Weekly News Roundup (8 February 2015)

With The Pirate Bay being resurrected this week, I wonder what rights holders must be thinking right now. So much effort, money used to take down a site that was only down for less than two months, and piracy probably didn’t even drop during the downtime. The words ‘trying’, ‘stop’, ‘flood’ and ‘sponge’ comes to mind.

Let’s get started with this week’s stories.


The Pirate Bay

It’s back! Maybe not the same as before, but just as “piratey”

The Pirate Bay is back. Or is it? The death and resurrection of the world’s most popular piracy website has been shrouded in a cloak of secrecy ever since the site went down in early December. The site is now fully back, and with content prior to the raid all being mostly restored, and so it seems like another victory for the pirates against authorities who have tried time and time again to bring down the notorious site.

Following a mysterious raid, cryptic messages, hidden codes, a countdown timer, you can forgive most users for being a bit wary of the whole situation. Conspiracy theories, therefore, are rife now that TPB has also made some controversial changes following its restoration. Gone are admins and moderators, whom the operators of TPB says are responsible for “severe security issues”. Users can now self-moderate by reporting fake and misleading torrents, which will get dealt with. And with the site being so busy again, the use of an US based cloud hosting solution (one that is under US jurisdiction, and therefore, open to surveillance by the authorities) have led some to worry over the site’s privacy, although TPB says the use of an US service is, at this time, only a temporary measure to deal with the huge traffic flows.

The situation is made worse by the fact that, during the site’s hiatus, mirrors, some legit, many not, sprang up all trying to be the “new” Pirate Bay. With the resurrected site using the original domain names (the .se and .org ones), it seems fairly certain this newly returned site is the real deal. But It looks like it will take some time for TPB to earn back the trust of its users.

High Definition

You can now use your HBO Blu-ray discs to stream HBO content. The “HBO Sampler” feature, which uses the BD Live feature on connected Blu-ray players, will allow owners of selected HBO box sets to sample complete episodes of shows like ‘Girls’ and (at some time in the future) ‘True Detectives’. Because the content is streamed via the Internet, the sample episodes available will also be updated, quarterly, to promote different shows.

I guess it’s a lot better than being forced to watch streaming trailers without any way to skip them, which is what BD Live streaming has been most frequently used for so far.


Despite the Xbox One’s strong performance in November and December in the United States (it was the top selling console during these two months, which are traditionally the best selling months of the year), the PS4, or rather the PlayStation brand, outsold the Xbox brand quite comfortably in the fourth quarter, and in 2014 overall.

PS4 with controller and PS Eye

PS4 beats Xbox One in 2014, although the Xbox One did really well during the holiday sales in the US

PlayStation consoles recorded 7.7 million units sold in the fourth quarter, compared to 6.6 million for Xbox consoles – most of these, one would guess, would be PS4 and Xbox Ones. For the whole year, PlayStation’s lead extend to more than 6 million, which goes to show just how well the PS4 is doing everywhere. But even with the last-gen, the PS3 always did better outside of the US than the Xbox 360, so these current-gen global numbers are easy to understand.

The Xbox One got two (well, one and a half) price cuts in 2014 (the half a price cut belongs to removing Kinect 2.0 from the package, and lowering the price accordingly), and it’s only this that has allowed it to win the US holidays. In the long term though, the Xbox One’s strategy, much like that of the Xbox 360, must be one that focuses on being cheaper than the PS4, because right now, the PS4 is perceived to be the better, more powerful machine.


That’s all we have for this week, see you again next time!


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