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Michael Antonoff Posted: Jul 22, 2016 0 comments
You’d think that a company that started out in 1998, four years before the iPod, selling a dedicated audio player and a small library of spoken-word books would be out of business by now. Yet thanks to the rise of smartphones and a timely acquisition in 2008 by Amazon, Audible has become the leading provider of digital audio books.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: Jul 05, 2016 1 comments
It's hard to miss the variety and depth of live entertainment streaming into the home, some you pay for, some you don't. On the last night of June I paid $9.99 to "attend" She Loves Me, an as-slick-as-they come Broadway musical performed by the Roundabout Theatre Company at Studio 54. Minutes before the 8 p.m. curtain I typed my credit card info into BroadwayHD.com and ended up having a rip-roaring time. Put in the form of a pull quote: "The best musical I ever saw in my underwear!"
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Jun 15, 2016 0 comments
Now that we never need to dismount from the barstool to drop quarters in the jukebox, it just seems wrong to call TouchTunes a mobile app. Pushing through a crowd to reach an illuminated cabinet required actual mobility, also called walking. But that was then. Today no one with a smartphone is budging. In the battle of the bulge, beer wins, waistline loses.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: May 26, 2016 1 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $300 (500 GB), $400 (1 TB)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
One-touch leapfrogging of any size commercial block
Four tuners
Can play shows 30 percent faster
Mobile device transfer
Integrated search functions
4K UHD compatible
Minus
On-demand cable may not be available
No component video output
No clock on front panel

THE VERDICT
TiVo Bolt is an indispensable tool for TV-obsessed viewers who hate commercials and value the ease of managing all their cable, online, and local-network-stored entertainment from one smartly designed receiver/recorder.

With 412 scripted TV series originating on broadcast, cable, and online channels last year, viewers face the twin challenges of finding shows that appeal to them and having enough waking hours to watch them. TiVo’s new flagship digital video recorder, Bolt, purports to help solve both problems. An admitted TV addict, I bolted for a Bolt to see if it could rekindle the excitement I felt when TiVo debuted in 1999.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: May 11, 2016 0 comments
A look at how personal video broadcasting, virtual reality, and other budding technologies haven’t been lost on TV comedy writers.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Apr 05, 2016 0 comments
To cut commercial clutter from a diet rich in streamed entertainment, I agreed to pay Google $9.99 a month for its YouTube Red service across all my devices. Unlike free YouTube, there are no pre-roll commercials to fidget through. The countdown taunting viewers to put their lives on hold until the Skip Ad button appears is nowhere in sight. Intermercials that played between videos or regularly interrupted a full-length movie are gone.
Michael Antonoff Posted: Apr 01, 2016 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE Free (App); $5 to $20 per hour

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Eliminates airfare, hotel, and dry-cleaning bills
Diffuses “line rage” caused by waiting in too many lines for too long
Lets you bypass prickly security checks
Minus
Vertically held camera phones result in narrow, picket-fence-like view on widescreen
Surge pricing and data overage charges passed onto consumer quickly add up
Lacks 4K video and 7.1- channel audio support

THE VERDICT
Mob Cam VR will appeal to the weary, the non-ambulatory, or anyone so disgusted with the idea of returning to a massive trade show that they’d do anything to opt out.

Mimicking business plans pioneered by Uber, Airbnb, and TaskRabbit in which anyone with a car, room, or broom can offer transportation, a bed, or cleaning service to strangers, the Lirpa Labs Mob Cam VR is a new app that empowers smartphone owners everywhere to work as on-location cameramen for one or more distant viewers willing to pay for a live video feed.

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Michael Antonoff Posted: Mar 02, 2016 3 comments
Apps are often referred to as “mobile,” which an Apple TV decidedly is not. Fixed to a big-screen TV, the media receiver (Gen 4) and Apple TV App Store offerings are meant to be enjoyed from the sofa, though there are some games and workouts best deployed off the couch. The store has seven departments: Games, Education, Entertainment, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle, News, and Sports. Here are my favorite apps, several of which you’ve probably never heard of.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Feb 10, 2016 4 comments
Have you heard about the sequel to the TV series, Lost? It’s called Found, and the premise is that the island is where all things lost end up: a missing sock, a runaway drone, a lost shaker of salt. Tourists arrive, and the lucky ones are reunited with their stuff.
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Michael Antonoff Posted: Feb 09, 2016 14 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $149 (32 GB), $199 (62 GB)

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Touch surface remote
Dedicated App Store
Snazzy photo slide shows
Minus
Arduous ID and password entries
Weak implementation of Siri
Lacks 4K video support

THE VERDICT
Apple TV Gen 4 brings a better remote to the table but fails to soar above other top streaming devices.

When Apple TV debuted in 2007, dozens of rival media receivers were already in place. At a time when TVs were too dumb to do their own streaming, Apple TV came along mainly to benefit iTunes users. Since then, other media players have come and gone, but Apple has persevered. The company recently shipped Gen 4.

What’s different in 2016 is that most consumers now own a smart TV, media receiver, game console, or Blu-ray player connected to the Internet. Unless Gen 4 can deliver a richer experience over other Internet appliances, notably the Roku 4 Streaming Player (see review, this issue), Apple TV will be a tough sell.

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