The FBI Anti-Piracy Warning that is found on all modern DVD and Blu-ray discs is getting an upgrade. The United States government earlier this week announced that it will require two copyright notices on DVD and Blu-ray discs, Ars Technica reported. The first notice will warn potential piracy thieves, while the second one is meant to educate viewers. All six major movie studios have agreed to include the notices, which we will begin seeing on new discs this week. The screens will “come up after the previews, once you hit the main movie/play button on the DVD.” The warnings will each last 10 seconds and users will not have the ability to skip or fast forward through them. “Law enforcement must continue to expand how it combats criminal activity; public awareness and education are a critical part of that effort,” ICE Director John Morton said in a statement. More →
Samsung has developed a new universal remote control for its televisions and home theater accessories that ditches dozens of buttons in favor of Siri-like voice command support and a touch pad. As Apple reportedly readies an assault on the TV industry, established vendors such as Sony, LG and Samsung looked to cut the Cupertino-based firm off at the pass during this year’s Consumer Electronics Show. All the big names at this year’s show added voice controls and gesture support to their flagship HDTVs, and now Samsung has taken the wraps off its new voice-controlled universal remote, Nikkei’s Tech-On blog reports. The device allows users to speak commands in many cases rather than typing on a keyboard or pressing buttons, and it uses a combination of Bluetooth and infrared connectivity to improve reliability. While Samsung hasn’t yet stated exactly which devices will be compatible with its new remote, it did say TVs, set-top boxes, Blu-ray players and other accessories will be supported. More →
Netflix on Wednesday announced its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2011. The company noted $876 million in revenue, up 47% from the same quarter last year, and earnings per share of $0.73. Analysts had pegged the company to report revenue in the ballpark of $857.4 million and EPS of $0.54, Barron’s relayed. Netflix also said it added 220,000 new subscribers, a far cry from the 800,000 it lost during the third quarter, and now serves 21.67 million streaming customers in the United States. The company has 24.4 million U.S. customers signed up for DVD subscriptions and that figure jumped by 610,000 during the quarter.
Netflix serves 1.9 million international streaming customers and added 380,000 new subs during the quarter. “We are encouraged by the strength in acquisition that we are seeing, coupled with continued improvements in retention among our domestic streaming members,” the company said in a statement. “For Q1 to date, our domestic net additions for streaming are tracking close to our net additions in Q1 2010 of 1.7 million net additions. Given this trend, we are comfortable with our ability to continue to expand our domestic streaming contribution margin.”
Piracy is still a huge problem according to the music industry and Hollywood, and it’s hard to dispute the notion that downloading a paid digital product without actually paying for it is theft. Now, as TorrentFreak releases its list of the 10 most pirated movies of 2011, we can see a possible correlation between illegal downloads and movie revenue continue to take shape. Read on for more. More →
Walmart has agreed to pay $27.5 million in damages to more than 25 million Netflix customers who subscribed to the service between May 19th, 2005 and September 2nd, 2011, as part of a settlement in a class-action lawsuit. Litigation was levied against the nationwide retailer after Walmart ditched efforts to run a DVD-by-mail business that would compete directly with Netflix. Reportedly, Walmart agreed to bail on its plans provided that Netflix pointed its customers to Walmart to purchase DVDs. Walmart has not admitted any wrongdoing and Netflix plans to continue fighting the charges during a January 23rd trial. While a tentative approval of the agreement was already granted by a judge in September, the final ruling will come during a court appearance scheduled for March 14th. Netflix members will receive payment in Walmart gift cards and cash. As MercuryNews points out, $6.9 million, or 25%, may be paid to Netflix’s lawyers while another $1.7 million will be paid out to cover legal fees. In that case, 25 million Netflix customers would have to divvy up the remaining $19 million, which means members would receive less than $1 each in damages on average. More →
Shares of Netflix stock plummeted more than 27% in after-hours trading as the company revealed it lost more than 800,000 customers in the third quarter. Netflix now serves 23.8 million total customers and it reported third-quarter revenue of $822 million, beating estimates of $812 million. Earnings worked out to $1.16 per share, which also beat Wall Street’s consensus of $0.96. “While we dramatically improved our $7.99 unlimited streaming service by embracing new platforms, simplifying user-interface, and more than doubling domestic spending on streaming content over 2010, we greatly upset many domestic Netflix members with our significant DVD-related pricing changes, and to a lesser degree, with the proposed-and-now-cancelled rebranding of our DVD service,” Netflix said in a letter to shareholders Monday. Netflix expects DVD shipments to decline sharply during the fourth quarter, a continuation of the company’s earlier changes, but it expects growth in weekly gross additions compared to the December quarter last year. The company said it expects global consolidated income to fall between $19 million and $37 million during the fourth quarter and EPS is expected to land between $0.36 and $0.70. More →
Netflix announced two new unlimited DVD plans on Tuesday, including a $7.99 option for one DVD at a time and an $11.99 option that allows users to rent two DVDs at a time. The company also said that it will discontinue its current $9.99 monthly option that provides access to unlimited DVD rentals and unlimited instant streaming each month. Instead, the movie rental service will charge users $7.99 a month for unlimited streaming and a minimum of $7.99 per month for unlimited DVDs (with one rented out at a time at that rate). Essentially, that means users with the current $9.99 offering will instead have to cough up $15.98 per month in order to maintain their current subscription plan. “Reflecting our confidence that DVDs by mail is a long-term business for us, we are also establishing a separate and distinct management team solely focused on DVDs by mail, led by Andy Rendich, our Chief Service and Operations Officer and an 11 year veteran of Netflix,” the company said in a blog post. Netflix’s current plans will expire in September, and users will need to switch to a new plan by that time. More →
Netflix released its fiscal first quarter 2011 earnings on Monday and, thanks to record amounts spent on marketing, the firm reported an increase in net customer additions and a spike in revenues. The video subscription service added 3.3 million domestic net customers during the quarter, a 94% increase year-over-year — that service now serves 23.6 million subscribers globally. Netflix reported revenues of $719 million, up 46% year-over-year, and a net income of $60 million, an 88% jump from the same period a year ago. The company said noted that it expects DVD shipments to decline and spending on streaming content to “increase substantially” in the second quarter and beyond. Hit the jump for Netflix’s letter to shareholders. More →
What was once rumored is now a reality. Netflix has announced that beginning today the company will offer a new, streaming-only service option for $7.99 per month. The plan, which does not include any by-mail DVD rentals, allows users to stream available titles to their televisions, mobile devices, and computer screens. “Creating the best user experience that we can around watching instantly is how we’re spending the vast majority of our time and resources,” reads the press release.
The second, and less attractive bit of this story, is that the company also plans to increase monthly plan prices by anywhere from $1 to $8. Netflix did not offer any explanation for the increases, but did note that the price of its two most popular plans — one DVD and 2 DVDs — will only rise by $1. Hit the bounce to see how your Netflix plan will be affected. More →
A couple days ago, Netflix’ CEO Reed Hastings reiterated the company’s intent to switch their business model from a mail-order service to a streaming-only service. The company has just taken their first step in an attempt to gauge feasibility of such a system. Netflix’ landing page now details a $7.99 monthly plan that will allow you to stream an unlimited number of movies to your PC, Mac or TV. The ‘baller’ in you might want to pony up an extra $1 to receive an unlimited number of DVD’s in the mail (albeit, one at a time). Netflix is moving in the right direction though, in what appears to be the next logical step; something a certain rival of their’s failed to envision.
Mick Hocking, Sony Computer Entertainment’s (SCE) senior director, had quite a bit of good news for those Play Station 3 owning 3D enthusiasts. At a London event dedicated the 3D speak, Mick was quoted as saying quite a bit:
Now, in June this year we did the 3D Firmware update. Every PlayStation 3 that’s connected online now has a new version of this Firmware.
At the last count we’ve got 35.8 million PlayStation 3s out there – that means there’s an instant market of around 36 million 3D-ready PlayStation 3 consoles. The upgrade basically makes every PlayStation 3 HDMI 1.4 compatible – that’s the standard that governs 3D displays.
What this means is that there is no setup at all required. If you have a PlayStation 3 and you buy a 3DTV, you simply connect via your HDMI cable and your PlayStation 3 will automatically recognise that you’ve got a 3D display attached.
In September this year, we’re launching another Firmware upgrade – and this one is going to upgrade the PS3 to support Blu-ray movies in 3D. Again, you won’t have to do anything – just connect your PS3. For the film market that’s a very significant event.
Then later in the year – we’re not going to date it yet – the PS3 is going to support 3D photos. Of course the popularity of 3D isn’t just going to come from movies and games. There’s 3D cameras on the market, there’s 3D camcorders coming on the market in the next 12 months as well, and 3D broadcasts.
So you’ll see 3D games in the next 12 months, you’ll see Blu-ray movies in 3D, and as soon as the broadcasts start through our PlayTV services, you’re going to watch 3D content [through that service].
YouTube will be supporting 3D content over the next 12 months as well – and you’ll be able to watch that on the PlayStation 3. And as you start taking 3D pictures of your family or 3D camcorder movies, you can play those back on PS3, too.
It’s a great purchase proposition and future proof.
All great news for Play Station 3 owners. Of course, not too many people have a 3DTV yet… but it is nice to know that if you were to shell out the cash for one, your PS3 would be ready to rumble. More →
Netflix announced on Tuesday that the movie rental giant has signed an agreement with independent movie producer Relativity Media. Relativity Media is a newcomer to the movie production business, but the growing company has the backing of bigwigs like Lions Gate Entertainment, Sony Pictures, and Universal Studios. Under the agreement, Netflix would get the first rights to stream popular movies that are typically sent to premium cable channels like Starz, HBO, and Showtime following the movie’s DVD release. This arrangement is a major leap forward for online streaming as it is the first time a major movie producer has turned to online sources for movie distribution instead of traditional paid television. Netflix will be launching this preferred streaming with “The Fighter” and “Skyline”; additional movies are expected to be added in the future. More →