Technology is transforming the humble idiot box into a powerful Internet appliance. Whether you call it “smart TV,” “connected TV,” or “Internet TV,” it has the potential to upend our boob tube experience, letting us watch our favorite shows whenever and wherever we want, and merging TV shows with online content in cunning, clever ways. Smart TV won’t prevent television from rotting your brain (it’s not that smart), but it should empower you to find, and get more from, all the content that’s available.
Hollywood studios and TV networks are finally waking up to the power of the Internet, thanks to pioneering efforts by the likes of Netflix, Hulu, and Vudu. And if you can wait for pay-TV services such as HBO and Showtime to release their original programming on DVD, you can seriously consider ditching your expensive cable or satellite subscription services, too.
In the following pages, we’ll solve all the mysteries of smart TV. We’ll explain every important service and device that falls under the smart TV rubric (omitting only the most obvious players, such as YouTube), and tie everything together into a neat and simple package. It’s time to turn on and tune in.
You've found that hot new app on the Android Market, and you can't wait to click the Install button. But you're getting the message that the app isn't compatible with your device. Being the good Maximum user that you are, you'd rather find out for yourself. Those messages are sometimes wrong, after all. Or perhaps you want to take advantage of the daily giveaways in the Amazon Appstore. Or, if you're one of the millions of Kindle Fire owners, you may want more choices than the limited Amazon Appstore provides. All of the above comprise sufficient reason to start sideloading apps to your Android device.
What matters most when you game? I imagine we each have a different answer, and that answer may change with time. After many years of playing military shooters, I finally realized this month that I’ve had enough. I’ll certainly go on steering around my little guy as he bobs behind an iron site in a brownish-grayish world, but I won’t miss the genre if it vanishes.
With 64-player maps, exquisite textures, amazing physics, and tessellation that consoles can only dream of, PC gaming is undergoing a renaissance.
Wasn’t it just four years ago that the pundits and game media gathered in wake, made a few pithy quips about graphics and soundcard drivers, and poured their 40‑ouncers over the grave of PC gaming? Well guess what, baby—PC gaming ain’t dead by a long shot. In fact, there’s a strong argument that PC gaming is not only alive and well, it’s thriving and poised to dominate consoles.
Don’t believe us? Battlefield 3, one of the most anticipated launches of the year, only offers 64-player goodness to those on the PC, and tweaks the frak out of PC-only graphics that make game consoles look like peddlers of VGA output in a 1080p world. Smash a window in Batman: Arkham City on a PC with PhysX support, and you’re rewarded with glass particles flying everywhere—just as if you threw a thug through a plate glass window in real life. Do that on a console, and you’re rewarded with a pathetic tinkle.
Let’s not even talk about The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, which has enhanced textures and graphics on the PC that its developer, Bethesda, says will “melt your face.” And hell, we haven’t even gotten to the PC-only titles of Star Wars: The Old Republic, Dota 2, and Diablo III, or the free-to-play phenomenon and MMOs.
So are we seeing a resurgence of PC gaming, or are we just fooling ourselves? To find out, read our report on whether “real” gaming has returned. Then read our reviews of The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim and Batman: Arkham City, two of the latest games to celebrate what PCs uniquely offer; and finally, take a gander at our list of the 10 best free PC games online. If we are fooling ourselves about a PC gaming comeback, we’re having a kick-ass time of it.
To say that Batman: Arkham City is the best licensed game of all time is like saying Oreos are the best chocolate-and-cream sandwich cookies; sure, it's praise, but it's meaningless praise given the competition. A more impressive feat is that outside of the comics and graphic novels, Batman: Arkham City is the single best representation of the Batman property ever created.
Skyrim is torn by civil war: A weakened Empire struggles to retain control of the province, while rebel Nords vie for self-determination. Dragons have returned after centuries, and nobody knows why. Undead infest the crypts, cairns, and barrows, and more dangerous things haunt deep Dwarven ruins. Elsewhere, ordinary people are living their lives. Guilds struggle to reclaim past glory, shopkeepers try to scrape by, lovers quarrel, and everyone could use your help. Time to make your mark on the world.
It’s been about 10 years since multicore processors burst on the scene, and we’re now seeing several innovative variations. At first, chip designers simply replicated CPU cores, filling their silicon with copies of the same brain. Now they are exploring alternatives—and these variations will change the way we benchmark performance and compare processors.