Hisense launches fleet of affordable 4K TVs with Dolby Vision – and they’re now on sale

Hisense has unveiled a number of new 4K TVs for 2020, building on the affordable TV brand's existing catalogue – with some already being available to buy in the UK.

The charge is being led by the U8QF, which Hisense is calling its "flagship model" for 2020. It's predictable a ULED TV – Hisense's premium TV label – which packs in a quantum dot filter for enhanced contrast, as well as support for HDR10+, HLG, and Dolby Vision HDR. 

The distinguishing feature, though, is a front-firing JBL speaker, which is built into the television itself. The U8QF is retailing at £1,099 for the 55-inch and £1,699 for the 65-inch size – though there are plenty of cheaper models available too.

The Dolby Atmos-enabled U7QF, for one, will come in 50-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch sizes, though currently only the 55-inch model is currently on sale – for £899.

Below that, more mid-range sets populate the range, with the A7500F and AE7400F coming with DTS Virtual: X technology for clearer dialogue output. You'll find smaller sizes for more humble homes, too, starting at just £449 for a 43-inch A7500F, and going up to £599 / £899 for a 55-inch / 65-inch AE7400F. Both come with Dolby Vision and HDR10+, too.

At the budget end, you'll get the A7300F and A7100F, available in sizes from 43-inch up to 75-inch.

We're promised an overhaul to the Vidaa U smart TV platform, too, with a new customisable layout that aims to make selecting and accessing your favourite apps and services easier than before – though we'll have to reserve judgement until we put it to the test ourselves.

Why Hisense?

Hisense is known for offering great value TVs, with the kind of premium specs and format supports that other TV brands often offer to up to twice the price, such as Dolby Vision HDR, 4K resolution, and even OLED panels – though, on that last one, we don't really recommend the O8B, which was Hisense's first (and last) attempt at an OLED TV.

The caveat is that you're often settling for worse picture performance or processing, but many Hisense TVs do get the balance between value and quality right.

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LG CX vs Sony A8H: which mid-price OLED TV should you choose?

Looking for a mid-price OLED TV? You may want to consider the LG CX OLED and Sony A8H OLED – and here’s why.

While OLED TVs aren’t budget buys yet, the latest models are still cheaper than ever, with enough TV brands supporting the technology to ensure a bountiful OLED harvest every year.

The LG CX and Sony A8H OLEDs will be two of the most important TVs to keep an eye on in 2020 – if not beyond – for the simple fact that they show off OLED at its mid-range best: neither is lacking in processing capability, like cheaper models such as the LG B9, nor are they so specced-out that the price tag has jumped to nail-biting amounts.

So if you’re looking to buy a mid-price OLED TV, one that neither breaks the bank nor lets you down on processing, it may be hard to pick between the two. This versus guide will run you through the exact pricing, differences in specs and formats, and why you might pick one TV brand over the other. Here’s everything you need to know about choosing LG CX vs Sony A8H.

LG CX vs Sony A8H: price and sizes

Pricing is an easy comparison in this case: they cost pretty much the same amount! 

At the flagship 55-inch size, the LG CX OLED retails at $1,799 / £1,799, while the Sony A8H OLED costs the almost identical $1,899 / £1,799. In the UK, that’s a perfect price match, with only a small uplift in price for Sony’s set in the US.

At a 65-inch size, the LG CX OLED costs $2,499 / £2,799 – with a similar price tag for the Sony A8H at $2,799 / £2,799.

LG CX OLED (2020)

The main difference is in TV sizes. The Sony A8H has only been confirmed for those two sizes, while the CX is getting both a larger 77-inch model and a more compact 48-inch size in mid-2020.

The 48-inch size is the most crucial, as this is the first year that 48-inch OLEDs are available. Sony is releasing a 48-inch OLED, but for last year’s A9G model rather than anything new for this year.

In Australia, you’re paying AU$3,959 for the 55-inch LG CX, AU$5,359 for the 65-inch, and AU$10,199 for the 77-inch – though the 48-inch isn’t currently available. The Sony A8H also hasn’t been confirmed for Australia at all, though we expect it will happen in the coming months.

LG CX vs Sony A8H: design and specs

Next, we consider the design. How do these sets look?

Well, both sets have a minimal bezel, with the same aspect ratio for their panel display. The A8H is a bit less appealing from the rear – which is a bit bulkier than expected – but largely you’re getting a nice-looking rectangle for both sets.

The main discrepancy is the choice of TV stand, with LG’s CX using a curved base – designed to funnel audio from its downward-firing speakers towards the viewer – and Sony’s A8H coming with two feet with adjustable height, making it easier to fit a soundbar underneath. The former may look sleeker, but both have their advantages, depending on whether you’re hooking up an external soundbar or using built-in audio.

Sony's 2020 TV range is all about adjustable feet

Speaking of which, the LG CX OLED comes with 2.2 channel speakers and 40W output, meaning you should get pretty boisterous sound that goes above and beyond the standard for built-in audio. The Sony A8H, on the other hand, has a slightly quieter (but still substantial) 30W output – but with quite a different method of transmitting audio to the viewer.

Sony uses something called Acoustic Surface Audio here, which uses a mix of subwoofers and actuators built into the TV to emit sound, essentially using the glass panel of the set as a vibrating driver. It’s cool in theory, if a bit imprecise in practice, but it’s interesting nonetheless. Both sets support the Dolby Atmos surround sound format, as well as HDMI eARC for high-spec audio transfer from the television to a soundbar.

Most of LG's 2020 OLED TVs utilize an upgraded a9 Gen 3 processor

In terms of processing, both the CX and A8H OLEDs utilize the most advanced processor from their respective TV brands. For the CX, it’s LG’s a9 Gen 3 chip, which is also used on the LG GX Gallery Series and LG WX OLED. For the A8H, you’re getting Sony’s X1 Ultimate processor, which is also used on the A9G OLED and Z8H 8K LCD. So in both cases the processing should be top-notch.

It’s worth noting that the A8H only comes with Bluetooth 4.2, while the CX has the latest 5.0 standard – with better connectivity and audio quality – so if you’re keen on connecting Bluetooth headphones to your television, the CX is probably the way to go.

LG CX vs Sony A8H: HDMI 2.1

The humble HDMI cable

Both TVs come with four HDMI ports – for connecting to external soundbars, 4K Blu-ray players, or game consoles – but only on the LG CX will all four be the latest HDMI 2.1 standard, for 4K resolution video at 120Hz (or 8K at 60Hz, though that isn’t applicable for these 4K TVs). 

There's been some confusion around this new HDMI 2.1 spec, especially as most of LG's 2020 TVs – the CX included – are only supporting 10-bit, rather than 12-bit 4K/120Hz. This shouldn't really affect your picture onscreen, given that the CX only has a 10-bit panel anyway, though it's worth noting that there are other LG TVs that support the full 12-bit HDMI, such as the ZX OLED.

The Sony A8H won't support 4K at 120Hz at all, though – so if you're set on getting a 2020 TV to show off the incoming PS5 or Xbox Series X at its best, you'll want to go with LG. (Given Sony owns PlayStation, it's a bit of an own-goal.)

Sony vs LG

Dolby Vision HDR in action

If none of those spec differences are enough to sway you in one direction, you may want to consider the big picture. 

Sony and LG are (obviously) distinct companies, and both do things quite differently in terms of their processing and picture presets, even if they use the same underlying panels (manufactured by LG Display). 

LG’s OLED sets, for instance, will usually have a bit more ‘pop’ to their images, with a warm output that’s great for HDR. Sony’s is a bit more controlled, but should offer advanced motion smoothing for action scenes, sports matches, and the like. In either case, there shouldn’t be much of a difference, and we expect both TVs to offer a high-quality viewing experience.

The companies both support the Dolby Vision dynamic HDR standard, which you’ll find on both of the sets discussed here – as well as hybrid log gamma (HLG). Neither have HDR10+ (the HDR standard used on Amazon Prime Video) which you’ll need a Samsung TV or Panasonic television for.

LG also offers something called Dolby Vision IQ, which calibrates the picture onscreen depending on the level of ambient light in the room. Sony doesn’t offer this, but you will get Netflix Calibrated Mode, which is meant to alter picture settings to match the ‘master monitor’ at Netflix HQ, but probably isn’t that important to have (Standard or Cinema presets will do you fine).

LG CX vs Sony A8H: takeaway

For a 48-inch OLED, the LG CX is the way to go

Before we’ve got the chance to review both the LG CX OLED and Sony A8H OLED, we can’t give too firm a thumb of approval to either.

For now, though, we can say that there’s not much in the pricing, but US shoppers will find a slightly cheaper set in the LG CX. If you’re interested in a 48-inch OLED, or a larger 77-inch screen, too, LG will be able to cater to your needs over the more restrictive A8H lineup. (If you're in Australia, the CX is your only option out of the two, too.)

LG is also a forerunner in its support for HDMI 2.1 (on all four HDMI ports) and Bluetooth 5.0 – which may swing things for you if you’re keen on gaming or watching movies with some over-ear headphones.

Picture quality will likely be pretty close between both TVs, and given we’re quarrelling over small spec differences, you should feel pretty confident purchasing either – unless something like Dolby Vision IQ or fitting a soundbar underneath your TV is going to make you pick one or the other. The beauty of TV shopping, dear reader, is that it’s entirely up to you.

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What we’re watching on Netflix, Disney Plus and Amazon during lockdown

It’s only in times of crisis that we realize how dependent we are on our favorite TV shows to carry us through. Sometimes we need a heart-warming comedy to lift our spirits, or a dystopian vision to remind us that things aren’t as bad as they seem. And if things are as bad as they seem, there’s plenty of TV series in the middle vying to be our distraction for the night.

We’ve written about the very best Netflix shows, Disney Plus movies, or anime series we think are objectively – as objectively as possible, at least – worth watching. But for the shows that we’re currently using to fill our time, shut out the world, or give us a much-needed chuckle during times of stress, this is our guide to our favorite TV series to binge during lockdown.

Some are more recent shows, and others from a good few years ago, but the common thing connecting them all is that they’re all currently available to stream, and have been helping the TechRadar team get through the long weeks and months.

Parks and Recreation

watch parks and rec special online

Is anything more comforting than Parks and Recreation in these troubled times? While the sitcom ended its final season in 2015, its warm ribbing of local government feels as silly, heartfelt, and perfectly delivered as in its heyday. 

Starring Amy Poehler as Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department in the run-down American town of Pawnee, with ambitions of running for political office, this NBC show offers seven seasons of laughter and excellent character portrayals, thanks to the comedic talents of of Aubrey Plaza, Rashida Jones, Aziz Ansari, among many others. (Even Michelle Obama appears in a cameo.) 

And right now, watching a satire of everyday people dealing with largely small stakes is exactly what’s keeping me sane. – Henry St Leger

Where to stream: Amazon Prime Video

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power

She-Ra has been a consistently great show through its first four seasons, and the fifth and final set of episodes just dropped. The revival jettisons nearly everything from the original 1985 cartoon to bring a wholly new take on the onetime He-Man spinoff. The new She-Ra is a straightforward adventure about friendship, but it deftly explores trauma, trust, betrayal, and redemption, too. It’s the rare all-ages show that manages to be affirming without becoming condescending to younger audiences, heartbreaking without becoming bleak. 

As a bonus that hopefully isn’t a novelty much longer: the cast of characters comes in a variety of skin tones, body shapes, and apparent sexualities. Every viewer should easily find a favorite. (Scorpia tribe, represent.) – David Lumb

Where to stream: Netflix

The Imagineering story

The Imagineering story

The Imagineering Story is probably the best documentary series on Disney Plus and it’s precisely the type of whimsical journey my eyeballs need at this trying time. The six-episode series takes an in-depth look at how the Disney theme parks and attractions were created, focusing mainly on the extraordinary Imagineers who conceived and created the famous parks and rides. 

Imagineering Story will make you want to immediately book a trip to your nearest Disney parks and will leave you gobsmacked at just how incredibly creative some people are – while you lie there, eating Doritos and watching them be productive. – Vic Hood

Where to stream: Disney Plus

Lost

Lost

I never finished Lost's final season, because I worked on a sci-fi magazine back when it ended and had the finale ruined for me by a work assignment (woe is me!). Even though I know the island-based mystery drama doesn't answer a lot of the questions it raises, the journey in this show is frequently exciting – and I've enjoyed watching it with my partner, who knows nothing about the show. 

After mostly watching flabby cable and streaming shows for the past year, it's still refreshing to watch an exciting drama that's only 40 minutes an episode. – Samuel Roberts

Where to stream: IMDB TV (US), Amazon Prime Video (UK)

The Kominksy Method

The Kominksy Method

If I’m as good-spirited and as suave a dresser as Sandy Kominsky when I’m older, I’ll count my blessings. The Kominsky Method mixes heartfelt humor with candid conversations about what life is like when you’re an older gentleman: dealing with a problematic prostate, coping with the loss of a loved one, and how sitting in a children’s park is apparently no longer acceptable. 

Funny, endearing and wonderfully written, The Kominsky Method delivers the type of uplifting entertainment that we could all use right now. – Adam Vjestica

Where to stream: Netflix

Never Have I Ever

Never Have I Ever

From the funny mind of Mindy Kaling comes this angsty-yet-affectionate teen comedy drama, following a sophomore high schooler trying to forge a new identity – with mixed results – while grappling with the aftermath of grief. 

Despite the subject matter, though, it’s very easy watching, with brilliantly silly characters as well as a refreshing amount of diversity in both its casting and the kind of relationships explored onscreen. Expect plenty of humor around the clash of familial expectations and personal growth, authenticity and popularity, sexual fantasy and reality, and the high school drama club. – Henry St Leger

Where to stream: Netflix

This Country

This Country

This is one of the best British sitcoms of the last decade, and many will have missed it as it was relegated to BBC iPlayer in the UK, as a BBC Three production that started after the channel was moved online. I managed to watch all three seasons in a weekend (don’t worry, there’s only six episodes in each) as they're so easy to watch and feature a variety of laugh-out-loud characters, who inhabit a small village in the Cotswolds. 

If you’re looking for a relaxing show to sink into during the pandemic, this is one of the best choices you’ll find right now. – James Peckham

Where to stream: BBC iPlayer (UK), Hulu (US)

Westworld

Westworld

Westworld is a prime example of a show I wouldn't have watched if it wasn't for lockdown. I saw one episode of season 2 back when it aired, and the time-hopping structure of the story seemed unnecessarily convoluted. 

That said, I'm very glad I went back. Season 2 starts slow but it's ambitious, and builds to a satisfying finale that resolves some of the show's core themes. Then season 3 is basically a different show entirely, taking us away from the park and into the real world, with a bunch of new characters joining the surviving cast members. 

Westworld never really says anything that clever or new, but I was more entertained by season 3 than I was by almost anything in the past two years. – Samuel Roberts

Where to stream: HBO Now/Go (US), Sky/Now TV (UK)

The Last Dance

watch The Last Dance Michael Jordan documentary online

I’m by no means a big basketball fan, but I do love documentaries, biopics and dramas based on true events. The Last Dance checks all of those boxes, as it retells the 1997-98 NBA season of the Chicago Bulls team dynasty and the rise and eventual retirement of world-famous basketball star Michael Jordan. 

It’s hard not to be inspired by the discipline, dedication and business acumen of Jordan. This sports docuseries, which is filled with never-before-seen footage from a camera crew that got an all-access pass to the team, was pushed up several weeks to fill the void of sports during the lockdown. – Matt Swider

Where to stream: Netflix, ESPN (US)

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Sony’s 8K TV pricing is tempting, but can it take on Samsung?

[Update: We now have official pricing from Sony UK on the Sony ZH8 – the 75-inch model will cost £5,999 while the 85-inch comes in at £8,999.]

The Sony Z8H is set to be the company’s flagship 8K TV for 2020 – unavoidably, given it’s the only Sony 8K TV releasing this year. Confirmation of its pricing, though, brings up the awkward question of how the Z8H can compete with the multiple 8K sets already being put out by other TV brands; namely, Samsung and LG.

The Sony Z8H comes in a 75-inch and 85-inch size, costing $7,000 / £5,999 for the former and $10,000 / £8,999 for the latter. 

Considering that last year's Sony Z9G model started at $13,000 / £14,000, it's a massive saving – roughly half the price – which makes it all the more incredible that other TV brands are still undercutting it.

That’s because both Samsung and LG have pushed forward with multiple 8K TVs for their 2020 lineups, with both offering three distinct models to choose from.

While that variety may make it harder to choose an 8K set, it does enable both TV makers to offer a range of price points, making Sony’s single 8K model look positively uncompetitive in comparison.

This year’s new Samsung TVs include the flagship Q950TS QLED, the slightly less fancy Q900TS, and Q800TS – all of which feature 8K resolution. The cheapest Q800TS model also starts at just $3,499 / £3,999 (around AU$5,300), which is a fraction of the amount that Sony’s Z8H will cost.

Unlike Sony, Samsung is also offering all three of its 8K sets at 65-inch sizes, inevitably bringing down the cost and making an 8K purchase more feasible for countless more homes.

LG, on the other hand, has the advantage of being the only major TV brand to offer an 8K OLED – the LG Signature ZX – which will be the go-to for those with the cash to splash, starting at £24,999 (around $30,100 / AU$51,000) for an 88-inch model.

LG’s 8K LCDs, however, are comparable in price with Sony, with the LG Nano99 retailing at £5,499 (around $6,800 / AU$11,300) for a 75-inch display, and an additional 65-inch model expected in June to lower that cost further.

8K resolution still has an image problem, with many viewing it (perhaps fairly) as an unnecessary technology for today's TV viewers. While we’re expecting good things when we get to review the Z8H ourselves, LG and Samsung are both doing more to normalize the market and offer more practical buying options.

LG offers the only 8K OLED, but good luck affording it

Lost in an 8K sea

The question of which 8K TV to get is still an issue that won’t affect many in 2020, given the relatively small size of the market. With Samsung and LG pushing hard on both price, variety, and the model sizes available – not forgetting Samsung’s astonishingly small 55-inch 8K QLED from last year – Sony’s single offering could well be left out in the cold.

That would be a shame, because the Sony Z9G – the company’s debut 8K set – was startlingly impressive, with the upscaling ability, vivid HDR, and capable viewing angles to make it a hugely sensible 8K purchase. Unless Sony finds a unique selling point for its own brand of 8K, though, this year may well see it fall behind the machinations of the competition.

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Sony’s new 4K TVs have some premium features, but why do certain sizes miss out?

After a new 4K TV? There are plenty of new Sony TVs releasing for 2020 – though it’s clear that, if you’re buying at the flagship 55-inch size, you could miss out on some premium features.

We now have confirmation that the Sony XH90 is releasing before the end of May, with a retail price starting at £1,299 / $1,199 for the 55-inch model. That puts it just below the fancier XH95 – which sports a top-class X1 Ultimate processor – but above lower-spec 4K HDR sets like the XH80, which uses edge lighting instead of full array dimming.

There’s plenty to recommend the XH90, and many of its 4K TV siblings, with Dolby Vision support and Dolby Atmos audio, as well as built-in Chromecast and Google Assistant support.

What’s curious, though, is how much the audio varies between model sizes. For the XH90, sizes 65-inch and above (75-inch, 85-inch) all feature Sony’s Acoustic Multi-Audio technology, for location-based sound that travels across the screen:

“In the sound department, the XH90 series TVs come equipped with Acoustic Multi-Audio (in 65-inch models and above), which includes two sound positioning tweeters at the back of the TV that enable sound to follow the action on the screen for a truly immersive experience.”

That's all well and good, but the feature is missing entirely from the XH90's 55-inch model, which is something we can across a few 2020 Sony TVs. The XH95 – the next 4K HDR TV up in this year’s range – also limits this feature to the 55-inch, 65-inch, 75-inch and 85-inch models, while leaving the smallest 49-inch model without.

Given the XH90’s rather small price jump between sizes – in the UK, it's just an additional £200 (around $250 / AU$375) for the 65-inch size – we’re not quite sure why the 55-inch model wouldn’t get the same feature, given the 55-inch XH95 is deemed large enough to fit rear tweeters on.

Sounds like screen spirit

Sony is a TV brand that certainly likes to experiment with audio. While its mid-range LCD sets – like those discussed above – are toying with a pair of rear tweeters for location-based audio, higher-end Sony TVs like the A8G OLED are using a beefed-up array of actuators and subwoofers to emit audio out of the panel itself (under the Acoustic Surface Audio label).

Inconsistencies in which sets and sizes make use of these technologies are confusing, though, and we could easily see shoppers getting blindsided by talk of high-end features and not realizing they’ve missed out when opting for the only size that goes without – inevitably, always the cheapest.

We can’t help but feel that having these features restricted to specific sets, but common to all sizes, would have made more sense than partial coverage across a number of different TVs – whatever we think of the sets that come with Sony’s innovative speaker design built into them.

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The Xbox Series X enters production, as Microsoft looks to correct the mistakes of the Xbox One

The Xbox Series X is now officially in production, allaying fears of Covid-related delays preventing gamers from getting their hands on the next-gen console before 2020 is out.

There's been plenty of uncertainty around the fate of the PS5 and Xbox Series X, though both Sony and Microsoft have been adamant about working to the same "Holiday 2020" release date as originally intended. 

Now, though, it seems that things are moving on schedule, with a distribution plan designed to minimize the impact of further lockdowns and improve on the launch of the 2013 Xbox One.

Planning for the worst

Production was confirmed by French-language site Xboxygen, with VG247 running the news through Google Translate to get the gist of what was being reported.

The translation is along the lines of this: “What we learn today is that [Xbox Series X] is in production, and that France is one of the priority countries for the delivery of machines at the end of the year.”

Why is France important? Well, Xbox France director Ina Gelbert tells the site that, "The choice we made on this launch is to be present in more countries than at the launch of the Xbox One," showing a clear attempt to one-up the middling launch of the Xbox One.

Given uncertainty around the status of retail stores or distribution channels during a global pandemic, we get the impression that Microsoft is also keen to get as many units to as many countries as possible – as early as possible – in case the supply runs into difficulties down the line.

Gelbert adds that, "Today I do not see a risk for France. But if a few days before the launch, there is a huge containment in the world… we can not do much."

Will the Xbox Series X get to everyone who wants it? For now, we're hesitantly hopeful.

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Disney Plus needs more musicals, and Hamilton could be just the beginning

Disney Plus is already a home for many a musical, and whether you’re more into the animated sing-a-long films of Hercules and Mulan, or the spin-off High School Musical series, there are plenty of tune-filled shows and films to keep any Disney Plus subscriber occupied.

Things are changing, though, with the arrival of Hamilton, which is confirmed to be landing on the service this July 3 – far ahead of its originally planned theatrical release date in October 2021.

The award-winning musical – penned by Lin-Manuel Miranda, who also took the starring role in its original Broadway production – took audiences and critics by storm with its mash-up hip-hop opera, which explores the politically turbulent life of Alexander Hamilton, one of America’s founding fathers. 

Its arrival on Disney Plus will be welcome to those of us who haven’t managed to see the show in person – a huge number, given the limited number of seats per performance and increasingly high price of tickets. If you don’t live in or near London or New York, too, your only real option is to listen to the soundtrack (which still holds up magnificently by itself).

But Hamilton coming to Disney Plus also opens the door to the many Disney stage musicals showing on Broadway and on London’s West End coming to the TV streaming service. Here’s why.

A whole new world

Disney has been a sizeable force in the world of Broadway and West End musicals for years now, including massive hit shows like The Lion King and Aladdin, to others like Tarzan or the Little Mermaid that have toured numerous countries without necessarily ending up at a massive London or Broadway theater. There’s even a stage musical for Mary Poppins!

2020 is not business as usual, though. With lockdown measures keeping cinemas, theaters, bars, and entertainment venues shut for the foreseeable future, more and more of us are looking to TV streaming services to scratch our content fix. 

Disney Plus didn’t exactly need that driver, with millions of subscribers signing up in its first few days in the US, Canada and Australia, and more coming in the months afterwards as it spread to the UK and rest of Europe. But the fact remains that live performances have been put on pause, and platforms like Disney Plus offer a way to compensate for that.

With animated and live-action Aladdin movies on Disney Plus, why not the stage production too?

Disney has also played around with streams for musical performances, including its Disney on Broadway 25th Anniversary concert, which was filmed in late 2019 (remember 2019?) and streamed in April 2020 to raise money for victims of Covid-19.

Of course, many of Disney’s stage musicals have been shut for weeks amid lockdown measures, and so any performances yet to be filmed in full for streaming for Disney Plus are unlikely to have the opportunity in the coming weeks. London’s West End is also due to be shut until June 28, if not later, while Broadway is expected to be closed until at least September (via The New York Times).

On Disney Plus you’ll also find a filmed performance of the Broadway musical Newsies – alongside the 1992 film version starring a rather young Christian Bale.

We’d be surprised, though, if Disney didn’t have some form of video recordings for many of its other musicals – or a plan to get them – especially with its involvement in Hamilton showing an interest in bringing stage musicals to screen.

Theater videographer Bartek Podkowa (Seven Hills Film) told us that Disney would likely go ahead with “Frozen, The Lion King and Aladdin–- assuming they have pre-existing recordings. Filming new shows on the scale they're dealing with would be incredibly difficult in the immediate future, so I would expect them to start with what they already have available.”

“I hope that streamed musicals could reach audiences that might not normally consider giving a staged musical a shot, and convince them to start seeing live shows once theaters reopen,” added Podkowa – while acknowledging that “polished, high-budget” streams from Disney could squeeze out the streaming attempts of smaller theaters and venues during the extended closure.

One jump ahead

Disney Plus mother's day gift subscription card

Room for one more?

A way to binge the biggest Disney musicals in their stage form, and watch them back-to-back with the original animated films that spawned them, would be a massive addition to the Disney Plus catalogue – which, as it stands, still suffers from a lack of variety outside of its tentpole Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and Disney channels. Why not a dedicated tab for ‘Disney Plus Live’?

There are also plenty of other stage musicals that attract thousands of paying audience members every month – and if Disney was able to get the streaming rights to a number of them, its streaming service could become a home for stage musicals, current and past, for those unable or see them in person. 

Imagine seeing Matilda, Dear Evan Hansen, and Wicked next to The Last Jedi and Black Panther, or even Book of Mormon (though we don’t expect Disney bringing that to its largely family-friendly service).

We’ve seen similar measures by the UK’s National Theatre, which has expanded its usual NT Live programme into a weekly broadcast of past productions, with a strategy of limited streaming availability as to not end up replacing live performances altogether.

For now, we’ll be satisfied with Hamilton – but if Disney doesn’t have a roadmap for its stage musicals coming to Disney Plus too, it should probably start planning one. 

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Amazon Fire TV takes on Roku and Samsung with new free TV tab

The Amazon Fire TV interface is doubling down on free TV streaming, with a new, dedicated tab for all the content on Fire TV you don't have to pay for.

Titled simply 'Free', the new tab sits on the Fire TV's navigation bar, collating together the freely available programming in one handy place.

In a blog post, senior product marketing manager Michael Polin wrote that, "The new Free tab offers customers a single destination to a curated selection from thousands of free movies, TV shows, news, and more."

Free apps include IMDb TV, Tubi, Pluto TV, Crackle, and The CW – as well as Twitch, Red Bull, PBS and PBS Kids – for a total of over 20,000 titles to enjoy.

There's also a free News app for keeping up with the events of the day, as well as a row dedicated to free content available on Amazon Prime Video and other streaming services that you already pay for, such as Netflix or Hulu – or the more recently-added Disney Plus.

Fight fire with fire

The Fire TV platform powers a number of streaming devices, such as the Fire TV Stick, Fire TV Stick 4K, Fire TV Cube, and television sets that come with the OS built-in.

It's a smooth and zippy smart TV platform, and for years now has made a great argument for replacing your TV's operating system with a cheap streaming stick rather than upgrading to a new set entirely.

The move towards free streaming, though, seems very much in the style of other major players in the streaming and smart TV industries. Roku streaming devices have offered a similar tab for some time now, while the quickly-expanding Samsung TV Plus enables any Samsung TV owners to access up to 120 free TV channels (depending on their nation of residence).

Via The Verge

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Best Assassin’s Creed games: every AC entry ranked for PS4, Xbox One, and P

In the past decade of Assassin’s Creed games, from the franchise’s humble beginnings back in 2009, Ubisoft has certainly got to work. We’ve had 11 mainline Assassin’s Creed games so far, jumping through so many centuries and settings that it’s hard to keep track of what world the latest one inhabits.

Whether you’re scaling Victorian buildings with a grappling hook in Syndicate, overturning ships in Black Flag, or gathering your fellow assassins about you in Brotherhood, the best Assassin’s Creed games have never lost their sense of adventure, giving players a way to visit carefully constructed worlds from across time – albeit with a little revisionism to make them more fun to play.

With the 12th entry in the franchise, Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla, set to launch later this year, we thought we’d bring together our definitive ranked list of the best Assassin’s Creed games so far, from the original 2009 entry that started it all to 2018’s Odyssey installment that brought us meddling assassins to ancient Greece.

While the overarching lore that connects all these games may be a bit hard to track, each AC game is still a journey unto its own – and this is our list of which should be on the top of your play pile if you haven’t tried them already.

1.  Assassin’s Creed II (2009) 

The first Assassin’s Creed sequel is also, it turns out, the Assassin’s Creed game the closest to the TechRadar team’s hearts. Launched two years after the first game, it amped up the action and intrigue with a move to Renaissance Italy, and a suave protagonist known as Ezio Auditore da Firenze.

There’s plenty of brilliant nonsense here, including an in-game Leonardo da Vinco NPC, who builds the player new weapons and items, including a flying machine (which Leonardo da Vinci actually designed). But other gameplay developments are what makes this game shine, with dual hidden blades and a new disarm mechanic.

More than anything else, Assassin’s Creed II showed how easy it was to continue the AC franchise in a whole new setting, and paved the template for the globetrotting, century-jumping entries to come.

Assassin’s Creed Odyssey

2.  Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey (2018) 

Taking the action to ancient Greece, Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey offered a massive open world, bringing together some of the best aspects of the series while hewing closer to a full-on action RPG.

As a mercenary caught up in a war between Athens and Sparta, you end up travelling to some of the world’s most iconic landmarks – while an emphasis on story, branching dialogue options, and multiple endings make this one of the most engaging AC games of the franchise. (You get to fight some mythological creatures like the Minotaur, too.)

The combat in this action-heavy entry isn’t necessarily what AC does best, but the scope of this game was huge, and the gorgeous open world environment provides endless hours of joyful exploration. It’s a big AC game, and some may find it too big to finish, but it offers a freedom suitable for any assassin.

3.  Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood (2010) 

Assassin’s Creed Brotherhood was a direct sequel to Assassin’s Creed II, set in the same Renaissance era in Italy, and couldn’t help but feel less fresh than the previous entry – hence not ranking quite as highly. However, the way Brotherhood picks up the baton and sprints with it still makes it one of the best Assassin’s Creed games in the series.

The name Brotherhood reveals this game’s main selling point: the ability to recruit other assassins and send them on missions to further the Assassins’ cause – or summon them into battle to fight alongside you. Who said assassinating had to be lonely?

Notably, Brotherhood also introduced the first online multiplayer mode for the series, seeing players sprint and parkour their way across rooftops to try and take each other out.

4.  Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag (2013) 

Pirates! Assassins! Pirate assassins! Black Flag was a hugely exciting departure for the series, taking the action onto the high seas in the 18th century – playing as the grandfather of the protagonist in Assassin’s Creed III.

As a swarthy pirate, you end up sailing as much as you do sneaking, but there’s still plenty of land-based action that the series is known for – along with ship-based warfare, whale harpooning, and even encounters with Blackbeard himself. Truly one of the most fun games in the series.

5.  Assassin’s Creed: Origins (2017) 

After a sensible year off from releasing games – one of Ubisoft’s favorite hobbies – players were treated to Assassin’s Creed: Origins.

Playing as a desert nomad in ancient Egypt, under the reign of Pharaoh Ptolemy XIII, you’re tasked with pursuing peace and safety for the population around you as its kingdom crumbles – with a truly epic origin story for the first ever assassins (so don’t expect to see any AC entries set before this).

With Cleopatra and Julius Caesar appearing, and lots of historical easter eggs to satisfy anthropological hobbyists, Origins was a brilliant entry that got the AC formula down pat.

6.  Assassin’s Creed (2007) 

The game that started it all. The original Assassin’s Creed was truly breathtaking in its scope and ambition for last-generation platforms (it launched on Xbox 360 and PS4, with a PC port soon after).

This game setup the curious sci-fi framing device of the Animus: a machine for hacking into genetic memories held in the protagonist’s (a kidnapped bartender named Desmond) DNA. Its open-world setting in the 12th century Holy Land, with the action jumping between Jerusalem, Acre, and Damascus during the Third Crusade.

Players take on the mantle of Altaïr, an assassin tasked with furthering the cause of their secret order, while gradually learning more about a mysterious artifact called the Apple of Eden, that recurs throughout the franchise.

Other games refined its formula, and others broke it, but 2007 Assassin’s Creed is what began our collective fixation with a pickpocketing, parkour, shadow-slinking assassin, and is one of the best games in the franchise for it. While the graphics and combat may not hold up today – enemies being incredibly easy to defeat simply by running around them until your health regenerated – it’s certainly worthy of its place on this list.

7. Assassin’s Creed: Syndicate (2015) 

An Assassin’s Creed game set in Old Blighty? Count us in! Syndicate took the action to Victorian London, with all of the cockney accents, wood-panelled pubs, and silly hats you’d hope for. Syndicate also, for the first time, allowed players to pick their avatar’s gender, playing as either Jacob or Evie Frye (twin assassins) as they sought to free London from the cruel grip of the Templars – a welcome addition after half-hearted protestations from developers that women were… too costly to animate?

Players also got to use a dedicated grappling hook for quickly speeding up multi-storey buildings, brass knuckles for brawling in the city’s cobbled streets, and horse-drawn carriages for navigating the Victorian era world. A brilliant and imaginative setting, in a game that – despite its historical nature – showed that Ubisoft was catching up with modern day. As ever, though, some technical glitches held it back from greatness.

8.  Assassin’s Creed: Revelations (2011) 

Released just one year after 2010’s Brotherhood, Revelations was the first time Ubisoft appeared to be rushing things. It certainly felt familiar, with players filling the shoes of 21st-century protagonist Desmond, the original game’s Altaïr avatar, and Ezio from Assassin’s Creed II and Brotherhood – and it showed the franchise was in need of a refresh.

One notable addition, though, was the ‘hookblade’ – a grappling hook attachment to your iconic assassin’s blade – that helped elevate the game’s verticality and roof-jumping to a whole new level (roof level). It could also be thrown into enemies to pull them in for some good ol’ assassinating.

9.  Assassin’s Creed III (2012) 

Ubisoft needed a new setting for the AC game after Revelations, and it certainly made one. Assassin’s Creed III jumps in time to the American Revolution in the 18th century. Players take on the mantle of Connor, as a half-English, half-Mohawk character navigating colonial America. 

With a new Anvil engine, the graphics really got an upgrade, while the American Frontier was a wonderful change from the largely European settings of the previous games that pushed the limits of the open world franchise even further – with an increase in use of natural foliage for sneaking and hiding, rather than the largely urban structures we’d grown used to.

Some less-than-inspiring mission design, though, let down what could have been a truly landmark AC game.

10.  Assassin’s Creed: Unity (2014) 

Unity was the first Assassin’s Creed game to launch on the current-gen PS4 and Xbox One, with the graphical jump that you’d expect. Set during the French Revolution, with the story largely taking place in Paris, the game brought AC firmly back to Europe after many a year in the American colonies or on the Caribbean seas.

Like Rogue – which launched, for some reason, in the same year – Unity was plagued by bugs, marring what could have been an explosive arrival on a new generation of consoles. It deserves some marks for its introduction of cooperative gameplay, though, allowing up to four players to complete missions together. Now that’s unity. 

11.  Assassin’s Creed: Rogue (2014) 

Alas, poor Rogue. There was plenty of potential in this much-maligned Assassin’s Creed game, especially in putting the player in the shoes of an enemy Templar instead of a member of the Assassin’s guild. Expansion of the naval warfare in Black Flag was also hugely welcome, but some obstacles simply got in the way – namely, game-breaking bugs.

Rogue was truly the game where Ubisoft’s annual release schedule got the better of it, leading to a rushed game that launched with a huge amount of bugs and glitches, ruining immersion and leading plenty of players to ditch the story before it had really got underway (the campaign wasn’t overly long, anyway).

12.  What’s next? Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla 

With another upheaval to a new time and place, the next AC game – Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla – takes the franchise to medieval Britain, during the Viking expansion across the island nation. 

You’ll take on the role of Viking raider Eivor, who leads their clan from their native home of Norway to the shores of Dark Ages England – with a hope of settling for good. But resistance from the Saxons (and a stern King Alfred) won't exactly make it easy.

This new Assassin's Creed game leans more into RPG elements, allowing players to build and manage settlements, raid towns for resources, form alliances and even customize their character.

It will be the first AC game on PS5 and Xbox Series X, with support for Smart Delivery on the latter – meaning anyone buying it on Xbox One consoles can upgrade to the next-gen version for free too. Our first look at the gameplay didn’t show off much, but we’re likely to get more in-depth showcases in the coming months, ahead of its release in late 2020. 

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The E9 OLED was one of LG’s best TVs – so where did it go?

There are plenty of good-looking OLED TVs around these days, and few look better than those put out by LG. The South Korean TV maker has put an immense amount of thought into its premium OLED range, nowhere more so than with the LG E Series OLED – even if it was sadly discontinued this year.

2019’s LG E9 OLED was a masterclass in panel design, offering a glass display that banished the bezel and almost appeared to be floating up from the counter – offering a truly breathtaking visual experience. More than anything else, it looked different from any other TV put out that year.

The E9 didn’t quite make the cut for 2020, though, with the new Gallery Series GX model replacing the E Series line instead. While it presumably made business sense for LG to cut the E Series – which doesn’t seem to have received nearly the amount of media attention as the cheaper (and equivalently specced) C9 OLED, or the more affordable B9 OLED at the bottom of LG’s 2019 OLED range – it’s a loss nonetheless.

We were disappointed not to see an EX model unveiled at CES 2020 along with the other new LG TVs being shown off, and were told simply that the E Series was no longer being pursued.

Neil Robinson, Senior Director for Strategic Projects at LG Electronics, tells us that “The E and G Series were both step-up models, so the GX can be seen as the replacement for the E9.”

Given how close the LG GX and LG WX are in terms of design – both being slim, wall-mounted televisions, with only really a soundbar to differentiate the latter – the removal of an E Series is a move away from variety, even if the GX will be sure to find an audience of its own.

It’s a shame, given the truly unique aesthetic of the E Series compared to other LG TVs. The new BX and CX models look essentially the same as each other, too, like most televisions these days. How much can you iterate on a flatscreen, after all?

The LG Gallery Series (GX) OLED replaces the E Series for 2020

Why we loved the E Series OLED

Certainly, there are plenty of subtle differences between the physical appearances of TVs, whether that’s where the TV brand’s logo sits, what kinds of feet or stands prop it up off a counter, or the thickness and quality of the display’s casing. That’s not to mention the differences in picture quality – which is really the heart of any television experience.

But that’s why the E Series felt so refreshing: offering a unique form factor amid a ceaseless catalogue of identikit rectangles. Most of LG's OLED range shares the same panel and processor, anyway, so differences in design feel even more important

In our LG E9 OLED review last year, we praised the set’s “all-glass, frameless panel” for its “open and expansive air”, as well as “a dazzling picture, with crisp detail and truly cinematic visuals”. Aside from minor irritations – the lack of HDR10+, and a patchy Bluetooth connection – the E9 was and is a knockout television to watch.

The E9 OLED (2019) was a glass-panel beauty

The year before? We called the E8 OLED “arguably the ultimate expression of these OLED advances, thanks to its glamorous design, niftily integrated sound system and, best of all, mesmerizingly good pictures.”

Other LG TVs have similarly intriguing design choices – including the TV stand for the C9 OLED, which is slanted to funnel audio towards the viewer – but it’s frustrating to see successful examples of this not pursued further, limited to just one or two model generations.

So where did the E Series go?

Our senior home entertainment editor, Nick Pino, speculates that “the reason not to make one this year isn’t based on any pre-existing issues [with the E Series design], but rather that LG decided it couldn’t innovate enough to warrant a new model.”

It’s possible that LG backed itself into a corner with the glass panel design. The TV market demands iteration, and the unique design constraints of a glass display may have meant there was less room to alter or improve its shape going forward compared to other designs (the GX really feels like an iteration on the W Series, rather than a standalone model).

The LG WX and GX are alike in all but the former's soundbar

OLED panels are also infamous for often getting damaged during production – given their sensitive, organic materials – and we can’t imagine an all-glass display offsetting worries about breakages either.

The LG E9 OLED is still on sale for those wanting something different – costing roughly half what it did at launch this time last year – and we recommend you take a look if you aren’t sold on the new Gallery Series GX OLED, which offers the only notable divergence from LG’s existing models. Processing enhancements are likely to be minimal compared to the 2020 range too.

But for those of us wanting something different from our televisions, it looks like we’ll have to look elsewhere – whether that’s Samsung’s zero-bezel Q950TS QLED, the rotating Samsung Sero TV, or Hisense’s wacky projector-TV hybrids – to do so.

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Should I buy Samsung The Frame TV?

If you’re after a new Samsung TV, and don’t want to settle for a run-of-the-mill LED display, Samsung’s The Frame TV may be a set worth looking at.

There are plenty of TVs out there, but sometimes you want something to really stand out from the competition. The Frame TV by Samsung is one such TV. With an aesthetic-led design, and a form factor unlike the rest of the Samsung 2020 TV range, you can be sure you’re getting something different – and with a QLED panel upgrade, it's come far from its initial 2017 iteration too.

But what exactly does The Frame TV do differently – and even if it looks good, is there a downside that might not be apparent at first glance? This guide will run you through everything you need to know about Samsung’s The Frame TV, from the pricing and sizing to the kind of panel technology powering its display.

What is the Samsung The Frame TV?

The Frame TV is one of several Designer TVs from Samsung, along with the style-focused Samsung Serif TV and rotating (yes, you read that right) Samsung Sero TV.

The Frame TV’s design is based on that of a picture frame. That means it goes all out on a thick, metallic casing – quite unlike the zero-bezel appearance of the Samsung Q950TS 8K QLED – which gives the display a firm outline and will be sure to make an impact in your living room.

There’s a number of different coloring options for the frame around the display, too: white, black, brown, beige, burgundy red, and clay beige.

You’ll also be able to make use of Samsung’s Art Mode – a setting for the television that displays artworks, photos, or paintings rather than keeping the screen black when not in use, a bit like a beefed-up smart display. You’re using up a small amount of power, of course, compared to powering the set down properly, but it means your new TV purchase can be calibrated to better match your home decor.

Art Mode can draw on hundreds of artworks from globally-renowned collections too – such as the V&A Museum, the Tate Gallery, and Van Gogh Museum.

The Frame TV can be placed on a counter, but it will likely feel most at home with its No Gap Wall Mount, which will keep the display flush to a wall and help it camouflage better with its surroundings.

Samsung The Frame TV: what sizes are available?

How much does Samsung’s The Frame TV cost? It depends, as ever, on which TV size you choose.

While the 2018 model only featured three sizes – 43-inch, 55-inch, and 65-inch – that has since expanded with a 49-inch size, as well as the massive 75-inch and miniscule 32-inch sizes for 2020.

That makes for a huge amount of variety, meaning The Frame TV is a television that can be catered to your specific living situation. Want a massive screen to put the fear of god into your children? Or a teeny, cutsey display that can fit on a shelf or be easily tidied away? The Frame TV can do it all.

The small size is unusual for such a premium set – as we usually expect second-rate parts for such small TVs. You is a drop in video resolution, from 4K UHD to just Full HD (1080p), though you also won’t really notice on such a compact screen.

We spoke to James Parker, Head of TV Product Management at Samsung Electronics UK, who told us that “24% of people replace their TV for interior related reasons, and so The Frame in 32-inch fills the void in the market for a transferable TV that can fit in with any space regardless of the size.” 

Parker added that the smaller size was specifically designed to more “seamlessly blend in with the bedroom decor” compared to other, larger versions of the set. The 32-inch model comes with a Mini One Connect Box for tidying away its (relatively smaller) cables too, as well as a “flexible lean-back stand so the Frame can be watched vertically or horizontally” just like the Samsung Sero TV.

Samsung The Frame TV pricing and offers

The 2020 model is now available across the US, UK, and Australia – for most sizes, at least. 

The smallest size (32-inch) starts at just $599 in the US, though has yet to land in the UK or Australia.

If you’re going larger than that, you’ll be paying $999 / £1,199 / AU$1,559 for the 43-inch, $1,299 for the 50-inch, $1,499 / £1,599 / AU$2,295 for the 55-inch, $1,999 / £2,199 / AU$2,695 for the 65-inch, and $2,999 / £3,499 / AU$3,995 for the 75-inch.

In the US, you can opt for a monthly fee, spread across three years (36 months) through Samsung Financing, rather than a one-off payment – while those of you in Australia can spread the cost across 50 months too. You won’t end up paying any more overall either, making this a smart way to finance your new The Frame TV.

If you’re after something cheaper, you also have the option of buying the 2019 model, which starts at $999 / £799 / AU$1,499 for the 43-inch size, jumps to $1,199 / £999 for the 49-inch (no AU model) or $1,399 / £999 / AU$2,499 for the 55-inch, and peaks at $1,799 / £1,499 / AU$3,499 for the 65-inch size.

For UK shoppers, Samsung will throw two free bezels with any purchase of a 2019 The Frame TV too – usually worth £229 – for the remainder of 2020, meaning you can swap out the bezel whenever you feel like redecorating. US shoppers, on the other hand, can get 50% off a single customizable bezel when they make a purchase.

But this is a TV, after all – so what do we make of its picture quality?

Samsung The Frame TV review: not the full picture

Samsung Designer TVs like the Frame aren’t often available for a traditional review – given Samsung views them as lifestyle (not technology) purchases, and tries to avoid these sets being compared on the basis of individual specs.

We did get to review the Samsung The Frame TV 2018 model, praising its "gorgeous, burnished metal frame" and aesthetic successes – though the middling picture quality and poor upscaling stopped us from being able to praise it further.

We found that "we had some small but consistent issues with artefacts and blocking when upscaling, especially from SDR, but not at the expense of a generally capable picture. More vivid colors on the end of the spectrum are however wont to cause trouble: the cyan and pink title screen of Killing Eve could lead to some disconcerting flashing and blocking around the letters."

We also said that "The picture comes across best with darker scenes and moodier palettes, more in keeping with the pensive gallery atmosphere of contemplating the paintings in the TV’s Art Store."

It’s clearly an issue Samsung was aware of, with the 2019 and 2020 versions of The Frame TV featuring a QLED panel rather than the 2018 model's backlit LCD.

The QLED panel for the 2019 / 2020 models is absolutely an upgrade, with higher brightness and enhanced contrast – thanks to a metallic quantum dot filter unique to QLED sets – compared to LCDs. However, we haven’t had the opportunity to review the 2019 or 2020 model ourselves.

The main issues should have been addressed, then, and if you're buying Samsung's The Frame TV it's likely for its visuals and artwork focus, rather than getting necessarily the best TV picture out there.

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Forget the games: Nintendo Switch is now a manga-reading machine

The Nintendo Switch doesn’t have many apps outside of its growing catalogue of Nintendo Switch games – but one of the few on the console is getting a big manga content drop.

The comics e-reader InkyPen has been available on the Switch since 2018, offering an all-you-can-read comics experience for just $7.99 / €7.99 / £5.99 per month. 

Now, a new partnership with comics publisher Kodansha has added a whole host of manga to read as well, including big-hitters such as Attack On Titan, The Ghost In The Shell, Battle Angel Alita, and Fairy Tail.

While we reported at launch that InkyPen had plans “to open up to manga in the near future”, it’s only now that intention is coming to fruition. There are still a few notable gaps on the InkyPen service – no Marvel or DC comics, for one – but given how little non-gaming content available on the Switch’s home screen, we’ll take what we can get.

Absent apps

While the big content drop for InkyPen is a boon for Switch owners – especially those who are into manga – it does draw attention yet again to the paucity of supported apps for the Nintendo Switch.

US gamers get access to Hulu, but aside from YouTube, there’s no real TV streaming service equivalent – let’s say, Netflix, or Disney Plus – elsewhere. The additional (and more global) InkyPen and Izeno comics apps feel like secondary choices rather than top-tier applications, too.

While it’s not a bad thing that Nintendo is putting its gaming experience first, and resisting a move towards a more diluted, general-use tablet, we’d still appreciate a boutique selection of relevant apps to round out the experience on the Switch – and ensure gamers aren’t switching away to their phone or tablet whenever they want a break from gaming.

Continuing on a manga theme, adding the Crunchyroll anime streaming service would definitely be a good start.

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5 Disney movies that desperately need a sequel on Disney Plus

Disney has an interesting relationship with movie sequels. While it often makes business sense for the company to pursue a follow-up film with the number ‘2’ in front of it, these titles have historically been seen as of secondary importance – often going straight to VHS, or DVD, whatever the ‘dump’ technology of that day might be.

That means there are plenty of Disney fans who have yet to experience the sequel stories of Hercules, The Little Mermaid, or Cinderella’s Jack Jack (he falls in love!) – which we won’t accept in a time when the Disney Plus streaming service offers a way to simultaneously reach a massive global audience of Disney aficionados.

Disney Plus is a slick portal for navigating decades worth of Disney movies and shows – not to mention Marvel TV shows and Star Wars films – and is the natural place to see some of our favorite Disney characters go through new trials and tribulations. (Happy endings don’t last in real life either, ok?)

With that in mind, we’ve brought together five Disney movies that have yet to get a sequel, and are ripe for either a second feature film or tie-in series for the Disney Plus platform. 

More than anything else, in a time of indoors-living, as more and more films are skipping cinemas and going straight-to-stream, these are the Disney films we wish we could watch back-to-back with a worthy sequel.

1. Moana (2016)

I am Moana. Thanks to Lin Manuel-Miranda’s heart-stirring lyrics, a gorgeously 3D-animated world, and Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson playing a loveable (if selfish) scamp of a demigod, Moana is one of the best Disney movies of recent years.

Disney is reportedly in talks to make a sequel, but with nothing confirmed, we’re still having to cross our fingers until Moana 2 gets the green light. What makes Moana so perfect for a sequel, though, is where the first film leaves off – with her island tribe travelling out across the water to search shores anew.

There’s plenty of potential for ocean-driven narratives, whether that’s the trials of constant transit, the struggle to keep a sense of community on the seas, or possibly a search for the parents that abandoned Maui (Dwayne Johnson) in the first place. More songs from the creator of Hamilton are a necessity – and more gods and goddesses from Polynesian mythology wouldn’t go amiss either.

2. Zootropolis (2016)

A still from the movie Zootropolis

With Zootropolis releasing in the same year as Moana, this was the first time Walt Disney Animation Studios had put out two feature films in the same year since the release of Treasure Planet and Lilo & Stitch in 2002.

Called Zootopia in the UK, this Disney movie imagines an animal society where prey and predator live peacefully side-by-side. Cheetahs and bison, lions and sheep, have put aside their ‘historical’ differences to create a working society – that is, until predators start going beserk and reverting to feral states. It’s up to a newly-minted police office – the first bunny to join the Zootropolis force – to figure out the mystery with the help of a suave conman fox.

Despite touching on such heady topics as workplace discrimination, biological essentialism, and societal division, it’s still a breezy and enjoyable film – helped by brilliant animation and a cameo role by Shakira as a popstar gazelle.

3. Tangled (2010)

This 2020 Disney adventure reimagines the story of Rapunzel to great effect. The animation is excellent, despite it now being a decade old, with boundary-pushing CGI techniques bringing its world to life in vivid detail. It’s helped by some quirky touches, like Rapunzel’s chameleon companion – and the charmingly vain love interest, voiced by Shazam!’s Zachary Levi.

It’s a lighter story then some of the more moving Disney films out there, with spontaneously singing taverns and thuggish twins toeing the line between cut-out stereotypes and loving tribute to the fairy tale tradition. As an exploration of gaslighting, though, it’s surprisingly progressive – and there’s plenty of stories to be told now that Rapunzel is truly free and out in the world.

4. The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993)

Yes, this is a Disney movie. The Nightmare Before Christmas is a stop-motion classic from Tim Burton, the quirky mind who brought us Beetlejuice and (more recently) the live-action Dumbo reboot. It follows a demotivated skeleton living in Halloween town, and trying to put excitement into affairs by… putting himself in charge of Christmas instead. Cue plenty of spooks and ghouls, unforgettable songs, and a kidnapping of Santa Claus himself.

Is it a Christmas movie? A Halloween movie? The Nightmare Before Christmas has had us arguing the finer points of the two genres for decades now – but the main reason for a sequel is how the initial film hinted at several other worlds beyond its own, one for each major holiday. 

If there was any way to get a St Patrick’s Day and Thanksgiving crossover movie, this would be the way to do it. Or maybe just more of Jack Skellington: at this point, we’ll take anything.

5. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Who can forget this movie? Blending live-action with 2D animation techniques, it did the unthinkable, showing off a wide cast of beloved Looney Tunes characters alongside real-life actors – including Back to the Future’s Christopher Lloyd – and pulling off the combination with aplomb

It follows a private investigator, played by the late Bob Hoskins – yes, from that wonderfully bad Super Mario Bros. movie – looking into a murder in 1940s Brooklyn. Except, of course, that this version of Brooklyn is one where humans and cartoon characters (‘toons’) live side by side, like some kind of weird, cross-dimensional Zootropolis. 

Who Framed Roger Rabbit is unnerving, heartwarming, and a visual delight – with some breathtakingly good twists – and over 20 years later, it’s overdue a follow-up.

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Netflix grabs new and exclusive Pokémon series, launching in June

Want to watch Pokémon on Netflix? The TV streaming service has bagged exclusive streaming rights to a new Pokémon animated series, Pokémon Journeys, which will land on the platform on June 12.

The story looks set to follow a young Ash and his trusty Pikachu (as usual), as well as a new companion known as Goh – which we assume has nothing to do with Pokémon Go, but we’re hoping leads to at least one knowing look at the camera during the first season.

The short trailer shows off the two protagonists, as well as a host of familiar Pokémon faces, such as Lugia, Butterfree, and Rotom – as well as Gigantamax Pokémon as seen in Pokémon Sword and Shield.

The series joins a host of other Pokémon series, including Pokémon Sun and Moon: Ultra Legends, Pokémon: The Indigo League, and even a one-minute video of Pokémon wishing you happy birthday (for the kids, or anyone needing some wholesome well-wishing in these isolated times).

Gotta stream 'em all

It’s a notable achievement for Netflix, given it’s the first time a new Pokémon series is airing exclusively on the service. It comes a matter of months after a Netflix-exclusive Pokémon movie, Mewtwo Strikes Back: Evolution – a retelling of the 1998 movie – came to the service, and shows that Netflix is making headway on its goal to become a home for anime and animated series.

2020 has also seen a host of Studio Ghibli movies come to Netflix worldwide – except in the US, where the soon-to-launch HBO Max is set to to get the Ghibli oeuvre.

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Super Mario Maker 2 gets its final, biggest update with World Maker mode

Super Mario Maker 2 is getting a pretty massive update – one that lets you create entire World Maps from your self-made Mario level creations on Nintendo Switch.

The dedicated Mario level creator already offered a host of customization options, with a variety of world styles from the 8-bit days of the NES to the 3D modelling of the Wii U

Until now you only had the option of making and sharing individual levels and courses, but the latest (and entirely free) update is set to massively expand the scope of your creations, letting you connect levels together in a World Map of your own design. You can even make up to eight distinct Worlds and 40 total courses, meaning you now have the freedom to create a fully-fledged Mario platforming game.

Want to create eight worlds all drowning in lava? You can do that. You can also let your player watch the slow decline of the natural world, from green fields to ghost-haunted deserts.

The Super Mario Maker 2 update is available for free when it lands on April 20. It is, according to Nintendo America's tweets about the update, going to be the last of its kind, as the "final major update" coming to the game.

We've not heard anything about a Super Mario Maker 3, though it's possible this big update is meant to tide us over until such a entry comes to Switch.

It's all coming up Mario

The Super Mario Maker 2 update might not be the only Mario-themed gift coming our way this year.

We caught word of a collection of remastered Super Mario games for Nintendo Switch to commemorate Mario's 35th anniversary. While not yet confirmed, the possibility of seeing the likes of Super Mario Galaxy and Super Mario Sunshine on Nintendo Switch is enough to get us salivating. There have been rumors of a new Paper Mario entry, too, though we'll be sure to keep you updated as and when he hear more.

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