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Another competitor has emerged in the online streaming market. Redbox Instant, which had been undergoing a private beta for three months, has finally launched publicly. Subscribers will have access to 4,600 different titles and up to four Redbox DVD rentals for a mere $8 per month.
Netflix, meanwhile, is only offering streaming as their basic plan. It costs an additional $4.99 per month for just two DVDs, or unlimited DVDs for $7.99. There are still plenty of people who like watching movies on DVDs and it also allows Redbox to offer more choices. Redbox has the added advantage of already having a DVD distribution channel, which allows people to exchange DVDs nearly instantly.
Redbox Instant isn't quite ready to start producing original content, though they will likely have to to keep up with the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
The Verge interviewed the little known Netflix Chief Product Officer Neil Hunt. The interview broached numerous different topics, though most interesting takeaway was that Netflix expects to be streaming 4K content within one to two years. I'm still not convinced that streaming 4K will be easy to do within two years.
Netflix CPO Hunt:
Clearly we have much work to do with the compression and decode capability, but we expect to be delivering 4K within a year or two with at least some movies and then over time become an important source of 4K. 4K will likely be streamed first before it goes anywhere else.
He adds that they filmed House of Cards in 4K. Currently it's only available in full HD, but he says that the raw footage is actually 4K quality. "We hope to have some House of Cards 4K encodes later this year." You can read the full interview, which covers which clouds Netflix has looked at and many more topics, at the source linked below.
Photo filters have become all the rage as of late, and now video hosting giant Vimeo is looking to cash in on the recent trend. The video hosting service has just released a new feature dubbed "Looks".
Looks is the result of a partnership between Vimeo and Vivoom, and will bring over 500 visual effects that will allow users to enhance their videos like never before. The new Looks feature will be part of the service's Enhancer toolbox. What makes this new feature so cool, in my opinion, is that the filters can be previewed real time with no lengthy rendering wait time.
The feature will also be able to make filter recommendations based on "technical analysis of the user's video and social data". The new "Looks" feature will be available for free for all Vimeo account holders for the next 90 days, after that it is expected to move to a paid or subscription service.
Rovio continues to expand its marketing of the Angry Birds franchise and will be releasing "Angry Birds Toons" on March 16. Angry Birds Toons is a new animated cartoon that will take place on Piggy Island and feature the characters from the Angry Birds games. It will be released on the web only and lead up to the Angry Birds movie set for 2016.
Angry Birds Toons is an all-new animated series that throws the doors to Piggy Island wide open! For the first time ever, you can get up close and personal with your favorite characters. Join us every week starting the weekend of March 16th for a brand new episode featuring the latest adventures of the birds and pigs!
A new episode will be released each week on the Angry Birds Toons' website. It's not clear if the characters will talk, as in the preview above, they don't. This is likely a cartoon show aimed at little kids, though it's not clear how many little kids will know how to find it online.
Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has described the fourth season of Arrested Development as a "one-off" that would likely be "non-repeatable" due to the circumstances surrounding the actors and series. A company spokesperson added that it would be "extremely difficult to get the cast together" for additional seasons.
The actors in the series are busy doing other movies and shows that are a higher priority than Arrested Development, which is a disappointment for fans of the show who would like more seasons produced. We likely won't see the actors back together until Arrested Development hits the movie screen.
YouTube has posted on their blog about how Gangnam Style has officially hit 1 billion views, the first video to ever do so. The next highest song, and the previous record holder for most views is Justin Bieber's "Baby." We had posted that the moment was coming earlier, but it has now officially past the mark, with no damage to the Earth caused.
If you check out the awesome chart by YouTube, seen above, you can see how much quicker Gangnam Style took off compared to Justin Bieber's "Baby." PSY has many more cool stats to go with the one billion views, but that is probably the best of them all.
Most Arrested Development fans know that Netflix has commissioned two more seasons of the hit TV show to be produced before they make a movie. The production has been put on pause and is set to resume in late January. But, the good news is that Mitch Hurwitz has reportedly shot more material than originally planned.
Netflix originally ordered 10 new episodes, but Hurwitz and the producing studios have reportedly approached Netflix and gotten them to increase the order to 12 to 15 episodes. Filming was originally scheduled to end before Thanksgiving, but with the increased order, they have filmed for an extra few weeks.
Hurwitz has taken the existing footage and is reviewing it to figure out just who he will need to film in January and how to incorporate the extra ideas. Netflix is planning to release all of the episodes at one time in spring, so they still have time to finish up production without delaying the planned release.
"We are thrilled with the direction of the show, with the footage we have seen and with the relationship between Mitch, Imagine, 20th and Netflix," a Netflix spokeswoman said. "At this time, we are not confirming or announcing the final episode count but we are sure fans will be thrilled when we do."
Sony is pretty happy with some recent findings by Netflix that place the PlayStation 3 as the number one TV-connected device used for streaming the online video provider's content. Netflix even said that, on occasion, the PlayStation 3 actually surpassed the PC in hours of Netflix enjoyment and made it to number one overall.
Impressive. Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, had the following to say:
PS3 is our largest TV-connected platform in terms of Netflix viewing, and this year, at times, even surpassed the PC in hours of Netflix enjoyment to become our number one platform overall. PS3 is a natural fit for Netflix in terms of developing and first deploying our most advanced features. We can transparently update our application with new features on a daily basis, and through the free PlayStation Network, people around the world can sign up for Netflix directly from their PS3.
Sony then, in their announcement post, goes on to brag about how all of the improvements that Netflix later debuted on consoles started off on the PlayStation 3. Really, it is just a post with them bragging, but it is interesting that the PS3 has the most subscribers. Maybe people are using the money they would have spent on Xbox Live on a Netflix subscription instead?
The Hobbit will be released in theaters on December 14th and we absolutely can't wait to revisit The Lord of the Rings in an all-new adventure. But it's not going to be all fun and games for everyone in The Hobbit, which is made evident in this parody video which shows just how rough a time Bilbo Baggins is going to have.
Even before his grand adventure takes place in The Hobbit, Bilbo finds himself in a peculiar situation as Gandalf and a group of dwarves make themselves comfortable at his home. What results is a long night of drinking, drinking and more drinking.
In the world of online streaming video platforms, Netflix is still king even though it hasn't exactly had the greatest time with its customers in recent months. I mean, there's no way you forgot about Qwikster, right? That's why any new online streaming video service needs to be aggressive and offer as good as a service as Netflix currently does. If today's report turns out to be true, it looks as though Redbox may have quite the service in store for those looking for an alternative to Netflix.
According to GigaOM, it looks as though when Redbox's "Redbox Instant" is launched, it'll charge its customers $6 a month for its online streaming video service, which is $2 cheaper than Netflix currently charges. Not only will it offer unlimited video streaming, but it will also give its users some optional perks like paying $2 extra a month to keep their DVD rentals for four nights, instead of the usual $1.20 per night cost. Redbox also plans on offering on-demand rentals of newer movies at $.99 a pop.