Gaming news summary for May 20, 2015
Welcome to the Game Replay, the twice-weekly post where MacNN and Electronista writes about some of the major stores in the wider world of gaming that developed over the last few days. In today's edition, more characters invade Lego Dimensions, the digital TV tuner for Xbox One goes on sale in the US and Canada, and a request for cheaters to apologize on YouTube in order to reinstate their banned accounts.
New smart TVs bring full Roku integration
Television manufacturer TCL, announced that seven new TCL Roku TVs will be available later this month in-store and online at major retailers nationwide. Following the launch of three 3700 series models in March, TCL is expanding its 2015 TCL Roku TV lineup with three 3800 Design Series models and four top-of-the-line 3850 Decorator Series models.
Xfinity Xi4 set-top box will play 4K on-demand content
Comcast will be giving owners of Ultra HD televisions something to watch in the future, with the company revealing its upcoming Xi4 set-top box will be able to handle 4K-resolution content. The new cable box announcement is accompanied by other smaller items, including the ability to stream content from a smartphone or tablet to the device for viewing on the television.
Daily TV show retooled as weekly live stream with returning hosts
A TV show about technology is making a comeback, but over the Internet instead of television. The Screen Savers, a daily Tech TV show which ran from 1998 to 2005, is going to be resurrected as "The New Screen Savers" by main host Leo Laporte and hosted on his own podcast network TWiT.tv as a weekly live show streamed online, with the first episode set to broadcast on May 2.
Apple leaving streaming to broadcasters; sticking with hardware, software
As part of its as yet unconfirmed live television service, Apple is reportedly asking the networks themselves to handle the technical details, and associated costs of the streams that will reportedly be available on the Apple TV, similar to deals in place now. Costs generally run $0.05 per stream per hour, but executives are said to be balking at the potential cost for the as yet unknown demand for the service.
Attorney responding to Comcast merger complaint spills the beans
Throwing some doubt on the veracity of earlier reports by the Wall Street Journal NBCUniversal has said in a letter to the US Federal Communications Commission that not only is it not keeping back content from any prospective Apple television network, it has not even been launched discussions with Apple in the first place. The revelation was made as part of an information request fulfilled by the programmer, answering questions about the prospective Time Warner Cable and NBCUniversal parent company Comcast's merger.
Kansas City Google Fiber customers get highly localized TV advertising
Google's technology for targeted online advertising is being tested out for use with television advertising. The installation of Google Fiber in Kansas City will be trialling targeted TV advertising, providing local companies with a way to advertise their business to nearby customers in existing commercial breaks alongside national advertisers.
Rumored Apple streaming television service could have 25 channels at launch
Apple may launch an Internet television service later this year, a report claims. The supposed streaming service will apparently offer around 25 channels from major broadcasters including ABC, CBS, and Fox to subscribers, sources of the Wall Street Journal say, with Apple said to be aiming for an unveiling in June and a launch of the service in the United States by September.
National PlayStation Vue rollout expected by end of this year
Sony is getting closer to launching its PlayStation-based Internet television service, with PlayStation Vue set to open up to new users in a few locations in the United States soon. Sony Computer Entertainment president Andrew House advised that PlayStation Vue will be leaving its invitation-only testing, and launching in New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia within the next two weeks.
Personal information overheard by smart TV may be transmitted to third party
Samsung hints at next flagship reveal ahead of Unpacked event
Samsung has teased its next flagship, due to be unveiled at the Unpacked event on March 1 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. The teaser, posted to Twitter as well as sent to the media, cryptically shows a metallic curved line, which could signify either the expected Galaxy S6 will have a wrap-around side display similar to the Galaxy Edge, or Samsung is planning a second Edge device launch alongside a more conventional Galaxy S6 design. Earlier rumors suggest Samsung is planning to use a fixed battery and a glass-covered metal casing in the smartphone.
Fox unable to use Aereo ruling to shut down Dish Network features
Back in 2012, Fox brought a lawsuit against Dish Network over DVR technology that allows users to view content on a device other than a television connected to a set-top box. Fox's position has been that it did not consent to allow the "rebroadcasting" of its content to mobile devices. On Wednesday, US District Court Judge Dolly Gee ruled that time- and place-shifting of paid-for content does not infringe the copyrights of broadcasters.
Nano-crystal semiconductors used in higher-tier Samsung televisions
Samsung has outlined a new higher tier of Ultra HD televisions for 2015, which it is giving the SUHD designation. The JS9500, JS9000, and JS8500 ranges each include televisions in nine screen sizes ranging from 48 inches to 88 inches, with the screens said to be using Samsung's nano-crystal semiconductors to produce a higher-quality image.
New service highlighted by ESPN, TNT, TBS, Cartoon Network
Dish today announced specifics of its Internet television service. The new pay-as-you-go service, known as Sling TV, includes ABC Family, Disney Channel, Food Network, HGTV, TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, and the Travel Channel. However, possibly the biggest draw for the nascent service is ESPN and ESPN2. Initial compatibility is the Xbox 360, Xbox One, Roku, select smart TVs, and Amazon Fire TV products, including the Fire Stick. Apps will be made available for Android, and iOS, with compatibility with the Apple TV provided through AirPlay.
Art Slim OLED panels measure 55, 65, 77 inches, use webOS for smart TV
LG is continuing to commit to OLED-based televisions, by launching a number of sets alongside LCD versions it teased late last month. A total of seven 4K-resolution OLED TVs will be revealed at CES, with the collection including the company's webOS 2.0-based smart TV system, as well as a few new content partnership announcements.
Tizen to run on all Samsung smart TVs, offers live broadcast streams to mobile devices
All smart TVs from Samsung shipping in 2015 will use Tizen, the manufacturer has advised. Teased before it is expected to show off its upcoming television range at CES next week, Samsung has revealed the new user interface for its smart TV software, along with a slew of updates also arriving to the living room displays this year.
Art Slim panels less than an inch thick, lighter than existing TV panels
LG will be using CES next month to showcase its latest generation of panels for televisions, alongside other displays. The Art Slim TV panels are said to be lightweight units meant to help manufacturers create light and thin TV sets, with the two examples set to be shown at the electronics tradeshow measuring less than an inch thick and taking up less space than current LCD screens.
Average time spent watching TV in US lower, online viewing up 50 percent
The viewing of television shows in the United States via broadcasting has dropped in the face of streaming services gaining in popularity, according to Nielsen. The ratings company's third-quarter report claims the average American watches more than 141 hours of live television per month, or more than four hours a day, but the figure is a year-on-year four percent drop from last year's 147 average hours per month.
Where to Watch offers streaming sites, online episode purchases as viewing alternatives
The Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) introduced a new tool last week that aims to make it easier to sift through the streaming services on the Internet find legal channels to view hit television shows and movies. Where to Watch is referred to as a "one-stop shop" for connecting film and television fans to their desired entertainment, directing them to numerous legal viewing platforms with only a few clicks.
CBS CEO Moonves says the popular paid cable channel is coming to the web in 2015
Consumers considering cutting the cord have yet another reason to dump their cable providers, as CBS announced that a digital subscription version of Showtime is in the works. While there is no definitive date for a service launch, CEO Les Moonves said that the paid web-based video service would be on its way in 2015.
LG departure from plasma television business expected at end of November
LG's gradual movement out of the plasma television market may occur as early as next month, a report claims. The electronics manufacturer has apparently filed with local regulators over the decision, which will involve the ending of the company's plasma television business by the end of November, in favor of working on devices using LCD and OLED panels.
Streaming version of HBO will be offered outside of current pay-TV packages
HBO will be starting up a stand-alone streaming service in the United States, the CEO has confirmed. Starting from next year, the broadcaster will be offering subscriptions to stream its content to customers with broadband Internet connections, without it being bundled alongside other channels as part of a more expensive pay-TV package.
Listings for Apple TV, Philips television packages in India spotted
Philips has started to offer a new range of televisions in India, with the sets being made available bundled with the Apple TV. The collection, which will start from Rs 29,990 ($490) for the base model, will apparently include the Apple set-top box to provide smart TV functionality, as Philips attempts to cash in on holiday season sales in the country.
Range starts from $1,000 for 50-inch 4K-capable television
Vizio has made available to pre-order a range of Ultra HD televisions it first revealed at CES in January, priced low in comparison to other manufacturer's high-resolution sets. The P-Series consists of five televisions measuring 50, 55, 60, 65, and 70 inches in size, with all capable of showing a 4K-resolution image and upscaling 1080p video.
Fourth-quarter LG television releases include 105-inch, 40-inch models
LG has revealed its collection of Ultra HD televisions destined to go on sale in the United States in the fourth quarter. The list of televisions, including one high-end model measuring 105-inches diagonally, is accompanied a confirmation the manufacturer's recently announced 4K-capable curved OLED televisions to the country in the coming months.
BeoVision Avant 85 has large 85-inch Ultra HD display, hidden soundbar
Bang & Olufsen has unveiled an Ultra HD television, following its earlier BeoVision Avant 55. The Avant 85 boasts a high-resolution 4K-capable display measuring 85 inches diagonally, with the television using a number of unique motorized stands which allow it to change the viewing angle, as well as making the set more discrete.
Rack-mountable system includes six tuners, hot swappable drives, retains TiVo features
In a world where consumers are witnessing the shrinking size of technology, TiVo decided to offer up a product that goes in the opposite direction. Today, the company unveiled the TiVo Mega, a massive entry into the digital video recorder (DVR) market that gives some users a way to record more than 26,000 hours of television in a single unit.
LG expected to announce suspension of plasma display production in future
LG may be preparing to exit the plasma television market, a report claims. The manufacturer is said to be experiencing a reduced demand for its plasma display panel (PDP) televisions, with LG expected to announce its suspension of production in the near future as it moves its focus onto other display technologies, such as OLED panels.
Curved Ultra HD OLED televisions from LG have 77-inch, 65-inch screens
Shortly after launching a curved OLED HDTV in the United States, LG has revealed it will be bringing to market similar televisions with a higher Ultra HD resolution. The previously-rumored 4K-capable displays, in 77-inch and 65-inch versions, will have the same OLED technology and curved surface as the earlier release, but this time it will be able to show 4K-resolution video.
Sky updates electronic program guide, adds recommendations, smart season recording
British satellite television provider Sky has started to roll out software updates to its Sky+ HD set-top boxes, updating the electronic program guide. A new "recommendation engine" will make suggestions of TV shows to watch based on previously downloaded or recorded content, reports The Next Web, with other changes including a "Smart Series Link" automatically recording new seasons of TV shows, DVD cover art, and the combination of HD and SD viewing options in On Demand.
New guide panel makes TV YouTube interface closer to desktop view
Google has overhauled the design of its YouTube for TV interface, and has started to roll out the changes to its set-top box apps. The new user interface, taking on many of the characteristics of Android L's Material Design scheme, aims to simplify searching for channels and specific videos for those preferring to watch YouTube clips on a bigger screen.
New LG curved OLED TV price less than quarter of similar earlier model
LG has launched an OLED HDTV which it is offering for less than a quarter of the price of a similar-specification television it put on sale last year for $15,000. The 55EC9300 55-inch Curved OLED TV is now available to pre-order in the United States for $3,500 via Best Buy, with LG aiming to ship the television from August 24th.
Reports of tipping televisions prompts Vizio recall, replacement
Vizio has started to recall a number of large HD televisions over safety issues regarding supplied stands. A posting from the Consumer Product Safety Commission advises Vizio is replacing the stand supplied with the 39-inch and 42-inch models of the E-Series televisions, with the recall affecting approximately 245,000 televisions sold between December 2013 and June.
Sony Bravia S90 can display 4K content on its concave screen
Sony has unveiled new curved Ultra HD televisions in its Bravia collection , following after similar high-resolution launches by Samsung and LG. The Bravia S90 range is made up of two televisions, measuring 75 inches and 65 inches, with both having a concave display panel, the ability to play back 4K-resolution and 3D content, and a 4.2-channel speaker system.
Home server replacement captures antenna, cable channels for viewing on most devices
For consumers trying to cut the cord and rely solely on the Internet for television entertainment, there are still some issues. Mainly, the problem is that local channels aren't accessible through existing streaming methods, outside of the some clips or news shorts from a website. Are there other options out there for people that still want to see their local news or sporting events without maintaining a cable subscription? Yes, thanks to Simple.tv. But does the device work in a manner that is consumer-friendly, or does it cause more problems than its worth? Find out in our review.
Possible web TV expansion hints at future non-cable HBO service in US
HBO may be working on making its programming more available online, though outside of the United States. The channel is believed to be looking into expanding its existing Web TV service it has operated in Northern Europe since 2012 into new markets, as the Time Warner unit explores ways to increase its revenues without disturbing its existing US arrangements with pay-TV operators.
Curved LG OLED 4K television apparently shipping in September
Just days after LG put its 105-inch curved Ultra HD television up for pre-order, it appears the electronics producer is preparing to do the same with a smaller model. The 65EC9700, a 65-inch Ultra HD curved television using OLED will apparently start shipping sometime in September, with a price tag far below its 105-inch counterpart.
Bendable Ultra HD television can switch from flat to curved screen using motors
A television capable of moving from a flat display to a curved screen is being made available for pre-orders in South Korea. Samsung's Bendable Ultra HD TV is able it switch between flat and curved on its own, with motors on each side of the television pushing the edges out to create the concave shape, as well as pulling the display back to its flat form.
Large 105-inch LG television goes on sale one week after similar Samsung screen
LG has opened pre-orders for the 105-inch curved Ultra HD television it demonstrated at CES, one week after Samsung did the same for its own large-screened television. The 105UC9 LG display has a relatively similar specifications list to the Samsung screen, with an almost identical price tag as well, though LG is opting to initially offer it just within South Korea, before attempting to put it on sale elsewhere.
On-demand video service coming to media boxes, contains Simpsons World content
According to news from television writer Jason Lynch, Apple TV and Roku streaming devices will gain the FXNow on-demand service within the next 12 months. The news emerged from today's Fox and the FX Network stop on the Television Critics Association Press Tour. With the new app comes "Simpsons World," a new service that provides streaming of the 522 episodes of the animated television series.
Curved 4K television includes installation by Samsung engineers
Samsung has put the 105-inch Ultra HD television it demonstrated at CES this year up for pre-order in the United States. The UN105S9, a super-sized curved television capable of displaying a 4K-resolution image, is being priced by the electronics giant at $120,000, far higher than any other television in the company's entire S9 television range, including last year's $40,000 set.
Joint letter suggests Aereo wants cable company-style licenses following Supreme Court decision
Aereo may have found a way to it to continue offering a service to subscribers with the key lying in the recent Supreme Court decision against the start-up. In a joint letter filed with the US District Court, the company claims that, since the Supreme Court ruled it operated as if it is a cable company, it should be eligible to the same statutory licenses cable companies use.
Cloud-based DVR service should pay licenses to broadcasters, rules Supreme Court
Aereo has lost its battle against broadcasters, after the US Supreme Court ruled against the start-up. In a 6-3 ruling, the court states the company violates copyright law by streaming recordings of TV shows to its subscribers, classifying the streams as "public performances" and so requires that Aereo pay content licenses to broadcasters for their programming.
Three 1080p models from 50 to 60 inches, feature 'Beyond Smart' concept
Consumer electronics company Panasonic has announced that the latest televisions in its Life+ Screen series are now available. Ranging in size from 50 to 60 inches, the AS650 model 1080p LED televisions feature Panasonic's "Beyond Smart" concept. Users can see personalized content and applications set on the home screen in an easy-to-use interface.
Internet only viewing U.S. households expected to surpass antenna only next year
A study from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) finds that the number of Internet-only viewers of television programming will soon number higher than antenna-only viewers. Television viewers in the United States have been embracing Internet viewing habits at a rapid pace, with a climbing number of households watching exclusively on wireless devices. While device saturation for Internet viewing has increased, the television still remains the most watched device in the US.
Sceptre releases new 24-inch LED HDTV with built-in DVD player
Sceptre has unveiled its new 24-inch LED HDTV, an all-in-one unit with built-in DVD player. Its base swivels to offer flexible viewing angles, and the television is equipped with a side-accessible HDMI port and USB port for connecting to external sources. Featuring a 1080p, 1920 x 1080 high resolution LED display with 16:9 wide screen, Sceptre's TV has an estimated 50,000 hours of life. Priced at $400, Sceptre's 24-inch Color Series is available in white, pink, red and black.
Broadcaster to perform closed Ultra HD content trials this summer
The BBC will be trialling broadcasts of Ultra HD content during the World Cup in Brazil this summer. The broadcaster revealed its research and development labs will be performing the tests on 4K video shot during the tournament by Sony, in order to "better understand the latest UHD distribution technologies and standards in a live outside broadcast."
Tizen smart TV SDK beta release scheduled for July by Samsung
Samsung has demonstrated Tizen running on a smart TV at the Tizen Developer Conference in San Francisco. Used in the recently-announced Samsung Z as well as the Gear 2 smartwatch instead of Android, the Samsung and Intel-developed operating system was operational on the television at the event, giving a hint of what the manufacturer has planned for its expected Tizen smart TV releases slated for later this year.
Brazilian Lumia 630 includes television capability on government request
The Microsoft-owned Devices and Services arm of Nokia has launched a special edition of the Lumia 630 smartphone in Brazil, in time for the World Cup taking place in the country this year. The device will include a digital TV (DTV) receiver built-in, allowing owners to watch soccer matches on local television broadcasts from the smartphone itself. Sales of the normal version of the Lumia 630 have also commenced this week.
Budget smart TV from Xiaomi includes separate soundbar, subwoofer
Following its reveal of the Mi Pad tablet, Chinese manufacturer Xiaomi has launched its second Android television. The Mi TV 2 has a 49-inch display panel sourced from LG that can show 4K-resolution content, as well as 3D video, with the television using Android to run its smart TV capabilities, including streaming video and gaming.