BlackBerry promises no ads on BBM chat

BlackBerry is attempting to draw a line in the sand when it comes sponsored ads reaching BBM users.

In a blog posted Tuesday, BBM product and brand marketing head Jeff Gadway acknowledged that BBM Channel creators will be able to send sponsored posts and invites to their subscribers, but such content won't seep into the actual chats. The sponsored content itself will be "direct, relevant, friendly," Gadway promised.

BBM Channel users will potentially see three different types of sponsored content from channel owners, according to Gadway.

Featured placements will be promotions designed by channel owners looking to … Read more

Compositor for Mac review

Compositor for Mac is a feature-packed image editor that lets you transform your images into true works of art. Apart from giving you the basic image editing tools, it also offers tons of cool filters and photo manipulation tools. You can turn your image into an impressionist painting or something contemporary or edgy -- the possibilities are endless.

Similar to most other Mac apps, Compositor for Mac is very easy to install, and you'll have 30 days to try it out before purchasing. Do keep in mind that some action runs are limited until you register the software. Once … Read more

Hands-on with Mohu Channels: Over-the-air TV, streaming apps meet in an Android-powered box

Mohu made its name selling flat antennas for receiving over-the-air TV, but it's now the latest company jockeying to provide the media box in your living room.

The Mohu Channels set-top box was announced yesterday via a Kickstarter campaign and it's already nearing its $35,000 goal. It's part over-the-air tuner, part streaming media box, part Web browser, and the idea is to bring all of these types of content into the traditional channel grid.

The box: Small and unobtrusive

The box itself looks more like a jumbo inline antenna amplifier than the traditional set-top box design … Read more

BBM iOS, Android users can soon make free phone calls

BlackBerry Messenger users can tap into a potpourri of new features when the app is updated on Thursday.

Slated to reach iOS and Android users, version 2.0 of BBM will bring with it BBM Voice, a way to call your BBM contacts. Already available for BlackBerry OS, BBM Voice gives you the ability to make free phone calls to other BBM users via your Wi-Fi or data connection.

Another new feature on the list is BBM Channels, a chat discussion forum devoted to a variety of topics. Find a channel that interests you, and you can join in on … Read more

DirecTV spars with The Weather Channel over takedown

The Weather Channel and DirecTV are at odds after the channel was removed from the satellite provider's service this week.

DirecTV customers who search for the channel formerly reserved for The Weather Channel will find it missing. DirecTV is recommending that subscribers find their weather news and information on WeatherNation instead.

That networks and television providers can't get along is nothing new. However, DirecTV on Monday said that its decision to ban The Weather Channel was in part due to its increase in reality television and, thus, its reduction in weather information.

"Consumers understand there are now … Read more

Rotel's stereo integrated amp is high-end but not absurdly high-priced

If you listen to more music than watch movies at home, a top-notch integrated stereo amplifier may be a better choice than an AV receiver. I've said that for years. But a lot of the better-sounding integrated amps are feature-challenged, and some offer nothing more than an input selector for analog sources and a volume control. Some don't even have a remote control. So I was happy to spend some quality time with Rotel's sweet-sounding, fully loaded RA-1570 amplifier.

The 17x5.8x13.75-inch component weighs a hefty 28.7 pounds. That's interesting because this 2x120 watt … Read more

Ready the lightsabers! MythBusters test 'Star Wars' moments

Could Ewoks really take down the Imperial soldiers with tree logs? Could Luke Skywalker seriously save Princess Leia with a swing across a chasm in the first Death Star? Does a dead tauntaun really make a life-saving sleeping bag when stranded in the snow? "Star Wars" fans have debated the feasibility of these stunts for decades, but luckily the "MythBusters" team is about to take them on.

Hosts and special-effects experts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman, along with team members Grant Imahara, Tory Belleci, and Kari Byron, take on urban legends and use modern-day science to see what's real and what's not in their hit show, which returns to the Discovery Channel with new episodes Saturday, January 4, starting with a geektastic "Star Wars" special. … Read more

Channel Master's DVR+ offers true subscription-free over-the-air TV recording

It's a familiar story. Cord-cutters give up their cable subscription to shed the ever-increasing monthly fee, only to find that the best alternatives to record free, over-the-air TV, such as the TiVo Roamio and Aereo, require -- you guessed it -- another monthly fee.

The new Channel Master DVR+ ($250) is looking to become the over-the-air recording solution for subscription-phobic cord-cutters. Most DVRs charge a monthly fee for electronic program guide (EPG) data, but the DVR+ provides that info, supplied by Rovi, for free.

The design is unlike any other DVR I've seen. It looks like a thicker, … Read more

BlackBerry launching BBM Channels, its answer to Twitter

BlackBerry's response to the social network craze, BBM Channels, is rolling out starting on Tuesday.

Device owners running BlackBerry OS 5 or higher will soon have access to Channels, allowing them to communicate with companies, brands, and other luminaries. The idea is somewhat simple: a company, let's say, creates a Channel, and BBM users can then send messages, post questions, and otherwise communicate with that company. The company, meanwhile, can share messages, pictures, and animated GIFs through the service.

Announced in May, BBM Channels is surprisingly similar in its functionality to Twitter. Both services allow companies or brands … Read more

Yetis are real? Geneticist offers a plausible explanation

The Yeti, Bigfoot's cold-climate cousin, is back in the limelight. There's no mysterious giant footprint or shaky video footage, but there is a well-regarded British geneticist at the center of it all. Bryan Sykes, a professor of human genetics at the University of Oxford, is featured in an upcoming documentary called "Bigfoot Files" on Channel 4 in the UK.

Ahead of the show's October 20 debut, Channel 4 released the news that Sykes conducted DNA research on hair samples purported to be from Yetis. What he claims to have found is a genetic match for an ancient polar bear.… Read more