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Check out our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide, win some awesome gadgets!
Our 2013 Holiday Gift Guide is in full swing - we are adding our recommendations daily, aimed at men, women, teens, families, techies, and more. If you need help figuring out what to get the people in your life, head on over to our Guide for some ideas. We’ll even be giving away some of the items featured this year!
The Sonos Playbar is a product that filled us with excitement when it was announced, and we are back with our Playbar review. With the Playbar, Sonos enters the home theater market with a pretty sound strategy--provide a soundbar that puts out a 3.0 sound signal, and allow it to be paired with the Sonos SUB for those who want 3.1 sound…then, make it even better by allowing two Sonos PLAY:3 speakers to be used as a full on 5.1 surround sound system.
Of course, for the ultimate Sonos 5.1 setup, you'll have to pay an additional $699 for the SUB and $598 for the two PLAY:3 units, an additional $1,397 above the $699 price of the Playbar. So, while we will touch on the 3.1 and 5.1 configurations, we are here to bring you a Sonos Playbar review that focuses on the standalone abilities of the ambitious soundbar. Has it been worth the wait? We explore the answer in our full Playbar review--read on.
If you love listening to Pandora when you're on the go, you may have to start paying up. Pandora has announced that it will now be capping mobile users to 40 hours of listening per month. If you reach that cap, the music will stop, and you'll need to pay a fee of $.99 if you'd like to continue listening for the remainder of the month. The reason behind this is the rising costs of the per-track royalty rates that Pandora has to pay.
"Pandora’s per-track royalty rates have increased more than 25% over the last 3 years, including 9% in 2013 alone and are scheduled to increase an additional 16% over the next two years. After a close look at our overall listening, a 40-hour-per-month mobile listening limit allows us to manage these escalating costs with minimal listener disruption."
Pandora says this should only affect about 4% of its users, so it shouldn't be a huge deal. Subscribers to the Pandora One service, which eliminated the ads altogether for $36 per year, are not affected.
Read More | Pandora
Three nights ago, Ronda Rousey used her signature armbar to become the first UFC Women's Champion--but did you notice her headphones? The Ronda Rousey headphones were mentioned time and again on Twitter and other social media channels, and if you've paid any attention to Gear Live and our CES coverage, you probably can guess what they were. In fact, if you can, you may just walk away with a pair of your own...and we've made it super-easy, as you can tell.
Here's a hint: They're Monster branded, and Rousey's win was truly INSPIRATIONal. We can't make it easier than that.
That's right! All you need to do is let us know the brand and model of the headphones. If you get it right, you are entered to win one of three pairs that we are giving away! Here's how you enter--simply use the widget below to keep track of your entries! We've got a lot of ways for you to enter, but don't check off any that you don't actually perform. If you do, you'll be eliminated. If you choose to tweet, include the headphone brand and name. If you choose to follow us on YouTube, leave a comment there with the same. Or leave a comment right here on this Gear Live post. Or do all of the above. You get multiple entries. On to the widget:
Ford and Spotify have announced a partnership that sees the popular streaming music service make an appearance in Ford vehicles. Spotify is now compatible with Ford SYNC AppLink, streaming its catalog of over 20 million tracks over the car radio. You'll need to download the new iOS or Android Spotify apps to take advantage of the new hotness. You be able to access your songs, playlists, and custom stations, and can even control things with voice commands. Aside from Spotify, Ford SYNC AppLink allows you to access other service, like Pandora, Amazon Cloud Player, MOG, Slacker, and Rhapsody.
Read More | Ford
We recently reported on the Slacker Radio redesign, and the company is keeping the freshness going, debuting on the Xbox 360 today. You can download the Slacker app for free, and you've gotta be an Xbox Live Gold subscriber in the US or Canada for the privilege. You get the same overhauled color scheme, music guide, and Kinect voice controls. Head over to the Xbox Live Marketplace to grab the 116 MB download.
The Sonos Playbar is an exciting piece of gadgetry coming from one of our favorite companies, and it's now been announced that it ships on March 5. The Playbar connects to your television using a digital optical cable, offering massive sound through its nine drivers. Since it's a Sonos device, you can also play all your music through it as well. Throw in a Sonos SUB and a pair of Play:3 units, and you've got yourself a 5.1 surround sound system. March 5th is the date, and you can pre-order it now for $699.
We got the opportunity to chat with Nick Cannon about the NCredible line of Monster headphones in the video below. The NCredible line includes a pair of over-ear DJ headphones called NPulse, on-ear headphones called NTune, and in-ear earbuds called NErgy. As you look at the cost of the various models, you quickly see that these are some of the most inexpensive headphones offered by Monster, which is important to Cannon, as he wants kids to be able to get headphones that are cool without breaking the bank. Find out more about the NCredible philosophy, as well as headphone fashion, in this video.
Ford and Amazon have announced that Amazon MP3 for Android has been updated with Ford SYNC support, which means that you can use your Android device with Ford's admittedly awesome infotainment system to access all your tracks stored in your Amazon Cloud Player. As is typical with SYNC, you can even control playback with voice commands. Amazon MP3 2.8 for Android also includes the typical bug fixes, and the store has been redesigned to show more search results.
Read More | Amazon
Slacker has been around for a few years as both a free and premium Internet radio service, and now the service has released a new redesign. The old black and gold interface is replaced with a newer, hipper, cleaner look on all platforms, including web, Xbox 360 app, and mobile apps. Slacker had to do something to take some attention away from Rdio, Spotify, Pandora, and the like, and we have to say that the new design makes things easier on the eyes, and thusly, easier to use.
Slacker pricing remains intact. You have the free version, Radio Plus for $3.99 per month, and then Slacker Premium for $9.99 per month. Updated Windows Phone 8 and BlackBerry 10 versions are on the way as well.
Gear Live's love affair with Sonos is no secret - we love the product dearly, and with today's introduction of the Playbar, it's grown even more. With the Sonos Playbar, the company is effectively entering the home theater space, providing a soundbar that's capable of pumping out massive sound through its nine drivers (size mid-range drivers and three tweeters.) Simply connect it to your television through optical TOSlink, and you are ready to go.
The Playbar isn't just a typical soundbar speaker--it's a Sonos product, and that means it ties right in to the Sonos ecosystem. You can use it to play music streamed from your iTunes library, streaming music subscription services like Rdio and Spotify, Pandora, and many more.
It gets better, too. Sonos says you can pair the Soundbar with the Sonos SUB and/or a couple of Play:3 or Play:5 units for a full-on 5.1 surround sound experience. It'll be expensive, but it leaves us salivating. You can pick up the Sonos Playbar next month for $699, and it's available for pre-order right now.
Read More | Sonos
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