FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

On April 3, 20th Century Fox’s FoxNext VR Studio will release “Crisis on the Planet of the Apes,” its first virtual reality game, for Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and PlayStation VR. Priced at $14.99, the first-person game is set between the stories of the “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” and allows the user to experience the world from the point of view of an ape captured by humans who attempts to escape the research facility. According to Variety, “the game was produced in partnership with UK-based Imaginati Studios, and was first announced at CES 2017.”  Continue reading FoxNext VR Selects ‘Planet of the Apes’ for its First VR Game

Amazon Takes Aim at Cord Cutters, Roku With Its Fire TV Set

Amazon is taking pre-orders for Element’s Fire TV Edition sets, to ship in June at the same time other retailers get them. Amazon, Element and Westinghouse announced Fire TV-based television sets at CES 2017, and the companies are now revealing prices and other details. Element will offer its 43-inch Fire TV for $449 retail, a 50-inch for $549, a 55-inch for $649, and a 65-inch for $899. The TVs support 4K video and offer a quad-core processor, 3GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage for apps, specs that are meant to future-proof it. Continue reading Amazon Takes Aim at Cord Cutters, Roku With Its Fire TV Set

Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

Hulu’s Live TV has rolled out in beta, offering more than 50 channels for just under $40 per month. What makes Hulu stand out from competing services is that it now offers a combination of streaming video plus live television. Among its live content, Hulu offers the four major broadcast networks, ESPN, HGTV and an array of news and animation content. Original content includes “The Handmaid’s Tale” and the service also boasts day-after TV shows and B-list movies, all melded into a single library. Continue reading Early Reviews Largely Positive for Hulu’s New Live TV Service

HTC Viveport VR Service Now Open to Developers, Publishers

HTC opened its Viveport VR subscription service to developers, to allow them to register games and VR experiences in advance of the service’s launch, expected in the next few weeks. Since the service was first announced at CES 2017, HTC has accumulated a list of more than 14,000 consumers who wish to be notified of the launch. HTC has not announced final pricing for the service but it reportedly will be similar to fees charged by Netflix and Spotify. The monthly fee will offer a limited number of games and experiences. Continue reading HTC Viveport VR Service Now Open to Developers, Publishers

Visa and IBM to Extend Digital Payments to Connected Devices

Visa and IBM are partnering to make electronic payments easier in the emerging Internet of Things era. The two companies envision a commerce-based IoT ecosystem that extends digital payment capabilities to smart devices, including vehicles, wearables, and appliances. Drivers, for example, could pay for gas, parking, or oil changes before stepping out of their connected cars. Watson’s IoT platform would handle the AI tech, while mobile payment solution Visa Token Service would address digital transactions. Continue reading Visa and IBM to Extend Digital Payments to Connected Devices

DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

Since AT&T launched DirecTV Now on November 30, the streaming service has experienced its share of difficulties, including missing features, billing issues and interruptions. The streaming service, developed as a replacement for cable/satellite, offers access to about 60 channels for $35/month and about 120 channels for $70/month. The service competes in the same arena as Sling TV and PlayStation Vue. AT&T acknowledges the problems faced during the launch, but chief technology officer Enrique Rodriguez states that most issues have been addressed. Continue reading DirecTV Now Experiences Rocky Start During its Initial Launch

3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Support for 3D television has experienced a steady decline and now its demise seems inevitable (unless it is later resurrected). Samsung ceased its 3D support last year and Vizio has not offered 3D since 2013. Hisense, Sharp and TCL were among the companies that did not showcase 3D sets during CES earlier this month. “LG and Sony, the last two major TV makers to support the 3D feature in their TVs, will stop doing so in 2017,” reports CNET. “None of their sets, not even high-end models such as their new OLED TVs, will be able to show 3D movies and TV shows.” DirecTV shuttered its 3D channel in 2012 and ESPN did the same in 2013. Despite affordability of 3D TVs and the success of 3D in theaters, the technology failed to gain traction in the home. Continue reading 3D Television Gives Way to Rise of 4K and HDR Technology

Android Creator Andy Rubin to Launch Smartphone This Year

Since leaving Google two years ago, Android operating system creator Andy Rubin has integrated his expertise in software with artificial intelligence to create consumer-facing Essential. The company, which was first registered in California in November 2015, has 40 employees, many from Apple and Google. Essential is first building an upscale smartphone whose large screen has no surrounding bezel. “Tablets, accessories and computer operating software for mobile phones” are also potential future products. Continue reading Android Creator Andy Rubin to Launch Smartphone This Year

Digital Assistants Grab Spotlight at CES, Alexa Leads the Pack

Virtual assistants that serve as a new voice-activated hub to the connected smart home and our ecosystem of personal electronics have grabbed the spotlight at this year’s CES. Aided by advances in artificial intelligence software that enable improved speech interaction with devices, tech giants such as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others are battling for dominance in the digital assistant space. These companies are looking beyond smartphones and PCs toward a world in which voice-based systems become a standard feature in TVs, cable boxes, home appliances and connected vehicles. If the headlines are any indication, it seems that Amazon’s Alexa has taken an early lead in this race. Continue reading Digital Assistants Grab Spotlight at CES, Alexa Leads the Pack

Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

At CES 2017, Nuvyyo unveiled the Tablo Live stick, which offers free over-the-air television on any device, a DVR app for the Nvidia Shield game console, and previewed a cloud DVR for broadcast TV. The company, which also manufactures the cord-cutting Tablo DVR, explains that Tablo Live doesn’t plug directly into a TV set but, instead, streams live TV to devices with already-installed Tablo apps, available on Android phones, iPhone, Roku, Fire TV, Xbox One and Apple TV. Tablo Live will ship in Q2 for $99. Cord cutters may also be interested in Mohu, which introduced its Airwave device at CES. Continue reading Nuvyyo and Mohu Unveil Solutions to Stream OTA Broadcasts

Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Searching for and organizing content is a fact of life with smart TVs. Samsung has updated its Smart Hub to make that experience — on the TV and smartphone — much easier, especially with regard to sports and music. The company demonstrated its new Smart Hub “experience” at CES 2017. The user no longer needs to search for where his or her favorite team can be found on OTA channels and streaming services. Instead, the user tells the Hub what teams he follows, and the Smart TV will give him channels, schedules and scores. For music, Samsung’s Hub now offers Shazam. Continue reading Samsung Updates Smart Hub with Emphasis on Sports, Music

Razer Debuts 3-Screen Project Valerie, Models Stolen at CES

At CES 2017, Razer debuted Project Valerie, an ambitious laptop with three 17-inch 4K displays, two of which slide out from each side, with overlapping bezels at the interlocking edges. Despite the rather large footprint, the system is “surprisingly svelte,” at about one-and-a-half inches thick and 12 pounds, with Razer’s matte black styling and a sturdy unibody enclosure. Project Valerie is based on the Razer Blade Pro, with support of the very powerful Intel Core i7-7700HQ and Nvidia GTX 1080 processors. Continue reading Razer Debuts 3-Screen Project Valerie, Models Stolen at CES

Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

Sony’s new CLEDIS system, most likely aimed at use in large venues such as convention centers (where it was shown at CES 2017), is composed of hundreds of LED tiles, each just 17.875 inches wide. At CES, the 36-foot by 9-foot display showed an astonishing resolution of 8K by 2K. CLEDIS relies on RGB emissive display technology, by which “nearly microscopic LEDs” glow red, green or blue. The result gives Sony’s display the ability to render color volume in a manner that the company calls “off the charts.” Continue reading Sony’s CLEDIS Customizable 8K Display Wows CES Crowds

Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

Hulu’s relaunch will feature a home screen with a personalized lineup that will be determined by the user’s set preferences and past viewing behavior. Among the options for that lineup are current TV shows, Hulu’s streaming exclusives and partner networks’ on-demand offerings. What won’t be there is a live TV feed or a traditional grid guide that allows the user to scroll through channels. In 2017, Hulu will offer live TV to its users for less than $40, while retaining its ad-supported and ad-free on-demand subscription plans. Continue reading Hulu Relaunches with Live TV and UI, Home Screen Redesign

HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

The HTC Vive, a room-scale virtual reality headset, is expanding its feature set to include wireless functionality and peripheral devices. The company has announced that the TPCast adapter will grant the Vive fully wireless capabilities without introducing noticeable latency or degraded image quality. Developed internally and produced by TPCast, the device promises up to two hours of battery life, with the possibility of upgrading to an “XL” battery providing up to five hours. The included transmitter sends an uncompressed signal directly to a receiver mounted on top of the strap that holds the Vive to the user’s head, and the battery pack fits easily in a pocket. The TPCast will ship in Q2 of this year, and will cost $249. Continue reading HTC Announces Wireless Tracking for Vive, Adds Peripherals

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