Weekly News Roundup (11 October 2015)

A fair amount to go through this week, but I’d still like to keep things brief because it’s pretty hot where I’m typing this up, and it’s hard to concentrate. And given the PS4 related news this week, I’ve also been losing concentration to dreaming about buying a PS4, despite the fact that I would never find the time to use it other than as a glorified Netflix and Blu-ray player (which I already have the PS3 for).

Must. Finish. Writing.


It’s that time of the year again, and the MPAA and RIAA have submitted their list of notorious pirates to the government, to help them write their annual notorious markets list. No big surprises here, with the usual suspects (The Pirate Bay, KickassTorrents) all included, plus Popcorn Time gets an honorable (or is that dishonorable) mention.

The Pirate Bay 'Hydra'

“Notorious” pirate The Pirate Bay named and shamed by the MPAA, RIAA, but the EFF is a new and interesting target

New, but again not surprising, both the MPAA and RIAA chose to spread the blame around for the piracy problem (once again failing to address their own responsibilities in making piracy what it is today). Everyone from “domain registrars, privacy/proxy service providers” to “advertisers and ad networks, search engines, content delivery networks and hosting services” were all targeted for being “enablers”. I’m honestly surprised that computer and consumer electronic manufacturers (true statistic: 100% piracy downloads and uploads occur on computers or consumer electronic devices), utility companies (websites need electricity to work), car manufacturers (I assume some pirates do drive) and snack food and soft drink makers (pirates need nutrition too) all didn’t make the list. Maybe next year.

Worse yet, the RIAA chose to strike out at piracy “apologists” like the EFF for making a big deal on on digital rights and freedom of expression. The RIAA says pirates as disguising their self-interest using the cloak of freedom of expression, when their real aim is about making money. Considering most of the groups that upload content or people that maintain piracy sites are doing it on a volunteer basis, I’m not sure this latest RIAA salvo has any merit. Sure, many sites are out there trying to make a buck, but these are usually the sites that don’t care about having any kind of cloak or disguise about their real motives, and the people that use these sites aren’t concerned about their motives either.

High Definition

Samsung may have been the standout performer at the IFA Berlin trade show with their “world’s first” UHD Blu-ray player (available in 2016), it’s actually Panasonic that will bring the first one to market next month, albeit in Japan only.

Panasonic DMR-UBZ1

Meet the world’s first Ultra HD Blu-ray player, available to buy in Japan in November

The DMR-UBZ1 will set you back more than USD $3,300, but that’s the early adopter tax for you, plus the fact that the UBZ1 is also a DVR with a 1TB HDD. The Samsung player will be much more affordable at under $500 when it’s available in early 2016.

Other than having support for HDR, and some nice photos of the player, there’s not a lot of other information on the UBZ1 (at least not in English), but I wouldn’t expect the UHD Blu-ray capabilities of the UBZ1 to be that much different (or better) than Samsung’s UBS-K8500.

Some will question that in the age of downloads and streaming, whether discs still have a place. Acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino would disagree, as he says he’s just not into streaming. Tarantino says he still prefers having something tangible to hold in his hands. I don’t completely disagree, especially when it comes to buying movies (because buying DRM protected digital movies can be very risky), but not everyone has the resources of Tarantino to buy and store the thousands of movies that he no doubt has in his collection (he admits to buying the inventory of a video store that went out of business – I think I prefer to pay $8.99, or $9.99 a month now thanks to the new price rise, even if it means not having anything tangible to hold).


PS4 with controller and PS Eye

A $50 cheaper PS4 is a great buy for this holiday

Looks like Xbox boss Phil Spencer was right – the PS4 just got a $50 price cut. This brings the PS4 back to the same price as the Xbox One, which should give Microsoft something to think about. At USD $350, plus a game, the PS4 is pretty good value for a current generation console that still has its best years (in terms of games) to come.

It’s definitely the console I would buy if I had $350 and the time to actually play some games. Also, a free HDMI port on my TV wouldn’t hurt either.


And I think that’s all I have for you guys and gals this week. See you next week!


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