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 The chunky backpack and headset combo has been replaced by a much, much smaller second prototype -- it's just a headset with a power cord coming out the back.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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Keecker is an Android-powered robot that projects video onto your walls

Sure, you could buy a projector for your apartment, or maybe even a TV; people still use those, we're told. Or, you could get an Android-powered projector instead. Solving a problem that not many people seem to have, Keecker is a smartphone-controllable robot that moves around your home, projecting video onto the walls. In particular, it runs Android with Google Play access, allowing you to stream from built-in apps like Netflix or YouTube. (Fun fact: the company's founder, Pierre Lebeau, is a former product manager at Google.) As you can imagine, Keecker also has a built-in speaker, meaning you could use this as a giant music player if you were so inclined.

Some might be disappointed by the 1,280 x 800 resolution (especially with a target price of $4,000 to $5,000), but the 1,000-lumen light is at least bright enough that you can watch even with the lights on. (See our hands-on photos from the company's CES booth to see what we mean.) The thing is, even with clear picture quality, the robot is kinda big. At 16 inches wide and 25 inches tall it has a relatively large footprint, so it'd be a stretch to argue that this offers any space-saving benefits, per se. If you buy this, it's going to be because you want the freedom to watch TV on any wall in the house, or because you like the idea of having a projector with streaming apps built in (a better reason to splurge, if you ask us). At any rate, this won't ship until Q4, so you have plenty of time to think on that -- and start saving your pennies.

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Here's yet another option for wirelessly mirroring your computer screen to another display, but don't worry: This one is rather impressive. Airtame, the creation of a group of Danish folks, is an HDMI dongle that links your PC -- be it running Windows, OS X or Linux -- to whatever display it's plugged into over WiFi. Installation is a breeze: All you need on the PC side is just the software, and from there you can choose which dongles to beam your screen to. Yes, dongles, because you really can beam one PC to multiple screens, thus beating Miracast. We also played a game on one of the laptops, and the response time on the remote display was surprisingly good.

Airtame's Indiegogo campaign has long reached its $160,000 goal, but you can still pre-order this $89 dongle in the remaining nine days left. Do also check out our video from the CES show floor after the break.

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It's so big and bright that it wasn't hard to find inside Sharp's booth, even when surrounded by a sea of other televisions from the manufacturer. What you see above, folks, is an 85-inch, 8K glasses-free 3D TV from Sharp. This behemoth, ultra-high-res display is rather similar to the one from CES 2013, save for the fact you can enjoy three-dimensional content without any eye hardware. While everything about this LED TV is indeed interesting, we can't say we were too impressed by the glasses-free 3D. It is pretty easy for your eyes to get tired of the effect quickly, and at times some frames pass through so fast that it ends up making the content seem blurry -- we're not the only ones who feel this way, apparently. Aside from those things, the image is incredibly sharp; the TV was showing scenes from Life of Pi and Frozen, both of which looked stunning on the big screen.

Obviously, Sharp's 85-inch, 8K 3D TV is still in the early stages, and thus it wouldn't be fair to judge it based on first impressions. Chances are it'll improve tremendously as the company continues to work on it. For now, it is a very dazzling thing to look at and we can't wait to see it down the road. Check out the pictures we took of it after the break, or, if you're here at the LVCC, stop by the Sharp booth to experience it yourself. Let us know what you think in the comments below.

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You'll excuse us if we didn't expect PlayStation Now to work so well. It's a game-streaming service, and the history of game-streaming services is littered with dead bodies. When Sony spent an unbelievable $380 million on Gaikai, it seemed impossible that the service could ever live up to that incredible sum. While PlayStation Now may not live up to that massive payout, it does, in fact, work. And it works really well.

We got our hands on PlayStation Now today at a CES 2014 PlayStation event, where we tried God of War: Ascension on a Bravia TV (without a PS3) and The Last of Us on a Vita. Both games played like there was a local PlayStation 3 (including the incredibly long initial load for The Last of Us) and ran without a hitch. There was zero perceptible lag in our (admittedly brief) playtime, and we suspect that the internet Sony's using is of the very strong variety.

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