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This is an entry from our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. Check it out for suggestions on what to buy your loved, liked, and hated ones this holiday season!

Apple TV

iOS devices like the iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch will be big holiday gifts this year, make no mistake about it. The Apple TV is actually a fantastic complement to Apple's handhelds, worthy of being featured in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. A nice little device in its own right, the Apple TV gives you access to Apple's iTunes Store entertainment content right on your television. In addition, you get Netflix, Hulu Plus, YouTube, sports networks, and plenty of other entertainment options. Connect it to your iTunes Home Share, and you can use your iOS devices as remote controls for the Apple TV. The best part, though, is AirPlay. You can beam audio and video content right to the Apple TV with ease from your iOS device, or your Mac. You can also mirror the display of these devices as well, all wireless over your home network.

You can pick up the Apple TV for $99, or $94.95 on Amazon.

Honorable Mention: Roku 3 Streaming Player

Read More | Apple TV

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This is an entry from our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. Check it out for suggestions on what to buy your loved, liked, and hated ones this holiday season!

Sonos Play:1

We're music fans here at Gear Live (seriously, check out the Gear Live Rdio channel!) so we wanna make sure to include great music gadgets in our 2014 Holiday Gift Guide. This year, we're kicking it off with the Sonos PLAY:1. If you're unfamiliar with Sonos, it's basically the best way to get music from just about any location (your computer, your iPhone, the web, the cloud, etc.) to play in any room in your house. It's super intuitive, and even years after using Sonos, the technology still blows us away. The Sonos PLAY:1 is a wireless all-in-one music system that lets you jump right into the Sonos experience. If you have an iOS or Android device, you can download the Sonos remote control app, and you can also control the system with a computer using the Sonos Desktop Controller. Here are some other Sonos products that go nicely with the Sonos PLAY:1, which itself you can get for $199 from Sonos, or order from Amazon and get a free Sonos Bridge included with purchase!

You can use a pair of Play:1, Play:3, or Play:5 units to create wide stereo sound as well!


Cosmos Blu-ray giveaway

If you happened to catch the 13-part adventure that was Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson, then you are already aware that it's a visual masterpiece worthy of being in your collection, and we're giving away a copy of the Blu-ray set. Aside from the 13 episodes in crisp 1080p, the $40 set includes over two hours of bonus content:

  • The Cosmic Calendar: An Interactive Look at the History of the Universe (Blu-ray Exclusive)
  • COSMOS: A Spacetime Odyssey – The Voyage Continues
  • Celebrating Carl Sagan: A Selection From The Library of Congress Dedication
  • COSMOS at Comic-Con 2013
  • Audio Commentary on Episode One: “Standing Up in the Milky Way”

Cool, right? Ready to enter? Simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! If you're a Gear Live Patreon backer at any level, you get an extra 25 entries in this giveaway! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter even if you aren't, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


WWE Network on Xbox One

The WWE Network app is now available for download on the Xbox One console, completing its availability on all announced video game platforms. Prior to today, the WWE Network was available on the Playstation 3, Playstation 4, and Xbox 360, with the Xbox One launch scheduled to come later "this summer." Obviously, the app was completed here in early spring, and made its way to the Xbox Live Marketplace without so much as an announcement from WWE or Microsoft.

We played with the app for a few minutes, and found it to be much easier to navigate than the other game console offerings. In fact, we'd place the Xbox One version just behind that of the Apple TV when it comes to connected devices. Having already used the WWE Network on the Xbox 360, after downloading it to the Xbox One, I was able to navigate around and watch content without having to log in again, thanks to my credentials syncing over Microsoft's cloud.

Streaming quality looks great, with no initial lag or stutter. You can download the WWE Network app now.


Apple TV 20 million sales

Apple CEO announced that Apple TV sales have now surpassed 20 million during today's Q2 2014 earnings call. As such, the company recently stopped referring to the Apple TV business as a "hobby," as it's done for the past seven years or so.

"I'm feeling good about this business and where it could go," Tim Cook said, further revealing that the company stopped calling the product segment a hobby once it pulled in $1 billion in revenue in 2013. "it didn’t feel right to me to refer to something that brought in a billion dollars as a 'hobby,'"

Now, the Apple TV is an "area of intense interest"--no longer a hobby, indeed. The last major Apple TV hardware release came in 2012. Since then, the company has added many new channels of content over time. Rumors continue to persist that Apple will release a new Apple TV set-top box with expanded functionality, while others say that the company is set to reveal a full-on 4K Ultra High Definition television set of its own.

You can pick up the current Apple TV at a discount on Amazon.


Sonos software beta

We've been huge Sonos fans here at Gear Live for years, but if there's one niggle we've heard complaints about from users more than any other, it's that you have to plug in one Sonos component into your wired network. Normally, this would mean buying the Sonos Bridge in addition to whatever speaker components you'd want to place throughout your home, because it's rare that the place you want to put your Sonos device just happens to be where your networking equipment is. The result? You'd have to pay $50 for the Bridge, upping the price of entry.

Well, now Sonos is set to change how it handles creating its SonosNet wireless mesh network, which is the way that Sonos components communicate with each other. "We've found a way to deliver all the benefits of SonosNet without a product directly connected to your router," the company said in a blog post. The best part? All that will be required is a software update, so existing Sonos owners will be able to ditch the wired requirement as well, once the update goes public.

With the new method, you plug a Sonos component in and then fire up the Sonos app on your smartphone or tablet. Then you simply select your Wi-Fi network, put in your password, and Sonos jumps on and takes care of the rest. As long as you don't have a huge house with Sonos components spread so far apart that the wireless signal can't talk to each other (and that would have to be a pretty big house), you are golden. Sonos is launching a beta program to allow those interested to try it out and find any bugs before pushing it out to the masses.

You can check out the Sonos product line-up now.

Read More | Sonos Beta

WWE Network updates

WWE held its 2014 Business Partner Summit in New Orleans, and talked about improvements that will be made to the WWE Network this spring. Here are some of the highlights mentioned:

  • Users will gain greater control over their WWE Network viewing experience, with the ability to bookmark a place within a video, save your spot and pick up where you left off across platforms, and use chapter markers to skip to specific parts of a given show.
  • Personalized recommendations will suggest content to viewers on other shows they may want to watch, based on their viewing history.
  • The WWE Network will launch on the Xbox One, Amazon Fire TV, and Smart TV and Blu-ray platforms this spring.

The WWE Network is currently available on iOS, Android, Apple TV, Roku, Kindle Fire, Playstation 4, Playstation 3, Xbox 360, and web browsers.

Click to continue reading New features coming to WWE Network, launching on Xbox One & Fire TV this spring


Game of Thrones Season 5

HBO has announced that it's ordered two additional seasons of Game of Thrones, which just started its fourth season this past Sunday. It makes sense, as the show was recently recognized as the most torrented television show out there, proving its popularity. Even with the rampant piracy, the season 3 finale was seen by over 5 million people.

If you didn't realize, Game of Thrones is based on A Song of Ice and Fire by George R.R. Martin. It's comprised of five books, which two more to come. This means that Game of Thrones producers have plenty of content to pull from. In fact, Game of Thrones seasons 3 and 4 are based on Storm of Swords, the third novel in the series.

"Game of Thrones is a phenomenon like no other," said Michael Mobardo, president of HBO programming. "David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, along with their talented collaborators, continue to surpass themselves, and we look forward to more of their dazzling storytelling."

The Game of Thrones season 4 premier garnered 6.6 million viewers. To put that into perspective, that is the most-viewed HBO show since the last episode of The Sopranos brought in 12 million viewers in 2007. Game of Thrones is expected to have a 7 or 8 season run when all is said and done.


WrestleMania Reading Challenge WWE Stephanie McMahon, AJ, Cody rhodes

Last week, WWE Superstars and Divas visited Langston Hughes Academy Elementary school in New Orleans, LA for the annual WrestleMania Reading Challenge event in conjunction with The Pearson Foundation and the Young Adult Library Services Association. Children in the school gathered in the gymnasium, where they were able to meet AJ Lee, Cody Rhodes, and Stephanie McMahon after learning about the We Give Books ReadMobile and how it travels the country promoting literacy. The Superstars took turns reading a book called Otis by Loren Long, about a little tractor who could.

Click to continue reading 2014 WWE WrestleMania Reading Challenge wrap-up


WrestleMania 30 wwe network

The WWE Network, announced at CES 2014, went live on February 24th--and it crashed hard. The company has had about 5 weeks to fix all the issues (and not all have been fixed as of press time,) and stress test the MLBAM servers in anticipation of what many believe to be the "make or break" event for the unique live streaming service that's paired with a vast on-demand content vault.

On April 6th, WWE presents WrestleMania XXX, which will be the very first live pay-per-view event that is broadcast on the WWE Network. It just so happens to also be the biggest event of the year for pro wrestling, as WrestleMania is seen as the Super Bowl of wrestling. The company has been broadcasting live programming several times per week in order to get a handle on load, but WrestleMania is a beast all its own. To prepare, the WWE Network will be doing daily live shows this week, along with a two-hour pre-show before WrestleMania begins. We've got the full schedule of special events that'll air on the WWE Network this week, below.

Click to continue reading WWE Network stress testing this week leading in to WrestleMania 30


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