Why should you have to listen to a sports commentator who's obviously pulling for the other team -- or one who's just plain boring? That's the question Dolby's out to answer with its personalized audio demo here at NAB. The company's showing attendees how they could enjoy a TV experience tailored to their preferences. Following through with the sports example mentioned above, this means different options for commentators during a hockey game. If you're a basketball fan watching the Spurs take on the Pacers while talking with friends on Skype, the system will recognize the VoIP service and mute other audio when they're speaking. Maybe you're more into The Voice; Dolby's tech could bring you audio from your favorite judge, excluding the opinions you don't want to hear.

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We came away relatively impressed with the Fire TV during our brief hands-on. But we all know that units set up specifically for press demonstrations are hardly the best indicator of how a device will function in the real world. So we immediately went back to our lair and began putting the newest kid on the streaming block through its paces. Once away from the carefully controlled demonstration area, it became clear that the Fire TV is more of a mixed bag -- and still tied to its Android/Google TV roots -- than Amazon would like you to believe.

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The first thing you notice when you pick up the Fire TV is how incredibly dense it is. It's tiny and encased in black matte plastic, but it feels like a solid brick of aluminum. That's not terribly surprising when you consider all of the power Amazon has crammed inside this thing. Though we're not sure about the speeds on its quad-core CPU and dedicated GPU, the company claims it has three times the processing power of its rivals like Roku and Apple TV. In any case, it's clear the silicon inside is pretty beefy, and it's likely that the chassis is a giant heatsink.

During our brief time with the device, it was every bit as quick and impressive as it was during the on-stage demo. Voice searches were quick, if not exactly flawless thanks to the rather noisy demo area. It was less than a second from when I finished speaking to when the results popped up on screen (though, it seemed odd that Amazon assumed I meant "Klint Eastwood"). Despite its insistence that it handled search better than platforms like Roku, we'd have to say things aren't so cut and dry. Sure, you can voice search using the microphone on the remote, but searching with text requires the same cumbersome reliance on the remote's directional pad and an onscreen keyboard. Not to mention that Roku and Chromecast are also able to deliver voice search through their respective mobile apps.

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The cat's out of the bag and... uh, on our head? Okay, we can do better than that, but what we're trying to say is that we just used Sony's new PlayStation 4 virtual reality headset: Project Morpheus. You already know the specs and all that good stuff; we're here to tell you what it's like using the still-in-prototype-form virtual reality headset for the PlayStation 4. Good news: It's pretty great! Surprise!

Join us below for a closer look.

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Two months ago, Sulon Technologies broke cover with a video showcasing a bulky augmented reality and virtual reality system. Fast-forward to today. The chunky backpack and headset combo has been replaced by a much, much smaller second prototype -- it's just a headset with a power cord coming out the back. Oh, and it's got a name: The Cortex. If you're a tinkerer, you can pre-order the dev kit version to follow this new prototype -- the company claims this more polished hardware will be shipping out in Q4 of 2014. It'll cost you $500 to get this particular peek into the future, though, so read on to find out what it's like wandering around with the dev kit's hacked-together portable predecessor on your melon.

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It's about that time again. That time for NCAA Division I schools to battle it out on the court during the month of March, all in search of men's basketball glory. Naturally, the NCAA, in partnership with CBS and Turner Sports, couldn't have kicked things off without revamping its beloved March Madness Live, both on the desktop and mobile apps. For the most part, however, the streaming service remains largely unchanged -- and we'd say that's a good thing. That said, there are a few new things coming to March Madness Live this year, such as apps for Kindle Fire, Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8 (we'll come back to the latter two in a bit).

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"This could be a science lesson on the innards of sharks."

Chance Ivey, game design lead for Chaotic Moon's whimsical Oculus Rift demo SharkPunch, was only half-joking when he made that comment to me as I exploded a megalodon with my fist in virtual space. That's because the minigame, which incorporates a visor-mounted Leap Motion controller to let users punch sharks in 3D, actually has firm roots in an educational simulator the Austin, Texas-based company's been developing for prospective clients. Yes, that connection may be hard to swallow at first -- after all, how does a frenzied, and fun, game of shark carnage assist players with learning? The simple answer is that it doesn't, but by no means does that lessen SharkPunch's educational origins in the slightest.

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When Roku released its first Streaming Stick in late 2012, it was a tough sell. It cost $99 (as much as the highest-end Roku box), only worked with TVs that were certified as "Roku Ready," and it didn't even ship with a remote. So the godfather of set-top streaming boxes went back to the drawing board for the 2014 version of the Roku Streaming Stick, which abandons its reliance on MHL (Mobile High-Definition Link) for standard-issue HDMI. It also comes prepackaged with a remote, though it lacks the motion control and headphone jack you get on more expensive models. For the internals, the company essentially crammed the Roku 1 into a dongle format -- and that includes its wallet-friendly $50 price point. While it's not quite as cheap as Google's streaming stick, it does play host to plenty more content sources. Whether or not PBS, Showtime and over 1,000 niche channels of video programming is worth the extra $15 depends on you.

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You may have already followed the announcement of Sony's Xperia Z2 and Xperia Z2 Tablet last week, but did you know that they are also the first mobile devices to feature MHL 3.0? For those who haven't caught up, this standard allows 4K video output -- over a bandwidth of 6 Gbps -- from a micro-USB port, while giving back up to 10W of power to keep your phone or tablet juiced up. Better yet, you also get a dedicated 75 Mbps channel for data transfer, as opposed to just 1 Mbps in earlier versions, which is only enough for HID input (like keyboard, touchscreen, mouse and even gesture control). It's still snail pace compared to the likes of USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt, but at least you can now transfer files to and from your mobile device over the same cable. Besides, it's possible to achieve a higher transfer rate of up to 600 Mbps using special connectors, such as USB 3.0's 10-pin configuration.

At MWC last week, Silicon Image demoed MHL 3.0 -- powered by its SiI8620 transmitter chip -- working between an Xperia Z2 and a Sony 4K TV, with the bonus capability of navigating through the phone using the TV's remote. The company also showed off file transfer between a USB drive and a Snapdragon 800 development board over MHL 3.0, though products (likely monitors, set-top boxes and docks) that support this feature won't be out until later this year. For now, you can check out our demo video after the break.

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Harmonix is charting new territory yet again. The studio that birthed both Guitar Hero and Rock Band, and the only third-party game-development house that created a successful Kinect franchise (Dance Central), announced a new game today: Chroma. Unlike the studio's last several games, Chroma is headed exclusively to the PC (via Steam) as a free-to-play title. Also unlike Harmonix's last several games, Chroma is wildly experimental, blending first-person shooting with pulsing electronic beats and garish visuals. The music game studio is even working with an outside team, Hidden Path Entertainment: the same folks behind critically acclaimed shooter Counter-Strike: Global Offensive.

If you're still wondering what type of game Chroma is at this point, that's understandable: There's no such thing as a music-based first-person shooter. That is not a thing that exists (well, unless you wanna count Midway's terribly amazing Revolution X). So let's break it down: In Chroma, you play one of five classes (standard FPS fare, from basic assault to heavy "tank"), with weapons and abilities varying based on the class you choose. In the two game modes we played at DICE 2014, we were on a team with other writers battling for control of various points within a level or battling for control of a cart being pushed one way or another (think: Team Fortress 2). Pretty normal shooter stuff so far, right?

The musical wrinkle comes into play whenever you shoot or jump. Fire a sniper rifle shot on the downbeat and connect? That's a one-hit kill. Jump on the downbeat? You'll go a little higher. Better yet, jump on a downbeat on a jump pad and chain your button presses to the beat to continuously jump from pad to pad (this all makes more sense in Chroma's stylized future-world setting, promise). You can fire most guns whenever you want, and jump at any time, but timing actions to the beat makes a world of difference. That is Chroma's bizarre, fascinating premise.

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Super Bowl XLVIII is just around the corner, and the NFL's taking advantage of the week leading up to it by using it as a platform to reveal its next venture: NFL Now. Today, at a press event in New York City, the National Football League introduced a newly created digital network, dubbed NFL Now, which it says will focus on delivering a "personalized stream of content" to fans of the sport worldwide. While the online service won't be streaming football games live -- not at the time of launch, at least -- it will have full on-demand clashes to offer, as well as highlights and other content produced by teams across the league. In addition to all of this, there's also going to be an abundance of extra video from across other NFL properties, including NFL.com, NFL Network and NFL Films. And, better yet, it will be free.

However, don't expect Now to act only as a hub for all that aforementioned stuff: The NFL says we can anticipate a ton of original programming to be available as well -- though it hasn't gone into detail about what type exactly. Once it actually gets rolling, we're told the user experience on NFL Now is set to be extremely personalized and easily customizable. For example, users can select from a number of preferences, like favorite team and fantasy players, and NFL Now will show a stream of content based on those choices. "Eventually, no two users should get the same experience on NFL Now," a league representative said to us. NFL Now is set to have applications on iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, Xbox One and "across select consoles and streaming devices."

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Beats Music builds a unique, if messy, listening experience around emotion

The Beats empire has officially expanded beyond its humble headphone roots. Beats Music has officially launched (download it from the iTunes App Store here), and become the latest contestant for your streaming music dollar. Of course, the market for such services is already pretty crowded. Between Spotify, Google Play and Rdio (just to name a few) one might wonder "why bother?" Well, the company thinks there's plenty of fish in the sea who haven't jumped aboard the music subscription bandwagon just yet. While we're sure execs are hoping to convert a few listeners along the way, they're more concerned with broadening the pool of customers. After two years of plugging away, with a little help from Trent Reznor and its MOG acquisition, Beats feels it has something unique to offer; something built around curation, emotion and a personalized user experience. It all sounds good in theory, but the real question is whether or not the reality lives up to the promise. As usual, the answer is complicated and it awaits you after the break.​

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After all the time we've spent with Oculus VR's latest Crystal Cove prototype last week -- our first Best of CES award winner! -- you might think we're all VR'd out. You'd be wrong, and when the folks at GameFace Labs offered us a chance to check out their Android-based, standalone VR headset, we jumped at the chance.

The Mark IV model of GFL's unnamed headset is a 3D-printed proof of concept, and it serves that goal fantastically. We put on the headset, were handed a paired Bluetooth gamepad (Sony's DualShock 3) and were instantly transported to a lower-res version of the Tuscany demo we've seen running previously on the Rift. Only there's one major difference here: no wires.

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The jury's still out on Android gaming (exhibit A: OUYA), but that's not stopping Huawei from taking a dive into that niche corner of the industry. Its Tegra 4-based Tron mini-console, announced here at CES 2014, pairs a cylindrical-shaped hub with a Bluetooth controller that hews quite closely to the Xbox 360 mold OUYA also went after. Before we get your hopes up though, take note that Tron's for China only -- at least, for now anyway. A Huawei rep did say that the company's looking into further market expansion, but given its track record with smartphones in the US, we have a hard time believing Tron will see these shores anytime soon.

The Tron console itself runs a half-skinned version of Android JellyBean (version 4.2.3) that presents a clean menu overlay with feature tiles for access to games, Huawei's store, video, application, settings and featured titles. That slick menu selection comes to a screeching halt, however, as soon as you attempt to select anything other than games, bringing you face-to-face with Android's ugly underbelly -- much like on the OUYA.

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Kogan's name may not roll off your brain as easily as some companies we could mention, but the Australian outfit is attempting to bring premium technology to the masses with a focus on low prices. In fact, there's probably a comparison with Vizio to be made here, considering that Kogan's first 4K TV retails for $999 AUD, or around $890 USD. Then there's the Agora HD Mini 3G, a 7.85-inch tablet with a 3G modem that retails for $199 AUD, or about $180 in the US. Considering how frequently our antipodean friends are gouged by technology companies, it's good to see the locals fighting back.

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