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You can now pre-order Disney+ if you’re in the United States

What you need to know

  • Disney+ is now available for general pre-order in the United States.
  • It’s still $6.99 a month, or $69.99 a year.
  • And you still have to wait until Nov. 12 to actually watch it.

If you just can’t wait for Nov. 12 to roll around and for Disney+ to officially launch, it’s now available for pre-order for folks in the United States.

And, well, that’s it. You don’t get anything extra. You don’t get a price break, like with the D23 promotion. But you do have the knowledge that you’ve subscribed to something and given Disney your credit card more than a month in advance. So there’s that.

More: How to sign up for Disney+

Note that this is only for Disney+, and that the ridiculously well-priced $12.99 bundle that includes Hulu and ESPN+ won’t be available until launch on Nov. 12.

Disney+ is the upcoming streaming home for all of Disney proper. Of course, that world has expanded by several orders of magnitude as Disney also owns Marvel and Star Wars, as well as Pixar and National Geographic.

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Apple’s iPhone event stream on YouTube got nearly 2 million streamers

What you need to know

  • For the first time ever, Apple streamed its iPhone event on YouTube.
  • The format proved to be a runaway hit with streamers.
  • During the stream, the iPhone event got over 1.8 million streamers.

For the first time ever, Apple streamed its iPhone event live on YouTube. It normally locks it down to a stream held on its own site, and prior to 2018, it was only available on Safari browsers. It’s slowly loosened its restrictions with this year being the most readily available for people and they responded in kind.

The new format was an unsurprising hit, getting nearly 2 million streamers during the event. In total, the Apple event garnered over 1.8 million streamers at its peak.

Apple’s iPhone events always receive an unprecedented amount of attention, but now we are able to put into context just how much. In years past, in streaming the event through its own site, Apple didn’t disclose streaming numbers. YouTube, however, shows the number during the live stream, giving us a peek at Apple’s numbers.

They were quite impressive as intrigue around the iPhone 11 (and Apple’s other announcements) was at a fever pitch.

We appreciate Apple using new formats to make its events readily available. It makes it more convenient to keep up with all of its announcements. Besides YouTube, Apple has also embraced social media, offering to send people announcement tweets on Twitter as the event goes on.

Apple’s next event will likely take place in the next couple of months. We’re hoping it continues streaming its events on YouTube from here on out.

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YouTube TV throws in free Showtime for longtime subscribers

A pleasant surprise is greeting some YouTube TV subscribers this evening — free Showtime through Sept. 5. Flip on YouTube TV on any of your devices and you’ll be hit with a huge announcement telling you to check out YouTube TV from a computer (that’d be at tv.youtube.com to claim the free offer.

A couple clicks later, and you’ve got yourself 90 days or so of the premium network.

Note that if you’re taking advantage of YouTube TV’s multiple accounts (you can have as many as six) you’ll need to turn on that free offer individually on each account. At the end of the free period, the subscription will be canceled and you won’t be billed for more. If you cancel the trial during the three free months, that’s it — you won’t be able to start it back up again.

Here’s the official fine print:

Exclusive SHOWTIME® offer through 9/5/19

This SHOWTIME® promotion is only open to valid YouTube TV members in the United States. Promotional value of subscription(s) are non transferable, not for resale, not redeemable for cash, and non-refundable. YouTube TV offer is redeemable where YouTube TV is available.

Eligible participants will be contacted by YouTube TV and must take action in order to claim the offer. Eligible YouTube TV Family Managers will need to opt-in to add SHOWTIME® to their plan using Members Settings on a computer. Offer can be activated at anytime but is only valid until promotion ends on September 5, 2019, at which time all SHOWTIME® subscriptions will end. At the end of the offer period, SHOWTIME® will be automatically removed and members will not be automatically charged the standard SHOWTIME® subscription price. If members cancel their membership during this time, the offer will no longer be valid. Offer requires a Google account, a current form of payment and an active YouTube TV subscription. YouTube TV reserves the right to change or cancel the offer at any time.

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NVIDIA partners with Unity and Unreal to integrate ray tracing tech

NVIDIA’s ray tracing tech hasn’t gotten off to a great start, with just a few titles offering support for the technology. That’s all set to change, as NVIDIA has announced at GDC that it is teaming up with Unity and Unreal to integrate its ray tracing technology into both game engines. That’s a major win for the chip vendor as it tries to make ray tracing more accessible to developers.

Nearly 90% of PC games are developed on either Unity or Unreal, so the fact that ray tracing tech is baked into the game engines makes it that much easier for game studios to leverage the technology. The low uptick of ray tracing meant that sales of NVIDIA’s RTX cards have been lukewarm to say the least. With two of the biggest game engines throwing their weight behind the technology, that should change soon.

In fact, NVIDIA CEO Jensen Huang foreshadowed the announcement last month in an earnings call,

Probably one of the biggest stories that came out just last week is Unreal engine and Unity, both of the game engines, are going to incorporate RTX and ray tracing technology in the engine itself.

Ray tracing leads to much more realistic visuals in games as it simulates light bouncing off various surfaces. But the downside is that doing so requires a lot of processing power, and this is why RTX cards have dedicated cores to facilitate real-time ray tracing.

Unreal Engine 4.22 with ray tracing is in preview right now, and we should know more details about a final release shortly. Unity will offer “production-focused” real-time ray tracing integration in a new build that will go live on April 4.

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Google’s Netflix-style game streaming service could become reality on March 19

Google has sent out invites for an event on March 19, where the search giant is expected to unveil more information about its cloud gaming service.

Dubbed Project Stream, the service is designed to make high-end gaming more accessible to consumers who don’t own a console or powerful gaming PC. If you have a decent internet connection and a machine that runs Chrome, then you’re good to go.

Google briefly tested the service in beta last year, giving gamers access to Ubisoft’s Assassin’s Creed Odyssey.

Rumors about Google entering the gaming world surfaced at the beginning of last year, when a report claimed the search giant was developing a subscription-based service that could be accessed through a Google-made console.

Google’s Project Stream could go head-to-head with similar services from Sony and Nvidia, which offer access to AAA titles over the internet. Meanwhile, Amazon and Microsoft are also rumored to be working on video game streaming services, with releases expected later this year.

We’ll provide more details about Google’s service as they become available.VIA: ANDROIDCENTRAL

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Watch Google I/O keynote live right here

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Apple’s Emergency SOS feature has led to a lot of accidental 911 calls

Apple devices at its Elk Grove refurbishing center have been accidentally calling 911, flooding emergency dispatchers with unsolicited calls. According to CBS Sacramento, dispatchers for the Elk Grove Police have received an average of 20 calls per day and a total of over 1,600 calls since October. Sacramento County Sheriff Department Communication Center says it too has received these calls, claiming 47 of them have come since January 1.

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Roundabout Spiralling onto PS4 and PS Vita with Cross-Buy

Roundabout is a crazy, silly, stupid game. Complete with full motion video cutscenes, horrific cheeseball acting, ridiculous arcade game and equally absurd background music, this effort is a child only a mother could love.

And by “mother,” we mean specific slice of gamer with a love for all things wacky. Good thing I fall into that category.

Roundabout is already on Steam for $14.99, and it sports overwhelmingly positive reviews from that community. Now it’s bound for the PlayStation family with PS4 and PS Vita releases. Even better, the game falls into the Cross-Buy club and will be available on both systems for a single purchase.

Fancy that.

There’s a PlayStation announcement trailer at the head of this post, complete with all the cheese you can handle. If this sort of goofy seems like something you can love, give it a shot. Roundabout is genuinely fun.

 

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Apple and Barclays Launch a Visa Rewards Card with Apple Store Credit

Apple and Barclays are teaming up again for a new Visa rewards cards. Unlike previous cards that offered iTunes rewards, this one will help you pay for Apple Store purchases while also adding Chip-and-PIN support and new financing options.

Once you apply for a card you should hear back almost instantly from Barclays, and if you’re approved you’ll receive it in the mail within 7-10 business days. From there you can use it like any other credit card, though you’ll get the most rewards when you shop with Apple.

Each dollar you spend at the Apple Store either online or in person will earn you three points, while money spent at a restaurant earns two points per dollar, and other purchases come to one point per dollar spent. Once you rack up 2,500 points you’ll get a $25 Apple Store gift card.

The other advantage to Apple’s Visa rewards card is that you won’t have to pay any interest as long as you cover all your purchases in time. With the new card you’ll have six months to cover purchases under $498, 12 months if you spend between $499 and $998, and 18 months if you spend $999 and over.

If you’re interested, hit the Apple link below to apply now, or check out Barclay’s site for even more information on the new rewards card.

SOURCE APPLE, BARCLAYS
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Astronauts Deal With Some Tough After Effects When Returning to Earth

Acclimating to Earth’s gravity, after months on the ISS, is an arduous journey. It’s not like simply recovering from a hard workout; you can’t sleep it off. In fact, long-term affects when returning home include shrinking muscle mass, decreased bone density and chronic vision issues—you even have to do things like relearn how to talk.

For someone like Chris Hadfield, who recently returned to Earth as part of the Expedition 35 crew, physical rehabilitation will last a few months.

“Right after I landed, I could feel the weight of my lips and tongue and I had to change how I was talking,” Hadfield said. “I hadn’t realized that I learned to talk with a weightless tongue.”

During Hadfield’s rehabilitation, NASA will begin recording data to help astronauts better cope with trips to space. Hadfield’s mission lasted five months—twelve month-long missions are currently being planned for 2015. Over the course of two months, Hadfield will endure simple balance tests, MRIs and optical coherence tomography checks.

To give you an idea of how difficult it is to assimilate to conditions on Earth, Hadfield had to wear a special G-suit just so blood pressure would go to his head. He can’t drive for 21 days, and the first few days after returning he had to sit down in the shower. Not the most glamourous of returns after being away for five months, but certainly a small price to pay as NASA continues to learn about the relationship between man and space.

 SPACE.COM
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Netflix Changes Public API, Makes it Harder to See When Content Expires

Netflix has an ebb and flow that’s constantly purging and adding content. We saw it happen recently, and we’ll continue to see it throughout the months and years. When content is taken down, you used to be able to check sites such as Instantwatcher.com and see the exact date a movie like Big Daddy was no longer available. I say “used to” because Netflix changed its public API on Monday, making it much more difficult to see when something will expire.

Netflix explained the changes are a result of the often inaccurate API in the first place. But even though you won’t be able to check expiration dates through third-parties, Netflix still makes the information readily available in a movie or TV show’s title page. It’s not as convenient as seeing a nice curated list of what is and isn’t available, so the changes will likely miff a few people who relied on InstantWatcher and other third-party sites.

 NETFLIX  YAHOO
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Samsung Runs Successful 5G Test, Projects Rollout by 2020

Samsung has crossed a major threshold in its work on 5G mobile technology, and while it’ll be some time before we can purchase it, this definitely means that development is on the right path.

According to a report from Yonhap News, Samsung has successfully tested a version of 5G cellular technology and experienced download speeds of 1Gbps on the 28 Gigahertz band . Before you go running to your carrier store to trade in your LTE-enabled phone, know that we’re still quite a ways off from this being available to consumers.

The technology is still in its infancy and it took 64 antenna elements to make it work. This leads to why Samsung said it will be 2020 before it can offer the technology to consumers.

While this is a major milestone in the eventual rollout of 5G, Samsung won’t be going it alone. Both the Chinese government and the European Union are said to be putting considerable funds into the development of the future technology with hopes of increasing the speeds everyone enjoys on their mobile devices.

Of course the idea that within seven or so years we will have access to 1Gbps speeds on our phones and tablets – and whatever other devices may arise – is mind boggling as various companies in the United States are just now rolling this out to homes.

 YONHAP NEWS