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Intel is working very hard on a top-secret project that has the potential to greatly shake up the pay-TV market. Known as "Project Black Box," the set-top box and associated television service are poised to take advertisers by storm by paying as much as 75 percent more than traditional content providers.
Intel is able to do this because the box is said to utilize a built-in camera that will collect data on viewers' habits. Yes, you read that correctly, Intel's set-top box will record everything you do in front of your TV, and then feed that information back to its advertisers to help better target you with ads.
CNET reported today that more than 2,000 Intel employees in the Northern California, Arizona, and Oregon areas are currently testing the new pay-TV service. It is unknown when the set-top box and service will launch, but Intel does say that there will be substantial changes made to the final version such as how users navigate the system and how content is served.
Now for my rant of the day: How anyone thinks that this is a good idea is far beyond me. The simple fact that Microsoft's Xbox One generated massive fallout because it was always listening to everything you do should raise many red flags for Intel. The idea of a little camera watching and recording everything I do and then feeding it back to advertisers is on an entirely new level of creepiness. However, given the fact that secretive data collected on persons is often referred to as "intel" within government entities, is only fitting that a company whose name is spelled the same build the device the records everything you do. On the other hand, I bet the NSA, CIA, and other PRISM affiliates love the idea of a little camera in every living room.
Last week Fox confirmed that Independence Day 2 was coming out in 2015, but neglected to reveal if the main draw card actor - Will Smith - would be returning for the alien invasion sequel.
Roland Emmerich, director of Independence Day and the upcoming Independence Day 2, has confirmed that Will Smith will not be returning, where he told NY Daily News: "Will Smith can not come back because he's too expensive, but he'd also be too much of a marquee name, It would be too much." The director did hint at who would return, where it will be a mix of old and new: "We have like maybe half of the people that you know would know from the first film (in the script) and the other half people who are new."
Bill Pullman and Jeff Goldbum will be returning, most likely because they have nothing else better to do. Emmerich confirmed that the movie will be a direct sequel, but has fans (like myself) excited with the following quote: "We're not doing a total reboot, we're doing something that's totally unusual."
The first full-length trailer for Jobs, an upcoming movie about Steve Jobs, has hit the web. The trailer gives us a better look into how well Ashton Kutcher does playing the eccentric Steve Jobs. The trailer is embedded below for your viewing pleasure. Take a look for yourself:
Kutcher appears to do a great job playing Steve Jobs and the movie looks to be quite entertaining. The film first premiered back during the Sundance Film Festival, though it has taken a longer period of time than expected to bring it to theaters near you. It looks like the film will be opening in theaters on August 16.
Take a look at the trailer and let us know what you think of the movie.
I wrote my love letter about Man of Steel in a review for TweakTown, and in my original draft I did ask about the damage of the city - and just the insurance companies would be scratching their heads at claims of an "alien attacked my apartment and it's now gone, there's no evidence", etc.
Well, BuzzFeed has worked with disaster experts Watson Technical Consulting to estimate the amount of damage that was done to Metropolis during Man of Steel's absolutely mind-blowing action set pieces would've really cost. They ran simulations on Manhattan and Chicago which gave them an idea of what the cost would've been. The WTC estimates that around 129,000 people would've been killed, over 250,000 left missing and over one million people injured in total.
As for the cost of the God vs. God fight between Superman and General Zod - which left me with goosebumps - we're looking at physical damage of around $700 billion (or $700,000,000,000). Compared to 9/11 which was $55 billion in damages. The WTC estimates that the entire economic impact of the two Kryptonian's to sit at around $2 trillion.
Netflix, the streaming heavyweight, has scored a massive deal with DreamWorks to bring no less than 300 hours of original content to its customers. This content could end up being new series featuring some of DreamWorks' most cherished characters. Details for the deal are a bit scarce at the moment, but Wall Street doesn't seem to care.
Original content could prove extremely costly. In the face of this fact, Netflix shares have risen around 8 percent today on the news of the deal. This deal should boost Netflix even further ahead of its competition. Its competitors can either start spending money on original content or focus on getting older content for cheap.
I've finally landed back in Australia after being in Taiwan for two weeks for Computex and the first movie trailer I'm greeted to is Neill Blomkamp's sci-fi flick, Elysium. The first trailer gave us just a glimpse of the movie, but this new trailer is kicking all sorts of ass.
As you can see above, we're in for a treat, and what surprises me is that this is Blomkamp's second big movie - I hope he rises from here. The trailer doesn't give too much away, but if you want to stay spoiler free, I'd suggest you not watch the trailer - but that is a hard thing to do these days.
This morning, Pandora announced a new way of accessing the service through television when it unveiled its new website TV.Pandora.com which is built using HTML5. Pandora says that the new HTML5 app offers easier navigation and controls than previous designs.
According to Pandora, you can access the new site today from TV web browsers such as those featured on smart TVs and consoles like the Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3. The company says it plans to expand into the next-generation consoles as well as future smart TVs.
"We imagine a future where web-based standards can be the answer to that question," Tom Conrad, Pandora's CTO said in an interview. "We're pointing the industry in that direction with this announcement." This new offering comes as Pandora operates without a CEO and as revenues plummet as services like Spotify and Google Play Music All Access rise in popularity.
It's Prime time for Dora and pals: Amazon lands exclusive deal with Viacom after Netflix license expires
Early this morning, Amazon announced that it would be exclusively adding thousands of TV episodes from media powerhouse of Viacom to its Prime subscription service. While the content is mostly kids programming, such as shows like Dora the Explorer and Blue's Clues, the demographic the shows are aimed at equals billions of dollars in revenue.
Citing a source close to the deal, The Verge is reporting that the exclusive licensing contract cost Amazon several hundred million dollars. Viacom's library will be available to Prime members on the company's Kindle Free Time service which is a $2.99 per month subscription tacked on to the yearly Prime membership fee.
So where does this leave Netflix? The company will still have Disney programming as well as hundreds of other cartoons and children shows. Amazon does, however, seem to have a very strong advantage with several of Viacom's properties being the largest children shows on TV.
Hulu has updated the living room experience for their Plus service. This update comes during a time when rumors of potential buyout suitors continue to pop up. The new update brings with it a new look, search, controls, and a new kids section, which could partially be in response to Netflix losing its Viacom content.
Hulu has updated the experience on Samsung TVs and Blu-ray players, Roku set-top boxes, and--coming soon--Nintendo's Wii. Navigation, controls, search, and artwork have all been improved. Hulu has also introduced theme-based suggestions, including "Movies for Memorial Day" or "Time-Traveling Heroes."
Hulu has also added a new kid-friendly section that provides commercial-free children's programming. These updates should roll out to Samsung and Roku devices within 48 hours.
We all thought the Transformers franchise would end with Dark of the Moon, the third outing in Michael Bay's CG-filled movies, but Transformers 4 has begun filming. Principal photography has started for Transformers 4, which sees Bay behind the camera once more, but Shia LaBeouf is replaced by Mark Wahlberg.
Wahlberg is joined by a whole new cast, including Nicola Peltz, Stanley Tucci, Kelsey Grammer, Li Bingbing, Sophia Myles, and Jack Reynor. T.J. Miller also joins Transformers 4 as "Wahlberg's best friend, a fellow mechanic". What most people will be interested in, however, are the cars, which we have some pictures to tease you with. There's a 1,200-horsepower Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse, and a Corvette Stingray, which is based on Corvette's upcoming 2014 production car.