While ASUS continues to impress us with a slew of PCs and mobile devices at Computex, let's not forget that it still makes some nice peripherals. One thing that surprised us at the ASUS booth was a pretty external Blu-ray drive aimed at audio buffs. Dubbed the Blu-ray Prime, this USB 3.0 device claims to be the "world's only optical drive with 7.1-channel audio output," courtesy of the integrated ASUS Xonar sound card, which packs a Cirrus Logic CS4398 DAC and a C-Media CM6631A audio processor, plus optical output. It also features a 600-ohm headphone amplifier and a clean 114dB signal-to-noise ratio. Expect the Blu-ray Prime to hit various markets for about $199 in Q4, after the DVD version is released in Q3 for half the price.

Photos by Zach Honig.

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Given the success of franchises like FIFA and Madden, it's easy to see why EA would want to commit valuable resources to developing an MMA title, a sport that's been getting bigger and bigger over the past few years. But the road for creating this new game, dubbed EA Sports UFC, wasn't an easy one. The relationship between UFC President Dana White and EA had its complications a few years ago. Back then, the developer reportedly wasn't interested in making a title for the mixed martial arts company, which is what started the kerfuffle between them. Because of this, UFC eventually hooked up with THQ to create a game, while EA Sports went on to develop its own MMA series. Still, neither of these things lasted too long. And after the unfortunate demise of THQ, EA Sports eventually reached a deal with UFC, granting it licensing rights for the popular MMA league. The by-product? EA Sports UFC.

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​As a group of journalists huddled together in a function room, deep within a central London hotel, a wide, framed display stands before them. Walled on three sides, a long, Bang & Olufsen-branded curtain hangs across the front-facing section -- clearly hiding whatever product the company has gathered them there to announce. The host spares everyone a long intro, the curtain dramatically drops (was there a small theatrical "pop"? We can't be sure.). As the veil falls to the ground, three fancy looking television sets are revealed, they spring into life, revolving on their stands as if slowly lurching towards the audience. A short, lively video plays. The demo finishes to one, well-intended, solitary clap. Hanging above the TVs, right in the middle it reads: Bang & Olufsen BeoVision Avant "The one that moves." On each screen, as if by way of clarification, the words "Movement with purpose" are displayed. This is how the Danish firm introduces the world to its new 55-inch 4K TV. The one that moves.

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With the world's biggest sporting event, the FIFA World Cup, set to kick off in roughly 37 days, ESPN has now revealed how it plans to deliver coverage to you. At a recent media event in New York City, ESPN President John Skipper and Co. announced that all 64 World Cup matches from Brazil would be streamed live via WatchESPN and ESPN3. Naturally, you'll need a cable subscription (or a certain internet service provider) to have access to the feeds, but the good news is that, since ESPN has full rights to the tournament in the US, you won't be subject to any tedious blackout restrictions. And that includes games broadcasted on ABC. But the sports channel isn't stopping there: ESPN is throwing everything but the kitchen sink at this year's World Cup, with things like 24/7 news coverage and expert analysis, as well as second-screen features for smartphones and tablets.

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Major League Baseball is bringing back a classic. But while resuscitating an old title could sometimes create a double-edged-sword effect of sorts, that's not stopping MLB from taking the chance to reboot the R.B.I. Baseball series. Most importantly, R.B.I. Baseball 14 was developed in-house by MLB's Advanced Media branch, also known as MLBAM, a team that's behind applications like At Bat and whose tech powers the WWE Network streaming service. Up until now, sport games have been all about licensing, so this shift also lets us know how Major League Baseball views that industry. Sure, the experience in R.B.I. Baseball 14 might not be as full-fledged as with, say, Sony's MLB 14 The Show, but it's still interesting to see a professional league leveraging its work as a technology company too.

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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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