Monday, May 31, 2010

Real Back to the Future Hoverboard?!

Source: Popular Science

Not really, but kind of ...

Seeing as it is kind of a slow news day (public holiday, or did you forget?) I figured sharing this would be alright.

French Artist/Purveyor of Awesomeness Nils Guadagnin has constructed a replica of Marty McFly's hoverboard in an exhibit he calls; wait for it, "Back to the Future".

Try to contain your excitement!

While it is only an art exhibit it does hover, thanks to a series of electromagnets and a laser stabilization system. No, it can't carry you around, but it can correct itself and be bumped around a bit which is still pretty cool I guess.

As cool as this whole hoverboard exhibit is, I can't help but picture it as a bitter reminder that I never got to have one and that we only have until 2015 to make hoverboards a reality. Get to it smart people! Don't make Back to the Future II a liar!

Watch you childhood dream become a reality ... sort of:

So the deaf may hear ...

Source: Gizmodo

There are a lot of misconceptions about what it exactly means to be deaf. Just because a person is deaf does not mean they can't register sound, they just do so in different ways such as by feel.

German designer Frederik Podzuweit is looking for a way to harness that method of feeling sound and he has done so in a most literally. His new device, which in a true German fashion, he simply calls "Music for deaf people" is a collar that is worn around the shoulders. This collar transmits the music to the listener via vibrations which allows the wearer to feel the music.

Just because you are deaf or severely hard of hearing should not prevent you from enjoying the experience of music. The concept collar has volume controls, tabs to switch between tracks and your standard inputs for MP3 players. It is made to be worn snugly around the neck and over the shoulders which would mean versatility and security.

Now everyone can all rock out to some Beethoven or, if classical music isn't exactly your jam, maybe some Evelyn Glennie who are only two of many accomplished deaf musicians.

Rock on!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Hurt Locker Sues!

Source: Gizmodo

They aren't going to take it any more.

The Hurt Locker Producers finally are backing up their threats of lawsuits against people who illegally downloaded last years Academy Award winning film with an actual lawsuit.

They are sending a pretty serious message by filing lawsuits against 5,000 (Yes, three zeros!) individuals. The suit calls for the destruction of all illegal digital copies of the film and the payment to Voltage Pictures, producer of The Hurt Locker, for damages and legal fees. While 5,000 lawsuits is no joke it was initially supposed to be much higher, God knows that there are more than 5,000 people who took the free route in getting The Hurt Locker.

This may only be a start in what can easily become a long and ugly battle for copyrights, and while this type of lawsuit is not anything new to Hollywood it is to date the largest in scale and growing.

The film industry is serious business, and if they choose to do so the gloves can come off, but I doubt this is the final showdown between Hollywood and illegal downloading and only upscale in weapons that will take more than a bomb defusal kit to neutralize.

Flash Gordon


On June 15th see the Savior of the Universe battle tyrant Ming the Merciless of the planet Mongo on glorious Blu-ray.

Director Mike Hodges' 1980 take on the Flash Gordon 1930's sci-fi comic and film serials had it all; cheesy special effects, campy acting and costumes that suit Lady Gaga more than an interstellar hero. It is a movie that does not take itself seriously, full of tongue-in-cheek humor and general ridiculousness, and is just plain fun.

But if there is a single thing that makes this film awesome it is the Queen score which could possibly be the greatest soundtrack of all time. I am not ashamed to say that I have rocked out to their Flash Gordon theme on more than one occasion, at least not totally ashamed.

30 years later and this is a movie continues to entertain and with the Blu-ray release you will of course get some extras.

Extras Include:

  • Alex Ross, comic artist who did the cover artwork for the Blu-ray, talks about Flash Gordon
  • Writing a Classic: Screenwriter Lorenzo Semple Jr.
  • Original episode of the Flash Gordon 1936 serial
  • BD Live and more

For your viewing pleasure and to get your Memorial Weekend off to a rocking start here is the original trailer for Flash Gordon:

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Afro Samurai: Complete Murder Sessions


Afro? Check.

Badass samurai anime? Check.

Samuel L. Jackson's voice? Hell yeah!

June 22nd will see the release of Afro Samurai on Blu-ray for the first time in a two disc complete collection. This new collection will feature all five episodes of the first season along with a director's cut of the film Afro Samurai: Resurrection that features stuff that you didn't see on Spike TV version.

In a classic tale of justice, revenge and honor Afro Samurai is anything but cliche. A blend of traditional samurai lore, fresh beats and more than it's fair share cool. Uniquely animated and with superb voice acting with the likes or the aforementioned Jackson along with Mark Hamill and Lucy Liu it is going to be hard to find something negative to say about the most badass film samurai this side of Toshiro Mifune.

Sharpen up your funkatana with a slew of extras that were included in the individual initial releases:

  • In the Booth, behind the scenes with the voice talent
  • RZA Music Production Tour, the music of Afro Samurai
  • Afro In-Depth, interview with creator Takeshi Okazaki
  • Afro Samurai: East Meets West, a two part look into all of those involved in the creation of the series
  • The Comic-Con Panel Discussion, and much more!

Roger Corman Cult Classics


You interested in such fare as Piranha and Humanoids from the Deep on Blu-ray? Well then Shout! Factory has a double serving for you come August 3rd!

Piranha was released in 1978 and has all of the camp that goes along with that glorious decade of horror cinema. This is the film that inspired the infamous James Cameron sequel and the much anticipated Piranha 3D coming out later this summer.

Extras include:

  • Commentary with Director Joe Dante and Producer Jon Davison
  • Behind the Scenes Footage
  • Making of Piranha Featurette
  • Additional Scenes from the Network Television Version
  • Original Theatrical Trailer, with Commentary

Humanoids from the Deep was the New World World Pictures follow up two years after the success of Piranha. The gore fest flirted with an "X" rating at the time and controversy surrounded the release which had to be heavily edited, but now with this Blu-ray release you can finally see the film as it was made to be seen.

Extras include:

  • Never Before Seen Deleted Scenes
  • Leonard Maltin interview with Roger Corman on the making of Humanoids
  • The Making of Humanoids of the Deep Featurette

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Source: HighDef Disc News

August 3rd has yet another Blu-ray on its slate with the release of Diary of a Wimpy Kid.

The film, based on Jeff Kinney's anthology of popular children's books, follows the trials and tribulations and misadventures of a kid named Greg. It is a look into the crazy, and more often than not hilarious, time trying to survive the first year of middle school.

I remember some awkward times about middle school, but I was fortunate enough to never have been singled out as having the "Cheese Touch", cooties were bad enough ...

No special features have been announced yet but this release will definitely be a 3-Disc combo; Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy and yet to be determined extras.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

3D Gaming


We have 3D movies, now we have 3D porn what did you really think was the next logical step?

In truth 3D gaming has been floating around the past several years but never has really caught on or had the technology really in place to make it affordable, but with the massive 3D typhoon that has hit theaters there has been a significant push into the home market, and Sony wants to lead that charge.

With the release of new 3D Sony Bravia this summer the hardware will be available to make 3D home viewing a reality. Andrew House, president of Sony Entertainment Europe, summed up their hopes best:

"3D is a very exciting technology that has the potential to redefine how people consume their entertainment. More specifically, games are a perfect fit with 3D and I truly believe that it will be games that will lead the way in consumer understanding of how 3D enhances the entertainment experience. Games can be adapted into 3D relatively easily and with this technology we can add depth and make games more immersive than ever."

There are a few games already slated for a 3D upgrade for the PS3 in June including WipEout HD, Super Stardust HD, Pain and a demo of MotorStorm Pacific Rift. I feel it is important to point out that these games are 2D being converted to 3D, which we all know does not make for a good movie experience so I have my reservations.

I will reserve my final judgment until I get to play and actual 3D game made in 3D for a 3D TV set ... man, that is a whole lot of 3D and for that I apologize.

Eye Tracking

Source: Popular Science

All of that head gear to the right is little bit of tech-wizardry import called a HeadCam. Developed in Germany the HeadCam has many possible applications, but how does it work?

There are four cameras built into the HeadCam, two of which are responsible for tracking your eye movements in 3D by following your retinas. Another camera uses that information to provide a zoomed in view of whatever your eyes are currently looking at and the final camera moves in whichever way your eyes move.

Utilizing this technology has practical benefits, such as studying the eyes in general. More advanced possible uses could be for surgeons, or other similar fields, to use the HeadCam as a teaching tool.

What does this technology mean for film?

You may recall the Robert Zemeckis movies such as The Polar Express, Beowulf and most recently A Christmas Carol. All of these films have used a version of the HeadCam to make the eye movements of the animated characters in an attempt to render them as realistic as possible.

While it is not perfect it is technology that has some serious potential both in movies and practically.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

MacGyver: The TV Movies


With all the hoopla over MacGruber it is easy to sweep the source material under the carpet.

To remind you of how badass a guy armed with a paper clip, staple gun and that foil that covers that stick of gum can be CBS Home Entertainment is releasing MacGyver: The TV Movies that followed the shows finale in 1994 in a DVD double feature.

On June 15th you will get to see a bemulleted Richard Dean Anderson improvise his way through two separate adventures!

First, in The Lost Treasure of Atlantis, MacGyver aids an archaeologist in finding and securing the treasure of the legendary lost city of Atlantis. The second and final MacGyver adventure, Trail of Doomsday, follows our hero when while investigating the death of a close friend unravels a worldwide conspiracy that puts his problem solving skills to the ultimate test.

I have fond memories of MacGyver, it was one of the few TV shows I can remember my dad ever watching when I was a kid. It may have led to my compulsion for making bomb defusing kits out of toothpicks and duct tape. We didn't have money for brand name tools like this:

Survival of the Dead: Ultimate Undead Edition

Source: High-Def Digest

Zombie movie auteur George A. Romero is at it again with his sixth installment in the genre that he mastered. Be sure you keep your brains protected and be prepared for Survival of the Dead: Ultimate Undead Edition which will be available August 24th on Blu-ray.

Survival of the Dead is about what you should expect it to be, plenty of zombies and power hungry humans trying to get a leg up on those around them. Hilarity ensues, is hilarity the right word?

While this release comes with the words "Ultimate Edition" there is no word on what makes it so special in the way of extras. If you can survive the Zombocalypse long enough details and official cover art should be on the way.

JoBlo's own Jim Law shared his thoughts on Survival of the Dead over on the JoBlo Podcast if you are looking for a brutally honest opinion.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Amazon lets you choose the Blu!


Pick your treasure! is leaving it up to us to decide what will be included in the Blu-ray Gold Box June 7-11. The Gold Box is one of the best deals around and this is the first time that we, the consumer, have had options.

So if you have an Amazon account it is time to perform your civic duty as a lover of Blu-ray and cast a vote. Think hard and then pick the bundle of Blu-rays that you would want to see in that sweet Gold Box come June and if enough people agree with you it will happen!

Here are the choices, and I don't think the decision will be an easy one:

  • The Ultimate Matrix Collection (All 3 Films plus The Animatrix)
  • Band of Brothers with The Pacific: Part One
  • The BBC High Definition Natural History Collection: Planet Earth, Wild China, Galapagos and Ganges
  • The Universe Seasons 1-3
  • Star Trek Motion Picture Collection: Includes first 6 feature films with a 70 minute roundtable discussion with original cast members called The Captain's Summit

Start figuring out what you will go with, I expect it to take the next couple of weeks for you to reach a conclusion!

Charlie's Angels


"Good morning, Angels."

This summer will see everybody's favorite threesome of ass kicking babes get a Blu-ray release.

That's right! On August 3rd the 2000 remake of the classic Charlie's Angels TV show will be on Blu-ray. The movie is an awesome compilation of humor, action and eye candy and what more can one ask for in their entertainment?

If you said acting then you got it. The titular characters are played by Drew Barrymore, Lucy Liu and Cameron Diaz and they find some comedic relief in their handler Bosley played by the ever welcomed Bill Murray. But any good action movie worth it's ungodly pyrotechnic bill has to have a good villain and Sam Rockwell obliges with a devious performance.

The Blu-ray release comes fully loaded with a bevy of bonus features which include:

  • Director and Cinematographer Commentaries
  • Getting G'd Up
  • Welcome to Angel World
  • Angelic Effects
  • Deleted and Extended Scenes
  • Music Videos
  • Blooper Reel
  • BD-Live

No official cover art yet, so just be content to admire my personal favorite Angel for a while, the eternal beauty Farrah Fawcett, you're welcome!

RIP Martian Lander

Source: Popular Science

One of the most successful unmanned missions to the Martian surface comes to a close with the end of the the Phoenix lander.

The lander, which essentially went into hibernation for the long Martian winter back in 2008 did not survive intact. As pictures from the Mars Odyssey orbiter proved last week that the solar panels had been damaged by ice buildup.

There was hope for continuing the Phoenix's mission if all had gone smoothly and while it is disappointing to see this conduit of information cease to function it has been invaluable in it's research. One of the most astonishing discoveries of the mission was that of the Martian soil, which is similar to what is found here on Earth and should have the ability to sustain life.

That is cool and all but many (me) deemed completely unsuccessful as it failed to find even one, not even one, little green man.

While scientists continue to study the findings of the Phoenix mission they have already planned for the future. NASA doesn't like to waste time as late next year yet another lander, called Curiosity, will arrive to Mars to set up a small unmanned laboratory on the surface.

The Martian lander is dead, long live the Martian lander.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown!

Source: HighDef Disc News

"I got a rock ..."

Warner Bros is finally getting around to getting some Peanuts on Blu-ray. Announced for a September 7th (The day that will live in infamy, my parents were married ...) release of the Peanuts classic It's the Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown.

The release will be a combination of both a Blu-ray and DVD copy and feature a bonus Peanuts TV special. While no other specs have been really released stay updated, because it is movie with Snoopy and he is awesome.

I don't profess to have any great moves on the dance floor, but I do a mean Peanuts shuffle!

It was only a matter of time ... 3D Porn

Source: Gizmodo

You know the theory about the porn industry and new technology? They say whatever format porno backs usually comes out on top.

It happened in the battle between Betamax and VHS and even played a role in HD DVD versus Blu-ray and now they have entered the third dimension. Which would seem to mean that, for better or worse, 3D isn't going anywhere anytime soon.

The skin-flick, entitled Kama-Sutra, was the first shot using 3D cameras and was not just converted from 2D. Now all you early adapters that have or are planning on having one of them new fangled stereoscopic 3D sets now have something to watch that wasn't made for kids.

All I really have to say is wow. But I guess it was only a matter of time ...

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Google TV

Source: TechCrunch

Love them or love to hate them Google knows how to get things done, and the long awaited unveiling of their newest innovation that they are touting as "TV meets web. Web meets TV."

Google TV promises that with their service you will spend less time searching for videos and more time enjoying them while adding new elements of personalization. This should make watching TV a much more involved experience.

The TV can be hooked up to your existing setup, such as cable and satellite boxes, and the set comes packaged with a keyboard and mouse. Keyboard and mouse not your style? That's cool, especially if you have an Android phone, because Google has made the phone essentially into a remote control. Best news is if you lose the remote somebody can call it, no more missing remotes! This is the kind of innovation Google strives for people!

But wait, there's more!

Want to surf the web? They have Google Chrome pre-installed and ready for you to surf, both web and channel. As well as included software there are a few announced optional Google TV hardware additions as well as partnering up with the likes of Sony and Dish Network for an enhanced viewing experience.

No word yet on if getting a sweet slice of that advertisement pie ($70 billion in the US alone!) played a role in Google hitting the TV market next Fall. And before you start hating on Google, just remember their motto, "Don't be evil."

Burn Notice Season 3 on DVD

Source: MovieWeb

What happens when you are a disavowed agent stuck in Miami? You have a hell of a lot of fun if Burn Notice is to be believed!

The series stars Jeffrey Donavan as Michael Westen; a down on his luck spy who is lucky to have friends, such as the always welcomed Bruce Campbell, in low places along with a femme fatale or two.

The third season is coming to DVD on June 1st in a four disc set that will include all 16 episodes plus a couple of cool extras:

  • Smash, Crash, Boom: Inside the Burn Notice Stunt Unit
  • The Burn Notice 2009 Comic-Con Panel

No word yet if there is a Blu-ray in the works, but the first two seasons did get a Blu-ray release so stay tuned.

Skynet's Coming ...

Source: Technology Review

Don't start looking for John Conner quite yet but technology just got one step closer to becoming self-aware with the creation of a software program that learns by watching. Thanks MIT nerds, you have given the machines the tools necessary for the destruction of humanity.

Could it get worse? Yes it can.

This new software, called KarDo, has been created to help IT support staff in the usual computer related problems. By watching a human solve the problem the program will then be able to replicate the process on across multiple computers and retains the knowledge of the problem for future problems and can use it in order to adept to new challenges.

Does it get any better? Maybe ...

The ultimate goal for Kardo is to "intervene completely automatically" and although the software is still in the infant stage and has not gone through enough testing time will only make it wiser, and more powerful.

I guess now is as good of time as any to move to the Alaskan wilderness and live off the grid. Prepare for the inevitable people, prepare ...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Netflix Hi-Def Streaming

Source: Netflix Blog

Netflix adds yet another service, fast on the heels of their subtitle announcement a couple of weeks ago, with high definition video available for instant streaming on both PC and Mac.

This upgrade includes both episodes of TV shows as well as movies, and is available to those that subscribe at no extra cost. The only catch for this new service is that your computers hardware can handle it along with updated software and sufficient bandwidth. No word yet on if, or when, hi-def videos will be available for instant streaming to other media players such as gaming systems, while that seems to be the next logical step. For those of you that own a Roku box, you have had the capability for some time, it has just been a matter of the content being added for viewing.

Currently Netflix is the only digital rental service with a hi-def option, which is an obvious advantage for them, and while the library of available titles may not yet be extensive it is a solid start.

Now if I can just get my housemates to ease up on the online gaming a bit and I will be able to watch some Deadliest Catch in all of the majesty it deserves.

Best Buy Goes Digital

Source: THR

Best Buy plans to launch a new online service that will allow users to download videos for both rental and to own. The new service, dubbed CinemaNow, will include both movies and television shows streamed right into your home.

Much like other online video services, such as Netflix and iTunes they hope to bring a wide array of content from independent film to classics, and plan on also having new releases available the same day that they are released on DVD and Blu-ray.

CinemaNow will be built in to various devices sold at Best Buy retailers. Right now it is planned to be included in all Blu-ray players and compatible TVs as well available straight to your computer.

You now have yet another option for your video downloading, and you have Best Buy to thank for it.

Yes that is Christina Aguilera, deal with it.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (BD)

Source: The Digital Bits

Director Ang Lee's martial arts epic is getting an updated Blu-ray release on July 27th.

The film, featuring memorable fight scenes performed by the likes of Chow Yun-Fat and Michelle Yeoh as well as winning four Academy Awards, is a destined to be a classic and now has supplemental features to add to the experience.

This release will have all of the special features from the first Blu-ray release including some new material:

  • Commentary with Ang Leeand James Schamus
  • Unleashing the Dragon: The Making of Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
  • A Conversation with Michelle Yeoh
  • Commentary with Cinematographer Peter Pau (New!)

This new release will feature improved audio quality with TrueHD 5.1 surround sound instead the previous Dolby Digital 5.1 setup in the last release.

Family Vacation in 3D?


Now I never specifically went on the quintessential family vacation to the Grand Canyon, but I did go on many road trips with my family as a kid. (Un)Fortunately nothing as ridiculous as National Lampoon occurred, but they had their ups, downs and all arounds.

Now with the June release of Grand Canyon Adventure: River At Risk loading up the station wagon and hitting the road, as nostalgic as it is, may be a thing of the past since the German film studio Imagion has filmed a 3D Grand Canyon experience using IMAX 3D cameras. The Blu-ray itself will feature 3D menus as well as a 3D BD live application.

While this nature documentary is narrated by an American, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., it is only available in Europe for the time being. Nature documentaries on Blu-ray are amazing. I have always said the BBC series Planet Earth is crack for my eyes, and one featuring the Grand Canyon could be both majestic and badass and it doesn't hurt that it was shot in IMAX 3D.

Would you buy a 3D Blu-ray nature documentary? It sounds kind of like a niche market, but I think I would watch the Blu-ray over walking on the Grand Canyon Skywalk, that scares the hell out of me!

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dexter Season 4


"I've lived in darkness a long time. Over the years my eyes adjusted until the dark became my world and I could see ..."

August 17th will see the latest adventures of everyone’s favorite serial killer/loving father/blood spatter expert Dexter released on DVD and Blu-ray.

The fourth season of the Showtime series, starring Michael C. Hall as the titular character Dexter and featuring John Lithgow as the mysterious Trinity Killer, pits two prolific serial killers against each other in a battle of wits and fortitude. When these two play murder and malice are always on the menu.

No special features have been announced as of yet, but it has been announced that there will be a packaged collection of seasons 1-4 released on the same day for those of you that have put off adding Dexter to your collection until now.

Pirate Bay Shut Down?


Let me start by saying that I have always been that guy. The one who legitimately buys all of his music and movies, but that isn't to say that there hasn't been a time where I have been tempted to just download some of my entertainment for the always welcomed price of free, and for as long as I can remember Pirate Bay has been there tempting me.

But that is one mans private battle, the news today may affect a few more of you.

Pirate Bay, the torrent host site that has been repeatedly attacked by Hollywood for years, is currently offline. The site that put countless files at your fingertips for free has been on the forefront of a long and ugly battle about media piracy and copyright infringement for years.

Last year the operators of Pirate Bay were found guilty of copyright infringement by a Swedish court and were sentenced to jail time and responsible for paying $3.6 million in damages. The money was meant to assuage copyright holders, such as movie studios, and put a dent on what was ruled as illegal activity on the Pirate Bay site.

The fact that Pirate Bay is technically a Swedish website has allowed it to continue operating for so long, through something of a loophole, with little legal ramifications up until recently. The latest attempt to end what Hollywood feels is clearly copyright infringement has effectively shut down The Pirate Bay's operation. This was done by filing a successful injunction against The Pirate Bays bandwidth provider Hollywood, and other copyright holders who have felt their rights infringed, have a victory ... if only temporarily.

Man, this is kind of an ugly article and for that I apologize. So to lighten up the mood here is a classic scene from Amazon Women on the Moon:

The topic of piracy is pretty volatile, and I expect that there are a large range of opinions from you guys, so feel free to make you opinion known below!

UPDATE: The Pirate Bay is back up and running again, figured as much, proving how hard it is for even powerful interests such as Hollywood to shot down copyright infringers. It really comes down to an issue of support, a lot of people dish out a lot of money for their entertainment while many people at the same time look for their fix for free. As long as there are users sites like this will exist, for better or worse.

Octagon Streams to Roku

Source: Home Media Magazine

Mixed martial arts is badass, don't let the picture to the right fool (or offend, because I don't want the ever living snot beat outta me) you.

Good news today for all of you fans of UFC, you now have another option for viewing mixed martial arts madness: Roku.

In a multi-year deal between Roku and the Ultimate Fighting Championship honchos every major pay-per-view event will be available for streaming. The first event to take advantage of this deal is UFC 114 and it will occur May 29th in something of a grudge match between Quinton "Rampage" Jackson and "Suga" Rashad Evans.

If you have a Roku box and want to see a preview of what the new B.A. Baracus (Jackson) will look like in the new A-Team movie you can check it out details about the UFC 114 and further information on this new partnership here.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Are you smarter than Tony Stark?

Source: ThinkGeek

One of my favorite fight scenes from Iron Man 2 involved Tony Stark versus a novel desk decoration. The decoration won.

Now the fine people over at ThinkGeek have made it possible for you to relive the action with their release of "Swinging Stick Kinetic Energy Sculpture". This desk ornament will surely make you the envy of your coworkers, if not slowly driving you insane with its constant spinning and spinning and spinning and -

Where was I?

Oh yeah; Swinging Stick Kinetic Energy Sculpture. If you think you got what it takes to beat Iron Man in a battle of wits head on over to ThinkGeek and start ogling. With a price tag worthy of Tony Stark ($239.99!) this fine piece of art is to rich for my blood, but man does it look cool or what!

Happy Birthday Laser


Today, May 14th, is the 50th anniversary of the creation of the Light Amplified by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (or laser, to the cool kids). And for the past half century it has been one of the most versatile tools of the modern world.

Think about it, without the laser what would we be doing?

Answer: Living in a Dark Age; watching VHS and listening to your cassette tapes while still having to constantly shave unwanted hair from certain parts of your anatomy. Worst or all; never being able to experience the joy and wonderment of a Laser Floyd show!

From medical advancements to being an integral part of the entertainment industry I would imagine that it would be hard to go one day without encountering some form of laser technology. And while we may not have a Death Star grade laser beam quite yet just imagine how far this simple beam of concentrated light has come in 50 years, then look 50 years into the future ...

Now go get a change of pants.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hulu Adds New Features

Source: Hulu Blog

Hulu has just announced some new features that should make streaming your TV shows and flicks a little more convenient and enjoyable. These new tools allow more customization by the viewer and an in general more streamlined viewing experience.

There are several new features; here are some of the highlights:

  • Adaptive Bit-rate Streaming: This optional feature will allow for the video quality to be adjusted based on the individual users available bandwidth. This should significantly cut down on buffering times, and compensate for any connection problems by smoothing out the video playback.
  • Ad Volume Normalization: We've all been there, watching our show at the appropriate volume and then -BAM!- extra loud commercial comes out of no where! This welcomed new feature will automatically balance out the volume on the commercials, so you can ignore them in peace.
  • Seek Preview: Now when you hold your cursor over any point in the timeline of the video a thumbnail will appear allowing you to see exactly what is happening at that point in the video. This will make it a lot easier to find certain scenes or pick up from where you left off.
  • A Bigger, Sleeker Player: The video dimensions are now 25% larger and all of the buttons only appear now when you mouse scrolls across them. This change is both larger and less distracting then the previous format and looks pretty slick too.

For details on the rest of the features check out the official Hulu blog and be sure to try out the new features when you get a chance. I plan on catching up on my 24 as soon as I am done here.

Forbidden Planet Blu-ray Details

Source: The Digital Bits

For the first time in all of it's 1950's pulpy goodness Fred W. Wilcox's sci-fi classic Forbidden Planet is getting a deserved Blu-ray face lift. Based on Shakespeare's The Tempest the plot revolves around the mysteries happenings at a remote space outpost and an intrepid crew attempts to solve the mystery.

So on September 7th you will have the ability to see a dashing young Leslie Nielson and his robotic sidekick Robbie battle some mysterious extraterrestrial entity. This copy of the essential classic would not complete without some special features to accompany it.

Extras Include:

  • Deleted Scenes and Lost Footage
  • Robby the Robot Guest Appearances on TV
  • TCM Documentary: Watch the Skies! The 1950's and the US
  • Featurettes: Amazing! Exploring the Far Reaches of Forbidden Planet and Robby the Robot: Engineering a Sci-Fi Icon
  • Theatrical Trailers and more!

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Youtube: Broadcast Yourself ... Privately


Youtube has just added another choice for video posters that will ensure a new level of privacy.

Previously there were only two privacy settings that could be chosen; either the video was public and out there for the whole wide world to see or it was only viewable privately by selected Youtube users. Not exactly a lot of grey area in who could and could not see your videos.

Well, now there is a third option that allows the video poster to post videos that can only been seen if they input the specific URL. The actual video itself would remain unlisted and invisible to the casual Youtube browser looking for that clip of the pelvic thrusting Stormtrooper, you know the one.

I find it kind of surprising that this feature didn't exist before; it seems so obvious a tool. Although I don't see what is to stop people from sharing the link information, so the uploader should probably still show discretion in who they share the link with as that person could just pass it along to the next person. I suppose the idea is to make the video more exclusive and not necessarily completely private.

Wal-Mart Father's Day Blu-ray Sale


Everybody's favorite mega-store is having an online Blu-ray sale in honor of Father's Day. So do what I am going to do; let that special old guy in your life know you care by buying him a movie and pocketing the other two!

Here's the skinny; you have two lists of Blu-rays to choose from, one is 3 movies for $45 and the other is 3 movies for $30. There seems to be some overlap between the two lists, for whatever reason, so it will be up to you to come up with Blu-ray combinations at the best price.

For the $45 bunch you can pick 3 movies from a list of 48. Some of the highlights of the list include:

  • Avatar
  • Troy (Unrated Director's Cut)
  • The Karate Kid (Parts I and II)
  • Fight Club
  • Crazy Heart
  • Raging Bull
  • The Departed
  • Family Guy: Something, Something, Something Dark Side
  • Plus 40 more!

The 3 for $30 deal includes 58 titles to choose from. There are some great Blu-rays in this list as well, including:

  • 30 Days of Night
  • Dog Day Afternoon
  • Hancock
  • Kiss Kiss Bang Bang
  • Men in Black
  • The Last Samurai
  • Pan's Labyrinth
  • The Replacement Killers
  • Plus 50 more!

No official end date listed on the Wal-Mart site but it would be safe to assume June 22nd, as that is Father's Day, will be the deadline for the sale. That gives you a little over a month to decide on your optimal Blu-ray bundles.

So hurry this may not be an easy decision with all of the choices available!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Saving Private Ryan Blu-ray release has problems!

Source: The Digital Bits

Those of you who have already picked up your copy of Saving Private Ryan last week on Blu-ray might have a little problem on your hands.

Apparently there is a audio-sync issues around the Chapter 15 mark. So as you sit there expecting to watch some of the finest WWII action to be committed to film you might get what looks like a bad English dubbing job that belongs in an old Kung-Fu flick instead.

Don't go storm the beaches (Link NSFW ... European beaches, you know.) quite yet, however, as Paramount Studios seems to be working on the issue, and Amazon pulled the Blu-ray down from its site for now until this problem is fixed. The studio is working on a solution for the problem, and for the many who enthusiastically already got their hands on Saving Private Ryan some kind of replacement plan is in the works.

Update: Paramount has officially confirmed the audio-sync problem, and has pushed back the foreign releases until the issue is resolved. The studio has concluded that there was a quality control problem at Technicolor and they are working on resolving the issue.

Those of you that have the flawed discs can either return the disc to the retailer that you purchased it from or for more information contact Technicolor directly call 888-370-8621 for US and Canada. The replacement Blu-ray discs are expected to be on retailers shelves by May 18th.