Okay, so at last count World of Warcraft had a Pokémon clone built into it, an in-game web browser of sorts and even a tribute to the late Robin Williams. Now it has another way to distract you as the epic battle between the Horde and Alliance rages on in the background: selfies. Naturally. As our sister site WoW Insider reports, the camera is part of a rare late-game quest in the forthcoming update (6.1 if you're keeping track at home), and there's a follow-up mission that rewards virtual narcissists with a trio of camera filters for the self-aggrandizing new feature. Your toon'll even mug for the camera with duckface or perhaps something a little more charming and less 2009 as you show off that sweet new bit of armor.
If you've been hoping for YouTube to drop the notoriously buggy Flash video format as its default player, well, good news. Nearly five years after the streaming giant started supporting the HTML5 standard for its videos, it's finally now its player of choice. That means from now on, YouTube will use the HTML5 <video> format by default in most modern browsers -- that includes Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and beta versions of Firefox. Why the wait? Well, YouTube says in a blog post that it was waiting for HTML5 to mature and improve -- it was still fairly experimental back then. Now, however, the standard is widely adopted and has plenty going for it, like the support for live broadcasts and a more immersive fullscreen view. Seeing as HTML5 is not just in browsers but smart TVs and other streaming boxes too, this news has been a long time coming. Which makes us wonder how long Flash has left before it's gone altogether.
Louis CK has made it a habit of releasing comedy specials online, bypassing the industry gatekeepers that jack up prices and delay releases. Well, he's at it again. The laugh-maker has just posted his first nightclub special, Live at the Comedy Store, on his own website. Pay his customary $5 price and you'll get three unprotected video downloads (finally in 1080p!), three audio downloads and three streams. You'll know the drill if you've watched one of Louis' digital shows before, but this show could be just the relief you need if the weather has you cooped up at home.
[Image credit: Monica Schipper/Getty Images for New York Comedy Festival]
Source: Louis CK
Sonos' big controller app update from last year was a case of two steps forward and one step back. It was slicker and made it easier to find music, but playing music got harder -- among other issues, it required extra effort to send tunes to speakers around your home. Kinda defeats the point of multi-room audio, don't you think? At last, though, it looks like Sonos is ready to tackle some of those biggest hiccups. An upcoming version 5.3 update (not shown here) will put an always available room menu at the top of every screen, so it should take less time to deliver a radio stream to the living room or a podcast to your kitchen.
Source: Sonos Blog
With the backing of Sports Illustrated, MLB, NHL, the PGA tour and more, 120 Sports started streaming free live sports news and analysis on the web and mobile devices last June. Now, the digital network is making the leap to set-top boxes, starting with Apple TV. The channel delivers 8 hours of live coverage every day, with the "120 Morning Run" from 8-10 AM ET during the week. Football fans can take a long lunch for "120 Football Fix" from 12-2 PM ET, and if you miss a live broadcast, there's a library of videos for on-demand viewing, too.
Once you've won the hearts of a planet as the dashing lead in a science fantasy show, you're faced with the lingering specter of typecasting. One actor who has managed to avoid such perils is David Tennant, who has thrown himself into any - and every - role imaginable to avoid being known as just The 10th Doctor. Now, however, the Scotsman is returning to the genre that made his name, after taking a role as the villain in Marvel and Netflix's forthcoming A.K.A. Jessica Jones. There's some more detail after the break, but be warned: there might be some spoilers.
Right now is an exciting time for VR, and this year's Sundance Film Festival is full proof of that. Over the past few days, we've experienced new virtual reality horizons and got to know some of the visionaries who have jump-started the technology. VR, arguably in its second life, has opened up a novel medium for storytelling and a way to create deeply immersive experiences for most any audience -- be it with films, video games or, why not, a full-body flight simulator. Here's the best part: This is only the beginning.%Gallery-slideshow262985%
If there's one thing that America loves more than Netflix, it's movies where Adam Sandler sits around in loungewear cracking wise with Kevin James. It was back in October that the streaming company decided to give the public what it needed, teaming up with the actor's production company to knock out four original movies. Now, just a few months later, The Wrap has learned the details about the first to roll off the production line.
Source: The Wrap
If you've been experiencing random disconnection with your Xbox One's controller, there may be relief in sight, according to a Major Nelson blog post. The latest preview features another (number three, if we're counting it right) controller update that's supposed to fix "(stability) issues submitted by customers and preview participants." We're not sure if that means it specifically addresses the disconnection problem, but we've asked Microsoft for more info. Meanwhile, the controller will also connect to the Xbox in around two seconds now instead of five, a boon only to the truly impatient. Preview members can get the fix by downloading the console update, then connecting their controller to the console with a USB cable and following the instructions here.
Source: Xbox (Major Nelson)
Along with game developer Zoe Quinn, Anita Sarkeesian is likely one of the most knowledgeable people when it comes to online harassment. Both have been targets of intense cyber-abuse campaigns stemming from the GamerGate movement, and like Quinn, Sarkeesian is tackling the problem head on. She's going to continue giving speeches and making videos examining media (what she calls public efforts), but the digital abuse she's receiving has changed her long-term goal:
"There is also work being done behind the scenes in private meetings and consultations with major social media and gaming platforms, and by partnering with other organizations to form a task force with the goal of ending online harassment."
Source: Feminist Frequency (Dropbox)
Look out, Hollywood, because Oculus VR is coming for you. Earlier today, the Facebook-owned company introduced its new film division Story Studio, as it looks to broaden its horizons and experiment with narrative through virtual reality. The first short film to come out of Oculus VR's in-house movie lab is Lost, which is making its debut at Sundance. In addition to that, Story Studio has revealed that it's already working on more shorts with a VR twist to them, all expected to appeal to different audiences. Along with Lost, there's also going to be Dear Angelica, Bullfighter and Henry, plus two other films that haven't been announced yet.%Gallery-slideshow263158%
Rumors broke over the weekend that Google might bring its gigabit internet Fiber connection to Charlotte and Raleigh-Durham, NC next, but it's not stopping there. The Tennesseean reports Nashville has an announcement planned, while the Wall Street Journal lists all of those metro area plus Atlanta, based on anonymous sources. Atlanta would represent the biggest metro area for Google Fiber yet, and the WSJ mentions that media in the area have been invited to a launch event tomorrow. All four cities were already on Google's "Future of Fiber" list so there's no shockers here, but still -- pretend like you're surprised (and not jealous) when the announcement is made, it's only polite.
Update: Surprise! Google has confirmed that 18 cities in the previously mentioned metro areas are next up to get its Fiber service. The Google Fiber website is freshly updated (Thanks Daniel!) with more information, and nearby residents can input their address for a heads up when the new lines are coming their way. Phoenix, Portland, Salt Lake City, San Antonio and San Jose are still on deck too, and should expect an update later this year.
This week it's all about the big game. We will not mention the footballs and how much air is or is in them, we will only wish for a contest that's not already over by halftime. Other than the Super Bowl matchup of the Seahawks and Patriots, we're also looking forward to Anderson Silva's return to UFC fighting, and the release of Grim Fandango Remastered on PlayStation and PC platforms. Finally, don't miss D'Angelo as a musical guest on Saturday Night Live. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
Have you ever wondered if a regular human could carry the health packs, guns, chainsaw and all the other stuff from Doom? Well, it looks like we're about to find out. The disproving duo of Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman tackle scenarios from that title this weekend (January 31st at 9 PM ET) on a special video games episode of MythBusters. With the help of id Software creative director Tim Willits, the team recreated a level of Doom to see what's what when it comes to human strength in first-person shooters. If you're familiar with the show, you know that a couple of myths are typically addressed in a single episode, so perhaps we'll get a Call of Duty or Gears of War segment, too. For now, a trailer for Saturday's installment resides after the break.
Free stuff is always great, especially if people actually want what's on offer. Apple now has a special section called "Free on iTunes" where you can find TV shows and music freebies if you've already blown through your monthly entertainment budget. It features TV episodes from 12 Monkeys, Eye Candy and others, as well as music from bands like Purity Ring and Houndmouth. As 9to5 Mac points out, Apple offered a similar service before, but this time, the focus seems to be less on hits and more on material that's still looking for an audience.
Via: 9to5 Mac
After several years on hiatus, an official announcement and the shockingly rapid decline of the music game market, Rock Band suddenly leapt back to life this month. Harmonix Music Systems -- the studio responsible for the music game craze, and the studio that created Guitar Hero, Rock Band and Dance Central -- announced new tracks heading to the Rock Band online store, which works with both Rock Band 3 and Rock Band Blitz. Why in the world is Harmonix releasing new tracks as paid, downloadable content for games that only exist on previous generation consoles? The official word is full of public relations obfuscation:
"We had an exciting opportunity to add new content to the already-massive Rock Band library with a song from Arctic Monkeys - a band that's never been in a Rock Band title before! - as well as new music from fan favorites Avenged Sevenfold and Foo Fighters. We couldn't pass it up. Also, we wanted to see if we could still do it. Turns out we can. It's sort of like riding a bike."
Great. That out of the way, what's really happening? Companies don't just casually release new content for years old games. That's not a thing that happens. I'd call it "testing the waters."
On Saturday morning in Ann Arbor, Michigan, it was about 30 degrees outside, but I was in my backyard enjoying a 75-degree day at the beach. That's only possible because I was testing out the first attempt at streaming virtual reality from one place to another -- in this case from Laguna Beach, California, to a Samsung Gear VR headset strapped to my head. Thanks to technology from the folks at Next VR, I could see and hear everything in 3D as though I was actually there, looking around in a virtual reality environment while on the phone with co-founder David Cole.
Next VR's demo reel takes viewers to a prerecorded NBA game, beach scene or Coldplay concert, but until now, no one outside of its labs has actually used the technology to visit another place via a live feed. A couple of years ago, we talked to the company about its plans to distribute live video in a virtual reality environment and today that dream came true.
Source: Next VR
Sling TV, a $20-a-month service for cord-cutters, made quite the debut earlier this month, winning our Best of CES award amid a flood of attention from press and customers alike. But can the app really live up to its promise to "Take Back TV"? I've had access to the beta for a few days, allowing me to get an early look before the first batch of invitations for pre-registered customers goes out tonight at midnight ET. As far as I can tell, the answer is both yes and no. Internet TV is finally real, but it has a lot of strings left over from the old days of pay-TV, and not just because it's coming from the folks at Dish Network. Getting must-have content from the likes of ESPN has its costs, and those might make the $20 entry fee higher than you're willing to pay.
The 2015 Sundance Film Festival has been taken over by virtual reality, but not every project being showcased here tells a story in a different way. Some filmmakers choose to make experiences based on computer-generated imagery; others prefer a live-action feel for their work. Kaiju Fury!, a 360-degree, 3D cinematic virtual reality film, goes with the latter approach. The project is a collaboration among New Deal Studios, Jaunt VR and the Stan Winston School of Character Arts, which combined forces last year to take more of a traditional narrative approach to VR. The result is a 5-minute short that instantly reminds you of classic franchises such as Godzilla, Jurassic Park and even Gremlins.
What I saw at Sundance was a 3-minute version of Kaiju Fury!, which was being screened on a Google Cardboard headset paired with a Samsung Galaxy S5. According to Ian Hunter, who wrote and directed the short, the final cut is expected to be released in roughly two months.%Gallery-slideshow262806%
Not to be outdone by Dolby opening its own large-format theater, the folks at IMAX are putting one of their massive screens on a cruise ship. Yes. Really. IMAX says that not only is this an industry first, but that the screen will be three decks high and debut next spring on what'll be cruise company Carnival's biggest ship: the newly minted Vista. The outfit promises recent flicks and classics alike will be shown, in addition to IMAX documentaries. The best way to have seen Interstellar isn't all that the Vista has in store for avoiding the sunlight, either. Next door is what Carnival's calling the "Thrill Theater" where you can check out "multidimensional special effects experience." Given Carnival's less-than-stable history, we're going to imagine that rules out a 3D version of The Poseidon Adventure.