The YouTube app on iOS will be getting picture-in-picture support, allowing all users to watch videos while doing other things on their iPhones and iPads. A YouTube spokesperson told The Verge that the feature is currently rolling out to Premium subscribers, and that a launch for all iOS users (including the free ones) in the US is in the works.
Apple added support for picture-in-picture video for iPads with iOS 9, and brought it to iPhones with iOS 14. Since then, YouTube’s support for the feature on iPhones and iPads has been spotty — it works for iPad if you’re using Safari (though some have reported it doesn’t work for non-Premium subscribers); iPhone users have only been able to access the feature periodically.
That complication seems to be going away, at least for those in the US: iOS users, with or without a YouTube Premium subscription, will soon have access to it using the YouTube app as Android users have for years. YouTube did not provide a timeline for when the feature would arrive for free users, but stated the rollout to Premium subscribes is in progress.
Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that PiP video came to the iPad with iOS 13. It in fact arrived with iOS 9. We regret the error.
We may have gotten our first look at Ring’s dashcam, courtesy of The Tape Drive, which posted an image of a Ring-branded camera that looks like it’s made to fit on a car’s dashboard. Based on a support article which Zats Not Funny discovered (and claims may have been published inadvertently) Ring’s Car Cam will have Alexa integration and the ability to start recording if you tell it you’ve been pulled over.
The Car Cam was originally announced by the Amazon-owned company in September as a dashboard-mounted device which would record both the inside and outside of the vehicle, and was priced at $199. However, the support article about the Car Cam that’s been posted on Ring’s site says that the camera attaches to the windshield as well. The design, as depicted in The Tape Drive’s findings does seem like it could allow for that, if it comes apart into two pieces or extends. We’ll likely have to wait for an official announcement to get a good idea of how it works (and to see if this is actually an image of the Car Cam at all).
The support article confirms many of the features that were teased when Amazon announced the Car Cam last September, but reveals several new ones as well. It states that the camera will plug into your car’s OBD-II port, and that a subscription service isn’t required for the camera, as it saves videos locally, which you can access via Wi-Fi and the Ring app.
However, the document does say that some advanced features will require an optional Ring connectivity plan. The page doesn’t have a list of the features that will and won’t work without cellular connectivity, but it does say that LTE is required for the Emergency Crash Assist feature, where the camera will sense a car accident and have a Ring agent check on the driver and call 911 if needed. The article also says that cellular connectivity is required for saving videos to the cloud when the car is out and about, which could be helpful in the event that the car is stolen. According to the initial announcement last year, the device will also hook into Amazon’s Sidewalk network for connectivity.
There still isn’t any solid information about when the camera will be released, although Ring did say it would be some time this year. The support article, however, notes that the device hasn’t been cleared by the FCC yet, and won’t be available for sale until it is. We’ve reached out to Amazon for additional information on the Car Cam and will update if we hear back.
Tribute to the Kings promises to be a historic pay-per-view event, featuring father and son boxing icons Julio Cesar Chavez Sr and Julio Cesar Chavez Jr, plus UFC superstar Anderson Silva. The full fight is an exclusive Fite.TV PPV at $39.99 in the US – or just $14.99 in the UK. Read our handy guide and find out how to watch a Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream from anywhere in the world.
Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream
Date: Saturday 19th June 2021
Main card: 9pm ET / 2am BST
Chavez Sr vs Camacho Jr: 11.30 ET / 4.30am BST
Venue: The Jalisco Stadium, Guadalajara, Mexico
UK stream: Fite.TV ($14.99)
Watch anywhere: Try ExpressVPN
US stream: Fite.TV ($39.99)
The much-hyped Tribute to the Kings event will feature 12 bouts, the first seven of which will be streamed live on globalsportsstreaming.com. The main card is an exclusive Fite.TV PPV starting at 9pm EST / 6pm PST.
The headline fight will feature former middleweight world champion Julio Cesar Chavez Jr against former UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva in a 10-round cruiserweight bout. The MMA great is considered by some to be UFC’s ‘Greatest Of All Time’ but his final MMA appearance was underwhelming and he hasn’t been in a boxing ring since 2005.
“When I look back at my journey, I see that nothing has been in vain,” said Former UFC middleweight champion Silva. “I am extremely happy for the opportunity to test my boxing skills with Julio César Chávez Jr. I train continuously, always am striving for resilience and to overcome obstacles. Fighting is my everlasting breath.”
Before that, 58-year-old boxing legend Julio Cesar Chavez Sr will make his last ever ring appearance when he battles Hector “Little Macho” Camacho Jr in an exhibition bout. Camancho Jr is son of Hector “Macho” Camancho Sr, who was defeated by unanimous decision in the legendary Chavez vs Camacho WBO light welterweight title fight back in September 1992.
The main card also features Omar Chavez, who fights Ramon Alvarez in their trilogy bout. Don’t miss this one – it looks to be a spectacular PPV put together by Borizteca Boxing and Tosacano Promotions.
Saturday’s Tribute to the Kings pay-per-view is exclusive to Fite.TV. You can watch on the Fite.TV website or via the app. Follow our guide to watch a Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream from anywhere in the world.
Watch a Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream on Fite.TV
There isn’t a way to stream the Tribute to the Kings main card free, sadly.
US boxing fans must pay the $39.99 PPV fee to watch the main card including a Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream.
UK boxing fans need only pay $14.99 – less than half what the PPV costs in the States. So, even if you’re not a huge boxing fan, you’re guaranteed great bang for buck at this price.
Fite.TV is accessible worldwide but if you find yourself geo-blocked, simply use a VPN to access Fite.TV from anywhere in the world. We recommend ExpressVPN because it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
The Fite.TV app is available from the Apple App Store, Google Play, Amazon Appstore, Roku TVs and players and Huawei App Gallery.
Watch a Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream anywhere in the world using a VPN
Even if you have subscribed to the relevant Chavez Jr vs Silva live stream rights holders, you may find yourself geo-blocked if you’re away from your own country. If that’s the case use a VPN to make sure you can access the stream.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service such as ExpressVPN.
Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee with its VPN service. You can use it to watch Lamar Odom vs Aaron Carter on your mobile, tablet, laptop, TV, games console and more. There’s 24/7 customer support and three months free when you sign-up.
Tribute to the Kings main card
Julio Cesar Chavez Jr vs Anderson Silva – Cruiserweight
Julio Cesar Chavez Sr vs Hector Camacho Jr – Exhibition
It might be aimed primarily at creative types, but the new iPad Pro 12.9 is also the best tablet there’s ever been if portable cinema is your thing
Stunning picture quality
Great sound with headphones
Expensive for a tablet
At this stage, each new iPad feels like an incremental improvement on the one before it. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course – in practical terms, Apple is almost unchallenged in the tablet arena, so a nip and tuck is generally all that’s required, but it’s not exactly exciting.
That’s where the new iPad Pro 12.9 comes in. Despite being aesthetically similar to its predecessor, this is a big step forward for tablets.
The headline-grabber is the new, high-end laptop-derived processor, but the new mini LED-lit display is the real game-changer as far as we’re concerned. Ever wanted an OLED or QLED TV that you could fit in a backpack? The new iPad Pro 12.9 is that – and plenty more.
The new iPad Pro 12.9 starts at £999 ($1099, AU$1649) for the 128GB wi-fi-only model. There are lots of storage options available, all the way up to a £1999 ($2199, AU$3299) 2TB version. Adding cellular functionality to any model adds £150 ($200, AU$250).
The smaller iPad Pro 11 starts at £749 ($799, AU$1199) but, as well as being 1.9 inches smaller, the screen uses different underlying technology, so picture performance won’t be the same.
There’s little difference between the physical design of the new iPad Pro 12.9 and its predecessor. In fact, other than the new model being 0.5mm thicker, the dimensions of the two models are identical.
It is a large tablet, as you’d expect of a device with a 12.9in screen, measuring 28 x 21 x 0.6cm (11 x 8.5 x 0.3 inches) in total. You have to be committed to the cinematic (or productivity) potential of the big display to opt for such a large device.
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 (2021) tech specs
Screen size 12.9in
Resolution 2732 x 2048 (264ppi)
Storage 128GB / 256GB / 512GB / 1TB / 2TB
Battery life 10 hours
Cameras 12MP + 10MP ultra wide on rear / 12MP front
Dimensions (hwd) 28 x 21 x 0.6cm
Unlike the iPad Air, which is available in a number of subtle metallic hues, the iPad Pro 12.9 comes only in Space Grey or Silver. More variation would be nice, but both finishes are lovely and the new Pro both looks and feels utterly premium.
On the otherwise flat rear is a protruding camera array that will rest directly on a surface when the iPad is laid down. It’s designed to resist damage from such placement, but a case that physically raises the lenses will be a first add-on for many.
The top and bottom edges of the tablet each have two sets of speaker perforations so you’re listening in stereo when the iPad is oriented horizontally. Also along the edges are physical power and volume buttons, plus a USB-C socket that supports the much faster Thunderbolt standard, opening up the opportunity to connect higher-end storage devices and monitors.
The front is all glass, but there’s a 9mm black border between the display and the tablet’s edge. Embedded into this border is a new front-facing camera that can follow you around in the style of Facebook Portal. This is a great feature for FaceTime calls but the positioning of the camera on one of the shorter edges means you’re awkwardly off-centre when video calling in landscape mode.
Positioning aside, that front-facing camera is excellent in terms of image quality, thanks to a 12MP resolution and ultra-wide field of view. The rear camera array is solid, too, boasting a main 12MP wide camera, 10MP ultra-wide camera and a true tone flash.
If you’re the sort of person who’s considering buying a new iPad Pro, you may already have a top-end iPhone with an even better camera, but the iPad takes perfectly good photos and videos (the latter in up to 4K at 60fps) in its own right. It’s also of a high enough quality to enable lots of interesting and useful app-based features, such as document scanning and augmented reality experiences.
Apple positions its iPad Pro models as productivity and creativity devices, and the new M1 chip takes this to the next level. This is the same chip that Apple has just started putting in its MacBooks and has shaken up the laptop market thanks to its vast performance upgrade over previous processors.
Apple claims that it makes the new iPad Pro’s CPU performance 50 per cent faster than that of the already lightning-fast previous version, and GPU speed is up by 40 per cent. Frankly, that sort of power is overkill for those of us primarily interested in watching movies and listening to music but, needless to say, it makes the user experience smoother than Cristiano Ronaldo’s chest.
If you are looking to use the new iPad Pro for creating as well as consuming, you might want to consider combining it with the Apple Pencil (2nd Generation), which wirelessly charges when magnetically connected to the tablet’s edge, and/or the new Magic Keyboard, which essentially turns the iPad into a slick laptop, trackpad and all. Both accessories are expensive, though. In fact, adding the £329 ($349, AU$549) Magic Keyboard to the most affordable version of the iPad Pro 12.9 makes it more expensive than buying an M1-powered 13-inch MacBook Pro.
While content creators might be most excited about the new iPad Pro’s M1 power, we content consumers will be far more excited about the 12.9-inch model’s new screen. Apple calls it a Liquid Retina XDR display, with the ‘XDR’ standing for ‘eXtreme Dynamic Range’. This is the first mini-LED backlight in an iPad. There are 10,000 of the things, arranged into 2500 independent dimming zones – Samsung’s top mini LED-based 4K TV for 2021 (the QN95A) is thought to have around 800 dimming zones, so the iPad’s figure looks incredibly impressive.
The more dimming zones a display has, the more exact and precise it can be in terms of contrast, producing deep blacks next to bright highlights. Apple claims the iPad Pro 12.9 can maintain a full-screen brightness of up to 1000 nits and hit peaks of up to 1600 nits, which is around double the peak brightness of a modern OLED TV. Contrast ratio is claimed to be 1,000,000:1.
Those screen specs should make the iPad Pro 12.9 a great performer with HDR content – and they do. It’s not so much that it goes vastly brighter than other iPad models, such as the iPad Air, it’s that it combines bright highlights with awesomely deep blacks to create a vastly more dynamic and exciting picture.
We play Blade Runner 2049 in Dolby Vision from the iTunes store and set both models to their highest brightness setting. The Pro’s peaks are noticeably brighter than the Air’s but not vastly so. However, to reach those levels the Air has had to entirely sacrifice its black performance, producing something clearly grey in hue. There’s no such sacrifice necessary with the Pro – its blacks are near-perfect.
That combination of deep blacks and very bright highlights makes for a supremely punchy image, particularly in the scenes around LA, which feature neon lights and holographic adverts lighting the city’s grimy gloom.
Thankfully, Apple hasn’t thrown away its reputation for colour authenticity while reaching for new heights in contrast. On the contrary, Apple claims that every iPad is calibrated for colour, brightness, gamma and white point before it leaves the factory, and it shows – there’s great consistency across iPad models, all of which come across as extremely authentically balanced. It’s the same with the new Pro.
There’s a little more vibrancy afforded by the greater dynamic range, seen in the yellow porch of Sapper Morton’s farm, for example, but there’s no hint of garishness or exaggeration. As we switch between films and TV shows from various streaming services and in various resolutions and formats (HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision are all supported), colours combine vividness and nuanced authenticity to an exceptional degree. Everything looks awesome, but it also looks correct.
Apple increases and decreases the resolution of its iPads depending on the size of the screen, so that pixel density is kept the same (all current models have 264 pixels per inch with the exception of the iPad Mini, which has a higher pixel density of 326ppi). As a result, the new iPad Pro 12.9 isn’t vastly sharper or more detailed than siblings such as the Air (although it does dig up more fine details in the brightest and darkest parts of the picture), but the deeper blacks help reinforce edges, making for a more solid and three-dimensional image.
That solidity is retained even during fast and otherwise tricky motion. The iPad Pro maintains a firm grip on the action at all times, sharpening and smoothing without adding any artificiality or shimmer. It doesn’t even get confused by K’s car moving behind a row of skyscrapers as he flies back to HQ at the beginning of Blade Runner 2049, or by the dogfighting planes in 1917. If this was a TV, in terms of motion handling it would be right up there with the superb Sony A90J.
In fact, that’s the underlying beauty of the new iPad Pro 12.9: it’s like having a miniaturised top-end TV you can take almost anywhere.
With two speakers on each of the short edges, the iPad Pro is capable of producing proper stereo when in landscape orientation and, with some clever onboard processing, it’s even able to deliver some virtualised surround sound, with some of the radio chatter at the start of Gravity appearing to come to your left and right rather than being completely tethered to the drivers.
That effect is ramped up to astonishing degrees if you add a pair of AirPods Max or AirPods Pro headphones and take advantage of the spatial audio feature. It’s incredibly effective, particularly with the Max cans, and is like being in a personal Dolby Atmos cinema, with sounds coming from all around you. If the iPad Pro 12.9 is like having a top-end TV you can take anywhere, adding a pair of AirPods Max makes it like having a whole portable cinema. It’s genuinely amazing.
Of course, the tablet will also output sound to any standard wired and Bluetooth headphones, although you will need to buy a USB-C headphone adapter for the former. As with its approach to video, Apple has always favoured authentic, uncoloured sound, and so it proves here – movies and music are both presented with deft tonal balance, impressive rhythmic organisation, lots of engaging punch and detail, and dynamic shifts both big and small.
While it’s not a vast step up from the current Air in terms of its audio quality through headphones, the new iPad Pro does sound noticeably cleaner and more nuanced than its smaller, much more affordable sibling. It has added richness and dynamic subtlety, too. Play both out loud, meanwhile, and there’s a clear increase in available volume and weight from the Pro, although both models are fairly bass light, as you’d expect from drivers small enough to fit inside a tablet device.
Apple’s Pro tablets have, as the name suggests, always been aimed at professional, creative types, and they will be delighted by the huge power brought to the new models by the M1 chip.
Our focus is on the picture and sound, though, and the iPad Pro 12.9 is at least as exciting here. The picture performance is superb – punchy and deep, vibrant and natural, exciting and nuanced. It’s right up there with that of the very best TVs you can buy. Sound, meanwhile, is great from the speakers, excellent via standard Bluetooth or wired headphones, and simply amazing with a pair of AirPods Max cans.
This is a hugely expensive tablet and the price is hard to justify for anyone who has no intention of taking advantage of its productivity potential, but it’s also the best tablet you can buy for watching movies on the move. Sure, this is a luxury device, but it’s an extremely persuasive one.
(Pocket-lint) – Sonos is not one for racing new products out for the sake of it. Its Playbar, for example, ruled the roost for seven years, being its only full-fledged soundbar in that time.
The Sonos Beam arrived in the meantime, but was more meant for smaller TVs and rooms, giving you a better alternative than the speakers on your flatscreen rather than cinematic experience. So, a replacement to the Playbar was long overdue.
That’s where the Sonos Arc came in. But it didn’t just replace the Playbar, it brought so many new bells and whistles to the party that it is an altogether different beast. One with Dolby Atmos – a first for the company – to deliver a virtual surround-sound experience from the single ‘bar.
Dimensions: 87 x 1141.7 x 115.7mm / Weight: 6.25kg
Can be wall-mounted or laid on a TV cabinet
Black and white options available
Adjustable status LED
Putting its tech and audio prowess to one side for a minute, the Sonos Arc is a sleek looking soundbar that matches the aesthetic of the company’s One and Move standalones.
Best soundbar: Options to boost your TV audio
It is long – almost the length of a modern 55-inch flatscreen TV – but more subtle than its predecessor, with a plastic alloy build and grille to front and sides. Even the logo fades away when you’re not staring directly at it, whichever finish you choose (there’s black or white, nothing more outlandish than that).
We particularly like that there are no contrasting flourishes in the design, as there’s nothing worse than catching a soundbar out of the corner of your eye while watching an intense moment in a film. Unlike children, speaker systems – and especially soundbars – should be heard and not seen. The subtlety of Sonos’ bar ensures that is the case, whether it’s wall-mounted or laid flat on a TV stand.
There are a few touch buttons on the top for play/pause and volume adjustment, but the Sonos app is so simple to use we couldn’t see ourselves bothering with them. Plus, as it is HDMI eARC-enabled, you can mainly control the soundbar through your TV remote for general use.
What is HDMI eARC? Why is it different to HDMI ARC?
The only other distinguishable icon on the bar itself is a microphone symbol, indicating that it is voice-enabled, with support for both Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant. You can tap it to turn on/off the listening mode – signified by a small LED light.
Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) and Wi-Fi (802.11b/g, 2.4GHz)
HDMI eARC (with optical digital audio adapter)
IR sensor on the front
Around the rear, hidden in an alcove, there are connections for power, HDMI and Ethernet. That’s it.
Those not wanting to connect the Arc through HDMI will be pleased to know that a digital optical audio adapter is included in the box, but that will effectively disable any Dolby Atmos support, as that requires hooking it up to an HDMI eARC/ARC port on a compatible TV. You’ll still get very effective multichannel surround sound, just not Atmos.
Also missing (if setup using the optical connection) will be the ability for full automation through your TV’s remote control. There is an infrared (IR) sensor, so you can set your remote to also adjust volume, but that’s a less elegant solution than using HDMI CEC (standing for Consumer Electronics Control) between TV and Arc. It also emits automated audio sync between them.
Still, if it’s all you’ve got then that’s fine – you’re still getting a superb sound system and are future-proofed to boot.
Plus, while there are plenty of TVs with at least one ARC-enabled HDMI port, only more recent models support Dolby Atmos decoding or passthrough. Even fewer support the full HDMI eARC standard, so it’s possible you might consider the soundbar with an eye on upgrading your TV somewhere down the line.
As well as 10/100 Mbps Ethernet for wired network connection, single-band (2.4GHz) Wi-Fi is available too.
Dolby Atmos support (through HDMI eARC/ARC)
Built-in Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa voice assistants
Runs on new Sonos S2 software
Apple AirPlay 2 support
Sonos multiroom compatible
As well as Dolby Atmos – which we’ll come to in a bit – the Sonos Arc is quite a step up over the Playbar when it comes to features.
Support for Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant is wholly welcome, for starters, implementing in similar fashion to Sonos One and Move.
The Arc has a four far-field microphone array built in that detects voice from a fair distance. We walked around a decent sized living room, even stepped outside for a moment, and it could still hear and recognise our voice.
Both services are setup through the Sonos app and, subsequently, their own individual applications on iOS and Android, so once complete act almost exactly as they would on any other supported device.
You can only use one assistant, having to disable the other if you swap, but it’s great to be given the choice. And, depending on Amazon and Google’s compatibility, it means you can play and control music by vocal command, across streaming services, and your own digital library.
You can also technically use your Arc to control your TV, if it too is Alexa and/or Google Assistant-enabled.
Apple AirPlay 2 is also supported by the soundbar, to present the cleanest possible audio sent wirelessly from an iPhone, iPad or Mac. And, Sonos’ Trueplay audio tuning during setup ensures that the output matches your surroundings through very simple instructions.
What is Sonos Trueplay and how does it work?
Of course, the Arc’s biggest, most attractive feature is that it is a Sonos speaker.
Sonos has provided an integrated, connected multiroom solution for many years, and has refined the experience over time. Today it is compatible with all the big music streaming services, including Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, Deezer, Tidal, and more. There is also Sonos Radio, the brand’s own free service with ad-supported stations and curated playlists, so even if you aren’t a member of a third-party platform, you will still have plenty to listen to.
As Sonos products also connect wirelessly to each other, through your home network, you can sync the same songs playing on your Arc to, say, a Sonos Five speaker in another room, for example. You can group multiple speakers together and have them all play the same music. It’s great for house parties, that’s for sure.
Alternatively, you can use the interoperability to hook up a couple of Sonos One speakers to work as rear speakers, using your Arc as the front, centre and height channels. And adding a Sub for extra bass is made as simple as possible.
A decent feature set is all well and good, but the most important aspect of a soundbar is the sound itself. And the Arc does not disappoint when it comes to spatial performance.
It effectively presents a virtual 5.0.2 soundfield with Atmos engaged, 5.0 when not. Dedicated centre, left and right channels provide the front-facing effects. Two other channels angled at either end of the bar provide virtual surround, while a pair of additional drivers point upwards to reflect Dolby Atmos height channels off the ceiling and back to the listening position.
There are eight woofers and three tweeters in all, each with its own Class-D digital amplifier, and when all are working in unison it presents a wall of sound that belies the simple, thin form factor.
We advise pairing the Arc with the Sonos Sub, as that will put extra growl into the bass, but we’re already impressed with the overall effect when it’s playing solo, including low frequencies.
As we’ve mentioned above, you can also add a pair of additional Sonos speakers for true rears/surrounds, but the reason why many invest in a soundbar is for its simplicity. Unless you are a true home cinema buff, you’ll already be impressed with the Arc’s out-of-the-box experience.
We tested the Arc using the latest Sonos software (Sonos S2) and several sources. We also used a Philips OLED754 TV, which has Dolby Atmos processing on board and passthrough – which we activated.
This allowed us to play a few Netflix shows that come with Atmos sound, plus several 4K Blu-rays: The Rise of Skywalker, John Wick 3 and Ready Player One. The second John Wick sequel is an especially good check disk for Dolby Atmos, with rain effects utilising the height channels throughout the first few scenes.
Perhaps the best test came via our Xbox One X. The Dolby Access app for the console (plus the One S) comes with a great collection of game and movie trailers featuring Atmos mixes, plus a few of Dolby’s own demo clips. They each gave the Sonos Arc a great workout, which it passed with flying colours. It provides a wall of sound, with clear precise spacing, even at extreme volumes.
When listening to the Arc you get an impression of audio above the seating position, plus a widening of the soundscape. But you also get a bold, cinematic presentation that seemingly comes straight from the TV screen. Having a dedicated centre also allows for clean vocal tracks.
In music terms, listening to high-res mixes of Price’s Purple Rain and The Rolling Stones’ You Can’t Always Get What You Want streamed over Tidal perfectly illustrated the bar’s ability with mid and high frequencies. Even bass response is more than acceptable for music playback.
You are still likely to want a separate Sub to get the most from genres utilising sub-bass – d&b and dubset heads, that’s you – but even without that additional cost the Arc’s neutral tones are a great starting point for all genres.
The Sonos Arc is a highly-accomplished bit of kit. There are caveats: it only works with the Sonos S2 software, so cannot be part of the same multi-room setup as older legacy kit; and, without a separate source input on the bar, your TV needs to have Dolby Atmos and HDMI ARC/eARC support to use it at its fullest.
However, those are minor points really as, like the Playbar before it, this is a speaker with the potential to be relevant for the next seven years or more. Your surrounding kit will inevitably catch-up.
In the meantime, the Arc presents an exemplary sound experience even without Dolby Atmos – which accounts for 90 per cent or so of the audio you’ll pump through it anyway. And, with Alexa and Google Assistant built-in, plus AirPlay 2 and Sonos’ own feature-filled music platform, you have yourself a very compelling speaker system to elevate your entertainment no end.
It’s pricey, granted, but you’re getting a tough-to-rival feature set and a very classy act all told.
If you’re not bound to Sonos’ multi-room system idea, yet want a true surround sound system in the one box, Samsung delivers a 7.1.4 with ‘bar, sub, rear speakers and Dolby Atmos support out of the box. All for a very reasonable price considering.
Read our review
Writing by Rik Henderson. Editing by Britta O’Boyle.
Every Friday, The Verge publishes our flagship podcast, The Vergecast, where co-hosts Nilay Patel and Dieter Bohn discuss the week in tech news with the reporters and editors covering the biggest stories.
In this episode, the show is split into three sections. First, Nilay and Dieter talk to Verge senior editor Tom Warren about this week in Microsoft: leaks of the Windows 11 UI, announcements from E3 2021, and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella doubling as the company’s chairman.
Windows 11 leak reveals new UI, Start menu, and more
Microsoft Teams’ new front row layout arrives later this year
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella now doubles as the company’s chairman
Microsoft announces Xbox TV app and its own xCloud …
Microsoft is bringing next-gen Xbox games to the Xbox One with xCloud
Even the Xbox app has stories now
The Xbox Series X mini fridge will be available this holiday season
Microsoft Flight Simulator is landing on Xbox Series X / S consoles on July 27th
The best trailers of E3 2021
In section two of the show, Verge politics reporter Makena Kelly returns to explain the continuing push by the US government to enact antitrust legislation on tech monopolies — this week, five new bills were introduced and the Senate confirmed a new commissioner of the FTC.
Tech antitrust pioneer Lina Khan will officially lead the FTC
How Republicans and Democrats are gearing up to fight tech monopolies
House lawmakers introduce five bipartisan bills to unwind tech monopolies
Senate bill would make it easier to cancel a subscription online after a free trial
In part 3, Verge managing editor Alex Cranz joins in to chat about this week in gadgets and Google — the company is adding end-to-end encryption to their Messages app, Sonos officially announced their picture frame speaker, and Telsa’s Model S Plaid made its big debut.
Google’s first retail store opens this week
Google adds E2E RCS encryption to Messages, emoji mashup suggests, and more for Android
Google Workspace and Google Chat are officially available to everybody
Honor confirms Google’s apps will return to its phones with new 50 series
Beats Studio Buds review: big ambition, imperfect execution
Ikea and Sonos announce picture frame speaker, coming July 15th for $199
Watch the debut of Tesla Model S Plaid, the ‘quickest production car ever made’
The Realme GT lays claim to OnePlus’ ‘flagship killer’ mantle
Oppo’s rollable concept phone is pure potential lacking polish
You can listen to the full discussion here or in your preferred podcast player.
Looks like immersion doesn’t quite beat monetization — Facebook is going to start putting in-headset ads in certain Oculus games within the next few weeks. Welcome to the digital frontier! Instead of the Gateway Arch, we have a McDonald’s billboard.
Don’t expect to have to karate kick pop-ups quite yet, though. According to a post Oculus made on its blog yesterday, this is going to be a slow rollout. The ads will first appear in the Resolution Games title Blastion, plus in a few unnamed games from “a couple other developers.”
“This is a test with a few apps,” the post explains. “Once we see how this test goes and incorporate feedback from developers and the community, we’ll provide more details on when ads may become more broadly available across the Oculus platform.”
If you’re worried that these ads will show up as simple flat windows over your best VR headset footage, at least it seems like they’ll be more naturally integrated than that. A sample gif from the Oculus post shows an ad placed on an in-game wall, with the user able to click on it to access some customization options.
These include the ability to save the ad link for later, to mute it if it plays audio, to report it if it breaks any rules, to hide it and to find out why the algorithm targeted that specific ad towards you. In other words, it’s a very similar menu to ads on Facebook itself, although Andrew Bosworth tweeted out that there will be differences.
You can manage what ads you want to see and we’re including controls to hide specific ads or hide ads from an advertiser completely. Ads in VR will be different from ads elsewhere and this is a space that will take time and people’s feedback to get right https://t.co/dHOlqHoOVFJune 16, 2021
He also, very bravely, asked for feedback, which you can submit by reaching out to Oculus Support.
These ads might also explain why Oculus is going to start requiring Facebook accounts to use its devices. A Facebook spokesperson told the Verge that the ad system will use information from your Facebook account, including “”hether you’ve viewed content, installed, activated or subscribed to an Oculus app, added an app to your cart or wishlist, if you’ve initiated checkout or purchased an app on the Oculus platform, and lastly, whether you’ve viewed, hovered, saved, or clicked on an ad within a third-party app.”
That said, the company still promises that “We do not use information processed and stored locally on your headset to target ads.”
It’s possible that this ad system might also be an attempt to bring a mobile-like experience to the Oculus store. On mobile, many games are free and supported by ads, and Oculus’ blog closes out by saying “We’re excited by the opportunity to open up new revenue streams for developers and as a result, broaden the type of apps and content on the Oculus Platform. A more profitable ecosystem is a critical step on the path to consumer VR becoming truly mainstream.”
Let’s just hope it doesn’t undercut the whole point of visiting another reality.
Everybody loves the CG characters prominently used in ASUS ROG products’ marketing videos. Don’t they? Well, now the gaming brand is egging them on by teaming up with Taiwan TTL to stick its characters all over pots of instant noodles. This all comes from a Google translation of a Chinese news report noticed by back2gaming, so it may need a touch of soy sauce.
Unless the translation is very wrong, this is purely a packaging collaboration, and the noodles will not actually taste of motherboards and GPUs. Flavors, again unreliably translated using the Google Translate phone app, seem to be chicken for Angry Man With Gun, and beef for Angry Man With Sword, but whatever they are we’re sure we’ll be left wonton more.
Ready in three minutes, instant noodles are a staple food for gaming types across Asia, so far from ramen them down our throats this is quite a canny move by the hardware brand, making sure no one is left Nissin the point about its connection to gaming culture.
Taiwan TTL also sells liquor, and instant noodles might also be useful for sobering you up after a night on the town. The promotion runs until the end of July in Taiwan, and we don’t know if they will be available for export, though they do come in a convenient 2.4kg (5.3lbs) bulk box.
(Image credit: Golden Boy Promotions / Matchroom / DAZN)
Former WBO junior middleweight champion Jaime Munguia faces replacement opponent Kamil Szeremeta this Saturday, 19th June, at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, Texas. The 12-round WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Championship bout will be streamed live exclusively on DAZN, online and through the DAZN app. Follow our guide on how to watch a Jaime Munguia vs Kamil Szeremeta live stream, from anywhere in the world.
Munguia vs Szeremeta live stream
Main card: 8.30pm BST / 3.30pm ET / 5.30am AEST
Munguia vs Szeremeta: 11pm BST / 6pm ET / 8am AEST
Venue: Don Haskins Center, El Paso
Free stream: DAZN free trial (Canada)
Watch anywhere: Try ExpressVPN
UK stream: DAZN (£2/month)
US stream: DAZN ($20/month)
Tickets: Ticketmaster (from $35)
Mexican orthodox Jaime Munguia, 24, was originally due to fight Maciej Sulecki for the WBO Intercontinental Middleweight Championship, but the highly rated Polish veteran, 35, pulled out two weeks before the showdown citing “undisclosed reasons”.
Chairman of Golden Boy Promotions, Oscar de la Hoya, is confident that Munguia (36-0, 29 KOs) has the maturity to adjust to his new opponent, 31-year-old Polish powerhouse Kamil Szeremeta (21-1, 5 KOs).
Szeremeta, currently ranked as the world’s seventh best active middleweight by The Ring magazine, will relish a second bite at the world title cherry but The Pride of Tijuana believes he can become a two-division world champion this weekend.
“I have a lot of experience when it comes to opponent changes,” said Munguia. “Obviously, it’s different at this level because the preparation is stronger and more strategic. However, I take it very calmly and we are going to make the necessary adjustments to walk away with our hand raised in victory on June 19.”
The co-main event will see rising Uzbek fighter Bektemir “Bully” Melikuziev (7-0, 6 KOs) face his toughest test yet against former world title challenger “King” Gabriel Rosado (25-13-1, 14 KOs), who fights out of Philadelphia, for the WBO Intercontinental and WBA Continental Americas Super Middleweight Titles.
Saturday’s unmissable fight is exclusive to DAZN (except Mexico) but it’s much cheaper in some countries than others. Here’s how to find the right price Jaime Munguia vs Kamil Szeremeta live stream from anywhere in the world.
Boxing fans around the world can stream this weekend’s big fight live on DAZN, which has the rights to this middleweight clash in over 200 countries excluding Mexico. Subscription to the sports streaming service costs $20 a month in the USA, or just £2 a month in the UK. Lucky Canadian subscribers can enjoy a FREE DAZN trial. Worth knowing, right?
Munguia vs Szeremeta free live stream with DAZN free trial
DAZN has the rights to the UFC, Bundesliga, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, US Sports, Fightsports, and much more live and on demand in selected European countries. Canadians can try it free for one month. Cancel at anytime.
Going to be outside your home country of Canada this weekend? Simply use a VPN to access the DAZN free trial without being geo-blocked.We recommend ExpressVPN because it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
The Munguia vs Szeremeta ringwalks are expected at 6pm ET / 3pm PT.
Munguia vs Szeremeta free live stream anywhere in the world using a VPN
Even if you have subscribed to the relevant Munguia vs Szeremeta rights holders, you won’t be able to access these streaming services when outside your own country. The service will know your location based on your IP address, and will automatically block your access.
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) helps you get around this obstacle. A VPN creates a private connection between your device and the internet, such that the servers and services you’re accessing aren’t aware of what you’re doing. All the information passing back and forth is entirely encrypted.
There are many VPN providers out there, with some more reliable and safe than others. As a rule, we’d suggest a paid-for service such as ExpressVPN.
Try ExpressVPN risk-free for 30 days ExpressVPN offers a 30-day money back guarantee with its VPN service. You can use it to watch Munguia vs Szeremeta on your mobile, tablet, laptop, TV, games console and more. There’s 24/7 customer support and three months free when you sign-up.
DAZN has the exclusive rights to stream this fight live online in over 200 countries including the UK. Subscription costs just £1.99 a month – a tenth of what it costs in the States!
Remember: British boxing fans stuck outside the UK this weekend can use a VPN to access DAZN for £1.99 from anywhere – without being blocked.We recommend ExpressVPNbecause it comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee and 24/7 customer support.
The Munguia vs Szeremeta ringwalks are expected at 11pm British Summer Time.
Munguia vs Szeremeta fight card
Jaime Munguia vs Kamil Szeremeta – Middleweight
Bektemir Melikuziev vs Gabriel Rosado – Super Middleweight
Ibeth Zamora vs Marlen Esparza – for Zamora’s WBC women’s flyweight title
Blair Cobbs vs Brad Soloman – Welterweight
Raul Curiel vs Ferdinand Keroyban – Welterweight
Alexis Rocha vs James Bacon – Welterweight
Manuel Flores vs Daniel Lozano – Junior Featherweight
Tristan Kalkreuth vs Demetrius Banks – Cruiserweight
Gregory Morales vs TBA – Junior Featherweight
Name: Jaime Munguia – Kamil Szeremeta
Nationality: Mexican – Polish
Date of birth: 6th October 1996 – 11th October 1989
Height: 6ft – 5ft 9.5 inches
Reach: Unknown – Unknown
Total fights: 36 – 22
Record: 36-0, 29 KOs – 21-1, 5 KOs
Munguia on Szeremeta
“I’m excited to be fighting in El Paso. It’s been a dream of mine. It’s a place where many great fighters have fought. It fills me with pride to be able to deliver a great show. I think I need to make a statement. I’m on the rise, so I have to keep doing things better with each fight. We have a great fighter in front of us. We have a lot of respect and admiration towards him, so we have to make sure we do things correctly so that we get a big fight next.”
“This fight will be great. I’m happy to fight against such an amazing fighter. On Saturday, I will do my best to give you all a great show. I am very happy that I am fighting an undefeated boxer. It makes it more meaningful. I’m not worried about being in a place that will be full of Jamie Munguia’s supporters. I don’t even care. I’m used to this. I’m always fighting in other territories.”
The Nvidia Shield has a new look. Well, to be precise, its operating system does. The media streamer – which runs Android TV – has a new Discover tab with recommendations grouped by genre, and a redesigned apps screen.
The revamp draws inspiration from Google TV, the OS that at the time of writing is only available on the Google Chromecast with Google TV. The circular app icons (that looked like blobs) are gone from the left-hand side, and there’s now room for a bigger visual in the top right showing your selected content. Following these changes, there’s actually more room to show more games, apps, and other content on screen simultaneously.
The update is rolling out now but could take up to a week to reach you. Customers in the US, Canada, UK, France, Germany, and Australia will get the new UI and Discover tab, but those in Italy and Spain will only get the new UI.
See all our streaming reviews and products
Get the lowdown: HDR TV: What is it? How can you get it?
It isn’t perfect, but the SP11RA is a refined, detailed and room-filling Dolby Atmos system
Large, well-spread soundscape
Comprehensive feature set
Detailed top end
Looks don’t match the price tag
Sub feels one dimensional
Lacks a little punch
It seems that LG can do no wrong when it comes to OLED TVs, but its soundbars have proven to be more of a mixed bag. The company is clearly determined to get things right with its 2021 flagship model, the LG SP11RA, despite the two-star bruising we gave its predecessor.
Like the previous model, the SP11RA is a serious investment in terms of both money and space. If your idea of a soundbar is affordable, compact convenience, you may be surprised by the price, size and number of boxes involved here. It’s still a more convenient and less overwhelming undertaking than building a true home cinema system, though, particularly one to match the LG’s 7.1.4 channels of Dolby Atmos action.
Best of all, while the SP11RA looks similar to its underwhelming forebear, the feature set and sound quality have been significantly improved. It’s still not perfect and it won’t be for everyone, but for some, it could be just what they’re looking for.
The SP11RA launches at £1500 (AU$1849) and supersedes 2020’s SN11RG, which was initially similarly priced but has been heavily discounted since being discontinued.
Its nearest rival is Samsung’s 11.1.4ch package, the Q950A, which currently costs £1600 ($1600, AU$1500), while some of Samsung’s smaller 2021 Dolby Atmos soundbars with wireless subs, such as the Q800A £799 ($700), can be upgraded to surround packages through the addition of the SWA-9500S 2.0.2 wireless rear speaker kit, which costs £249 ($248, AU$395).
Alternatively, the Award-winning, Dolby Atmos-enabled Sonos Arc, which costs £799 ($799, AU$1399) on its own, can be expanded through the addition of two One SL speakers (£358, $358, AU$538) and, if required, a Sub (£699, $699, AU$999). This full system would set you back £1856 ($1856, $2936).
If all this sounds quite costly, bear in mind that the cheapest AVR we recommend that does 7.1.4 amplification, the Denon AVC-X6700H, costs £2299 ($2499, AU$6190) and you’d also need to budget for a full speaker package.
Size is certainly the most conspicuous physical feature of the SP11RA. At 144cm long, LG suggests pairing with TVs sized 55 inches and above, so you’ll need a substantial cabinet to house it on. Hardware for wall mounting is included but, at 15cm deep, it will protrude noticeably more than your flat screen.
LG SP11RA tech specs
Connections eARC, 2x HDMI, optical, USB
Sound format support Dolby Atmos/ Dolby AudioTM/ DTS:X/ DTS-HD/ PCM
Bluetooth version 5.0
AirPlay 2 Yes
Voice control Google Assistant, Alexa
Dimensions (hwd) 6.3 x 144 x 14.6cm (bar); 39 x 22 x 31cm (sub); 21 x 13 x 19cm (rears)
Weight 7.2kg (bar); 7.8kg (sub); 5.2kg (rears)
The finish seems to have been designed to help camouflage the large surface area and almost succeeds. The front and side faces are wrapped in a tight black mesh grille while the top surface is finished in brushed black metal which, despite its matt finish, reflects a bit of light from the screen directly above.
Size aside, there’s little in the design that indicates the premium price. The styling is rather nondescript, and the individual units don’t feel particularly solid or premium either.
Hidden inside the main bar are the left, centre and right channels, each with a 20mm silk dome tweeter and a 10cm racetrack driver; two ‘surround’ channels with a 10cm racetrack driver unit at either end of the bar; and on the top surface are a pair of 7cm Atmos speakers.
Also on the top exterior is a mic for room calibration and voice control (the SP11RA is compatible with both Alexa and Google Assistant) as well as touch buttons for power, input, volume, play/pause and quick source select options for wi-fi and Bluetooth 5.0.
The front face has a five-character swift scrolling LED display for text feedback as you change settings and otherwise constantly shows the current active input.
At the rear is an HDMI-out port that supports eARC, plus two HDMI 2.1 inputs with 4K Dolby Vision pass-through. There’s also an optical input and a USB port, the latter for connection to a mass storage device.
Relative to the main bar the separate wireless sub (SPP8-W) seems modestly sized, with a front-facing 18cm bass driver and rear port, wrapped on three sides in a soft black fabric.
The two wireless rear speakers house front-facing 76mm units for the surround back left and right channels and angled 63mm drivers on top for the Atmos, with the sides finished in the same brushed black metal as the main bar. While the sub and surrounds are ‘wireless’ in terms of audio signal they still require power and need to be located near a plug socket.
That’s a total of 15 drive units configured for 7.1.4-channels, but syncing this array of boxes is pretty straightforward. The LG Soundbar app quickly finds the main bar and is easy to add onto our network, with the other units of our sample automatically joining after. There’s also a button on the back of each unit for manual pairing and an LED status indicator.
The SP11RA has a comprehensive list of connectivity options that can be easily accessed via the touch buttons, the minimalist remote control or the app. For streaming, alongside Bluetooth and wi-fi, there’s Chromecast built-in and, if you have access to hi-res content, you’ll be pleased to know the soundbar can handle audio of up to 24-bit/192kHz quality.
The levels of each speaker group can be turned up or down using the remote or the app, and there’s a broad two-band EQ to tweak the high end or low end of the front of the main unit.
As well as a decent ‘Standard’ sound mode, there are a host of other sound profiles, some of which are new for this year, including a ‘Music’ mode that benefits from tuning courtesy of Meridian, with whom LG has collaborated to enhance its audio products since 2018.
The SP11RA also features ‘Meridian Horizon’, an upmixing technology that LG says will provide immersive multichannel audio from two-channel stereo content.
This upmixing is accessed from the ‘Cinema Sound’ mode which, regardless of the original sound format, will output audio from all speakers. The ‘Bass Blast’ profile operates similarly but with added low end. There’s also a ‘Clear Voice’ option, and modes optimised for ‘Sport’ and ‘Gaming’. If you’d rather let the soundbar decide then ‘AI Sound’ mode automatically switches between profiles. On the LG Soundbar app, there’s an added ‘Night-time’ mode that compresses dynamics and reduces bass and can only be accessed manually.
Following the latest trend of brand symbiotic TVs and soundbars, those with a 2021 LG OLED (such as the OLED65CX) have yet more options available and can choose to let their TV handle the processing by choosing ‘TV Sound Mode Share’ in the advanced settings on their TV’s sound menu. However, it’s worth noting that when watching Dolby Atmos content, the sound modes are locked out as this uses its own algorithm.
We start by streaming Soul in 5.1 on Disney Plus. Trent Reznor’s ethereal electronic score of the ‘Great Before’ is well projected in both the main bar and rears and the springy reverb effects in the ‘You Seminar’ are nicely realised, adding a feeling of openness and space. The pillowy soundscape feels large and enveloping, and the surrounds pull their weight dynamically, filling in the atmosphere nicely with a smooth, even soundstage.
Occasionally, though, that smoothness verges on blandness. When the action returns to earth and ‘22’ experiences the cacophony of New York for the first time, we don’t quite get the sense of overwhelming din from the more guttural sounds such as the pile driver and passing firetruck, which lack a strong leading edge. Jon Batiste’s jazz underscore however feels elegantly presented and lush, skipping along with a secure sense of timing.
Swapping to the opening scene of Unbroken in Dolby Atmos, we’re impressed by the forthright clarity of the high-frequency elements in such a busy, noisy scene – even as the sound of flight goggles being adjusted is crisp against the whir of the engines – and the projection of the dialogue. As wind and engine noise fill the room, the SP11RA makes a fair attempt at rendering height, though not quite as successfully as the class-leading Sonos Arc which, when paired with two Sonos One surrounds, benefits from greater consistency of sound between the main unit and the smaller speakers.
Streaming from Tidal, we try Mariachi El Bronx’s High Tide. It’s a texturally dense song, but the SP11RA manages to control the ornate instrumentation. The vibrato heavy brass is sparkly but not harsh and the strings soar sweetly while lighter rhythmic elements such as the finger-picked acoustic guitar and woodblock sing out amongst it all. In the ‘Music’ mode, the bass and treble are enhanced slightly without sounding synthetic and the separation between instruments is widened.
A bigger undertaking is SBTRKT’s Trials Of The Past where the timing of some of the rapid synth tremolo proves a challenge. We also can’t help but feel that considering that this system has a separate sub it misses its chance to shine. There’s little attack to define the initial thump of the synthesised bass notes and, generally, the low end feels a bit limp and lacking in dimension, which when contrasted with the precision in the top end can result in an unbalanced sound.
The SP11RA is a big improvement from last year’s SN11RG. It’s easy to listen to, creating an even, immersive listening experience and, while you may have to give up some space to house it, its connectivity spec is one of the most comprehensive we’ve seen.
Some may find it a little too polite both in terms of the low end and muscularity, especially when compared to other soundbars with a separate sub such as Samsung’s HW-Q800A. Likewise, there are also better Dolby Atmos performers, including the Sonos Arc, which is even more convincing in its handling of 3D audio soundtracks, particularly when partnered by One SL surround speakers, as well as more attacking and engaging in its delivery.
The SP11RA isn’t perfect, then, but it is a good option that boasts a detailed top end, broad, room-filling sound and largely deft handling of music.
YouTube TV owner Google has been locked in a contract dispute with Roku since April. Both sides said they could not agree “reasonable” terms, and the YouTube TV app promptly disappeared from Roku streaming devices.
Now it’s emerged that Google is giving away free TiVo Stream 4K streaming devices to selected YouTube TV subscribers. The $40 dongles support Dolby Vision HDR, Dolby Atmos and, of course, YouTube TV. In an email to the lucky recipients, YouTube TV said:
“To ensure our loyal YouTube TV members have a great watch experience (including the ability to watch 4K content on our optional new add-on service coming soon!), we want to offer you a free TiVo Stream 4K device”.
There’s no proof that the giveaway is linked to the feud with Roku, but some tech watchers have floated the idea that the freebie TiVo boxes are a workaround for the Roku dispute.
The thought seems to have crossed Google’s mind, too. Back in May the company said it was “in discussions with other partners to secure free streaming devices in case YouTube TV members face any access issues on Roku”.
Since news of the free TiVo boxes broke, other YouTube TV users came forward to say they had been offered a free Google TV with Chromecast, reports 9to5Google.
Either way, today’s news re-confirms that Google is readying 4K streaming and offline downloads for YouTube TV. Subscribers currently pay $65 per month for 85+ live TV channels, plus a host of on-demand movies and TV shows, but it’s thought the upcoming 4K “add-on” will cost extra.
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The Xbox Series X and S might be Microsoft’s newest consoles, but you won’t need them to play the latest games. That’s because new titles are coming to Xbox One consoles, Microsoft has announced.
Now, there are a few caveats to this announcement. Not all games will be playable on the older consoles, as Microsoft has only said that “many” will. They will be playable through Xbox Cloud Gaming, rather than arriving on disc. And there’s not a lot of detail to dive into – the announcement was relegated to a single sentence in a blog post following Microsoft’s showcase at the E3 gaming conference.
Here’s the announcement in full:
“For the millions of people who play on Xbox One consoles today, we are looking forward to sharing more about how we will bring many of these next-gen games, such as Microsoft Flight Simulator, to your console through Xbox Cloud Gaming, just like we do with mobile devices, tablets, and browsers.”
That mention of Microsoft Flight Simulator as an example doesn’t exactly set our hearts aflutter either.
Still, it’s confirmation of what Microsoft had only hinted at before, and means anyone still struggling where to find an Xbox Series X (which is most of us) can get an idea of what all the fuss is about. Last week, Microsoft revealed it was working on bringing an Xbox app direct to smart TVs, as well as producing streaming devices, letting gamers play without the need for a console. Which, given the chip shortages that will continue until at least the end of this month, has to be good news.
We look forward to hearing more details soon.
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Spotify has acquired Podz, a startup whose technology generates preview clips of podcasts, the streaming service has announced. Unlike other services podcasters can use to manually create clips, TechCrunch says Podz automates the process of finding key moments from episodes using machine learning trained on over 100,000 hours of audio.
The acquisition is aimed at improving podcast discovery, letting users browse short clips rather than 30-minute plus podcast episodes. Spotify says this will make it “easier for listeners to find the content they want to listen to, and for creators to be discovered and build a fan base.” Podz tells TechCrunch that users on its platform typically follow up to 30 podcasts, up from an average of seven.
The acquisition follows Spotify’s subscription podcasting announcement, in which it would allow select partners to charge for access to their content. Although Spotify isn’t planning on taking its 5 percent cut of subscription revenue until 2023, eventually it’ll have a direct financial incentive to encourage its listeners to find and subscribe to as many podcasts as possible. Especially since it’s now competing with Apple Podcasts’ own in-app subscriptions, which launched this week.
Spotify says it plans to integrate Podz’ technology into its platform, and that some of the results should be visible before the end of the year.
Facebook is rolling out its v30 update to the Oculus Quest and Quest 2 VR headsets. As previewed earlier this week by Mark Zuckerberg, v30 includes a new multitasking interface for Infinite Office that lets you put multiple apps side by side, including the browser, Oculus TV, Oculus Move, the store, and so on.
Like many new Oculus Quest features, it’ll be found in the Experimental section of the settings menu at first. Once multitasking is enabled, apps can be dragged up from the menu bar or the apps library and snapped into position.
The v30 update also enables Air Link for the original Quest headset. Air Link came to the Quest 2 in April and allows you to stream VR games from your PC to your headset wirelessly, as opposed to Oculus Link which does the same thing over a USB-C cable. Original Quest owners could previously stream PC games wirelessly with the third-party app Virtual Desktop.
Other new features include the addition of an accessibility tab to the settings menu that, among other things, allows for height adjustment, so that games can be experienced from a standing viewpoint while seated. Oculus has also added the ability to switch the headset’s built-in microphone between system-wide party chat and the app you’re using.
As ever, the update might not hit your headset immediately due to the staggered rollout process, but Facebook says it’s coming.
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