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MX Player review

With its support for most video formats and excellent performance, MX Player stands out as a high-quality app in a category saturated by unoptimized or ad-infested players. It plays almost everything and does it smoothly, saving you the trouble of having to mess with video converters.

Pros

Powerful: MX Player's hardware acceleration and multicore decoding really work on devices with strong CPUs and enough RAM, providing a graceful, flowing playback experience even for three-hour-long HD films.

Responsive hand gestures: The sensitive fast-forward, rewind, swiping, and pinching to zoom in and pan finger gestures make this player great for re-watching … Read more

CyberLink PowerDVD 14 Ultra review

CyberLink's PowerDVD 14 Ultra isn't cheap for a media player, but compared to the cost of standalone hardware for a home entertainment network, it could be quite a bargain. It's remote-compatible, plays Blu-ray, 3D, and HD video, integrates with your phone and other devices, and keeps you informed about the latest cinema and video releases.

Pros

Previews and short subjects: PowerDVD Ultra's splash screen offers quick links to video tutorials and your media library preferences. Adding media to its library is mostly automatic.

Silver lining: The 10GB of expandable cloud storage that comes free for a … Read more

VUDU Player review

VUDU Player gives you mobile access to your Vudu account, so you can watch movies on the go or download them to view later offline. If you don't have a Vudu account, you can open one for free to see if you want to use this convenient service.

Pros

Offline viewing: By downloading your movies and TV shows to your device, you gain the ability to watch them anytime, whether you're connected to the Internet or not. That's a real convenience, and this app makes it easy to manage which movies are downloaded to your device and … Read more

PlumPlayer review

PlumPlayer lets you make playlists with the music on your desktop, set playtimes for them, and create slideshows of your photos, as well. Whether you just want to have some musical accompaniment while you work, or you'd like to create a slideshow of your last trip and set it to music, this app gives you the tools you need.

PlumPlayer's intuitive interface makes creating your playlist a snap. If you'd like a little guidance, though, clicking the question mark icon in the lower right-hand corner of the window will cause tips to appear when you hover your … Read more

Power Tube Player review

Power Tube Player gives you extra controls when you're watching YouTube videos, so you can zoom in and out, adjust playback speed, and more. You can even play an entire video in reverse if you want with just the swipe of a finger, and you can take screenshots of your favorite images straight from the app.

Opening Power Tube Player brings up a search screen from which you can access any YouTube video. At the top of the screen, you'll also see icons for a menu and settings. The menu tab reveals options to view the most popular … Read more

Neil Young's PonoMusic hits $2M on Kickstarter in one day

Well, that didn't take long. Less than 24 hours after legendary rocker Neil Young launched a Kickstarter page for his long-talked-about Pono music service, the campaign surpassed its goal of $800,000.

As of this writing, the PonoMusic Kickstarter campaign has more than $2 million in pledges from more than 6,200 backers.

One of the reasons this Kickstarter campaign blew through the roof is that music fans and sound aficionados are eagerly looking to get their hands on the Pono music player, or PonoPlayer. The player has been in development for years and will use the Free Lossless … Read more

The 404 1,443: Where we're taking the couch by storm (podcast)

Leaked from today's 404 episode:

- Neil Young just destroyed his funding goals for a digital music player on Kickstarter.

- Meet the people making new games for Atari, Super NES, and Virtual Boy.

- Funny or Die was Healthcare.gov's No. 1 traffic referrer yesterday.

- Bill O'Reilly bites back at Obama's appearance on "Between Two Ferns."… Read more

MP4 HD FLV Video Player review

MP4 HD FLV Video Player offers enough quality to be worth using, but it could use a few advanced features. Its bare-bones player won't win many fans when there are a lot of video players that do everything but sit up and beg. Still, if you just want something that will play your videos without much effort, you've found a good app.

This app is a video player that prides itself on its format support. Sure enough, we couldn't find a format that this app didn't play. The player, itself, just played the video, though, meaning … Read more

RealPlayer Cloud goes global

RealNetworks today announced the global roll-out of RealPlayer Cloud, a service that lets people watch and share videos on a variety of devices and operating systems.

RealPlayer Cloud was first announced in September 2013, but was only available in the US and Canada. With today's announcement, people will be able to share videos internationally.

"We're excited to bring RealPlayer Cloud to consumers worldwide. In just five short months, we've experienced extensive user growth and now have more than 500,000 users in the US and Canada," said Rob Glaser, interim CEO of RealNetworks. "Clearly … Read more

An e-cigarette packed with Bluetooth? Talk to the hand

The scenario is all too typical -- you're walking down the street puffing on an e-cigarette, just wishing you could use the little metal nicotine stick to make a phone call... How handy would that be?

Well, dreams can come true.

A company called Supersmoker has come up with an e-cigarette it claims is the world's first to double as a Bluetooth headset and device that streams MP3s from a smartphone. That's right, a musical cell phone cigarette.

"Never seen before! An electronic cigarette with Bluetooth functionality," the company writes on its Web site. "… Read more