Xiaomi is bringing cinema tech to a living room projector

When it comes to home theater setups, high-quality projectors have traditionally been the pricier way to enjoy your movies. Now, however, Chinese tech company Xiaomi is hoping to change that with its new cinema-quality Mi Laser Projector. Priced at a reasonable 9999RMb (around $1470), Xiaomi’s latest offering boasts a 150inch display and custom laser tech straight out of movie theaters.

The Mi Laser Projector utilizes ALPD 3.0 laser light source tech developed by Appotronics, the company behind the laser tech in 90 percent of China’s movie theaters. Yet, Xiaomi doesn’t end its cross-company projector collaboration there, as it also features its own custom digital light processing (or DLP) solution created by Texas Instruments.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/xiaomi-is-bringing-cinema-tech-to-a-living-room-projector/

LG’s 77-inch Wallpaper TV is selling for the low, low price of $20k

To be fair, you’re getting incredible visuals on a colossal screen about one-fifth of an inch thick that is wall-mountable (and only wall-mountable — sorry, stand fans) via magnets. It doesn’t even have space for ports: Those are on a companion sound bar, which connects to the TV by thin cable. Given those limitations (and the jaw-dropping price), the screen supports 4K Ultra HD resolution and all major HDR formats. You could lower your ambitions for the 65-inch W-series model, which only costs $8,000, but how much are you willing to sacrifice for your perfect home theater experience?

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/lgs-77-inch-wallpaper-tv-is-selling-for-the-low-low-price-of-2/

Redesigned PS4 media hub showcases the best streaming videos

In the past, PS4 users had to navigate to different apps (such as Netflix, Now TV, and Sky) to find shows, which resulted in a clunky process at best. Now, you can browse through trending films and shows, live events, and your PS Store “My Videos” collection from the new interface. If you still decide that you want to access an app instead, or if you have a go-to favorite platform, its icon will be available at the top of the screen, alongside other popular video services.

The refresh actually looks a lot like the “cinematic” layout that was introduced with the Amazon Fire TV software update in October. As a result, the interface boasts more visuals, with categories populated with a series of rectangular tiles that represent titles, each with its own unique image and a corresponding label listing its origin app or rental store.

Redesigned PS4 media hub showcases the best streaming videos

Although it lacks the cross-app search bar offered by the fourth-gen Apple TV, the refresh is a step in the right direction. And with Sony promising more updates down the line, it could build upon the feature by emulating the categorization and search tools offered by the likes of Amazon Fire TV, Apple, Chromecast, et al. From this, the PS4 could evolve into a solid media streaming destination.

The new TV and video interface is available in the UK, Australia, Austria, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Norway, Spain, and Sweden — there’s no word on US availability yet.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/ps4-media-hub-interface/

Tinder’s new ‘Gold’ subscription shows your likes before you swipe

Gold members should see the “Likes You” feature from the top of the match list. From there you can access the “Likes You” grid and start auto-matching, dismissing, or clicking into each person’s profile. When swiping in general, Gold members will be able to identify their likes thanks to the presence of a gold heart next to the person’s name. The rapid-fire function is tailor-made to suit our hyperactive browsing habits.

Both free users and Tinder Plus subscribers can access the Gold subscription for an as-yet undisclosed fee (according to TechCrunch, the company is trying out price points in different regions). The dating app is initially testing the service in just a handful of markets, including Argentina, Australia, Canada, and Mexico — it is currently not available in the US.

Gold also comes bundled with all the perks you get with Plus, such as Passport, Rewind, unlimited likes, five Super Likes per day, one Boost per month, and more profile controls. Like Tinder Plus, the price of Gold will also decrease based on the duration you choose, with reductions for 6 and 12 month plans.

Gold is another in a steady line of attempts by the company to wrangle some cash from users. And it might be working: Tinder is tight-lipped about the amount of paying members it has, but at last count it was estimated that 1 million of its 50 million user base had signed up to its premium service.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/tinder-gold-subscription/

Now you can make local Snapchat filters on your phone

To access On-Demand Geofilters, go to Settings in the app, find the option and choose a template based on the occasion. You can personalize the design by adding stickers, emojis and even tweak whatever text is on it, but forget trying to make anything too risqué. Snapchat still has to approve your creation before anyone can use it. The ephemeral messaging app says it’ll take a day to review your submission, and if it passes muster, you’ll get a notification telling you how much it’ll cost.

If it’s the first time you’re making a Geofilter, take note you’ll have to indicate the area you’d like it to cover — that’s why it’s called Geofilter. The amount you’ll have to pay is based on how big that area is. For instance, the $6 minimum payment will make your overlay accessible within an area that covers a couple of houses, enough for a small July 4th BBQ with family. While the feature is only available in the US at the moment, Snapchat says it’ll roll out in the UK, Canada, Australia, Brazil, Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates “soon.”

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/geofilter-snapchat-mobile/

Théoriz recreates the Holodeck with AR tech and projectors

Théoriz is located at the “Pole Pixel,” a sprawling collection of studios east of Lyon used by Panavision and other cinema companies. The company’s mission is as much artistic as tech-oriented, so the engineers are both bohemian and code-savvy. “We are a team mostly composed of creative engineers,” says Théoriz co-founder David-Alexandre Chanel. “Engineers who have an artistic sensibility and also do good code.”

To wit, the company has created some very technical and very whimsical projects, including an art installation called “Doors” featuring portals that open up to an infinite space and change perspective as the viewer moves, and “Are You my Friend,” an industrial robot that communicates with the exhibit-goers via a keyboard.

Théoriz recreates the Holodeck with AR tech and projectors

Art aside, the mixed reality room tech is impressive. The team tracks the camera (typically a RED model that can record and output in real time) with an HTC Vive Tracker, and feeds the data to a computer running the Unity game engine. That generates digital environments like flying space skulls, a Minecraft-like room with holes that open up on the floor and geometric shapes that interact with actors to form stairs, wells or small hills.

The computer syncs everything together, so that when the camera operator pans or tilts, the Unity scenes tilt or pan to match. Those are then beamed into the room via six projectors — four for the floors, and two on the walls. At the same time, three Kinect-style 3D cameras, combined with Théoriz’s in-house “Augmenta” system, detect the position of the actors so they can interact with the environment. Everything must be processed and played back in real-time by the Unity based system, something that required some clever coding and computing horsepower.

In the resulting videos, live actors interact seamlessly with virtual environments, creating a hallucinogenic effect. “It’s called mixed reality because we use and merge things from the virtual world with reality,” says Chanel.

For instance, dancers can make the walls “move” with their movements and bat away flying asteroids. In the latest demo video (above), actors interact with bizarre geometric environments, opening up holes in the floor where they move and walking up fake stairs.

Though most of the tech is off the shelf, none of it is intended for consumers — at least, not yet. For now, the company wants to just sell its services for things like music videos, dance performances, art installations and other live events. At the same time, they’re improving the tech to make it more realistic and immersive. “We think that by changing the content creation process, we can open new creative possibilities and achieve unprecedented kind[s] of visuals,” says Chanel.

The next project will test everything Théoriz has learned so far, both artistically and technically. “We’re trying for the first time to show an artistic video with two dancers,” Chanel says. “And they’re going to dance and interact in the virtual world, moving through different kinds of totally surreal scenes.”

Eventually, Théoriz might make its software available to other companies, but for now it’s just trying to make its services more compelling for artists and audiences. “It’s a new field,” says Chanel. “We still have to evangelize it and create demand so it can eventually find its place.” And the best way to do that? “Seduce the audience with something new, poetic and unexpected,” he says.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/theoriz-holodeck-ar-projectors/

Chinese tech giant LeEco can’t stop losing money

The crux of the problem is the company’s rate of expansion; LeEco debuted thirteen years ago as a Netflix-style streaming video site. Now, it’s expanded into almost every sector of consumer electronics. Earlier this year, founder and CEO Jia Yueting acknowledged that the company was in financial difficulty, but a 15 billion yuan investment from Sunac, a Chinese property development firm, was supposed to present a solution to the crisis.

However, the investment simply was not enough. Over the next two to three months, the finances of some of the non-listed business units became even tighter, despite the cash infusion. As reported by Reuters, Jia blamed the choice to use the money to pay off debt and loans, rather than refinance, as the source of LeEco’s current difficulties.

So what now? The company is looking to move forward and start production on its electric cars, which is the largest source of the company’s financial woes. LeEco will also have to consolidate and sell off some of its non-listed entites, as well as liquidate assets to manage this current crisis.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/leeco-losing-money-again/

These drone racing goggles could spark the sport’s digital era

Why is this important? Racing drones might be fast, but in terms of core technology, things move fairly slow. While DJI has introduced gesture control and computer vision into their consumer drones over the last few years, the average racing quadcopter has mostly just gotten smaller and quicker. It’s still not uncommon to see a racing drone held together by tape or cable ties sporting a shoddily 3D-printed GoPro mount, and for the most part, that’s fine. But pilots are due a digital upgrade for their “FPV” (first person view) goggles, and it’s slowly starting to happen.

That’s not to say there hasn’t been some progress. We’ve seen drones like UVify’s Draco and Amimon’s Falcore try and sex-up racing drones, and introduce digital video features — but most of the sport hasn’t committed to going digital just yet. Technically, Fat Shark’s goggles have been HDMI compatible for a while, but at a lower resolution — or as a secondary feature to the preferred/usual analog system. The Base HD is designed solely to work with digital systems like Connex ProSight at low latencies.

These drone racing goggles could spark the sport's digital era

The problem with analog frequencies is that they’re a much more limited resource. It’s not unheard of for events to be held up while they wait while someone’s hogging one of the frequencies needed for a pilot. And much like your old radio set in the kitchen, analog suffers from interference leading to grainy quality. The Base HD, then, is the first sign that one of the sport’s main players is taking digital seriously.

The good news is, that when the headset ships this fall, the Base HD will also play nice with your DJI drones too. If your controller has a connection for HDMI out, you can use one headset for your racer and your photography drone. DJI makes its own goggles, but they’re kinda huge and kinda goofy looking (but, to be fair, also very good).

Fat Shark’s also pulling itself out of something of a branding black hole. To racing pilots, the old cartoon shark logo and distressed font are familiar, friendly even. But to everyone else, it probably looks more like a beach-front brand of surf clothing, than something belonging to a video headset company.

These drone racing goggles could spark the sport's digital era

Seemingly something the company was aware of, so it’s dropped the shark logo (kinda), and given itself a visual makeover. There’s also some new blood in the team from Silicon Valley, with a new CEO — and co-founder of Avegant (makers of the Glyph) — moving over to revitalize the brand.

Does this mean we can expect some consumer-grade video goggles to take on the Glyph? Too early to call right just yet, but for now, at least, it looks like 2017 could be the year that drone racing steps out of the hobby shadows.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/fat-shark-base-hd/

Why Aura is the one meditation app you should be using

One ambassador of mindfulness-through-technology is the AI powered meditation app Aura, which was voted Apple’s #1 new app in February 2017 and currently has a 5/5 star rating in the iOS App store. It’s available for both iOS and Android, and while it normally costs around $100 per year, Engadget readers can get a lifetime subscription today for just $60 – over 80 percent off.

While there are plenty of different meditation apps on the market, Aura stands out from the rest with a host of unique features:

1. Aura fits with your schedule and attention span.

While some competitors offer 10-30 minute meditations, Aura has options that work for anyone’s schedule. Sessions last anywhere from three to ten minutes, depending on your level of comfort, making it great for newcomers and more experienced practitioners alike.

2. It uses Machine Learning to customize your meditations.

Aura is unique in that it’s a personal meditation coach that learns from your sessions and customizes your future meditations. Before and after each meditation, Aura asks short questions about your current mood and uses sophisticated machine learning techniques to give you a unique experience that complements your emotional state every time you use it. It even sends you helpful relaxation reminders when you need them most.

3. You can track your progress over time.

Aura also keeps track of your data to paint a detailed picture of the patterns of your mental ebbs and flows. Just like you fitness goals, you can track your mindfulness progress with the help of Aura’s gorgeous visual interface.

4. You get 24/7 access for life.

Their premium subscription gives you 24/7 access to all content, so you can have it on hand whenever you need a few moments of silence.

If you’re interested in using technology to help relieve stress and anxiety, check out this offer on Aura Premium – you can get a lifetime of just $60, two years for $50, or one year for $30.

Check out these other popular offers from GDGT Deals:

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/aura-meditation-app/

Pricey electric bicycle wheel gets you to work sweat-free

If you live in an urban environment, you’ve probably noticed the rise in the number of electric bicycles cruising in the bike lanes. With battery packs strapped to the frame and oversize rear hubs powering daily commutes, the riders show up to work without looking like a sweating mess. But if you’ve already got a bike and are short on space (there’s barely enough room in your studio apartment for that second lamp), the GeoOrbital converts your two-wheeled whip into an electric one without too much hassle.

The electric wheel contains all the necessary technology needed to drag you around town: battery, motor, guide wheels and a throttle you attach to your handlebars. In other words, it’s heavy. Heavier than my actual bike, and if you’re the type of commuter who has to carry his bike up and down stairs to catch mass transit, you’re going to notice that extra poundage.

The company says the whole contraption can be installed in 60 seconds. If you don’t count the time I spent adjusting my brakes, it took less than 45 seconds on the first try. Subsequent installs take less than 30 seconds.

Pricey electric bicycle wheel gets you to work sweat-free

Once you’re ready to roll, the GeoOrbital requires a key to be turned on. The same key is used to unlock the removable battery. It also ships with two keys in case you have a shared bike or you’re prone to losing things.

I weigh over 200 pounds, so I wasn’t sure how well the wheel would perform on the hills of San Francisco. On the flats, it did a great job pulling me along. The GeoOrbital’s top speed of 20 miles per hour was quick enough to keep up with other cyclists without actually pedaling. But I was regularly passed by anyone wearing spandex.

On hills, I actually had to pedal. Yet, it was never enough to work up a sweat. It was more like a leisurely climb. I watched others struggle to get up the same hill and I felt like maybe I was cheating. People ride bikes for a host of reasons and one of them is to be in better shape. I was circumventing that. That lingered in my mind as I passed another person huffing and puffing while trying to get up the incline. Seeing them struggle while I glided by squelched any guilt I had about losing out on a workout.

GeoOrbital says the wheel will do 12 miles before needing a recharge. My large frame and the hills I tackled brought that down to about 10 miles. An impressive feat. But once that battery power disappears, the wheel becomes a huge albatross that turns your ride into an intense leg workout.

Pricey electric bicycle wheel gets you to work sweat-free

Controlling the speed of the bike is where the handlebar-mounted thumb-controlled throttle comes in. If you’ve ever ridden a quad or ATC, you’ll recognize the design. Just depress the gray lever and away you go. It took a few tries to get the throttle in a comfortable position on the handlebars, but even then (like my old ATC), after about 45 minutes I got thumb fatigue. That’ll probably pass if you ride that far every day, but it takes a while and something to consider.

Except for my maiden voyage, the rides were uneventful. During my first time on the bike, the rubber wheel that propels the main wheel unloaded some rubber bits after dragging my large frame up and down San Francisco’s many hills. By the end of the ride, the GeoOrbital was producing a rougher ride and making more racket than usual. I got home, removed the excess rubber from the wheels, charged the bike and didn’t have the same problem on any subsequent rides.

Pricey electric bicycle wheel gets you to work sweat-free

Other than that hiccup, the wheel was easy to charge, install and riding it was enjoyable. It’s nice to get to a destination without getting all sweaty. It took my old rusty bike and made it modern and sleek. Well, sleekish — it’s still covered in rust.

Yet, I can’t justify paying $1,000 for a tire. The GeoOrbital doesn’t feel like it’s made for people like myself. A person with a sub-$1,000 bike that wants to get around town without too much fuss. Instead it feels like it’s geared towards the person that spends thousands on their bike and has a closet full of colorful spandex. Maybe during the week they still want to ride their impressively light bike to work without having to take a shower when they arrive. If you’re that person, check out the GeoOrbital. For the rest of us, get back to pedaling.

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Source URL:http://www.engadget.com/2017/06/28/geoorbital-electric-bike-wheel/