Sonos has earned two spots in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, because the Playbar is just so fantastic. Soundbars are typically designed to replace your HDTV's anemic speakers. The Sonos Playbar does that, but but also has a much cooler additional function: It integrates with all the rest of the Sonos multiroom audio system lineup (some of which has already appeared in our Holiday Gift Guide!), streaming music from your Mac, PC, smartphone, and subscription online services. Pair it up with a Sonos SUB and a couple of Play:1 units and you've got a bonafide wireless surround sound system.
You can pick up the Sonos Playbar now from Amazon for $699, and they'll even throw in a free Sonos BRIDGE accessory as well.
Read More | Sonos Playbar
Don't let the looks of the Microsoft Xbox One, the next entry in our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide fool you--it may like more like a modern DVR than traditional game console, but that's by design. It's packing an 8-core processor and upgraded Kinect sensor which makes it more than just a game console--it's also your living room's entertainment hub. They're hard to find, but if you look hard enough, you can get one. Look even harder, and you can get one of the elusive white Xbox One "I Made This" models!
You can pick up the Microsoft Xbox One now from Amazon for $499--but hurry, they'll likely sell out before the end of the day.
Read More | Xbox One
What's exciting about the new TiVo Roamio DVR line is that it's been a while since TiVo last released some new hardware. Three and a half years, in fact. That's when the TiVo Premiere debuted, promising an HD interface and dual-core chip that was supposed to bring about speed and efficiency. Well, the Premiere failed to live up to the hype, and TiVo went back to the drawing board and spent a few years building Roamio.
TiVo Roamio is actually a line of three DVRs that range in price from $199 to $599, with four tuners built-in to the standard Roamio, and six tuners in the Roamio Plus and Pro models. The Plus and Pro also have integrated TiVo Stream functionality, too, allowing you to watch TiVo content on your iOS devices wherever you have Wi-Fi. Has TiVo done enough to earn your attention and hard-earned dollar with the Roamio DVR? Join us for our full TiVo Roamio Pro review as we answer just that.
TiVo has announced its new Slide Pro Remote Pro, the follow-up to its discontinued Slide Remote. So, what makes this version of the Slide so much better? Well, the QWERTY keyboard-toting remote control now sports backlit keys, and is programmable so that you can teach it multiple commands (things like power, volume, changing inputs, and the like.) You don't even have to have one of the new TiVo Roamio DVRs to use the Slide Pro--it'll also work with the TiVo Mini and TiVo Premiere DVRs. The best part? The Slide Pro costs $40 less than its less capable predecessor, coming in at $49. You can pick up the TiVo Slide Pro remote now.
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 2013 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.
Honorable Mention: Roku 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
If you're the owner of a TiVo Roamio Pro or Roamio Plus DVR, out-of-home streaming (a.k.a. TiVo's holy grail) has finally arrived, letting you stream and download content from your TiVo to your iPhone, iPod touch, or iPad when you're away from home. Even better? You can also access one of your tuners for live television watching remotely as well, so when you're away from home and wanna watch the big game live, you can do so. For now, out-of-home remote streaming requires that your iOS device be connected to Wi-Fi, but LTE streaming is definitely in the cards, set to launch in 2014.
"Until now, your shows have been locked up in your set top box at home," said Jim Denney, Vice President of Product Marketing at TiVo. "Now with a TiVo Roamio DVR, whether it’s a hotel in Denmark, the waiting room at the dentist office, when you’re stuck at the airport, or at the gym, out-of-home streaming gives you the level of choice, control and freedom that consumers have come to expect from TiVo."
Out-of-home viewing requires a software update, which begins rolling out to TiVo Roamio Pro and Roamio Plus users today. If you have a base-model TiVo Roamio, you'll need a TiVo Stream in order to enable out-of-home streaming (support for out-of-home for the TiVo Stream is set to roll out next month.) As mentioned, remote TiVo streaming works only on Apple iOS device, and they've gotta be running iOS 5.1 or higher. Android users, don't worry, you'll be able to get in on the remote streaming action in Spring 2014 (let's be honest, you're used to watching iOS get the cool stuff first,) alongside the launch of LTE streaming.
Sonos has formally announced the new Play:1 wireless speaker, bringing the price of entry into the Sonos world down to $199. This is a welcome addition to the lineup of what Gear Live considers to be the best speaker system on the planet, making it more affordable to get into. Even better, those who pick up the Play:1 between now and the end of 2013 will also get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in ($50 value) to get the system going.
A custom-designed mid-woofer and tweeter deliver deep, rich and surprisingly big sound. With a powerful low-end and crisp mids and highs, new smart processing technology pushes Sonos’ drivers further than ever before, minimizing distortion even at full volume. Plus, PLAY:1 projects a wide field of sound, delivering a great listening experience no matter where you are sitting in the room.
The new Sonos Play:1 is available in two colors (black and white,) and maintains the same feature set as the other Sonos standalone wireless speakers--it's just smaller, with two drivers (despite the name) powering the sound. There's a 3.5-inch extended-throw mid-woofer paired with an extended-throw tweeter. You can grab two of them and create a true stereo pair with audio separation for even better sound, or pair two of them with a Sonos SUB for even better bass. Heck, throw two Play:1 units, the SUB, and the Sonos Playbar together and you have a fantastic 5.1 wireless surround sound system that you can also use to play your music (see our Sonos Playbar review.) Or, just grab one Play:1 and put it in the kitchen or bathroom as an extra Sonos zone--they're wall-mountable and humidity-resistant.
The Sonos Play:1 is available now throughout the US, and will see its international release on October 29. Again, you can pick up the Play:1 now and get a free Sonos Bridge thrown in if you buy before the end of the year.
Read More | Sonos Play:1
This morning Apple added a few new apps to the Apple TV, bringing VEVO, The Disney Channel, Disney XD, The Weather Channel, and the Smithsonian Channel to the streaming set-top box. As far as VEVO is concerned, the company released a statement that confirms that the entire 75,000 music video library is now available on Apple TV:
Apple TV users are sure to recognize the intuitive and efficient design. VEVO viewers are able to quickly browse videos by featured artists including all of the latest premieres. VEVO includes multiple modes of discovery – you can watch on-demand videos from any genre or simply select any video that piques your interest. If you have something particular in mind, perform a search and we will surface what you’re looking for right at your fingertips.
The Weather Channel allows you to see current weather conditions and forecasts, and access to featured content from the channel as well. The Smithsonian Channel lets you stream on-demand content. The two Disney apps require cable authentication to view the live and on-demand content, and is available through supported providers: AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox, Midcontinent Communications, Optimum, and Verizon FiOS. You can pick up the Apple TV for $99 from Apple.
TiVo has launched a trio of next-generation Series 5 DVRs in the new TiVo Roamio family. What makes Roamio so much better than Premiere? How about more of everything that people love about TiVo? We're talking more tuners, more space to store your recordings, and even a less expensive service fee. The crowning feature, though, is that the TiVo Roamio boxes have both Wi-Fi and the ability to stream to mobile devices built right in--no need to purchase the TiVo Wi-Fi dongle, or the recently-released TiVo Stream.
It's been almost two years since TiVo released the Premiere Elite line of DVRs, and unlike the previous generation, the improvements in the Roamio line are immediately apparent. TiVo even says that Roamio is, on average, 1.7x faster than the previous TiVos, and that's a welcome change because browsing through the menus was a time-consuming experience at times. We go through all three Roamio DVRs after the break, but if you've been waiting for them and just want to buy now, here are the links:
- TiVo Roamio - $199: 4 tuners, OTA support, up to 75 hours
- TiVo Roamio Plus - $399: 6 tuners, up to 150 hours
- TiVo Roamio Pro - $599: 6 tuners, up to 450 hours
When Universal Orlando busts out the Halloween Horror Nights, it gets serious. Horror fans descend upon the theme park in droves each year to experience in-your-face scares each fall. This year? The park is working with director Drew Goddard to bring The Cabin in the Woods to life. Like, for real.
"We are building the cabin completely. You’re going to walk through a forest to get there. You’re going into the cabin. You’re going to go into the cube cells. We’re literally taking everything we can in the film and giving you a kind of best-of montage of the film with this kind of linking story,” Universal Orlando Entertainment Team member Michael Aiello tells Zap2it. “You’re going to be in the control room when merman attacks."
As guests make their way through the cabin maze, they'll be a part of the story with plot points from the movie being incorporated. You know that merman is gonna be ridiculopus. This is gonna be intensely awesome.
Read More | Zap2It