Between Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, TiVo, Xbox One and Playstation 4, our entertainment centers are getting pretty crowded. Who even has room for all those remotes? Thankfully, though, there are a number of apps and devices that can turn your smartphones and tablets into the ultimate universal remote. How have you tamed your massive controller collection? Tell us in the Engadget forums.

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I want YOU for targeted political ads

Like it or not, another US election is almost upon us -- and this time around, the incessant political advertising may cut a little too close to home. Both Democrats and Republicans are using a new TV ad targeting system from DirecTV and Dish that takes advantage of voter records to put personalized campaign ads on your DVR. If you tend to swing between both parties, you may get different commercials than lifelong supporters. You may also get reminders to vote early if you frequently cast absentee ballots. And unlike conventional targeting methods, which run ads on shows they believe certain demographics will watch, these promos will automatically appear on any show you record as long as there's a free slot.

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TiVo Roamio OTA

For the past eight years, a CableCARD and a TiVo DVR have gone hand in hand. No more! Within the next few weeks, the limited edition TiVo Roamio OTA DVR will be available from select Best Buy stores for an initial price of $49 (plus $15/month service with a one-year commitment). That's $150 cheaper than the existing base model TiVo Roamio, and still boasts the four tuners, 500GB of storage, integrated WiFi and almost the same software and accessories (TiVo Stream, though it doesn't support TiVo Mini). The main missing features, for a fourth of the price, are a CableCARD slot and whole-home capabilities. This means you'll need an antenna and (ideally) to live somewhere with decent over-the-air reception. It's an especially interesting offering for those looking to cut the cable/satellite cord, while keeping access to new shows from the big networks. TiVo might not be kidding about this being a limited edition either: The company is clear in pledging its allegiance to its cable TV customers while at the same time attempting to appeal to those not interested in paying more than 20 bucks for a monthly TV subscription. So, depending on the reception from customers and partners, we could see TiVo axing the Roamio OTA if things don't work out.

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LG only just brought its 55-inch 1080p OLED to a $3,500 price that's within the limits of mainstream credit cards, and it's already back with something better. The curved 4K OLED TV we saw at CES is about to go on sale in Korea, and will arrive soon everywhere else, meaning well-heeled buyers don't have to choose between Ultra HD resolution and the sweet black levels offered by this newer display technology. We don't have an official US price for the TV yet, but HDGuru's usually reliable retail sources say the 65-inch 4K model (there's also a 77-inch version) will arrive for about $7,000 next month, while the 77-inch version has a £20,000 price tag in the UK. In Korea it will cost 12,000,000 won ($11,738), however US prices are usually much lower. LG exec Hyun-hwoi Ha isn't mincing words either, calling the new display "the pinnacle of technological achievement" and saying the tech will overcome LCDs in sales in just a few years. Can OLED pull off what plasma couldn't? LG is betting it will -- meanwhile Samsung seems convinced that OLED isn't quite ready for prime time.

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Microsoft might very well be gearing up to launch a Google Chromecast rival. While the tech giant hasn't announced anything official yet, one of its latest FCC filings details a device codenamed HD-10, which features WiFi, HDMI support and a USB connection. Those three will sound familiar if you know what the Chromecast is, but what really demystifies the device's nature is a separate document on the WiFi Alliance website. That filing, unearthed by Nokia Power User, called the HD-10 a "Miracast Dongle." Miracast, as you might know, is Microsoft's screen-sharing technology available on Windows 8.1, Windows RT and, most recently, Windows Phone 8.1, though it's also built into Android 4.2 (and later) and BlackBerry 10.2.1.

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Google regularly rolls out Chromecast updates that plug up previous root-friendly exploits, but there's a new method you can use if you want complete control over your streaming device. A group of hardware hackers (fail0verflow, Team Eureka and GTVHacker) have not only discovered a vulnerability in the latest Chromecast software, but also developed a way to exploit it and give you root access. This lets you tinker with the HDMI dongle, enable and disable stuff like software auto-updates and change any setting you wish, among other things. The team's calling it "HubCap," and it works on both newly updated and brand new, fresh-out-the-box Chromecasts. You'll need extra hardware to make it happen (a USB development board called Teensy used to root PS3s back in the day), but if you're dead set on rooting your Chromecast, head over to XDA Developers for the full set of instructions.

[Thanks, CJ]

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The concept of someone recording films at movie theaters for pirating purposes seems so outdated. Yet, that's still happening in some parts of the world, apparently. Most recently, there's the case of Philip Danks, a 25-year-old UK man who just got sentenced to 33 months of jail time after using his phone to record a film in the theater and, subsequently, upload it to his website to let the internet download it at no cost -- at least initially. So which movie, you ask? None other than Fast & Furious 6. According to Universal Pictures, Danks' pirated upload was downloaded nearly 780,000 times, which the studio claimed resulted in a loss of about £2.5 million, or about 4.1 million in US dollars. After his initial arrest, and before he pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday, Danks took to his Facebook page to share his feelings about the ordeal: "Seven billion people and I was the first. Fuck you Universal Pictures." He's now facing 33 months in jail, while 120 hours of unpaid community service were served to a friend who helped him along the way.

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Halo: The Master Chief Collection promises to be the ultimate compilation for fans of John-117's adventures and online competitors alike, featuring remastered versions of all four numbered Halo titles (and access to the Halo 5: Guardians beta when it's live). Undoubtedly the most exciting part of the package is Halo 2: Anniversary, a fully remastered version of the 2004 title that set the bar for online multiplayer gaming on consoles. With attentive level design, balanced gameplay and a strong online ranking and matchmaking system, the game spawned a pro scene that's persisted from sequel to sequel, console to console. Halo: Combat Evolved may have introduced us to Master Chief's world, but it was Halo 2 that assured the franchise's legendary status, and it's coming back for more.

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Now that everyone from Google to Amazon is getting into the Android gaming set-top box business, Ouya is going to have to get creative. It's already announced plans for "Ouya Everywhere" to extend its sizable library of 900+ TV and game controller-ready games to other platforms, and now the company tells Reuters it's working out a deal with China's Xiaomi. CEO Julie Uhrmann says the arrangement will see an Ouya channel added to devices like the Mi TV and MiBox, where users can shop for and download games, and with Xiaomi "likely" committing to marketing the games. On the backend, Xiaomi, Ouya and the game's developers split the money. The $99 console has gone through a number of changes (both hardware and software) since it arrived on the scene as a Kickstarter hit, now we'll see if Asia can help provide a second wind for the platform.

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AT&T is making U-Verse more appealing with each passing day. After the carrier revealed it would beat Google to the punch on bringing gigabit internet to Silicon Valley, now U-Verse is getting a great deal of fresh content and making its way to additional mobile devices. Aside from launching on Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX, as well as the Fire phone, the U-Verse app today also welcomed over 50 new channels to its catalog of live TV streaming channels. This includes Cartoon Network, CNN, EPIX, ESPN, GolTV, HBO, HGTV, TBS, TNT and Travel Channel, plus many others -- most of which you can watch even if you're away from your home network. All in all, definitely a boost for U-Verse subscribers, and if you aren't, it's at least good to know that U-Verse looks to be a solid choice, especially now that DirecTV is joining AT&T's ranks.

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Just days ago at Gamescom, Microsoft announced that game pre-loading was coming to the Xbox One in September alongside for nabbing Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 in advance of their arrival. It seems that the new feature has gone live a bit early though, as Madden NFL 15 is currently available for download ahead of its launch at the end of the month. Forking over the requisite $60 now will allow you to outfit your console with the title, so you'll be able to open the playbook immediately on August 26th. This also means that the Xbox faithful are now privy to the pre-loading option that PC and PS4 gamers have enjoyed for some time now.

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For several years now, Comcast has been testing cable TV that streams over the internet at several college campuses but this fall it's officially launching. Available at Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College and the University of Delaware included as a part of room and board, and on a trial basis at a few others including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, Xfinity on Campus brings live cable TV to PCs, tablets and phones -- as long as they're on campus. The package includes 80 or so channels and includes access to stuff like video on-demand and WatchESPN and HBO Go (if you have HBO), which will work even when they're off of the college's network.

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What do you do after you've retired from running the Official Star Wars fan club and magazine? You recreate the iconic space opera in your own home, of course -- at least that's what Vic Wertz and Lisa Stevens did. Not only is the above home theater a stunning tribute to George Lucas' films, but it was also designed by Doug Chiang: the lead designer of The Phantom Menace and Attack of the Clones. In addition to drawing inspiration from Darth Vader's Imperial Star Destroyer, the theater features raised floors and halls that resemble the Death Star, sliding doors, a poster-laden lobby and a door shaped like a carbonite-frozen Han Solo. Most impressive. The project is a few years old, but the designer just posted a fresh gallery on Imgur. Check it out at the source link below.

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The music industry is extremely well-blanketed on the web, what with services like Pandora, iHeartRadio, Spotify, Rhapsody, iTunes Music and many, many more. But one can easily argue that the same can't be said about online videos -- namely, those available at no cost on YouTube, Vimeo, DailyMotion and other similar sites. Here's where N3twork believes it can help. The startup, which describes itself as a "personal network for internet video," has taken a cue from Pandora on how it delivers content to you. The new app, available only on iOS at launch, uses your personal interests to tailor a feed of videos, allowing users to employ swipe gestures to skip (left) or watch later (right) -- think of the latter option as a DVR of sorts.

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If Sky has a problem, it's that there's simply too much material for anyone to quickly and easily find what they want in a short space of time. In a world where people are very comfortable just choosing the first thing that Netflix recommends for them, it could become a very serious issue. That's why the company's latest software update for its Sky+ boxes is designed to ensure you've always got something new to watch. The first new feature is smart series link, so if you've previously told your box to record every episode of a TV series, that instruction will carry over to subsequent seasons. That way, you'll never miss the premiere episode of a returning show, even if you don't have access to your setup for some reason.

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