Posted Mon Mar 5, 2018 at 06:30 PM PST by Steven Cohen
We've compiled the latest gear news, including details on the end of iTunes support for some older devices, Vizio's latest honors, 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 the end of iTunes Store access on older products, Vizio's latest customer service awards, new features for PlayStation Vue, and the addition of DVR support for the Plex Live TV app on Apple TV.
So, without further ado, here's a rundown of some of the latest gear and tech news:
Apple has announced plans to end support for the iTunes Store on several older devices. Products set to be affected by the move include First Generation Apple TV models, and Windows XP and Windows Vista PCs.
The block will be implemented on May 25 via upcoming security changes that will prevent Windows XP, Windows Vista, and First Generation Apple TVs from accessing the iTunes store. With that said, XP and Vista users will still be able to continue using older versions of iTunes, but customers will not be able to make new purchases or redownload previous purchases. Meanwhile, iTunes store access via an Apple TV will now require a Second Generation model or higher.
The newest Apple TV model is the Apple TV 4K. The device utilizes the A10X Fusion chip and offers 4K playback capabilities at up to 60 frames per second with support for HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. In addition, the device includes 4K scaling for HD sources, Siri voice search, iCloud support for media sharing, standard AirPlay capabilities, and the ability to serve as a smart home hub for HomeKit accessories with remote access and automated control.
Apple TV 4K models are now available in 32GB ($179) and 64GB ($199) versions.
Vizio has earned several awards for its customer service performance at the 12th Annual Stevie Awards. The company's honors include a Grand Stevie Award for placing fourth overall out of 180 companies, along with four gold, nine silver and four bronze medals.
"Among VIZIO's gold medals this year is the award for Customer Service Department of the Year," stated Scott Patten, Sr. Vice President of Operations & Technical Support, VIZIO. "An enormous part of our success is the teamwork and support in place across all departments at VIZIO. Each individual and team plays a vital role in ensuring consistent and superior customer satisfaction with our customers. We are blessed to have a group of support professionals who genuinely care about providing Customer Service Excellence to our 70 million-plus customers."
This year's awards evaluated more than 2,500 nominations from various organizations, and entries were considered in 89 categories for customer service and contact center honors including: Contact Center of the Year, Award for Innovation in Customer Service, and Customer Service Department of the Year.
You can check out a full list of Stevie Award winners here.
Sony has announced a few new features for its PlayStation Vue streaming TV service. As part of the update, the platform now offers mobile sign up, in-home regional sports network access, and out-of-home local broadcast station access.
With mobile sign up, users can now register and watch content directly through the PS Vue website on mobile devices or PCs, rather than just connected TVs and media players. In addition, subscribers can also now tune into regional sports networks like Fox Sports or NBC Sports even when they are in another city. Likewise, traveling viewers can also now watch local channels that are available in the market that they happen to be visiting.
The PlayStation Vue service provides live and on demand content from a growing collection of channels. The platform enables viewers to easily search through available programming with an intuitive interface and convenient personal recommendations. In addition, if customers tag a favorite series they will be given cloud access to episodes of that show for 28 days with no storage restrictions. Likewise, PlayStation Vue offers up to five simultaneous streams across different devices, including up to three mobile devices outside of the home.
Plex has announced two new features for its Live OTA TV streaming feature via the Apple TV. As part of the update, the Apple TV app now offers the ability to schedule DVR recordings and use closed captioning during live playback.
With Plex Live TV and DVR, users with a Plex Pass subscription can watch and record high definition, over-the-air TV broadcasts from a supported digital tuner and antenna through Plex's intuitive and customizable program guide. The feature supports channels in more than 70 countries, including shows from all major US networks like ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX, and CW, as well as local programming, news, and sports (encrypted channels currently not supported).
In addition to the Apple TV, Plex Web App, and PMP desktop client, Live TV streaming through Plex is also available via the company's Web, Xbox One, Roku, Android TV, and iOS apps. To use the feature, customers will need a digital antenna and a supported TV tuner, including models from HDHomeRun, Hauppauge, AVerMedia, DVBLogic and more (complete list here). Likewise, users will need a Plex Pass subscription which starts at $5 per month or $40 per year. Alternatively, customers can also sign up for a lifetime membership for $120.
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