2012 is set to come to a close in just a few hours, and we are just in time with our annual top 10 list of the most-watched Gear Live video episodes. Over the past year, as expected, there was a bunch of Apple gear that made the list, and it's dominated by smartphones and tablets, with the exception of two Monster headphones, a look at the Boeing 787, and a USB 3.0 hard drive.
If you're not familiar with the SmartGlass second-screen app for Microsoft's Xbox 360, it is an app that seeks to improve user viewing experience by connecting the 360 console to smartphones and tablets. Sports fans might be in for a new reason to download the app if they haven't already, as Microsoft is bringing SmartGlass functionality to it's ESPN and NBA Game Time apps, as well as a new Sports Picks app.
From the SmartGlass app for iOS, Android, and Windows, you will be able to navigate the content from the apps directly from the tablet or smartphone. SmartGlass also brings more interaction to the viewing experience, such as allowing competition between friends to see who is most knowledgeable about whatever they're watching, with the chance to be featured in a global leader board.
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 2012 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 2 XS Streaming Player
Read More | Apple TV
It's been a long time coming for patiently waiting Marvel fans, but the 10-disc Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One - Avengers Assembled Blu-ray collection set is finally slated for release on April 2nd. The collection had previously been delayed by lawsuit, leaving Amazon to pacify pre-orderers with free copies of The Avengers.
Originally, the collection was to come with a S.H.I.E.L.D. briefcase, but that has since been scrapped due to the aforementioned licensing issue. It will, however, come with a suitcase featuring a glowing Tesseract on the inside. Also, thanks to the delay, the collection will have a few new extras, such as an early Iron Man 3 preview and the second phase of films. But with extra content comes extra financial responsibility, as the price is now $219 at retail--but you can preorder it for $197.10 on Amazon, saving yourself 10%.
Read More | Marvel
Time Warner CEO, Jeff Bewkes, reiterates wishful sentiments from the cable company that Apple make their own branded television set, and shake up the entire industry, when the question was asked of him at a conference.
"I hope they do," he said, "I think Apple is a great device company."
The Time Warner CEO thinks that Apple can solve the go-to-market-strategy problem with the cable/content business.
"They bring good interface and navigation skills,"
Perhaps an à la carte hardware system is already in the making at the secretive Cupertino labs. Who knows, maybe television and content executives are already privy to the details while deals are being established. Gear Live has reported that Time Warner COO, Rob Marcos, stated that the cable company would be willing to cede control of user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) as long as they can still maintain a relationship with customers.
"It's really all about maximizing the capabilities to get Time Warner customers the best possible experience."
Read More | Business Insider
Rumor has it that Google is about to take on Apple's AirPlay with an open version of its own. So, it appears that DNLA and Miracast functionality is not enough for the Mountain View web search giant. No wonder, as both features are somewhat of a bag of hurt and have received lackluster reviews.
Google will attempt to get other venders to adopt its open streaming alternative and, perhaps, have the same huge success that AirPlay is having with customers. Apple has had vendors like Denon, Panasonic, JBL, Pioneer, Philips, Yamaha, Logitiech, iHome and Bower & Wilkins, to name a few, that have integrated AirPlay functionality into consumer products.
Read More | Gigaom
We've been busy posting some of the tech-heavy Black Friday 2012 sales that we're finding, and now we've arrived at Target. Doors at Target will open at 9:00pm on Thanksgiving, but you can get a ton of deals online, which is always our preferred method of beating the crowds. We've got the full list of the more noteworthy items the break, and it's definitely worth taking a look. Can't wait a day or two? Target is also running a Beat the Rush sale right now!
Details of Best Buy's Black Friday 2012 sales have just been released, and we've got a links to all the highlights you can expect to see throughout Thanksgiving weekend. Doors will open right at midnight on November 23rd, and tickets for the doorbusters will be handed out as early as 10:00 pm on Thanksgiving Day. If you'd rather do all your shopping online (which is what we're doing,) here's your guide to all the Best Buy deals, after the break.
If you've got a home theater nut in your life and you wanna get them a gift that they'll use on an almost daily basis with joy, you'll wanna check out the Darbee Darblet, our next recommendation in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide. So, what's so special about the oddly-named Darblet? Well, it just makes your high-definition content look amazing. No, really, this is like nothing you've ever seen before. It adds a level of depth and clarity that is unmatched, all with a simple set-it-and-forget it interface. You can pick up the Darbee Darblet on Amazon.
Read More | Darbee Darblet
We love to focus on great tech deals in our 2012 Holiday Gift Guide as well, and that's why we are recommending The Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray--it's currently available as an Amazon Gold Box special, and that makes it $43.49. That is a 64% discount off of Amazon's regular price, and makes a great gift for the movie lover in your life. The set includes the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King Extended Editions,) and has a bunch of footage that was left out of the theatrical releases of the films. Pick this set up today from Amazon before the price goes back up!
Read More | Lord of the Rings Extended Edition Blu-ray
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