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Netflix has been stepping up their efforts to combat piracy of their services, such as blocking VPN users, but it seems their largest threat comes from external competitors. Netflix recently sent a letter to their shareholders noting that piracy is one of their primary competitors, and specifically mentions the Popcorn Time app.
Popcorn time is an app that streamlines pirating a movie. It simply wraps the actual nuts-and-bolts of torrenting in an easy to use app, then streams the contents to the user. Instead of typical torrenting, where the user searches and then waits for the download, Popcorn Time starts streaming the torrent almost instantly. Popcorn Time is still just piracy in a slick wrapper, but the simplicity has made it a fearsome foe for Netflix.
It's been kicking around in limbo for a number of years, but to the surprise of many industry pundits Panasonic have today shown a prototype of the next generation Blu-ray format, dubbed 'Ultra HD Blu-ray' at CES and released key specifications. The full press release has been picked up by Blu-ray.com and confirms that the format will embrace 4K at up to 60 frames per second, the more efficient H.265 codec with bit rates up to 100 mbps, 10-bit gradation, High Dynamic Range and wider colour gamut.
Whilst the press releases does note that 'standards are being formulated by the Blu-ray Disc Association and have not yet been finalised', the company did not shed light on disc capacity or laser and pit groove technology will be employed. Panasonic did show a prototype of the player, but clearly it's in very early shape with the absence of a disc drive. With packaged media on the decline, it remains to be seen how the world will react to another disc based technology, but we might know a little more about the tech later this year.
The long-awaited release of The Interview resulted in only $1 million dollars in revenue at the box office. This is a small amount compared to most releases, which normally top $10 million when they feature top-billed actors. Sales results are also very likely skewed by the simultaneous release on digital platforms, such as Google Play and YouTube, which may have kept movie-goers at home. Sales figures from the digital release aren't available yet, but they are sure to garner widespread attention from the movie industry.
A digital release of a major Hollywood movie has never happened until much later in the cycle, primarily because the movie industry makes much more money from theater ticket sales. The inevitability of the ever-growing digital sales segment has raised questions in the past of how such a release would work. The impromptu release of The Interview should provide solid insight into how future movie releases may look, and how much money online platforms can generate in comparison to typical theater releases.
Still not sure whether you should take the plunge into the wide world of Chromecast or not? In a bid to tip you over the edge, Google are offering up $20 of Play Store credit with every purchase of their device.
Sitting at $32 from Amazon, if you're a regular App user or are looking to download anything else from Google's services - this new offer basically pays for the device straight out of the gates. It only makes sense as Google will likely make this money back in Play Store purchases later in the future, whilst enabling Amazon to still churn a profit by selling the original device.
This special is only available between the 7th and 21st of December and select major retailers. Alongside this, Google are said to be providing two full months of Hulu+ with the Chromecast purchase, which is valued at $14. Doing the simple math shows that you're getting $34 worth of 'freebies' for a $32 Chromecast purchase - if you're likely to be a heavy user of his device, now is the time to pounce.
Netflix has announced a new deal it has struck with Adam Sandler, the star of The Wedding Singer and Happy Gilmore, with his next four feature films as an exclusive. With Sandler's movies grossing over $3 billion at the global box office, this could be an interesting move.
Sandler's movies also rank as the most-viewed by Netflix members in the US, Brazil, the UK and more. Netflix's Chief Content Officer, Ted Sarandos said: "People love Adam's films on Netflix and often watch them again and again. His appeal spans across viewers of all ages -- everybody has a favorite movie, everyone has a favorite line -- not just in the US but all over the world".
Sandler had something a little different to say: "When these fine people came to me with an offer to make four movies for them, I immediately said yes for one reason and one reason only... Netflix rhymes with Wet Chicks. Let the streaming begin!!!!" The deal sees Sandler's Happy Madison Productions working with Netflix to develop the four movies that will see Adam Sandler starring and producing in, to premiere exclusively to member's in over close to 50 countries that Netflix operates in.
With Netflix's direction and influence, maybe we could see something different from Sandler, at least that's what I hope, especially with the last movies he's made.
GOG.com has been making waves with gamers and its DRM-free games, but now the company is looking to expand its horizons, offering up movies and TV shows without the copyright restrictions that other outlets push on their customers.
The company will be starting out with smaller independent documentaries for $5.99 each, where they hope to eventually offer up studio films and TV shows. A GOG.com representative said in an email to Kotaku: "Most of [the studios we spoke to] admit that DRM does not protect anything, all protections are cracked on the day of the release of the movie or even before and that there is no DRM that can protect a movie against piracy. The whole industry knows DRM is just smoke and mirrors and it does not work, so why not abandon it?"
The first indie documentaries to arrive on GOG will be about gaming and Internet culture, with around 20 documentaries to arrive soon including Indie Game: The Movie, Good Game, and Please Subscribe.
Comicbook.com is reporting from "two independent reliable sources" that Disney/Lucasfilm will be re-releasing the original, unaltered cut of the first Star Wars trilogy on Blu-ray.
Disney has reportedly been hard at work on the project for quite a while, but has been experiencing some problems with the original negatives it has been using. We should eventually see the release of the original, unaltered versions of A New Hope, Empire Strikes Back, and Return of Jedi without the redone special effects.
There's no ETA on when to expect the new release, but we should see it released before Star Wars Episode VII flies into cinemas next year.
One of the best kept copies of Action Comics #1, where Superman made his debut all the way back in 1938, is up for auction on eBay. This comic has its current bid at $1,750,200 - or $1.75 million.
The seller, Darren Adams who is based in Federal Way, Washington, explains that his copy of Action Comics #1 is "The finest known copy of the most sought after comic book in the world. A 1938 museum piece with PERFECT WHITE pristine pages". Adams said that he purchased it from a collector who had stored it in a bank vault. He adds: "I'm hoping that the next person can enjoy it as much as I do. I'd love it if a museum purchased this book for all to see".
Back in 2011, another copy of Action Comics #1 sold for $2,161,000 - with this copy reportedly belonging to Nicholas Cage, who is said to have purchased the comic for $150,000 in 1997. Funnily enough, Cage was in the running to star as the Man of Steel in the now-scrapped, thankfully, Superman Lives from around the time Cage purchased the copy of Action Comics. Bidding started on August 14, and will end of August 24, with 1% of the proceeds going toward the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation, Reeve playing Superman in the original Richard Donner movies, as well as Superman 3 and 4.
With companies like Netflix and Amazon enjoying success with original programming, with hit shows like Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, it should come as no surprise that CB has announced it is creating original shows for streaming video services.
The news comes directly from CEO Les Moonves, who announced the news during the company's earning call. Moonves said that CBS's TV studio "will be producing more and more shows for more and more outlets, including major streaming companies and other emerging distributors". He didn't say which services the company is working with, but a company spokesperson later confirmed that CBS will be creating original shows for Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and more.
CBS is adapting to a dynamic TV world, where viewers are shifting from sitting on their couches waiting for their beloved TV shows each week, to binge-watching entire seasons or shows - or not, and going at their own page - thanks to Netflix, and others.
Arnold Schwarzenegger has taken to Twitter to thank the cast and crew of the new Terminator movie, getting fans to begin their excitement for its release on July 1, 2015.
Schwarzenegger posted a picture of himself sitting on his chair, with the official title of the movie on the back: Terminator Genisys. He posted the picture to his Instagram account, with the following caption: "Hasta la vista, baby. I want to thank the cast and crew of @TerminatorGenisys for a fantastic shoot. It was challenging, it was fun, and it was rewarding. From our director to the producers, from the camera team to catering, from visual effects to hair and makeup - we couldn't have done it without you. I can't wait to see our finished project and I know we'll remind the fans why they fell in love with the Terminator. On July 1, 2015, I'll be back".
This is where it gets interesting: instead of it being called Terminator 5, or Terminator Genesis, we have Terminator Genisys. Schwarzenegger is sitting in front of a screen with the word "Genisys" on it, so we might expect the operating system for the T-800 to possibly be called Genisys? I think that's what we should expect from this, and while I'm trying not to get too excited about the new Terminator movie, I still can't wait to check it out next year.