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ICYMI: the week's 8 biggest tech stories from Paramount Plus cancellations to our LG G4 OLED TV review

 The Apple Vision Pro sat in front of an LG OLED TV with Paramount Plus showing on it.
The Apple Vision Pro sat in front of an LG OLED TV with Paramount Plus showing on it.

This week in the world of tech Google unveiled its unified Gemini AI – formerly called Bard – and launched a new Android app, meanwhile Paramount Plus scrapped a bunch of popular shows, and we reviewed the Apple Vision Pro.

To help you get caught up on all of the most important tech news stories of the week we’ve assembled them here in this round-up. You’ll also find links to the full stories to get more context and analysis.

It’s still a few weeks away but MWC is on the way. Happening from February 26 to 29 we expect to see some big developments in the world of phones, computers, and AI – so be sure to check back here for all the latest updates when MWC kicks off.

8. Paramount Plus purged even more original content

The Burning Girls
The Burning Girls

First, we saw Max shrink its content library, then Disney Plus, and now the most recent streamer to follow suit is Paramount Plus. At the start of the week, subscribers signed into the platform only to find a dozen or so movies and shows had disappeared overnight, including The Burning Girls, One Night, The Killing Kind, The Serial Killer’s Wife, The Doll Factory, The Flatshare and Chemistry of Death. 

The move is part of a wider effort in the streaming world to streamline content and save money. The idea is that by freeing up their portfolios, these services can focus on investing in the biggest Hollywood hits, licensing content to other platforms and overall improving its profitability. Paramount Plus is reportedly due to announce a fresh round of layoffs soon.

7. LG’s new G4 OLED TV brought the brightness

LG G4 OLED showing abstract image
LG G4 OLED showing abstract image

We had a chance to spend some quality time with the new LG G4 OLED TV at the recent CES 20224, and if first impressions count, the future is looking bright for LG’s new flagship OLED.

According to LG, a Brightness Booster Max feature on the G4 allows for 70% brighter images than on conventional OLED TVs. Another advancement is a Dolby Vision Filmmaker Mode, which brings that mode’s picture quality benefits to high dynamic range content. Audio and gaming also get a boost on the new G4, with support for 11.1.2-channel Dolby Atmos sound and a ‘144Hz Validated’ certification from Nvidia.

LG’s flagship OLEDs traditionally have been designed for wall-mounting, but the 65- and 55-inch G4 models will come with stands. The new G4 OLED is pricey, but based on our brief time with it at CES, it's potentially very much worth it.

6. Google’s AI tools got a big rebrand and a new app

Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app
Two phones on an orange background showing the Google Gemini app

Goodbye, Google Bard – it was nice knowing you. This week Google renamed its chatbot and brought all of its AI tools under one new umbrella called Gemini. This has both simplified things and made them more complicated because Gemini is many AI things.

Firstly, it’s Google’s free chatbot for your browser and smartphone, which means we now have a new dedicated Gemini Android app. This is rolling out now in the US, and other regions “in the coming weeks”. Own an iPhone? It’ll soon be available in the Google app on iOS, too.

Gemini is effectively replacing Google Assistant on Android, but there’s more. Google also announced its most capable large language model so far, Gemini Ultra 1.0, which you can try now if you’re prepared to pay. It’s part of the Google One AI Premium plan, which costs $20 / £18.99 per month (about AU$30 per month). The AI revolution is still only just getting started, it seems.

5. We reviewed the Apple Vision Pro

Apple Vision Pro Review
Apple Vision Pro Review

That’s right, we’ve put the Apple Vision Pro through our tests, and it floored us.

A pair of powerful processors, an unmatched virtual reality visual experience thanks to is dual 4K-OLED displays, and intuitive hand-tracking controls make the machine fantastic. But what makes the Vision Pro magical is Spatial Video. If you can try it using the Vision Pro or through the Meta Quest 3 (if you have an iPhone) we highly recommend it.

Not everything was perfect, however. Obviously, the price is very high, but when it’s jam-packed with high-end hardware that’s to be expected, unfortunately. The battery pack was also a tad annoying – we wish it was built into the headset – and it was also kinda heavy to wear (even with the battery taken out).

4. We said goodbye to Windows PC clutter

A young woman is working on a laptop in a relaxed office space.
A young woman is working on a laptop in a relaxed office space.

A powerful system cleaner tool made by Microsoft itself, PC Cleaner, is now available to download for free from the Microsoft Store soon, making it easily accessible for Windows 10 and Windows 11 users. This tool is similar to existing system cleaners like CCleaner, and aims to improve PC performance and security by removing unnecessary and potentially harmful file clutter from system folders.

PC Cleaner comes with a range of features like PC Boost, Deep Cleanup, Process Management, Large File Management, and more. Microsoft assures users that it’s worked to prevent the deletion of vital system files, and it’s a malware-free tool that includes tools that are typically offered at a premium in other apps.

3. Our MCU hype got real

Deadpool and Wolverin walk down a dirt road in their classic comic book costumes in Deadpool 3
Deadpool and Wolverin walk down a dirt road in their classic comic book costumes in Deadpool 3

It’s been a busy week for Disney – and that includes its biggest subsidiary, Marvel. Not only has the comic book giant debuted three new MCU timelines on Disney Plus, it’s also given us plenty to get excited about concerning Deadpool 3 and Daredevil: Born Again.

On the Deadpool front, Marvel president Kevin Feige revealed Deadpool 3’s official logo in the only way he knows how (aka via a baseball cap). We’re also expecting to get a first trailer for the only Marvel movie of 2024 during Sunday’s Super Bowl, too – and you won’t want to miss it, from what we’ve heard.

As for Daredevil, snippets of Born Again footage have been leaking online all week, and one such scene has MCU fans fearing for the fate of one beloved Daredevil character. To that, we say: don’t even think about killing them off in the Disney Plus series, Marvel.

2. Affordable binoculars promised full-color 4K night vision

Yashica Night Vision 4K binoculars in the hand and buttons illuminated
Yashica Night Vision 4K binoculars in the hand and buttons illuminated

Yashica’s latest Kickstarter project is a departure from its analog roots; Yashica Night Vision binoculars. Boasting a 0.0037lux sensitivity, 3-level 850nm IR (infrared) illuminator, and f/1.0 aperture lens, the new binos for night explorers can display a color image in complete darkness, recording 4K video and 58MP stills, with clear viewing up to 600m.

They’re not new per se, the Sigweis night vision binoculars have a similar weather-sealed design and 4-inch TFT display, but Yashica promises improved performance by utilizing AI that improves image quality and upscales the HD image to 4K.

Currently in the production phase, the crowd-funded gear is close to production and available for an ominously low price – could they be too good to be true? Hopefully, we won’t have to wait long to find out.

1. The Discman came back... kinda

The Moondrop DiscDream portable CD player
The Moondrop DiscDream portable CD player

In the space of a month, people who miss the pre-iPod days of playing music on the go got two delightful new releases.

After affordable high-quality audio brand Fiio announced a beautiful new tape player, we now have a new portable CD player called the DiscDream, created in part by an engineer on Sony’s original Discman. The new player has a lot fancier tech than older portable CD players had, and is specced for audiophiles, with an imposing square design and metal finish to match.

If you don’t want to lug your whole CD collection around with you to change albums, it also has an SD card slot and can play back all kinds of hi-res music files.