Weekly News Roundup (26 July 2015)

July 26th, 2015

A nice and short one for you this week, but very likely still much longer than next two week’s WNR. The reason for the abridged versions of the WNR in the coming weeks is that I’m going on a much needed vacation, and it might be hard to find time to write up news stories, as well as the WNR.

No time to waste, lots of packing and planning still left to do, so here’s this week’s news stories …

Copyright

KickassTorrents Logo

KAT suffers Google penalty

Scammers may be profiting from Google’s decision to remove KickassTorrents pages from their search results. Google appears to have applied some kind of penalty to the site, pages from the site have either been removed or down-ranked (possibly down-ranked to position 1000+, something that Google typically does when it brings down the ban-hammer). Without official KAT pages in Google’s search results, using KAT related keywords now bring up a bunch of unofficial results, many stealing content from the real KAT and inserting their own (often adult) ads, or even malware sites offering fake KAT branded downloads.

This complete site removal doesn’t seem to be piracy related, since Google’s anti-piracy penalty doesn’t seem to down-rank sites so much. Plus whatever is happening seems to be unique to KickassTorrents, with no other piracy sites appearing to be affected.

Putting on my webmaster hat for a moment, the way KAT moved their site to a new domain could be responsible. If they did not use the “permanent” 301 redirect code, and instead used the default “302” redirect, or if content wasn’t redirected and was instead duplicated on both the new and old domains, then Google could have problems with this (although a quick redirect check now doesn’t seem to indicate this is the actual problem). Google does provide a tool that lets website owners tell them ahead of time about site moves.

But this kinds of highlights the problem with Google. It’s really hard to get any sort of concrete feedback from them when it comes to penalties (Google wants to keep website owners confused intentionally so they can’t find loopholes to exploit in relation to Google’s algorithm), and even if KAT fixes whatever was causing the penalty, it won’t be lifted immediately (may take 6 weeks, 3 months, 6 months … nobody really knows the answer). So it could be a while before official KAT links are back on Google’s results pages, and that’s assuming the people running KAT ever figure out what the penalty was for.

On a somewhat related note, uTorrent’s site and downloads were blocked by Google Chrome earlier in the week, similar to what Google did to major torrent sites earlier in the month. Google’s anti-PUP (potentially unwanted software) algorithm has been turned up to 11 in recent weeks, and it has caught out many sites. Some were complete false positives and some were semi-false positives like with the major torrent sites and uTorrent (these sites advertised or had downloads that included bundled offers and things like toolbars, which Google considers PUP. But these are not as malicious as actual fake downloads and scam-ware, which is the real problem Google is trying to tackle).

Google Auto-complete BitTorrent

Google seems to be going after piracy sites, but that’s not really what’s happening

For the casual observer, all of this seems to add up to a new war against piracy sites, but for now, it all appears to be coincidences or unintended consequences or Google’s ongoing war against, um, a lot of different groups (webmasters who try to game the Google search rankings, bundle ads providers, malware distributors …).

At least with bundled offers, you always have the option to not install them if you pay close attention to the installer. What’s less optional these days is insecure DRM that potentially opens up your system to all sorts of nasties. The last place you’d probably expect to be forced to install DRM is during a long flight, but that’s what United Airlines is forcing passengers to do if they want to watch movies on their own personal devices. And not only that, users also have to install the insecure Flash plug-in.

But the blame doesn’t really lie with United, but with paranoid Hollywood studios that genuinely fear users will go to all the trouble to book a flight on United just so they can rip movies, most of which have been out on DVD for years. You and I might think this is ridiculous, but Hollywood’s paranoia goes way beyond reason.

High Definition

Sony Blu-ray

Blu-ray revenue stagnating – is it because of digital downloads and streaming, or the lack of hit releases?

Blu-ray revenue is on the slide, with a recent week’s revenue figures falling to levels not seen since 2010. Those that follow our weekly Blu-ray revenue analysis will have seen the signs, and there is no doubt that since about the second half of last year, Blu-ray’s meteoric rise has been stalling.

A lot of it has to do with the poor release slate for this year. There have been some big releases this year, including Gone Girl, Interstellar, Big Hero 6, Fifty Shades and American Sniper, but these cannot compare to Thor, Frozen or The Lego Movie (but mostly Frozen). Interestingly, I think Blu-ray’s fortunes will pick up later this year and next year when Jurassic World, the new Avengers movie, Inside Out and the coming attractions M:I 5, the last Hunger Games movie and the new Star bloody Wars, all make their way onto Blu-ray in 2015 and 2016.

So it’s a bit early to write Blu-ray’s obituary, but things have definitely slowed down.

It’s easy to blame things like streaming for the potential downfall of discs, and services like HBO Now and Hulu that gives you access to newly aired TV episodes may affect TV box set sales, for new release movies, Blu-ray and DVD is still the best choice for many.

Speaking of Hulu, the ad-supported streaming outfit is considering going ad-free via a higher priced subscription plan. Considering how many people freaked out when Netflix experimented with in-house ad-spots for its original programming a while back, I’d say going ad-free can only make Hulu more popular (currently 19 times less popular than Netflix, according to user download data). It always struck me as weird to be forced to watch unskippable ads even after I’ve paid a monthly fee, regardless of how new the content is compared to Netflix.

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That’s it for the week. Wasn’t as short as I thought, but this will have to do for the next couple of weeks while I’m holidaying it up. Talk to you soon.

Weekly News Roundup (19 July 2015)

July 19th, 2015

Welcome to another edition of the WNR. Windows 10 is just around the corner, and most believe it will be the Windows 7 to 8’s Vista (if you know what I mean). I’ve been using Windows 8 for about 4 months now, and it really isn’t as bad as people make out, although definitely not as good as it should be. So I’ll be upgrading to Windows 10 as soon as possible (and by as soon possible, I mean until others have tried it on the Surface Pro 3 and found no real problems with it).

Here’s this week’s news …

Copyright

Censorship

Piracy site censorship doesn’t stop piracy, and may actually give piracy sites a boost

There’s more evidence this week that piracy site censorship just doesn’t work. In fact, not only does it not work, it seems to actually help boost piracy, by giving undue publicity to sites that have been blocked. A new study from Italy gives evidence showing a dozen different sites all gaining in popularity after being blocked in Italy, including sites that had almost zero profile in the country prior to the banning. One site even managed to enjoy a 1000% (that’s one *thousand* percent!) increase in search engine traffic after the blocking took place, all largely thanks to the media (and online) attention gained by the block.

It’s almost as if the list of blocked sites has become a list of must-visit piracy sites, and the numerous proxies sites (many of which were set up to make easy advertising dollars) that spring up for these blocked sites also help with the visibility of these sites on search engines.

None of this will make any different to rights-holders though, since to them, any action, no matter how pointless, is better than actually addressing the real issues at hand. Embracing change and innovating is just too hard and risky, in their minds.

One unwanted change that might be happening is this: DRM for JPG. It sounds like a terrible idea at first thought, and it might just turn out to be one, but the standards committee, JPEG, says that the DRM will mainly be for privacy reasons. The DRM could be used, for example, to protect your private photos – and if these photos were to leak online, the original owners can simply activate the DRM controls and make the photos unviewable. It could also be used to prevent government surveillance, as one research paper noted recently (although my guess is that the encryption used in the DRM would be a trivial to break for any half competent government agency).

All of this sounds nice, but you just know that once the DRM is in there, privacy won’t be the only application for it. News and photo sites will use it to prevent copying of images (although they can’t prevent the simple print-screen), and porn sites may even use it to protect their content.

High Definition

The Simpsons Season 17 Blu-ray

Studios treating Blu-ray like a mass consumer format, when it was always just a niche format, along with inconsistent releasing has ruined the format, says Blu-ray producers

Blu-ray is a failure. This sounds strange coming from someone who has purchased hundreds of Blu-ray discs, and will continue to purchase them, but given the expectations behind the format, it certainly can’t be considered a total success. And this expectation, Blu-ray producers say, is exactly why studios have failed Blu-ray.

A panel of top Blu-ray producers at Comic-Con let loose on studios and how the Blu-ray format as mismanaged. They say that instead of being the next DVD, Blu-ray was always going to be a niche format, a format that only those that wanted to absolute top picture and audio quality would want. For most people, they say, DVD (and now downloads and streaming) is more than good enough.

But studios expected more, and they will label anything less than their expectations as a failure, including Blu-ray. The panelists fear that studios will make the same mistake with 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, which they say is even more of a niche format than Blu-ray (fair enough, considering how few people will have 4K TVs by the time the new disc format launches at the end of the year).

The producers also criticised studio greed in relation to “double dipping” (making people buy the same content over and over again) and the lack of commitment to releasing (such as suddenly stopping releases of season box sets half way through the collection), all of which led to consumers losing confidence in the format.

And that confidence is shifting to other ways to watch content, such as streaming. With Netflix alone now accounting for 36% of all peak download traffic in North America, consumers are definitely voting with their feet. However, while Netflix is popular, a quick browse through their catalogue still shows just how much content isn’t on there. While some of it are on rival subscription streaming platforms, but even when you combine the content on Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and HBO Now, there’s still a huge swathe of content that’s missing, especially newer content. DVD and Blu-ray is the the studio’s platform of choice for these types of content, but it may not be the consumer’s choice.

New Netflix UI

Netflix is great, but most of the stuff you want to watch won’t be on there

And this is where piracy comes in – to fill the gaps between consumer demand and studio supply. Which is why I completely disagree with the statement made by Shaun James, the chief executive of Australian streaming platform Presto. James says: “It’s a really hard argument for a pirate to run when you’ve got a multitude of services from $10 per month, to say it’s too expensive, I can’t get it, I can’t afford it – that’s a really shallow argument.”

Shallow or Straw Man? Presto is the exclusive streaming providers for HBO content in Australia, but you cannot watch any new shows or even old episodes of Game of Thrones on it, because Presto’s owner, cable operator Foxtel, has locked up these programming exclusively to their cable platform. The cheapest package to get Game of Thrones in HD on Foxtel costs USD $40 per month, and requires a cable or satellite set up that isn’t available everywhere – so the argument “I can’t get it, I can’t afford it” still seem fairly valid.

With that said, there will always be people that are unwilling to pay for content no matter how cheap, or easily available, it is. These people are not the problem though, because you can’t lose money from people that were never going to pay.

Gaming

PS4 DualShock 4 Controller

PS4 leading in hardware and software sales

It’s not the hardware, it’s the games. When it comes to making money off video games, this is certainly true. This is why game companies often take an initial loss on the game console to gain market share, so they can easily recoup the losses via game sales and licensing.

And for the current generation, Sony is definitely the winner so far when it comes to market share. Ubisoft’s earnings reveal just how far ahead the PS4 really is at this stage, with 27 percent of Ubisoft’s game sales happening on Sony’s platform, compared to just 11% for the Xbox One (the 360 and PS3 were also on 11%, just to give you a comparison of how poorly the XBO is doing).

It’s not game over yet though for Microsoft’s console. The backwards compatibility addition should help, but only price cuts will help the Xbox One catch up.

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And on that note, we come to the end of another WNR. Hope you’ve enjoyed reading. See you next week.

Weekly News Roundup (12 July 2015)

July 12th, 2015

I guess I should update everyone on my experiment with using the Microsoft Surface Pro 3 as my desktop, laptop and Windows tablet replacement. Simply speaking, it’s fantastic. When the SP3 is in the dock accessory, connected to my monitor with my Logitech wireless KB/m setup (the Logitech MX Master is a thing of beauty, BTW – well for right handed people anyway), it feels exactly likely using a desktop. On the go, when I have the Type Cover on, it can be used just like any laptop (the screen is a bit smaller though, but it is a very lovely screen though) and it’s quite good considering it’s not a “real” keyboard/trackpad, but just a cover accessory attached to a tablet. I don’t use it in pure tablet mode  that much (that is, with the Type Cover removed or folded back), since it’s a too big and heavy to be used in the normal tablety way, although certainly still very usable.

Overall, it’s a great little device and more than capable for most types of work. And I’m really looking forward to Windows 10 as well, which will really make the device shine.

And no, I have not received any financial incentives from Microsoft to encourage me to make these positive statements (although I wouldn’t say no if they decide to send me a goodie or two, *hint* *hint*).

Also, this Star Wars Comic-con video almost made me weep sweet tears of joy! Just wanted to put it out there.

Ah, yes, the news roundup …

Copyright

CloudFlare Error Page

CloudFlare under attack, not by DDoS, but by the RIAA

Once again, the RIAA has been caught, and “reprimanded” (this time by a US District Court) for trying to get everyone else to do its own work and leaving a large mess of collateral damage in its wake.

The RIAA tried to get content delivery network CloudFlare to close down sites that were using domain names similar to the now defunct Grooveshark, the music streaming that the RIAA shut down last year. But instead of identifying infringing sites and notifying CloudFlare, the RIAA filed an injunction to force CloudFlare to close down any site that has the term “grooveshark” as part of its domain name.

This means that sites that are perfectly legal would have to be shut down, just because they had the “offending” keyword as part of their domain name. CloudFlare, who along with other service providers, quickly filed their opposition to the injunction, arguing that freedom of speech rights would be put at risk. CloudFlare even provided a real example of how the RIAA’s actions could have serious and unexpected consequences by pointing to protest site groovesharkcensorship.cf, which was set up specifically to protest the RIAA’s actions. This totally legitimate site that was exercising its free speech rights to criticize the RIAA was shut down due to the RIAA’s injunction, something I’m sure even the RIAA had not intended.

Luckily, the court sided with CloudFlare’s argument and ended the RIAA’s attempt again to make things easy for themselves (and screw the consequences).

It seems to me that the RIAA has started to lose the plot with their lawsuits. They’re not even going after actual infringing sites anymore – any site that even hints at being related or friendly to unauthorised music downloads is now a target. What hasn’t changed is the RIAA’s insistence on assigning responsibility to everyone else, and getting them to do the heavy lifting. It’s something that the District Court didn’t agree with though, saying that the onus is still on the rights-holders to identify infringing sites (after all, they’re the ones best placed to know whether their own properties have been infringed or not).

Concert crowd

Piracy brings fans to my concerts, says David Guetta

All of this misses the point anyway. The point has always been, and should always be about money being lost to piracy, and ways to minimize this. Spraying lawsuits everywhere does not really solve any problems, and the problem in the first place may not be as big as the record companies believe. If you don’t want to take my word for it, then listen to someone who actually works in the music industry, DJ and producer David Guetta. Guetta’s pragmatic views towards piracy are particularly refreshing – while he prefers an “ideal” world where there is no piracy and he gets paid (a lot more) for every download or listen, he also realises that piracy is not a zero sum game. Guetta says that piracy helps him to gain more fans that he otherwise wouldn’t get if these people were successfully barred from downloading illegally, and that these fans will spend money at some stage, whether it’s concerts or merchandise, or even re-buying the songs they’ve downloaded illegally to support the artist.

Of course, the record labels represented by the RIAA may not get some or all of the money that these downloaders will spend at some stage. But that’s because making music available to the listening public is a job that’s no longer worth as much as it once was (getting a song being heard by people, or published as a record, once upon a time, was a tough task – today, we have self publishing, and piracy can do some the promotional work that artists once had to rely on record labels to do). It’s called progress, and this is what the RIAA is trying desperately to fight.

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Chrome Harmful Programs warning

Chrome blocks torrent sites, but not for the reason you think

The news that Google’s Chrome browser has started to block pretty much all of the major torrent sites, including KickassTorrents, Torrentz and RARBG. The sites were blocked with a warning that these sites were offering “harmful programs”.

Website owners can normally check Google Webmaster Tools to see why their site was blocked, but the operators of these torrent sites could not find anything listed as being wrong.

So the first thought that many had was that this may be some kind of new anti-piracy measure being rolled out by Google, under coercion from the MPAA and others.

But the actual situation was much more simpler. The problem stems from advertising and sponsored links that these sites had, which may have linked to other sites that were offering the programs Google was warning about (specifically, Potentially Unwanted Programs, or PUPs, such as toolbar installers and other programs and offers bundled with installers). Google has been particularly sensitive in blocking these kind of sites recently, and perhaps a tweak in their algorithm flagged the torrent sites, most of which may have been using the same advertiser or software sponsor. The reason Google Webmaster Tools (GWT) did not show anything at first was because the information in GWT is delayed, something I have personal experience with in relation to false positive DMCA requests that I’ve had to deal with in GWT.

Most of the blocks have been removed now, once the sites in question dealt with the issue and submitted a review in GWT, but perhaps the bigger issue here is how easy it was for Google to block access to so many popular sites at once. It’s something that will give rights-holders bad ideas, and perhaps it also point to the monopolistic position Google now finds themselves in (Google Search and Chrome are the most popular platforms in their respective fields) – too much power concentrated in one company, whether that power was intentionally procured or naturally gathered, is never a good thing.

Gaming

PS4 CUH-1200 APU

A new PS4 model is lighter, uses less power and is quieter too

There’s a new updated PS4 model currently available (only) in Japan, and a teardown has revealed some significant updates with the hardware. An updated processor (still a 28nm chip though), RAM and other chips means power savings, which also means a quieter, slower spinning fan. This greener, quieter PS4 still retains the old form factor, so it’s definitely not the “slim” edition that some are convinced will be released soon (and if anything, this model refresh means it’s now less likely that a slim version will be coming soon, not after Sony has put in the effort to design this new model – the slim version will require a much bigger re-design that what’s found here). Expect this new PS4 model to make it ways to the US and other Western markets soon (before Christmas, I bet).

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That’s it for this week. I’m going to go back and watch that Star Wars Comic-con video another 10 times. Oh yes. See you soon!

Weekly News Roundup (5 July 2015)

July 5th, 2015

Welcome to the second half of 2015. It was a very quiet week news wise, at least on Digital Digest. Part of the reason is that a lot of streaming related news are now being published on my Streambly site, so feel free to follow it (on Facebook, Twitter and Google+) if you want to see more news stories, although of course, I will always include relevant stories from Streambly in this roundup.

So yesterday was the 4th of July, and normally that’s just another Saturday here in Australia, but here at Digital Digest HQ, celebrations were afoot. Yesterday was the 16th birthday of Digital Digest, first launched in 1999 as DVDDigest (clicky here to see what it looked like then). Personally, it’s been a great 16 years designing, creating and taking care of this site, and here’s to another 16 years!

Here’s the news for the week …

Copyright

A new piracy epidemic is happening in Norway, and it’s all because of an open source tool, at least according to rights-holder groups in the country. Norway was in the news a while back for having all but eliminated music piracy (thanks to iTunes, Spotify and other legal alternatives that people actually wanted to use), but at the same time, movie and TV piracy has been increasing, particularly streaming related piracy. This has the Rights Alliance Norway, an anti-piracy outfit from the country, blaming open source tool Popcorn Time for making it too easy for users to download and streaming movies. The Rights Alliance Norway is now threatening to sue people who use Popcorn Time, as well as ISPs who do not cooperate with blocking content.

Popcorn Time

Popcorn Time invasion in Norway causing increase in piracy rate, according to rights-holders

It’s quite disappointing to see this kind of reaction in Norway after the clear solution to the piracy problem has already been demonstrated successfully in regards to music piracy. Instead of blaming Napster or LimeWire and suing people who use these tools, iTunes and Spotify and others legal platforms helped to give people, those that weren’t willing to pay and those that were only willing to pay at the right price (and if they got to use the content in the way they wanted), another way to get their content. So the solution to the movie and TV piracy problem is simple – give the people what they want. Netflix is a good start, but it probably has less than 5 percent of the content that people actually want. There has to be a way to allow people to watch the latest TV shows, and movies, without forcing them to spend hundreds of dollars every month – something that people don’t see as good value (or simply can’t afford).

The problem has been identified. Now, we wait for the solution.

High Definition

Even though Netflix clearly doesn’t have close to enough of the sort of content people actually want, they do still have a lot of content. For me, people either pirate because they really want something and can’t afford it, or they’re after something they would never want to pay for, but still want to have a look. Netflix satisfies the latter of these demands, but barely touches the first (Netflix Originals do help).

Netflix Remote

Netflix’s popularity rising in markets outside of the U.S.

But still, being able to give people something random to watch when they’re not looking for anything specific can, and does help to reduce piracy, which is why Netflix is so popular. So popular in fact that by the year’s end, Netflix may have as many as 70 million subscribers worldwide. To put that number into perspective, despite HBO Now being one of the top 10 apps on the Apple App Store, it still only has about one million subscribers – which is actually a pretty decent start, but obviously nowhere near Netflix’s numbers.

Unsurprisingly, most of Netflix’s growth is happening outside of the US, with 9.6 million new subscribers expected by the end of 2015, up 57%. So while most Netflix subscribers are currently located in the U.S. (43.5 million), it’s only a matter of time before that’s no longer true (especially if Netflix’s launch in India, Japan and China are successful).

And it’s not just subscription video streaming that’s big business these days, thanks to Apple Music’s introduction, revenue from subscription music streaming is expected to become one-third of all consumer music spending by 2016 (it’s currently at 16%).

Smartphone Music Headphones

Listening to music on smartphones, and in offline mode, are main reasons people want to subscribe to Apple Music

While what Apple Music offers, compared to Spotify, isn’t all that new or better, but what Apple brings to the table is mainstream acceptance, and a large user base from its iTunes stores, a user base that the company is apparently willing to cannibalize. There will be many users that will switch from purchasing tracks on iTunes to unlimited streaming on Apple Music, which in the short term could actually cost Apple (and the music industry) money. But in the long term, subscription streaming is where music is headed, and it’s the only affordable way for users to get access (legally) to 30 million tracks.

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So that’s it for this not-so-special birthday edition of the WNR. See you next week!

Weekly News Roundup (28 June 2015)

June 28th, 2015

Not a very long WNR today, felt a bit too depressed while writing the two main copyright stories this week to write too much. But you have to admire the lobbying efforts of Hollywood – they have reach as far as Australia, and closer to (their) home, reach that’s powerful enough to cause massive disruption to how domain names work on the Internet. This is not what I’m depressed about though. No, it’s the way how efficient Hollywood can be at getting things done, and the fact that they’re doing all the wrong things, that’s making me feel like a sad panda today.

Still, as they say, the show must go on, and so here’s this week’s news stories.

Copyright

The MPAA is lobbying the Internet’s naming authority on changes that could make it easier for cyber criminals to steal the identity of businesses. It’s all part of the strategy by rights-holder groups to make it harder for domain registrants to protect their identities via domain privacy services. Groups like the MPAA says that this makes it more difficult for them to find information on the people who own domains linked to piracy, and the Internet’s naming authority, ICANN, appears to be buckling under the intense lobbying pressure to do something on this front. ICANN has released a report which proposes to ban domain privacy services for any domains used for commercial reasons.

While this would definitely make it easier for the MPAA to get domain ownership details, assuming the details aren’t faked (although ICANN has a rule that allows registrars to suspend domains if they suspect the details are fake), they can already do so easily via DMCA requests.

But by no longer allowing businesses to use domain privacy tools, digital rights groups and domain registrars say that it could allow cyber criminals to harvest domain data, which could lead to phishing attempts and even identity theft. Namecheap, one of the biggest domain registrars (and one of the good guys, who did a lot in protesting against SOPA), has also expressed concern about these proposed changes and have even mass emailed their own customers to ask them to try and stop these changes.

So once again we have the MPAA and their ilk trying to mess with the Internet, make it worse for everyone, just so they can have it a tiny bit easier time of it in their futile crusade against piracy.

Censorship

Australian government gives in to Hollywood demands for censorship

Speaking of futile, Australia’s parliament has passed controversial changes to copyright law that grants private companies the avenue to seek a nation-wide censorship of websites that they disagree with. Australia now joins a small exclusive club of countries that censors the Internet, all in the futile attempt to stop the piracy problem (without addressing issues such as availability and pricing).

To make matters worse, the language contained in the passed legislation is so vague, that I and many others fear that the law will be abused by private companies to their own end. The language says that website whose “primary” purpose is to “facilitate” piracy will be targeted, but these terms are not defined clearly enough, according to critics. The law could also be interpreted in a way that would be eventually used to target VPN providers.

In other words, the Australian government (with bi-partisan help from the opposition) has just given Hollywood what they want – we’ll see if blocking The Pirate Bay (a block that can be easily bypassed by anyone that cares), which will happen sooner rather than later, will have any effect on piracy without addressing the high pricing and poor legal availability of content in Australia.

High Definition

Dolby Vision

HDR promises to make everything brighter, better – but you need HDR content plus a 4K TV capable of displaying HDR

With 4K TV sets quickly approaching mainstream status, TV manufacturers are already on the look-out for the next best thing. And HDR, or high dynamic range, may be it. For those that don’t know, this essentially increases the difference between the minimum and maximum brightness in a scene, giving it a more dynamic (and therefore, better looking) picture. This involves both an encoding process to encode the movie with HDR information in it, as well as a display technology that produces TVs capable of displaying the increased dynamic range.

HDR capable TVs are still somewhat rare, and content is even rarer, although if you’re an Amazon Prime subscriber, you’re in luck, as they’ve just become the first streaming platform to offer HDR streaming, for free. It’s only limited to Amazon’s original series ‘Mozart in the Jungle’, for now, but you can bet the likes of Netflix won’t be far behind with their own HDR content (especially since the company has already stated the importance of HDR in the past).

Another first, but for another streaming platform. HBO Now is just starting out in the streaming game, but already, HBO’s standalone OTT product may be cutting its exclusive ties with the cable operators. HBO will air the tennis TV movie ‘7 Days in Hell’ on its own HBO Now platform before it airs on its cable channel. It’s become increasingly clear that streaming is fast approaching being a “first air” platform, rather than just showing left-overs from linear TV – it reflects the changing ways people are watching content these days.

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Well looks like that’s it for another week. Hope you’ve enjoyed this latest edition of the WNR, see you next week!


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