FIDO Certification is First Step for a World Without Passwords

Official FIDO certification for 31 products — from physical devices to login services — has been issued to 18 companies, marking the first certification under the new spec that aims to foster alternatives to password authentication and provide new opportunities for interoperating services. Systems compatible with FIDO can accept logins from any certified device, such as a fingerprint reader or voiceprint detector. Google’s all-purpose login service was certified as a universal two-factor server, and Yubico received certification for two USB security keys. Continue reading FIDO Certification is First Step for a World Without Passwords

Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

In a post yesterday about the death of Windows Media Center, tech journalist and blogger Paul Thurrott cited unnamed sources regarding an update to Xbox One’s live TV functionality that would add television recording. This would allow Xbox One to replace TiVo and other DVRs in many households. Microsoft recently unveiled a tuner that enables the console to accept over-the-air broadcast TV signals. It also offers the options to pause live TV and stream live content to mobile devices via SmartGlass. Continue reading Xbox One Likely to Add DVR Functionality Sometime This Year

Nvidia Unveils Set-Top for 4K Movie and Video Game Streaming

Nvidia, a company best known for its graphics chips, has plans to launch a new set-top box with significant processing power and Ultra HD resolution. The $199 console, known as the Nvidia Shield, runs on the powerful new Tegra X1 processor and Android software. The Shield was designed to deliver streaming video games through Grid, described as a “Netflix of videogames.” Consumers will also be able to stream 4K video from Netflix, YouTube, and the Android TV version of Google Play. Continue reading Nvidia Unveils Set-Top for 4K Movie and Video Game Streaming

Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

Walmart has begun selling its own HDMI streaming media stick — the Vudu Spark — for $24.95 at Walmart.com and select Walmart stores. The Wi-Fi device features a dedicated remote, is powered via USB, and supports 7.1 surround sound and video up to 1080p. It looks like the Spark is largely a single-purpose stick, loaded only with the Vudu app (Walmart’s streaming video service), but the stick is priced $10 less than Google’s Chromecast and currently includes $25 in Vudu credits over five months for customers who activate it. Continue reading Walmart Launches its New Vudu Spark Streaming Media Stick

New PlayStation TV Provides Gameplay and Streaming Media

Sony’s much-anticipated PlayStation TV went on sale this week for $100 MSRP — or $140 packaged with a DualShock 3 gamepad controller, 8GB memory card, and “The Lego Movie Videogame.” The mini console, which essentially provides a Vita experience on a big screen, connects to a TV or PC via HDMI and allows users to access games and streaming services. “It is essentially a modern version of Nintendo’s GameBoy Player mashed up with all the capabilities of an Amazon Fire TV,” suggests VentureBeat. Continue reading New PlayStation TV Provides Gameplay and Streaming Media

Xbox One Updates Include Support for Multiple File Formats

At the Gamescom conference in Germany on Tuesday, Microsoft introduced several Xbox One console updates. First, a media player app is expected to allow users to load over 30 different file formats to the Xbox One via a device connected by USB. The company is also working with certain countries to provide facilitated and cheaper mainstream broadcast television content access. In addition, Microsoft plans to launch the Xbox One Digital TV Tuner in October. Continue reading Xbox One Updates Include Support for Multiple File Formats

Solar-Powered Park Bench Serves as Mobile Charging Station

Changing Environments, a spin-off of MIT Media Lab, has created a $3,000 solar-powered bench called Soofa (a play on “smart urban furniture”). The bench features two USB ports that allow users to charge their smartphones and other mobile devices. On its website, Soofa provides info about weather, noise level and air quality around its benches, which are currently springing up in parks and campuses across Boston, with plans to soon launch in New York and San Jose, California. Continue reading Solar-Powered Park Bench Serves as Mobile Charging Station

LG All-In-One Chromebase Computer to Hit Shelves This Month

LG announced that its new family friendly, all-in-one computer powered by Chrome OS will be available for $350. The “simple, fast and secure” Chromebase will take on the iMac-dominated all-in-one space when it begins shipping this month. Chromebase combines cloud computing, access to “tens of thousands of apps” via the Chrome Web Store, a widescreen 21.5-inch 1080p display, an Intel Celeron 2955U Haswell processor, 2GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. Continue reading LG All-In-One Chromebase Computer to Hit Shelves This Month

New $1,300 LaCie Thunderbolt 2 External Drive is Lightning Fast

LaCie’s Little Big Disk Thunderbolt 2 is an external storage drive with four times the data transfer speed of USB 3. The $1,300 device is unique in its ability to handle two simultaneous streams through a single cable, making it ideal for transferring large 4K video files. It can support daisy chaining up to six peripherals, such as other hard drives, cameras and monitors. The chipsets for the technology are already built into the Mac Pro and the latest MacBook Pro with Retina display. Continue reading New $1,300 LaCie Thunderbolt 2 External Drive is Lightning Fast

Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Sony has plans to introduce virtual reality to its PlayStation 4 console with new hardware called “Project Morpheus.” During the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco this week, the company unveiled a prototype with two headset components — a closed display and what looks like a PlayStation Move sensor. The unit features HDMI and USB connections, a 1080p display and just over a 90-degree field of view. The prototype, three years in the making, will also serve as a developer kit. Continue reading Sony Unveils its Project Morpheus VR Prototype at GDC 2014

Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

Video-streaming set-top box maker Roku is planning to launch its anticipated Streaming Stick with Wi-Fi remote next month for $49.99. The thumb-size media stick plugs into a television’s HDMI port and offers a similar interface available through the Roku set-top boxes with access to a host of online streaming services. A simple solution to make your TV smart, the Roku Streaming Stick will compete with the popular $35 smartphone-controlled Chromecast device from Google. Continue reading Make Your TV Smart: Roku to Ship $50 Streaming Stick in April

Toshiba Demos Ultra HD 4K Mobile Workstation in Las Vegas

Toshiba’s 2014 offerings include a 4K Ultra HD mobile workstation, expected to hit the market this summer at an estimated $2,000. The Tecra was shown at CES with the TUM-32PRO1 4K professional monitor, a 31.5-inch UHD panel (3840×2169 pixels) that offers multiple color modes, including the popular Abobe Super Wide Color Gamut, “which in layman’s terms means up to 99 percent color accuracy with the source material onscreen,” said Toshiba’s Joseph D’Avanzo. Continue reading Toshiba Demos Ultra HD 4K Mobile Workstation in Las Vegas

Recharge Yourself and Your Phone at Duracell Charging Station

Duracell demonstrated its Powermat technology at CES this week by installing wireless charging stations at Starbucks in the North Hall of the Las Vegas Convention Center. Although most attendees don’t have the necessary Powermat case to charge their smartphone without a wire, Duracell loaned out charging receivers to people in need of power. These charging receivers fit into a Micro-USB port, Apple 30-pin, and Lightning, and work easily by placing the charging receiver on the Powermat. Continue reading Recharge Yourself and Your Phone at Duracell Charging Station

3D Systems and MakerBot Announce New 3D Printers at CES

As expected, 3D printer announcements are coming out of the desert. 3D Systems unveiled the kid-friendly, sub-$1,000 Cube 3, the latest addition to its line of personal desktop 3D printers, as well as the $5,000 CubePro, for those with more extensive printing needs. Not to be outdone, MakerBot announced its new $1,375 Replicator Mini and $6,499 Replicator Z18 at a press conference yesterday. The Z18 can print up to 12x12x18 inches, or 2,592 cubic inches of printing space. Continue reading 3D Systems and MakerBot Announce New 3D Printers at CES

Seiki Pairs Low-End 4K Displays with Up-Res Converter Chip

Seiki has come up with a unique and effective way to offer consumers a high quality 4K viewing experience at a mass market price. The company pairs good, low-end 4K displays made in China with an HDMI 1.4 cable that contains a high-end up-res converter chip. The booth rep freely said that the 55-inch 4K set (MSRP $899) has a mediocre built-in up-res chip. They licensed Marseille’s high-quality up-res tech and built it into the Seiki-branded HDMI 3.0 cable (MSRP $49) to provide a superior experience at a low price point. Continue reading Seiki Pairs Low-End 4K Displays with Up-Res Converter Chip

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