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Movies

BitTorrent Announces Exclusive TV Shows 25

Posted by samzenpus
from the torrent-theater dept.
An anonymous reader writes BitTorrent today announced an exclusive partnership with Rapid Eye Studios to launch BitTorrent Originals. In short, the two will identify, produce, and distribute original video content for the BitTorrent Bundle platform, the company's direct-to-fan publishing platform. BitTorrent Originals will be timed exclusives, meaning they will debut on the BitTorrent Bundle platform and only be available there for 30 to 60 days. After the BitTorrent exclusive window closes, each project will be available through other distribution channels.
Television

Samsung Smart TVs Injected Ads Into Streamed Video 370

Posted by Soulskill
from the reasons-to-vote-your-TV-off-the-island dept.
mpicpp sends this news from CNET: Reports are emerging that Samsung smart TVs have begun inserting short advertisements directly into video streaming apps, with no influence from the third-party app providers. The news comes just days after Samsung made headlines for another incursion into users' lounge rooms, when it was revealed that its TV voice recognition software is capable of capturing personal information and transmitting it to third parties. ... The issue has been reported on the Plex streaming service — a brand of media player that allows users to stream their own video from a personal library or hard drive and push it to a smart TV. Samsung says this was not intentional, and that they've fixed it so the ads should no longer show up.
It's funny.  Laugh.

Jon Stewart Leaving 'The Daily Show' 277

Posted by Soulskill
from the thanks-for-all-the-laughs dept.
slimjim8094 writes: According to the NY Times, Jon Stewart is leaving "The Daily Show." This was announced during the taping of this evening's show. He will "remain at the helm of 'The Daily Show' until later this year," but no word on exactly when the change will take place, or what the replacement (host or show) will be. Presumably the current and past correspondents would be the first choice for a new host. His program will be sorely missed by at least this viewer. Maybe Comedy Central can get John Oliver out of his HBO show...
Movies

Spider-Man Finally Joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe 98

Posted by Soulskill
from the will-live-and-die-and-live-and-die-and-live-again dept.
New submitter Chas writes: After years of Marvel fans screaming for a more unified approach to the Marvel Cinematic Universe between the property-holders (Sony, Marvel, Fox), Marvel has announced that they've reached a deal with Sony to bring Spider-Man into the MCU.

From the announcement: "Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films. Marvel and Sony Pictures are also exploring opportunities to integrate characters from the MCU into future Spider-Man films."
Television

Something Resembling 'The Wheel of Time' Aired Last Night On FXX 54

Posted by Soulskill
from the like-sherlock-but-trying-to-solve-asmodean's-murder dept.
eldavojohn writes: If you didn't partake in the DDOS attack on Dragonmount as fans tried to figure out just what the %&#% was going on last night, you should probably prepare yourself for Billy Zane filled disappointment and watch a curious pilot covering the prologue of The Eye of the World by Robert Jordan that apparently aired around 01:30 AM Eastern time on FXX. The reviews of said pilot are unkind and appear to contain question marks all the way down starting with Jordan's Widow disavowing its authorization.

The world of film and TV development is a confusing one, but it appears that NBC initially bought options to turn it into a mini series which were then optioned by Universal/Red Eagle Entertainment in conjunction with Red Eagle Games to do a coordinated release. Red Eagle games announced a combined effort with Jet Set games and around 2012 began releasing information on an "Aiel War" project to target mobile gaming platforms. But that appeared to die with its failed kickstarter attempt. It is suspected that Red Eagle Entertainment is behind the odd FXX airing last night. Was this an eleventh hour "use it or lose it" move by Red Eagle Entertainment without Universal's knowledge? In any case, it was a secretive, odd, low-budget, disappointing start to The Wheel of Time in film.
Networking

$10K Ethernet Cable Claims Audio Fidelity, If You're Stupid Enough To Buy It 418

Posted by Soulskill
from the imaginary-audio-quality-is-more-valuable-than-a-car dept.
MojoKid writes: There are few markets that are quite as loaded-up with "snake oil" products as the audio/video arena. You may have immediately thought of "Monster" cables as one of the most infamous offenders. But believe it or not, there are some vendors that push the envelope so far that Monster's $100 HDMI cables sound like a bargain by comparison. Take AudioQuest's high-end Ethernet cable, for example. Called "Diamond," AudioQuest is promising the world with this $10,500 Ethernet cable. If you, for some reason, believe that an Ethernet cable is completely irrelevant for audio, guess again. In addition to promises about the purity and smoothness of the silver conductors, and their custom "Noise-Dissipation System," they say," "Another upgrade with Diamond is a complete plug redesign, opting for an ultra-performance RJ45 connector made from silver with tabs that are virtually unbreakable. The plug comes with added strain relief and firmly lock into place ensuring no critical data is lost." Unfortunately, in this case, there's the issue of digital data being, well... digital. But hey, a 1 or a 0 could arrive at its destination so much cleaner, right?
Businesses

Netflix Now Available In Cuba 125

Posted by samzenpus
from the binge-away dept.
aBaldrich writes Streaming video service Netflix will be available to Cuban customers starting today, at the $7.99 U.S. per month rate that it offers in the U.S., the company announced today. It'll still require an international payment method for now, as well as Internet access (which still isn't ubiquitous in [Cuba]), but it's an early start that Netflix says it wanted to offer in order to have it available as Cuban Internet access expands, and debit and credit cards become more available to Cuban citizens. Until now, Cubans have had little access to this kind of American entertainment. The U.S. government maintains a floating balloon tethered to an island in the Florida Keys that broadcasts the pro-democracy TV Marti network. The Cuban government constantly jams the signal. "Cuba has great filmmakers and a robust arts culture, and one day we hope to be able to bring their work to our global audience," Reed Hastings, the company's co-founder and chief executive officer, said in the statement.
Privacy

Samsung SmartTV Customers Warned Personal Conversations May Be Recorded 309

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-in-front-of-the-television dept.
An anonymous reader writes Samsung's privacy policy includes details that its Smart TV voice recognition feature may pick up on personal conversations and transmit private communications to third parties. Buried in the privacy policy related to the smart television, Samsung advises users to be aware that any snippets of conversation might be captured by the software which allows them to control their television sets with a series of commands. Questions have been raised about who these third parties could be, what the information is used for, and how the data is being transmitted – with potentially unencrypted voice clips left exposed to hackers.
Books

The Man Who Invented the Science Fiction Paperback 99

Posted by timothy
from the debt-of-gratitude dept.
HughPickens.com (3830033) writes "Clay Latimer writes at IBD that Ian Ballantine, called by many the father of the mass-market paperback, helped change American reading habits in the 1940s and '50s founding no fewer than three prestigious paperback houses — Penguin USA, Bantam Books and Ballantine Books. But Ballantine's greatest influence on mass culture was publishing science-fiction paperback originals, with writers including Arthur C. Clarke, Ray Bradbury, Philip K. Dick, Theodore Sturgeon, and Frederik Pohl and publishing the first authorized paperback editions of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. "These were great classics of world fiction," says Loren Glass. "He published in original form some of the greatest works in the golden age of science fiction. One of the interesting things about Ballantine is that he was not only a businessman trying to make money in books; he was a student of literature and publishing, and something of an intellectual."

Turning serious science fiction into a literary genre ranks among Ballantine's greatest feats. Prior to Ballantine Books, science fiction barely existed in novel form. He changed that with the 1953 publication of "Fahrenheit 451," the firm's 41st book. "That was obviously a key moment in the history of science-fiction publishing," Glass says. In 1965, when Tolkien's rights to his "Lord of the Rings" trilogy lapsed, Ace Books published his books without paying royalties and Tolkien responded by conducting a personal campaign against Ace. Tolkien began to urge the fans who wrote to him to inform them that the American copies were pirated: "I am now inserting in every note of acknowledgement to readers in the U.S.A. a brief note informing them that Ace Books is a pirate, and asking them to inform others." Ballantine quickly bought the rights and included Tolkien's back-cover note: "Those who approve of courtesy (at least) to living authors will purchase it and no other.""
Programming

Google-Advised Disney Cartoon Aims To Convince Preschool Girls Coding's Cool 254

Posted by Soulskill
from the chocolate-frosted-logic-bombs dept.
theodp writes: Cereal and fast food companies found cartoons an effective way to market to children. Google is apparently hoping to find the same, as it teams with Disney Junior on a cartoon to help solve its computer science "pipeline" problem. The LA Times reports the tech giant worked with the children's channel on the new animated preschool series Miles From Tomorrowland, in an effort to get kids — particularly girls — interested in computer science. The program, which premieres Friday, introduces the preschool crowd to Miles Callisto, a young space adventurer, and his family — big sister (and coder extraordinaire) Loretta and their scientist parents Phoebe and Leo. Google engineers served as consultants (YouTube video) on the show. "When we did our computer science research, we found the No. 2 reason why girls in particular are not pursuing it as a career is because their perception was fairly negative and they associated it as a field for boys," said Julie Ann Crommett, Google's program manager for computer science in media. Can't wait for the episode where Google and Disney conspire to suppress Loretta's wages!
Businesses

MPAA Considers Major Changes After Sony Hack 65

Posted by samzenpus
from the changing-things-up dept.
Earthquake Retrofit shares this story about changes that may be coming to the MPAA prompted by the Sony hack. "Fissures revealed by the hacking at Sony Pictures Entertainment have raised the prospect of profound change at one of Hollywood's oldest institutions: the Motion Picture Association of America. In a behind-the-scenes drama, the Sony Pictures chairman, Michael Lynton, last month told industry colleagues of a plan to withdraw from the movie trade organization, according to people who have been briefed on the discussions. He cited the organization’s slow response and lack of public support in the aftermath of the attack on Sony and its film The Interview, as well as longstanding concerns about the cost and efficacy of the group. Reversing course in mid-January, as the Oscar nominations were being announced, Mr. Lynton stayed in. But he and other studio executives are now discussing proposals that could alter the structure, mandate and governance of a 93-year-old organization that has been the policy front for Hollywood’s major film studios."
Toys

LEGO Contraption Allows Scientists To Safely Handle Insects 93

Posted by samzenpus
from the build-and-study dept.
sciencehabit writes Researchers have built contraption from LEGOs that can move and rotate insects every which way while keeping them stable and positioned under a microscope. The design improves on previous insect manipulators because it's cheap, customizable, and easy to build. As natural history museums work on digitizing their voluminous collections—taking high-resolution photographs of each precious beetle, bee, and dragonfly in their possession—they have to handle insects repeatedly. Now the job will be easier on the entomologists, and more insect specimens will be able to hang on to their wings—all thanks to LEGOs.
Star Wars Prequels

Homemade RC Millennium Falcon Is the Drone You've Always Dreamed of Flying 51

Posted by samzenpus
from the drone-that-made-the-kessel-run-in-less-than-twelve-parsecs dept.
MojoKid writes Here's a dose of Rebel goodness to tide you over while you wait for the next Star Wars trailer. A drone enthusiast in France recently graced the web with a few videos of a self-built quadcopter with a shell designed to look like the Millennium Falcon. It's enough to make a Star Wars fan tear up. The drone features a blue thruster light, just like the real Millennium Falcon, and has bright front lights as well. Its creator, who goes by "Oliver C", has some serious modding skills. The shape of the Millennium Falcon presented Oliver with some challenges, but he has the balance more or less handled by the time the spaceship (or quadcopter) takes its first flight outside.
Businesses

Apple Said To Be Working On a Pay TV Service 155

Posted by timothy
from the box-for-every-day-of-the-week dept.
walterbyrd writes Apple is in talks with TV programmers to put together its own over-the-top pay TV service, Recode says. According to the site's industry sources, Apple's proposed service would be comprised of bundles of programming, secured through deals with content providers and sold direct to consumers, rather than a full TV lineup. Apple has reportedly already shown demonstrations of the proposed service to people in charge of TV programming, but Recode says the talks 'seem to be in early stages,' with the pricing and release date still yet to be set.
Canada

Canada, Japan Cave On Copyright Term Extension In TPP 227

Posted by samzenpus
from the on-second-thought dept.
An anonymous reader writes Last month, there were several Canadian media reports on how the work of Ian Fleming, the creator of James Bond, had entered the public domain. While this was oddly described as a "copyright quirk", it was no quirk. The term of copyright in Canada (alongside TPP countries such as Japan and New Zealand) is presently life of the author plus an additional 50 years, a term that meets the international standard set by the Berne Convention. Those countries now appear to have caved to U.S. pressure as there are reports that they have agreed to extend to life plus 70 years as part of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.