Behold, a ready-made answer for those who own a Linux-powered fruit machine but who are still looking for new ways to use it. It's a simple media center starter kit, fresh out and shipping today, which makes it easy to hook your Raspberry Pi up to an HDMI display and use it to play video or music from the internet or your home network through the wonders of XBMC. Known simply as "XBMC Solution," it consists of the Raspbmc software on a bootable SD card (this is an all-in-one install that combines XBMC with a lightweight Linux distro), a rechargeable RF controller with a small keyboard and touchpad to aid navigation (it's generic, unbranded, and even has a "Win" key, but it works fine), plus Ethernet and HDMI cables in case you don't have any going spare. Read on for more.
No need to envy your iPhone- and iPad-toting friends anymore just because they can catch the latest episodes of Bates Motel or Dance Moms on the go. Streaming apps from A&E, History Channel and Lifetime have just arrived on Android, and you can access content even if you're not a cable subscriber. Naturally, the entire roster of shows and episodes isn't available -- in some cases, you can only watch clips instead of full episodes -- but Comcast or DirecTV subscribers who log in will have more to choose from. Should you need new companions for solitary nights, hit the source links below to download the apps on your device.
Netflix mentioned another European country was in its sights for this year and tonight it's announced the new region it will service is the Netherlands. As is its custom, it will be offering Dutch viewers a package of movies and TV shows for one low price, including its ever-growing slate of original series. There's no word yet on what that price will be, an exact launch date or what devices will be supported, but interested residents can sign up for alerts at Netflix.nl starting today.
The E3 and WWDC news surges have finally calmed, so now we're back into the normal weekly groove. This week, Ben details his time using an Oculus Rift to watch recorded video and Richard attempts to ride out E3 as long as possible with our roundup. All that and more is ready to stream straight to your ears below.
Nintendo was coy when it announced that its first free-to-play game will launch before the end of next March, divulging only that it wouldn't belong to the Mario or Pokemon franchises. However, the firm's Shigeru Miyamoto revealed to IGN that its first gratis title would be a Steel Diver game -- yes, as in the 3DS launch title -- featuring four-person multiplayer. Don't expect a rehash though, as the pricing model will change the game's design. Kyoto's gaming powerhouse hasn't settled on what business model they'll lean on quite yet, but CEO Satoru Iwata mentioned during an E3 analyst Q&A that its unpaid games would be "balanced and reasonable." The Big N noted that "free-to-play games, if unbalanced, could result in some consumers paying extremely large amounts of money, and we can certainly not expect to build a good relationship with our consumers in this fashion." There's still no word regarding which consoles this free installment of Steel Diver will grace, but Miyamoto teases that it's something they're hoping to show "relatively soon."
The Oculus Rift company is barely one year old, but it's already off to a strong start. Developers have kits from a massively successful Kickstarter campaign, said kit has support from the industry's biggest game engine creators, and the consumer-friendly HD version is already being shown off to press (we loved what we saw at E3 2013 last week). And now the company's got a solid $16 million in the bank backing up its next step: creating a virtual reality headset that's significantly more mainstream than the $300 dev kit currently available. But don't think that alters the young company's promise of virtual reality on the PC platform; quite the contrary, as CEO Brendan Iribe told Engadget, "We're really focused on the PC as the platform to bring this to market right now."
He said that Oculus isn't against bringing its VR headset to consoles, but that PC remains the primary platform. "We're always looking at other platforms -- looking at consoles, we're also looking at Android and the mobile side in a big way -- but right now we really are focused on the PC platform," he said. Sony's Shuhei Yoshida told us last week in an interview that, "We've got a couple of the development kits, and I tried it out and I love it," though he wouldn't outright say if the PlayStation 4 will support the Rift. We're betting "yes."
As for what Oculus is doing in the short-term with the new infusion of cash? In short, it's being used to staff up (the company's still under 50 employees right now, mostly engineers). "We're using the funding to ramp up on hiring more smart people, the best and brightest that we can find," Iribe said. "The dev kit as it is now, that we're shipping, will stay the same, and the software side will just keep getting better." The vast majority of those new employees will be engineers -- one glance at the company's careers page quickly confirms this claim. Outside of new employees, though, Iribe said little will change in the company's ongoing goal to develop "the very best virtual reality platform we can create."
GameStick first appeared around the the first of this year, promising its Kickstarter supporters an Android gaming console that looks more Roku Streaming Stick than OUYA. Since then, GameStick has gathered its cash and started shipping out dev units, but its commercial release has already been delayed once, and today the project got pushed back another month. That means that GameSticks won't start shipping until early August.
The reason for the delay is that the device's UI remains a work in progress and the team hasn't yet given backers who pledged $300 or more the chance to provide feedback. It's not all bad news, however, as the folks behind GameStick have confirmed that manufacturing tooling is complete, and the first Kickstarter controller has rolled off the line. Not only that, but you can see shots of the final versions of the GameSick itself and its controller's charging dock at the source link below.
The dream of wearing a lightweight headset, like the Oculus Rift, in order to simulate physical presence isn't limited to the imaginary worlds of video games. One man's vision is that of immersive TV shows, movies and live sports. In fact, David Cole, co-founder of Next3D and an industry veteran who helps content creators and providers produce and deliver 3D, has been using his Rift dev kit to bring TV and film to life since the kits started shipping in March. The company is combining its video processing and compression technology with its experience in content production and stereoscopic delivery to offer what it's called Full-Court.
Next3D hopes to leverage its existing relationships with creators and providers to assist them in jumping into the world of live-action VR content. This includes both pre-recorded and live broadcasts. We wanted to see this firsthand, so we jumped at the opportunity to witness the creation of content and experience the results. This trial run of Next3D's stereoscopic, 180-degree field-of-view camera rig, and the post-processing to adapt it to VR, was part of the production of the paranormal investigation show, Anomaly, at Castle Warden in St. Augustine, Fla. Being nearby, we braved the perils of the haunted surroundings to tell you about what we hope is only the beginning of virtual reality content.
The ChromeBook Pixel is a stunningly beautiful piece of machinery. With costs ranging from $1,300 to $1,500, however, it means you're shelling out even more than most standard ultrabooks and laptops. It also comes with 12 free Gogo passes and a full terabyte of Google Drive storage to sweeten the deal, fortunately, but who wants to buy a computer of any kind when you can win one instead? Gogo's hooking two lucky readers up with a 64GB LTE Chromebook Pixel (this particular model is valued at $1,500), so this is one giveaway you'll definitely want to sign up for. You can grab up to three entries: you get two just for showing up, and the third is yours if you Like Gogo on Facebook. Head to the widget below and take a chance!
Now that viewers can get excellent movie theater experiences at homes, studios and theaters are trying different strategies to keep bringing them in. Tomorrow night, Paramount will try a new tactic: offering buyers of its $50 "Mega Ticket" an early viewing of World War Z in 3D, plus a pair of collectible 3D glasses, a movie poster, an HD digital copy of the movie when it's available on Blu-ray, and a small (seriously?) popcorn. We're not sure if making it more expensive to go to the movies is the right way to go, but maybe it's worth it for those who are really hyped about the film. The viewing is only available at a few Regal Theaters, listed after the break if if you're interested in what's listed as $75 worth of value.
The Raspberry Pi-focused XBMC port Raspbmc's June changelog is a lengthy one. Among the changes are new settings, new skins, support for the Stealth Nighthawk F117A device and changes to make booting up faster, among many other things. Getting this month's update should only require rebooting one's Raspberry Pi, and a few new mirrors that have joined the network should make downloading the updated software even faster. That's not all however, because the July update is promising Linux kernel updates, Raspbmc "Cloud" features with automatic settings backup / restore across multiple devices and an unspecified "special announcement."
It's Monday, and you know what that means; another Engadget HD Podcast. We hope you will join us live when the Engadget HD podcast starts recording at 9:30PM. If you'll be joining us, be sure to go ahead and get ready by reviewing the list of topics after the break, then you'll be ready to participate in the live chat.
Yes, sadly, Futurama has been canceled again. The 13-episode final final season starts Wednesday on Comedy Central and will feature the show's entire original voice cast. Special guests this season include Larry Bird, Emilia Clark, George Takei and more, check out a clip from the new season embedded after the break.
(June 19th, Comedy Central, 10PM)
It's a reality show -- wait, wait, this one might be different! This time ABC is taking on the murder mystery genre, as 13 players compete to solve a different mystery each week. Solve it and survive to proceed to the next episode or else face elimination.
(June 23rd, ABC, 9PM)
NBA / NHL Finals
And then there were two. The NBA finals are almost over as the Spurs have pushed the Heat to the brink of elimination, while on the NHL side the Blackhawks and Bruins are tied 1-1 after two overtime contests, with Game 3 tonight. Enjoy your sport of choice while you still can, before the long offseason begins.
We knew season three of Downton Abbey was coming to Amazon Prime Instant Video as an exclusive, but it looks like those episodes have arrived on the subscription streaming service one day ahead of schedule. Starting today, Prime members can watch all three seasons of the Masterpiece Classic drama at no additional charge. Not signed up? Hold your binge-viewing parties now, because Prime Instant Video will soon be the only subscription streaming site to offer the show, period.
In what Netflix says is its largest-ever deal for original content, it's announced that Dreamworks Animation will provide "over 300 hours of new programming" based on both existing and incoming movies and franchises. Spanning all the territories where Netflix operates, the first series airs next year, following the previously announced spin-off series for Dreamworks' incoming Turbo movie which debuts in December. Following the movie studio's purchase of Classic Media earlier this year, Netflix also promises new content from a stable of characters that includes Where's Waldo, Caspar and Fat Albert, although it hasn't specified any new series for these just yet. Netflix will also show several Dreamworks Animation features in the coming years as part of their premium pay TV window deal, with The Croods, Turbo, and Mr. Peabody and Sherman all signed-up to appear on the streaming service in the future.
As promised a while ago, Amazon's Lovefilm service is now streaming even more Disney titles through the film studio's own Movies on Demand section. Additions include Wall-E, Lady and the Tramp and live-action flicks like the Chronicles of Narnia. And yep, even Bedknobs and Broomsticks has finally made the digital transition. The streamable back-catalogue now includes the likes of Dumbo and Ratatouille -- check the full press release after the break for more.
E3 is over, but Microsoft still has a long way to go to answer questions from gamers about its new Xbox One console, particularly when it comes to the effects of DRM. Director of Programming of Xbox Live Larry Hryb aka Major Nelson takes on the most upvoted ones from posters in Reddit's games section in this video interview with Chloe Dykstra. One question that seems to have a clear answer is whether banned users will lose access to any games they've activated, as he stated "Absolutely not, you will always have access to the games you purchased." That goes against a previous response from the Xbox Support twitter account, although that may have been the result of confusion between the Xbox One and Xbox 360 policies. A question with no satisfying response yet however, is what gamers can expect years down the road if Xbox One's authentication servers are shut down. Major Nelson followed up with a response in the comment thread that "I'll get the real answer, I just don't know it yet."
Interestingly, the question he wished more people would have asked is about the "family package" and, we assume game sharing with a single account, after previously bringing up its cloud library as one upside to the new DRM setup. Tracking back to the original debut's focus on the console's HDMI input and TV overlays he mentioned using snap mode to watch TV while gaming, or getting Xbox Live notifications and jumping "instantly" to a game while watching TV. A similar crowdsourced interview was planned with the PlayStation team, but cancelled. Major Nelson says he will address more questions leading up to launch and is planning an ask me anything session later, so keep your (many) inquiries at the ready.
China's Xiaomi has certainly made a name for itself in the smartphone market, but let's not forget that it has other plans as well. For one, there's the Xiaomi Box, which is the company's first foray into the video content world. And according to the above leak, the next step from there appears to be a 47-inch 1080p TV, which is simply branded as "Xiaomi TV" in Chinese (model number L47M1-AA). Like the Xiaomi Box, this TV will apparently feature built-in WiFi and "MiLink" (Airplay, DLNA plus Miracast), as well as audio certification from Dolby and DTS. More after the break.
Update: Well well well, this guy sure has some good contacts. He's now posted a couple of alleged photos of the TV chassis, which has a massive Xiaomi logo bang in the middle. We've got one of the shots after the break.
It was a wild few days at this year's Electronics Entertainment Expo. Just think -- nearly a decade after the last generation of consoles was unveiled by Microsoft and Sony, we've gotten our first close-up look at the next generation. Unlike 2012's lackluster showing, the convention floor felt invigorating for gamers waiting on the next reveals for Xbox One and PS4. While Nintendo tried keep steam going for its Wii U, the teams at Oculus Rift and Ouya brought light to the recent rise of indies and startups.
As Engadget staffers board planes for our respective trips back to HQ, we're leaving you, dear readers, with a carefully collated collection of the big show's highlights -- and of course, a number of feature stories and interviews. We've also put together a recap video with Joystiq Reviews Editor Richard Mitchell wherein we recount the show with our best attempts at witty banter. Join us past the break and relive all the virtual magic.
ESPN is further boosting its major sports coverage by producing a raft of extra material for golf enthusiasts at the US Open. And the outlet will be doing the same during the British Open, along with Wimbledon, the US Open and Australian Open for tennis. The network is employing a special team during the tournament (including some not normally involved in golf coverage) to supplement the main ESPN broadcasts with featured group and hole coverage, hole flyovers, shot tracking and more. Some of the extra goodies will appear on ESPN3, DIRECTV, and USOpen.com. All that means you might need to drag that extra TV out of the spare room, and possibly your Xbox, laptop or tablet. Who says watching sports reduces your attention span?
Remember the Cocorobo robotic vaccum that could send you pics of your newly-cleaned carpet? Sharp is going to be doing a lot more of that kind of thing soon, if a recent demo at its research center in Nara, Japan is any indication. Since the company has been losing gobs of money on its tepid LCD-panel business, it'll soon be using some of that tech in completely different industries: for instance, converting powerful LED lighting from TV backlights to grow lamps, and touchscreen TV panels to interactive whiteboards. Sharp admitted to PC World that it needed to branch into other businesses since "rivals have been able to catch up from behind" to its LCD TV and mobile phone businesses -- and judging by the drastic actions the company's taken to stave off disaster lately, it'll need to hustle those products to market, stat. Check the video after the jump to see some of the prototypes in action.
EA's DICE studio is the motor that powers several of gaming's most popular franchises. Need for Speed and Battlefield are just two of the enormous series that DICE's Frostbite engine is behind, and EA's pledged the engine's support to many more of its titles. It's with these things in mind that we met up with DICE General Manager Karl Magnus-Troedsson at E3 2013, where we discussed Frostbite 3, Frostbite Go, Battlefield 4 and even a little Mirror's Edge 2 for good measure.
Troedsson had a headline spot during EA's E3 stage briefing, where he helped to narrate a live demo of a 64-player match. Beyond a showcase for Battlefield 4, the presentation was perhaps the most stunning demonstration to date of the DICE studio's Frostbite engine and the power it's able to wield when harnessed by skilled developers. And for the first time ever on next-gen consoles, Battlefield's console versions (at least the next-gen ones) are identical with that of the PC one. Massive online battles and incredible in-game events -- such as a Shanghai skyscraper being brought toppling down, all while naval scraps and helicopter dogfights are taking place -- are possible on both PC and the next-gen boxes from Microsoft and Sony. We discuss all that and more with Troedsson in the video we've dropped just below the break.
With the PlayStation 4, unlike the PlayStation 3 before it, Remote Play functionality on Vita is handled on a system level. Though Sony's asking developers to take into account the Vita's different button setup and additional input mechanisms that the portable console has, the actual act of enabling Remote Play is handled by the PlayStation 4 itself. "On PlayStation4 , it just happens. You just make a PS4 game, it supports Remote Play," Sony Worldwide Studios head Shuhei Yoshida told us in an interview at E3.
We'd asked whether Sony's "mandating" Remote Play functionality from developers, and Yoshida first explained how it worked on the PlayStation 3 to offer some context. "The single biggest issue, why there are not many PlayStation 3 games that support Remote Play, was that it was optional -- the system didn't do much. The game has to set aside some memory or CPU to be able to do that, and usually, memory is the most precious resource that [development] teams fight amongst each other for. So when it comes down to the priorities, these are features that are very easy to drop," he told us. The idea with PS4 is that, by offloading responsibility for Remote Play support to the console itself, developers are freed up to make the control tweaks necessary for a comfy experience playing a PS4 game remotely on Vita.
"Please make sure that when you play your games on Vita, the control is good. That's the minimum thing we're asking them to do," he added. All that said, not every single PlayStation 4 game will work with Remote Play -- "Maybe not Just Dance," Yoshida offered with a laugh when we asked. That's a pretty reasonable exception if you ask us, and it sounds like only games that require the PS4 Eye or Move (or some other such input method that's impossible to emulate on Vita) are on that excepted list.