The Australian Office of Literature and Classification have seen fit to upgrade the censorship rating of Jurassic Park 3D to a higher 'M' rating, when the original 1993 cinema release was rated 'PG'. This odd choice for the Australian market comes at a time when the film's admittedly still strong visuals - once on the cutting edge of effects technology, have long been eclipsed by modern features. The choice has also surprised Mike Baard, Managing Director of Universal Pictures Australasia.
I'm a little unsure what to make of the decision by the Classification Board. We were very surprised, but not to the extent we felt we had to challenge it. The M rating still allows anybody to see the film; it's just guidance for parents to say there might be material that's not appropriate for children under 15.
Fresh from crossing the $1 billion worldwide box office mark, Village Roadshow Australia have officially set the Blu-ray and DVD release of 2012's Lord of the Rings prequel The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey for May 1st. This comes five weeks after the U.S. release of the film from Warner Home Video.
To be released in three variants; a standard DVD, two disc Blu-ray and three disc 3D Blu-ray, all versions will be the first Australian discs to come with the Ultraviolet digital rights system which has been employed in the United States for some time, allowing for format agnostic playback on multiple devices, including set top media players, tablets, phones and computers.
Based on the much loved book by J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey split critics on release, with many disenfranchised with the 48 fps visuals. My review for the film can be found here.
A bit of a non-tech post here, but I'm sure there are plenty of you out there who love The Hangover. The third outing in the franchise, The Hangover Part III, is nearly here and now we have an official trailer to share with you.
From the snippets shown, it definitely looks like it could redeem the mess that was Part II, and finish it off in a truly epic fashion. The original was a blast and I can't wait to check the final movie out. What do you think? What do you think the characters will get up to in this one? Are we looking at another drugged-out, drunken haze of a mess they get themselves into?
Can you believe we're only a couple of months away from Iron Man 3? It felt like just yesterday that The Avengers was out, anyway, the latest trailer to Iron Man 3 is here and it is awesome. Iron Man 3 is directed by Shane Black, seeing the director of the previous two Iron Man films, Jon Favreau, take a back seat.
As you can see from the above trailer, Iron Man 3 is going to be filled with a bunch of action and some great comedy thanks to Shane Black's direction. From what I've read, they actually explain within the movie why Tony Stark doesn't ask for The Avengers' help, which should be interesting in itself.
Roku are back with their third-generation player, the Roku 3. After two years behind closed doors, Roku are ready to unveil their latest player which comes with a much curvier design. Inside Roku 3, we have a more powerful processor, dual-band Wi-Fi and a better remote toting audio out.
Audio out on the remote is a nice touch, with headphones included this makes for a truly personal (and private) experience. Roku 3 also includes a refreshed UI that is also said to spread to the "current generation" players, such as the Roku 2, HD, LT and Streaming Stick, as soon as next month.
Roku 3 sells for $99 through Roku.com and Amazon.com as of tomorrow, replacing the current top-of-the-line XS model.
Universal Pictures Australia have announced that Steven Spielberg's 1993 action/adventure Jurassic Park will be re-released to Australian cinemas starting on April 5th, to honour the film's 20th Anniversary. The film will be carried by Village and Event Cinemas nation wide.
The movie, once the highest grossing picture of all time before being surpassed by James Cameron's Titanic in 1998 has been converted to 3D by Burbank studio StereoD, responsible for the 3D conversion of that film, along with The Avengers, Captain America and Thor.
Based on the best-selling book by Michael Crichton, the production ushered in the digital age, with dinosaurs convincingly brought to life by George Lucas' Industrial Light and Magic facility that was sold to Disney at the end of last year.
To promote the film, Ludia have also released the free to play Jurassic Park Builder app for both iOS and Android platforms.
The trailer for Jurassic Park 3D can be viewed below.
Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment have announced a short delay to two highly anticipated Star Trek Blu-ray releases, in order to coincide with the theatrical release of Star Trek: Into Darkness, which hits cinemas on May 16 in Australia.
Star Trek: Enterprise - Season One and Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season Three, along with Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Best of Both Worlds had all been scheduled for April 10th releases. However, the former two will now be released on May 1st, whilst Star Trek: The Next Generation - The Best of Both Worlds has not received a new release date, leading to concerns that this may not be released in our territory after all. We will reach out to Paramount to clarify the situation. Stand by.
Reports are surfacing that the elderly Harrison Ford will be returning as Han Solo in the upcoming Star Wars film. El Mayimbe of Latino Review says that his return is a sure-thing: "His deal is done, it's just a formality right now, they haven't really announced it yet."
We're still not sure that this is the case as the movie is still in its infancy, though there have been numerous other rumors that proved true. For instance, the rumor that J.J. Abrams would be the director proved true, so it is certainly possible this one will work out as well.
The source has been correct in other movie scoops before, as well, which lends some credence to this rumor. If the decision has already been made and a deal done, the announcement shouldn't be too far in the future. Worst case is we will know for sure when the movie comes out.
Just over one year after its inception, Raspbmc has hit its final development release, version 1.0. Raspbmc is of course the Linux distro aimed at creating a perfect merger between the famed $35 Raspberry Pi and the popular media center software XBMC.
Since its release, the Raspberry Pi has been popular among the HTPC crowd because of its cheap price and high performance hardware. Sam Nazarko, the terrifyingly young developer of Raspbmc started the project just over a year ago, and has today announced that it has reached the final release for its version 1.0.
On his blog, Nazarko said:
"I've been working on Raspbmc for a year and am now happy to announce the final release and congratulate XBMC on such a remarkable new release. Just to clarify what confused a few. Final does not mean we're not doing any more work, it means the 1.0 version of Raspbmc is available and stable.
It looks like we can expect premium interactive TV shows from Microsoft by the end of the year, where we'll see the new TV shows launch on their Xbox Live service. This is all according to a top executive from Microsoft during All Things Digital's Dive into Media conference, in Dana Point, California.
Back in September 2012, Microsoft hired former CBS Network Television Entertainment Group president, Nancy Tellem, who would be responsible for a new production studio in LA and creating interactive content for the Xbox 360. We're now seeing the fruits of her labor, and the first things to grow from this seed.
We should expect the interactivity side of things to include Kinect compatibility, but it won't just be there to be 'cool', Tellem says "it has to be organic and a natural extension of what we are doing". She also declined to state just how much Microsoft are pumping into their original content, adding "we are certainly looking at a very robust content production schedule".
Google has reportedly signed a deal with the free-to-air UK satellite service Freesat that will bring a dedicated YouTube app to the service. It is a joint venture between the BBC and ITV that offers users more than 60 channels at no cost to its users.
Freesat has said that the app will be built using HTML5 and will "optimize" the videos for TV viewing, offering a "visually stunning" experience. This is a good thing because anyone who has ever watched YouTube videos on their large HDTV will be able to relate to the poor quality on larger screens.
Freesat has a reported three million+ in sales of its set top boxes, and gains a great deal of free content through this deal. Google will be the major benefactor here, as the addition to the service will most certainly see an increase in UK based viewers, giving it more people to display targeted ads to.
Premiering at the Berlin International Film Festival a few days ago, the documentary on The Pirate Bay called "TPB AFK" is now available online for free after four years in the making.
The documentary covers the site's three founders battling through their legal case with the entertainment industry in Swedish courts, right up until their final appeal is rejected which saw them ordered to pay $6.6 million in damages and serve jail time. You can acquire the movie through The Pirate Bay and YouTube, or you can contribute to the film makers through a pay-what-you-want donation that will see you receive any extra materials released in the future, or pre-order the DVD for $23.
Gottfrid Svartholm (aka Anakata) has been arrested and is serving time in prison, with the two other founders, Peter Sunde and Frederik Neij still wanted.
While the whole world waits on the TiVo Mini to make its retail debut, Suddenlink has managed to work out a deal allowing its customers to rent the small DVR extension units.
A report from Zatz Not Funny mentions that the outfit is pricing rental units at $6-$12 depending on customer location and current service package. The rental fee grants the user the privilege of streaming live TV from a TiVo Premier DVR to their network or another TV set.
Users are also able to search for and watch recorded shows. Dynamic tuning is built into the device, but it appears to be turned off at the moment. We can expect to see the TiVo Mini hit retail shelves sometime this spring.
Yet another option is coming for streaming movies and TV to your home. Redbox Instant will be competing with Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Prime, and others and has decided to release an app for the Xbox 360. For whatever reason, Redbox Instant has decided to exclusively support the 360 for launch, which could limit how pervasive they become.
Microsoft's Major Nelson confirmed that early beta testers will soon be invited to download and install the app.
Redbox will likely eventually come to all of the home consoles. After all, Netflix has said that they see the most streaming from the PlayStation 3. Redbox wouldn't want to miss out on the ability to sell its services to a wider audience. We'll continue to watch what Redbox does and keep you up to date on any big changes.
As an Australian, one of my favorite bits of the Super Bowl is the movie spots for the up and coming blockbusters. While I really wanted a Man of Steel clip, Iron Man 3 will do.
And what a clip it is! The 20-second or so clip shows off an incredible new scene (spoilers if you keep reading) of Iron Man diving out of a plane and having to save 13 people from falling to the ground. Goosebumps!
Netflix's original series, House of Cards, has been uploaded to Netflix in all of its 13-episode glory. This means users can sit down and watch the entire first season in one sitting. If you aren't a Netflix subscriber, you can watch the first episode of the series for free. Netflix hopes this will encourage you to sign up for the service.
House of Cards is the second of Netflix's original series to be released. In May, Netflix will be releasing 14 episodes of Arrested Development all at one time. A show called "Hemlock Grove" will be making an appearance in April, and a few other series are also coming this year.
Netflix's chief content officer would like for Netflix to make at least five original series per year, though Netflix has to bring in profit to do this. They are doing their best to promote the series, such as offering the first episode free, to hopefully attract more paying customers. We should know how well this is working by the end of the year.
Amazon has managed to keep Downton Abbey away from its competitors Hulu and Netflix by signing the show exclusively for their Amazon Prime streaming service. Downton Abbey is the wildly popular show that can be seen on PBS in the United States. The agreement also maintains exclusivity for season 4 and 5, if the latter is produced.
"The series is consistently in our top most watched TV shows each week, making it the most popular TV series with Prime Instant Video customers, ever," Brad Beale, Amazon's director of digital video content acquisition, said in a press release.
Season 1 and 2 is available for streaming currently, and you can watch season 3, even though some episodes have aired in the US yet, if you buy Amazon's TV pass for $9.45.
Apple's Apple TV device has made an appearance at the FCC with a new version number. Some thought that this new device would be the fourth generation Apple TV, but it turns out that it is just a minor component change. An Apple spokesperson confirmed that the new version number was required to clear regulatory officials.
"We sometimes make component changes which require an updated model number for regulatory approval," an Apple spokesperson confirmed in a statement.
The changes reportedly include an A5X processor, which is the same as the one used in the third-gen iPad, and a new single antenna setup. The new device doesn't have a definite launch time and there will not be a clear way to tell the devices apart without looking at the version number.
Today the XBMC Foundation has released version 12 of the widely popular open-source home media center software. XBMC 12.0, codenamed "Frodo", brings forth several new features and improvements including Live TV and PVR support which brings Live TV, radio and TV guide features into the program.
The update also includes a completely new audio engine that supports most of the HD audio standards including DTS-MA and Dolby True-HD. Fans of Apple's AirPlay can jump for joy as well because Frodo includes improved support for Apple's wireless standard, in addition to AirPlay streaming for Windows users as well.
The biggest news however is the official support for the $35 Raspberry Pi. With the Model B now supporting 1080p HD video, the Raspberry Pi makes for the perfect entry-level media streamer when combined with XBMC. Version 12.0 also comes with "initial Android support" which unlike the XBMC remote app includes the full range of XBMC services on your Android device.
The small Caribbean nation of Antigua has been given the go ahead, by the World Trade Organization, to open and operate a completely legal pirated movie website. This comes as a result of the country being able to suspend US copyright with a fee of $21 million every year.
The refusal to acknowledge US copyright is mainly fueled by the US refusing to remove a blockade on Antigua operating online gaming services. Antiguan finance minister Harold Lovell said that the loss of the remote gaming industry has hurt its country and it has every intention of making use of its WTO granted rights.
"These aggressive efforts to shut down the remote gaming industry in Antigua has resulted in the loss of thousands of good paying jobs and seizure by the Americans of billions of dollars belonging to gaming operators and their customers in financial institutions across the world, If the same type of actions, by another nation, caused the people and the economy of the United States to be so significantly impacted, Antigua would without hesitation support their pursuit of justice," Said Lovell in a statement.
Ultra HD, or 4K, is getting bigger and badder as time goes on - where at CES we saw European TV network, Eutelsat, launch the first-ever 4K TV channel. This channel is only for experimental and demonstration purposes, it'll pave the way for the future of 4K TV broadcasting.
Japan has now come out, telling the world they'll be launching 4K TV broadcasts in July 2014, a full two years ahead of schedule. The 4K transmissions will first begin using communication satellite channels before they move onto broadcast satellites, with digital broadcasting arriving later down the line.
This means we should expect the 4K broadcast to begin before the the final match of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil begins, which will have soccer fans in Japan getting excited. Better yet, thanks to 4K broadcasts being two years ahead of schedule, this means we'll see 8K broadcasts starting in 2016 - 8K! 2016!