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For years, most have been wondering when we'd start properly hearing about James Cameron's sequel to Avatar. Well, James' partner, Jon Landau, took the stage of SIGGRAPH, showing the public their first test footage for the upcoming movie.
The test footage unveiled a "noticeable improvement" in their virtual camera techniques, with a much higher quality output in a scene that involved a human and a Na'vi walking around on the surface of Pandora. The presentation happened at the Autodesk Users Group event during SIGGRAPH, with Landau stressing that this test footage was from several months ago, and it isn't at the point that they'd like to be.
There's much more to read about the test footage at SIGGRAPH at The Hollywood Reporter. I'm hoping for a huge leap in special effects, considering the entire movie pretty much happens inside of a 'virtual world'.
Earlier I reported on Google's new HDMI media streaming dongle dubbed Chromecast. I was so enthralled by it that I immediately went to the Google Play Store and placed my order. Fast forward a few hours and the Chromecast has now popped up on Amazon and if you are an Amazon Prime Member, the dongle is actually cheaper than if you were to purchase it from Google.
My order for the Chromecast placed through the Google Play store ran me $54 and some change including 2-day shipping. Being an Amazon Prime subscriber, I could have waited a few hours and ordered the same device with the same shipping for $35 total, and for an extra $11 I could have it shipped overnight. Unfortunately, Amazon has updated the page and says that the devices will not ship for an additional 1-2 days so you could still have the device in by Monday if you play your cards right.
This morning Google announced the release of a new media streaming dongle dubbed Chromecast. The small $35 HDMI dongle mirrors content that is being played on a nearby smartphone, computer or tablet. Coming in at just 2-inches long, the device plugs directly into your HDTVs spare HDMI port.
The device is able to run certain apps and if you are an early adopter, you will get a free three month Netflix subscription. Google says that Chromecast runs a simplified version of Google's Chrome OS and unfortunately, it will require a separate USB power source. The device features 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and comes with an HDMI extender, a USB cable and a USB power source.
Chrome apps that work with Chromecast will feature a "cast" button that will push the video feed to your Chromecast connected television. "Once Chromecast is plugged in, you just go to YouTube on your smartphone," Google reps said. "You'll see the cast button in your UI and you press it -- Chromecast will pull the info you requested from the cloud and play it on your TV." Google demoed the device at this morning's breakfast event and showed how Chromecast could display a YouTube video from your tablet onto your TV, and still allow you to use other apps on your tablet at the same time.
With a Need for Speed movie coming out in the near future, it looks like Sony may have felt a little jealous without their own feature film based on a driving franchise. Well, the Japanese company have just greenlit a feature film based on their super popular Gran Turismo series.
You wouldn't guess who saw potential in the series, with Dana Brunetti and Mike De Luca being the producers on board. They've previously worked on The Social Network and 50 Shades of Grey. They have obviously seen that Gran Turismo has sold over 70 million copies in the last 15 years, so we know it's a huge title.
What could it be about, exactly? It could go in the direction of the Aaron Paul vehicle (pun intended) Need for Speed, or it could turn into what the Fast & Furious franchise is now - fast cars, over-the-top action and hundreds of millions of dollars in box office revenue.
The fourth season of Arrested Development was a huge success for Netflix, where they added 630,000 more subscribers in the US during Q2 2013. Investors were hoping for an additional 900,000 or so new customers, but you can't really complain at over half a million more, can you?
The figures come from Netflix's latest announcement, where we also found out they earned 49 cents per share during the quarter, higher than the Wall Street estimates of around 40 cents. They generated $1.07 billion of revenue, which fell within Wall Street's expectations. We can expect Netflix to go forth with more original programming, such as House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.
Oh, and we can't forget the talks of a fifth season of Arrested Development, either.
I'm still adjusting to the awesomeness that was Man of Steel, but while I was over in Melbourne for PAX Australia 2013, I read that the director of Man of Steel, Zack Snyder, confirmed a Superman/Batman movie for 2015.
At the end of the DC panel at Comic-Con 2013, Zack Snyder tool the stage, gesturing that moderator Chris Hardwick should move out of the way where he said "I'm gonna take the lectern from you, because some sh*t's going to happen up here. It's official that we are going to make another Superman movie. And you say, Zack, what is the movie about? But you don't want me to tell you that. You want to go and see the movie. But I can say that maybe there's a single element that will be in the film that I could... help you out with. I was thinking about how to do that. I pored through the DC Universe to look for a way to tell this thing. We're writing the thing now, but I came across a thing I found that'll help you understand it."
While this is exciting news, it doesn't confirm a sequel to Man of Steel, which is weird. Harry Lennix, who starred in Man of Steel, read a line from Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns: "I want you to remember, Clark, in all the years to come, in all your most private moments, I want you to remember my hand at your throat. I want you to remember the one man who beat you."
Google showed Google TV off before it was fully baked, so all of the goodies inside were oozing out instead of being fully-functional features that blew people away and had consumers throwing money at their product.
But, it looks like they're at it again, and according to The Wall Street Journal's inside sources, Google are pitching the idea of an online TV service to media providers and distributors. The difference between it not working before, and it working now, is that content providers are looking for nationwide distribution - something Google can provide, very easily.
The WSJ are reporting that Google has the system developed and is shopping it around to various partners. The world of TV has changed since Google first introduced Google TV, with the likes of Netflix and their smash hits like the fourth season of Arrested Development and House of Cards doing very, very good business online.
We've been reporting on a rumored TV service from Intel for a couple months now, and today we finally found out what the service will be named. GigaOM has reported this morning that Intel's TV streaming service will be called OnCue, with the report being based on trademark filings around the globe and the hiring of an ad agency to prepare the official launch of the brand.
GigaOM also said that Intel plans to launch the TV service before the end of the year and that Intel plans to compete with traditional cable TV and satellite services by offering a live TV feed as well as a catch-up service that will allow users to watch missed shows a la carte. The service will also reportedly feature an on-demand service that will allow users to watch the latest new releases without having to rent them from services such as Netflix, Amazon, or RedBox. There's no word yet on what channels will be featured upon launch, but we're sure the offering will be substantial.
As a huge fan of Arrested Development, this is music to my ears (while I work at the Banana Stand). Bloomberg are reporting that Netflix and the production company behind Arrested Development, Imagine Entertainment, are negotiating for a fifth season of the cult TV show.
Reed Hastings, Netflix's CEO, said earlier in the year that it's not surprising that the company would bring the show back for a fifth season. Netflix have had great success by developing a new, unique and most of all, refreshing model for TV distribution. This is where they offer the entire season up front so that users can watch it at their own pace, or sit down and watch it in one setting.
Netflix's most popular show, something I finished watching last week and positively loved, House of Cards, was a huge hit for the company earning back their $100 million investment in just a few weeks time.
James Bond is a huge franchise, we all know that, but just how big could the Splinter Cell franchise be when it makes a stealth move onto the silver screen? Well, according to Splinter Cell: Blacklist's Creative Director, Maxine Beland, she'd like it to be "as big as James Bond."
During an interview with GamesRadar, Beland said: "I really want Splinter Cell to have an amazing movie franchise and to be as big as James Bond. There are some great Bond movies, and they're obviously a big point of reference for us. At the same time, I'm so hungry for a good Splinter Cell movie. I know we're developing one now, and that people are responding to it."
We are to expect a Splinter Cell movie in the near future starring Tom Hardy of Inception and The Dark Knight Rises fame.