Video games don't seem to be going anywhere, but the same can't be said for institutions that've wanted to enshrine them. The latest effort comes by way of the folks at The Strong, also known as The National Museum of Play. The New York-based outfit will consider basically any type of game for its freshman class of World Video Game Hall of Fame honorees, be it arcade, console, computer, handheld or mobile. All you need to do is submit your pick on The Strong's website and make a case for why it's your choice. How does the advisory committee choose from there? Well, that's not exactly a scientific process.
Source: The Associated Press
ABC was the first big network first out of the gate with a 24/7 live streaming app, but CBS and now NBC are close behind with their own versions. NBC rolled out "TV Everywhere" streaming on its website in December, and tonight it's pushed upgrades on Android and iOS that bring the network channel directly to mobile screens -- but only if you have a participating cable or satellite provider's login. Even that's not enough, unfortunately, since it's only available in areas where NBC owns the local station. Where I live the affiliate (WDIV) is owned by someone else, so the feature is not available until the two parties work out some kind of arrangement.
You may have heard that the representation of a black hole in Interstellar was not only based on real science, but might tackle researchers' problems depicting these gravitational points. Well, that just happened -- physicist Kip Thorne and visual effects outfit Double Negative have published papers detailing the code used to portray the movie's black hole, Gargantua. Rather than trace individual light rays, they followed the paths and shapes of the millions of distorted beams traveling around the hole. The technique eliminates flickering effects that not only wreck your moviegoing experience, but prevent astrophysicists from getting a clear picture of what such a scene would look like in real life.
Cable companies like Comcast have long touted "TV Everywhere" that's available whenever and wherever customers are, but a number of restrictions sometimes made that moniker hard to take. In 2015, its claim being pushed harder by more than just Netflix and Amazon, as competing internet-only TV services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue will even have some of the same channels. Comcast's Xfinity TV Go app has been trying to change that perception and now the company is announcing it's more than doubled the amount of channels available since it launched a little over a year ago. Recent additions including AMC, Showtime, BBC America, and The Weather Channel have just pushed the channel count up over 70 from the original count of 35 -- and that's expected to keep growing.
The next big release of VLC's do-it-all media player will soon support Chromecast, according to a recent changelog. The media player is widely used across platforms, and version 3.0 has fans drooling with promised features like improved support for YouTube's next-gen VP9 format. The Chromecast angle means users will be able to stream nearly any media type through the tiny dongle from Android (beta), Mac, Windows 8.1 and Linux devices. As for iOS, maker VideoLAN mysteriously pulled the app shortly after iOS 8 arrived, but insists it'll be back soon. The company hasn't said exactly when iOS support or the new version will arrive, but if everything goes to plan, playing FLAC, XVid and other offbeat formats will soon be easier.
Source: Videolan (GitHub)
HD+, the fee-based German DTH satellite platform carrying the HD versions of commercial free-to-air TV channels on Astra (19.2 degrees East), has accelerated its customer growth. Read the story »
CNN has applied for a broadcasting licence in Russia just a month after quitting the country. Read the story »
Intelsat has entered into a strategic agreement with Azercosmos, the national satellite operator of Azerbaijan, at the 45 degrees East orbital position. Read the story »
Microsoft has been touting its Upload Studio since before the Xbox One launched, but until now, the video editing suite only offered a few options for gamers. Now its first major update is bringing a ton of new features -- it can splice together recordings to run for up to 30 minutes, drop in text overlays and toss in tons of new effects and transitions including many styled for games like Forza Horizon, Halo and Call of Duty. The biggest change, however, may be the ability for players use the Kinect camera to drop themselves into the video, using green screen effects without the need for an actual green screen backdrop. According to Major Nelson, the system can see your body and pick it out of the background, but we've seen enough camera glitches and voice commands missed to be skeptical until more people have tried it out. There's a demo video laying out the new Upload Studio experience embedded after the break (plus a clip I tossed together with the new tools), and if you have an Xbox One the update should be live right now for you to try out.
Source: Xbox (YouTube)
The BBC has a report out called The Future of News. The authors are some of my most talented colleagues, and their work is as comprehensive and well-thought through as it is blunt in its assessment of how far and fast our industry needs to change. Read the story »
Genius Digital has hired Giles Cottle as director of consumer insight products. Read the story »
French adult movie producer Marc Dorcel is launching a new channel, Stars XXX, in cooperation with the Groupe AB. Read the story »
Orange saw its IPTV and DTH subscriber total grow by close to 10% in 2014. Read the story »
Euronews is expanding its reach in Sub-Saharan Africa with new distribution agreements with DStv Africa and Ouest TV, as well as launching on a DTT network in Mozambique. Read the story »
The second DTT multiplex in Russia now reaches over 50% of the country’s population. Read the story »
Netflix's more serious movie-length productions have typically been documentaries, but the streaming video service is apparently ready to branch out. It just acquired Jadotville, a historical "war thriller" recreating a UN battalion's fight against overwhelming Congolese forces. While you may not be familiar with the events, you should be familiar with the star, Jamie Dornan (fresh from from Fifty Shades of Grey), who plays Commander Pat Quinlan. Director Richie Smyth, on the other hand is hardly a household name, but he's built a reputation producing music videos for everyone from The Verve to U2. The movie won't be available until 2016, so you'll just have to wait to see how well Netflix can recreate the intensity of a battlefield.
[Image credit: John Gorman, South Dublin County Council]
Source: Netflix (PR Newswire)
This week the other big awards show comes home, as we find out the winners of the 2015 Academy Awards but there's much more to see. Birdman is up for several trophies and it arrives on Blu-ray this week, but we're equally looking forward to season four of Game of Thrones, the Roger Ebert documentary Life Itself. Of course, Sneakers finally getting a Blu-ray disc release in the US (nearly eight years after it shipped on HD-DVD, and it's only available at Best Buy for now), is a big one, and The Interview is wrapping up its release tour at long last. For gamers there's Dead or Alive 5: Last Round, plus PS4 exclusives The Order: 1886 and Resogun: Defenders. this week we have the series finales of Two and a Half Men and The Mentalist, series premiere of The Odd Couple, season premiere of Vikings, and a season finale for Downton Abbey. Look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
Dish's Sling TV is great for cord-cutters, but sometimes TNT and TBS won't cut it. The service is about to fill the gaps by tying up with Epix, a premium content channel co-owned by Viacom, Paramount and other studios. It'll carry all four of Epix's channels for scheduled viewing along with its streaming service, letting cable-haters watch recent cinema, classics and Epix original programming. Dish hasn't revealed the Epix price yet, but the basic Sling TV service runs $20 and sports, news and kids add-in packs are $5 a pop. Epix is also a $5 add-on from providers like Time Warner Cable.
Update: This post originally reported that Sling TV didn't yet have on-demand content. The streaming service already offers movie rentals and the ability to start currently airing programs once they've started. The Epix partnership expands the existing catalog, and the text has been edited to correct the error.
Source: Sling TV