media

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Sky releases Go app for Windows Phone in Italy

Sky Italy has just release an official Go app for Windows Phone. For those who aren't familiar with Sky Go, it's the broadcaster's streaming and on-demand service, available to subscribed customers. With the app installed, you're able to take your favourite shows with you when out and about.

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Microsoft is still yet to release dates on just when the company plans to release original series for Xbox One and 360 streaming, but it's hoped that the first batch of new shows will broadcast in the first half of 2014. Microsoft's president of entertainment and digital, Nancy Tellem spoke to Variety, stating that Microsoft is a different beast to the likes of Netflix and Amazon but they're working on it.

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Free version of Plex now available for Nokia Lumias

Plex is a popular app for Home Theater PC users that was became available last year for Windows Phone 8 and 7.x devices.  The paid app connected your Windows Phone to the Plex Media Server where you can manage and stream your personal media to your phone.

A new version of the Plex app has landed in the Windows Phone Store that is a free app but only available for Windows Phone 8 Nokia Lumia devices.  In just reading the Store descriptions, the paid and free version appear to be similar.  However, comments in the WPCentral Forums indicate the free version resolves a few issues the paid version has and you have more options with regards to video quality.

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We all love catch-up TV services, enabling us to venture outside the front door without fear that we'd miss the next episode of our favourite show. For those who aren't aware of the broadcaster, Scottish Television (or STV) is essentially ITV in the northern parts of the UK. The company has an official catch-up app available for Windows Phone. Tune in for all the details past the break.

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Media Browser (www.mediabrowser3.com) is a sweet service that turns your home PC (or server setup) into a multimedia server. There's an app available for Windows Phone that enables you to stream content from said machine when not physically in front of it. Now, the Media Browser team has released a Windows 8.1 app, perfect for those with hardware running Microsoft's desktop OS.

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Media Browser (www.mediabrowser3.com) is one of those solutions that helps make your multimedia-based lives that much easier. The main selling point of the service is the ability to remotely access a server (be it hosted or simply a box at home) while out and about with mobile apps.

An official app has now been released for Windows Phone, bringing Microsoft's platform up to speed and allowing owners to connect and stream media content. Not familiar with Media Browser? Read on and we'll explain what it's all about.

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We’ve covered SoundGecko before, the media project that Long Zheng is a part of and veteran Windows Phone users will familiar with. The app and service allows users to “flag” articles to be converted into audio format, perfect for those of you who want to “read” while driving or who’s eyes are just too tired. What’s more, the service in its basic form is free (though there is a paid option with more features) and it launched with a fancy Windows Phone app.

Now we’re excited to announce that version 2.0 is live in the Store. So what’s new? The app now features “stations” for easier content discovery. Basically, you can now follow specific topics of your choosing or even specific brands and websites (or a combo).

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The CW Network has released an app for the Xbox 360, which enables consumers to check out favourite shows, including full episodes, previews and interviews. Next-day episodes are also available for free with an Xbox Live Gold subscription, ignoring any cable or membership subscription costs. If you're a fan of the US network, you'll want to have this app pinned to the dashboard.

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The Microsoft Media Platform team has released version 1.1 of the Player Framework for Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8. The release includes a number of improvements, and is targeting developers who are building media apps (much like the Vimeo app - pictured above). The framework supports Silverlight, HTML5, Xbox, as well as Windows 8 and Windows Phone apps.

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The popular media player VLC is setting its sights on Windows 8 and beyond. The developers are calling for donations to be sent forward to fund further development into hiring third-party aid. This will help create a top quality experience on Microsoft's latest platforms. At the time of writing the project has a backing of £4,532 pledged so far with 252 donators.

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We're still early on in the US election and while some in our audience are very enthralled with the politics we're geeking out over the technology. Tonight is Microsoft's first real widespread use of their new SmartGlass technology--the augmentation of their Xbox 360 media offerings via smartphone and tablets. In fact, SmartGlass just launched on iOS this very evening to coincide with the election coverage (provided by NBC).

We decided to give it a little video coverage ourselves, showing the service in action. The SmartGlass app allows you to participate in the live polling questions, get up to the minute electoral map coverage, details on various aspects of national and state elections and more. Overall, it's quite a fun experience and we're looking forward to more of these interactive and expanded events on the Xbox 360.

Kudos to Microsoft to really bringing something unique to our living rooms.

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Microsoft has never been shy about supporting Apple users with their software and that is especially true with Windows Phone 8. For instance, Microsoft announced that importing iTunes DRM-free music will be much easier on PC now, not requiring a conversion/import process.

Tonight, Microsoft has released ‘Windows Phone’ for OSX. The software, previously known as ‘Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac’, has undergone a substantial rebranding and has received numerous new features. The naming may seem odd—Windows Phone—but it matches the Windows 8 sync app’s name and it actually makes sense. When you look at your PC or Mac and see the icon, it says Windows Phone because it is your Windows Phone. Microsoft has simplified syncing by making it very minimalist and barebones: just drag and drop whatever media you want...

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Bluetooth accessory for HTC Windows Phone owners?

HTC could be building a portfolio of official accessories for its Windows Phone 8 family of smartphones if a recently published video is anything to go by. Nokia has unveiled a number of extras that future customers can purchase to further enrich the Lumia Windows Phone experience. Through the inclusion of wireless charging and NFC, the company can offer a collection of products that stand out.

It looks as though the Taiwanese manufacturer is deciding to go down a similar route in attempt to increase profit margins on the platform. With the Beats Audio for marketing, HTC can make use of the popular brand to push forward media accessories, including Bluetooth devices and headphones.

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Enjoying music collections while on the go is a breeze with Windows Phone. Simply synchronise selected media onto a device and either Zune or the Windows Phone Connector for Mac will do the rest. But what if you wanted to organise music into moods, easy-to-sync lists or to quickly extract favourite music? This is where playlists come in.

Many make use of playlists in media players already. Sorting through 30,000 songs to build a collection of favourites is a task majority of music fans go through when wanting to take their sounds on the move. Most devices and smartphones have a limited capacity for media, so until we have 1TB storage options for Windows Phone, it makes sense to move across said playlists.

How does one go about achieving this?

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O iPlayer, Where Art Thou?

The on again, off again saga of iPlayer for the BBC and Windows Phone has been toying with anxious readers for months now. At first the Inquirer said it was coming and then Pocket-lint effectively squashed that rumor just three days later, leaving consumers with little hope for an effective media solution.

The hope was always that Nokia would some how come in and save the day for Windows Phone users but alas, that does not seem to be the case. One of our readers, Paul A., emailed the BBC asking for information as to their reasons for not supporting Windows Phone. Surprisingly, Daniel Danker who is the General Manager of Programmes & On Demand for the BBC gave a very thorough response to Paul’s question as to why there is no Windows Phone support.

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Xbox SmartGlass is Microsoft’s strategic move against Apple’s Airplay system (and preemptively against Google TV); it’s an evolution for your Windows Phone, Windows Desktop and Windows 8 Tablets. Why is it the evolution? Because Microsoft’s ecosystem is growing and they are focusing on inter-connectivity with all of their devices (and even those outside of their branding).  No phone left behind, no tablet ignored, no Desktop chained down. Windows 8 is bringing a fresh look and giving users a better feeling experience while they use these devices. 

Microsoft is effectively making their move to make your involvement a complete one with any of their devices. It’s a smart move because Windows 8 may be challenging for some people to learn and get used to. SmartGlass will give people the confidence in Windows 8, that it will not be another Vista, it is changing for the better. It's a straight up consumer feature.

Here’s the breakdown on how each device will pair with Xbox SmartGlass:

  • If you are using a Windows 8 tablet, and are watching a video, you can pause on your tablet, and continue on your Xbox. The Tablet then becomes a companion device streaming live information about the movie you are watching, giving you access to the behind the scene details
  • When you are playing a game, like the new Madden for Kinect, your Tablet can be used to make plays and actually play the game
  • Your Windows Phone will do the same as the tablet, but there wasn’t any information that you will be able to control games with it, which is a little disappointing but I am sure more information will be released as we get closer to Windows Phone 8
  • Use your phone to scroll web pages when using Internet Explorer for Xbox
  • Your PC will be able to put up content to your Xbox, via video hubs, and also act as a companion device as well (but there was no demo, so we must assume there will be a few limitations when comparing using your windows phone or windows 8 tablet with SmartGlass)

Everyone knows about Apple TV and Airplay, but you need to buy separate devices and even then it is limited on how they interact. Airplay only mirrors your iPhone or iPad device but with SmartGlass your devices are much more than a mirror they become another opportunity for anyone to gain more content and control your Xbox. Everyone has an Xbox, and if you don’t, you’ll be needing one because SmartGlass is giving you what you always wanted; any Windows 8 Device to control and give you more information about what you’re watching on your Xbox.

This is great to see since Microsoft is adding more and more content to the Xbox Live experience, enhancing it to be your only multimedia device in your living room. As our culture gains more momentum in consuming content through the internet people are okay with paying for streaming services instead of traditional cable or satellite. Microsoft is giving the consumer the opportunity to have any kind of connected device they want, and their content will be available on all of it.

It's a smart step by Microsoft for growing their brand, and using it to its fullest potential. Needless to say, we like the future...

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What do you get when you pack a lift full of Russians, paid for by the Nokia Lumia marketing budget? Well, it's fairly difficult to describe so we'll let the three videos do the explaining of some superb marketing stunts.

The first video shows unsuspected members of the public in the "Amazing Nokia Lift" when a horde of what appears to be police officers charge into the small space and stare that person down. Once they've completely freaked out, the headwear is removed and a superbly executed version of "I Will Survive" is performed. 

Next up, we've got the Amazing Nokia Lift - Girls (pretty self-explanatory):

Not to mention the Amazing Nokia Lift - Angry Birds, which is a rampaging onslaught of character costumes being flung at the lift as it halts at each floor:

What's amazing about Nokia is how diverse their campaigns are. From 4D projection music events all the way to blowing away the competition with Lumia handsets, there seems to be no limit to the imagination of those involved. In the end we all now know that Russians win, at basically everything.

Sources: Youtube (Police, Girls, Angry birds); thanks everyone who tipped us!

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We broke the news just the other day that Plex (see site), a popular application for Home Theater PC users, was about to release their official app for Windows Phone which would enable users to stream movies, music and photos to their devices on the go.

That app is now live in the Marketplace and user reviews so far have been quite high for the app although some users are reporting a few errors. Still, due the popularity of Plex and the responsiveness of their developers, any issues present in a 1.0 release will surely be worked on soon enough. From the app description:

"The Plex application allows you to use your Windows Phone to browse and play your media (video, photos and music) using the Plex Media Server installed on your PC, Mac or Linux system. You can also view online media from a variety of sources.

YOU MUST HAVE THE PLEX MEDIA SERVER (version v0.9.6 beta or higher) INSTALLED AND RUNNING TO STREAM LOCAL MEDIA: http://www.plexapp.com/getplex"

The app fetches for $4.99 although there is a free, fully-functional trial that is limited to 30-second playback of media. You can pick it up here in the Marketplace.

Read more on Plex media and their desktop server apps at their site: http://www.plexapp.com/ Thanks, Bearach, for the tip

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Have some interesting and / or humorous Windows Phone fan art? Or do you simply have an awesome photo containing a handset that you wish to show off? If you share it on Facebook with the Windows Phone team, they may well include your submission in their album.

Checking out what has been added so far shows there are a lot of cakes around that have been Metro'd. From the previous competitions we've held here at WPCentral, we know our reader base is bursting at the seems with talent (we have to suck up to you guys at some point, right?), so it'll be interesting to see what you call come up with.

Source: Facebook

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