Producer: Jon Turi
Hear the podcast:
Producer: Jon Turi
Hear the podcast:
The March Xbox One update is live; your friends list is now slightly more organized; and game broadcasting is mere days away. In reading through the laundry list of tweaks in last night's refresh, perhaps you noticed a handful of gamepad notes? Something to the effect of, "firmware update to the Xbox One controller"? That's secret code for, "You have to update your gamepad firmware." The next generation! We are in it! Head below for a step-by-step guide on entering this brave new world.
Dish subscribers are no longer stuck if they want to catch up on TV shows from one of Amazon's tablets -- the satellite provider has released a version of Dish Anywhere for Kindle Fire HDX devices. As with the regular Android app, HDX owners using Sling-equipped Dish DVRs (such as the Hopper with Sling) can watch live, on-demand and recorded TV from any reasonably fast internet connection. There's no word yet on support for the lower-cost Kindle Fire HD, but those who own Amazon's latest and greatest hardware can grab Dish Anywhere today.
In early August 2012, OnLive employees told us that the cloud gaming company was close to falling apart. Despite creating an impressive service rooted in a futuristic idea -- playing bleeding-edge PC games on the highest settings, remotely, streaming from the cloud to virtually any device -- a cocktail of financial issues all crested at once. The result was mass layoffs ("at least" 50 percent), including lead evangelist and company CEO Steve Perlman. OnLive had a new owner, venture capitalist Gary Lauder, and a renewed directive to become profitable. Then, the company went silent.
CNN bought the news-aggregation service Zite to get a fast track in the mobile space, but it never gained much ground versus Zite's archrival, Flipboard. Accordingly, the TV broadcaster is throwing in the towel -- it just sold Zite to Flipboard for $60 million. The deal brings a raft of previously unavailable CNN content to Flipboard's news-curation platform, ranging from articles to video feeds for shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and Inside Politics. The network has also agreed to produce custom magazines (shown here) that go beyond what you'd normally find online. CNN's content is available today, and it's launching alongside a big Android app update that lets readers sign in with Google, control article density, curb their data use and attach photos to custom magazines.
The BBC TV channel that spawned comedic classics like Little Britain and Gavin & Stacey looks set to be taken off-air as part of a cost-cutting drive. BBC Three won't be killed off completely, however -- if regulators approve, the plan is to make it an online-only channel that would somehow still serve up fresh content aimed at 16- to 34-year-olds, but do so more cheaply. The idea isn't hugely shocking, perhaps, given the recent pressure on the BBC's taxpayer-funded budget and the increasing focus on iPlayer as an alternative to terrestrial broadcasts. Nevertheless, many critics have already spoken out, including the star of Little Britain, Matt Lucas, who said it would be "bad for comedy." There's a #SaveBBC3 movement gathering steam on Twitter and, if history is anything to go by, it might actually have a chance of succeeding -- a move to shut down BBC Radio 6 was reversed following a similar outcry back in 2010.
Update: Aaaaaand it's official. If the BBC Trust approve, BBC Three will be closed in the fall of 2015, with £30 million of its budget going to BBC One and the rest of the programming becoming online-only.
There isn't exactly an abundance of major movie services that will send video to a Chromecast; for the most part, Google Play Movies and Netflix still rule the roost. It's a good thing, then, that Vudu has announced plans to support the TV media adapter through both updated mobile apps and Chrome on the desktop. The provider won't say just when Chromecast support is coming other than "soon," but early adopters can register for a beta test. Either way, it's clear that Vudu still wants its video platform on every living room device you own.
Want to stream any web video from your smartphone to your Chromecast? Grab the beta release of Chrome 34 for Android. The browser includes experimental support for sending embedded clips to Google's media stick, saving you from launching a native app just to watch something on a TV. As you'd expect, there are some compatibility hiccups at this early stage. YouTube works well (surprise!), but other sites are hit and miss -- you're best off sticking to videos from major, HTML5-friendly hosts like Vimeo. If you're willing to live with some inconsistencies, though, you can try the streaming feature today.
[Image credit: WhyYouPaul, Reddit]
We've already touched on what you could expect from the Xbox One's next update, but now it's here. Alongside those multiplayer improvements (easier invites, chat upgrades), Twitch TV live-streaming is here (though you won't be able to broadcast until the app is updated), as well as a new quiet mode to temper those notification pings. There's that 5.1 Dolby Digital support and SmartGlass improvements, while Bing and Google Map can both be handled through both gestures and controllers. We've listed all the updates after the break, and Microsoft's own Major Nelson has a full video tour of what's new, too -- or you can just grab the update yourself, right now. If you're on the Xbox One preview program, you're already running the latest version. Please stop smirking.
It's never a good idea to make an enemy of the federal government, and it appears that Aereo now finds itself in just that predicament. On Monday, the US Department of Justice came out in favor of the broadcasters that oppose Aereo in a case currently before the US Supreme Court. The feds filed an amicus brief -- a legal memo aimed at
educating swaying the justices to a certain point of view written by someone not a party in a lawsuit -- that refutes Aereo's position that it doesn't need to license the content viewed by its users. The case is, of course, all about copyright law, and specifically, it raises the question whether or not Aereo's technology enables public or private performances of the video being watched (public performances constitute infringement, private ones do not).
It's Tuesday, which means it's time for the Engadget HD Podcast and we hope you'll join us for the live recording at 8:45PM. Tonight there is new hardware to discuss from Harmony, some HDMI-CEC enabled action from Dish and Roku's new inexpensive streaming stick. There's always plenty of streaming news too and of course a few other pieces of home theater related information. If you'll be joining us, take a peek at the topics after the break and then get ready to participate in the live chat.
Comcast's Internet Essentials program was originally supposed to wind down this June, roughly three years after its launch in the wake of the NBC merger. However, the company has had a lot of success with the initiative -- enough so that it's extending the program indefinitely. Low-income American families can continue to sign up for basic, $10 per month internet access as long as they have children who qualify for free lunches. Comcast is also providing an extra level of coverage by funding 15 Internet Essentials Learning Zones, or partner networks that will help kids stay online at school, libraries and after-school activities. These latest moves won't completely bridge the gap between internet haves and have-nots, but they should be valuable complements to expanded school broadband efforts.
Dish has a seemingly insatiable appetite for wireless spectrum, and it's willing to spend a lot of cash to get its fill. Need proof? The FCC has just confirmed (PDF) that Dish bought all of the 1,900MHz licenses in a frequency auction that wrapped up last week, using a shell company to hide its name. The satellite provider paid just short of $1.6 billion for the airwaves -- chump change next to the spending on 700MHz blocks, but a large amount for spectrum where there wasn't much competition. While Dish isn't saying just what it will do with all that extra bandwidth, it's reasonable to believe that the company will use the newly acquired frequencies to boost its wireless broadband efforts.
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.
The days of true music television may be long gone, but Microsoft has just introduced the next best thing. Xbox Music on the Xbox One now offers more than 92,000 music videos; if a given song has a matching video, you'll see that instead of having to settle for plain old audio. You can also browse music videos if you demand visuals for every track. If you're looking for something to do before the Xbox One's big update hits -- or just want to indulge in some TV nostalgia -- you can check out the Xbox Music update today.