Due to a lack of backwards compatibility, upgrading to new-gen systems like the Xbox One and PS4 has meant mostly leaving your old games behind, but in at least one case that's changing. Phil Spencer, the new leader over at Xbox, announced tonight that Minecraft on Xbox One will be able to transfer saves from its Xbox 360 version, so whatever you've already built will come with you. He didn't drop any other details on exactly how the move will work, but mentioned it is the product of cooperation between Microsoft and the game's developer, Mojang, while promising more news soon.
Earlier this month we were in the audience to see two gaming legends talk at length about the history of PlayStation, but if you want to watch PlayStation's head of Worldwide Studios and the PS4's lead designer have a lengthy chat for yourself, a video of the conversation is now available. Over the course of roughly 90 minutes, Shuhei Yoshida and Mark Cerney cover everything from the former getting banned from Nintendo's Miiverse (twice), how the PS Move controller signaled a new era of design teamwork at Sony and what it was like working under SCEA's legendarily hard-nosed chief, Ken Kutaragi. This type of insight typically isn't seen much outside of the annual Game Developer's Conference, so fire up the Chromecast, pour a frosty beverage and enjoy.
In the months since announcing a "mutually beneficial" interconnection agreement, Netflix and Comcast have seen eye to eye on very little. Throw in Comcast's attempt to swallow up Time Warner Cable and grow even larger, and you have a battleground for the two to air their disagreements. Netflix put its opposition to the merger in writing with its most recent earnings report earlier this week, spurring a response from Comcast, and now a pair of more detailed rebuttals from the streaming company (update: and yet another response from Comcast, this time claiming that Netflix itself caused the slowdowns). One is in a blog post by Vice President of Content Delivery Ken Florance, and another is a letter (PDF) by Vice President of Global Public Policy Christopher Libertelli in response to questions from Senator Al Franken. Both argue that Comcast's stance that it deserves payment is flawed because, among other reasons Netflix is still the one that must transmit its data to Comcast's network, where it stops without passing anywhere else.
If you've been enjoying the second screen-style remote control experience on Hulu Plus for the Chromecast, the streaming video site just announced similar support is coming to other devices. First up are the Hulu Plus apps for PS3, PS4 and Xbox One, and other devices are expected to add support soon. Similar to the second screen control Netflix and YouTube have offered -- Hulu is not using the DIAL protocol those two built yet, but an in-house solution, we're told it will add DIAL support in the future -- you'll need apps on both devices, logged into the same account. Then just punch the cast button, and you can throw video from mobile to TV screen, control playback or browse for something new to watch without interrupting the action onscreen. Also like Netflix it has lock screen controls, so you don't have to unlock your phone or tablet just to press pause. It should be active in the apps already, so all you need to do now is find something to watch.%Gallery-slideshow190457%
Moving a game from one platform to another -- from iOS to PC, from Xbox One to PlayStation 4 -- isn't as easy as it seems. Just change a few button prompts and you're all set, right? Not so much. There's a lot to consider: how do you control the game (mouse/keyboard/gamepad/touch/etc.)? does it sync up with online leaderboards? does it have the proper logos/attribution? Epic Games' Unreal Engine 4 aims to circumvent as much of that as possible, and today it's enabling two more platforms: Xbox One and PlayStation 4. In terms of Xbox One peripheral support, that includes Kinect, and in terms of PlayStation 4 peripheral support, that includes the Project Morpheus virtual reality headset.
Android gamers who've been yearning for XCOM's deep, turn-based tactics just got their wish: 2K has released a version of XCOM: Enemy Unknown for Google's mobile platform. Much like last year's iOS edition, you'll get to fight off invading aliens and build your bases in an interface optimized for touch. This is one of the pricier Android games on the market at $10, but our pals at Joystiq are already fans of the mobile version. It's likely worth the cash if you're looking for something engrossing to play on your spring vacation -- especially if you can't get enough of it on your PC or console.
If you spent a fortune on the first Sony Bravia UltraHD TVs, it may have hurt to find out that Netflix was only streaming 4K using a format (H.265) that doesn't work on those sets. Sony has now righted that wrong with the FMP-X5 4K media streamer, specifically made for European-only owners of the KD-84X9005, KD-65X9005A and KD-55X9005A Bravia TVs. House of Cards is the only 4K show available for it from Netflix (or anywhere else) right now, but the streaming outfit said that others, like Breaking Bad, will be arriving soon. The other drawback is a rather hefty £350 sticker (direct from Sony), but if you were an early adopter for one of those models, we think you can manage it.
Like taxes, iPhones and, well, Madden, you can count on a new Skylanders game every year. If you're unfamiliar with the franchise, that may just be a symptom of not being around kids -- the toy / video game series is a dominant force in the kids gaming market, sharing responsibility with biggies like Call of Duty and World of Warcraft for bringing in 80 percent of Activision's earnings in 2013. Each new entry in the game series comes with a new physical device for reading toy figurines; when said figurines are placed on the device (called a "portal"), they're transported into the game world and playable in-game.
Between the figures ($5 - $7 apiece, on average) and the games (anywhere from $7 to $60), it's easy to understand why the franchise is so profitable. Thankfully, the franchise is also lauded by most critics as a pretty decent game, too. The next entry, Skylanders: Trap Team, arrives this October and it's the largest game in the franchise to date.%Gallery-slideshow190157%
Let's just cut to the chase: Aereo's battle with broadcast TV hit the Supreme Court this week and it's one of the biggest entertainment-related court confrontations since the Betamax case in 1984. Confusion levels have been high, but Ben and Richard are your legal eagles and they break the situation down into its simplest terms. Time Warner Cable recently announced a potential money-saving alternative to cable box leasing, with its $99 set-top box that will stream cable TV and internet video. Netflix, on the other hand, has stated that it will raise its prices for new customers, although it's giving existing users a two-year grace period. There's a heap of HD news to run though this week, so you'll have to tune in to catch it all. Just head down to the streaming links below for this week's episode of the Engadget HD Podcast.
After existing Open Internet, or net neutrality, regulations were struck down in court earlier this year, it appears the FCC is ready to come back with new ones. Re/code reports Chairman Tom Wheeler confirmed they will be on the table at an agency meeting May 15th. While that report indicates the rules will be the same, but justified under a different part of the law, the Wall Street Journal's sources say that new rules will be proposed tomorrow, with at least one notable change. According to the rumor, the new net neutrality rules will still bar ISPs from blocking certain sources over the last mile, but will allow them to sell special access to others. It sounds like the type of "managed connection" that Comcast, for example, is using to distribute video on-demand to its Xbox 360 app.
Update: The FCC has issued a statement, calling reports that it will gut the Open Internet rule "flat out wrong" and saying there is no turnaround in policy, and behavior that harms consumers or competition will not be permitted. A report in the Associated Press mentions that deals between ISPs and service providers were possible under the old rules but frowned upon, but the new rules will establish actual standards for them, added so it can survive a court challenge in the future. We'll find out exactly what there is tomorrow when the draft is posted, but before that consumer advocacy groups like Public Knowledge and Free Press are already speaking out on the matter.
Soon you might be able to simply ask your Apple TV to start playing 'House of Cards' rather than fumbling through a series menus. Code found in iOS 7.1's software development kit indicates that Siri is one its way to a new device, likely Apple's set-top box. In the operating system's documentation, the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad are represented by "1" and "2." The most recent files also include a new device indicated by a "3." For our non-developer friends following along at home, that means the digital assistant is headed to a different product. While the 3 could potentially represent something entirely new (like the fabled iWatch), Apple has previously used the number to represent its TV product in code. It's also currently being used in several iOS-based Apple TV apps.
If you've missed a few episodes of the Cosmos revival or maybe just want to fill the universe-sized hole in your media rack, the series hits Blu-ray and DVD this summer. Come June 10th (two days after the final episode airs), you'll be able to watch the doc's 13 installments plus a smattering of bonus features whenever you want. And speaking of supplements, the release will sport a five-part documentary chronicling the... documentary's making, with the Blu-ray getting an interactive history of the universe dubbed "The Cosmic Calendar." The price-tag on that 662-minute space-time odyssey? Sixty bucks for the Blu-ray and $50 for the DVD, but Amazon has each listed for a few ducats less.
AOL doesn't just want short clips of newsy content on its online video platform, AOL On. That's why the company (which, disclosure, owns Engadget) has signed a non-exclusive deal with Miramax to screen some of its movies on the service. The first flicks from the agreement will go up on April 30th, with "tens" of films from the catalog being made available on a rotating basis each month. Neither company was ready to disclose what particular titles we could expect, so while most of us are hoping to catch Clerks, Trainspotting and Pulp Fiction for free, don't be surprised if they wind up being the lesser lights contained on this list.
If we're being civil, Japan's relationship with the Xbox could be described as "tenuous" at best, and the release date for Microsoft's latest game console probably won't do much to change that. Come this September 4th, gamers in the country will finally be able to claim an Xbox One for themselves. Yes, that's around 10months after it launched in the US and other "first tier" countries, and seven months after the PlayStation 4's Japanese debut. Redmond's Eastern wing hasn't mentioned pricing just yet (what, one announcement isn't enough?), but with E3 on the horizon it likely won't remain unknown for too much longer.
Roku has just announced that the YouTube app, once exclusive only to the Roku 3, is now available to all of the company's "current-gen" players. That includes the Roku LT, Roku 1, the Roku 2, the Roku HD, the Roku Streaming Stick... and, well, pretty much all of them. Like we announced back in December, the YouTube app lets you send videos from your phone or tablet to the tiny media streamer when you're connected to the same wireless network. You're also able to sign in and watch your favorite subscribed channels -- like, ahem, ours perhaps? -- as you would on your computer. In other news, Roku has also announced that the Fox Now channel is now finally available to Comcast customers (it's already accessible via other providers like AT&T U-Verse and Dish). Simply link the app up to your Xfinity account, and you'll be able to watch the upcoming season of 24 whenever you like. To get either the YouTube or Fox Now app, simply download it from the store or just hit the links in this very sentence.
We have no doubt the justices of the Supreme Court are well versed and prepared for any copyright law, but do they understand TV or the hows and whys it can be so frustrating sometimes? Like many of us, possibly not that well -- like why HBO can't keep its streaming service up during Game of Thrones? -- which could make reaching a decision in the case between Aereo and the broadcasters seeking to put it out of business especially difficult. During today's oral arguments Justice Antonin Scalia wondered whether the cable- and satellite-only network HBO might be picked up by Aereo's antenna-to-internet setup. The justices were mostly on point, however, needling lawyers for the networks about a previous case for Cablevision's cloud DVR, and how a ruling in their favor could affect cloud internet services.
There's no word on another new season or movie for Arrested Development, but now the show's creator Mitch Hurwitz is working with Netflix on something new. As first reported by Deadline Hollywood, Hurwitz has signed a multi-year deal to create and produce a new original series under his The Hurwitz Company banner. After resurrecting his old show for a new season (and grabbing a few Emmy nominations) on the streaming video service last year, the relationship is clearly deep, and Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says it's "lucky to be in business with... a true genius." So far Netflix's strategy has been to snag series from talented, experienced teams and it seems to have worked out well. Still, no matter what the new show is we'll still be keeping an eye out for news on more AD in the future, especially once our rates creep up a buck or two.
It's Tuesday, which is time for the Engadget HD Podcast and we hope you'll join us for the live recording at 9PM. The big news we kick this week's show off with is from Time Warner Cable in the way of a Fan TV box that delivers content from multiple sources. The Aereo case has finally had its, so we'll discuss the latest news from the Supreme Court. A few newsy streaming stories, some interesting content news and the usual odds and ends round out this week's show. If you'll be joining us, take a peek at the topics after the break and then get ready to participate in the live chat.
How do you fight cord-cutters? Offer an internet streaming service with all of cable TV's best content. It sounds like a bit of a stretch, but it could be happening: the distribution deal that settled Disney and Dish's ad-skipping disputealso gave the TV-provider the rights to stream Disney-owned channels over the internet. Sources close to Bloomberg are now saying that Dish is hoping to launch the service before the end of the summer.
Last summer Fanhattan showed off its Fan TV box that promised to put cable TV on the same level as internet streaming services, but with the odd twist that cable TV providers would be the ones to sell it. After a short test period with Cox Cable last year, Fanhattan has formed a partnership with Time Warner Cable to sell the $99 boxes to its subscribers (available for pre-order now, shipping in the next few months). It doesn't need coax or a visit from the cable guy, but it will have live TV and video on-demand from TWC, plus streaming video from services including Redbox Instant, Target Ticket (coming shortly after launch), Crackle and Rhapsody. Time Warner Cable has been on the forefront of transitioning to internet streaming with its TWC TV apps, and the Fan TV box plays directly into that.%Gallery-slideshow189901%
AT&T has a new way to take on TV-threatening internet video services like Netflix: it's going to offer a few services of its own. The telecom is teaming up with the Chernin Group -- previously a bidder in the Hulu sweepstakes -- to start a venture that will "acquire, invest in and launch" both online video platforms and on-demand TV channels. While the two companies aren't saying much about their plans, they're already willing to pledge over $500 million to the project and fund providers whether they're ad-supported or subscription-based.
Video games are great, but sometimes on-screen action doesn't cut it when it comes to play time. But it is 2014, so there's little need to clutter the house with interlocking track segments when it's time to set up the speedway. Anki and its iOS-based Drive game let you simply roll out an 8-foot track when you're ready to race. And with a software upgrade and a few new artificially intelligent whips now available, the company is in the mood to celebrate. Anki has given us a Drive Starter Kit and the new Corax and Hadion cars for two lucky Engadget readers to enjoy. Drive racers will also be able to mix up their layouts come May, when two additional tracks hit the shops. You'll need an iOS device to control each ride, but if there's no one else around, you can always challenge the AI car in a head-to-head Battle. All you need to do is steer yourself towards the Rafflecopter widget below for up to three chances at winning one of these Anki Drive racing kits.
Today, the United States Supreme Court will spend one hour hearing the latest arguments in an old, important debate that affects everyone watching television in the US: Who owns the airwaves?
ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and others use the broadcast frequencies our TV antennas pick up; the government regulates those frequencies; and cable companies pay broadcasters to re-broadcast those frequencies. But the answer to who owns them remains nebulous. That is at the heart of today's case -- "American Broadcasting Companies, Inc., et al. v. Aereo, Inc." -- being decided by the highest court in the United States. And the decision stands to leave a massive impact on how Americans consume television, regardless of which side wins.