Roku baked its comprehensive search feature into its mobile apps last month, but only folks who used it with the firm's HDMI Streaming Stick have been able to enjoy life without wielding a remote to hunt and peck for letters. Starting today, however, more of the outfit's hardware is getting some love: an update is trickling out to Roku 3 devices that'll enable the search feature with the apps. Since the company expects the software rollout to wrap up by April 22nd, it may be a while before your own box gets updated. Other Roku models are expected to snag the upgrade in the following weeks. Until then, you can use the clicker to hunt for content by actors, directors and show titles. Like an animal.
Source: Roku Blog
10/04/2014 - CNNx app lets you watch only the news you care about
Since you're here, we figure you're pretty comfortable in using the internet to get your news. CNN has noticed that trend as well, and is making the jump to the next generation with CNNx. Initially available as an iPad app but intended for other set-top boxes and CNN.com in the future (no word on Android, iPhone or other mobile platforms, although live streaming is already widely available), it lets viewers skip through any story segments that have aired in the last 24 hours -- unfortunately that doesn't include The Daily Show's takedowns of its coverage, but you can see a screenshot of the app after the break.. That should end the frustration felt when you flip to the channel halfway through one interesting segment, and are face with sitting through an hour of disaster-of-the-minute coverage to find out all the information. There's more than just video (live or on-demand) too, with related articles, pictures and social media just a click away.
CNN is a cable channel though, so you'll need a login from a participating provider to use the TV Everywhere service just like HBO Go. It's not live in the app store for us to try out just yet but it will arrive later today. For now, there is a video preview explaining what CNNx is all about -- give it a peek and see if the ability to cherry pick interesting stories is enough to pull you back into the 24-hour cable news cycle.
If you're using Spotify on the web, desktop or iOS you should notice a pretty massive change starting today. (The new look should be coming to Android "near future.") The company is launching its most dramatic overhaul since its launch in 2008. Most noticeably, it's flat and dark. Like Swedish death metal dark. The gray and white elements it experimented with over the last couple of years have been banished and it has returned to its roots with a UI that is primarily black and slightly lighter black. Sure, there are still green highlights and the new rounded (dare we say finger-friendly) icons are a lighter shade of gray, but the overall effect is one where the most important element -- the content -- jumps off the background.
The modern workforce is a global one, but you still need to get in some face time with co-workers and associates far and wide. ClickMeeting want's to help one lucky Engadget reader keep that personal connection and spread their message by offering an iPad mini and six months of its ClickWebinar service. This will help you make presentations to your team or dole out advice to interested clientele, and with mobile apps for iOS, Android and BlackBerry, the software lets you do it from any location. So whether it's slurping down civet lattes at the corner cafe or direct from your kitchen table, you can get your message to the masses -- and they don't have to know you're still wearing pajama bottoms. Simply head down to the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning this iPad mini and ClickWebinar combo.
Roku's mobile software just got a long overdue coat of fresh paint. The remote control apps for both Android and iOS now have a minimalist (and very purple) interface, as well as search that lets you track down content based on actors, directors and similar minutiae. It's now easier to control most any Roku device on the network, too. You don't have to use an account for most functions, and a single sign-in will automatically log in to every device linked to your credentials. There's still no iPad-optimized app -- really, Roku? -- but what's here is definitely worth grabbing from the App Store or Google Play.
Rumors Apple will launch a new TV-connected device/service seemingly never die, and now the Wall Street Journal reports it's in talks with Comcast (and that rumored discussions with Time Warner Cable over a "Project Jupiter" team-up stalled when it became a takeover target). With interesting timing, the rumors focus on an aspect of the deal that would give Apple's streaming of live TV and cloud DVR recordings over a "managed connection" avoiding last-mile bottlenecks. That's similar to how Comcast sends video on-demand to its Xbox 360 app, and a contrast to the recent net neutrality discussions arising over its deal with Netflix. Noting that the companies "aren't close to an agreement," the rumors suggest an arrangement where Apple sells its hardware at retail TiVo-style, although how customers log in and who controls that relationship is something where the two continue to differ.
Source: Wall Street Journal
For many Engadget readers, part of the work day consists of telling co-workers to "move" so they can get in there and fix the computer -- after advising a restart, of course. So we're offering an IT-centric giveaway this week courtesy of CrushFTP, makers of robust and secure file transfer server software and long-time gadget hackers. They've given us an Apple Mac mini and a full enterprise version of CrushFTP for one lucky Engadget reader. This prize pairing provides all the tools necessary for setting up a fully functional file server with a browser-based UI for monitoring and controlling all the exchanges. CrushFTP includes modern HTML5 support, ad-hoc sharing, customizable web forms and a litany of other high-level features to help keep server workflows running smoothly. All it takes is a few clicks and you could be on your way to winning this Apple Mac mini and software package; just head on down to the Rafflecopter widget to enter. You'll barely even have to move yourself.
13/03/2014 - VLC's media player hits Windows 8 in beta form
Let's say you bought a new laptop and wanted to check out a few videos that you legally downloaded without leaving Windows 8's touch-focused UI -- until now, your options have been pretty limited. If you're feeling a little adventurous though, the beta version of VLC's media player that Microsoft News spotted on Redmond's app store should do the trick. It's an experimental port of the Windows RT app, however, and as such the application has a few hurdles to clear before it's ready for prime time. General sluggishness compared to the desktop version and some audio bugs, for instance, are a few issues that may crop up. Developer VideoLAN says that this version isn't nearly as stable as it should be (it is a beta, after all), but that hasn't stopped you from downloading its apps before, has it?
Via: Microsoft News
It's that time of year again, when you have to try and wrestle back as many of those hard-earned dollars as you can from the insatiable gaping maw of the tax beast. In an effort to assuage that annual suffering, the folks at TurboTax created the free SnapTax app for 1040EZ/A returns and this year they've upped the ante for one lucky Engadget reader by offering an unlocked gold iPhone 5s so they can file on the go. Available for iOS and Android, the SnapTax app lets users file by simply snapping a photo of their W-2, answering a few questions and clicking "file my return." This is one little slab of gold that you won't want to stash in a safety deposit box, so head on down to the Rafflecopter widget for up to three chances at winning. And don't forget: It's time to do those taxes!
10/03/2014 - Apple TV update hides unwatched channels with ease
Alongside the release of iOS 7.1, Apple TV also received a software update today. Most notable among the changes? An easier method for hiding those channels that you don't watch. Before now, you had to take a trip to the Settings menu and hide each option from a list. After installing Apple TV version 6.1, pick a channel from the main menu and hold the Select button to make the icons dance. Once they start to jiggle, use the directional buttons to move around before hitting the Play/Pause button to hide that content source. This certainly isn't a major leap, but it's sure you save some time and extra navigating for tidying up that primary menu.
Color us intrigued. Apple seldom offers discounts on any of its devices outside of Black Friday, and yet it just launched a short, US-only promotion (PDF) that gives Apple TV buyers free $25 iTunes gift cards to jumpstart their media libraries. There's no major strings attached -- you just have to buy the device between now and March 5th to get the bonus credit. It sounds like a solid deal, but you may not want to rush to the store right away. The promo comes hot on the heels of rumors of a next-generation Apple TV, which suggests that the crew in Cupertino may be clearing out inventory ahead of a new model. If you're not worried about owning the latest and greatest, though, it's a tempting offer.
Via: 9to5 Mac
Source: Apple (PDF)
If you own one of Dish's Hopper DVRs and have ever been stumped as to what to watch next, you'll want to grab the latest version of Dish Explorer for the iPad. The new app now recommends shows based on your viewing habits; watch a lot of crime dramas and Dish may suggest the others you've missed. The update also introduces direct control over the TV's power and volume, so you won't have to go hunting for that lost remote. Head to the App Store for an upgrade if either new Explorer feature sounds appealing.
Source: App Store
Last year Apple introduced store sheet, a feature that allows developers to offer sell things like music and movies inside their apps without making you leave and head to iTunes. Now a new app from Disney is taking the feature a step further, allowing you to play iTunes purchases in-app as well. The first of its kind, Disney's new Movies Anywhere app not only allows you to purchase and play new Disney movies within the app, it also allows you to stream Disney content you've already purchased from iTunes without downloading it again onto your device.
As long as the app knows you've purchased the movie before, you'll be able stream it for free on your favorite iOS device or on your home computer. As you might expect, movies purchased within the app will also be available through your iTunes library to play on your iPhone or iPad without the Disney app, and can be played on your TV via Airplay. To use the app you'll need to first sign in with both your Disney and iTunes account information. Once you're logged in, it automatically brings in any Disney flicks you've purchased through iTunes previously, as well as any Disney Movie Rewards digital copies you might have redeemed from Blu-ray or DVD purchases.
The app is built using Disney's proprietary digital rights locker, KeyChest. A technology we've been hearing about for years -- and part of the reason Disney/Apple haven't joined in with Ultraviolet digital copies -- it could help Movies Anywhere stretch beyond iOS to other platforms in the future. As originally designed, it can work with any studio, DRM system or digital video store that wishes to participate, and unlock copies purchased via one storefront on any other automatically. That could include Ultraviolet shops like Vudu and Redbox Instant, or those going it alone like Amazon, Google Play and Comcast video on-demand -- not to mention other hardware platforms like Android and Roku. Of course, Disney has talked up the buy-once play-anywhere tech since 2009 and it's only now arriving on a single platform and store, so patience may be required.%Gallery-slideshow181653%
After seven years of hosting the iTunes Festival in the UK, Apple is at last bringing the concert series to the US for 2014. The music extravaganza will be held in Austin from March 11th through the 15th, running alongside South by Southwest (SXSW). It's a much shorter run than in the past, but it will include a mix of well-known American and European artists, ranging from Willie Nelson to London Grammar. As you'd imagine, Apple is using the event as a technological showcase; you'll get to stream live and on-demand performances from both iTunes on the desktop as well as any iOS device. This will all sound familiar to Brits, but it's big news for Americans that no longer have to skip work just to watch the live shows -- even if they can't make it out to Texas.
The post-Jay Leno Tonight Show era starts (again, sorry Conan) shortly on NBC, and with the arrival of Jimmy Fallon the show is also getting an updated tech focus. Companion apps have arrived for iOS and Android devices, with video games, and the ability to view full episodes or clips the day after they air. Interaction with the show includes social media contributions to the hashtag segment, and submissions for video challenges. Second screen TV apps have had an uneven going as of late (GetGlue got acquired and relaunched as TVTag, Yahoo shut down IntoNow to roll it out as a feature in other products and Dijit has also been acquired), we'll see if NBC's latest effort fares any better than The Million Second Quiz did last year. If the apps don't attract attention, there's always The Roots, and hopefully Fallon maintains his penchant for including new gadgets among the usual lineup of guests.
If sources who spoke with Bloomberg News are correct, a new Apple TV could be "introduced" as early as April. Apple is currently in talks with Time Warner Cable, among other programming partners, to add video content to the set-top box before releasing the next version.
The third-generation Apple TV came out just over a year ago, and while it's received software updates, both the design and selection of content haven't changed much since the original launched in 2007. Bloomberg's sources echo earlier rumors, saying the next-gen model could include a reworked interface that allows for easier navigation between different types of content. Naturally, there will also be a faster processor in Cupertino's fourth set-top box. Just don't get too set on that spring timeframe; though Apple may unveil the new product in April, sources say the release would coincide with the holiday season, depending on the company's progress in securing partnerships with TWC and others.
Source: Bloomberg News
Sometimes memory lane is paved in VHS and Beta bricks, other times it's wound around a film reel. Either way, you should really flip those classic video moments up to the cloud already -- it's 2014. With Valentine's Day rolling through, YesVideo -- purveyors of digitized nostalgia -- have taken it upon themselves to offer one Engadget reader the tools to do it. It's ponied up a new iPad Air so you can watch those classic wedding, honeymoon or prom vids in Retina clarity on a slate that weighs little more than a pile of sweet nothings. YesVideo is also giving the winner a $100 gift certificate for its video digitizing and cloud storage services to help them expunge those old formats and make room for that
ridiculous darling pink Valentine's bear. You've got to be in it to win it, so head down to the Rafflecopter widget and take a chance. It might just be your lucky day.
If you're like us, you usually stop using Shazam as soon as you've identifed that catchy tune -- while the software has a lot of features under the hood, they haven't been easy to find. That's why the company is rolling out the first phase of an iPhone app redesign. Its new song interface (available later today) puts real-time lyrics front and center, and a song's music video is just a short hop away. Shazam is also making it easier to buy or stream content, whether it's a hit song or a TV show. iPhone owners should expect further big updates later this month. Android-based listeners will have to be more patient, however, as today's interface revamp won't hit their devices until sometime in the "coming weeks."
Source: App Store
Are you nostalgic for the hysteria when the Beatles first set foot in the US, or just wonder what all the fuss was about? If either is true, you'll be glad to hear that you now have a chance to recreate that commotion on your Apple TV. Apple has quietly launched a Beatles channel on its media hub that will let you stream the British band's entire Ed Sullivan Show performance from 1964, complete with shrieking fans. Naturally, Apple is also using the channel to plug the recently digitized US versions of the group's albums. The concert footage will only stick around for a "limited time," so you'll want to hurry if you'd like to see the Beatles' big moment on a big screen.
Source: 9to5 Mac
28/01/2014 - GetGlue and i.TV combine to create tvtag for iPhone, focus on real-time updates about live TV
After powering second screen connected TV experiences for other companies including DirecTV and Nintendo's TVii app, i.tv acquired TV check-in service GetGlue last year to pull those experiences together. Now, GetGlue is relaunching as tvtag, an advertising-supported one-stop information and social network centered around television watching, full of information from broadcast partners, augmented in real-time by a team of live curators and TV viewers. At launch, the reworked app is available only on the iPhone, but CEO Brad Pelo tells us a version for Android is due in a few days, with a web experience and iPad-ready version launching shortly after that. The i.TV app is sticking around for now, but will be updated in the future, while DirecTV and Nintendo are already lined up for integration with the new platform.
The check-in and sharing features -- and built-in user base -- from GetGlue remain, but it's the curated info that the company expects will separate it from other services. The "taglines" are built by over 50 employees creating high level tags for live TV (covering the majority of what viewers are watching, on any channel), which users then fill in with additional captures, comments and reactions. It's also why tvtag thinks users will choose to open this app over Twitter and Facebook while they're watching TV, with the ability to search info from sources like IMDB and Google, or add to the tagline with their own notes and doodles. Those taglines are available for browsing later for DVR viewing, but this experience is about live TV. For events like last weekend's Grammys or Pro Bowl, and the upcoming Super Bowl, it can push play-by-play updates, as well as constantly refreshed stats and field positions.
Other than the big social networks, competition to provide synced TV info on other screens like your phone, tablet or PC is fierce, with everyone from Google Now, Dijit's recent acquisition Miso and Yahoo's IntoNow offering similar features. IntoNow is one of the most similar, adding the ability to ID TV content via audio and a complete feed of images from live TV channels to the mix. tvtag is more than an app however, and since it can open up access as an SDK or API, we may see its features and content pop up in other apps and on other devices soon. Still, given the following GetGlue has been able to attract we expect to see plenty of tvtag shares popping up in our timelines -- we'll see if its exclusive information and tight TV-focused environment is enough to keep its audience coming back.
Apps like Shazam and Zeebox can listen to songs and TV shows and identify what's playing or what you're watching, but until now the tech hasn't been used much for gaming. A companion application for Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor could change that. The Palantir iOS app (named after the networked seeing stones from Lord of the Rings canon) uses the aforementioned audio-sync technology to deliver exclusive content and contextual info (like walkthroughs) by listening in while you play the game. That content is curated from Wikia, which hosts vast reserves of lore, guides and minutia for games and pop culture. Shadow of Mordor doesn't have a release date just yet, but the Palantir app also works on trailers. If you want to give it a go for yourself, we've embedded the debut gameplay video after the jump.
The current Apple TV is long in the tooth, to put it mildly -- the basic design emerged in 2010, and the 2012 refresh was really about keeping up with the Joneses. However, 9to5 Mac claims that there's a substantial update in the pipeline this year. Apple is reportedly "well into testing" a fourth-generation media hub that would include both a reworked (if still iOS-based) interface and new forms of content. Just what that content would be isn't certain. iLounge hears that an Apple TV software revision may bring games and Bluetooth controller support, but it's not clear if this would also entail a full-fledged app platform. If any of the rumors are accurate, we may not have to wait very long for the improved living room experience. The 9to5 tipsters believe that the new Apple TV will likely ship in the first half of the year, and iLounge anticipates new software by March.
Apple's iTunes has long been the de facto virtual storefront for iOS users looking to buy or rent digital content, but now Google's elbowing its way into that tidy ecosystem. The search giant just dropped an iOS version of its Google Play Movies & TV app onto the App Store, giving users an alternate media library to browse. The service will also allow users to purchase films and TV shows from the desktop and view them from any iDevice. Just don't get too jazzed about the Chromecast streaming side of things. We've seen the service hiccup more than we'd like in our time using it. Your mileage may vary, but don't say you weren't warned.
A troop of new Joey devices wasn't the only thing Dish had up its sleeve for CES. In an effort to bring its streaming chops to game consoles, the company has just announced an app for PlayStation that does just that. Dish customers will be able to take advantage of the Hopper's functionality via its Virtual Joey software on both PlayStation 3 and PS4 consoles to access their favorite TV shows without having to switch devices once that marathon gaming session is up. This software also allows for control via either the DualShock 4 or the Dish remote. The app should arrive for download this spring in the PlayStation Store.