Posts with tag entertainment
An extension of Blu-ray makes it all happen
4K televisions (or Ultra HD, if that’s your thing) are amazing, with picture quality that often goes far beyond anything you can even remotely hope to find on now standard 1080p sets. The big problem, however, is that up until now, there just hasn’t been much to actually watch with these new, expensive, beautiful televisions. Netflix has helped fill the gap with a small library of shows streaming in 4K, but the selection is next to nil and support is limited to only select, Netflix sanctioned smart televisions. That’s all about the change however as The Blu-ray Disc Association has just announced at CES that they’re working on a new version of the existing Blu-ray technology that will bring 4K movies to your next home theater system, in convenient disc format.
The new discs, which will be branded as Ultra HD Blu-ray and will essentially be Blu-rays manufactured with a new process that allows up to 33GB per layer (up from 25GB), meaning that a single disc will allow for as much as 99GB. This is absolutely necessary given that 4K movies require an obscene amount of available space, way more than the average 1080p Blu-ray movie.
Manufacturer Panasonic is proving the concept with a prototype Ultra HD player, seen above. Sure enough, it works as you’d expect – this is just your average Blu-ray player with the added bonus of beautiful 4K video playback. According to Engadget, the new Ultra HD Blu-ray specification – which has yet to be finalized – will likely call for HVEC encoding, a next-generation encoder that allows for incredibly highly compressed file without losing quality.
These new Ultra HD Blu-rays are expected to hit market by the end of 2015, however a delay into early 2016 is still possible. While all this technology is cool and it’s fantastic that 4K will finally have an opportunity to invade the average living room, the real question is whether or not Americans are ready to invest in a next generation optical disc format. It seems like just yesterday that the industry tried to get us to ditch our old and busted DVDs for high definition Blu-rays. Can that same strategy be successful only a couple of years later?
Kindle on TV
Amazon has just today announced a new set-top box entertainment initiative that’s positioned as an Amazon powered alternative to the likes of the Apple TV and the Roku. The Fire TV is a small black box that physically greatly resembles both the Apple TV and the Roku lineup – just a little bit bigger than a pack of playing cards, the Fire TV will fit in just fine with any entertainment center out there – unless you’ve got a thing for all white hardware, I guess.
Inside the black box, the Fire TV is a little power house – it’s got a powerful quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, and software powerful enough to run as fast as the impressive hardware can take it. Amazon will of course be relying on its own entertainment ecosystem to get content onto the device, however partnerships have also been established with a couple of the biggest names in the industry – Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Vimeo to name a few, and for you sports fans MLB.tv, and the NBA.
But that’s not all – the real reason behind that impressive hardware? Amazon is pushing this thing as a full blown gaming console, and will offer a gamepad for those interested in making this a full video game console for $39.99. It doesn’t come out of the box, which means that it’s definitely not the focal point of the device, but it’s there, and that alone is something that should make the Xbox Team, the PlayStation 4 team, and the folks at Nintendo just a little nervous.
The FireTV is available now from Amazon for just $99 – interested? Pick up yours at the link below.
"Was all this legal? Absolutely not!"
Chances are, the biggest deterrent against movie piracy in the mainstream was the general skill required to actually find a working torrent of quality, find a working piece of BitTorrent software, and actually completing the download. If that sounds familiar to you would-be-movie-pirates at heart, take notes: a new application, Popcorn Time, has just surfaced for all three of the major desktop platforms – Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux – that makes streaming pirated movies over BitTorrent as easy as clicking a single play button.
Torrent sources are found and curated by the developers behind Popcorn Time, assuring that movies streamed are not only of extremely high video and audio quality, but also stream fast and without any sort of ridiculous load times typically associated with movie piracy. As you may expect, Popcorn Time is currently streaming some extremely well known and award winning movies, some of which have yet to even be released on Blu-Ray, DVD, or other official sources – including Gravity, The Hunger Games, American Hustle, and much more.
Interested? The developers would like to kindly remind you that movie piracy is “probably” (ie.,almost certainly) illegal wherever it is in your country, so as per usual use this at your own risk and discretion. Download links are at the source below.
Source: Popcorn Time
3, 2, 1... go
While most of you are more than likely just finishing up your binge watching of House of Cards Season 2, Netflix has just confirmed that their other breakout original series, Orange Is the New Black, will be coming back for a noter round of episodes on June 6th. While Orange Is the New Black isn’t exactly quite as iconic to Netflix as House of Cards, nor is it measuring up to be quite the critical success, but the show has managed to garner quite the large following.
The announcement was first made at the end of the season finale of House of Cards Season 2, and the media company has since published 15-second teaser trailer for the upcoming season, which you can checkout after the break.
Not yet fallen
Deadline has officially confirmed today that Netflix has renewed their top rated episodic drama, “House of Cards”, starring Kevin Spacey as a scheming Washington insider, for a third season in 2015. While Season 2 has yet to even officially launch on the instant streaming site, Netflix is making it no secret that the political drama – which has been nominated for awards a’plenty – will be coming back for more even after you’ve clicked the play button on that last episode this month.
House of Cards Season 2 launches worldwide on Netflix on Valentines Day, February 14th. So if you had no plans, maybe it’s never too early to start preparing for Season 3 by marathoning the heck out of Season 2… in 4K, no less?
Watching movies on the go, so business savvy
Feeling a bit bummed by your BlackBerry Z10 purchase? Missing out on some of the better parts of other mobile platforms’ app ecosystems, like, oh, I don’t know, the ability to watch UltraViolet movies as supplied by most Blu-Ray packages lately? Well then you’re in luck! Flixster has just updated their BlackBerry 10 application with the ability to stream UltraViolet movies on the go, whether you’re on 3G, LTE, or Wi-Fi.
Of course, this is the sorts of functionality that should have been in BlackBerry 10 applications to begin with if BlackBerry has any hope of becoming the third place mobile platform again, however you know what that old adage says – better late than never, right? …right?
Boxee TV, Boxee Box, boxes of Boxees
New reports are emerging from the ether that Samsung has purchased popular online TV service Boxee, creator of such products as the Boxee TV media center suite on the PC/Mac, Boxee Box, and most recently Boxee Cloud DVR. Samsung has reportedly paid $30 million for the company as it hopes to make a bigger splash in the home entertainment market, currently largely dominated by Apple with their AppleTV set top box.
Samsung is of course the manufacturer of many different models of fairly high end TVs, including so called “Smart TVs” that feature online connected multimedia software right into the television’s firmware. Boxee’s excellent software seems like it would be a natural fit in one of these televisions, but then the question remains – is Boxee really that big of a name draw, and would you purchase a television with Boxee baked in?
Neither Samsung nor Boxee have yet confirmed the deal. We’ve reached out to both companies for some sort of statement, and will update this post if we hear anything back one way or the other.
Update 07/03 @ 1:47 PM EST: Samsung has just confirmed to The Wall Street Journal that they have indeed purchased Boxee. The full statement reads as follows:
Samsung has acquired key talent and assets from Boxee. This will help us continue to improve the overall user experience across our connected devices.
There be dragons
Do you like Lord of the Rings? Of course you do. Enjoyed The Hobbit? Undoubtably! Then you’ll love this – Warner Bros. has just released the very first trailer for the next major motion picture in the franchise, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.
Following last year’s release of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, this second Hobbit film follows Bilbo Baggins, Gandalf, and their dwarf companions make their way to the Lonely Mountain in order for the dwarf to reclaim their stolen home and treasure. On the way, the characters get mixed up in a series of unfortunate events, some of which include the elves, including – you got it – our old friend, Legolas.
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be released in theaters across the world on December 13th, 2013. And I am so ready.
Everything you need to know
The XBox One – Microsoft’s answer to not only the Sony PlayStation 4 and the Nintendo Wii U (not to mention an array of other contenders), but also a revolutionary change in the entertainment industry as a whole. Combining the highest power gaming console ever made with a revolutionary new social television aspect, ultra fast direct Wi-Fi, HDMI input-output, and much, much more, the XBox One isn’t just a successor to the XBox 360 – it’s a successor to everything on our entertainment cabinets today.
In an ongoing effort to collect everything we know to date about the XBox One, we’ll constantly be updating this post with the latest specs and functionality as we learn them. But first, let’s get this party started with a comprehensive list of confirmed specifications – or in simple terms, what’s actually inside this beautiful, glossy black box?
Read more to get the scoop.