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Multimedia - Home Servers

Plex Starts Playing Nice With Kodi

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Plex Starts Playing Nice With Kodi

A new plug-in allows customers to enjoy the best of two worlds-- the Plex media server gets an official add-on for the Kodi media player, bringing the two XBMC off-shoots together.

Back in 2002, there was Xbox Media Player, a self explanatory piece of software for the original Xbox. Eventually it was dubbed XBMC, before the developers settled for the Kodi name. Plex is also the result of XBMC, but while Kodi remains a media player Plex grew into a powerful and user-friendly media server solution able to access media from anywhere in the world.

Plex is available for just about any device out there, be it Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, Xbox and a range of smart TVs. Now it is also available for Kodi via aforementioned add-on, combining the Plex server UI with the customisable Kodi media player. It offers a range of major features, including server discovery, user switching and library browsing, with more to be added in the future.

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The Remix IO Android-Powered Home Theatre PC

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The Remix IO Android-Powered Home Theatre PC

Jide Technology claims the Remix IO is 3 devices in one-- media streamer, PC and games console-- although one can also describe it as an Android-powered home theatre PC designed for use with the latest TVs.

The device supports 4K and HDR content, and is powered by an octa-core CPU promising 4K@60 video output. It also features 2GB RAM and 16GB of internal storage (expandable via microSD card) and runs on Remix OS, a modified version of the Android operating system. As such it should be able to handle most, if not all, Android and Android TV apps.

Interestingly, the Remix IO offers dual use modes-- a TV mode complete with larger app icons and IR remote compatibility, and a Windows-style PC mode ideal for mouse and keyboard use. Wired connectivity comes through HDMI, VGA, x4 USB 2.0 and ethernet ports, while wifi and Bluetooth handle the wireless side.

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Nintendo Presents the Switch

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Nintendo Presents the Switch

Nintendo officially reveals its next piece of gaming hardware-- previously known as the "NX," the Switch is revealed to be a tablet-console hybrid with detachable controllers.

A slick announcement video has fashionable youths playing with the Switch in a variety of ways. For instance, a man first plays with the machine at home on an HDTV, before removing the tablet-style console from a base station, attaching a pair of controller accessories, and heading for a spot of outdoor gaming. Another scene has the two-part controller take the role of two separate gamepads, and players are also seen using regular wireless joypads.

The video also shows the machine used in a tournament setting (maybe a sign Nintendo wants to target the lucrative competitive e-sports scene?) between scenes of seamless transitions between home and portable gaming, as well as what looks like to be a built-in kickstand. As for games media, cartridges appear to be making a comeback.

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Google to Launch Chromecast Ultra?

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Google to Launch Chromecast Ultra?

The Google event taking place on 4 October 2016 will surely see the search giant reveal a smartphone or two, but both Android Police and VentureBeat claim the company has another surprise in store-- a 4K-capable Chromecast.

Reportedly dubbed the "Chromecast Ultra," the device will supposedly be sold alongside the current Chromecast dongle. Being 4K-capable the device carries more powerful hardware, allowing it to stream higher resolution content from mobile devices to HDMI-equipped displays. Android Police adds the 4K dongle was originally meant for a 2015 release, but the launch was scrapped for an unknown reason.

Interestingly, if one is to check the latest version of the Chromecast firmware (currently available in beta form to members of the Chromecast Preview program), the Chromecast logo appears no more in the software. Replacing it is the Google "G" logo, the same VentureBeat claims will adorn the Chromecast Ultra hardware.

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PlayStation 4 Goes Pro

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PlayStation 4 Goes Pro

Sony details the long rumoured 4K-capable version of the PlayStation 4 console-- the PlayStation 4 Pro (formerly known as the "Neo"), an upgrade featuring an improved GPU and a boosted clock rate.

The PS4 Pro is designed for use with the latest TVs, and as such it outputs both 4K and HDR video. However it is not meant to be a next generation console, at least according to Sony. "PS4 Pro is not intended to blur the line between console generations," chief architect Mark Cerny says. "Instead, the vision is to take the PS4 experience to extraordinary new levels."

For the curious, the console carries an AMD "Jaguar" 8-core processor clocked at 2.1GHz together with a Radeon-based GPU able to push 4.2 TFLOPs of performance, 8GB GDDR5 memory and a 1TB HDD. The result should allow for games with higher resolutions (up to 2160p) and frame rates, as well as 4K video support and the 4K upscaling of previous PS4 titles.

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Sony to Reveal Two PlayStations on September?

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Sony to Reveal Two PlayStations on September?

The Wall Street Journal reports Sony is to launch two PlayStation 4 models come 7 September 2016-- while the company already confirmed the "Neo" 4K/UHD-capable upgrade, it will also announce a slimmer version of original console.

The story comes after images of the slimmer PS4 (aka "PS4 Slim") appeared on UK auction site Gumtree. The auction was first discovered by a Twitter user, before a person claiming to have bought the auctioned machine posted more images of the console in various states of boxing and unboxing on gaming forum NeoGAF.

Further confirming the existence of the machine was Eurogamer's Digital Foundry, whose journalist managed to get an own photo of the PS4 Slim. Judging from the various images available so far, the console appears to be a European model with a 500GB HDD.

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Xbox One Follows PS4 With Ugraded Version

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Xbox One Follows PS4 With Ugraded Version

Microsoft reveals the future of the Xbox One at E3 2016-- the console will be splitting into two versions, the smaller Xbox One S and a more powerful 4K-capable upgrade dubbed "Project Scorpio."

The Xbox One S is a more compact (by 40%, Microsoft says) sibling to the Xbox One with a few interesting internal changes. First off, the cumbersome power brick is gone, since the company managed to integrate the power supply. Secondly the machine is able to output 4K/UHD video and add HDR to game visuals, making it a potentially relevant purchase for 4K TV owners.

Other tweaks seen in the pearl white console include a 2TB internal HDD, built-in IR blaster (making it compatible any number of remotes) and a redesigned wireless controller featuring a sleeker design, textured grip and Bluetooth connectivity for compatibility with other Windows 10 devices.

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Sony Working on PlayStation 4.5?

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Sony Working on PlayStation 4.5?

Multiple sources report Sony is working on an upgrade on the PlayStation 4-- a "PlayStation 4.5" or "PlayStation 4K", if you will, able to handle higher resolution graphics required for immersive virtual reality experiences.

The news was first broken by Kotaku and Eurogamer, before further corroboration by the Wall Street Journal. All stories bear the same gist. The new PlayStation is not a wholly new console (thus the "4.5/4K" numbering), but a a GPU upgrade allows 4K resolution games and enhanced PlayStation VR headset support.

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Studios Kill SlySoft DVD Ripper

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Studios Kill SlySoft DVD Ripper

Bad news for customers using DVD movie servers-- the movie studios's DRM police have managed to shut down SlySoft, developer of the popular AnyDVD DVD and Blu-ray disc ripping software.

A visit to the SlySoft website brings up a simple message stating "Due to recent regulatory requirements we have had to cease all activities relating to SlySoft Inc. We wish to thank our loyal customers/clients for their patronage over the years."

Being based in Antigua, SlySoft managed to escape the hounding of US copyright-protection bodies such as the DVD CCA (the entity responsible for shutting down RealDVD and almost killing Kaleidescape) and the AACS LA for a long while before it was forced to close. A number of movie server vendors use AnyDVD, including Control4, Duhe HD, Fusion Research, Vidabox and Mozaex.

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