Vudu Spark

Do you like the idea of a streaming media stick for your TV, but find that even Google's Chromecast or Amazon's Fire TV Stick costs more than you're willing to pay? You'll want to visit your local Walmart, then. The big-box retailer tells GigaOM that its Vudu Spark dongle, teased at the FCC back in November, is already available at 2,400 stores for $25 -- that's at least $10 less than its big rivals, and as much as the upcoming Matchstick. More stores are coming soon, Walmart adds. It's a tempting offering, but there's a good reason why it's so affordable. As hinted earlier, the Spark is only useful for watching Vudu purchases and rentals. That's fine if you're not picky about how you get your movies and TV shows, but you may have to shell out more if you're determined to use Hulu, Netflix or any other online video service.

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Been waiting for Sony to start dishing out the $15 million in restitution for the 2011 breach that took its PlayStation Network and Qriocity services down back in 2011? Well, thanks to the outfit putting a claim form online, now you can start the payment redemption process. It's limited to those who had either a PSN, Qriocity or Sony Online Entertainment account prior to the intrusion (May 15, 2011), and the payouts aren't all that different from what the firm gave out as part of its "Welcome Back" program at the time. Of course, back then PlayStation 3 and PlayStation Portable games and themes were a bit more desirable, but three months of PlayStation Plus is actually a bit more valuable now than it once was. Sony doling out the goods could still take a bit longer, though.

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Most Blu-rays and DVDs these days come with filmmaker commentary tracks, but it isn't too often you get to hear a game developer give play-by-play while running through something they created. That's the thrust behind the latest episodes of Double Fine Productions' "Devs Play" YouTube series, spotted by Polygon. Here we have one of Doom's co-creators John Romero playing a handful of maps from the legendary first-person shooter that runs on basically any platform. He breaks down everything from the work that went into differentiating it from id's other FPS Wolfenstein 3D, how the team used texture irregularities to denote secret rooms and even how he's watched speed runs that not even he can replicate. Oh, and he designed the first level last, incorporating everything he'd learned throughout the other missions to make the initial one the most interesting.

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James Franco, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen on set of Columbia Pictures' THE INTERVIEW.

As promised, the movie Kim Jong Un preferred you didn't see is now available if you have a Netflix subscription (and an account in US or Canada). Whether or not watching The Interview is a good idea is still a matter of taste/importance, but at this point it really couldn't get any easier (at least until it comes to Sony's Crackle service for free ad-supported streaming at some point in the future.) Oh, and if you're looking to get Amazon Prime for $72 ($27 off the regular price, good for new or existing customers who send it to themselves as a "gift" today only) and/or watch Transparent for free, you can do that right now too. Have a great weekend!

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Last year at the Sundance Film Festival Mark Duplass implored indie filmmakers to "get their goddamn movies on Netflix" and this year, it's clear he'll be doing more of that. At this year's festival, Netflix announced it has a four-picture deal with Mark (The League) and Jay Duplass (Transparent) to make their small-budget films. The two parties have had a relationship ever since Netflix bought The Puffy Chair from the brothers ten years ago. The brothers have produced a slew of indie flicks ever since, and their show Togetherness is airing on HBO. Unlike Netflix's Crouching Tiger and Adam Sandler movie deals, Deadline reports these will premiere in theaters before they go to streaming shortly after. There's no word on what the movies are, but fans of flicks like The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, Safety Not Guaranteed and The Skeleton Twins should have an idea of what to expect.

[Image credit: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images for Sundance]

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20th Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4

Sony caused quite a stir with the unveiling of the 20th Anniversary Edition PlayStation 4, and gamers fell over themselves to get their hands on one of 12,300 pieces of gaming nostalgia. Those online sales and promotional '80s stores have now closed, but the company isn't finished yet. It's just put up the most collectable PlayStation 4 of all for auction and is now taking bids for the first 20th Anniversary Edition PS4 ever made -- the one that carries the coveted 00001/12300 plate.

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Finally, we can stop asking Microsoft's Xbox lead Phil Spencer about virtual reality headsets. "For us, I think this is the area," Spencer told a group of interviewers at yesterday's Windows 10 event. He was responding to whether or not there's also a virtual reality headset in the works at Microsoft, just an hour after the company unveiled HoloLens: a "mixed reality" headset that enables the wearer to see holograms in real life.

For Spencer, HoloLens is both Microsoft's alternate answer to the recent virtual reality explosion and a potential answer to Sony's Project Morpheus headset -- a VR peripheral that works with the PlayStation 4, where HoloLens could work with the Xbox One. "It's very cool. To me there's not a successful consumer electronics device on the planet where gaming is not a primary form of app category on the thing," Spencer said. There's even a "Minecraft-inspired" demo -- which answers that question -- for HoloLens that shows the implications of gaming with holograms. But no demo showed the headset working with the Xbox One in any capacity. Spencer instead talked around that possibility:

"I think gaming will be important. Specific scenarios with the Xbox, we're thinking hard about. People could ask about streaming solutions. Could I use it as a display for my Xbox? We don't have answers to any of those things, but know it's all part of the same organization."

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Microsoft made a lot of sweeping statements yesterday about what it wants for the future of Xbox and Windows. We don't like broad statements here at Engadget; we like specifics. Good news! We've broken down the aforementioned statements into the stuff that really matters: how you will be affected by the upcoming launch of Windows 10, specifically as it pertains to the game console you own and the PC you use for games. We've got answers on everything from in-home game streaming to Xbox's biggest games heading to the PC, so head below for a beat-by-beat breakdown of what yesterday's big announcements mean for the future of the Xbox platform as we know it.

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Fresh off its two Golden Globe wins, Amazon is streaming all ten episodes of its Transparent original series for free this weekend. Starting at 12:01AM ET until 11:59PM PT Saturday, you can watch via Amazon's Instant Video app for TVs, streaming gadgets and mobile devices, including Fire TV, Roku, Xbox, PlayStation and more. The show won Best Musical or Comedy Series and the lead, Jeffrey Tambor of Arrested Development fame, took home Best Actor in a Musical or Comedy Series a few days back. If that wasn't enough of a celebration, new Prime subscriptions will be $72 on Saturday -- a nod to the 72nd installment of the awards soirée. When the time comes, you can start the viewing session right here.

[Photo credit: Jerod Harris/Getty Images for Amazon Studios]

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343 Industries is beta testing its latest patch for the horribly crippled Halo: The Master Chief Collection. Yes, you read that right: Redmond's internal Halo studio is asking a portion of MCC's players to be canaries in the Covenant coal-mine ahead of the latest (hopefully last?) update that'll address the myriad issues still surrounding the game's multiplayer. The test is available to North Americans in the Xbox One Preview Program, and furthermore, if you opt in it'll limit who you're playing with to those also in the beta. The test surrounds changes to the game's matchmaking and party systems according to 343i, with further details coming once the update gets closer to a final release. Sign-ups start this Friday, and only those with the "highest levels of engagement" with the game are going to be selected. Everyone else? You're just going to have to dream of what a revamped "Relic" will look like.

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Video Game High School

Many of Hulu's original shows are meant as equivalents to conventional TV, but the streaming service is about to take some of its internet rivals head-on. It just unveiled plans for a new series from RocketJump, the studio behind the cult web hit Video Game High School. Neither outfit is divulging details of the storyline just yet. Lionsgate will help produce the project, however, and there will be eight half-hour episodes along with shorts. You'll also have to be patient if you're expecting a release date, although the length of the series suggests you'll start watching sooner rather than later.

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Without a doubt, the biggest surprise from today's Windows 10 keynote at Microsoft's Redmond campus was the outfit unveiling its HoloLens headset. Dubbed as the "first fully untethered, holographic computer" the device and its capabilities looked pretty neat -- if a little fantastical -- onstage when Alex Kipman showed it off. But for all his talk about breaking down the walls between technology and people, there are a surprising amount of them around exactly what the device is packing under the hood. We asked every person at the event that we could (developers, public relations folks, engineers) about the specs of the dev kit we tried, and were shot down at every turn. No one would give a single, concrete detail. So let's break down what was said during the stage demo (embedded below) and what Microsoft has released via the HoloLens website instead, shall we?

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Last September, the Federal Aviation Administration began working with movie and TV groups to grant them approval for operating drones in national airspace. Most recently, cable news channel CNN got the green light from the FAA to use these UAVs for news reporting, and now ESPN's managed to do the same. The sports network has announced that it plans to use camera-equipped drones during this year's Winter X Games, which are set to take place in Aspen, Colorado. It will be the first time ESPN has done this; the company says this technology is next in a long line of several advances and enhancements for its broadcasts, such as the Pylon Cams we saw recently at the College Football Playoff National Championship.

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Microsoft's "dreaming beyond virtual worlds." Meaning, it's looking into holograms for, well, Windows Holographic. It looks an awful lot like an extension of the RoomAlive tech we've seen previously, but it isn't limited to gaming. According to Redmond's Alex Kipman, Holographic applications are Windows 10 universal apps so developers will be able to release them across a wide range of devices. The platform works in concert with the newly unveiled HoloLens headset that allows interaction between the physical and digital worlds. The outfit showed this all off with a live demo of an app dubbed HoloStudio wherein an employee built a quadrocopter onstage by pointing her finger and issuing voice commands like "mirror" and "copy." It all seemed pretty natural, actually. Kipman likened it to "print preview for 3D printing" and then pulled a 3D-printed version of the UFO-like quadrocopter seemingly out of his back pocket to show that it's more than just a concept -- it's a reality.

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Microsoft's new "Windows as a service" approach means more than just free Windows 10 upgrades; it's also bringing game streaming from the Xbox One to PCs and tablets. Xbox lead Phil Spencer just announced the feature at today's Windows 10 event, which will bring a feature similar to what we've seen on Wii U, PlayStation and Steam, with streaming to other devices in the home. That's in addition to all the other new gaming features coming to Windows 10, of course, and we expect to hear more about the feature at the Game Developers Conference in March before it launches later this year.

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