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Google's Chromecast is one of those little devices that comes along every few years and takes the tech community by storm. Almost all of my techie friends in the US have at least one Chromecast with some having several, and I fall into the latter category with 3 of the $35 HDMI dongles. Today Google announced that it is finally ready to expand the Chromecast outside of the US market.
On March 1st, Google will be launching the Chromecast into the UK market via Curry's, an electrical retailer similar to Frys here in the states. This launch follows the release of the Chromecast SDK earlier this week by Google, and comes along side several big-name companies announcing development of apps for the tiny streaming dongle. No word has been released yet on pricing but I expect it to stick around that $35 US price tag, but could see it increase slightly due to that silly VAT tax they have across the pond.
Netflix has just confirmed the Kevin Spacey political drama, House of Cards, will receive a third season. House of Cards started off as a two-season, $100 million investment, so this is the first renewal for the show.
The second season of House of Cards gets released - every episode, not just the first - on February 14. It will also be aired in 4K, if you've got the TV or display chops to watch it, I would highly suggest you do. I know I'll be spending Valentine's Day with a glass or five or red wine, House of Cards in 4K, and maybe I'll wear a suit, too.
The cord cutting movement is rapidly growing in popularity, and with services like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Google Play gaining more market-share every day cable companies and networks are starting to show signs of fear. In a recent interview with The Wall Street Journal, John Skipper, ESPN's President said that protecting his company's pay-TV profits is his number one priority.
Skipper's stance on the importance of pay-tv services actually explains a lot about how the company manages its mobile app, WatchESPN, only streams the biggest games to those who subscribe to one of its pay-TV services such as ESPN GamePlan. ESPN claims that it currently has over 98 million active subscribers to its pay-TV services, but with cord cutting quickly becoming the new fad, industry analyst expect that number to begin falling. This is why ESPN says that it's careful not to market its app as a cord cutters alternative to purchasing a TV package with all the games one might be interested in.
If the rumors are to be believed, Pixar, the makers of Toy Story and Up, are working on a Star Wars movie. This makes a little more sense knowing that Disney, which owns both Pixar and the rights to Star Wars.
If Pixar were to make a Star Wars movie, it would be one of the countless tie-ins to Episode VII. The Latino Review is behind the rumor, so let's hope we hear more on this juicy rumor, and soon.
In a world where it seems that sharing any form of media with your friends is illegal or against the service's ToS, HBO has stepped up to the plate and said that it is OK to share your HBO Go account with friends and family. In a recent interview with website BuzzFeed, HBO's CEO Richard Plepler went on the record saying that "It's not that we're unmindful of it [ HBO GO Account Sharing ], it just has no impact on the business."
Plepler says that the company sees HBO GO as an added value feature to its Premium Channel cable service and not as an individual product in itself. He went on to say that allowing users to share their HBO Account with friends is a "terrific marketing vehicle for the next generation of viewers," and that it could lead to more HBO subscribers in the future. "HBO Go is value added - what you want to watch," Plepler said, in response to questions about offering HBO Go as a stand alone product. "Right now, that's the right model for us. Are we always thinking about optionality, of course we are always thinking about optionality... if the arithmetic changes and made sense in a different way we are not going to be caught without the ability to pivot."
It looks like we shouldn't be expecting a movie based in the Halo universe anytime soon, with the company issuing a statement to Eurogamer after a bunch of rumors over the last couple of weeks.
The latest rumor to the Halo movie fire was from GamesIndustry International, which reported a now-deleted tweet from Production Weekly that read: "The Halo project is a live-action feature-length digital produced by Ridley Scott." Microsoft smashed down its rumor hammer, stating that it had "no plans for a Halo motion picture at this time."
We are still to expect a Halo-branded TV show, with Steven Spielberg on-board.
Some of you may remember Carl Sagan's TV series 'Cosmos', and now the spiritual sequel is on its way. Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, is hitting our screens on March 9 on FOX.
Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey is being produced by Seth McFarlane of Family Guy fame, and stars the infamous Neil deGrasse Tyson. For those who thought this would be pushed to some weird hour, it is being pumped out on FOX during primetime. We will see the premier episode on Sunday, March 9 at 9PM, where it will extend out to 170 countries, in some 45 different languages.
It looks like Naughty America will soon spend considerable amounts of money to upgrade its equipment so that it can shoot porn in glorious 4K. The company's chief executive, Andreas Hronopoulos, told the Wall Street Journal that the money it is spending is enough to end the company if Ultra HD doesn't take off like most expect it to.
Hronopoulos said: "The closer we can come to making it feel like you're there, the more successful we are. Our customers want to get as close to reality as they can get, without reality getting in the way." We shouldn't be surprised to see the porn industry embracing 4K, as the porn industry is what drives a lot of the sales of these new formats.
CES 2014 - Samsung is pushing 4K at CES 2014, where the South Korean giant has inked content deals with Amazon, Comcast and M-Go. The three companies will now offer 4K streaming to Samsung's Ultra HD TVs.
Comcast will allow its Xfinity customers to launch the app through their Samsung 4K TVs, which will then stream 4K content to the set. Comcast has also said it is working with NBC Universal on securing more content. Amazon on the other hand is working with not only Samsung, but Warner Bros., Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Discovery to provide 4K content throughout the year.
One of my favorite shows of 2013 was House of Cards, but to mix the worlds of tech and great writing is even better. Netflix has released a new poster for the hit show, and a beautiful new 4K trailer for the upcoming second season of the political, back-stabbing drama.
You'll have to manually choose '2160p' in the options, but if you have the screen - or multi-screens - to handle this resolution, it doesn't get better than this.