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A round-up of the week's news, reviews and features. And a brand new What Hi-Fi? podcast.

This week news featured Google's plans to launch a new streaming service, digital radio's reach surpassing FM/AM for the first time, and the BBC confirming its coverage for the World Cup, which sadly didn't feature 4K coverage.

For reviews we had the five-star Denon AVR-X4400H home cinema amplifier, BenQ's W1700 4K projector, Flare Audio's Flares Pro in-earphones and a couple more besides.

MORE: The new What Hi-Fi? Podcast is available now!

News

BBC confirms World Cup coverage - and there's no 4K

The BBC has gone into greater detail about its World Cup coverage, but sadly the "24/7 coverage" didn't feature 4K video, something we were all hoping to see following a series of 4K iPlayer tests.

For now, there will be 33 live games in HD across BBCs One, Two and Four, all of which will also be streamed online through the BBC Sport app and the iPlayer. Announced pundits include Jurgen Klinsmann, Didier Drogba and Alex Scott.

We're hoping an announcement of 4K HDR broadcasts could yet come further down the line, but the BBC is certainly leaving it late.

MORE: BBC confirms World Cup coverage - and there's no 4K

Digital radio surpasses FM/AM listening for the first time

Digital radio has surpassed FM/AM listening for the first time, which will likely prompt a government review on the future of analogue radio.

50.9% of all radio listening in the first three months of 2018 was digital. 36% of that share was through DAB, online listening and radio apps accounted for 9.3%, and digital TV 4.8%.

The government announced it would consider a full switchover in the event of digital consumption rising over 50%, and 90% of the population being covered by digital signals.

MORE: Digital radio surpasses FM/AM listening for the first time

YouTube Music: Google’s new, free Spotify rival

A report in USA Today indicates that Google is set to relaunch its Play Music service as YouTube Music.

The music streaming service will launch in the US, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and South Korea on May 22nd, with other markets following in the coming weeks.

Like Spotify's offering, there'll be a free, ad-supported tier, with an ad-free premium option that supports background listening and downloads.

MORE: YouTube Music: Google’s new, free Spotify rival

More after the break

Reviews

"Another stonking amp that combines fine sound with a solid feature set"

Denon AVR-X4400H

Denon's recent form in the home cinema amplifer has been exemplary. And the X4400H is another excellent performer.

The feature set is a solid one, with Atmos, DTS:X and 4K HDR all covered, but the level of performance is the key talking point. It's fast and dynamic, and capable of great power and punch.

It slots comfortably into an excellent line-up of home cinema amplifiers, all of which deliver an exceptional performance.

Read the full Denon AVR-X4400H review

"Make no mistake, this is a good projector for the money"

BenQ W1700

BenQ's attempt to bring 4K down to a more affordable level works, for the most part. The chip inside is not 4K in the truest sense, but thanks to some clever technology, it can deliver a full 4K resolution.

And it succeeds in producing a crisp picture that emphasises a balanced colour range. A little more punch to the image would not go amiss, but it's a good projector for the price.

Read the full BenQ W1700 review

"Given the clarity through the midrange in particular, we can see why they’d be a smart pick for music production"

Flare Audio Flares Pro

Flare Audio's Flares Pro perform an interesting trick. They can switch between wired and wireless connectivity. How so? There's a Bluetooth bolt-on module that allows you to switch from one to the other.

The performance showcases impressive clarity and precise timing along with some fine dynamics. They're not faultlesss - we sense coarseness in the treble and a lack of subtlety in the bass - but they're excellent, rugged headphones, that only just fall short of the full five stars.

Read the full Flare Audio Flares Pro review

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