Federal prosecutors in Virginia have shut down notorious file-sharing site Megaupload.com and charged the service’s founders with violating piracy laws. The Associated Press broke the story on Thursday, reporting that the indictment accuses Megaupload.com’s owner with costing copyright holders including record labels and movie studios more than $500 million in lost revenue. Seven people tied to Megaupload.com have been charged and four are already in custody, including the site’s founder Kim Dotcom. Dotcom earned $42 million from the the site in 2010 according to the indictment. Megaupload.com allowed users to upload and share content without any measures in place to ensure files being hosted on the site’s servers were not protected by copyright. The company claims that it responded to copyright complaints as they were received. According to court documents made available on Thursday, Megaupload.com was at one point the 13th most trafficked website in the world. More →
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 →
Until recently, iTunes users were able to purchase episodes of television shows a-la-carte or buy a whole season outright. The problem was, however, a user still had to pay full price for a television season even if he or she already owned a few individual episodes. Apple has reportedly fixed that problem by adding a “Complete my season” button that functions just like the “Complete my album” button in the iTunes Music Store. That means, for example, if you’ve purchased nine episodes of Family Guy and want to own the entire first season, you can buy it at a discounted rate that takes your previous purchases into consideration. The feature should be live now, according to MacRumors. More →
Amazon has been a leader in the eBook reader space since it first introduced the Kindle eReader in November 2007. At that point in time, the Kindle had a 6-inch E Ink display that supported just four shades of gray, it included 250MB of storage that could accommodate about 200 eBooks, and it retailed for $399. For the first six months or so, Amazon couldn’t keep the device in stock — it was a smash hit.
Following parent company Coinstar’s third-quarter earnings report, Redbox announced that daily DVD rental fees have increased to $1.20 from $1. “The price change is based on an increase in operating costs, including higher debit card fees that went into effect October 1,” Redbox said in a statement on its website. “This is the first time in eight years Redbox has raised our daily DVD rental price.” Redbox will continue to charge $1 for the first day of each DVD rental during a promotional period from October 31st through November 30th, though additional days will be charged at the new rate of $1.20 per night. Rates for Blu-ray ($1.50 per day) rentals and video game rentals ($2 per day) are not affected by this change. More →
Netflix subscribers can finally stream movies to their Android tablets without worrying about installing third-party .apks files or attempting annoying work-arounds. The company announced on Wednesday that its application now supports tablets running Android 3.x (Honeycomb). In addition, the Netflix app supports users in Canada and Latin America now. Netflix for Honeycomb is free, provided you already subscribe to the company’s “Watch Instantly” streaming service, and it is available in the Android Market now. More →
Apple is reportedly close to inking deals with major movie studios that would allow the Cupertino-based company to stream movies to its iOS devices and PCs via iCloud. Los Angeles Times on Wednesday reported that Apple has been meeting with movie studios and is currently closing licensing deals that will allow its customers to purchase movies through iTunes and then stream them from iCloud to mobile devices like the iPhone and iPad, or even to Mac computers or Apple TV. The service would be similar to Hollywood’s just-launched UltraViolet product, though it would remove the requirement that customers purchase physical media before streaming content to their devices. The LA Times report states that Apple is expected to launch the service in late 2011 or early 2012. More →
Netflix on Monday announced that it will abandon its plan to spin off the company’s DVD rentals-by-mail service. The home entertainment giant announced last month that it would break off its DVDs-by-mail service into a separate company called “Qwikster,” allowing it to focus on the Web-based content that represented the future of its business. “It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs,” Netflix CEO Reed Hastings wrote on the company’s blog. “This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.” Shares of Netflix stock jumped more than 11% in pre-market trading on the news. Netflix lost more than 30% of its market value since the company first announced its Qwikster spin-off. More →
Microsoft on Wednesday announced a number of new content partners that will deliver movies, television shows and other content to its popular Xbox 360 video game and home entertainment console. New partners include Bravo, Comcast, HBO GO, Verizon FiOS, BBC and Syfy, and the content will be available in the U.S. and a number of additional countries. ”Today’s announcement is a major step toward realizing our vision to bring you all the entertainment you want, shared with the people you care about, made easy,” reads a statement from Don Mattrick, president of the Interactive Entertainment Business at Microsoft. “Combining the world’s leading TV and entertainment providers with the power of Kinect for Xbox 360 and the intelligence of Bing voice search will make TV and entertainment more personal, social and effortless.” Microsoft’s Xbox is quickly expanding beyond the gaming genre that made it popular, into new areas that could make it a go-to home entertainment hub for entire families rather than just gamers. Microsoft’s full press release follows below. More →
Dish Network on Friday announced the upcoming availability of Blockbuster Movie Pass, an unlimited video streaming service akin to Netflix’s “Watch Instantly.” Beginning October 1st, Dish subscribers will have unlimited access to a small library of digital content that they can stream to a PC or to a TV using a standard Dish set-top box. While Netflix is moving in a completely different direction, having just spun off its DVD rental service to focus on streaming, Dish is sticking with the multi-pronged approach as Blockbuster’s best bet. “We’ve created a package that combines the best assets of the movie entertainment and video gaming industries with the convenience and integration provided by a multichannel video provider,” said Blockbuster president Michael Kelly in a statement. “Blockbuster Movie Pass is the ultimate programming package for every movie buff. The combination of DVDs by mail and unlimited in-store exchanges provides more than 100 million people living near Blockbuster stores, which are open 7 days a week, immediate satisfaction and unmatched choice.” Dish’s full press release follows below. More →
Former home entertainment heavyweight Blockbuster is preparing to unveil a new streaming media service later today that will aim to take a bite out of Netflix’s future. While the company has made no official announcements at this point, invitations to a 1:00 p.m. Eastern press conference refer to a new service that is a “stream come true.” This is not the first time Blockbuster has chased Netflix in an effort to save its faltering business. The company introduced its “Total Access” service years ago — a spitting image of the DVD rentals-by-mail service that made Netflix the giant it is today — but the lack of a compelling argument and a string of terrible policy changes takes us to where we are today: Blockbuster filed for bankruptcy and was subsequently bought at auction by Dish Network. The firm’s Total Access service remains operational, though Netflix is doing everything it can to bury its DVD service, and now Blockbuster will take the next step in its attempted comeback.
Netflix on Thursday confirmed that as of early next year, it will no longer offer Starz content to its “Watch Instantly” subscribers. The streaming movie and television show service, which can be had for as little as $7.99 per month, allows users to stream any content from Netflix’s digital portfolio on demand. Said portfolio currently includes approximately 1,000 titles from the Starz movie library, and those films will all disappear as of March 1st next year when the current contract expires. According to the Los Angeles Times, Netflix offered Starz as much as $300 million per year to continue offering its content, but Starz was pushing for a deal closer to the terms it has with DirectTV and Time Warner Cable, which reportedly amounts to approximately $7 per subscriber. Netflix service starts at just $7.99 per month, so the only option was to walk away. Read on for more. More →
Flipboard, the company behind the popular like-named social magazine application for the iPad, plans to add TV shows, books and movie content, Reuters reported on Thursday. The company’s app has been downloaded more than 3 million times, and it offers articles from several popular magazines including Rolling Stone and National Geographic. Users can view articles alongside customized news and social network feeds, too. Flipboard CEO Mike McCue told Reuters that he hopes to add TV shows and movies by the end of the year but has not discussed who his company is teaming up with to deliver the content just yet. It is also still unclear when McCue will add books to the app. A version of the software for the iPhone and iPod touch will be launching in the coming weeks and we’re excited to see how it performs on the iPhone’s smaller screen. More →