Joss Whedon is a master of the art of juggling. During the shooting of The Avengers he somehow managed to brilliantly cobble together his adaptation of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing. And now, during the early shooting days of Avengers sequel Age of Ultron he’s putting out another micro-budget movie under his Bellwether Pictures banner.
Whedon wrote supernatural love story In Your Eyes starring Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David, but this time he handed the reigns to director Brin Hill. After the film premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival this month, a special video announcement starring Joss from the set of Avengers 2 revealed that the movie would be made available to the masses immediately on the Internet. For 5 bucks you can rent In Your Eyes on Vimeo today. It’s a groundbreaking movie from a massive Hollywood director; typically it takes time for these smaller budgeted movies to get picked up and dropped into theatres after premiering at festivals. But Joss, creator and disseminator of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog, knows better.
Watch a trailer for In Your Eyes and see Joss’ video announcement from the TFF after the break. READ MORE Joss Whedon releases latest project ‘In Your Eyes’ to the ‘Net for $5
In September of last year Graham Lineham released the final episode of his cult comedy The IT Crowd in the UK dubbed, “The Internet Is Coming.” A month later the 50-minute special leaked into the U.S. on sites like YouTube. Said leaks were pulled from the ‘Net and finding a legal way to watch the anticipated episode was tough until today. IT Crowders can now legally stream and enjoy the ep on Hulu. So what are you waiting for? Your favorite IT basement dwellers Roy, Moss, and Jen are waiting! Is the stream not working? Have you tried turning your computer off and on again?
We made it. Seven years after it was cancelled and banished from network TV, cult comedy Arrested Development is not making a huge mistake by coming back for another season consisting of 15 brand new episodes. All of them will be made available for streaming on Netflix at once when the clock strikes midnight (PT) / 3AM (ET) on Sunday, May 26. Creator Mitch Hurwitz recommends you watch the episodes in order, at least during your initial binge marathon. Each installment intentionally follows a single member of the Bluth clan but don’t fret–characters will weave in and out of other characters’ storylines and the entire bunch will congregate at least twice over the course of the season. Other things to look out for: you will witness the same scenes multiple times but they will play out differently and you will learn more context each time because they will be told from different character perspectives; also, these episodes serve as one giant setup for more AD in the future, whether it’s another season or the long dreamed about feature film.
Relive the journey of Arrested‘s anticipated comeback here. After the break, watch four teaser clips taken from the new batch; G.O.B., Lucille, Maeby, Lindsay, bees and an ostrich are all involved.
Ladies and gentleman, it’s the final countdown. Grab some bananas and blue paint and let’s (almost) break Netflix!
Update: AD creator Mitch Hurwitz (a man who obviously knows to always leave a note) posted to Facebook a picture of a handwritten letter made out to “friends, fans, supporters, detractors, haters, enemies, and arch enemies.” In it he acknowledges everyone who supports the show and he is thankful for the opportunity to bring these characters back to life. The note is posted in full after the break. READ MORE TV reminder: ‘Arrested Development’ premieres this Sunday with 15 new episodes on Netflix
Following Lillyhammer and House of Cards, Netflix’s next foray into original programming is here. Hemlock Grove, from Eli Roth (Hostel) and based on Brian McGreevy’s 2012 novel of the same name, is a horror mystery series involving murder and monsters. On April 19 all thirteen episodes were made available on Netflix and if you’re a subscriber you can binge-watch ’em all at anytime. Eye the freakishly awesome poster above, and then get a taste of what’s in store with a red-band trailer, a teaser, and arguably the most “realistic” looking werwolf transformation sequence you have ever seen. READ MORE ‘Hemlock Grove’ is now available to stream on Netflix
The anticipated Netflix original series House of Cards from David Fincher and Kevin Spacey is now available to stream on Netflix. “This wicked political drama starring Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright and Kate Mara slithers beneath the curtain and through the back halls of greed, sex, love and corruption in modern Washington D.C.,” reads a press release. All 13 episodes (the first two directed by Fincher) are available to stream today.
In a surprise, bold move Netflix is offering up the first episode free for anyone to watch. “The creative team in front of and behind the camera have delivered a riveting 13-chapter narrative that we’re proud to present to Netflix members today,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “By offering the first episode for free, including to non-members, we are opening up this fascinating world for everyone to see and are confident they’ll want more.” An intriguing move by the company; get hooked after watching the first episode and you’re only option is to become a paid subscriber to see the rest. One wonders if they’ll do the same when Arrested Development comes around this spring?
Watch the first episode of House of Cards at Netflix.
On Tuesday Microsoft launched three new video apps on Xbox 360: HBO GO, Comcast Xfinity TV, and MLB.tv. All three apps require that you be a subscriber to each of their respective services, obviously. With HBO GO, Xbox owners can now access every episode of every season of HBO’s most popular programming like Game of Thrones and The Sopranos. If you’re a Comcast subscriber, you can now view on-demand content via your console. And MLB.tv gives sports fans yet another way to stream live every out-of-market regular season game in HD with features like split-screen, a mini guide, and a personalized My Teams page. These apps come baked with Kinect integration, meaning you can put the controller down and use gestures and your voice to control the menus and playback. If you’ve got an Xbox 360, turn it on and download these video apps for free today. Game of Thrones returns to HBO for a second season tomorrow night, so this just might be the best way to catch up quick.
In related news, Microsoft’s Yusuf Mehdi told the LA Times that Xbox owners are spending more time with the “video game” console to watch video and listen to music than play games. “What we’re seeing is that people are turning on the Xbox to play games and then keeping it on afterwards to get other types of entertainment,” he said. With Netflix, Hulu, ESPN, Verizon FIOS and now HBO GO, Xfinity TV, and MLB.tv, the term “video game console” is starting to get blurry as “entertainment hub” starts to come into view, at least in regards to Microsoft’s Xbox brand.
Jump after the break to watch the new video apps in action.
[Via MajorNelson] READ MORE Xbxo 360’s video selection grows with HBO GO, Comcast Xfinity TV, and MLB.tv
On Wednesday Google stripped the “b” word from Music Beta by Google and transitioned Google Music into a one-stop shop for uploading, purchasing, and sharing music. Like Music Beta, Google Music will allow users to upload up to 20,000 songs to the cloud for free. The music.google.com portal still exists and looks nearly identical to its beta version. Users can upload their music to the cloud by clicking the “Upload Music” link in the top right corner; this will prompt you to open the Music Manager software, just like before. What’s new, however, is the link “Shop.” That’s right, Google is ready to go head-to-head with Apple and Amazon by selling songs directly to users. The Android Market has a new section called Music living among Apps, Books, and Movies. At this new Music store users can browse, preview, and purchase individual tracks and albums. Google has worked out deals with three of the four major labels–Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and EMI–and many independent labels to offer over 13 million tracks. Google has yet to partner with Warner Music Group, and the absence of their inclusion stings a bit. To ease the pain, they are offering exclusive content from some of the most popular artists like Coldplay, The Rolling Stones, and Dave Matthews Band. Free tracks and live concert albums are currently in the mix from a handful of artists. When you download music from the Android Market, the tracks automatically fly into the cloud and populate your Google Music library on your computer and mobile devices. If you have an Android device running 2.2 or higher the Music section of the Market is rolling out to you soon and you’ll be able to download tracks on the go. The Google Music app has already received an update and can be downloaded at the Market today. After downloading music from the store, Google lets you share your purchase with your Circles on Google+. When your friends see a track or album shared on their stream, they have the option to listen to your music once in its entirety! Next there’s the Google Music Artist Hub. The kind folks at Google are giving independent artists a means to upload their music to the Android Market. If you have the rights to distribute music, Google has built a simple interface to create your own artist page, upload original tracks, set prices, and sell content directly to customers. Indie artists keep 70 percent of the profits and Google gets the remaining 30. If this tickles your fancy, visit the Artist Hub to get started. Last, the G-Men have released a Google Music app for Google TV. It’ll let you can access your music library right on the TV.
And just like that, Google has set itself up to become a formidable contender in the music space. Video after the break.
[Via Google 1, 2] READ MORE Google Music comes out of beta, Music store gets added to Android Market
A mere three weeks after Netflix CEO Reed Hastings apologized for his “arrogance” concerning the lack of communication behind the the Netflix price hike, he is reaching out to subscribers yet again to backtrack plans to separate the company’s DVD-by-mail and streaming services under different brands: Qwikster and Netflix, respectively. In a brief blog entry on Monday, Hastings informed everyone:
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. This means no change: one website, one account, one password… in other words, no Qwikster.
This time, in a thinly veiled apology, Hastings shared this in a press release (fortunately he does not star in a YouTube video this time): “Consumers value the simplicity Netflix has always offered and we respect that. There is a difference between moving quickly — which Netflix has done very well for years — and moving too fast, which is what we did in this case.”
Hastings originally came up with the idea for Qwikster because he believed that separating the two services would help the company innovate faster. Though such a move might benefit the company internally, I had concluded that it would receive negative backlash from subscribers. Two separate URLs and accounts would surely confuse people and in the long run it would likely drive users away. Thankfully Hastings took some time to rethink his plans for the company and Qwikster is no more. Simplicity continues to reign under one brand, Netflix…for now.
On Sunday Netflix CEO Reed Hastings posted an apologetic blog entry on the official Netflix Blog and uploaded a similarly themed video to the company’s YouTube channel to announced some big changes. First and foremost, in the coming weeks Netflix will be split into two separate entities: Netflix is being kept for streaming, and the new brand Qwikster will incorporate the DVD-by-mail service. Additionally, subscribers will be able to rent video games (Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and Wii) from Qwikster; this will be available as an upgrade option at an additional charge, just like how the Blu-ray upgrade is handled.
So why is all this change happening? Hastings blames his own “arrogance” on it all. He believes that his lack of communication with customers before, during, and after the recent price hike is to blame for the negative backlash the company has witnessed from subscriber outrage, cancellations, and the plummeting of their stock on Wall Street. According to Hastings, the decision had to be made: “So we realized that streaming and DVD by mail are becoming two quite different businesses, with very different cost structures, different benefits that need to be marketed differently, and we need to let each grow and operate independently.”
Though the decision to break up Netflix into two pieces might make sense for the company, there really aren’t any benefits for the customer that I can think of. Netflix and Qwikster will each have their own domains and they will not communicate with one another. This means that queues and ratings will not carry over from one service to the other. That’s a major bummer. Every time you want to change billing information or your password, these things will have to been done twice since the two services are totally separate. All of these extra steps on the consumer end of things is going to make matters worse (read: not better) for subscribers. I get that Hastings thinks that by separating streaming and DVD-by-mail will help the company innovate faster, but in the long-run I cannot see this shift in branding working at all. And isn’t that name just plain stupid…Qwikster, ugh. Reminds us of failed Internet ventures like Friendster and Napster. Is the introduction of Qwikster a step in the wrong direction for Netflix? Time will tell, sooner rather than later I bet. It’s funny. Hastings admits that “DVD by mail may not last forever but we want it to last as long as possible.” This move to disintegrate DVD and streaming services, I think, will speed up that process leading to the demise of physical rentals.
Other tidbits to come out of the announcement… Hastings claims, “There are no pricing changes (we’re done with that!). Members who subscribe to both services will have two entries on their credit card statements, one for Qwikster and one for Netflix.” …Andy Rendich, the man in charge of DVD-by-mail for the last four years (he’s been with the company for twelve years), has been appointed CEO of Qwikster. …The DVDs will continue to ship in ” that distinctive red” envelope but branded with the Qwikster logo. …Hastings hints that, “The additional streaming content we have coming in the next few months is substantial.” (Good news there!) Watch Hastings’ video titled “An explanation and some reflections” after the break.
[Via Netflix] READ MORE Netflix splits in two: Netflix for streaming, Qwikster for DVD-by-mail
Hey you Google Music Beta-er. Got an iPhone and feeling left out? Be jealous of your Android-wielding friends no more! Google has brought its music locker service (still in beta, still requires an invite) to iOS devices in web app form. Sure it’s not a full-fledged app that Android users have been privy to for months now, but it gets the job done. On your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch simply point Safari to music.google.com you’ll arrive at the new portal that’ll grant you access to your Music Beta song library on-the-go. Use your finger to swipe left and right and scrub through categories like Artists, Albums, Songs, Playlists, and Genres. Cheers!
Netflix is officially available on Nintendo latest handheld device, the 3DS. As long as you are signed up with streaming plan (starting at $7.99/month) you can stream content from Netflix directly to the 3D-capable handheld. I know what you’re pondering: does any of the Netflix content take advantage of the 3D capability? At the moment, no. But the press release (pasted after the break) is promising. It hints, “Users will soon have access to an additional library of select movies that can be viewed in 3D without the need for special glasses.” Unfortunately I do not think this future update involves Netflix, however. Back in March Ninty mentioned that a short-form video service was on the way; it is described as a 3D video channel that will act as a gateway to 3D produced content like movie trailers, music videos, and comedy shorts. Perhaps that is what the PR is referring to. But for now, if you’ve got a 3DS go ahead and enjoy Netflix content in classic 2D. The app is now available to download for free in the Nintendo eShop.
[Via Nintendo] READ MORE Netflix comes to Nintendo 3DS
Yesterday and today Google hosted its renowned developer’s conference dubbed Google I/O 2011. Literally thousands of developers flocked to San Fransisco’s Moscone Center to find out what Google’s been cooking up on their end. This year’s event proved to be leaps and bounds more exciting than last year’s conference. Google introduced their new cloud-based music service called Music Beta; they unveiled Ice Cream Sandwich, the next version of Android that promises to bridge the gap between Gingerbread and Honeycomb; Android is going into the home automation business with Google’s impressive initiative Android@Home; Chrome OS is finally ready for the big leagues–Samsung and Acer are prepping Chromebooks for mass consumption; and Angry Birds has landed in the browser!
So much to discuss–it’s all a hop, skip and a jump after the break. READ MORE Google I/O 2011: Music Beta, Android Ice Cream Sandwich, Android@Home, Chrome OS, Chrome Web Store