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Android TV, Fire TV devices get new CBS News apps with 360-degree video

Life has generally been getting easier for cord cutters over the past few years, with more options for what and how to watch becoming available each year. One area that has been slow to catch up is news, though with CBS News — the 24-hour digital streaming news service from CBS — that is beginning to change. On Monday, CBS News launched two completely redesigned apps for Android TV and Fire TV devices, both of which pack in a major new feature: 360-degree video playback.

“Our new apps for Fire TV and Android TV featuring 360-degree video capabilities mark a major step forward in terms of how viewers will experience and interact with news in the future,” CBS News Digital vice president and general manager Christy Tanner said in a statement.

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It’s still relatively early days for 360-degree video on TVs, and how well it will fit into news coverage remains to be seen. As both a glimpse of how the technology could enhance coverage and a chance for viewers to try out the new apps, a 360-degree behind-the-scenes look at the filming of a 60 Minutes segment seeking out gorillas in Africa is available to watch at launch.

While the 360-degree video may be the more technologically advanced feature of the new apps, it’s not the most useful, nor the most important. That would be the focus on live video, meaning cord cutters don’t have to feel left out or uninformed when it comes to breaking news. While not always live, the apps do provide 24-hour coverage.

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This availability is important during major news events, and CBS News has taken advantage of that. During its coverage of Election Day 2016, the service drew a record 19.1 million streams and 11.1 million unique viewers within a 28-hour period.

The new apps are available in the Google Play and Amazon app stores, and more information on the service can be found on the CBS News website.