Cyberlink PowerDVD 14 review: Media playback app has what you need -- almost

Jon L. Jacobi Freelance Writer, TechHive

Tired of constantly switching between iTunes, Windows Media Player, VLC, and other programs for different media tasks? I am. Cyberlink’s PowerDVD, with its support for Blu-ray and 4K as well as most other types of video, audio, and images has the potential to be that all-in-one media solution we’ve been searching for. The latest iteration, PowerDVD 14, is close but no cigar due to some missing basics. However, the addition of support for up-and-coming technologies such as h.265 and the UltraViolet media delivery system make it a uniquely powerful player.

PowerDVD 14, which runs on Windows PCs, comes in three flavors—the $50 Standard version, which handles DVD and HD files; the $80 Pro, which adds Blu-ray and 4K support; and the $100 Ultra which throws in 3D and the company’s Power Media Player app for iOS, Android and Windows Phone. All three versions include PowerDVD Remote for iOS and Android which allows you to use your mobile devices as—you guessed it—a remote control for PowerDVD.

In terms of what you see on the screen, PowerDVD 14 is the best Blu-ray/DVD/video player out there. Normal playback includes hardware acceleration, but there’s also a CPU mode with TrueTheater enhancements which will make a lot of material—primarily DVDs—look more high-def. The interface is handsome and well thought out, with the notably unintuitive exception of having to click on the fast forward icon to slow down a video. There’s also a ten-foot interface for use from your couch with the aforementioned remote software.

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Netflix pays off Comcast, discovers that speeds magically improve

Anthony Domanico , TechHive

Anthony Domanico is a freelance journalist covering consumer technology. He's passionate about smartphones, tablets, wearables, productivity tools, gaming, and streaming.
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Netflix CEO Reed Hastings may complain about it publicly, but his company’s decision to pay Comcast for better access to the Internet service provider’s subscribers is paying off. The streaming video service says performance on Comcast’s network has improved dramatically since it started cutting checks.

Money talks, as it turns out. Also, water is wet.

netflix march 2014 isps Source: Netflix

Comcast finds itself higher up in Netflix’s monthly ISP rankings ever since the streaming media service paid for better access to Comcast’s network. (Click to enlarge.)

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Yahoo’s making sitcoms? Here are 6 sure-fire comedy pitches

Philip Michaels Editor, TechHive

Philip has covered the Mac market since 1999, with a focus on the iPhone, iPad and iOS in recent years. In all that time, he has never tested a fart app.
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Forget about TV networks like NBC and CBS. Binge-watching original programming on streaming services like Netflix and Hulu? Yesterday’s news. No, when it comes to seeking out entertainment, the forward-thinking TV viewer living on the bleeding edge of technology will fire up their web browser and surf over to Yahoo and its smorgasbord of original programming.

Or so Marissa Mayer would like it to be.

The word from the Wall Street Journal is that Mayer’s content-obsessed Yahoo is going to jump feet first into making its own TV shows—10-episode half-hour comedies that you will presumably watch when you’re not sharing photos on Flickr, posting things on Tumblr, or adjusting your fantasy baseball lineup on Yahoo Sports. Of course, with essentially every tech company in the known universe planning some sort of original programming push, Yahoo may find it hard to stand out from the Amazons and Hulus of the streaming entertainment world.

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I'm OK, you're… 8K? 8K broadcasts coming in 2020

Susie Ochs Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Susie is a proud Mac geek, as well as a writer, editor, snowboarder, and mom.
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“I dunno, that 4K TV just doesn’t have enough pixels,” said no one ever. But that isn’t stopping the march of progress—8K resolution is coming. Just not for a little while, and with plenty of technical hurdles to clear along the way.

At the NAB 2014 show in Las Vegas, Japanese public broadcaster NHK showed off massive 8K video displays and a giant 8K video camera, which the company is researching as the next logical step in the quest to crank out as much resolution as the human eye can possibly detect.

NHK's 8K display at NAB 2014 IDGNS Boston

NHK shows off an 8K display at the NAB trade show earlier this month.

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Nature documentarian David Attenborough working on an Oculus Rift film

Hayden Dingman , TechHive Follow me on Google+

Still need convincing that this virtual reality film idea has potential, even after Condition One and Jaunt came out with prototype camera rigs and test footage ?

Sir David Attenborough, the man behind dozens of critically acclaimed nature documentaries over the past five decades, is now bringing upcoming film Conquest of the Skies to the Oculus Rift, according to a report by Realscreen.

The news comes by way of Atlantic Productions commercial director John Morris, who said, “We’re now filming for the Oculus Rift, so when we filmed our recent flight in Borneo, we filmed with an eight-camera rig, so you get the full 360-degree experience.”

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'Silicon Valley' episode 2: 'The Cap Table' - VP of Spite

Jason Snell Senior VP, Editorial Director, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Jason oversees all editorial operations for TechHive, PCWorld, and Macworld. He has reviewed every major Apple product of the last few years, including the original iPhone and iPad as well as every major version of Mac OS X.
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This week on Silicon Valley, Mike Judge’s HBO tech industry satire, the fantasy of starting a successful tech business turns into cold, hard reality. It’s fitting, really, since the transition from all the excitement of a pilot episode of a TV series to the second episode is also about giving up the glamor and settling in for the long haul.

Jargon Watch: The episode’s title, “The Cap Table,” refers to how investors’ stakes in a company add up. In the case of Silicon Valley, visionary investor Peter Gregory (the late Christopher Evan Welch) demands that Richard (Thomas Middlemarch) provide him with a business plan and a cap table before he’ll write that $200,000 check that’s worth 5 percent equity in the company.

Tech World References: There’s a pirate flag hanging in the incubator. Gregory’s Siri-like smartphone feature mishears “John Lennon’s Imagine” as “John Wayne in a Mansion.” When stripper Mochaccino arrives only to see all the nerds flee from her presence, she complains, “God, I hate Palo Alto.” When Richard is on the phone at his desk, the pin-up that's commonly used as the default compression image for testing is on the wall behind him.

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Aereo getting Chromecast support on May 29

Susie Ochs Senior Editor, TechHive Follow me on Google+

Susie is a proud Mac geek, as well as a writer, editor, snowboarder, and mom.
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People lucky enough to have Aereo might say the service couldn’t get much better. But it’s about to, as Aereo announced Thursday that it’s adding Chromecast support to its Android app starting May 29.

Aereo, if you’re unfamiliar, is a cloud-based antenna and DVR technology. Users lease a tiny antenna from Aereo, which lets them access live over-the-air TV and record shows to Aereo’s cloud-based DVR. That live and recorded content is then streamed to the users’ Internet-connected devices, including computers and iOS and Android phones and tablets.

Aereo

Aereo's array of tiny antennas—each one smaller than a dime and used by only one customer. 

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