When you're the CEO of the second largest video game publisher in the world, people have a tendency to take what you say seriously. Case in point, Electronic Arts' Andrew Wilson recently revealed his company's plans for virtual reality. At a South by Southwest panel, Wilson said that his company is less focused on the technology of VR, and more interested in exactly how people consume it. As he sees it, we interact with games in three different ways: leaning back, leaning in and looking over -- relating to console, PC and mobile gaming, respectively. With VR, he thinks there will be a fourth: getting in. He says that this could happen either via a headset or even a hologram popping up from your living room floor, and he's pushing his team to explore it.
Think of this along the lines of Amazon (hypothetically) announcing that it'd accept Bitcoin for payment and you're on the right track; that there's another major player in the VR space helps validate the medium. While this could all be taken as pie-in-the-sky speculation, the fact that EA is clearly invested in the virtual reality isn't anything to write off -- just look at what the company's done with mobile gaming.
It's a bittersweet day in Austin, Texas, for Aereo. The company's remote DVR service, which allows users to stream or record over-the-air broadcasts, just launched in the city this week against the backdrop of SXSW, making it Aereo's fourth market in the state. But there's a storm cloud hanging over this celebration; a recent legal hiccup with the state of Utah that saw it shut down service in Denver, Colo., and Salt Lake City, Utah. Aereo, however, is no stranger to this courtroom drama. The company's been engaged in a copyright battle with broadcasters that'll either cement it as a content licensee (along the lines of a Netflix), and potentially cripple its business growth, or as a provider of cloud DVR storage. It's a fight Aereo's waging all the way to the Supreme Court and has so far been winning, except for today.
Aereo's streams in Denver and Salt Lake City hung on for a while after the US District Court of Utah granted its opponents a preliminary injunction on February 20th, but today they're shutting off. Yesterday a panel of federal court judges denied Aereo's request to stay the injunction while it appeals, claiming "Aereo has not made a strong showing that it is likely to succeed on the merits of its appeal. Nor has Aereo demonstrated that the other factors weigh in its favor." As a result, the antenna-to-streaming company has informed affected customers service will go dark today at 10am. For now, it's looking forward to the upcoming Supreme Court case to affirm its belief that the service is legal, and issuing a refund for this month's service for anyone living in those two markets. Aereo's hearing is set to take place April 22nd -- check out CEO Chet Kanojia's message to customers after the break.
We're live on the ground at South By Southwest (#SXSW for short), the annual event that brings together everyone and anyone who's invested in the interactive arts. Those artists include the minds behind emerging startups (like Twitter was here in 2007), as well as established innovators like Mark Cuban and even Grumpy Cat.
With this letter I have enclosed a large, slightly frayed chunk of styrofoam that we all thought resembled the prominent "t" in the Engadget logo - you know, the one wearing the cute Wi-Fi hat. We have no use for this item here at Joystiq, so we thought you might hoist it above your reeking desk-beds, or use it in another story about 3D printers.
"This could be a science lesson on the innards of sharks."
Chance Ivey, game design lead for Chaotic Moon's whimsical Oculus Rift demo SharkPunch, was only half-joking when he made that comment to me as I exploded a megalodon with my fist in virtual space. That's because the minigame, which incorporates a visor-mounted Leap Motion controller to let users punch sharks in 3D, actually has firm roots in an educational simulator the Austin, Texas-based company's been developing for prospective clients. Yes, that connection may be hard to swallow at first -- after all, how does a frenzied, and fun, game of shark carnage assist players with learning? The simple answer is that it doesn't, but by no means does that lessen SharkPunch's educational origins in the slightest. %Gallery-slideshow183527%
The last five days were, in a word, bedlam. Newsweek may or may not have found the man who created Bitcoin (which subsequently led to a car chase -- yes, seriously); the head of PlayStation US, Jack Tretton, stepped down after just shy of 20 years; and Apple's finally got an official service for bridging iOS to cars: you'll never guesswhat it's called (okay, you probably will).
With co-hosts Terrence O'Brien and Joseph Volpe scattered across Austin for SXSW 2014, we're playing "who are these new people?" with two new staffers -- Chris Velazco and John Colucci. All that and more, live at noon ET, just below!
Even though CES 2014 is long gone, some of the stuff announced there is just now starting to become available for purchase. Case in point: Sharp's Q+ lineup (originally known as Quattron+), a series of 2014 AQUOS televisions featuring the latest and greatest, including a revamped SmartCentral platform. But that's not what's interesting here. Instead, it's the Q+ technology, one that Sharp describes as being able to "accept a 4K signal and play it back at near-4K resolution, with an effective resolution of up to 3,840 x 2,160."
The company says this is possible thanks to its Revelation Upscaler, which takes HD content and "optimizes it for the higher resolution screen, so that it's sharper and more vivid." By building Q+ TVs on 1080p panels, Sharp claims it's then capable of pricing these lower than some of its would-be competitors. Now, is that enough to get you to buy into it? If so, you'll have quite a few options to choose from -- they're up for grabs now in 60-, 70- and 80-inch flavors, with prices ranging from $2,500 all the way to a cool $6,000.
If you thought Time Warner Cable was late to the Showtime party, think again. Charter subscribers have been waiting for access since 2011, and now it's finally here. Starting today, customers can join in with the the rest of the cable crowd and stream live (or past) episodes of their favorite Showtime production on its Showtime Anytime app, which is available on iOS, Android, Roku and the web. As long as you have a Showtime subscription, getting your Homeland fix is as easy as signing into the app with your Charter username and password. Additionally, the same programming from Showtime Anytime will be available from Charter.net and the company's TV app in the near future.
Rumors that existing satellite and cable TV providers would launch full internet streaming services have circled for years, but the new agreement between Dish Network and Disney has suddenly stirred the pot. Between a deal that could actually put ESPN on an internet-only TV service, Verizon buying Intel's abandoned OnCue effort plus live TV streaming to Xbox One (pictured above) and Sony's plan for an IPTV package it seems like we'll actually see something arrive in 2014. Reuters reports Verizon and DirecTV are negotiating with content providers for similar access, as Verizon CEO Lowell C. McAdam told investors he would "love to partner with (content providers) to see how we can take FiOS contact mobilely across the country." Meanwhile, Bloomberg's unnamed sources suggest a Dish Network internet TV service could launch for around $20 - $30 per month once enough content deals are in place.
Or at least, he will have done so come April 1st, no foolin'. Sony just announced that the long time SCEA executive will be making way for his replacement Shawn Layden, current EVP and COO of Sony Network Entertainment International. According to the company, Tretton's parting is the result of a "mutual agreement," but naturally, neither side's saying how that agreement was reached. The move certainly comes as a surprise, as Tretton had been with SCEA for almost 20 years, and was a part of the PlayStation team from the very beginning -- most recently overseeing the successful launch of Sony's newest console, the PS4. Evidently, that wasn't enough to keep him around... time will tell if Layden's a worthy successor.
The Last of Us made its debut last year to critical (and commercial) acclaim from the gaming community, and it appears that the film industry's just as smitten with the story it tells. Deadline Hollywood reports that Sony Pictures' Screen Gems production company has decided to develop a "live-action adaptation" of the PS3 version of the game, and Neil Druckmann, who was The Last of Us' creative director, will be writing the screenplay. Evan Wells and Christophe Balestra, the co-presidents of Naughty Dog, the studio that created the game, and the game's director, Bruce Straley will also lend their talents to the project as "creative architects," whatever that means. Naturally, since the deal has just been done, we don't know when to expect The Last of Us to make its way to the silver screen, but at least we know it's coming... at some point.
When Ubisoft showed off Watch Dogs for the first time in 2012, there was no such thing as PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Well, okay, they existed in some sense of the word, but both consoles were far from publicly ready, making Watch Dogs an unbelievably pretty game for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. Unbelievable to the point that many journalists were incredulous about it not being touted as intended for next-gen, but Ubisoft couldn't say it was headed to unannounced consoles. In so many words, Watch Dogs was essentially the first "next-gen" game shown off ... even before the consoles were unveiled. It's somewhat hilarious then that we're here to tell you today that Watch Dogs now has a release date -- May 27th -- after being delayed past the actual launch of the new consoles. It's unclear if that means all versions (Xbox 360, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, PlayStation 4, PC and Wii U) will arrive on the same day, though the Wii U version was already given a release date sometime after the other versions. Sorry Wii U, owners!
Director Robert Rodriguez is expanding on the story and characters first seen in his cult classic From Dusk Till Dawn with a new TV series, but that's not all there is to it. Here it's the debut original series on Rodriguez's new El Rey Network on cable, but outside the US Miramax has cut a deal with Netflix giving the streamer exclusive rights to all ten episodes. That means this time around Netflix will follow the weekly episode release schedule (like it did with Breaking Bad) instead of bingeing House of Cards-style, bringing new episodes within 24 hours of the US broadcast everywhere except Latin America. The US premiere is March 11th, while in Latin America it will premiere March 19th, with weekly releases after that -- in an unrelated note, Canada's Trailer Park Boys are returning with a whole new season on Netflix later this year.
A renewed Miramax has been a big player in streaming, making an initial US deal with Netflix in early 2011, followed by another one for international streaming rights in the same year. Since then, it's also opened its vaults to Hulu, Amazon Prime and Lovefilm / Amazon Prime Instant Video UK. The new series is debuting this week at SXSW, and according to Rodriguez "the film was the short story, this series is the novel." We'll once again follow the Gecko Bros. as they try to escape across the border after a bank heist and make a detour to a strip club filled with vampires. It's a familiar tale, but this time shoving 10 episodes full of grindhouse-style mayhem instead of a relatively brief two hour movie -- check out the official trailer after the break for a taste.
Cyanogen's Koushik Dutta has been teasing the prospect of mirroring your Android screen on Chromecast for a few weeks, and today you can finally try the feature -- if you have the right smartphone, that is. An updated version of the Mirror for Android beta includes early support for mirroring to either a Chrome browser or Chromecast, but only if you have a Nexus 5. Google's phone is the sole device with the hardware video decoder needed for this mirroring technique, Dutta says. You also have to get root-level access to the operating system with the current release, although that won't be necessary in the future. Provided you meet the app's exacting requirements, you can give mirroring a spin at the source link.
It's the week of HD content news in its many various guises: streaming, video, award shows and service cancellations, all wedged in amidst a couple of physical devices. Actually, the hardware is content-enabling as well, with the new Roku Streaming Stick and an N64 mod that gives your classic gear an HDMI upgrade. Ben and Richard get their wish with Netflix's experiments in sleep tracking (courtesy of a Fitbit) and Microsoft continues to fine tune the Xbox One with updates in audio, Kinect options and a UK glitch fix. Just hop on down to the streaming links to enjoy this episode of the Engadget HD Podcast in all its informational glory.
The March Xbox One update is live; your friends list is now slightly more organized; and game broadcasting is mere days away. In reading through the laundry list of tweaks in last night's refresh, perhaps you noticed a handful of gamepad notes? Something to the effect of, "firmware update to the Xbox One controller"? That's secret code for, "You have to update your gamepad firmware." The next generation! We are in it! Head below for a step-by-step guide on entering this brave new world.
Dish subscribers are no longer stuck if they want to catch up on TV shows from one of Amazon's tablets -- the satellite provider has released a version of Dish Anywhere for Kindle Fire HDX devices. As with the regular Android app, HDX owners using Sling-equipped Dish DVRs (such as the Hopper with Sling) can watch live, on-demand and recorded TV from any reasonably fast internet connection. There's no word yet on support for the lower-cost Kindle Fire HD, but those who own Amazon's latest and greatest hardware can grab Dish Anywhere today.
In early August 2012, OnLive employees told us that the cloud gaming company was close to falling apart. Despite creating an impressive service rooted in a futuristic idea -- playing bleeding-edge PC games on the highest settings, remotely, streaming from the cloud to virtually any device -- a cocktail of financial issues all crested at once. The result was mass layoffs ("at least" 50 percent), including lead evangelist and company CEO Steve Perlman. OnLive had a new owner, venture capitalist Gary Lauder, and a renewed directive to become profitable. Then, the company went silent.
CNN bought the news-aggregation service Zite to get a fast track in the mobile space, but it never gained much ground versus Zite's archrival, Flipboard. Accordingly, the TV broadcaster is throwing in the towel -- it just sold Zite to Flipboard for $60 million. The deal brings a raft of previously unavailable CNN content to Flipboard's news-curation platform, ranging from articles to video feeds for shows like Anderson Cooper 360 and Inside Politics. The network has also agreed to produce custom magazines (shown here) that go beyond what you'd normally find online. CNN's content is available today, and it's launching alongside a big Android app update that lets readers sign in with Google, control article density, curb their data use and attach photos to custom magazines.
The BBC TV channel that spawned comedic classics like Little Britain and Gavin & Stacey looks set to be taken off-air as part of a cost-cutting drive. BBC Three won't be killed off completely, however -- if regulators approve, the plan is to make it an online-only channel that would somehow still serve up fresh content aimed at 16- to 34-year-olds, but do so more cheaply. The idea isn't hugely shocking, perhaps, given the recent pressure on the BBC's taxpayer-funded budget and the increasing focus on iPlayer as an alternative to terrestrial broadcasts. Nevertheless, many critics have already spoken out, including the star of Little Britain, Matt Lucas, who said it would be "bad for comedy." There's a #SaveBBC3 movement gathering steam on Twitter and, if history is anything to go by, it might actually have a chance of succeeding -- a move to shut down BBC Radio 6 was reversed following a similar outcry back in 2010.
Update: Aaaaaand it's official. If the BBC Trust approve, BBC Three will be closed in the fall of 2015, with £30 million of its budget going to BBC One and the rest of the programming becoming online-only.
There isn't exactly an abundance of major movie services that will send video to a Chromecast; for the most part, Google Play Movies and Netflix still rule the roost. It's a good thing, then, that Vudu has announced plans to support the TV media adapter through both updated mobile apps and Chrome on the desktop. The provider won't say just when Chromecast support is coming other than "soon," but early adopters can register for a beta test. Either way, it's clear that Vudu still wants its video platform on everylivingroomdevice you own.
Want to stream any web video from your smartphone to your Chromecast? Grab the beta release of Chrome 34 for Android. The browser includes experimental support for sending embedded clips to Google's media stick, saving you from launching a native app just to watch something on a TV. As you'd expect, there are some compatibility hiccups at this early stage. YouTube works well (surprise!), but other sites are hit and miss -- you're best off sticking to videos from major, HTML5-friendly hosts like Vimeo. If you're willing to live with some inconsistencies, though, you can try the streaming feature today.
We've already touched on what you could expect from the Xbox One's next update, but now it's here. Alongside those multiplayer improvements (easier invites, chat upgrades), Twitch TV live-streaming is here (though you won't be able to broadcast until the app is updated), as well as a new quiet mode to temper those notification pings. There's that 5.1 Dolby Digital support and SmartGlass improvements, while Bing and Google Map can both be handled through both gestures and controllers. We've listed all the updates after the break, and Microsoft's own Major Nelson has a full video tour of what's new, too -- or you can just grab the update yourself, right now. If you're on the Xbox One preview program, you're already running the latest version. Please stop smirking.
It's never a good idea to make an enemy of the federal government, and it appears that Aereo now finds itself in just that predicament. On Monday, the US Department of Justice came out in favor of the broadcasters that oppose Aereo in a case currently before the US Supreme Court. The feds filed an amicus brief -- a legal memo aimed at educating swaying the justices to a certain point of view written by someone not a party in a lawsuit -- that refutes Aereo's position that it doesn't need to license the content viewed by its users. The case is, of course, all about copyright law, and specifically, it raises the question whether or not Aereo's technology enables public or private performances of the video being watched (public performances constitute infringement, private ones do not).