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Jan
25
2014

Apple may be working on a new Apple TV Box with Native Gaming Capabilities

Rumours by several sources suggest Apple may currently be working on a whole new set-top box as a successor to current Apple TV boxes, with updated hardware and software to support many more types of content and improve the slickness of the whole experience. But a separate report out today from iLounge says that Apple also plans to cater for the growing number of app developers and iOS users using the boxes as pseudo-game consoles, with plans to introduce native gaming support to the Apple TV, along with direct support for game controllers.

 

With Apple’s AirPlay technology allowing not just video and music, but also direct streaming of anything that happens on an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch onto a TV Screen via an Apple TV box, many users have started taking advantage of the feature to show their small-screen games on TV while they play them on their iDevice. And with Apple allowing iOS app developers to build experiences that employ the Apple TV in specific ways; and iOS games taking advantage of this more and more to provide multi-screen gaming experiences (not unlike the Wii U combining TV and Gamepad), Apple TV is quickly turning into a games console in its own right – but there’s a problem. Streaming games from screen to screen adds a noticeable lag – around a tenth of a second – between the two devices, which for high-action gaming like shooters; or games that require fast reactions like racers, can completely kill the game play. Also, even for games with direct Apple TV support, using controllers other than the iDevice running the game requires those controllers to be paired with the device, not the Apple TV itself, introducing further lag.

 

Now though, it’s been suggested that Apple are looking into furthering the ability of Apple TV to play games, with sources such as iLounge claiming that planned software updates will introduce the ability to install games directly on the Apple TV box itself, as well as direct support for game controllers. 9to5Mac, who have a high level of accuracy regarding Apple rumours, claim knowledge that Apple may be planning to directly implement the Apple iStore into a future Apple TV refresh, lending some suggestion as to how the former may be achieved – but stop short of suggesting the updates are anything to do with gaming, instead suggesting the new hardware will be a refresh with a focus on improving the speed and user experience.

 

Apple have declined to comment on any of these rumours.

 

The current Apple TV last received a significant update in March, 2012, so it’s due for a refresh. Though no date for the supposed new Apple TV has yet been suggested – either by Apple or by rumourmongers – the suggestion from the latter is to expect a launch in Spring or Summer 2014. With Apple generally preferring Autumn for major announcements on the iPhone/iPad side of things these days, that timing would make a lot of sense as a way to keep up interest in Apple throughout the year.

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    Jan
    11
    2014

    WWE Network launching February in United States: Heres what you need to know

    For five years, World Wrestling Entertainment (otherwise known as WWE) has been hard at work developing the “WWE Network” – a TV Network owned by the WWE which would host exclusive content – such as non-wrestling shows made for the network that feature its “Superstar” talent – as well as becoming the official platform by which its Pay-Per-View wrestling shows would be distributed through in the future.

     

    Starting February 24th, 2014, residents of the United States will finally be able to enjoy the fruits of their labour, when the WWE Network launches online. For $9.99 a month, subscribers will get access to the 12 WWE pay-per-view events WWE produces annually, starting with this year’s WrestleMania – WWE’s most popular Pay-Per-View. The Network will also broadcast future episodes of NXT – its wrestling promotion that showcases fresher talent with the aim of turning one or more of them into full WWE Superstars by the end of each season – as live TV shows for the first time; and will also host brand-new shows exclusive to the network and archive footage from the yesteryears of WWE, WWF, WCW and ECW.

     

    WWE Network PlayStation App
    A screenshot of the WWE Network Playstation App. The WWE Network will hit PC, Playstation, Xbox and Roku TV Boxes (see below)

     

    Originally, the plan for the WWE Network was for it to be an independent cable network people could sign up to and receive like their existing TV Network, but this was shot down. WWE Chairman Vince McMahon then toyed with the idea of making the network a pay-TV channel like HBO. The idea would have been that existing TV Networks could licence the WWE Network from them and then offer it as an additional channel to their own customers for an additional monthly subscription. McMahon said WWE had deals ready to go with major distributors for a network that would have generated fees of 20 cents per month, per subscriber; but this cost and the terms of the deals being offered by the distributors were “too restrictive”; and he walked away.

     

    “I said, much to the chagrin of my staff, I’m not going to sign it.”
    – Vince McMahon

     

    Instead, the WWE looked at how Netflix was able to create an OTT service and became convinced that its own rabid fan base would embrace a similar approach. “Our fans are early adopters of new technologies,” McMahon said, adding that the service will need about a million subscribers to break even. Michelle Wilson, WWE’s chief revenue and marketing officer, added, “This gives us control of our destiny and a better user interface … We think this is the future.”

     

    So, the new WWE Network will be an online, “Over The Top” TV Network, which will be available online in your browser, or through specially-made WWE Network apps hitting Playstation, Xbox and Roku TV boxes. United States subscribers will have access to the Network via their chosen device for free between February 24th until March 2nd as a one-week trial to celebrate the Network’s launch, which will include one live NXT Episode.

     

    While WWE are still quiet on when other territories will receive the Network, the company has stated that they plan to expand its reach further “by year’s end”. With the United Kingdom being WWE’s second biggest-selling territory, we highly expect an announcement for a UK launch in the next few months 🙂

    Jan
    08
    2013

    unuTM The World’s First All-in-One Tablet, Gaming Console and Smart TV System at CES 2013

    Originally Posted at Sanitarium.FM

    The multifaceted device that first greeted the world at gamescom 2012 under the name “snakebyte eins” is now celebrating its world-premiere at CES 2013 in Las Vegas, as well as a new name, “unuTM”. The pre-release version will be playable for the duration of the event.

    What is unu ™ ?

    unu™ is entertainment. unu™ is gaming. unu™ is different. Unlike previously announced and currently available Android-based gaming platforms, unu™offers a truly multifaceted experience. Whether in your lap as a tablet, in the docking station on the TV or right in front of you on the table, unu™ goes where you go, ready to be used wherever and however you want. Games, videos, music, apps, mobile surfing and email – unu™ provides the total package. Developed and designed entirely in Germany, unu™ draws on fifteen years of experience in the games industry.

    With perfectly balanced components, unu™ enables users to experience their familiar media and games in totally new ways. The heart of unu™ is the tablet and its custom-coded user interface. But there’s more to the package: unu™ comes with a docking station, a game controller and an air mouse, opening up optimal gaming, media and smart TV experiences. Thanks to the docking station, the unu™ tablet can be quickly connected to the TV so that users can enjoy movies and music as well as games on the big screen. With the tablet docked, the user interface can be operated by the game controller or the air mouse.

    The unu™ air mouse makes it possible to intuitively and comfortably interact with the user interface while sitting on the couch, just as easily as if you had the tablet in your hands. No other smart TV manufacturer has been able to offer that kind of ease of use. Touch-based games like Angry Birds can be comfortably played on the TV while relaxing on the couch. A full-fledged keyboard for surfing, writing email and posting to social media is integrated on the back of the unu™ air mouse.
    When it comes to intense gaming experiences, the unu™ game controller has all the bases covered. Games optimized for controllers can be played as though they were real console games. snakebyte has been designing and manufacturing gaming peripherals for more than fifteen years and that wealth of experience shines though, reflected in the high-quality components employed. There are already many games with controller support and the number is continually growing. Thanks to an integrated button mapping app, games without native controller support can also be enjoyed with unu™ and the game controller.

    Tablet. Gaming Console. Smart TV.
    unu™ unites the worlds of tablets, gaming consoles and smart TVs. The heart of the unu™ concept is diversity. unu™ isn’t just a stationary gaming console like its competitors, unu™ is also a tablet that can be used while on the go, out in the back yard or curled up on the couch. But unu™ isn’t just a tablet. With its docking station and game controller, unu™ delivers a 100% authentic console experience on the TV. And thanks to its multimedia features and the wealth of digital content providers, like Netflix and Maxdome, unu™ is the television of tomorrow – a truly smart TV.

    unu™ at CES 2013

    Every day during CES 2013 in Las Vegas, unu™ will be playable at the snakebyte booth (LVCC, South Hall 2, Booth 25200). Appointments for personal presentations are also available.

    You’ll find more info on Facebook on the official unu™ page:
    www.facebook.com/Unutablet

    Watch the CES 2013 trailer on youtube:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OqwlOHVP9q4

    Oct
    03
    2011

    Rumour: Comcast, Verizon Coming to the Xbox 360

    Subscription-based streaming TV allegedly on they way.

    According to a new report from Bloomberg today, Microsoft is planning to partner with Comcast and Verizon to offer subscription-based streaming television service on the Xbox 360.

    Citing sources “with knowledge of the situation,” Bloomberg says that the company is in talks with two dozen networks and media service providers in both the United States and Europe, including HBO, Crackle, Bravo, SyFy, and LoveFilm in the UK.

    The report falls in line with other recent rumours, as well as Microsoft’s presentation at this year’s E3, where they demoed Kinect-enabled television control.

    Most importantly, sources suggest the announcement of the new services could arrive as soon as next week.