This Week in Gear: McIntosh Reveals New Turntable, Verizon Fios Adds Alexa Support, and More

Posted Mon Mar 19, 2018 at 07:00 AM PDT by
McIntosh Turntable

We've compiled the latest gear news, including details on McIntosh's latest turntable, the addition of Alexa voice control to the Fios TV platform, and more.

From product announcements and streaming app updates to general industry news and recent gear trends, keeping up with the latest tech news can be a daunting task. With that in mind, we're here to offer you a roundup of some of the latest gear and consumer electronics news that you may have missed.

For this edition, we're covering McIntosh's new MT2 Precision Turntable, upcoming updates for the Xbox One platform, the launch of Alexa voice control on Fios TV, and the arrival of the CNNVR app on Oculus Rift headsets. 

So, without further ado, here's a rundown of some of the latest gear and tech news:

McIntosh Reveals MT2 Precision Turntable


McIntosh has detailed its latest audio device, the MT2 Precision Turntable. The premium player is set to start shipping in April for a suggested retail price of $4,000.

The MT2 supports playback for both 33-1/3 and 45 rpm records, and features an advanced electronic and mechanical design with a subtle green glow under the platter and the outside edges of the plinth to elegantly evoke McIntosh's trademark visual style. Tracking force, anti-skate force, cartridge overhang, and arm height are all preset from the factory for the best performance, enabling a simplified setup process right out of the box.

The player's moving coil cartridge is compatible with moving coil phono inputs and moving magnet inputs. Likewise, the cartridge offers high impedance and high output voltage for noise free music playback and features a unique design with an alloy cantilever and an elliptical diamond stylus. Meanwhile, the lightweight tonearm is constructed from dural-aluminum with special damping materials; the vertical bearings use two precision ceramic surfaces with damping fluid; the horizontal bearing features a gimballed sapphire design; the belt driven, solid black outer platter is made from a special dynamically balanced polyoxymethylene (POM); and the inner platter is made of CNC-precision milled aluminum. Finally, the unit's DC motor is fueled by an external voltage-stabilized power supply and is decoupled from the chassis.

The MT2 Precision Turntable now joins the company's previously released MT5 and MT10 models.

Source: McIntosh

New Xbox One Feature Automatically Enables a Display's Game Mode


Microsoft has announced several upcoming updates for its Xbox One platform. Highlights include an Auto Low Latency Mode, variable refresh rate support for AMD Radeon FreeSync displays, and an upgraded web browser.

With the new Auto Low Latency Mode, the Xbox One will be able to recognize when a game is being played and then automatically activate a compatible display's low-latency Game Mode. When Game Mode is turned on, a TV disables most of its post-processing to reduce lag during gameplay. Meanwhile, when a user stops playing a game, the system will then be able to automatically switch off the display's Game Mode, reactivating the TVs video processing options for video playback.  This means users won't have to keep manually switching the setting on and off in their TV's menu when transitioning from games to movies. The Auto Low Latency Mode is set to arrive on Xbox One systems later this year. A complete list of compatible displays has not been revealed yet, but select models from Samsung will be among the TVs supported.

In addition, Microsoft is also prepping variable refresh rate support for the Xbox One S and Xbox One X on AMD Radeon FreeSync displays. Freesync tech allows a display to synchronize its refresh rate with an Xbox system to help create a smoother gameplay experience with reduced screen tearing and stuttering. Finally, Xbox One users will also get an updated Microsoft Edge web browser with a look and feel more in line with the Windows 10 version. Likewise, customers will be able to download and upload files within the browser directly to the Xbox One system or an attached storage device.

These updates (and several more detailed here), are all set to launch on the Xbox One platform later this spring.

Source: Microsoft

Verizon Fios TV Adds Amazon Alexa Voice Control


Verizon has announced the addition of Alexa voice control support for its Fios TV platform. The feature requires an internet-connected Fios Multi-Room DVR Enhanced or Premium service with a VMS1100 or IPC1100 set-top box and a compatible Alexa device.

With Alexa voice control, Fios TV users can pair their system with a supported Echo device like an Echo Plus, Echo, Echo Dot, Echo Spot, or Echo Show. Once connected, customers can then use hands-free Alexa voice commands to enable a variety of Fios TV functions, including:

- Change channels (by number of name)
- Search for TV shows, movies, and actors from the guide and Video On Demand catalog
- Control playback with pause, fast-forward, rewind, and play functions

Amazon's current Echo lineup is led by the 2nd-Generation Echo. The smart speaker features an updated, compact design with an upgraded speaker architecture, a dedicated tweeter, a 2.5" down-firing woofer, and Dolby processing to deliver 360 degree omnidirectional audio. In addition, the device uses the company's second generation far-field technology, offering improved wake word processing, beamforming technology, and enhanced noise cancellation. Supported music services include Amazon Music, Pandora, Spotify, iHeartRadio, TuneIn, and more. Amazon's 2nd Generation Echo is now available for $100. 

Source: Verizon

CNNVR App Arrives on Oculus Rift


CNN and Magnopus have announced the launch of the CNNVR app on the Oculus Rift headset. The app offers access to a virtual reality experience with news videos and original 360-degree stories.

With the CNNVR app for Oculus Rift, users can choose to watch the latest breaking news from CNN or more than 100 virtual reality stories from around the world in 4K resolution with encoding by Pixvana. In addition, the app features a special tutorial voiced by CNN anchor Wolf Blitzer, explaining how the interactive experience works. Likewise, a CNN ticker scroll and CNN Twitter integration are included as well for up-to-the-minute breaking news alerts.

The Oculus Rift + Touch Virtual Reality System is currently available for $399. The headset is designed for use with Windows PCs and laptops, and features a 2160 x 1200 OLED display (1080×1200 per eye) with a 90Hz refresh rate and a 110-degree FOV (Field of View). Likewise, the headset offers built-in audio and an integrated mic. In addition, the package also includes Touch controllers and two sensors.

Source: CNN

Tags: McIntosh, turntables, Xbox Once, Microsoft, AMD, Samsung, Virtual Reality, CNN, Oculus, Verizon, Alexa (all tags)