Must Read Bits & Bytes

The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

The Hobbit VR hands-on: a Thief in the Shadows

Earlier this week, Epic Games announced that WETA Digital had created a VR experience for The Hobbit. This collaboration is called "Thief in the Shadows", and was the combined efforts of Epic Games, WETA Digital, NVIDIA, and Oculus, and it'd bring the wearer to the Lonely Mountain, put in place of Bilbo Baggins as he (the wearer of the Oculus VR headset) encounters the dragon Smaug for the first time. Oh, Stupendous One, how awesome it is to look upon your face from such a realistic perspective.

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NextVR aims to transform sports entertainment forever

NextVR aims to transform sports entertainment forever

Late last month, the virtual reality specialists at NextVR successfully tested out transmission of an NHL game with Live VR. This means that no matter where you are - just so long as you have an internet connection - you'll be able to watch the game. Not just from whatever perspective the standard camera wishes you to view - but from the perspective of someone who's down in a front-row seat. This week we had a chat with the co-founders of NextVR about how they made headway at a 2015 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series LA Kings vs. San Jose Sharks Game.

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Samsung’s not giving up on VR: Gear VR GS6 hands-on

Samsung’s not giving up on VR: Gear VR GS6 hands-on

I honestly didn't think I'd have to mess up my charming, hobo-like mess of hair so often at MWC 2015, but Samsung wasn't going to let me get away without trying the new Gear VR for the Galaxy S6. An updated version of last year's Gear VR for the Galaxy Note, the new model keeps the same basic principle - your smartphone screen, when docked up-front, becomes a stereoscopic display - but updates it to suit the new Galaxy S6 and S6 edge Samsung announced on Sunday. Thing is, having already been wowed by the HTC Vive, can Samsung's altogether more straightforward headset compete?

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12-inch MacBook Air Retina now tipped for Q2

12-inch MacBook Air Retina now tipped for Q2

The well-whispered 12-inch MacBook Air, thinner and Retina resolution in comparison to the existing ultraportable, will begin shipping in Q2 2015 a new report suggests. Rumors of the new notebook have circulated for some time, the 12-inch form-factor a compromise in size between the current 11- and 13-inch MacBook Air. Several release dates have been attached to the project by earlier tipsters, but it's possible that the new Air could be announced at Apple's event next Monday, alongside the Apple Watch.

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NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X revealed, handed to Tim Sweeney

NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X revealed, handed to Tim Sweeney

This week NVIDIA decided to reveal their next big graphics card at a press event that wasn't explicitly theirs. At the Epic Games event, with Tim Sweeney next to him, NVIDIA CEO Jen-Hsun Huang revealed the NVIDIA GeForce GTX TITAN X was revealed for the first time. This card was revealed only with the promise of the whole audience that they'd come to GTC 2015. That's NVIDIA's own graphics-centric conference that takes place later this month - we'll be there too, of course.

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HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

HTC Vive hands-on: That Valve VR wow-factor

I’m going to be blunt with you, words can’t do justice to the experience of using HTC’s Vive virtual reality headset. There’s nothing quite like slipping into a virtual 3D world, as I did this week in a preview of Vive ahead of developer units shipping this spring. Cloistered in a room at the back of HTC’s Mobile World Congress stand, and with the reassuring voice of a Vive engineer whispering in my ear, I got to try out a number of demo apps and environments created for the platform by Valve and others, including the first announced title for SteamVR.

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Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6: Look out world, the Brits are back

Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6: Look out world, the Brits are back

When Bentley makes a concept, it doesn’t do things by halves, and the Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 is the best evidence of that we’ve seen in years. Dropping jaws here at the 2015 Geneva Motor Show, the deep green two-seater isn’t just a design exercise - even though that alone would be enough to have us interested - but, teasingly, the forebear of a new age of styling for the heritage company and potentially even a new line of more performance-focused models to sit alongside the Continental GT grand tourer. And, while you might associate Bentley with old-school luxury, if anything the EXP 10 Speed 6 could be the most technologically forward-looking car at the show.

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NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV hands-on

NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV hands-on

The living room-based center of the NVIDIA SHIELD family has been revealed this week at GDC 2015, and we've had the opportunity to get up close and personal. This device goes by the name NVIDIA SHIELD - see more about that naming convention in our first detail article if you must - and it's made to sit beside your television. Our first experience with the NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV device was with a developer iteration, but it's set to be essentially the same beast when it's released later this year.

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NVIDIA SHIELD specs: entertainment device detailed

NVIDIA SHIELD specs: entertainment device detailed

This evening we've been given our first full tour of the NVIDIA SHIELD living room entertainment device. This device joins the SHIELD Portable - a controller/display combo, and the SHIELD Tablet - a high-powered tablets that works with the SHIELD Wireless Controller. The NVIDIA SHIELD is made to empower your TV as it works with your Google account for content. As such, it runs Android TV. It outputs up to 4K 60fps content to your big screen, and it runs with an NVIDIA Tegra X1 processor, as well.

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Sony Project Morpheus release set for 2016 with 120Hz display

Sony Project Morpheus release set for 2016 with 120Hz display

This afternoon Sony suggested that their Project Morpheus VR headset would be launching in the first half of the year 2016. They also said that this new and improved headset - still tethered to the PlayStation 4 - would be "targeting" 120Hz display tech - that's intense. As Shuhei Yoshida said today, Sony is "one step closer to realizing our vision of making virtual reality a reality in games." This week the PlayStation 4-centric Project Morpheus VR headset will be shown off to developers who wish to work with the headset in the near future - for PS4 games, of course.

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