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Multimedia - Home Servers

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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Netflix Goes (Almost) Global

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Netflix Goes (Almost) Global

Netflix announces a global expansion of unprecedented proportions at CES 2016, as now 130 countries (bringing the total to 190) are able to access the video streaming service.

In fact, it is easier to list the nations lacking Netflix access-- China, N. Korea, Syria and Crimea.

“With this launch, consumers around the world-- from Singapore to St. Petersburg, from San Francisco to Sao Paulo-- will be able to enjoy TV shows and movies simultaneously-- no more waiting," CEO Reed Hastings. "With the help of the Internet, we are putting power in consumers’ hands to watch whenever, wherever and on whatever device.”

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A Glyph Headset to Replace the TV?

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A Glyph Headset to Replace the TV?

A startup named Avegant presents a wearable alternative to large TVs, if not home theatre setups-- the Glyph, a headset designed primarily for the consumption of media.

First seen in a January 2014 Kickstarter campaign, the Glpyh looks like the lovechild of a Geordi La Forge (from Star Trek) costume and a pair of oversized headphones. The band part of the headset rests on the nose via interchangeable nosepads, and projects images directly into viewers' eyeballs via low-power LED and 2 million micromirrors (microscopic aluminium mirrors transforming light into pixels).

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The Optoma HDCast Pro Streamer

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The Optoma HDCast Pro Streamer

Optoma takes on multimedia streaming dongles with the HDCast Pro-- a device users plug into projector or TV HDMI ports for wireless media streaming from smartphones, tablets or PCs.

It also streams movies, videos, photos, music documents and websites from home networks. A companion mobile device app allows smart devices provides zoom, play, pause, rewind and volume controls, as well as drawing and annotation of files on the big screen from a mobile device. The dongle is compatible with AirPlay, Miracast, MHL and DLNA, and streams 1080p content at 24 or 30Hz up to 10m away from the source device.

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