If you use YouTube's app on your TV, get ready for a new UI (finally!). The app has a much cleaner look now, in line with Google's Material Design, and includes features that you're used to seeing on your computer, smartphone and tablet, such as a guide that pops up on the left side, latest videos from your subscriptions and curated channels. The refreshed interface should pop up soon -- it's available now with Xbox One, and Google plans to roll it out to other devices within the next few weeks.

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When I open my mailbox, I often find Amazon packages that I don't remember ordering. But today's surprise was a DVD of Sharknado, a movie I absolutely did not purchase. My first instinct was to contact Amazon and change my password, but then I found a note inside: "For you to test out the new Syfy Sync app with your Philips Hue lights." Wait, what? A quick web search cleared things up pretty quickly -- the latest Syfy Sync app enables full control of a Hue bridge (and connected lights) on the same network. The movie, app and lights work together, in theory, to bring you a more immersive entertainment experience.

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HBO Go, Songza and Pandora are about to get more company on Chromecast, according to a Gigaom interview with Google's VP of product management Mario Queiroz where he stated additional waves of apps are coming soon. A public release for the Chromecast SDK -- which should allow developers to build and release their own apps at will -- won't happen until next year, but this week the team gave over 40 developers access to a preview version just to get their feedback. To ensure its elegantly simple user experience remains intact across all applications, the company also recently released a 14-page design guide that details the basic expectations for the development community. An impending international release next year is also encouraging publishers to make compatible apps -- moves that should benefit everyone, regardless of where they call home. Quieroz's "broader" goal is to establish Cast tech as a standard embedded into other hardware, but until that happens there's still time to gift-wrap a few of Google's HDMI dongles and look like a hero all year as their capabilities continue to expand.

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Not to be outshined by Google's announcement that more apps were joining the Chromecast revolution, Apple TV today made its entertainment repertoire a bit richer. As 9to5Mac points out, Cupertino's tiny box is now giving viewers access to applications including Bloomberg (which will be streaming news 24/7 as well as offer on-demand content), Watch ABC, Crackle (in HD for the first time) and, for Korean speakers, KORTV. These new additions show that Apple is getting increasingly passionate about its hobby, as over the past months we've seen more and more apps and features become available. It's worth mentioning that being able to enjoy some of these in full depends on the country you're in and whether you have the proper cable subscription. So, power on your Apple TV and let us know in the comments how you're liking the fresh content thus far.

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Say goodbye to ESPN's ScoreCenter app. Don't worry though, the sports broadcast network has renamed the popular mobile software SportsCenter alongside a redesign. The refresh brings video highlights, social functionality and personalized content to those looking to remain up to speed or follow along on-the-go. For example, you'll now be able to set favorite teams to quickly display content and get info on those clubs to the app's inbox. Clubhouses "for every team and league under the sun" serve up all of the latest franchise news in one convenient spot. Tweets from on-air commentators and shows are included with ESPN Now alongside access to WatchESPN content for easy streaming of live or archived events and much more. The latest version is now available for both iOS and Android devices via their respective app libraries.

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In light of accusations that its Smart TVs were sending private data to its servers, LG has admitted that some of its sets are behaving in ways they shouldn't be. In a statement, the Korean manufacturer conceded that it has been collecting channel, TV platform and broadcast source data from some units, even when the feature was switched off. However, the company said that when the feature operates normally, it helps provide viewing recommendations to other LG Smart TV owners based on what they are watching. In response to claims it was also beaming over names of files located on connected USB keys, LG admits that it actually forms part of an upcoming service that searches the internet for detailed information on a particular film or TV show.

Understandably, both features might leave a nasty taste in your mouth, especially if you own one of the affected Smart TVs. With that in mind, LG says that while it has never stored private data, it is working on a new firmware update that will ensure its data-collection settings adhere to user preferences -- that'll include killing off its file metadata-matching service before it had the chance to live.

LG regrets any concerns these reports may have caused and will continue to strive to meet the expectations of all our customers and the public. We hope this update clears up any confusion.

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With only two weeks until the Xbox One hits the shelves, Microsoft's marketing blitz continues with a 12-minute video demonstration of its next-gen console in action. Xbox executives Yusuf Mehdi and Marc Whitten highlight some of Kinect's new features, showing how users can switch to their personalized dashboard using just their voice, or use its 1080p camera to engage in a live Skype video call. We're also treated to some real-world examples of the Xbox One's snappy multitasking features, which we first saw in the "Meet Xbox One" video late last month, reinforcing the speed at which the system can switch between the dashboard and a paused game (in this case Forza Motorsport 5). These features, of course, are just a few of the several fascinating abilities we got to witness this week -- you can digest it all right here.

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Xbox One apps

Long gone are the days when a game console merely had its launch lineup of games to worry about -- in the modern era we also have to know about other types of entertainment. Microsoft is finally ready to reveal the "first wave" of apps that will arrive with its $500 Xbox One in each of the 13 launch markets and it's a surprisingly healthy list. In the US we're not seeing any services that weren't already on Xbox 360, but internet video standards like Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu Plus, HBO Go (not at launch), Vudu, Crackle and Redbox Instant are all present and accounted for along with TV everywhere efforts from Fox, CW, ESPN and Univision. International audiences can expect to see locally available services like Netflix, Lovefilm, Orange and Canal+, where applicable (check the official blog for a full list).

While there are no apps for Time Warner Cable, Comcast, or AT&T's U-verse at launch, Verizon FiOS is present and accounted for as a traditional pay-TV provider in the US. The most notable missing app award would have to go to YouTube or BBC iPlayer (both are also absent from the PS4 apps list), although the console's integrated browser could help with that.

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DNP Grand Theft Auto V companion apps offer pimped rides, virtual pooches, interactive maps

Need something to pass the time tonight while waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5? Developer Rockstar Games has you covered with a pair of free companion apps for its latest crime sim. The iFruit mobile app features two distinct portions with direct ties to your virtual criminal career, allowing you to customize your ride and train protagonist Franklin's rottweiler. Los Santos Customs lets you get crazy under the hood and in the body shop, tinkering with your ride until it's just right for either GTA5 or GTA: Online. Treat Franklin's dog Chop well enough in the pet trainer Chop the Dog, and he'll find hidden in-game loot for you. The iFruit app is iOS-only for now, but flavors for Android, Windows Phone and even PlayStation Vita are en route.

There's also an e-version of the game's manual, because Rockstar apparently couldn't squeeze the full 100 page-plus tome into print for the retail box. What's more, it features an interactive map, and is available now on the App Store and as a desktop app -- an Android version is "coming soon." Midnight doesn't seem so far away now, does it?

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DNP Commercial Break app update

Judging from the reader comments when we initially reported on Commercial Break's beta launch, a lot of people wanted to see an Android version and more functionality for sports. Well, the devs appear to be listening. With the app's new "Live Events" feature, you can follow multiple upcoming live broadcasts (ballgames or otherwise) and get push notifications before they start and when they return from an ad-break. The app is now available at Google Play, and both it and the iOS version support a majority of (not blacked-out) nationally televised pro and college football games, as well as the upcoming MLB playoffs. Could the app use any more improvements? Speak up and speak often -- it won't be in vain.

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Showtime Anytime apps for Android and iOS updated to deliver live programming

We've been accustomed to having mobile access to the entire back catalog of our favorite Showtime series via the Showtime Anytime app since its launch in 2011. Users will no longer be limited to past episodes on their handsets and tablets, however, as both the Android and iOS apps were updated today with the ability to stream a live feed of whatever's airing on Showtime. All you need to do is install the update, choose whether Showtime East or West best suits your viewing preference, and you'll be able to enjoy Dexter perform his latest ritual on your mobile device every Sunday night.

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Google Search Android app updated with locationbased offers, voiceactivated music playback

Jelly Bean users running Android 4.1 or later can now snag a few more features with Google's Search app. The update (version number varies depending on your device) delivers three notable additions. The first tool pushes saved offers as you approach a redemption location, reminding you of forgotten deals when they're most relevant. Next up is a new voice action, which lets you control music playback -- both on your device and in the Play Store -- by speaking to your handset. (Voice action tips also make a debut with this refresh.) A third addition enables instant access to information about television programming you're currently consuming, assuming your HDTV is connected to the web and on the same WiFi network as your device. Get your download on at the source link below.

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DNP Dish Anywhere for iPad updated with new remote reset and Audio Only

Dish rolled out a sizable update for its Anywhere iPad app today, allowing on the go socialites to share viewing habits with friends via Facebook and Twitter. Less socially-connected couch potatoes will see new features as well, like the ability to remotely reset their receiver whenever they find themselves in a pinch. Version 4.0.3 also ushers in an updated DVR schedule that includes Skipped and Conflicts, along with an Audio Only mode for Hopper users. Finally, Dish customers rocking unsupported satellite receivers now have access to On Demand programming. Looking for more information? Head on over to the source link below for all the details.

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Flixster is now on the Xbox 360, UltraViolet library inhand

Warner Bros.-owned social networking slash film service Flixster is now available on the Xbox 360, bringing with it the Rotten Tomatoes rating aggregation service and UltraViolet cloud integration. As Xbox 360 apps tend to be, Flixster costs nothing and only functions if you've got an Xbox Live account. Beyond simple controller or media remote input, Flixster's Xbox 360 app employs Kinect for gesture and voice-based navigation. Special for this platform is the ability to play back those UltraViolet-linked video files in HD; it's the first Flixster app to do so, although Vudu had that capability already.

With today's app addition, the grand total of video service apps on the Xbox 360 is hovering just around a hojillion. Seriously, there are kind of a lot of different options, and we're hoping Microsoft's got a more cohesive strategy for the next version of the Xbox gaming console. The most recent rumors involve an HDMI-in port, allowing cable boxes to integrate with the console -- codenamed "Durango" and / or "Kryptos" -- but there's no mention of a NintendoTVii-esque service to tie disparate video services under a single software umbrella. The 360's Bing functionality aimed to solve that issue, but sadly never lived up to our expectations.

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LG adds PayPal to its smart TV platform for faster app purchases

Looking to jumpstart interest in its in-house ecosystem, LG is adding PayPal as a software purchasing option for its latest line of smart TVs, making it the first manufacturer to natively use the service. Available now in the US, Canada and UK, this new addition will let you use either a traditional or Magic remote to navigate an onscreen keyboard when buying apps, games or $50 worth of 3D Disney movie rentals. The real potential time saver here is the addition of an optional "remember me" feature which lets users store their PayPal account information for faster purchases. Look for the service to expand to Australia, France, Germany and Italy sometime this month, with other markets set to follow later.

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