Matt Smith leaving Doctor Who

BBC News – Matt Smith to leave Doctor Who at the end of year:

After four years as the Time Lord on the BBC One show, viewers will see Smith’s Doctor regenerate in the 2013 Christmas special.

Smith first stepped into the Tardis as the 11th Doctor in 2010. Taking over from David Tennant, he was the youngest actor to play the role.

I started watching Doctor Who after Matt Smith became the Doctor, but I started watching with Tennant’s episodes (I later went back and started from the beginning of the reboot). While I’m going to miss Smith’s quirkiness, I’m hoping that whoever comes in as the 12th is a bit more capable of pulling off the serious aspects of the character. 

Also: can we please just drop Clara too?

Barely anyone is pirating Arrested Development

Few People Are Pirating ‘Arrested Development’ Because Netflix Is Affordable Enough Already:

People love “Arrested Development” so much they’re actually willing to pay for it. Around 100,000 people illegally downloaded the show’s season 4 in the first 14 hours that it appeared on Netflix. Believe it or not, that number is nothing compared to the season premieres of other TV shows, and that likely has to do with the fact that “Arrested Development” was easily and inexpensively available online through the popular streaming-video service.

“Game Of Thrones,” HBO’s beloved fantasy drama, broke BitTorrent’s record with over 1 million downloads in the first 24 hours after the third season began airing in March.

Let people access your content at an affordable price and they’ll actually pay for it. Go figure.

Most smart-TV owners do not connect their TVs to the Internet

Most smart-TV owners do not connect their TVs to the Internet: manufacturers must respond:

Although CE manufacturers and their distribution channels, particularly retailers, have been successful in getting smart TVs into consumers’ homes, they haven’t done so well when it comes to getting consumers to actually use the ‘smart’ functionality within the sets. Overall, fewer than half of smart-TV owners in the panel reported that they had connected their TVs to the Internet.

I’ll give you a second to guess which demographic doesn’t hook up their TVs to the web.

Guessed yet? Fine, be that way.

Old people. 

You could go to jail for a year for sharing HBO Go passwords

Even New York Times Is Oblivious To Fact That Sharing ‘HBO Go’ Passwords To Watch ‘Game Of Thrones’ Breaks Law – Forbes:

It was left then to Mike Masnick at TechDirt to point out that Wortham had admitted to violating federal laws, including the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (or CFAA) which has been the target of heated debate given its use in the controversial prosecutions of AT&T iPad hacker Andrew “weev” Auernheimer and public document hacker Aaron Swartz. The CFAA makes it a crime “to obtain without authorization information from a protected computer.” It’s a misdemeanor with a maximum one-year prison sentence. What Wortham describes is unauthorized access, in that it violates the companies’ terms of service.

“[I]f someone is violating Netflix or HBO Go’s TOS to stream they are guilty of a misdemeanor CFAA right off the bat,” says Hanni Fakhoury of the EFF. And if the worth of the stolen information or damage caused in its procurement reaches $5,000 (that’s a lot of HBO episodes!), it could be a felony with multiple potential years of prison time.

It’s awesome how media companies have paid lawmakers to make so many laws that go against common sense.

Netflix CEO teases potential fifth season of Arrested Development

Netflix Ups Investment in New Shows, Teases More Arrested Development:

If you’re wondering how Netflix plans to follow up the success of its original programming like the fourth season of Arrested Development, the answer appears to be “more of the same” — including a tease for a possible fifth season of the Bluth family comedy. But the news isn’t as positive for fans of Firefly and other long-lost cult favorite shows looking for resurrection.

I haven’t gotten very far into the new season of Arrested Development, but I have heard quite a bit about the new format –  from fans and people who’ve been turned off by it alike. It’s not the show we all remember, and there doesn’t seem to be a consensus on whether or not that’s a good thing.

With that said, the show is still damn funny. I’d love to see Netflix give the creative people behind the show another season’s worth of episodes to experiment with.

I was sad to see this though:

He added that fans shouldn’t expect to see any new episodes of other beloved-but-cancelled shows like Joss Whedon’s fan-favorite space western Firefly, since its current audience would be “fewer than the 6 million who watched it [on Fox in 2002].”

It’s unfortunate, but if anyone would have the data to back up such a decision, it’s Netflix.

Contra: Evolution Launches on North American App Store

contraevo

Though originally only available on the Chinese App Store, Contra: Evolution, an HD remake of the original game, is now available for $0.99 on the North American App Store.

Details from TouchArcade:

I’ve only given it a short go, but it’s pretty much what I hoped it would be: a revamped Contra. The two original action heroes Lance and Bill make their return, but there’s two new female characters to play as too. The remade visuals look nice too, though it does feel like it’s lost some of its charm over the original graphics.

Something that might be a point of concern is the addition of a dual-currency and IAP system into Contra: Evolution. So far it appears to be just the “speed things up” variety, and all the different weapons look like they can just be bought through playing the game, leveling up, and earning the currency. Time will tell how this shakes out.

Revamped Contra is nice, but if you’re playing one of the hardest action series in gaming history, tight control is key. I’m a little torn on the idea of touchscreen controls. The IAP sound interesting, though. Having access to a Spread Gun at any time would definitely speed up my NES runs.

Cable TV is socialism that works

Ben Thompson -The Cord-Cutting Fantasy:

The truth is that the current TV system is a great deal for everyone.

Networks earn much more per viewer than would be sustainable under a la carte pricing. Networks are incentivised to create (or in ESPN’s case, buy rights to) great programming; making your content “must-watch” lets you raise your affiliate fees. Viewers get access to multiple channels that are hyper-focused on specific niches. Sure, folks complain about paying for those niches, but only because they don’t realize others are subsidizing their particular interests. Cable companies know the cable TV business, and would prefer to put up with customer disgruntlement over rising prices than become dumb pipes.

A great post that perfectly demonstrates why we don’t simply pick-and-choose our channels from our cable companies: by making us pay for every channel, every network is able to fund the programming we love.

Eliminate used games, lower prices, make more money

Study: Killing Used Games Could Be Profitable, or Suicide | Game|Life | Wired.com:

The study found that if the used game market were to be eliminated and nothing else changed, game publishers’ profits per game would drop by about 10 percent. However, it found that if game publishers were to adjust the prices of new games to optimal levels, they could expect profits per game to rise by about 19 percent.

“We find that the optimal price would be on average about 33% lower than the current price level, if the used game market were eliminated,” said Ishihara in an email. “So roughly speaking, in the US, game prices should go down to about $40.”

I’ve only purchased one game at $60 in recent memory, and that was SimCity (a decision I’d regret if I hadn’t gotten Mass Effect 3 for free – the multiplayer is addicting). At $40, I definitely wouldn’t feel bad about buying a new game every month or two.

Green Ranger Returns for Power Rangers 20th Anniversary

   tommyback

If you grew up with Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers in the 90s, you’ll be happy to hear that Jason David Frank is returning to Power Rangers Mega Force this year for the 20th anniversary series reunion.

TMZ reports that Frank, now an MMA fighter, will be reprising his role as Tommy Oliver, and is currently on location filming in New Zealand. Frank will be appearing as both the Green and White rangers from the original series in an episode that will feature 10 classic rangers, including Patricia Lee (the current voice of Jill Valentine in the Resident Evil series) as the Pink Space Ranger.

Arguably the most popular actor on the show, Frank has worn five separate ranger costumes during his career. For 90s pop culture aficionados, having Frank back on the show for the 20th anniversary is a delightful surprise, and may lend some hype and nostalgia to a genre of Saturday morning entertainment that has become much less relevant in recent years.

Xbox One Will Be Region-Locked

Speaking to Digital Trends, a representative of Microsoft has confirmed that the Xbox One will be region-locked, surprising exactly nobody:

“Similar to the movie and music industry, games must meet country-specific regulatory guidelines before they are cleared for sale,” A rep from Microsoft confirmed to Digital Trends. “We will continue to work with our partners to follow these guidelines with Xbox One.”

The fact that this not-news is news is what’s interesting about this comment. Did anybody really think that after announcing its plans to control the used game market, in addition to mandatory Internet connections and Kinect sensor functionality, that Microsoft would let you play a new Japanese game without buying a Japanese system?

For most North American users, this won’t be a huge issue, as if history is any indication, there won’t be many foreign-developed games worth importing for the next Xbox. The article does point out that not region-locking a system may allow South American gamers to get their content easier, but due to legal issues, it’s probably better if something like this stays region-locked.