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  • In order to properly celebrate the first year of Spotify Connect, the streaming outfit is rolling it out to a new set of devices. The feature already played nice with a smattering of wares, and now, you'll be able to leverage the seamless listening experience on that smart TV. Starting with Philips' Android-powered units, beaming tunes from your smartphone or tablet will be a breeze -- all while sorting the controls from that mobile device. According to Spotify, this is "the first in a long line of smart TVs" that will hit shelves with the add-on. Alongside Libratone, B&O and Sony, Connect is now available on Bose, Panasonic and Gramofon audio gadgets with support multi-room systems tacked on for good measure. With the news of new partners, the feature will be available on over 100 wares by the year's end.

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    Source: Spotify

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  • Simply put, Doctor Who and Minecraft are two worldwide sensations, each extremely popular in their own entertainment category. Thus, it just kind of makes sense to bring the two together. Thankfully for those of you who are into both, Microsoft and the BBC have partnered up to do exactly that, by way of digital downloadable content for Minecraft on the Xbox 360. Starting next month, players will have access to character packs from Doctor Who, including skins of The Doctor himself, his companions and his mad enemies -- all from throughout the show's entire history, not only from most recent seasons. No word yet on if this also applies to the upcoming Xbox One edition of Minecraft, but it wouldn't surprise us if that was the case.

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    Source: Microsoft

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  • The digitally created city of Meereen in 'Game of Thrones'

    We've already seen how digital effects make Game of Thrones' world more believable, but there were some spectacular scenes in the show's fourth season: giant city-states, an undead horse and battles involving thousands of cavalry. Want to know just how important computer graphics were in bringing those moments to life? Graphics house Rodeo FX will gladly show you. As you'll see in the footage below, some environments (such as Meereen's pyramid-laden landscape) depended very heavily on computer effects, with only a few live humans and real-world places involved. And that cavalry battle demanded even more work -- animators populated the field with "smart" horse soldiers that reacted both to each other and the world around them. You may not want to watch the demo clip if you haven't caught up on the show, but it's otherwise worth checking out to see how fantasy and reality can blend together.

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    Via: io9

    Source: Rodeo FX

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  • Russia's recent crackdown on "things it doesn't want to hear" may take a nostalgic turn if culture committee member (and kickboxer) Batu Khasikov has his way. He wants to invoke the USSR days by banning foreign films that "demonize or present Russia in a primitive, silly way." He said films showing the nation's citizens as a "threat to mankind" should also be a no-no -- like A Good Day to Die Hard and other recent flicks with cliché Russian baddies. Fortunately for Russian action fans (or not, depending on your taste) that film and others would remain, as any ban passed would only apply to new titles. Oddly, the cultural ministry recently made a list of its top foreign film picks, including Apocalypse Now, which it ironically called a critique of "capturing foreign territories."

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    Via: AV Club

    Source: 9AM News (translated)

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  • Ever since Microsoft cut its motion- and voice-sensor from the Xbox One package, the second version of Kinect has been in limbo. Sure, you could still get one if you shelled out $500 for the deluxe version of Xbox One, but there was no way to pick one up on its own. What if, say, a new Dance Central game for Xbox One were to be announced? Microsoft always said it would offer the device standalone, and now it's got a release date and price: October 7th for $150 ($50 less than the Windows version, for those wondering). Even better: Kinect on Xbox One comes with the aforementioned new Dance Central game. Not a terrible nod to the most important third-party game studio making Kinect games.

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    Source: Microsoft

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  • The generous group over at Good Old Games is prepping to bring another medium into its trademark DRM-free digital distribution platform: movies. Starting today, you can head over to GOG.com and download or stream a handful of gaming-and-geek focused documentaries. What's on tap? Art of Playing, TPB AFK: The Pirate Bay Away From Keyboard and Indie Game: The Movie (seen above) among others, and you can check out the first two flicks in this list absolutely free of charge. If none of those strike your fancy the company promises more titles will be added on a weekly basis. Don't expect to see Guardians of the Galaxy pop up on the site's digital shelves in the coming months, though.

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    Source: GOG

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  • Large chunks of the US will have woken up this morning in a panic. No, not a natural disaster, their Time Warner Cable internet was down. A mother-of-all-outages saw TWC's Internet service down from New York to, well, pretty much everywhere (see map below). What's more curious, is that a statement from the company claims it was due to planned maintenance that went awry. Still, for at least an hour and a half, Netflix's main beef with the company won't have been about neutrality.

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    Source: Re/code, TW Cable Untangled

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  • Showtime's Anytime streaming portal has already been available to Xbox 360, Roku and other capable gadgets with the proper cable subscription. Now, Apple TV owners can access the network's library of programming and the cable channel's live feed (East and West coast) via the compact set-top box. Customers on Time Warner Cable, Comcast Xfinity, Cox, DirecTV, AT&T U-Verse, Verizon FiOS, Optimum and Bright House Networks can input their credentials to start streaming the likes of Dexter, Homeland, and Masters of Sex -- just to name a few. If you'll recall, Apple TV also received apps for NFL Now, ACC Sports and WWE Network (among others) over the last few months.

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  • The Engadget Live tour continued last week, with the latest stop taking place in Boston. Just like at our previous two events, in Austin and Seattle, Beantown didn't disappoint and the reader turnout was incredible. Attendees were treated to a night filled with a myriad of activities, giveaways and social mingling. Want to know what you missed? Check out the picture gallery bellow, where you'll also get a glimpse of what the sponsors brought over to the Royale venue to share with the Engadget aficionados in attendance.%Gallery-slideshow217428%

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  • Apple's annual month-long concert series in the UK kicks off next week, and to make sure that you're properly equipped to stream the performances, there's a new Apple TV app that'll do just that. Starting Monday, September 1st with deadmau5 and lasting through the end of the month, sets will be beamed to your living room right from the stage of the Roundhouse in London. Of course, should you find yourself away from home, tunes are also available on iPhone, iPad and iPod to catch the latest. While you can peruse the full list of acts here, scheduled artists include Beck, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Adams and Mary J. Blige.

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    Via: 9to5Mac

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  • A curated Shomi movie section

    Canucks don't have much choice for streaming video services. Netflix is the de facto pick, and its Canadian division's selection (historically smaller than in the US) isn't going to satisfy everyone. However, cable giants Rogers and Shaw think they have a better option for some viewers -- they've just unveiled Shomi, a mostly TV-focused service that might have a few aces up its sleeve. The offering blends automatic recommendations with handpicked selections; if you're looking for nothing but comic book adaptations or movies with dating disasters, you may have an easier time finding what you want. Shomi is also leaning heavily on exclusive deals for past seasons of big TV shows like Modern Family, New Girl and Sons of Anarchy, so it may be your best bet if you're looking for a Hulu Plus equivalent.

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    Source: Shomi, Canada Newswire

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  • Blue Microphones, as the company's name suggests, specializes in recording equipment, from professional studio mics to desktop models to mobile accessories. Today, Blue is breaking into a brand new product category, though not really out of its comfort zone, with the launch of the Mo-Fi headphones. It's a move you may have been expecting, given Blue announced its intentions at the beginning of the year, and has continued to tease this first foray into listening gear ever since. Put simply, the idea is to bring the kind of high-fidelity audio you'd get from a home sound system to other, more portable devices (as long as you're willing to pay for it). Blue's Mo-Fi cans are available in the US today for $350, and will be coming to the UK "soon" for £275.

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    Source: Blue Microphones

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  • This week in TV gets started off with a bang thanks to the Primetime Emmys. Netflix snagged 31 nominations for its original content, now we'll see if it can take home more trophies than the three it won last year as House of Cards faces off with Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, True Detective, Downton Abbey and Mad Men for the Outstanding Drama Series award. Of course, the streamer isn't resting on its laurels having just introduced Bojack Horseman last week, and it's kicking off a new run of stand-up comedy specials this week with Jim Jeffries: Bare. Fans of The Walking Dead and Sons of Anarchy can grab the latest seasons on Blu-ray, while Madden NFL 15 lights up game consoles this week and the college football season gets started. All of that against the backdrop of FXX's Every Simpsons Ever marathon which will keep running until Monday. We've got a new format to show you what's new this week, hit the gallery below to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).%Gallery-slideshow217256%

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  • Between Chromecast, Roku, Apple TV, TiVo, Xbox One and Playstation 4, our entertainment centers are getting pretty crowded. Who even has room for all those remotes? Thankfully, though, there are a number of apps and devices that can turn your smartphones and tablets into the ultimate universal remote. How have you tamed your massive controller collection? Tell us in the Engadget forums.

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  • I want YOU for targeted political ads

    Like it or not, another US election is almost upon us -- and this time around, the incessant political advertising may cut a little too close to home. Both Democrats and Republicans are using a new TV ad targeting system from DirecTV and Dish that takes advantage of voter records to put personalized campaign ads on your DVR. If you tend to swing between both parties, you may get different commercials than lifelong supporters. You may also get reminders to vote early if you frequently cast absentee ballots. And unlike conventional targeting methods, which run ads on shows they believe certain demographics will watch, these promos will automatically appear on any show you record as long as there's a free slot.

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    Source: Washington Post, Dish

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  • TiVo Roamio OTA

    For the past eight years, a CableCARD and a TiVo DVR have gone hand in hand. No more! Within the next few weeks, the limited edition TiVo Roamio OTA DVR will be available from select Best Buy stores for an initial price of $49 (plus $15/month service with a one-year commitment). That's $150 cheaper than the existing base model TiVo Roamio, and still boasts the four tuners, 500GB of storage, integrated WiFi and almost the same software and accessories (TiVo Stream, though it doesn't support TiVo Mini). The main missing features, for a fourth of the price, are a CableCARD slot and whole-home capabilities. This means you'll need an antenna and (ideally) to live somewhere with decent over-the-air reception. It's an especially interesting offering for those looking to cut the cable/satellite cord, while keeping access to new shows from the big networks. TiVo might not be kidding about this being a limited edition either: The company is clear in pledging its allegiance to its cable TV customers while at the same time attempting to appeal to those not interested in paying more than 20 bucks for a monthly TV subscription. So, depending on the reception from customers and partners, we could see TiVo axing the Roamio OTA if things don't work out.

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  • LG only just brought its 55-inch 1080p OLED to a $3,500 price that's within the limits of mainstream credit cards, and it's already back with something better. The curved 4K OLED TV we saw at CES is about to go on sale in Korea, and will arrive soon everywhere else, meaning well-heeled buyers don't have to choose between Ultra HD resolution and the sweet black levels offered by this newer display technology. We don't have an official US price for the TV yet, but HDGuru's usually reliable retail sources say the 65-inch 4K model (there's also a 77-inch version) will arrive for about $7,000 next month, while the 77-inch version has a £20,000 price tag in the UK. In Korea it will cost 12,000,000 won ($11,738), however US prices are usually much lower. LG exec Hyun-hwoi Ha isn't mincing words either, calling the new display "the pinnacle of technological achievement" and saying the tech will overcome LCDs in sales in just a few years. Can OLED pull off what plasma couldn't? LG is betting it will -- meanwhile Samsung seems convinced that OLED isn't quite ready for prime time.%Gallery-slideshow217093%

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    Source: LG Newsroom

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  • Microsoft might very well be gearing up to launch a Google Chromecast rival. While the tech giant hasn't announced anything official yet, one of its latest FCC filings details a device codenamed HD-10, which features WiFi, HDMI support and a USB connection. Those three will sound familiar if you know what the Chromecast is, but what really demystifies the device's nature is a separate document on the WiFi Alliance website. That filing, unearthed by Nokia Power User, called the HD-10 a "Miracast Dongle." Miracast, as you might know, is Microsoft's screen-sharing technology available on Windows 8.1, Windows RT and, most recently, Windows Phone 8.1, though it's also built into Android 4.2 (and later) and BlackBerry 10.2.1.

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    Via: PCWorld, Windows Phone Daily

    Source: Nokia Power User, FCC

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  • Google regularly rolls out Chromecast updates that plug up previous root-friendly exploits, but there's a new method you can use if you want complete control over your streaming device. A group of hardware hackers (fail0verflow, Team Eureka and GTVHacker) have not only discovered a vulnerability in the latest Chromecast software, but also developed a way to exploit it and give you root access. This lets you tinker with the HDMI dongle, enable and disable stuff like software auto-updates and change any setting you wish, among other things. The team's calling it "HubCap," and it works on both newly updated and brand new, fresh-out-the-box Chromecasts. You'll need extra hardware to make it happen (a USB development board called Teensy used to root PS3s back in the day), but if you're dead set on rooting your Chromecast, head over to XDA Developers for the full set of instructions.

    [Thanks, CJ]

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    Source: XDA Developers

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  • The concept of someone recording films at movie theaters for pirating purposes seems so outdated. Yet, that's still happening in some parts of the world, apparently. Most recently, there's the case of Philip Danks, a 25-year-old UK man who just got sentenced to 33 months of jail time after using his phone to record a film in the theater and, subsequently, upload it to his website to let the internet download it at no cost -- at least initially. So which movie, you ask? None other than Fast & Furious 6. According to Universal Pictures, Danks' pirated upload was downloaded nearly 780,000 times, which the studio claimed resulted in a loss of about £2.5 million, or about 4.1 million in US dollars. After his initial arrest, and before he pleaded guilty to the charges yesterday, Danks took to his Facebook page to share his feelings about the ordeal: "Seven billion people and I was the first. Fuck you Universal Pictures." He's now facing 33 months in jail, while 120 hours of unpaid community service were served to a friend who helped him along the way.

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  • Halo: The Master Chief Collection promises to be the ultimate compilation for fans of John-117's adventures and online competitors alike, featuring remastered versions of all four numbered Halo titles (and access to the Halo 5: Guardians beta when it's live). Undoubtedly the most exciting part of the package is Halo 2: Anniversary, a fully remastered version of the 2004 title that set the bar for online multiplayer gaming on consoles. With attentive level design, balanced gameplay and a strong online ranking and matchmaking system, the game spawned a pro scene that's persisted from sequel to sequel, console to console. Halo: Combat Evolved may have introduced us to Master Chief's world, but it was Halo 2 that assured the franchise's legendary status, and it's coming back for more.

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  • Now that everyone from Google to Amazon is getting into the Android gaming set-top box business, Ouya is going to have to get creative. It's already announced plans for "Ouya Everywhere" to extend its sizable library of 900+ TV and game controller-ready games to other platforms, and now the company tells Reuters it's working out a deal with China's Xiaomi. CEO Julie Uhrmann says the arrangement will see an Ouya channel added to devices like the Mi TV and MiBox, where users can shop for and download games, and with Xiaomi "likely" committing to marketing the games. On the backend, Xiaomi, Ouya and the game's developers split the money. The $99 console has gone through a number of changes (both hardware and software) since it arrived on the scene as a Kickstarter hit, now we'll see if Asia can help provide a second wind for the platform.

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    Source: Reuters

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  • AT&T is making U-Verse more appealing with each passing day. After the carrier revealed it would beat Google to the punch on bringing gigabit internet to Silicon Valley, now U-Verse is getting a great deal of fresh content and making its way to additional mobile devices. Aside from launching on Amazon's Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX, as well as the Fire phone, the U-Verse app today also welcomed over 50 new channels to its catalog of live TV streaming channels. This includes Cartoon Network, CNN, EPIX, ESPN, GolTV, HBO, HGTV, TBS, TNT and Travel Channel, plus many others -- most of which you can watch even if you're away from your home network. All in all, definitely a boost for U-Verse subscribers, and if you aren't, it's at least good to know that U-Verse looks to be a solid choice, especially now that DirecTV is joining AT&T's ranks.

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    Source: AT&T

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  • Just days ago at Gamescom, Microsoft announced that game pre-loading was coming to the Xbox One in September alongside for nabbing Forza Horizon 2 and FIFA 15 in advance of their arrival. It seems that the new feature has gone live a bit early though, as Madden NFL 15 is currently available for download ahead of its launch at the end of the month. Forking over the requisite $60 now will allow you to outfit your console with the title, so you'll be able to open the playbook immediately on August 26th. This also means that the Xbox faithful are now privy to the pre-loading option that PC and PS4 gamers have enjoyed for some time now.

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    Source: Xbox Store

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  • For several years now, Comcast has been testing cable TV that streams over the internet at several college campuses but this fall it's officially launching. Available at Bridgewater College, Drexel University, Emerson College, Lasell College and the University of Delaware included as a part of room and board, and on a trial basis at a few others including Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of New Hampshire, Xfinity on Campus brings live cable TV to PCs, tablets and phones -- as long as they're on campus. The package includes 80 or so channels and includes access to stuff like video on-demand and WatchESPN and HBO Go (if you have HBO), which will work even when they're off of the college's network.

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    Source: Comcast (Businesswire), Xfinity on Campus

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