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Sonos 5.2 beta boosts PLAYBAR & adds multi-user streaming

Sonos 5.2 beta boosts PLAYBAR & adds multi-user streaming

Sonos has pushed out a new beta for its streaming music platform, promising to add a new degree of musicality to its Playbar soundbar, as well as adding multi-account support for streaming services and improvements to the Android app. Sonos 5.2 isn't expected to go public until later in 2014, but Sonos has opened it up as a public beta today. Perhaps the most useful change for those living in a Sonos-equipped home or office, but not wanting to give shared access to their Spotify or other streaming account, is the news that you can now register multiple accounts under different logins.

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Nexus Player Review – Android TV’s awkward debut

Nexus Player Review – Android TV’s awkward debut

The living room has proved to be a challenge for Google. The company which has been so successful in dominating so many of the screens we interact with on a daily basis - our computers, phones, and tablets - has perversely struggled for that most traditional of displays, the humble TV. Google TV was flabby and confusing; the axe fell on the Nexus Q before it even went on sale. Only the Chromecast has had any measure of success, and yet just when we thought Google might have a strategy, along comes a different platform again, Android TV. Running first on the Nexus Player, but set to spread to smart TVs from numerous manufacturers, it’s Google’s fourth lounge reboot, but is it really necessary?

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Not just 1989: Taylor Swift pulls Spotify back catalog

Not just 1989: Taylor Swift pulls Spotify back catalog

Taylor Swift has yanked all of her music from streaming service Spotify, ditching the ad-supported music platform for reasons unknown. The decision has left Spotify without one of its most popular artists; according to an open letter to the singer posted by the company, Swift's music has been played by almost sixteen million users in the past thirty days, and is to be found on over nineteen million playlists. It's not the first time in the past week or so that Swift has shunned Spotify, however.

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Sonos for Android Wear will put controls on your wrist

Sonos for Android Wear will put controls on your wrist

Sonos is testing Android Wear support for its whole-home music platform, allowing wearers of smartwatches running Google's platform to quickly control playback. The new functionality would mean listeners could access play/pause controls as well as skip tracks forward and back from their wrist, and is currently being trialled for participants of the Sonos Beta program who also have an Android Wear device such as the Moto 360.

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Want a Fire TV Stick? Tough luck: Wait until 2015

Want a Fire TV Stick? Tough luck: Wait until 2015

Amazon's Fire TV Stick seems to have struck a chord, with pre-order demand for the streaming media dongle already so fierce that new orders won't ship until 2015 at the earliest. Announced earlier this week, the Chromecast-rivaling stick proved ambitious not just for undercutting Amazon's existing Fire TV, but by the degree with which it did. Although the sticker price was $39, the retailer offered the adapter for a mere $19 to those with Prime accounts.

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Amazon Fire TV Stick takes on Chromecast

Amazon Fire TV Stick takes on Chromecast

Amazon may have been a late entrant into the set-top box space, but that hasn't stopped it already pushing out a second model, with the Fire TV Stick taking a leaf out of Chromecast's playbook by slotting straight into a spare HDMI port behind your TV. Undercutting the original Fire TV box at $39 - though Prime members will, temporarily at least, get an even better deal than that - the stick promises 50-percent more power than Google's dongle as well as 1080p Full HD video and Dolby Digital Plus surround sound, together with three options for remote control.

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iShower2 puts a conference call in your bathroom

iShower2 puts a conference call in your bathroom

Ever find yourself in the shower wishing you could catch up on the latest conference call or listen to Spotify? Niche, perhaps, but since the smart home won't be satisfied until the place you scrub yourself with a flannel is fully connected, iDevices hopes you'll consider putting its new iShower2 alongside your medicated shampoo and that novelty soap your parents brought you back from their last vacation. A wireless, waterproof speaker, it hooks up via Bluetooth to a phone or tablet up to 200 feet away.

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Spotify Family slashes Premium with subscription sharing

Spotify Family slashes Premium with subscription sharing

For many, upgrading streaming music service Spotify to premium and escaping adverts is a must-have, but it can get expensive if everyone in the house wants their own subscription. Spotify Family aims to address that - and boost the company's own coffers in the process - by offering cuts on rates if up to five people sign up in a single family. Since you don't necessarily want to subject your children to your Abba addiction, or reveal to your spouse how much you like Taylor Swift, each user keeps their own login details, personalized recommendations, and playlists along the way.

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EE TV promises DVR and on-demand harmony

EE TV promises DVR and on-demand harmony

Carrier EE is launching its own TV service, EE TV, promising to bring together free-to-air and on-demand content with smartphone and tablet viewing and control. The new set-top box, which will be offered free to EE's UK home broadband subscribers, claims to eschew the usual ugly and impenetrable user-interface of traditional cable boxes and instead borrow heavily from smartphones and tablets; meanwhile, those devices themselves can be used to navigate through the UI, with the EE TV app, and then "flick" content from mobile to TV.

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