New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

The new Apple TV 4K went on sale online and in stores last week, offering improvements over what some say is the best streaming hardware available. The 2022 model has an A15 Bionic processor, a significant update over the A12 inside the previous model, which shipped in May. A 16-core neural engine and added RAM are among the upgrades. Starting at $129 for Wi-Fi only with 64GB of RAM, there is also a higher-end $149 version with 128GB that is Wi-Fi and Ethernet compatible and has a Thread IoT modem that supports Matter. Continue reading New Apple TV 4K Touts Upgrades Including A15 Bionic Chip

Paramount+ Adds Showtime in Single App at Special Pricing

Paramount+ is now available with Showtime in a single app. Paramount+ subscribers can upgrade their package to include the premium cable channel’s content at discounted pricing through October 2. Paramount Global had been selling a Paramount+ and Showtime bundle for the past year, but the content had to be accessed through separate apps. The promotional pricing sees Paramount+ with Showtime available to U.S. subscribers at $7.99 per month with ads, the Essential Plan, representing a discount of 33 percent, and $12.99 per month ad-free under the Premium Plan, for 13 percent off from the regular bundle pricing. Continue reading Paramount+ Adds Showtime in Single App at Special Pricing

Comcast’s Sky Glass 4K QLED Smart TV: The Pros and Cons

Sky Glass, the streaming television platform that Comcast offers European customers as an alternative to dish-delivered Sky Q, has begun generating reviews. Billed as a turn-key smart TV solution, Sky Glass features a 4K display, HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision, a built-in set-top-box and six-speaker Dolby Atmos. It also touts wake-word voice commands at the press of a button and multiscreen functionality via the Sky Stream Puck. However, as a walled garden Sky Glass is said to lack the versatility of Android TV or LG’s webOS TV platforms. Continue reading Comcast’s Sky Glass 4K QLED Smart TV: The Pros and Cons

Amazon Ships Its First Fire TV-Branded 4K Smart TV Models

The first Amazon-branded televisions are now available. The Amazon Fire TV 4-Series models start at $370, while the Amazon Fire TV Omni Series — which come Alexa-enabled for voice control — start at $410 for a device marketed as an all-in-one entertainment solution for streaming, subscription TV, gaming, music and more. Amazon’s branded TV launch comes as Comcast throws its hat in the ring with its XClass sets built by Hisense. They join an already vibrant field, with players including Apple, Google, Roku, TCL, Samsung, LG and Vizio competing for market share. Continue reading Amazon Ships Its First Fire TV-Branded 4K Smart TV Models

Microsoft Brings Updated Edge Browser to Its Xbox Consoles

Microsoft continues to merge the desktop PC and game console experience by making its updated Chromium-based Edge browser available for Xbox One and Xbox Series X/S platforms. The update lets Xbox owners stream Google Stadia games and access Steam PC or web games like “Krunker” or “QuakeJS” from the comfort of a browser housed within your console dashboard — no third-party hardware or software hacks required. Users can also access subreddits, social media and Discord on the web to join voice calls and text channel chats with mouse and keyboard support on current and last-gen Xbox consoles. Continue reading Microsoft Brings Updated Edge Browser to Its Xbox Consoles

Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

Comcast is upping its hardware play, launching a branded wireless streaming device, the XiOne, and offering TVs running its own software, dubbed XClass in the U.S. The cable giant plans to make XiOne its branded global platform. Comcast describes XiOne as a plug-and-play device with faster processing, more memory and a voice-activated remote. It supports Dolby Atmos, Dolby Vision, Wi-Fi 6, 4K UHD and HDR. XiOne boxes are currently available in Italy and Germany to some subscribers of Sky Q, which Comcast owns. Comcast has begun introducing the devices in the U.S. to customers using older boxes.  Continue reading Comcast Launching XiOne Streaming Device and XClass TVs

NBCU Merges FandangoNOW and Vudu as Single Streamer

NBCUniversal has merged its FandangoNOW on-demand movie and TV platform with Vudu, the video streaming service it purchased from Walmart last year. FandangoNOW customers will be able to transfer their accounts and collections to Vudu, which uses Roku Pay as its in-app payment system. In a revenue-sharing deal, the new Vudu-branded offering will serve as Roku’s official film and TV store. Fandango executives concluded that Vudu had a stronger brand and that the merger would help to “rapidly innovate and make bolder, faster enhancements to benefit consumers and partners.” Continue reading NBCU Merges FandangoNOW and Vudu as Single Streamer

CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

Panasonic unveiled its flagship JZ2000 OLED TV, following last year’s HZ2000 4K OLED TV. Both feature support for Dolby Vision and HDR10+ but the JZ2000 now supports “ambient-aware” versions of both formats — Dolby Vision IQ and HDR10+ Ambient — which adjust HDR brightness in response to light levels around the TV, especially useful for daytime viewing. The Panasonic JZ2000 also features 360° Soundscape Pro, which supports side-firing speakers for Dolby Atmos, resulting in better support of multidirectional sound. Continue reading CES: Panasonic Debuts New OLED TV with Surround Sound

Sony’s Cognitive Processor Tech Comes to Next-Gen TV Sets

Sony Electronics debuted the Cognitive Processor XR, a new type of image processor that will be incorporated in its new Bravia XR LED and OLED TVs. According to Sony Electronics president and chief executive Mike Fasulo, the new processor surveys the entire frame in real time, breaking down specific zones to concentrate on — such as realistic skin tone — as a way to mimic how our brains process images. Sony global display and processor expert Kazuo Kii says the Cognitive Processor XR will aid the TVs’ 8K performance. Continue reading Sony’s Cognitive Processor Tech Comes to Next-Gen TV Sets

Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Receiving Positive Camera Reviews

The iPhone 12 Pro Max offers a number of firsts for an iPhone: the largest ever display, at 6.7-inches; the biggest camera sensor ever; a 5G radio and a bigger battery. At the same time, it’s not much more expensive than the next level down, an iPhone 12 Pro, with an added $100 for every storage level. The size of the phone — not just the inches but also the heft and weight — might be a downside for some users, but the iPhone 12 also comes with more choices, starting with the compact iPhone 12 Mini. Continue reading Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max Receiving Positive Camera Reviews

Apple Clips 3.0: New Interface, Multiple Aspect Ratios, HDR

Three years after Apple released its simple video creation app named Clips, the company is updating the app to Clips 3.0, now available in the App Store. Apple streamlined the interface with the intent of making it faster and easier to add effects. Also new are full-screen browsers on the iPhone to make it easier to record and include effects. Version 3.0 lets video creators access multiple aspect ratios, including vertical and horizontal, to accommodate Instagram Stories, Snapchat, YouTube and other popular platforms. Continue reading Apple Clips 3.0: New Interface, Multiple Aspect Ratios, HDR

Apple Touts iPhone 12 Pro as an All-in-One Filmmaking Tool

At the company’s second virtual tech product reveal, Apple chief executive Tim Cook debuted four iPhone 12 models that are capable of connecting with 5G networks. Prices for the new phones begin at $699 for the least expensive 5.4-inch iPhone 12 Mini up to the $999 iPhone 12 Pro and $1,099 12 Pro Max. Oscar-winning cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki made a short movie with the iPhone 12 Pro, which Apple touts is “the first and only device that enables you to capture, edit, watch, and share Dolby Vision video.” Continue reading Apple Touts iPhone 12 Pro as an All-in-One Filmmaking Tool

Roku Announces Its New Ultra with Support for Dolby Vision

Roku is debuting a new Ultra with, for the first time, Dolby Vision, which plays back HDR (high-dynamic range) content. This new $100 Ultra also features a speedier quad-core processor, more RAM and around 50 percent better Wi-Fi range, although the company has not released full specs on the device. The form factor is now somewhat rounder, to house its revamped wireless antennas, and still features an Ethernet port, an HDMI cable and earbuds. Also new, the Roku Channel is available as a standalone Android and iOS app. Continue reading Roku Announces Its New Ultra with Support for Dolby Vision

An Insider Peek at Google’s New Android TV Streaming Device

Google has a lot of assets: consumer tech, social networking, messaging, music streaming, Chromecast. Yet when it comes to streaming television, it falls behind the big players, such as Amazon and Roku. The company has tried to get Android TV built into television sets but hasn’t achieved any momentum, and Chromecast requires consumers to navigate layers of abstraction. The XDA Developers portal revealed insider information about Google’s next streaming video dongle, featuring an Android TV interface and, for the first time, a remote control. Continue reading An Insider Peek at Google’s New Android TV Streaming Device

CES 2020 Showcased 8K TVs But Critics Remain Skeptical

At CES 2020, 8K was much in evidence with flagship TV sets from LG, Samsung, Sony and TCL. The only content these manufacturers were able to show, however, was from YouTube’s 8K demo reels, featuring animal and nature scenes. The question for some attendees was if it’s worth buying a very expensive 8K TV to watch HD or 4K content. Many of these TVs — such as Samsung’s 8K Q950 QLED model — showed another trend: nearly bezel-less frames, something consumers seem to appreciate, and even want in a 4K version. Continue reading CES 2020 Showcased 8K TVs But Critics Remain Skeptical