Netflix announced a deal Tuesday that will allow the online subscription service to stream movies from Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, and MGM, according to The New York Times. In a deal that Wall Street analysts estimate will cost Netflix $900 million over the course of five years, the company purchased the streaming rights to the three studios’ output from the premium TV network Epix. The deal, which begins Sept. 1, will allow Netflix to add such movies as Iron Man and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button to its “Watch Instantly” library of online titles.
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Office star Rainn Wilson has filed a countersuit against Think Brilliant, a Portland, Ore., company that helped him develop his website, SoulPancake. According to The Oregonian, Wilson is seeking at least $400,000 in damages for fraud and breach of trust. Think Brilliant filed a suit earlier this month claiming Wilson did not properly compensate it for its work and hacked into its database. The company is asking for as much as $11.3 million.
Apple Inc. will hold a press conference at its Silicon Valley headquarters this morning to make an announcement about its latest iPhone model, the iPhone 4, according to the Associated Press. No details about what exactly will be said have been released, but it’s generally understood that the company will respond to the ribbing it has taken after complaints of problems with the smart phone’s antenna have flooded in since the device’s release.
It’s not yet known what actions to company will take to fix the problem or offer compensation to consumers for the issue. Most prominently, Consumer Reports issued a review of the device, saying it couldn’t recommend it because of the problems with reception. “When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side—an easy thing, especially for lefties—the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal,” the publication stated. Apple has yet to comment on the report.
Google has invested over $100 million in the social gaming site Zynga, anonymous sources told TechCrunch and Variety. Zynga, which created FarmVille, FrontierVille, MafiaWars, and other popular Facebook and social networking games, could become a cornerstone of Google Games, a yet-unofficial project. Neither company would comment on the possible investment.
A New York judge ruled yesterday that YouTube and its corporate parent, Google, didn’t infringe Viacom’s copyright when clips from Viacom-owned TV shows were posted on the website, according to BusinessWeek. Last April, Viacom filed a complaint against Google, seeking $1 billion in damages for unlawful use of protected content. But U.S. District Judge Louis Stanton said that, in accordance with the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, YouTube promptly removed the clips after receiving a notice from Viacom. Under the act, service providers aren’t liable for copyright infringement if they take down the offending content when notified.
A Michael Jackson video game that allows users to emulate the singer’s iconic dance moves will be released in time for the holiday season, Ubisoft announced today at E3. The still-untitled game will ship for multiple gaming platforms, including the Nintendo Wii, Sony Playstation 3, and Microsoft Xbox 360. For its controls, the game reportedly takes advantage of each platform’s motion-control systems, like Microsoft’s newly announced motion-detecting camera system Kinect and Sony’s Wii-like Move.
Google has unveiled plans to invade yet another one your electronic devices: your home television. On Thursday, the Internet powerhouse announced that it’ll be integrating its Android cellphone software and Chrome Web browser into select televisions and Blu-ray players, the Los Angeles Times reports. “Video should be consumed on the biggest, best, and brightest screen in the house, and that is a TV,” said Google’s project leader Rishi Chandra. Sony’s Bravia line of televisions will be the first to include Google TV this fall. Example features of Google TV include being able to pull up a NBA game’s box score while watching the action in picture-in-picture mode, or following American Idol Twitter updates while enjoying the show. Users will also be able to pull down a search box, type in (for example) “House,” and be presented with a list of all the House episodes available on USA and Fox, Hulu.com, and Amazon.com.
Amazon.com’s Kindle e-reader is being upgraded, the online retail company has announced, and access to Facebook and Twitter will be among the new enhancements. Coming soon after the release of Apple’s iPad, a prime competitor, the features will be part of a software upgrade downloaded directly to existing devices. Amazon expects all Kindle users to have the upgrade by later this month.
Nintendo announced Tuesday that it’s working on a new handheld system with 3-D capabilities that’s tentatively called the Nintendo 3DS. The system, which will launch in Japan by March 2011, will allow gamers to view 3-D images without the need for special glasses. Although Nintendo hasn’t released details regarding how it’ll achieve this 3-D effect, one possible solution would require placing a film-like screen (called a “parallax barrier”) on top of the actual LCD screen. The parallax barrier would split the LCD’s light so that different patterns are directed to the gamer’s left and right eye, thereby simulating a 3-D image.
Nintendo hasn’t announced when the 3DS will be released in North America, although it’ll presumably be after the initial Japan release. The system is intended to succeed the immensely popular Nintendo DS series, which has sold more than 125 million units worldwide. The 3DS will also be backward compatible with software designed for both the Nintendo DS and DSi. Nintendo plans to fully unveil the 3DS at this year’s E3 gaming convention on June 15.
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