Category Archives: Home Reviews

Google Daydream View (2017) review

Got a Samsung Galaxy Note 8? LG V30? Pixel 2 XL? Interested in virtual reality? Google’s Daydream View (2017) headset lets you quickly jump right in to play games, watch 360-degree content, and more. It costs a little more, but boasts considerably better build quality than its predecessor.

The post Google Daydream View (2017) review appeared first on Digital Trends.

All together now! How to use Movies Anywhere to consolidate your digital films

 

Back in 2014, Disney launched the Disney Movies Anywhere program, a service that allows fans to collect all their digital films in one place for easy access — so long as those films were made by Disney or one of its many studios, which now include Pixar, Lucasfilm, and Marvel.

Ultraviolet originally implemented the idea en masse — and, indeed, did a fine job bringing it to life — but without the inclusion of Apple (iTunes) and Amazon, two of the most prevalent purveyors of movies on the internet, digital “vaults” still felt somewhat half-baked. In October, however, Disney Movies Anywhere got a serious upgrade thanks to a collaboration between Disney, online retailers, and several other big-name movie studios.

Now called simply Movies Anywhere, the program gives you the opportunity to consolidate your digital library all in one place, and to access that library on a vast network of supported devices. Moving everything to one place can be complicated, though, so we’re here to help. Below is a detailed list so you can use Movies Anywhere to bring all your movies together and create the ultimate (and legal) streaming library.

What is Movies Anywhere?

Hey, good question! Like Ultraviolet, Movies Anywhere is a system which allows you to access your movie purchases from any of the participating studios and retailers (and associated apps) and organize them into one app.

For example, say you already own Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (having bought it years ago on iTunes), and you recently purchased Rogue One: A Star Wars Story via Amazon. Previously, to watch these movies on your smartphone or other device, you would have needed both the iTunes app and the Amazon Video app — and if you recently switched to an Android device, you would have had to employ some shady workaround to even watch Episode III.

With Movies Anywhere, both films will appear in both libraries, as well as within the official Movies Anywhere app and website. The same goes for, say, Avatar — a property of 20th Century Fox, which is part of Movies Anywhere — or all the Spider-Man movies, from Sony Pictures. So, if you’ve spent years amassing a vast collection of digital films spread across several marketplaces, it’s now much simpler and easier to watch them where you want, when you want.

An aside: The original Disney Movies Anywhere website and apps are still available for now, but the new service is intended to replace these, so they’ll be disappearing shortly.

Which movies are included?

Movies Anywhere currently includes films from an impressive collection of prominent film studios, including Disney, Sony Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures. In total, the number of movies supported exceeded 7,300 at time of publication, and that number will grow with each new release put forth by one of the aforementioned studios and their subsidiaries (like Sony’s Columbia Pictures).

Right now, Paramount and Lionsgate are the two most prominent exceptions; sources suggest Lionsgate could throw its hat in the ring sooner than later, while Paramount is reportedly holding out due to financial disagreements. If these two studios end up on board, Movies Anywhere would represent an unprecedented level of collaboration in an age with a surplus of competing VOD streaming services.

Which retailers are involved?

Not only is Movies Anywhere the first collaboration of its kind to combine multiple movie studios, it’s also a remarkable partnership between digital retailers, including Apple (iTunes), Google Play, Vudu, and Amazon Video. Once you’ve signed up, any films purchased from one of these retailers will appear in your library via the Movies Anywhere website and apps, and barring any logistical issues (there are always a few), those films should also show up in the libraries of all of these retailers.

How to use Movies Anywhere

Note: Movies Anywhere is currently only available in the United States. Sorry, everyone else.

Getting set up

To get started, you’ll need a Movies Anywhere account. Head to the website and click Get Started (a blue button in the center of the page). You can sign in using your Google or Facebook account, or you can simply do it the “old-fashioned” way and use an email address.

Next, after checking some boxes (if you want to opt out of data sharing later, click here), you’ll be prompted to link up your accounts with Vudu, Google Play, iTunes, and Amazon Video.

Movies Anywhere manage retailers

Link up one of these accounts, and you’ll automatically receive Ice Age and Ghostbusters (2016) for free, per the 5 Movies On Us promotion; add another account, and you’ll get Big Hero 6, Jason Bourne, and The Lego Movie. Though these aren’t all Oscar-worthy flicks, they’re a nice reward for less than five minutes of work.

Once you’ve linked all your accounts, you’ll find all compatible movies in your Movies Anywhere library. To add accounts, click on your name in the upper right corner and select Manage Retailers from the dropdown menu.

How to watch

Now that your accounts are linked, your digital collections have been synced. This means that, no matter which of the associated retailers you used to by a movie (or even if you entered a digital download code from a physical DVD or Blu-ray disc), it’ll show up in all of your libraries. So, if you’ve got a sizable smattering of films on Vudu, but you much prefer to watch via iTunes, that’s no longer a problem.

Movies Anywhere Amazon library

If you’re wondering about the best route for actually watching your content, well … there’s no real “right” answer. You can always download the new Movies Anywhere app (or use the website, if you’re on a computer), or use any of the dedicated apps/devices for the respective retailers. See the table below.

Retailer/App

Compatible Devices

Amazon Prime Video iOS devices
Android devices
Amazon Kindle Fire & Fire TV devices
Roku streamers
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Windows 7+ (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge, Opera)
MacOS 10.7+ (Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari)
Linux/UNIX (Chrome)
Select smart TVs
Google Play Movies & TV

iOS devices
Android devices
Android TV
Chromecast
Roku streamers
Select smart TVs

Movies Anywhere iOS devices
Apple TV
Android devices
Amazon Kindle Fire & Fire TV devices
Chromecast
Roku streamers
Windows (Chrome, Firefox, IE, Edge)
MacOS (Chrome, Firefox, Safari)
Vudu iOS devices
Apple TV
Android devices
Android TV
Chromecast
PlayStation 4
Xbox One
Select smart TVs and Blu-ray players
 TV app (Apple) iOS devices
Apple TV

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

So, these aren’t technically FAQs — at least, not yet, since Movies Anywhere hasn’t been around long enough for anyone to ask us about it. That said, these are questions we anticipate users may have about the service.

Does Movies Anywhere support 4K and/or HDR playback?

Yes and no. You won’t be able to watch anything in 4K (or 3D, or HDR) on the Movies Anywhere app or website, even if you purchased a movie in one of those formats. If you own movies in these formats, however, you can watch them in 4K (or HDR, or 3D if you’ve got the right television) via compatible apps and devices.

Note: If you’ve linked your iTunes account to Movies Anywhere, iTunes will automatically upgrade some of your compatible movies to 4K, free of charge (depending upon the studio and the retailer where you purchased it).

Can I redeem digital copy codes in Movies Anywhere?

Yes! Head to this page to redeem digital codes from physical DVD and Blu-ray discs. If you’re confused about the concept, head here. Once redeemed, the movie will show up in the libraries of all your connected retailers. This includes Ultraviolet codes.

Can I download movies to watch offline?

Yes. You can download movies in SD (default) or HD via the Movies Anywhere app, so long as you’ve got enough space on your chosen device. You can also do this via Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, or the TV app for iOS if you prefer any of those options.

How many streams can I watch at once?

You can use your Movies Anywhere account on four different devices simultaneously. For whatever reason, if you want to watch the same movie on multiple different devices, you’re limited to two.

Does Movies Anywhere include any special content or features?

Any film in your Movies Anywhere collection will read as “purchased” in iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and Google Play. This means features like Amazon X-Ray and iTunes Extras are freely available — even if you didn’t buy the movie via those specific retailers. The Movies Anywhere website and app also offers some additional content, which varies by title.

Can I set up a separate account for my child, with parental restrictions?

Yes. While logged into the Movies Anywhere website, head to Manage Profiles. From there, you can add new profiles and restrict viewing by MPAA ratings, from G to R.

I just bought a movie, and it isn’t showing up across all my libraries. What gives?

According to Movies Anywhere, it can take up to eight hours for movies to appear.

Does Movies Anywhere work for rentals?

No. Next question.

What about TV shows?

No. Hence the name.

For any other questions, concerns, or troubleshooting, check out the official help page here. 

 

Mazda says the rotary is coming back (again), but it’s not for a sports car

Why it matters to you

Mazda shows time-tested technology can be repurposed to complement new, state-of-the-art features like electric drivetrains.

We’ve been getting some mixed messages from Mazda lately about its iconic rotary engine. Though Mazda guarantees its working on new rotary technology, it says it isn’t building an RX-7 successor with such an engine.

That would be fine, yet Mazda keeps building rotary-powered sports car concepts. First, there was the RX-Vision, and a new rotary-powered concept — the next evolution of the RX-Vision — is coming to October’s Tokyo Motor Show. Despite these teases, Mazda’s rotary will likely serve a more pedestrian purpose when it spins its way back into production. Mitsuo Hitomi, the brand’s global powertrain chief, recently told Automotive News the rotary will return in 2019 as a range extender for electric vehicles.

On paper, the rotary engine would perform the same function as the 600cc two-cylinder available at an extra cost on the BMW i3. It wouldn’t directly drive the wheels, but it would generate enough electricity to charge the battery pack on-the-go. An electric car equipped with a gasoline-burning range extender inevitably emits a little bit of CO2, but it’s able to drive much further on a single charge.

A few drawbacks have prevented the Wankel engine from truly rivaling the piston engine. Notably, it uses more fuel and it typically produces less torque than a comparable four-cylinder. But, its advantages are well-suited to range-extending duties. It’s compact, which clears up more space for passengers, cargo, and in this application batteries, it’s light, quiet, and vibration-free. Mazda is even developing an advanced start-stop system to keep fuel economy in check, according to patent applications uncovered by Autoblog.

Mazda experimented with using a rotary engine in an electric car four years ago when it introduced the experimental Mazda2 RE concept. It never reached production, but engineers are using the data gathered over the course of the project to develop a series-produced electric vehicle.

Those drooling over the idea of an RX-7 successor have some hope, though. Hitomi confirmed Mazda is developing a larger rotary engine that could power a sports car, but the brand hasn’t settled on its application just yet. Mazda is a small outfit compared to most automakers, so slotting in another performance vehicle alongside the MX-5 is a task that cannot be rushed.

Either way, stay tuned for an update as soon as Mazda lifts the sheet on its new concept. If the RX-Vision is any indicator, there’s a handsome car awaiting us.

Update: Added that Mazda plans to utilize rotary engines as range extenders for electric vehicles .

 

Any app can show recipes. Chef Tyler Florence’s teaches you how to cook

 

In Salt, Fat, Acid, Heat, Samin Nosrat promises that after reading her cookbook, you’ll use recipes like professional chefs do: “for the inspiration, context, and professional guidance they offer, rather than by following them to the letter.” By relying on instincts and our senses, she believes everyone can become competent and confident in the kitchen. She’s not alone in thinking traditional recipes help home cooks get from A to B without giving them the tools to map their own routes.

Food Network star Tyler Florence agrees, and has recently paired with Innit, a company that wants to digitize food and get home cooks the instinctive tools they need to be successful in the kitchen.

“The technique is where it’s all at.”

“We really started to come back to this same point over and over again, that recipes are beyond broken, that recipes don’t really work,” Florence told Digital Trends at the Smart Kitchen Summit, held this week in Seattle.

As someone who’s created thousands of recipes, Florence thinks they’re akin to using a paper map instead of GPS. The cooking app he’s working on with Innit will not only take into account your dietary preferences and the amount of time you have to make a meal on a Tuesday night, but will also give you some instruction on how to make your dinner come out the right way. The app is scheduled to be released later this year.

How will the Innit app differ from traditional recipe apps  that also include video accompaniment? Florence says the team at Innit has been filming “micro-cooking content” for the past six months. With thousands of videos, users can select each aspect of the meal, and the algorithm will arrange them into a unique video with all the steps in appropriate order. There will be familiar categories, like entrees, light and healthy, and burgers. If you opt for burgers, you’ll get to choose each aspect — the bun, the patty, toppings, and what Florence calls the “over-the-top” feature, a fried egg, brown-sugar, or rosemary bacon. Your video will look different based on whether you’re making a beef or turkey burger. Though it won’t be a feature at launch, users will eventually be able to create their own recipes in the app as well.

“A lot of recipes feel kind of scary,” Florence said. “The mountain is scary, but if you break it up into smaller particles, you can walk through anything. You can understand what it means to sear and broil and roast and bake. The technique is where it’s all at.”

Once you have broiling down, he thinks you’ll have the confidence to apply it to other meals, too. The app can grow with you, taking the training wheels off as you master the fundamentals.

“We talked about limiting what you can associate with what,” said Innit Chief Operating Officer Josh Sigel. “Maybe in a beginner mode, we guardrail it so we only let you pick the right types of ingredients or meal combinations.”

The app experience will vary in other ways, too.

“For novices there’s a terrific, rich video path,” Chief Marketing Officer Susan Doherty said. “You don’t know anything? It’s going to show you. If you’re super advanced and you don’t need to know how to cut an onion, there’s a path for you too, and you’ll still reach the same result.”

Having step-by-step videos that show you exactly how to do basic kitchen tasks isn’t new. The Tasty app, for example, has lots of its trademark “hands and pans” videos for many parts of its recipes. However, you can’t pause or rewind these videos, though they do play on a loop. Hestan Cue ’s app — the smart induction burner and pan combo — also has a video for every step, one that is controllable. (The sound never seems to work for us for some reason.) Neither seems to offer what Innit is promising though: the ability to mix and match bite-sized snippets that fit themselves into just the right sequence. Whether or not you can learn to flip an omelet from a video as easily as you can learn to julienne a carrot remains to be seen.

Innit doesn’t just want to be an instructor, though. It wants its app to know everything about you. The “digitized food” piece isn’t quite in place yet, but eventually  all aspects of meal planning will be possible from its app.

“This is built for that smart-kitchen relationship, because as soon as you pick your own custom meal track — what you want to make tonight — you can hit another button and your oven will turn on, and hit another button and your smart cooktop will hold the perfect temperature, and you can hit another button and have the groceries delivered to your house,” Florence said.

innit pairs with tyler florence for a micro cooking recipe app interview 2

Innit plans to do all this through partnerships, so you could get your groceries from Amazon or via meal kit and the cooktop could be a Hestan Cue. The platform should be compatible with Alexa and Google Home, too. Where the company is in terms of these partnerships isn’t clear, though. Innit and Whirlpool were once partnered up, but have since parted ways.

Many smart kitchen device makers say their goal is to remove uncertainty, not creativity. Florence feels the same way about the app.

“I think when people feel really confident, from a technique standpoint, they can switch gears and pivot based on what they really have,” he said. “I think it’s going to unleash the power of creative cooks, where their ambition is at one place and their ability is at another, and I think it’s going to create equilibrium between them both.”

 

The Maximus Camera Floodlight will help you protect your home

Why it matters to you

Looking to scare away potential intruders with a bright light? The Maximus Camera Floodlight could help.

Lighting the exterior of your home is just as important as lighting its interior, especially considering the impact this has on your security. Luckily, there’s a new smart motion security light here to provide the necessary illumination to help you monitor outside activity and hopefully prevent break-ins. Meet the Maximus Camera Floodlight, an adjustable floodlight featuring a Wi-Fi camera and two-way speaker, allowing you to keep an eye on your surroundings and communicate with relevant parties.

Originally debuted at CES in January of this year, the Maximus promises a wide detection range and the ability to send real time alerts to your smartphone. By tapping into live power from within your home, the Camera Floodlight is able to deliver convenient and consistent home monitoring, including smart event detection, advanced alerts, and a live 1080p video feed. Capable of detecting movement within an impressive 70 feet either in the front or back of your home, the device will sent you a smartphone notification through the Kuna mobile app should it come across anything suspicious.

The app, by the way, will not only give you the ability to sound an alarm and speak to intruders (or guests) from just about anywhere, but also promises an enhanced user interface that includes the capacity to call 911 directly from within the app.

“A sense of personal and family safety is essential to a high quality of life. We are excited to bring a new, easy-to-install security solution with a simple, clean design that can be placed anywhere regardless of the current light fixture design,” said Mark Honeycutt, CEO of Maximus. “This product is going to become a must-have for consumers as they look for innovative smart home products that increase home security from the outside to actually prevent burglaries and break-ins.”

So if you’re looking for a way to keep your household and its inhabitants safe and sound, you may want to start by protecting the outside of your home. And what better way to do that than with the Maximus Camera Floodlight? You can now join the waitlist for the device, which will be available in black or white for $250 from the company’s website.