When you start chugging a series, it's hard to stop, even for trips to the bathroom, or going to work, or catching up on sleep. It's a problem that Netflix loves to exploit, only giving you a few seconds before offering up the next episode of whatever series you're currently immersed in. For some reason, however, this post-play feature didn't work on the Apple TV, until it suddenly did a few days ago, without warning. The Roku-rival has even popped up on Netflix's list of supported devices, so never again will you have the option of stopping House of Cards after a single episode. Well, unless you disable it, of course.
Via: Cult of Mac
Remember when LG announced that it had managed to create a rollable 18-inch display? Well, here's the proof: a very much flexible OLED display. The resolution might not be there yet (1,200 x 810, alas) but the hopes and dreams of a picnic-blanket TV set -- they're getting more real every day.
Via: OLED Display
There were so many TVs on display back at CES, that you'd be forgiven if they all blended together. So allow us to give you a recap: The Samsung UN105S9W was, in the company's own words, the "world's first, largest and most curved 105-inch curved UHD TV." Well then! Sounds like an expensive piece of kit, huh? You have no idea. Sammy just put its flagship TV up for pre-order and it's kind of a doozy. The whole thing costs $120,000 -- also known as a mortgage. For the money, you get 5,120 x 2,160 resolution on an unusually large screen, with an unusually wide aspect ratio of 21:9. Additionally, you'll receive a visit from one of Samsung's "Field Engineers" to walk you through all the features, if that's any consolation. It's also a Smart TV, with all the usual built-in apps, and the ability to separate the screen into four quadrants for watching live TV and surfing the web at once. Honestly, though, we'd be offended if a TV this expensive didn't do that. You can pre-order now if you like, but let's be real: Most of you are probably saving $120,000 for your future child's college tuition.
"If I had a hole in New Mexico, maybe that one [the Project Runway game] would have made it there."
Todd Shallbetter, Atari's chief operating officer, is just joking of course. He's referencing the company's infamous 1983 move to bury countless amounts of unsold gaming hardware and E.T. game cartridges under a slab of cement in the desert. Shallbetter doesn't deny his company's rocky legacy. On the contrary, he embraces it, using its failures as a counterpoint for a new version of Atari he's helping to build. To push the company past the €31.7 million (about $42 million) in revenues it earned in the 2011-2012 fiscal year (PDF), Shallbetter is targeting markets that most companies would rather ignore; markets that represent hundreds of billions of dollars. Atari is going after gays and gamblers.
Even as cable giant Comcast tries to get bigger by absorbing Time Warner Cable, its own revenue grew in the last quarter to $16.8 billion, up 3.5 percent from last year, and net income hit $1.99 billion. The most important number for a subscription business though is how many customers it has, and through a traditionally slow quarter, it managed to slow the loss of total "customer relationships" to 25,000 from 66,000 for the same period last year -- although my friend Ryan Block recently found out how difficult ending that relationship can be. More of the customers that remain are picking up internet and phone services, as it has over 21 million high speed internet subscribers alone. You can check out the numbers yourself right here, I'll be tuning in for the earnings call in a few minutes to find out if it has any new response to the recent customer service controversy, net neutrality and its battle with Netflix, or an update on the $45 billion TWC acquisition.
[Image credit: Associated Press]
While a bunch of the hype surrounding the Destiny beta is how great developer Bungie's latest shooter looks running on the PlayStation 4, gamers on last-gen hardware have been playing through the weekend too. Based on the video that Digital Foundry put together (embedded below), the PlayStation 3 version expectedly doesn't stack up next to its current-gen counterpart, but it doesn't look terrible, either. If I were to describe it in one word, it'd be "softer." The tech-centric outlet notes that while the levels themselves remain the same the overall shape and size, set dressing like foliage and rocks are less dense (and in some cases, completely missing), and lighting is less complex as well. Most impactful, possibly, is the PS3 game's native resolution. While the PS4 version runs at a native 1920x1080, or 1080p, Destiny on Sony's previous console is running at 1024x624 (sub-720p) -- roughly 30 percent the total pixel count of its current-gen cousin.
Yup, it's summer. In case the weather wasn't a tipoff, you can tell from Syfy's slew of made for TV movies hitting the screen, including this week's shocker Mega Shark vs. Mecha Shark. The headlining monsters were already made for previous movies, so maybe this time the filmmakers used their budget on good actors, a decent script or better special effe...on second thought probably not, but if you're curious you can watch the whole thing right now on Netflix. While we're still checking out other shows in the genre like Extant and The Strain, there are other options. ESPN has a documentary on cycling great Greg LeMond airing Tuesday night, while CBS Sports is bringing highlights from a huge sports tournament you've probably never heard of: The Commonwealth Games. The Roots drummer/bandleader Questlove is producing a new show on VH1 called Soundclash that mixes up different bands on one stage -- we'll give it one shot as the first episode on Wednesday features Fall Out Boy, T.I. and London Grammar. Check after the break for a list of what's new this week plus a few trailers, and drop a note in the comments if you see any highlights we've missed.
It looks like that (pending 2 years for existing customers) price hike hasn't greatly affected Netflix's popularity, as it announced today that it has 50 million customers altogether. About 36 million of them are in the US, and Netflix specified that's about to launch in more European countries (Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Belgium and Luxembourg) in September. Its profit also more than doubled this quarter, up to $71 million from about $30 million in the same period last year. The only real change mentioned for customers is that it's about to start distributing in-store gift cards this fall, so you can give the gift of Netflix or join without having to pay online with a credit card. The company's focus of course is how it's building up a library of exclusive content, and it says Orange is the New Black quickly became the most watched series in every Netflix territory when season two launched. Upcoming shows include Sense8 from the Wachowskis and the Daredevil series it's making with Marvel, and it's cast a number of big names for those shows already like Vincent D'Onofrio, Naveen Andrews and Rosario Dawson -- now that Netflix scored 31 Emmy nominations this year they clearly have a tough act to follow. The company's earnings chat will start in a few minutes, check after the break to watch it live and see a few more notes about its current status.%Gallery-slideshow206508%
First, the good news: At its Television Critics Awards, Fox just announced the details of its plan to put every episode of The Simpsons online for streaming (also, Louie and Fargo have been renewed). Simpsons World will launch in October and let fans browse episodes, create their own playlists, search for/share clips and more. Before that, the FXX cable channel will run "the longest TV marathon in history" by airing the full 25-season / 552 episode run (just for reference, the first HD episode is S20E10, from 2009) in one shot, 24 hours a day, plus The Simpsons Movie, from August 21st until September 1st. The bad news? To access more than just clips, you'll need a subscription with a participating cable provider. Simpsons World will live both on the web, and through the FXNow app on iOS, Android, Xbox and other smart TV platforms. From those in attendance, like Max Follmer of Brief, the app sounds very well put together, and will let fans do things like follow along with the script as it was originally written and immediately share quotes.
It's easy for someone in your home to interrupt your Chromecast stream and play something of their own, but you can always retake control... right? Well, don't count on it. Analyst Dan Petro has built the Rickmote Controller, a proof-of-concept device that hijacks Google's media stick to play everyone's favorite Rick Astley video (and theoretically, any media) on loop. The Raspberry Pi-based box simply floods the Chromecast with WiFi disconnection requests, kicking the adapter into its setup mode; after that, it's easy for the Rickmote to make its own connection and deliver non-stop '80s pop.
Source: Bishop Fox
Before Google Fiber, Verizon FiOS was the speedy internet service everyone wanted in their neighborhood. The arrival of 1Gbps connections, a slowed rollout, and an ongoing battle with Netflix that's slowing streams to a crawl has slightly dulled the cachet, but it's still one of the fastest providers out there. Now it's getting even faster, but Verizon isn't boosting download speeds again -- those will stay the same as customers get matching upload speeds on every plan. On the fastest tier (previously 500Mbps down / 100Mbps up), speeds will increase by 5x to 500Mbps, and most customers will see their speeds double. New customers can get the symmetrical speeds right away, and they'll roll out to existing customers throughout the fall. To go immediately to the front of that list FiOS subscribers can sign up for the MyRewards+ customer loyalty program, which is free, and pretty much just requires inputting your birthdate.
[Image credit: Mark Von Holden/AP Images for Verizon]
TiVo's co-founders launched their Qplay service in hopes of becoming the central hub for all your online video viewing. Unfortunately, it looks like that media utopia wasn't meant to be. Just three months after its official debut, Qplay has revealed that it's shutting down; it's "not possible" to run the service any longer, the team says. You'll have until July 25th to get your fill of content, and you can get a refund for the TV adapter if you make a request before that cut-off date. The company isn't commenting on the exact reasons behind the closure, but this is certainly going to catch some internet video aficionados off-guard. If you're one of them, you'll have to turn to discovery services like Showyou to get a similar fix.
Amazon's video service is well-rounded, with both video-on-demand selection and Prime all you can eat viewing, but there's one big hole -- Android. Even though Amazon has apps for its Android-based Kindle family of devices (along with iOS, game consoles, Roku and other TV boxes), the rest of the Android family tree is left out of the party. That could change soon however, as PC Advisor reports Amazon UK Marketing & Merchandising Director said that an app for the platform is "imminent." The news came at the firm's Christmas show (yes, in July, just go with it), however it's unclear if it will apply to both phones and tablets. He also indicated that work on 4K content is progressing, confirming what we'd heard at CES, but there's no word on when the high-res video will hit Amazon's service. Despite repeated attempts to contact Amazon PR in the US and UK we have not received a response concerning the report, but if an app arrives soon it would help make Amazon a much better competitor against the likes of Netflix and Hulu.
Source: PC Advisor
If you've ever wanted to keep those embarrassing Netflix choices from family members or your social-networking pals, you might soon be in luck. According to the folks over at Gigaom, the streaming subscription service is currently testing a "Privacy Mode." This means that viewed titles won't appear in that Recently Viewed section on the main screen and they also won't factor into future recommendations. Select users across all of the company's locales are privy to the feature as part of the trial. Of course, there's a chance that it may never become a staple in the settings menu -- that's dependent on the results of the experiment.
[Photo credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images]
A new lower price alone may not have moved the Xbox One past the PS4 on the sales chart, but Microsoft is still keeping up with its quick update cycle. The August update preview is arriving for testers, and one of the areas getting a lot of attention is the friends list. Right on the home screen, gamers will be able to see what their friends have been playing and a Gamerscore leaderboard, and in the activity feed you can finally like or comment on activity. It seemed like an obvious feature for the feed from the beginning, so it's good to see it's here now. Also, after an update to the app it will be able to handle Blu-ray 3D -- something we asked Phil Spencer about, 5,644 of you requested, and something the PS4 still can't do. Check after the break to see what else is changing, plus a video demo of the new features.
Look, we're not gonna tell you how to spend your hard-earned money. If you want to spend two actual dollars enabling your Killzone: Shadow Fall character to fart -- yes, that kind of fart -- and "plank" (this) on PlayStation 4, go for it. But allow us this moment of plea: please don't. Here's the description of what your $2 gets you:
"It's all fun and games until someone loses a game. (Or so they say). Show your fallen enemies, not everything need [sic] be taken seriously. This pack contains Fart, Planking and Comedy spotlight moves."
One part of us wants to know what "Comedy spotlight moves" could possibly be given that the highly comedic farting and planking verbs have already been used.
Source: PlayStation Network
Sky's got a plethora of mobile apps to keep you entertained on the go, but has until now neglected customers who find admin just as fun. Much like mobile carriers have apps for general account management, the new Sky Service app for Android and iOS lets subscribers view and pay bills, check the details of their TV packages and manage their broadband router restrictions. The app also allows you to reset your TV PIN if the kids have cracked it while you're out, request a customer service call-back, reschedule an engineer visit and alter which Sky+HD box the Sky+ app records to if you have a multiroom setup. Not the most exciting tasks, but handy to have in your pocket nonetheless.
If someone gaining an athletic visa to play StarCraft 2 or the staggering amount of hours spent watching pro gamers duke it out virtually wasn't enough to prove that competitive gaming is a real thing, maybe some mainstream support is. This weekend's massive $10 million-plus Dota 2 tournament, The International, will air live on ESPN 3. What's more, prior to ESPN 2's broadcast of the final match late Sunday evening, the network will host a preview show with expert analysis and even an interview with Dota 2-developer Valve's Gabe Newell. That the Worldwide Leader in Sports is giving the same kind of love to eSports that it does, say, basketball or even skateboarding is surely a sign of big things to come. The fans have been into it for awhile -- tickets for the event, held at Seattle's 17,000-seat Key Arena, sold out in an hour.
Canada frequently gets stiffed when it comes to premium streaming video, but it's about to catch a big break. Just like in the US (after 2016 when the deal kicks in), Netflix has landed a multi-year Canadian deal that will make it the only subscription TV service offering first-run Walt Disney Studios movies in the country. Disney-backed titles released from 2015 onward will hit Netflix Canada eight months after they've left theaters, faster than they've typically reached conventional pay TV. While the agreement still won't give Canucks all the Netflix content that their American neighbors enjoy, it will let them stream the latest Marvel or Pixar blockbuster without springing for a rental or The Movie Network.
Source: Canada Newswire