The Ultimate Gear for Watching the Olympics

The Ultimate Gear for Watching the Olympics

The 2016 Summer Olympics will be the hardest Olympics not to watch. This has nothing to do with the quality of the competition or your overall interest in the hammer throw, which hopefully is extremely high. No, this summer’s Games will be hard to avoid because they’ll be available on practically every device you own. Here’s all the best gear for tuning in.

01

Streaming Essentials

Free and paid options abound for watching the Olympics on your phone, tablet, set-top box, and game console. NBCOlympics.com puts it all in your browser. The NBC Sports app works on iOS, Android, Windows Phones, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox. If you want to get spendy, SlingTV ($25/month) and PlayStation Vue ($30/month) provide cable-like coverage.

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Free and paid options abound for watching the Olympics on your phone, tablet, set-top box, and game console. NBCOlympics.com puts it all in your browser. The NBC Sports app works on iOS, Android, Windows Phones, Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Xbox. If you want to get spendy, SlingTV ($25/month) and PlayStation Vue ($30/month) provide cable-like coverage.

02

Watch it in 4K HDR

You can watch the Olympics in the best televised experience available today: 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) video. Unfortunately, it’s a chore to figure out if your TV and plan are compatible. Comcast will stream 4K HDR footage via its Xfinity app for Samsung’s latest SUHD TVs. Dish delivers it on channel 146, DirectTV uses channel 106, and you’ll need extra hardware for both of those options. And while they’ll all look stunning, none of them will be live broadcasts.

Samsung

You can watch the Olympics in the best televised experience available today: 4K high-dynamic range (HDR) video. Unfortunately, it’s a chore to figure out if your TV and plan are compatible. Comcast will stream 4K HDR footage via its Xfinity app for Samsung’s latest SUHD TVs. Dish delivers it on channel 146, DirectTV uses channel 106, and you’ll need extra hardware for both of those options. And while they’ll all look stunning, none of them will be live broadcasts.

03

A Dolby Atmos Soundbar

Video isn’t the only great thing about those feeds. In many cases, the audio will be compatible with Dolby Atmos speakers—those sound systems in movie theaters that provide realistic 3-D effects. You’ll need a compatible soundbar to make those immersive effects work, and there are a couple of pricey options on the market: Yamaha’s $1,600 YSP-5600 and Samsung’s $1,500 HW-K950.

Samsung

Video isn’t the only great thing about those feeds. In many cases, the audio will be compatible with Dolby Atmos speakers—those sound systems in movie theaters that provide realistic 3-D effects. You’ll need a compatible soundbar to make those immersive effects work, and there are a couple of pricey options on the market: Yamaha’s $1,600 YSP-5600 and Samsung’s $1,500 HW-K950.

04

Samsung Gear VR

If you’ve got the NBC Sports app, a Samsung Galaxy phone, and a Samsung Gear VR headset, you can also watch some events in VR. These won’t be live broadcasts, but the NBC Sports app should recognize if it’s installed on a compatible phone. If so, it’ll give viewers the option to witness some events in 360-degree video.

Samsung

If you’ve got the NBC Sports app, a Samsung Galaxy phone, and a Samsung Gear VR headset, you can also watch some events in VR. These won’t be live broadcasts, but the NBC Sports app should recognize if it’s installed on a compatible phone. If so, it’ll give viewers the option to witness some events in 360-degree video.

05

An HD antenna

If you’re OK with watching the games in HD, an antenna can pull in a top-notch signal without having to use a cable box. Plug in your antenna, run a channel scan, and then tune into NBC or Telemundo. Buying the right antenna can be tricky. It’s hard to recommend one for everybody, because your home’s surroundings and distance from a broadcast tower are important factors. Your TV has to have a built-in tuner, too, and you may need to invest in an amplified or directional antenna if you’re dozens of miles from a tower.

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If you’re OK with watching the games in HD, an antenna can pull in a top-notch signal without having to use a cable box. Plug in your antenna, run a channel scan, and then tune into NBC or Telemundo. Buying the right antenna can be tricky. It’s hard to recommend one for everybody, because your home’s surroundings and distance from a broadcast tower are important factors. Your TV has to have a built-in tuner, too, and you may need to invest in an amplified or directional antenna if you’re dozens of miles from a tower.

06

Keep Your Data Plan in Check

When it comes to streaming the Olympics on your phone or tablet, your viewing appetite may be larger than your data plan. You could always use Wi-Fi, but T-Mobile’s “Binge On” plan lets you stream without using any of your monthly data. NBC Sports, Playstation Vue, and Sling TV are all covered under the Binge On plan.

Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty Images

When it comes to streaming the Olympics on your phone or tablet, your viewing appetite may be larger than your data plan. You could always use Wi-Fi, but T-Mobile’s “Binge On” plan lets you stream without using any of your monthly data. NBC Sports, Playstation Vue, and Sling TV are all covered under the Binge On plan.

07

Ultimate Mobile Viewing

Phones are big nowadays, but if you want to really show off at the coffee shop, you need something along the lines of a portable wireless television. Panasonic’s ginormous 4K tablet, for example. The Toughpad UT-MB5025 has a 20-inch screen and weighs more than five pounds. Don’t worry about cracking that screen, because it’s built to withstand drops of up to six feet.

Panasonic

Phones are big nowadays, but if you want to really show off at the coffee shop, you need something along the lines of a portable wireless television. Panasonic’s ginormous 4K tablet, for example. The Toughpad UT-MB5025 has a 20-inch screen and weighs more than five pounds. Don’t worry about cracking that screen, because it’s built to withstand drops of up to six feet.

08

Radio? Radio!

You haven’t experienced an Olympic javelin competition until you’ve listened to it on the radio. TuneIn will stream Olympics audio coverage from two NBC stations and four Westwood One stations. It’s the best way to enjoy the games while sipping lemonade on the porch.

Andy Lyons/Getty Images

You haven’t experienced an Olympic javelin competition until you’ve listened to it on the radio. TuneIn will stream Olympics audio coverage from two NBC stations and four Westwood One stations. It’s the best way to enjoy the games while sipping lemonade on the porch.

09

Damn the Mosquitoes

You’ve spoiled yourself with the sights of the games in VR and the sounds in Dolby Atmos. If you really want to feel like you’re right there in Rio, how about a little bug spray? This Sawyer Picaridin spray is Consumer Reports’ top-rated mosquito repellent. Bonus: It has a “mild corn-chip aroma mixed with citrus,” so you’ll also smell like a bag of Fritos Sal y Limon.

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You’ve spoiled yourself with the sights of the games in VR and the sounds in Dolby Atmos. If you really want to feel like you’re right there in Rio, how about a little bug spray? This Sawyer Picaridin spray is Consumer Reports’ top-rated mosquito repellent. Bonus: It has a “mild corn-chip aroma mixed with citrus,” so you’ll also smell like a bag of Fritos Sal y Limon.

10

Virtual Track & Field

Olympic track-and-field events don’t start for about a week. Patience is for suckers. Scratch that non-mosquito itch right now by buying a refurbished arcade version of Konami’s Track & Field on eBay. It costs around 2 grand and includes several games in the series. If you don’t have that kind of cash or space, just watch this YouTube video while smashing two buttons on your keyboard.

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Olympic track-and-field events don’t start for about a week. Patience is for suckers. Scratch that non-mosquito itch right now by buying a refurbished arcade version of Konami’s Track & Field on eBay. It costs around 2 grand and includes several games in the series. If you don’t have that kind of cash or space, just watch this YouTube video while smashing two buttons on your keyboard.

Source: WIRED

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The 10 Best Amazon Echo Skills for Loners

The 10 Best Amazon Echo Skills for Loners

Alexa can do many genuinely useful things. She can call you an Uber, order you a mediocre pizza, or turn your smartshoes on and off. She even has some witty repartee built right in. But sometimes, all you want is to shut out the world, throw on some Zubaz pants, and have Alexa read you some Sartre. These are the Echo skills for your alone times.

01

Make Spotify or Pandora the Default Player

First, some appropriate mood music. If you have Amazon Prime, you also have access to Amazon Prime Music. That doesn’t do you any good if your playlists and stations are on another service. To fix that, visit Settings in the Alexa app, tap Music & Media, and select the default service of your choice—Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, and iHeartRadio are all in there.

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First, some appropriate mood music. If you have Amazon Prime, you also have access to Amazon Prime Music. That doesn’t do you any good if your playlists and stations are on another service. To fix that, visit Settings in the Alexa app, tap Music & Media, and select the default service of your choice—Spotify, Pandora, TuneIn Radio, and iHeartRadio are all in there.

02

Make Some Drinks

Next, a stiff drink. Whiskey works, but you can also get all “mixologist” up in heah. The Bartender covers more than 10,000 drink recipes. If tequila is more your speed, enable and use the new Ask Patron skill. It recommends drinks, serves up margarita recipes, and knows a bunch of agave-themed trivia.

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Next, a stiff drink. Whiskey works, but you can also get all “mixologist” up in heah. The Bartender covers more than 10,000 drink recipes. If tequila is more your speed, enable and use the new Ask Patron skill. It recommends drinks, serves up margarita recipes, and knows a bunch of agave-themed trivia.

03

Lock Yourself In Your Home

Eliminating distractions is tough when you live next door to Kramer. Now you can lock the world out with your voice. August Smart Lock recently announced its own Alexa skill, making it the first lock you can yell at to operate. Obviously, you’ll need the $200 lock for it to work, but that’s a small price to pay for never having to leave the couch.

Josh Valcarcel/WIRED

Eliminating distractions is tough when you live next door to Kramer. Now you can lock the world out with your voice. August Smart Lock recently announced its own Alexa skill, making it the first lock you can yell at to operate. Obviously, you’ll need the $200 lock for it to work, but that’s a small price to pay for never having to leave the couch.

04

Use Alexa as a Shrink

With a skill called Therapy, you can complain about your day to Alexa and get semi-useful words of encouragement in return. You tell Alexa you’re sad, and it responds “Don’t be sad, turn your frown upside-down.” You tell Alexa you’re mad, and it responds “I’m sorry to hear that.” Don’t expect any therapeutic breakthroughs—you get what you pay for.

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With a skill called Therapy, you can complain about your day to Alexa and get semi-useful words of encouragement in return. You tell Alexa you’re sad, and it responds “Don’t be sad, turn your frown upside-down.” You tell Alexa you’re mad, and it responds “I’m sorry to hear that.” Don’t expect any therapeutic breakthroughs—you get what you pay for.

05

Play a Game of Spoken-Word Baseball

Rolling solo doesn’t mean you have to resort to Solitaire or Shut the Box for some entertainment. A weird skill called Robot Roxie loosely simulates the act of playing baseball. Tell it to pitch the ball. Then say “Home run.” Man, you’re probably the best voice-hitter in the bigs.

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Rolling solo doesn’t mean you have to resort to Solitaire or Shut the Box for some entertainment. A weird skill called Robot Roxie loosely simulates the act of playing baseball. Tell it to pitch the ball. Then say “Home run.” Man, you’re probably the best voice-hitter in the bigs.

06

Play a Game of Jeopardy!

Word-baseball isn’t much of a challenge. It’s time to hand things over to Alexa Trebek. This spoken-word Jeopardy! game uses actual questions (and sound effects) from the show, and you get a fresh set of five questions every day. No cash prizes, unfortunately.

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Word-baseball isn’t much of a challenge. It’s time to hand things over to Alexa Trebek. This spoken-word Jeopardy! game uses actual questions (and sound effects) from the show, and you get a fresh set of five questions every day. No cash prizes, unfortunately.

07

Freak Yourself Out

The Listeners is weird by design. It started as a sound installation in a giant crate, and it says things like “We are always listening… All these things that you have asked to know, correlate with our primary purpose, to represent, in a normalized form, the most frequently expressed, and potentially most profitable, human desires.” You can ask it to continue or go hide in a shed.

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The Listeners is weird by design. It started as a sound installation in a giant crate, and it says things like “We are always listening… All these things that you have asked to know, correlate with our primary purpose, to represent, in a normalized form, the most frequently expressed, and potentially most profitable, human desires.” You can ask it to continue or go hide in a shed.

08

Audio Pug-Bomb Yourself

You may know Pug Bomb from your favorite chat bot. You request some pugs, and it delivers good photos of pugs. This is an audio version of that. You ask for some pugs, and Alexa describes them. Like, “Here’s a pug whose mouth is stuffed full of french fries,” and “This pug is wearing slippers that look like pugs,” and “This pug is staring eagerly at a cookie.” It’s pretty great.

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You may know Pug Bomb from your favorite chat bot. You request some pugs, and it delivers good photos of pugs. This is an audio version of that. You ask for some pugs, and Alexa describes them. Like, “Here’s a pug whose mouth is stuffed full of french fries,” and “This pug is wearing slippers that look like pugs,” and “This pug is staring eagerly at a cookie.” It’s pretty great.

09

Play the Name Game

This skill does this: You say a name or a word, and it does the whole “name game” spiel with it. Reynolds Reynolds bo-benolds, banana-fana-fo-fenolds, fee-fi mo-menolds, Reynolds. That’s all it does. (Pro tip: Try it with “Duck” to hear Alexa’s on-the-fly censorship skills.)

Christopher Stevenson/Getty Images

This skill does this: You say a name or a word, and it does the whole “name game” spiel with it. Reynolds Reynolds bo-benolds, banana-fana-fo-fenolds, fee-fi mo-menolds, Reynolds. That’s all it does. (Pro tip: Try it with “Duck” to hear Alexa’s on-the-fly censorship skills.)

10

Figure Out What Day It Is

How long have you been in this room, talking to this cylinder? Doesn’t matter. What really matters is whether it’s national cheesecake day. And it is, my friend. It really is. Time to come out of your hole.

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How long have you been in this room, talking to this cylinder? Doesn’t matter. What really matters is whether it’s national cheesecake day. And it is, my friend. It really is. Time to come out of your hole.

Source: WIRED

Dyson’s Robo-Vacuum Is Powerful, But It’s No Match for Skittles

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A robotic vacuum cleaner generally sacrifices power for convenience, so don’t expect Dyson’s 360 Eye to replace a full-fledged dirt-sucker. Like Roomba, it’s made for light daily cleaning. Still, with a 78,000 RPM motor, Dyson claims it should provide twice the suction of the average robo-cleaner.

Cooler still, it has an all-seeing eyeball. The 360 Eye is named for the R2-D2-like dome and the 360-degree camera inside. The ‘bot uses the camera to map cleaning patterns of concentric squares and straight lines, unlike the Roomba’s more chaotic routes. Use the Dyson Link app to schedule cleanings and see a map of what has and hasn’t been cleaned.

The brush goes right to the edges of the machine, letting the 360 Eye clean closer to walls, and cone elements inside whip dirt into a cyclone. The suction is augmented by carbon fiber and nylon brushes that dig deep to loosen grit.

Dyson says all of this makes the 360 Eye more effective on hard floors and carpets, and tank treads help it move between the two. As our video shows, however, it won’t work miracles. Although powerful for its size and type, it’s not nearly as potent as Dyson’s 110,000 RPM handheld V8 vacuum.

While it’s lighter and smaller around, the vacuum is taller than a Roomba. That’s something to keep in mind if you have low-slung furniture. And you’ll get about a half-hour of cleaning from the battery, compared to an hour-plus from the Roomba—but it’ll return to its dock to top off before finishing the job. Its bin has roughly the same capacity as the Roomba’s, but twice the suction power means you’ll probably empty it more often.

It’ll set you back $1,000, which means the 360 Eye costs $100 more than the top-of-the-line Roomba 980. As to whether it’s as fun to ride, cats did not respond to a request for comment.

Source: WIRED

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