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Warner Bros Claims Agency Ran Its Own Pirate Movie Site ( 22

Warner Bros Entertainment has sued talent agency Innovative Artists, claiming that the agency ran its own pirate site when it ripped DVD screeners and streamed them to associates via Google servers. TorrentFreak adds: In a lawsuit filed in a California federal court, Warner accuses the agency of effectively setting up its own pirate site, stocked with rips of DVD screeners that should have been kept secure. "Beginning in late 2015, Innovative Artists set up and operated an illegal digital distribution platform that copied movies and then distributed copies and streamed public performances of those movies to numerous people inside and outside of the agency," the complaint reads. "Innovative Artists stocked its platform with copies of Plaintiff's works, including copies that Innovative Artists made by ripping awards consideration 'screener' DVDs that Plaintiff sent to the agency to deliver to one of its clients." Given its position in the industry, Innovative Artists should have known better than to upload content, Warner's lawyers write.
PlayStation (Games)

Mark Cerny, Chief PlayStation Architect, Explains the PS4 Pro ( 71

Sony's PlayStation 4 Pro, which launches next month on November 10th, is the company's most powerful console that will be capable of outputting 4K and HDR content, including movies, TV shows and games. In an effort to find out how developers will make use of the console and whether or not the PS4 Pro will in any way undermine the audience of the current PS4, The Verge sat down with Mark Cerny, Sony's chief PlayStation architect, and asked him some questions. The Verge reports: The PS4 Pro is 2.28 times more powerful than its predecessor, but not everything will run in native 4K
Instead of using an entirely new GPU, Cerny said the PS4 Pro is using a "double-sauced one." In effect, the new console has a second, identical GPU configured next to the original, more than doubling the processing power of the Pro. While the standard PS4 produces 1.8 teraflops, the PS4 Pro achieves 4.2 teraflops. This is how the device can achieve native 4K and, in some cases, what Cerny said are results "extremely close to 4K." For select software, including games like adventure title Horizon Zero Dawn and Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare, the PS4 Pro will use a crafty technique called checkerboard rendering to achieve 2160p resolution. Checkboard rendering changes the formation of pixels to achieve higher-fidelity graphics.

Standard PS4 games will play just the same unless devs patch them
For the more than 700 or so existing PS4 games, Cerny said the goal was to ensure those titles played smoothly no matter what. That's why the Pro incorporates an identical GPU. Because the new console has "the old GPU next to a mirror version of itself," Sony can support existing games with a simple trick: "We just turn off the second GPU," he said. Developers can patch these titles to boost graphics and performance in very subtle ways. But unless you have a 4K television, the difference will not be substantial.

Sony says it doesn't want games released solely for the PS4 Pro
When asked whether Sony would ever let a game run exclusively on the PS4 Pro, Cerny was blunt. "We're putting a very high premium on not splitting the user base in that fashion," he said. That doesn't rule out the possibility that, two or even three years down the line, a game comes out that relies so heavily on the hardware improvements of the Pro that it becomes unplayable on the standard PS4. Cerny wouldn't really speak much to that scenario, saying that Sony is asking developers to take advantage of the new console without leaving older hardware behind.
You can also watch Mark Cerny chat with PlayStation Blog's Sid Shuman about the creation of the PS4 Pro here on YouTube.

Television Needs To Be Reinvented, Says Apple SVP ( 199

Eddy Cue, Senior Vice President of Internet Software and Service at Apple, isn't happy with the current state of how people watch TV. He said we currently live with a "glorified VCR," the interface of our current TV is the problem and we need to reinvent it. Cue pointed out a number of other issues he has with today's TV:"It's really hard to use [a cable box or satellite TV]. Setting something to record, if you didn't watch something last night, if you didn't set it to record, it's hard to find, it may not be available. There may be some rights issues," Cue said. "It's great to be able to tell your device, 'I wanna watch the Duke basketball game, I don't care what channel it's on.' I just want to watch the Duke basketball game. Today you got to bring in the TV, go through the guide, find which sports programs or whatever -- it's just hard to do."

All the Good Netflix Movies Are in Canada and Brazil ( 93

Netflix's movie library has declined over the last two years when cross referenced with IMDB's 250 movies list. Earlier this month, we learned that if you were in the United States, Netflix only had 31 of the 250 movies listed on the holy-grail of all movie databases. Gizmodo today reports that if you were in Brazil or Canada, that same library looks a lot better. From the report: According to analysis by both The Streaming Observer and AddonHQ, Canada and Brazil have the best content ecosystems, when it comes to movies on Netflix. But when it comes to good movies, Brazil is tops. The Streaming Observer found that Brazil had 85 movies from IMDb's Top 250 in its library. The site also put together a ridiculously huge chart if you want to see exactly which movies are available on each service. It's worth checking out. Brazil has movies that those of us in America could only dream of streaming, like The Godfather Part II, Fight Club, and The Empire Strikes Back. Mexico and Sweden have solid showings too, with 73 and 70 movies from the IMDb's Top 250 in their respective libraries.
Data Storage

32GB iPhone 7 Has 8 Times Slower Storage Performance Than 128GB Model ( 159

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Next Web: Apple isn't telling you everything about its phones. Few weeks back, GSMArena reported that the 32GB iPhone 7 and 7 Plus had significantly slower storage performance than the 128GB and 256GB models of the device. In a new video, Unbox Therapy's Lew Hilsenteger conducted a series of speed tests that confirm the discrepancy in storage speeds between the different configurations of Apple's phone -- and it turns out the 32GB iPhone is about eight times slower than the larger capacity storage version of the device. For his first test, Hilsenteger used the free PerformanceTest Mobile app to compare the read and write speeds of the iPhone. While there was little difference between the read speeds of the 32GB and 128GB models, there's a huge disparity when it comes to write speed. The 32GB iPhone writes at 42MB per second, which is nearly eight times slower than the 128GB version's 341MB per second. Hilsenteger then performed a real-world speed test, which included transferring movies from a MacBook to the iPhone using a USB cable. While the 256GB model took two minutes and 34 seconds to complete the 4.2GB file transfer, the 32GB iPhone 7 needed a total of three minutes and 40 seconds for the same transmission.

LeEco Who? Chinese Tech Giant Tries Its Luck In the US With 'More Products Than You've Ever Seen' ( 59

LeEco is often called the Netflix of China. Which is funny for two reasons: LeEco is bigger than Netflix, and it has been around for longer than the American on-demand movies and TV shows streaming service. Besides, LeEco runs a fleet of other businesses, including ecommerce portal, smartphones, TVs, and even an autonomous cars. A company executive said this month that this would be a better description of LeEco, "If you were to take Apple, Amazon, Paramount Pictures, Tesla, Uber and Netflix and combine all of those companies, you get what LeEco does in China" But you may not have heard much about LeEco, the company which was until earlier this year known as LeTv. But you will now, because the company today announced a range of products for the U.S. market. TechCrunch adds: Perhaps predictably, one of the first US-based offerings from the company often referred to as "the Netflix of China" will be a content platform. And, as with just about everything else at today's event, LeEco's coming out swinging. The list of partners for LeEco Live includes MGM, Lionsgate, Vice, Showtime, Sling and Magnolia Pictures, along with publication partners like Cosmopolitan and Esquire, to name but a few. From another CNET report, which lists the other things that LeEco announced today: UMax 85 TV is LeEco's flagship 4K smart television. It's 85 inches, comes with 4GB in RAM and 64GB in storage and supports HDR10 and Dolby Vision. It will cost $4,999. Super4 X65 TV is LeEco's second biggest 4K smart television at 65 inches and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. Super4 X55 TV is a 55-inch 4K smart television and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. Super4 X43 Pro TV is 43-inch 4K smart television and comes with most of the same features as the UMax 85. LeEco has an upcoming prototype VR headset; it will have a gyroscope, bluetooth headphones and USB Type-C. LeSee Pro is LeEco's self-driving concept car. It will be fully autonomous and will have a connected interior to let people stream movies, music and work documents. LeSee is LeEco's semi-autonomous vehicle (level 3). It is internet-connected and has streaming content in rear seats. LeEco first unveiled this car in April.

Netflix's Big Bet on Original Shows Finally Seen Paying Off ( 90

Netflix shares jumped as much as 20 percent on Tuesday, after the company added 50 percent more subscribers than expected in the third quarter. Reuters adds: At least 10 brokerages, including Goldman Sachs and RBC Capital Markets, raised their price targets on the stock, praising the company's focus on developing original content. The video streaming company also said it was getting ready to spend $6 billion on content next year, up $1 billion from 2016. "The benefits of Netflix-produced original content including attractive economics and greater control are clear and we believe returns on original spend are high," J.P. Morgan Securities analyst Doug Anmuth said in a research note. Strong subscriber additions after two quarters of disappointing growth helped Netflix post a 31.7 percent jump in third-quarter revenue. Anmuth said he believed Netflix was on track toward 60 million plus subscribers in the United States and about 100 million internationally by 2020.A study by IHS Markit this month noted that both Netflix and Amazon are challenging major networks by upping spending on original shows. The study noted that Amazon and Netflix both had doubled spending on new shows in the last two years. Amazon dropped $1.22 billion in 2013 and spent $2.67 billion in 2015. Netflix's spending on original content rose from $2.38 billion to $4.91 billion over the same period.

More Performers Are Demanding Audiences Lock Up Their Phones ( 552

More performers -- and other venues -- are discovering a new anti-piracy technology called Yondr -- including comedian Dave Chappelle. Slashdot reader quotes the New York Times: Fans are required to place their cellphones into Yondr's form-fitting lockable pouch when entering the show, and a disk mechanism unlocks it on the way out. Fans keep the pouch with them, but it is impossible to snap pictures, shoot videos or send text messages during the performance while the pouch is locked.

'I know my show is protected, and it empowers me to be more honest and open with the audience,' says Dave Chappelle...But some fans object to not being able to disseminate and see live shows via videotape...

"In this day and age, my phone is how I keep my memory," one live-music fan told the Washington Post, adding "If you don't want your music heard, then don't perform it." But the device is becoming more common, and according to the Times it's now also being used at weddings, restaurants, schools, and when movies are being prescreened.

Shadow Warrior 2 Developers Say DRM Is a Waste of Time ( 99

zarmanto writes: Ars Technica reports that one particular game studio might finally get it, when it comes to DRM'ed game content. They're publishing their latest game, Shadow Warrior 2, with no DRM protection at all. From the article: "We don't support piracy, but currently there isn't a good way to stop it without hurting our customers," Flying Wild Hog developer Krzysztof "KriS" Narkowicz wrote on the game's Steam forum (in response to a question about trying to force potential pirates to purchase the game instead). "Denuvo means we would have to spend money for making a worse version for our legit customers. It's like the FBI warning screen on legit movies." Expanding on those thoughts in a recent intervew with Kotaku, Narkowicz explained why he felt the DRM value proposition wasn't worth it. "Any DRM we would have needs to be implemented and tested," he told Kotaku. "We prefer to spend resources on making our game the best possible in terms of quality, rather than spending time and money on putting some protection that will not work anyway." "The trade-off is clear," Flying Wild Hog colleagues Artur Maksara and Tadeusz Zielinksi added. "We might sell a little less, but hey, that's the way the cookie crumbles! We hope that our fans, who were always very supportive, will support us this time as well," Zielinski told Kotaku. "...In our imperfect world, the best anti-pirate protection is when the games are good, highly polished, easily accessible and inexpensive," Maksara added.
Star Wars Prequels

Star Wars Production Company Fined Almost $2 Million For Harrison Ford's Injury ( 81

New submitter Shimbo writes: Foodles Production (UK) Ltd was fined 1.6 million British pounds (almost $2 million) at Aylesbury Crown Court today after pleading guilty to two charges under the Health and Safety at Work Act at an earlier hearing. Judge Francis Sheridan said, "The greatest failing of all on behalf of the company is a lack of communication, a lack because, if you have a risk assessment and you do not communicate it, what is the point of having one?" The fine is a result of an unfortunate incident while filming Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Harrison Ford was reportedly knocked to the ground and crushed beneath a heavy hydraulic door when he walked on to the set of the Millennium Falcon -- not believing it to be live. The 71-year-old actor suffered a broken left leg. Prosecutor Andrew Marshall said, according to Britain's Press Association, the door acted like a "blunt guillotine," coming down "millimeters from his face." The Health and Safety Executive (HSE) told the court that Ford was hit with a force similar to the weight of a small car.

Netflix Now Only Has 31 Movies From IMDB's Top 250 List ( 181

According to Streaming Observer News, the quality and quantity of Netflix's movie library has declined over the last two years when cross-referenced with IMDB's Top 250 movies list. From the report: Well, it's a pretty common fact at this point that Netflix's library is shrinking. Of course, what Netflix needs to do as it shrinks its licensed movie library is make sure that movies it does have are good ones. But according to our analysis, it's going backwards, unfortunately. A while back we noticed a post from this Reddit member who, two years ago, cross-referenced the IMDB (Internet Movie Database) top 250 movies list with Netflix's movie library to find out how many of the top movies Netflix carried. When u/clayton_frisbie posted his list on Reddit, Netflix had 49 of the Top 250 movies on the IMDB list. That's just under 20 percent, which isn't terrible. But we wondered how that number has held up over the last two years in the face of a quickly shrinking library. So we reran the analysis. How many of the top 250 movies does Netflix now have? As of September 2016, that number has dropped to 31, or about 12 percent. [You can view the list via Streaming Observer News.]

Viewers Only Watch 10% of Pay-TV Channels: Nielsen ( 198

Chances are if you have cable, satellite or telco-delivered TV service, you aren't watching all the channels in your package. Heck, you probably aren't even watching half of the channels you pay for. Global information and measurement company Nielsen has conducted some research and found that viewers are actually watching, on average, only about 20 of the 200 channels they pay for. What this means is that a majority of us watch less than 10% of the channels we pay our cable, satellite or other provider for. USA Today reports: Back in May 2014, viewers watched 10.6% of the 197 channels they said they paid for, Nielsen's TV Audience Report found. A year later, viewers watched 9.6% of the 208 channels they got. This year, viewers also watched 9.6% of the 206 channels on their pay-TV service. That doesn't mean customers are unhappy with their service. "There is a jump between 'I'm not watching all the channels I pay for' to 'I'm not going to pay for more channels than I watch,'" says Glenn Enoch, senior vice president of audience insights for Nielsen. "What we do know is that people who have skinny bundles are lower-income than the average, so this is more about household income than viewing behavior." Pay-TV companies need to experiment, for sure, because other consumer behaviors in the Nielsen report suggest traditional TV viewing by those under 35 continues to fall, says Colin Dixon, analyst and founder of nScreenMedia.

Court Rejects Massive Torrent Damages Claim, Admin Avoids Jail ( 60

A former torrent site operator has largely avoided the goals of an aggressive movie industry prosecution in Sweden. Against a backdrop of demands for years in prison and millions in damages, the 25-year-old owner of private tracker SwePiracy was handed 100 hours community service and told to pay $194,000, TorrentFreak reported Tuesday. The torrent website in question is SwePiracy, and it has existed since 2006. Naturally, it became the target of many anti-piracy outfits. In 2012, the website was shut down in a coordinated effort with anti-piracy group Antipiratbyran. The report adds: Earlier this year its now 25-year-old operator appeared in court to answer charges relating to the unlawful distribution of a sample 27 movies between March 2011 and February 2012. The prosecution demanded several years in prison and nearly $3 million (25k kronor) in damages. During the trial last month, SwePiracy defense lawyer Per E. Samuelsson, who also represents Julian Assange and previously took part in The Pirate Bay trial, said the claims against his client were the most unreasonable he'd seen in his 35 years as a lawyer. After deliberating for three weeks, the Norrkoping District Court handed down its decision today. SwePiracy's former operator was found guilty of copyright infringement but it appears the prosecution's demands for extremely harsh punishment were largely dismissed. The torrent site operator avoided a lengthy jail sentence and was sentenced to probation and 100 hours community service instead.

Google Hires Joke Writers From Pixar and The Onion To Make Assistant More Personable ( 38

One of the biggest announcements made at Google I/O earlier this year and at Google's hardware launch event this past week was Google Home, an always-listening wireless speaker that features the Google Assistant. The Google Assistant is similar to Amazon Echo's voice assistant named Alexa, as it can deliver search results, sports scores, calendar information, and a whole lot more. But in an effort to make the Assistant more personable to better compete with Siri, Alexa, and Cortana, Google has decided to hire joke writers from Pixar and The Onion. An anonymous reader quotes CNET: According to a Wall Street Journal report, comedy and joke writers from Pixar movies and the Onion are already working on making Google's upcoming Assistant AI voice service feel more loose and vibrant. The development of compelling voice AI will need to start drawing from deeper, more entertaining wells, especially as these home hubs try to have conversations all day long. Current voice AI like Apple's Siri and Amazon's Alexa on the Echo try to engage with personality, and they even tell jokes (usually, bad ones). But, as these services aim to be entirely voice-based, like the upcoming Google Home hub, they'll need to feel more alive and less canned. Google Home debuts this November, and the upcoming Google Pixel phone, arriving in stores and online on October 20, is the first Google product featuring the new Assistant voice service.

Netflix CEO: Movie Theaters Are 'Strangling the Movie Business'' ( 342

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings thinks the state of film is a "real tragedy" and that movie theaters are "strangling the movie business," he said at The New Yorker's Tech Fest on Friday. From a Business Insider report:On Friday, Hastings came down hard on these theater owners, saying there had been no innovation in the movie theater business in recent years, even as TV has been shaped by the rise of cable and internet networks. "Money" and "innovation" has flooded to the TV industry, Hastings said. Not so with film. The movie theater business has seen flatline revenue, Hastings said. Part of the problem is that small movies, such as many Netflix has snagged from places like Sundance, would be better distributed both at home and in theaters. That's a convenient position for Netflix to take, but Hastings said the movie studios feel the same way. Each movie studio would like to "break the oligopoly" of the theaters, but "they don't know how," he continued. If they collude to face the theaters, it's anti-trust, but if they are the ones to take the first step, their films will get killed. That means they just go along with the status quo.

Upcoming Blade Runner Sequel Gets a Title: Blade Runner 2049 ( 136

The sequel to Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic "Blade Runner" is officially titled "Blade Runner 2049." Harris Ford is confirmed to be returning as Rick Deckard. Other stars include Ryan Gosling, Jared Leto, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista and Lennie James. The Verge reports: There's a hashtag included in the press release, of course (#BladeRunner2049), but other than that there's little else revealed about the story itself. There is a new picture out, however, with Scott, Villeneuve, Gosling, and Harrison Ford chatting over some Blade Runner weaponry. Whether you like or hate the new title will most likely depend on how excited you are about knowing the exact year that the new film takes place. The original was set in 2019, so it's good that they're tacking on an extra 30 years because the Los Angeles of today really doesn't look anything like the dystopian vision Scott wowed audiences with way back when. But hey -- there's still time. Blade Runner 2049 is scheduled to arrive in theaters on October 6th, 2017.

Netflix Partners With iPic To Release Its Original Movies In Theaters, NATO Urges To 'Tread Lightly' ( 134

turkeydance quotes a report from Variety: The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) is sounding the alarm over a recent deal between Netflix and iPic, in which the luxury-theater chain will screen 10 movies simultaneously with their release on the streaming service. The lobbying organization represents the country's theater chains and has been a staunch defender of traditional release windows that keep films exclusively on screens for roughly 90 days before they debut on home entertainment platforms. In a statement, NATO chief John Fithian warned that while iPic was free to make its own decisions, "We all should tread lightly and be mindful that over the years, the film industry's success is a direct result of a highly successful collaboration between film makers, distributors and exhibitors." The deal with iPic should help Netflix' movies quality for awards. Variety reports: "iPic will release the war thriller 'The Siege of Jadotville,' starring Jamie Dornan ('Fifty Shades of Grey'), on Oct. 7. That will be followed by Christopher Guest's mockumentary 'Mascots' on Oct. 13. This summer, iPic first tested showings of Netflix's 'The Little Prince.'" "Simultaneous release, in practice, has reduced both theatrical and home revenues when it has been tried," Fithian said in a statement. "Just as Netflix and its customers put a value on exclusivity, theater owners and their customers do too."

Google Refreshes Its Streaming Dongle: Unveils $69 Chromecast Ultra With 4K and HDR Capabilities ( 51

On the sidelines of Pixel smartphones announcement and $79 Daydream View VR headset, Google also announced a refresh for its streaming dongle. Called the Chromecast Ultra, the dongle offers 4K and HDR capabilities. The Chromecast Ultra, the company says, is the fastest Chromecast it has event made (it can load videos about 1.8 times faster than the standard Chromecast (all thanks to improved Wi-Fi connectivity). The Chromecast Ultra also includes an Ethernet port on the power adapter. Engadget adds: It's still a svelte puck like the earlier models, but it has a bit of a stealth bomber aesthetic. And at $69, it's far more expensive than the current $35 Chromecast. Still, it comes in $10 less than Roku's cheapest 4K player, and will be useful for anyone who wants to quickly stream high-res video to their new 4K TV.

Netflix Goes Down, People Freak Out and Discover Real Life 88

Facing issues with Netflix? You're not alone. Beginning at 3pm ET, users worldwide started to report connectivity issues with the on-demand movie and TV shows streaming service. Downdetector, a website which monitors outage also confirmed the outage with more than 7,000 user complaints. Netflix confirmed the outage in a tweet a few minutes ago, saying it was "aware of streaming issues and we are working quickly to solve them. We will update you when they are solved." Though the company hasn't offered an explanation for this outage, its servers could be seeing an unusual spike in traffic from people trying to binge watch Luke Cage, which was made available this weekend.

Anyone here uses Netflix and facing the issue too?

Elon Musk Proposes Spaceship That Can Send 100 People To Mars In 80 Days ( 497

An anonymous reader quotes a report from The Verge: Today, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk unveiled the Mars vehicle -- the spaceship his company plans to build to transport the first colonists to Mars. It will have a diameter of 17 meters. The plan is to send about 100 people per trip, though Musk wants to ultimately take 200 or more per flight to make the cost cheaper per person. The trip can take as little as 80 days or as many as 150 depending on the year. The hope is that the transport time will be only 30 days "in the more distant future." The rocket booster will have a diameter of 12 meters and the stack height will be 122 meters. The spaceship should hold a cargo of up to 450 tons depending on how many refills can be done with the tanker. As rumored, the Mars vehicle will be reusable and the spaceship will refuel in orbit. The trip will work like this: First, the spaceship will launch out of Pad 39A, which is under development right now at the Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral, Florida. At liftoff, the booster will have 127,800 kilonewtons of thrust, or 28,730,000 pounds of thrust. Then, the spaceship and booster separate. The spaceship heads to orbit, while the booster heads back to Earth, coming back within about 20 minutes. Back on Earth, the booster lands on a launch mount and a propellant tanker is loaded onto the booster. The entire unit -- now filled with fuel -- lifts off again. It joins with the spaceship, which is then refueled in orbit. The propellant tankers will go up anywhere from three to five times to fill the tanks of the spaceship. The spaceship finally departs for Mars. To make the trip more attractive for its crew members, Musk promises that it'll be "really fun" with zero-G games, movies, cabins, games, a restaurant. Once it reaches Mars, the vehicle will land on the surface, using its rocket engines to lower itself gently down to the ground. The spaceship's passengers will use the vehicle, as well as cargo and hardware that's already been shipped over to Mars, to set up a long-term colony. At the rate of 20 to 50 total Mars trips, it will take anywhere from 40 to 100 years to achieve a fully self-sustaining civilization with one million people on Mars, says Musk.

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