South Park has been here before, revolving an episode around a video game, back in 2006, South Park aired "Make Love, Not Warcraft" which ended up being an award-winning episode that spoofed World of Warcraft.
This time around, South Park featured Minecraft, Mojang's indie super popular game. The episode has been called "Informative Murder Porn" and sees the children of South Park fear their parents' addiction to dramatized-crime shows, which lead to real-world violence. The kids install a parental content blocker, placing in a question that only kids would know: how do you take a horse in Minecraft?
In order to get their TV back, the parents then start playing Minecraft to find the answer to the kids' question. You can view the episode here.
The future is already here, and that future is Ultra HD, or 4K. 4K content streaming isn't going to be too far away, with Netflix CEO, Reed Hastings, already talking about it.
Hastings was interviewed by Claus Bülow Christensen, the producer of the Copenhagen Future of TV Conference, where the Netflix CEO said that 4K video will arrive on tablets, notebooks and PCs first as resolutions on these devices continuously improve. This will lead to a world filled with cheaper 4K TVs, and thus, a future of 4K is not too far away.
Streaming 4K content to devices has been a topic that Hastings has been interested in, stating that the minimum requirement for streaming 4K content would be around 15Mbps. He added that anyone with a 50Mbps connection would have no problems at all. Problem is, here in Australia, the land of backwards Internet, our newly appointed government thinks 25Mbps is enough for anyone, forever.
To celebrate this week's DVD release of the 16th season of the long running Comedy Central comedy South Park, Paramount Home Media Distribution have flown down stars Stan, Cartman, Kyle and Kenny (well at least a few guys dressed up as them) and will parade them around Sydney's Pitt Street mall between 12pm and 2pm on Wednesday the 18th September.
Fans are encouraged to swoop down and have their photos taken with the iconic characters and tweet using the hash tag #SouthParkSydney. One lucky fan will also take home their own copy of South Park: Season 16 on DVD.
On September 18th, Apple will be releasing a major software update for its Apple TV set-top box alongside its rollout of iOS 7. While not much is known about the update we do know that it will allow content purchased from the iTunes Store to be played on an Apple TV that does not own the content. At the moment users have to load the content onto a mobile device for playback on an Apple TV via airplay loosely similar to how Google's Chromecast works.
While many Apple TV aficionados were let down yesterday when the Cupertino-based company did not release a new set-top box, this update, when combined with the addition of new apps for VeVo, The Weather Channel, The Disney Channel, and The Smithsonian Channel, Apple TV fans should be happy at least for a few more months. Personally I love my Android-based Pivos XIOS DS media center which does everything Apple TV does, but some much more as well. Toss the $45 Chromecast into the mix, and I see no need for an Apple TV.
We have something new to introduce to you, the TweakTown Weekly Podcast, where we've just finished up our first show. The first show starts off with a bang, quite literally, where we have a very special guest in Jim Handy who talks to us about the Hynix factory fire.
We also talk about the countless devices that were announced during IFA 2013, including ASUS' gorgeous Zenbook UX301 Ultrabook, Samsung's Galaxy Note III and Galaxy Note 10.1 2014 Edition. We also talk about virtual reality with Oculus VR's Rift headset, as well as the rumored VR headset from Sony. In this Netcast, we have myself, our other News Reporter, Charles, our two storage gods Chris Ramseyer and Paul Alcorn, as well as Jim Handy who has written for countless sites, but mainly for Objective Analysis.
This is our first Podcast, so it's a work-in-progress right now. We are going to shift to some new software in the future, as well as some of the people on our show will be using better quality microphones and cameras. This is all going to happen in the coming weeks, and we already have some great guests lined up for our next couple of shows, so stay tuned, folks!
If you have a 4K-capable display or TV sitting in your house or office somewhere and wanted to play some content on it, you might want to check out Sony's Video Unlimited 4K service.
Sony's Video Unlimited 4K service offers up 4K content to rent or buy on Sony's 4K Ultra HD Media Player, with over 70 movies and TV shows. It includes one of my favorite TV shows of all time in 4K: Breaking Bad. 24-hour rentals will set you back $3.99, while 4K movie rentals will cost $7.99. If you want to purchase a 4K movie outright, it's going to cost you $29.99.
Sony is hoping to have over 100 titles by the end of the year, and we should see it grow extensively going into 2014.
New rumors have popped up that suggest Apple will release a new Apple TV set-top box during next week's launch event on September 10. A recently discovered filing from the Department of Homeland Security shows that on August 25, Apple took delivery of a shipment that was labeled as "Set Top Box with Communication Function"
Just a week earlier than that, a similar shipment arrived that was labeled simply "Set Top Boxes," which is leading several industry insiders to believe that Apple will indeed release a refreshed version of its Apple TV. This makes sense, too. With iOS 7 pending and two new iPhones scheduled to launch on the 10, Apple would be smart to cash in on the crowds of customers that are about to flood its stores.
It's been a long time coming, but the World of Warcraft movie finally has a filming date: January 2014. Duncan Jones is going to be getting into the director's chair for this, with his previous movie, Moon, being one of my favorite of recent years.
Legendary showed off some decent test footage at Comic-Con, announcing the studio would start filming in early 2014. Warcraft will start shooting in Vancouver on January 13, 2014, with casting yet to be announced. Since January is only a few months away, we should begin to hear about casting very, very soon.
Rumors are pegging the movie to not be some PG-rated flick, but will be a full-blooded fantasy flick, in the same path as The Lord of the Rings and will reportedly follow the RTS games from the 90s, and not World of Warcraft. The World of Warcraft, er, world, will be used in a future movie, with the current movies taking it slower and concentrating on the mid-90s titles.
CBS's blackout on Time Warner Cable has stretched into weeks, leaving all of its subscribers without the popular broadcast TV channel. As a result, TWC has decided to offer their customers a free work around that will allow them to get CBS via the over-the-air broadcast signal.
The company has started distributing digital TV antennas that, when connected to an HDTV with a built-in digital tuner or a digital tuner box, will allow consumers to receive up to 30 local over-the-air broadcast channels. This allows TWC subscribers to still get their CBS fix while it continues negotiations with CBS to bring the service back. The free antennas come in the form of a $20 Best Buy gift card, which is enough to cover a low-end HD antenna from the blue big box store.
"We regret that CBS has put our customers in this position by continuing to withhold its channels," TWC said in an email to customers. "We are trying to strike a balance between our desire to restore the channels as soon as possible and our responsibility to all of our customers to hold down the rising cost of TV."
Philips is set to launch a new 65-inch 4K ultra high definition television next month at the IFA 2013 show in Berlin, Germany. How do we know this? The company announced today that the new TV has already won an award from the EISA for best product of 2013-2014.
Phillips notes in the press release that the Ambilight XL hardware package will be offered at a significantly lower price point than the current Ultra HD smart TVs the company sells, which retail beginning at $7,000. The company did not, however, release any official numbers. We fully expect the TVs to retail in the $6000 range.
Samsung has just unveiled its 55-inch curved OLED TV, pricing it quite competitively against fellow South Korean rival, LG, and its own 55-inch curved OLED TV. Samsung is selling its KN55S9C display at just $8999.
LG, on the other hand, is selling their 55-inch curved OLED TV in the states for $14,999 exclusively through Best Buy. The Korea Times has reported that the price drop is lower than the $13,000 originally charged for the Korean version, where they add: "Samsung's price cut came as a result of improved manufacturing yield, and [Korean] customers that already purchased one will be refunded the difference."
$8999 is a lot to drop on a 55-inch curved OLED, so this new TV will mostly cater to those who enjoy luxury. But, at $6000 cheaper than the LG OLED TV, you wouldn't want to have one of those in your living room and reading this news right now.
Today, LG launched a new product that is sure to bring out tons of nostalgia for millions of people all over the world. The company released the 32NL630R, a retro-styled 32-inch LCD TV. As you can tell from the photo below, the TV is designed to look like 60s and 70s era CRT-based sets.
While the TV may look retro, its internal components are anything but. The TV features a full 1080p IPS-based display, supports USB-based storage, and MHL video for mobile devices. Unfortunately, the retro-themed TV might not make it to the US and is currently only been sold in South Korea at a price point of $754.
Today, BenQ announced the release of another device in its 3-D projector lineup. Dubbed the W1500, this 1080p projector is capable of producing 3-D video up to 84 inches in size from as little as just 6 feet away. The company says that the W1500 is the first wireless projector to have a built-in 5GHz Wireless Home Digital Interface.
The projector is able to wirelessly play video from compatible set-top boxes from up to 65 feet away. It is compatible with Apple TV and mobile devices and features two HDMI inputs. A composite video is also present. The projector is capable of projecting images as small as 40 inches all the way up to 300 inches in size. The company says that it has a lamp life of 6000 hours and two built-in 10W speakers.
Jersey Shore is over and it looks like there's another show that could fill the void, so prepare yourselves to see rich kids with their toys, including lions, Ferraris, private jets and more.
The Rich Kids of Instagram is being made into a reality TV show, with the working title of "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills." The series is being produced by ITV Studios America in association with Leepson Bounds Entertainment, and will see these kids from uber wealthy families enjoying their millions of dollars.
Their Tumblr page states "They have more money than you and this is what they do." What do you think of this? I didn't even know they existed until I read about it, but now I wouldn't mind seeing how the other half live with millions of dollars that they never earned themselves.
A few years ago, we nearly saw a Halo feature film from director Neill Blomkamp. At the time, he wasn't a big director, and the Halo film collapsed under the weight of its two financiers, 20th Century Fox and Universal Pictures, pulling out of the project at the last minute.
This was reportedly due to concerns over the ever-increasing budget, and Microsoft's cut. Lord of the Rings director, Peter Jackson, had hired Neill Blomkamp to direct the Halo movie, which would've been Blomkamp's first full-length film. When the Halo film collapsed, Jackson and his partner, Fran Walsh, decided to go with producing Blomkamp's District 9, a sci-fi flick based on one of his short films.
District 9 was released in 2009 to a huge praise from critics and viewers, going as far as receiving an Oscar nomination for Best Picture. When talking with Hero Complex, Blomkamp said: "The luck is the fact that Peter and Fran let me make [District 9] out of the ruins that were Halo. What happened out of that was learning to trust my ideas. If Halo had come out and succeeded or failed, I wouldn't have learned that."
Today, Roku announced that Verizon's RedBox Instant service is now available on the Roku 3, Roku 2, Roku HD, and Roku LT set-top boxes and the Roku Streaming Stick. The new service allows not only Verizon subscribers but everyone else to access the app and rent and purchase new releases on-demand.
RedBox Instant is also offering a one-month free trial of its subscription service that includes free unlimited streaming of a list of "hit movies" and four DVD credits to be used at RedBox kiosks. Users can download the app by visiting the Roku Channel Store and searching for the RedBox Instant by Verizon logo. Below is a list of features that Roku says is available via RedBox Instant:
5,500+ active digital movies instantly and more than 680 discs available in Redbox kiosks
- The ability to locate and reserve movies and video games* on disc at more than 43,000 Redbox kiosks nationwide.
- Movie trailers and user reviews to allow previewing and researching films before you stream, reserve at the kiosk, rent or buy (when available).
- Bookmark functionality to keep track of all movies discovered on the service for future viewing
- The option to start, stop and resume watching movies.
- Parental controls to manage on-demand purchasing and content restrictions for young children, children and teens.
I was one of those people that didn't really enjoy Avatar that much, but we all know it was one of the most successful movies of all times at the box office. James Cameron and 20th Century Fox have now confirmed that Avatar 2, 3 and 4 will be released one year apart starting from 2016.
Cameron has been spending some time in New Zealand working on the story for Avatar, with the famous director now coming out with 20th Century Fox and announcing the three sequels to Avatar. Cameron has called in some help for the script, with Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes co-writers Rick Jaffa and Amanda Silver stepping on, as well as Black Dahlia screenwriter Josh Friedman and Savages writer Shane Salerno.
Cameron says: "Building upon the world we created with Avatar has been a rare and incredibly rewarding experience. In writing the new films, I've come to realize that Avatar's world, story and characters have become even richer than I anticipated, and it became apparent that two films would not be enough to capture everything I wanted to put on screen. And to help me continue to expand this universe, I'm pleased to bring aboard Amanda, Rick, Shane and Josh - all writers I've long admired - to join me in completing the films' screenplays."
As I predicted, set-top box manufacturers are scared of Google's new Chromecast HDMI media streaming dongle, and rightfully so. The little device costs just one-third of what comparable devices cost from other major brands. With companies like Netflix, Vimeo, Spotify, HBO, and PLEX either supporting Chromecast or planning support, the $35 dongle looks more appealing than anything else.
Today, Apple has dropped the price on its refurbished Apple TV box from about $85 to just $75. Is this because of Google's success with the $35 Chromecast? That could be it, but Apple does have a history of reevaluating their refurbished prices and dropping them if the market is slow, so it really could be either of the reasons. A brand new Apple TV unit retails for about $99 new, so there is little value in choosing the refurb over the new, but my bet is to go with the $35 Chromecast.
The first two Bryan Singer-directed X-Men films unleashed comic book movies into the multi-hundred-million dollar budgets of Hollywood's minds, and has kickstarted the billion-dollar comic book movies, such as The Dark Knight.
But, Singer is back with X-Men: Days of Future Past after passing on X-Men: The Last Stand for Superman Returns. X-Men: Days of Future Past will see both the worlds of X-Men and X-Men: First Class joined together, and is centered around a dystopian future where mutants are held prisoner in internment camps, before Kitty Pryde has her mind transferred into her younger body to help the X-Men of the past to step in a moment in history to stop the future from happening.
The above viral trailer is a fake ad for Trask Industries, which is a company run by military scientists and once-Presidential advisor, Bolivar Trask. Trask is responsible for creating the Sentinels, who are robots programmed to locate and terminate mutants.
A lot of discussions were sparked when Intel first announced that its upcoming set-top box would feature facial recognition technology. The company came under fire from privacy rights advocates, as well as those who fear that this would lead to a subscription-based model where each individual in the home would have to purchase a subscription just to watch content from the device.
This morning, a new report is suggesting that Intel has decided to drop this feature entirely and that the set-top box would be shipped without the imaging camera. Intel Media's Eric Huggers says that the decision to drop the facial recognition features is due to the camera's performance in low light situations, as well as the numerous privacy concerns voiced by prospective customers. The moral of the story here is that some companies will listen if enough of their customer base speaks out.
Google's Chromecast is making huge waves in the home theater market, and with the device completely selling out everywhere in less than 1 week, other companies are taking notice in a big way. This morning, we are hearing world that three of the biggest names in video streaming are voicing their interest in the device.
On Monday, GigaOM reported that Vimeo, the HD video streaming giant, has tossed its hat into the ring with the company's VP of mobile, Nick Alt, confirming interest in Chromcast. "We're excited about the emerging opportunities bridging mobile to Connected TV and we look forward to offering Chromecast support in our products." he said. Additionally, Redbox Instant says that they would love to bring their service to Chromecast. My favorite media server / media client Plex has also voiced its intentions to develop an app for the device.
Google has said that Pandora, AOL, and The Washington Post are all working on dedicated apps for Chromecast and that HBO is also looking into bringing its HBO Go service onto the device. Currently, Google's Chromecast streams content from Netflix, YouTube, Google Play, and Webpages, but if today's news is any indication, things are about to explode for Chromecast!