This story was originally published and last updated .
Movie theaters are slowly reopening, but most of the new releases are headed to streaming services rather than the big screen. Whether you're staying at home to limit potential risks, or just saving a few bucks by watching from the couch, we've organized a huge list with many of the newly added films and some upcoming titles.
Cable companies are doing their best to keep up with the switch to streaming media. Considering most traditional TV subscriptions also double as ISPs, though, it's been a fairly smooth transition. As services like YouTube TV flourish, companies like Comcast aren't ignoring modern ways to watch television. It wants to keep users consuming media through its own branded devices, and that effort starts with an all-new streaming box.
A week ago Netflix hired a veteran of Electronic Arts and Oculus to be its "President of Game Development," which led Bloomberg to declare that the long-time movie and TV streamer was stepping into the game market. Yesterday Netflix confirmed that this is true in a letter to shareholders: Netflix is indeed going to offer games. But don't throw out your Stadia controller just yet.
Most streaming services these days offer 4K video feeds, either natively or as an additional add-on. Of course, resolution improvements only matter if your internet is fast enough to handle it. With its latest update, Ookla's Speedtest app is now equipped to test network connections for video capabilities specifically.
While smartphones regularly threaten to get more expensive every year, somehow the market for set-top boxes and HDMI dongles is dropping to seemingly impossible lows. When we were introduced to the Chromecast with Google TV last year, with 4K HDR support and the full capabilities of Android TV, it felt like a $50 gadget would be the best we could ask for. As it turns out, a new contender with similar specs and an even lower price has come from an unlikely source: Walmart... And it's pretty damn good.
We've been waiting a long time for Google to improve the integration between Chromebooks and Android phones. Phone Hub for Chrome OS is Google's answer to Apple's tight ecosystem, implementing competent cross-device sync that was sorely lacking before. And Google plans on kicking the platform synergy up a notch with two upcoming Phone Hub features — one of which is locked as a Pixel exclusive.
Google recently rolled out Phone Hub to Chrome OS, a software bridge connecting phones with Chromebooks, making it easier to access recent tabs, notifications, and your phone's hotspot. But it looks like that's just the beginning. We've been tracking a new software codenamed "Eche SWA," and thanks to additional evidence scooped by 9to5Google and XDA, we suspect that you might soon be able to view your phone's screen right on your Chromebook — though the feature might be limited to Pixel phones in the beginning.
Android modding isn't the hot scene that it used to be, mostly because Android phones have gotten good enough that few people feel the need to modify them. But a brave new world for tinkerers just opened up, right when a decent chunk of people might need it. A developer has released a basic tool for gaining root access on a Roku TV, dongle, or set-top box, and it's ready to try out.
Some Pixel owners have noticed over the last couple of monthly updates that their phones have lost Widevine L1 status, falling to L3 and rendering them incapable of playing back some DRM-protected content at high quality. More simply, that means they can't play HD content in apps and services like Netflix. By far the majority of devices are not affected and the cause isn't immediately clear. Google tells us it's aware of these reports and working on a fix, and devices from other manufactures may also be affected.
Samsung really wants you to know that the Galaxy S21 Ultra has, in its opinion, the best camera you can buy on a smartphone today. These days, it's not enough for the phone's photography capabilities to be praised in reviews. You have to meet with consumers on their level, and in 2021, what do ordinary people love more than an overabundance of streaming services? That's why Samsung is teaming up with Hulu to produce an original reality show called Exposure, in which competitors will be given photography challenges focused around shooting with — you guessed it — a Galaxy S21 Ultra.