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
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 2013 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!
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
Apple has just announced a new software update for the Apple TV that brings HBO Go and WatchESPN to the platform. Additionally, live UK Sky News streaming, access to Crunchyroll (an anime video site) videos, and Qello, a music/documentary streaming service.
“HBO GO and WatchESPN are some of the most popular iOS apps and are sure to be huge hits on Apple TV,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “We continue to offer Apple TV users great new programming options, combined with access to all of the incredible content they can purchase from the iTunes Store.”
In order to activate HBO GO and WatchESPN, you'll need to be subscribed to the right cable provider, and you'll activate them using a code from your provider. Sky News provides free streaming in the US, UK, and Ireland.
You can download Apple TV 5.3 software update now for your second- and third-generation Apple TV to get the new hotness right away.
Read More | Apple
If you are interested in being one of the very first to own the Xbox One this November, you'll be happy to know that you can pre-order the Xbox One right now. In fact, if you pre-order your Xbox One now, you'll get a special Day One Edition console. The system functionality itself won't be any different, however, you'll get a custom controller (pictured above) along with a special Xbox Live achievement that lets others know that you were there on day one. Additionally, Microsoft will also be selling a Day One Edition Xbox Live Gold 12-month pass that includes an exclusive Killer Instinct character. Pretty cool.
Ready to pre-order? Here are the links:
As we reported earlier, you can also pre-order the PlayStation 4 right now as well.
Yesterday Sony revealed the price of the PlayStation 4 console, which is set to launch this holiday season: $399. The PS4, which has no restrictions on used games, renting games, or lending games to friends, will cost a full $100 less than the Xbox One, which will impose each of those restrictions on its users. For your $400 you get the PlayStation 4 console, one DualShock 4 controller, HDMI cable, microUSB cable, and power cable. The PlayStation 4 Eye will be sold separately for $59.
Now that the price has been revealed, what do you think? Are you going with the Xbox One? PS4? Both?
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