05/12/2013 - Plex multimedia app gets a new UI to match iOS 7
Plex might be a straggler in the iOS 7 app update parade, but as they say: better late than never. The refreshed app comes with a new look for Apple's latest mobile platform, but since it retains most of the old interface's elements, you can't exactly call it a complete overhaul. Other than this mostly skin-deep change, this release also brings a new video player, an "improved music player" and the ability to sniff out URLs from the clipboard for queuing to its myPlex cloud-synced platform. Finally, its creators peppered in a bunch of bug fixes, including ones for random freezes and syncing errors, to make version 3.3 more palatable and perhaps more worth its $5 price in the App Store.
Brazil's national currency is the real, but you wouldn't know that by looking at its iTunes storefront. Apple prices everything there in US dollars, which has led Brazil's Consumer Protection Secretariat to write a formal letter to the company requesting an explanation. We're not sure why this has taken so long, given that iTunes came to Brazil two years ago, but in any case Apple now has ten days in which to respond or face the threat of a penalty. Other countries that've tackled Apple over its pricing policies in the past have generally failed to reach a resolution, and in some cases even urging people to take matters into their own hands.
Via: Cult of Mac
Source: Brazilian Ministry of Justice
28/11/2013 - Engadget's Black Friday 2013 roundup
Don't think that the Black Friday shopping rush this year is all about the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. We've rounded up a smorgasbord of Thanksgiving week deals that should appeal to tech-savvy shoppers of all stripes, whether they're looking for entry-level smartphones or giant 4K TVs. Hop past the break and you'll find bargains that could please the gadget lovers in your life -- and just might spare you from battling the crowds at the mall.
[Image credit: AP]
After launching on iOS and Android almost a year ago, the mobile version of Redbox Instant by Verizon has finally arrived in the Windows Phone Store. Aside from a few cosmetic changes and added Live Tile support, the new app works exactly like its cross-platform counterparts, offering movie streaming and maps to nearby Redbox kiosks. An $8 monthly subscription also covers the rental fees for up to four DVDs, although customers can upgrade to Blu-ray discs for an additional dollar. The bad news is that the app's exclusive to Nokia's Lumia range right now -- plebes with other WP8 devices will have to wait until the end of January for general availability.
Dish's Hopper software team is clearly busy; just two months after it brought home-automation support to its DVR, it's rolling out another update that offers considerably more control. The new "Denver" firmware enables promised HDMI-CEC support, letting the Hopper send and receive commands from compatible HDMI gear. It can automatically switch TV inputs when powered on, for example. Other upgrades introduce universal search, a help app and a shelf-like layout for On Demand videos. As part of the revamp, Dish is also improving its Explorer iPad app; Apple tablet owners can both control every TV on the Hopper platform and find recommended shows. Neither "Denver" nor the Explorer update will necessarily get anyone switching TV providers, but it should make the viewing experience that much sweeter for loyal customers.
21/11/2013 - LG promises to stop your Smart TV spying on you
In light of accusations that its Smart TVs were sending private data to its servers, LG has admitted that some of its sets are behaving in ways they shouldn't be. In a statement, the Korean manufacturer conceded that it has been collecting channel, TV platform and broadcast source data from some units, even when the feature was switched off. However, the company said that when the feature operates normally, it helps provide viewing recommendations to other LG Smart TV owners based on what they are watching. In response to claims it was also beaming over names of files located on connected USB keys, LG admits that it actually forms part of a service that searches the internet for detailed information on a particular film or TV show -- although that has yet to launch.
Understandably, both features might leave a nasty taste in your mouth, especially if you own one of the affected Smart TVs. With that in mind, LG says it is currently preparing a firmware update that will ensure its data-collection settings adhere to user preferences -- which includes killing off its metadata-matching service before it had the chance to live.
DirecTV Everywhere will soon become much more useful for travelers eager to watch their favorite shows. As of November 21st, the satellite TV provider is expanding its out-of-home TV streaming selection to include more than 30 live channels, such as HBO and Showtime. Subscribers will also have access to more than 100 channels when at home, and 19,000 on-demand shows through DirecTV's website. The company's Android tablet app is receiving a makeover as part of the expansion -- an impending update will stream both live and on demand video to tablets of all sizes and multiple OS versions. Customers will just have to wait a short while before they get access to DirecTV's wider world of content.
19/11/2013 - Apple TV update adds Yahoo Screen and PBS apps
Yahoo's been working hard to include support for Apple services in its Screen iOS app, now it's gone one better and launched its video-discovery app on Apple TV. With an emphasis on comedy, Yahoo Screen has been designed to collate the best of web video, including clips from Saturday Night Live, The Colbert Report, and The Daily Show, as well as live news, events and music. You'll also be able to browse trending videos and watch Yahoo Originals programming, which are delivered direct to your Apple TV without the need to AirPlay them across. AllThingsD reports that PBS has also quietly pushed a new app, letting users get their Nova, Frontline, Antiques Roadshow, or Downton Abbey fix. Today's update may only available to US users but Apple isn't being shy about broadening the number of Apple TV apps across the globe.
Source: Yahoo Screen (Tumblr)
05/11/2013 - Apple’s 2014 Lineup includes iWatch and HDTV
30/10/2013 - Displays for 4.7-Inch iPhone, Apple HDTV, Retina MacBook Air and iWatch Predicted by NPD DisplaySearch
25/10/2013 - Co Star LT Stream Player Debuted By Vizio
Until Apple actually produces a new TV related device, rumors about what it might be working on will continue to flow, with no end in sight. While we still don't know what's next out of Cupertino, Multichannel News reports the company has hired a former CableLabs executive for the job of engineering director. Jean-François Mulé served as senior VP of technology development at CableLabs for the last two years, and MCN indicates that before that he worked on a number of IP-based projects like DOCSIS 3.0 and second screen technology. It's still hard to say what Apple may want to build for the living room, but apparently this is the kind of person needed to fill out that "vision of the future," especially if that means working with existing cable and satellite TV services.
Source: Multichannel News
It seems that Apple's taking its little hobby more seriously with each passing day. Not long after adding a slew of new features to Apple TV, the company has quietly added two additional channels to its growing lineup: Major League Soccer and Disney Junior. For its part, the MLS app lets viewers watch live league matches with a $25-per-season subscription, while the latter offering brings video content for young ones but relies on participating cable providers for access, similarly to the Disney Channel and Disney XD. We should mention the pair of channels appear to be only available in the US, so fret not if some of you don't see these show up on your Apple TV's homescreen.
Have a third-gen Apple TV and an iDevice running iOS 7? If you've yet to set up Cupertino's set-top box, you can do so now by simply touching your iPhone or iPad to the Apple TV. Okay, Apple's take on Bump requires a few more steps than that; you'll first need to enable Bluetooth on your iOS 7 device, then connect to the WiFi network you'll use with the Apple TV. (Your machine also needs Apple TV software 6.0 or later.) Still, it sure beats the labor-intensive process of selecting letters on-screen with the included remote. Once you've tapped your iPhone to the set-top box, prompts should appear on both the phone and the TV screen, and you're good to go. Give it a whirl for yourself -- Apple's directions are available via the first source link below.
25/09/2013 - RealPlayer Cloud fuses video player and cloud storage, launches on Android, iOS, PC and Roku
RealNetworks is trying something a little different with its attempt at launching a cloud service in a very competitive market. It's combined its upgraded player app with 2GBs of free cloud storage, allowing users to move videos across devices, stream or download them and beam them out to compatible TV sets (via Roku). The new service also means you can share "long videos" from your Android / iOS device to any other video-capable device, and the end-user won't need to download an app to play it. This is possible through RealPlayer's new 'SurePlay' tech, which auto-formats outgoing videos to the suit screen-size, available bandwidth and storage space of receiving devices. There's no shortage of compatible hardware, either. Alongside apps Google's mobile OS and iOS, videos can also be shared or viewed through Windows PCs, Roku TV units and, in fact, any device that can use a web browser. If 2GB sounds a little tight, subscription plans will start at $5 per month for 25GB, and up to $30 per month for 300GB, for those that really can't stop sharing. We've added RealNetwork's Consumer-facing Matrix (read: price chart) after the break.
If you haven't already updated your Apple TV to version 6.0, you'll have to wait: Cupertino has discreetly pulled the software upgrade. Although no official statement has been made, users on Twitter have been reporting connectivity issues and accidental resets throughout the weekend. An unlucky few even saw their devices bricked entirely. Now, manually checked boxes report that version 5.3 is "up to date." There's no word yet when a more stable version of the software will be available for download, but when it is, it should bring users the AirPlay from iCloud support (for devices running iOS 7) and iTunes Radio access Apple promised on Friday.
Apple may not have made any mention of an Apple TV software update at its event earlier this month, but it turns out it did have one set to roll out alongside its new iPhones. Available for download now, version 6.0 is a fairly big upgrade compared to other recent updates, bringing with it support for Apple's new iTunes Radio service, along with new features like AirPlay from iCloud and the ability to browse and buy music from the iTunes store right from the Apple TV. You can now also sync podcasts across your various Apple devices and listen to them on your Apple TV, and view photos and videos you've added to your shared photo streams. The UI, however, hasn't been updated to match iOS 7, remaining mostly unchanged from the most recent redesign.
Update: As All Things D notes, the AirPlay from iCloud feature is only available to devices running iOS 7.%Gallery-slideshow89886%
Source: 9 to 5 Mac
Need something to pass the time tonight while waiting for Grand Theft Auto 5? Developer Rockstar Games has you covered with a pair of free companion apps for its latest crime sim. The iFruit mobile app features two distinct portions with direct ties to your virtual criminal career, allowing you to customize your ride and train retired thief Franklin's rottweiler. Los Santos Customs lets you get crazy under the hood and in the body shop, tinkering with your ride until it's just right for either GTA5 or GTA: Online. Treat Franklin's dog Chop well enough in the pet trainer Chop the Dog, and he'll find hidden in-game loot for you. The iFruit app is iOS-only for now, but flavors for Android, Windows Phone and even PlayStation Vita are en route.
There's also an e-version of the game's manual, because Rockstar apparently couldn't squeeze the full 100 page-plus tome into print for the retail box. What's more, it features an interactive map, and is available now on the App Store and as a desktop app -- an Android version is "coming soon." Midnight doesn't seem so far away now, does it?
When Alabama takes on Texas A&M in college football this afternoon, CBS will have more to offer than just a dedicated "Johnny Cam" following the Heisman winner all day (no, it will not be giving away autographed memorabilia). CBS plans to stream every SEC "Game of the Week" (most are TBD right now, check the schedule after the break) it broadcasts, and this one is up first. That means fans can watch on CBSSports.com or via its iOS mobile app. As an added bonus for fans, just like its Super Bowl live stream and in the NFL's Game Rewind service, there's an All-22 "eye in the sky" angle available as an alternative to the broadcast feed. Shot from a high view over the 50 yard line to show ever player on the field, it lets fans who dig the Xs and Os watch the way coaches do when they break down game film. Internet viewers will have the alternate camera angle plus live stats, Twitter integration, polls and on-demand video clips.
Source: CBS Sports
After its slow but steady implementation of companion features in its mobile and web services, ESPN is ready to go live with its first dedicated second screen sports app. With its ESPN Sync, the broadcaster will focus first on its Spanish-language channel, ESPN Desportes, delivering real-time news, sports scores and interactive live videos for major sporting events. The company has trialled all manner of real-time features in the past -- from tickers, to fly-bys and other additional goodies -- but ESPN Sync is the first to tie them all together. It's chosen a great time to launch too: the app will debut just in time to distract you during the Mayweather vs. Canelo fight on September 14th. ESPN's new web platform will also play host to more than 60 events over the next year, streaming games from the MLB World Series, NFL Playoffs, NBA Finals and
football soccer matches from the world's biggest leagues. ESPN Sync is available on iOS, Android and desktop devices, but be warned -- you'll only get the most out of it if you know your fuera de juego from your contraataque.
Source: ESPN Sync
We all know the drill by now, and if you forget there's usually a warning: please turn your mobile devices off / silent, the movie is starting. For a special Second Screen Live showing of Disney's The Little Mermaid however, it's going to be different as moviegoers are encouraged to use their tablets for an augmented experience. Disney has created an iPad app for viewers to download before they get to the theater, which mirrors apps we've seen for home viewing with synchronized games, sing-a-longs and trivia. That's no coincidence, since the movie's return to theaters is timed ahead of its Blu-ray release on October 1st.
Viewers shouldn't worry about this encroaching on their Oscar-season previews however, as it's limited to a monthlong run at the El Capitan in LA starting on the 15th, and limited showings at select other theaters (listed after the break) nationwide starting on the 20th. This is Disney's first public use of the tech after a trial run last fall alongside Tim Burton's The Night Before Christmas, which had a response it described as "positive." For a family movie likely loaded with kids we can see where this might be more enhancement than distraction and maybe even for certain niche midnight screening-type environments -- but if anyone whips out a slate at Machete Kills, Her, 12 Years A Slave or Gravity we're calling the usher.
The Smart TV Alliance wants apps that work across multiple platforms, but developers have so far had to submit those apps to each TV maker -- a process that can take ages. Things should speed up now that the Alliance has launched a Developer Support Program. From now on, software teams can send apps through a single approval system that qualifies a given release for use with every Alliance-compatible set. Developers can do more with those apps, too. The Alliance has posted a version 2.5 SDK that allows multi-screen integration with mobile apps, and it's promising a future 3.0 spec that includes support for both Ultra HD TVs and home automation. While there's no launch date for 3.0 at this stage, TV app creators will find both the Developer Support Program and SDK 2.5 at the source link.
Source: Smart TV Alliance
On the heels of a Cast SDK update that borked third-party streaming apps, Google released a version of its Chromecast software for iOS devices. That's right, folks with an iPad, iPhone or iPod touch can use the free application to set up Chromecast on their flat's WiFi network and to manage settings. Of course, YouTube, Netflix, Google Play purchases and Chrome can all be displayed on properly outfitted TVs easily. You may have to wait a bit to nab one, but at $35, there's a world of inexpensive, cross-platform love within arm's reach.
Rumors that Apple was about to expand the Apple TV's channel selection have just come true -- the company has quietly rolled out apps for the Disney Channel, Disney XD, the Smithsonian, Vevo and The Weather Channel. The new portals deliver the on-demand video you'd expect from their respective services. There are live components, however: Vevo fans get non-stop music videos through Vevo TV, while The Weather Channel jumps to live broadcasts during major storms. Any locally supported channels should appear the next time you use your Apple TV, although you'll need to be a qualifying cable or satellite subscriber to run the Disney apps.
Source: 9to5 Mac