We liked the look of Google’s Chromecast, and it appears that everyone else is going to be getting in on the action. If you missed it, or can’t be bothered to click on the link, Chromecast is a cheap device which you plug into your television, enabling you to stream things to it from your phone, tablet or whatever.
And now, Roku have announced their smart TV device, the Streaming Stick.
With this device, you can surf channels and browse from your iOS or Android phone or, if you like, use the bundled Roku remote. Channels that are available from Roku include BBC iPlayer, 4oD, Demand 5, Now TV, Sky Store and Sky News and you’ll be able to stream personal media from your devices. That includes your Netflix accounts and what-have-you.
The 2012 Roku Streaming Stick didn’t have the Chromecast functionality, so be careful if you’re looking at buying one.
Jim Funk, senior vice president of product management at Roku and owner of a marvellous, marvellous name, says: “The new Roku Streaming Stick gives consumers more choice for streaming entertainment to the TV than any other device. Consumers want a ton of entertainment, an easy way to search for movies and TV shows, and options to control the experience with a remote or mobile device. This new Roku Streaming Stick brings all that and more – and in a tiny form factor.”
Roku’s device is slightly pricier than the Chromecast, retailing at £49.99. However, it is in the shops now. Definitely worth looking at.
If you’ve got $1m (and you’re a prize fanny), you can now buy a roadworthy replica of the ‘Tumbler’ Batmobile seen in the Dark Knight films.
You – yes you, Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons – can finally show the people at work and all those girls who never talk to you that you are the boss man of Gotham City! (Batphone not included).
The limited edition car is currently selling on the James Edition website, which specialises in luxury goods for attention seeking rich people. It comes with 44 inch tyres, an 8 cylinder engine, Bluetooth, and five cameras to stop you from shunting it into other cars when you’re
parking outside your Nan’s house saving the world from the Joker.
But before you rush out to the building society to raid your Super Squirrel savings account, take heed. You can only get it in left hand drive, and although it’s legal to drive it on the roads, it’s not exactly equipped for popping to the shops.
As the makers say: ‘We have built this insane vehicle to be street legal however please understand that this is not a daily driver!’
‘Robin – to the Tw**mobile.’
We all know that any responsible government would put an outright ban on fixed odds betting machines, rather than sticking up pointless Gambleaware helpline numbers in the window of William Hill.
Instead, the Association of British Bookmakers has decided to take the problem into its own hands, by introducing a new code of conduct to stop the scourge of problem gambling. They’re installing new technology on gaming machines, so that gamers can set limits on their spending. (BECAUSE OF COURSE PROBLEM GAMBLERS ARE GOING TO SET THEIR OWN LIMITS.)
But it’s better than nothing, and the technology will also give staff an alert if someone has spent up to £250 or has been playing for half an hour. It’s being installed on 33,000 machines in England and Wales from today, and hopefully, will discourage vulnerable gambling addicts before they can get into any more trouble.
Chief exec of the ABB, Dirk Vennix said:
‘We recognise growing concerns that some customers are spending too much money or too much time on gaming machines. We want to take steps to protect them because one problem gambler is one too many.’
So, as they say in Glasgow, ‘you’re ontae plums’ – meaning that you have lost your game on the fruit machine and you must walk away from the nice flashing lights and step into the cold, wretched grasp of long term unemployment.
But will the technology work? Is the £250 limit still too high for players who are gambling with non-existent money? Maybe it would be less expensive and more effective to reconfigure the slots so that they only take 2ps, like one armed bandits in Scarborough?
Not wanting to be left out of the hugely lucrative Pay TV sector, Amazon is planning to launch a live streaming video service that will apparently rival Netflix.
It already exists in the US, where subscribers to Prime Instant Video get movies (via LoveFilm)m become Amazon Prime customers and get free next day delivery, and are given access to a massive Kindle library. All so they can buy even more stuff from Amazon and it can take over the world! Muah ha ha! And it’s coming to the UK, all for the annual price of £79.
But is this just a cynical way to schmoosh together a bunch of existing services and try to make it sound exciting? Will it be as good as Netflix? The Netflix that gave us House of Cards and Orange is the New Black? The Netflix that doesn’t demand that we buy stuff all the time, and just lets us catch up with 38 seasons of Fringe without bothering us? And let’s face it, LoveFilm’s streaming capabilities are a little less advanced than Netflix – in fact some think it should just change its name to ‘Buffering.’
robots people at Amazon are really super stoked about this. It’s a multichannel behemoth, OK? Tim Leslie from Amazon Germany said:
‘We’ve worked hard to offer the best selection of TV shows and movies for Prime Instant Video. We also added high definition video and introduced apps for popular devices like Xbox One, PlayStation 4, Samsung and Sony TVs and iPads and iPhones.’
Buy it now! Add to basket! You will comply!
Basically, the device is a thing that lets you wirelessly display stuff from your phone, tablet, laptop or whatever, to your TV. Obviously, if you’ve got a Smart TV or a smart box, this is no use to you. However, if not, this little gadget is retailing for around £20 ($35 in The States) and will be a must-have.
Especially great if, for example, you only have the BT Sport app on your phone or tablet, and want to watch it on the large TV.
Chromecast will wirelessly broadcast from pretty much any mobile device to any TV that has a HDMI port. Once you set-up, with the Chromecast app, you’re away! It works with Android phones and tablets, iPhones and iPads, laptops or desktops and Chromebooks.
If you’re the sort to do presentations and such, this’ll be a useful tool, but for most of us, it’d be great for streaming shows and movies. Rumour has it, that the Chromecast will be released in the UK next month, which is great news.
Announced on De La Soul’s website and via Rolling Stone magazine, De La Soul are to give away their entire back catalogue for free. If you like Golden Age Hip Hop or are just curious about De La Soul, this is not to be sniffed at.
The band are giving away their music in honour of the 25th anniversary of their debut LP ’3 Feet High and Rising’.
Their backcat will be available on a free download for 25 hours on the group’s website. Great news, unless you’ve already bought all their music or got it from a torrent. Either way, it’s very kind of them.
Things kick off around 4pm UK time, provided the servers don’t crash after being swamped with traffic.
Talking to Rolling Stone, Posdnuous said: ”It’s about allowing our fans who have been looking and trying to get a hold of our music to have access to it. It’s been too long where our fans haven’t had access to everything. This is our way of showing them how much we love them.”
“We’ve been blessed to be in the Library of Congress, but we can’t even have our music on iTunes. We’ve been working very hard to get that solved.”
Apparently, their music has not been available (most of it isn’t on Spotify) thanks to frequent personnel changes at record labels and muddy language in early contracts. However, it’ll all be yours for free! They’ve got new stuff coming out soon and, excitingly, they’ll be working on an unreleased J Dilla beat too.
Time to pull your old console games out of the box and blow in the slots because there’s a new console which can play all your old games! The Super Retro Trio is the all-in-one system that lets you play your old SNES, NES and Mega Drive cartridges.
It will be out in North America in March and will cost you around $70, which is a bit of steal really.
What is nice about this system is that you’ll be able to play all your old games on your telly. Simulators online or on your phone are all well and good, but it isn’t nearly as fun as playing them while sat on the couch stuff your face with Wotsits.
You can also get a thing called a Super Retro Adapter, which lets you play Game Boy Advance cartridges too. You can also play Japanese and American import games as well, thanks to a switch on the front of the console which enables you to go from NTSC to PAL.
Can’t wait to get stuck into European Club Soccer (complete with ‘Three Shredded Wheat’ cheat).
TalkTalk are going to start offering live Sky sports channels by offering day passes. BSkyB are keen to make some more money as the price of the football rights has rocketed for them after BT Sports started throwing their weight around.
TalkTalk customers will be able to watch live Sky sports for £9.99 a day.
The company have been doing well in recent months, adding customers to their TV package deal, broadband on thousands of homes via a contract with the Post Office, who now have their own broadband offer.
Some have accused TalkTalk of allowing Sky to swipe their customer base, but chief executive Dido Harding isn’t having it. She said: ”Our numbers show that that is simply not the case. You have seen gentle broadband growth from us for five consecutive quarters. Other people can worry about macho numbers, our ambition is to sell our existing 4 million customers more products.”
“We are delighted with the material step up in our revenue growth during the quarter, which shows the powerful effect of combining a modestly growing customer base, disciplined pricing and promotional activity, and strong new product growth particularly in TV.”
The important bit for you: which Sky channels will be available? Well, you can get Sky Sports 1, 2, 3 and 4, Sky Sports F1 and Sky Sports News.
Ever taken a ride on a bicycle and thought “hey, I like this getting around on two wheels lark, but I wish there was a way of enhancing the experience somewhat”?
Then HELP IS AT HAND with Trotify.
Trotify describes itself as ‘a delightful addition to any bicycle for a rider who likes a touch of whimsy. Simply attach the wooden device to the front of your bike. As your front wheel spins, it mimics the sound of a horse trotting’.
Oh yes, this is a thing now.
If this sounds like your nosebag, take a canter along to Trotify.com where you can order one, and perhaps some mugs and a tote too.
It’s the year of the horse after all.
If you remember, a few months ago Which! started a campaign against ticket agencies and their evil hidden fees. Well, now all but four of the companies they named and shamed have agreed to stop being so underhand and hideous and show all their charges upfront – instead of adding them on at the end.
The Which! Play Fair campaign outed several well-known online agencies such as Ticketmaster, Ticket Soup and Ticket Web, and criticised them for tacking on random and completely unquantifiable charges at the final stages of buying your ticket. So, say, for example, if you bought a ticket for Jimmy Carr at the Enormodome, then an inexplicable fee would appear as you put your card details in. These can be anything from a registration or credit card fee, to a ‘Just Because You Exist’ fee.
But this is only the beginning of the Which! crusade. The real problem isn’t transparency as much as the fact they’re adding fees on willy nilly in the first place.
So Which! are now calling on ticket companies to justify their fees – especially for things like printing out tickets (for which several companies charge up to £3).
Say something concise yet stirring, Ricardo Lloyd…
‘The show is now over for hidden ticket fees with some of the biggest ticket companies promising to display all compulsory charges upfront. But people are still concerned at the level of some fees so we will continue to challenge the industry to clearly explain their fees and set them at a fair level.’
At the moment, all BT broadband customers with a BT TV package can get BT Sport – which includes the BT Sport 1 and BT Sport 2 channels – included for no extra charge, and if you already have Sky TV, you can also get BT Sport 1 and 2 added free if you have BT broadband.
But from Saturday Feb 1, if you’re new to BT, you’ll have to sign up to BT Infinity broadband to get the two BT Sport channels on your TV. This costs £8 a month more, or £96 a year more compared to BT’s cheapest broadband and line rental deal. If that’s not enough sport, you can fill your boots with ESPN on TV with a BT Infinity subscription.
After Saturday, if you sign up to BT’s regular broadband, you’ll only get access to BT Sport via its app and online player – you won’t be able to watch it on your television, which is kind of the point really. Even as someone who dislikes the charade of football, squinting away at a tiny screen is no way to enjoy it. So soccerball fans, GET TO IT.
According to The Guardian, Spotify, using sensors on the listener’s body or in their smartphone, will turn that into appropriate music. If things progress, there are plans afoot to even start monitoring your patterns and mood.
It’s all a tad mental and a slide into a too much information-style future, where Spotify will be able to detect that Swans’ The Seer may not be quite the thing to work out to, and will offer tunes they feel more suited to it.
Will they, like most humans, be able to detect that Licensed To Ill will help you run ten miles on a treadmill (albeit never being able to walk again afterwards)? Bitterwallet thinks not.
The Guardian goes on to claim that Spotify might – somewhat creepily – “automatically generate playlists based on activities such as workouts, driving, sleeping or late-night working, without user interaction.” And no doubt chalk up another tiny cheque for the artist as a bonus.
WHO ISN’T A WINNER HERE, EH?
Seemingly learning no lessons from the Poverty Porn TV tipping point of ‘Benefits Street’ – a programme only watched by a handful, but with the help of hashtags and the less spellcheck friendly end of the internet, were able to decree death to all the participating ‘dol skum with big telleeys’ – it would appear that Channel 4 may’ve been so affected by the outrage, and rather be noble, apologise for being sneery pointy shits and start making better television, production teams are out scouring the country for locations for new series of Skint.
Not if the good people of Nunsthorpe in Grimsby have anything to do with it.
Oasis Trust founder Steve Chalke has been rallying the townspeople to stand up and tell Skint to keep out, after a production team were seen doing some test screening before Christmas.
Channel 4 have confirmed that – after a successful first series in Scunthorpe – they have indeed been weighing up which areas would be the most hilarious to demonise for a new series. How lovely.
Mr Chalke, whose foundation runs both Oasis Wintringham Academy and Oasis Nunsthorpe Academy, has also been in contact with the residents of both Scunthorpe and Birmingham (where Benefits Street is filmed) in trying to repair the damage done by the shows, with the principal Mark Gillyon sending letters to parents, asking them to let the school know if they are approached to participate.
Nunsthorpe had already had a taste of this when ITV’s Exposure: Driven From Home highlighted the anti-social scenes on the estate, so sensitively filmed that two families were – DO? YOU?? SEE??? – driven from home, and fled the area immediately afterwards. Some cock-tip would probably call that meta.
Tesco is one of those supermarkets which you try to avoid through fear of bumping into THAT couple from up the road who always keep you talking for 3 hours whilst scrutinising your basket and judging your microwavable kebab. You’re an adult, you will eat what you want. Or so you keep telling yourself.
That kind of scenario is worth the risk for right now because Tesco are having a huge clear out in stores on some of their entertainment lines with some PS3/Xbox/Wii/WiiU games scanning at 25% of their original price.
Those avid deal hunters over at HotUKDeals have been sharing their haul and so far they’ve managed to bag games such as Deadpool 3, Pokemon Black/White, Donkey Kong Country Returns 3DS, New Super Mario Bro 2, Professor Layton & The Miracle Mask all for £3.75 each. Other highlights include Lego City Undercover for WiiU £2.50, Zelda Skyward Sword £1.25 and Fifa 13 £3.75.
If you are heading to Tesco to hopefully bag some of these, get them to scan everything. From what we’ve seen over at HotUKDeals, anything with a big yellow stick is the price before the 75% reduction. However, loads of items such as Fifa 13 were on the shelf as £40 (pah!) but scanning at £3.75.
This isn’t just on gaming – the clearance extends to DVDs and blu-rays. Some folks have grabbed the Lord of the Rings Trilogy for £3.75 and Wreck it Ralph 3D for the same price. Madness!
So yeah, empty your boot and get on down to Tesco. Let us know what you manage to bag.