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Roku launches a rechargeable, hands-free voice remote and other devices, rolls out Roku OS 10

Roku today is unveiling new hardware and software, including the latest version of its Roku OS media software, Roku OS 10, which expands support for AirPlay 2 and Apple’s HomeKit, and adds a variety of new features and optimizations focused on helping users get to content and stream faster. It’s also introducing its latest 4K player, the Roku Express 4K+; an updated version of its combo media player and soundbar; and an upgraded voice remote with a rechargeable battery and hands-free voice support via the “Hey Roku” command.

Of the three new devices, the Roku Voice Remote Pro ($29.99) may actually be the more interesting addition as it pushes Roku into the “smart speaker” space, so to speak — except in this case, the “speaker” is a TV remote equipped with a mid-field microphone that’s always listening for the “Hey Roku” command. From a practical standpoint, that means you can leave the remote laying on your coffee table and instead speak commands like “Hey Roku, launch Netflix” or “search for free movies,” or “show me comedies,” or whatever else it is you want to watch — without having to first pick up the device and press the push-to-talk voice search button.

Image Credits: Roku

This feature, of course, also comes with concerns. Consumers may be wary of bringing more voice assistants into their home, after it was discovered that tech giants Google, Amazon and Apple had initially dropped the ball on respecting consumer privacy when it came to how users’ voice data was being stored and utilized. Though they’ve all made changes since, the experience may have left its mark on consumers’ minds.

For what it’s worth, Roku says it will retain some of the audio recordings it receives for technical support and to improve the quality of its service, much like the others in the market. And users can opt out of that data collection (via Roku.com/account/voice). The company notes that voice recordings are disassociated from the consumer’s account within 30 days, and it only allows access to Roku employees, not contractor workforces.

If this doesn’t appeal to you, the remote offers a mute button for the microphone if you want to upgrade for its other features, and not use the hands-free listening.

The other features still make for a worthwhile upgrade, however, as this is Roku’s first remote with a rechargeable battery, for example. The device charges via a micro-USB cable, which is more environmentally friendly. It also offers preset buttons with access to Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and, for the first time, Apple TV+. And it offers a lost remote finder feature (which works via voice, too); private listening via the built-in headphone jack; a push-to-talk voice button if you don’t want hands-free; and two personal shortcuts for favorite voice commands.

The voice remote is on sale today via Roku’s website and will be available in retail stores in May.

Image Credits: Roku

Another new device announced today is the Roku Express 4K+ ($39.99) which will replace the older Roku Premiere.

This digital media player is targeted towards first-time streamers and secondary TVs — which are now more often becoming 4K TVs, but where consumers don’t need the full specs of Roku’s top-of-the-line players. The Express 4K+ has a faster processor than the Premiere and more storage, as well as support for dual-band Wi-Fi. It works with third-party micro-USB and Ethernet adapters, which is a plus as hardwiring your device was previously a feature only available on the pricier Roku Ultra.

The device also brings HDR 10+ to the Roku platform for the first time, though this support will soon make its way to the Roku Ultra through the upcoming Roku OS 10 software update. It additionally supports HD, 4K, HDR, and HDR 10 and ships with a standard voice remote.

Image Credits: Roku

The device goes on sale in the U.S. in mid-May online and in retail stores. Walmart, a Roku partner, will have an exclusive version of the Roku Express 4K+ called Roku Express 4K ($35) which offers a better value by dropping the voice remote for the basic one.

Along with the launch of the media player and remote, Roku is updating its Roku Smart Soundbar in mid-May. The device is being rebranded to the Roku Streambar Pro ($179.99), and will feature both 4K streaming and cinematic sound, but now ships with the same voice remote that comes with the Ultra, which means it supports private listening on headphones. And it adds support for a new Roku OS 10 feature called Virtual Surround, which aims to simulate a surround sound setup for Roku Smart Soundbar and Roku Streambar Pro owners, who don’t have another set of speakers to offer true surround sound.

Image Credits: Roku

In addition to Virtual Surround and HDR 10+ support, Roku latest OS will roll out Apple AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support to more HD devices, including the Roku Express and some HD Roku TVs.

It will also add a customizable Live TV Channel Guide with favorites; automatic Wi-Fi network detection during setup (and it tells you which of your multiple channels is better to use); and an “instant resume” feature which takes you back to where you left off when you relaunch a supported channel.

At launch, there are over 15 channels that support “instant resume,” including AT&T TV, FilmRise, FOX Business Network, FOX News Channel, Fubo Sports Network, HappyKids TV, Plex.tv, STARZ, and The Roku Channel.

Image Credits: Roku

For gamers, a new automatic game console configuration feature, which automatically configures preferred settings, could be useful.

“Depending on the capabilities of the console and the TV, it can also mean turning on things like HDR gaming, variable refresh rates, high frame rate gaming like 120Hz, or maybe THX Certified Game Mode. So, without having to go through complex menus, a user just plugs in their console, and we know exactly how to give them the best experience on the game side,” noted Roku VP of Retail Product Strategy, Mark Ely. The feature works with both Xbox and PlayStation consoles and will also update the input on the Home Screen.

Image Credits: Roku

Roku OS 10 is rolling out to select Roku players now and is expected to roll out to all supported streaming players, including the all-new Roku Express 4K+ and Roku Streambar Pro, and all Roku TV models in the weeks ahead.

The new devices and software arrive after a year of increased at-home streaming due to the coronavirus pandemic, which forced users indoors and under lockdowns. Roku in Q4 2020 reported 51.2 million active accounts, up 39% for the year, and 58.7 billion streaming hours, while its free streaming hub, The Roku Channel, saw roughly 200% growth between just June and August 2020 when it added live linear viewing.

“Our business and streaming, in general, continues to grow and accelerate just because there’s such a shift from people that are getting rid of cable and moving over to streaming. And we saw, of course, with theater shutdowns, more people streaming first-run movies at home,” Ely noted. “So, streaming hours increased, and the volume of our products and the popularity of streaming devices increased, as well,” he added.

Roku’s continued momentum, however, cannot rely on pandemic impacts alone. Amazon remains a top competitor, and just rolled out its updated Fire TV interface months ago. There are also now rumors that Apple is planning an updated player of its own, with an Apple TV-HomePod combo of sorts, similar to the existing Roku Streambar. That will leave Roku with plenty of competition to keep it on its toes for months to come.

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Source: https://techcrunch.com/2021/04/13/roku-launches-a-rechargeable-hands-free-voice-remote-and-other-devices-rolls-out-roku-os-10/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Sarah Perez

Twitch and Facebook Gaming Are Having One Hell of a Year. YouTube Gaming? Eh, Not so Much

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As the world descended into lockdown last year, people overwhelming tuned into livestreams to connect with others and stave off boredom while stuck in their homes. And that pandemic-fueled growth shows no signs of slowing down even as the world attempts to return to business as usual, with both Twitch and Facebook…

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/twitch-and-facebook-gaming-are-already-having-one-hell-1846658990
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Alyse Stanley

How to Stream PS5 and Xbox Series X/S Games to All Your Other Devices

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Is someone else in your household hogging the big screen TV? Would you like to game in a different room without lugging your console around? If you’ve managed to get your hands on a PlayStation 5, an Xbox Series X, or an Xbox Series S, you can stream games from these consoles to other devices on the same wifi network.

Read more…

Source: https://gizmodo.com/how-to-stream-ps5-and-xbox-series-x-s-games-to-all-your-1846615814
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The Article Was Written/Published By: David Nield

Amazon’s Free IMDb Streaming Service Arrives on Chromecast with Google TV

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Amazon’s fledgling IMDb TV streaming service is now available on Chromecast with Google TV and other devices running the Android TV software. Like Crackle or The Roku Channel, IMDb TV is a free streaming service with hit shows and movies from Amazon Prime Video, Dreamworks, and even Disney.

Read This Article on Review Geek ›

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/72294/amazons-free-imdb-streaming-service-arrives-on-chromecast-with-google-tv/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

TikTok will offer behind-the-scenes UFC livestreams

2f6fe710-4ddf-11ea-b3ff-ca9d067be64bUFC fans on TikTok will soon see more mixed martial arts content on the video app. It’s all thanks to a new multi-year agreement between the two companies (via Deadline). According to TikTok’s announcement, it will work with the UFC to produce an…

Source: https://www.engadget.com/tiktok-ufc-content-partnership-172656182.html
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Update Your New Chromecast to Fix Its Stupid Reboot Bug

Chromecast with Google TV's USB-C portJustin Duino

While the Chromecast with Google TV is famous for its simple, intuitive interface, a confusing boot error that asks you to manually reset the device is pushing some users to their wit’s end. Thankfully, a new Google TV firmware update promises to solve the boot error. Google says that the update should hit your device before the end of the week.

Chromecast with Google TV runs on the Android operating system. When the Android OS doesn’t boot correctly due to a bug, a power issue, or corrupt system files, it loads the Android Recovery Screen and asks you to reset or format your device. Unfortunately, this Recovery Screen is popping up when people turn on their Chromecast and during video playback.

While the Android Recovery Screen is annoying enough on a phone or tablet, it can be a nightmare on the Chromecast with Google TV, as you have to reach behind your TV and press the Chromecast’s button to manually reset the device. The Chromecast remote does not work in Recovery Mode.

It’s been 10 years and this is still what you get when your Android phone or, in this case, Chromecast built on Android TV, doesn’t boot properly. How is the average TV watcher supposed to troubleshoot this? pic.twitter.com/T1nuXlG5DI

— Daniel Bader (@journeydan) December 29, 2020

Now, Google is pushing a firmware update that clarifies the Android Recovery Screen’s cryptic language and should “reduce the occurrence of users seeing the Android Recovery Screen” on Chromecast with Google TV. Along with Recovery Mode and bootup improvements, Google says that the firmware release improves 4K streaming and Dolby Atmos support.

The new firmware update is rolling out now and should hit your Chromecast in the next few days. If a notification for the update doesn’t appear on the top of your Google TV homepage, you can try to force the update from the Google Home app on your smartphone. Open Google Home, select your Chromecast with Google TV, and press “reset”—the update should happen as the device reboots.

Source: Google via Android Police

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/70481/update-your-new-chromecast-to-fix-its-stupid-reboot-bug/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Andrew Heinzman

80s Classic Cartoon ‘The Real Ghostbusters’ Lands on YouTube (Legally)

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Despite largely starting as a destination for pirated videos in the days before it was acquired by Google, major media companies have been hesitant to use the platform as a distribution point for their properties. Except, it seems, with cartoons: The rights-holders to many classic cartoons post episodes to YouTube, presumably to get the ad revenue.

Read This Article on Review Geek ›

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/70152/80s-classic-cartoon-the-real-ghostbusters-lands-on-youtube-legally/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Michael Crider

The Best Screen Recording and Broadcasting Software

Screenshots of Streamlabs and AMD Radeon Relive in a collageStreamlabs, AMD

Whether it’s to post to YouTube, stream on Twitch, or just send to a friend through email, being able to record video of your computer screen always comes in handy. And there several choices for screen recording software out there that try to appeal to different use cases, so let’s take a look at the best of the best.

What to Look Out for

There are a few things we want to cover before jumping into the programs themselves.

  • Pricing: This list contains a mix of free and paid programs. That doesn’t necessarily mean the free programs are worse, however, as all the programs on this list cater to different niches. We’ll be sure to specifically mention how much each program costs, and any differences there may be between free and paid-for versions of the same tool.
  • Features: There are loads of different features video recording software can include that appeal to different use cases. If you want to make short tutorials with your recorded clips, then a simple editor where you can add text and merge short videos will be a killer feature for you. But if you’re looking to live stream or save highlights from your games, then you’ll need tools to accommodate those—such as options for customizing stream overlays.
  • Performance: For gameplay recording and livestreaming in particular, performance is a major concern—it’s no easy task for a computer to run both of these processes at the same time. So whether the program is dedicated to simple clip saving or broadcasting your screen to sites like Twitch and YouTube Gaming, we’ve made sure the options here won’t destroy your PC’s performance.

Free and Versatile: OBS (Windows/Mac)

Screenshot of OBS dashboardOBS Studio

OBS is an open-source program with a focus on putting the power in your hands. While the UI is a bit difficult to learn, it allows you to edit just about anything you can think of. OBS is most commonly used for streaming, and you can customize your stream overlay to your heart’s content with the software’s tools. It’s also simple to create multiple “scenes” you can quickly switch between while you’re live (for example, switching between your desktop’s screen and your camera view).

But OBS is still great for recording your screen as well—you have plenty of options for configuring your screen recording and it’s a relatively light toll on your computer. And because OBS is open source, you can install loads of different plugins to further customize the software. If you’re willing to commit to learning it, OBS is by far the most powerful tool on this list—and it’s even free.

Free and Versatile

OBS


An open-source tool with plenty of options for customizing your streams and recordings.

Best for New Streamers: Streamlabs (Windows)

Screenshot of Streamlabs dashboardStreamlabs

If you’re brand new to the streaming game, Streamlabs is likely to be more attractive to you—quite literally. The overall design of the software is refined and easier to learn compared to something like OBS. Streamlabs’ goal is to make setting up your stream as simple as possible, and as such has a ton of presets available for stream overlays, on-screen alerts for donations and chat, and end screens. While it’s still an advanced tool, especially when you get into the nitty-gritty of personalizing everything, Streamlabs will help make sure your streaming career starts smoothly, though you can also use it for general screen recording as well.

Streamlabs is free to download, but Streamlabs Prime offers premium themes, installable apps to add new features, and help with getting sponsors for your stream for $149 a year or $19 a month.

Best for New Streamers

Streamlabs


A refined broadcasting tool with plenty of options to make your streaming career run smoothly.

Record Then Edit: FlashBack Express (Windows)

Example of a presentation made in Flashback ExpressFlashBack

FlashBack Express makes it simple to turn your screen recordings into short videos. You can record the entire screen or just a part of it, then drop everything into the built-in video editing tool. The editor keeps things simple so it’s easy to learn, but you can still stitch clips together, add text, commentary, music, and simple shapes like arrows. FlashBack Express is an excellent tool for creating video tutorials or presentations, and you can even upload videos directly to YouTube from the program itself.

FlashBack Express offers a free version, but if you want some of the more advanced editing tools such as video and sound effects, you’ll need FlashBack Pro, which is a one-time cost of $49.

Record Then Edit

FlashBack Express


A screen capture tool with a video editor built-in.

Share It!: ShareX (Windows)

Screenshot of ShareX's settings menuShareX Team

If your only goal for capturing clips or screenshots is to share them with others, then ShareX is the program for you. ShareX prides itself on making it easy to upload and send videos over social media sites or through simple links—you can even create GIFs using your video clips. ShareX is a great lightweight tool to have installed and makes sending those short clips to your friends as easy as possible.

And the best part? ShareX is open source, and as such, entirely free to use.

Share it!

ShareX


A great, lightweight capture tool that allows you to easily share videos and GIFs.

Free for Mac: QuickTime

Screenshot of the editor in Apple QuickTImeApple

While most of the options covered in this list have been exclusive to Windows, QuickTime is exclusive to Mac devices—which makes sense considering it was developed by Apple. This free software allows you to quickly record sections of your screen and then take those clips into the editor to trim, rearrange, and rotate. QuickTime can even connect to your iPad and iPhone as well, so you can transfer clips from those devices to your computer to create one unified video in the editor.

Free for Mac

QuickTime


A free capture tool for Mac devices which also includes a simple video editor.

Plenty of Tools: Snagit (Windows/Mac)

Snagit's home pageTechSmith

Snagit aims to be the end all be all of screenshotting software—but it has a lot of great screen recording tools as well. You can capture a single screen, region, or scrolling window, and when everything is done you can add text, edit the video clips, and audio all within the software. There are loads of great visual templates so your videos will look good without spending hours on them, and you can easily convert videos to GIFs. Snagit also has a simple tool for sharing your finished video to a ton of different sites and services including email, YouTube, and Slack.

There’s a 15-day free trial of Snagit available, but after that, you’ll need to pay a one-time price of $49.99 to use the software. It’s also compatible with TechSmith Capture—an iOS app that allows you to record your iPhone’s screen and send the footage directly to Snagit on your computer.

Plenty of Tools

Snagit


A premium screen capture program with loads of in-depth features.

Built-in: Nvidia Shadowplay and AMD Radeon Relive

Screenshot of AMD Radeon Relive live stream settingsAMD

These last options will already be on your PC if you have a dedicated AMD Radeon or Nvidia GeForce graphics card. While these tools are different in some ways, they have the same basic selling point as built-in capturing/broadcasting tools included with your GPU. Both of these programs allow you to capture your screen and audio, broadcast that video and audio, and even save clips of a configurable amount of time at the push of a button.

In the world of broadcasting tools, both of these are very simple, but sometimes, simple is exactly what you want. If you want a program where you can just press “Go Live” to stream without worrying about it, then these are both excellent. And when it comes to recording gameplay, both of these do a fantastic job without significantly impacting performance.

Team Green

Nvidia ShadowPlay


Nvidia’s solution to screen capture and livestreaming.

Team Red

AMD Radeon Relive


A great recording tool from AMD for Radeon graphics cards.

Source: https://www.reviewgeek.com/68169/the-best-screen-recording-and-broadcasting-software/
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Eric Schoon

Netflix to Improve Audio Experience on Android

Netflix-Anroid-Featured.jpg Are you tired of dealing with your Android speakers when streaming? Sure, you can pair headphones or a Bluetooth speaker, but sometimes you just don’t want to bother. Yet, the handset’s speakers just don’t cut it for streaming movies, YouTube, music, etc. Netflix wants to help and is releasing a new codec that it says will help Android users, specifically with volume issues. Netflix Codec Netflix made the announcement that it would be using a new code, then added that there would be help for users of Android 9 and up devices. xHE-AAC (extended HE-AAC) with MPEG-D DRC… Read more14242578.gif

Source: https://tracking.feedpress.com/link/12555/14242578/netflix-to-improve-audio-experience-on-android
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The Article Was Written/Published By: Laura Tucker

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