Netflix Values HDR Content Over 8K – Has No VR Plans

While Netflix is increasing its output of 4K resolution content, users should not expect the streaming on-demand platform to introduce 8K video any time soon. Instead, the company will be pushing high dynamic range (HDR) content, which increases colour and contrast range in images.

“Something that’s a little bit more out there that we’re really excited about is the notion of HDR or high dynamic range,” Chris Jaffe, Vice President of User Interface Innovation at Netflix said during a media briefing at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona (via CNBC).

“It’s less about packing more pixels on the screen like the move from HD to ultra-HD 4K was, it’s about extending the total range of those pixels … what that means is there’s a much more photo realistic image that you’re watching which is much more representative of the total range that your eye can see when you’re just looking around in real life.”

One visual innovation that Netflix will not be pursuing, though, is virtual reality. “We think there’s a great opportunity for VR in gaming and the gaming space is going to be an interesting place for them to explore it,” Jaffe added. “We don’t see an opportunity right now in the near-term for Netflix and VR, but we do want to watch how great story tellers use this technology, because at the end of the day, what you really see is when consumers really engage with great storytelling there’s a great opportunity and that’s what we really want to see.”

Netflix is aiming to release season one of Marco Polo and season two of Daredevil in HDR later this year.

Daredevil Season 2 Trailer Goes Heavy on The Punisher

Season 2 of Netflix’s Marvel series Daredevil has its first official trailer, and it’s all about The Punisher (The Walking Dead’s Jon Bernthal), though it does tease the arrival of another familiar name in its closing seconds. See for yourself:

“Just when Matt thinks he is bringing order back to the city, new forces are rising in Hell’s Kitchen. Now the Man Without Fear must take on a new adversary in Frank Castle and face an old flame – Elektra Natchios,” the trailer notes read. “Bigger problems emerge when Frank Castle, a man looking for vengeance, is reborn as The Punisher, a man who takes justice into his own hands in Matt’s neighborhood. Meanwhile, Matt must balance his duty to his community as a lawyer and his dangerous life as the Devil of Hell’s Kitchen, facing a life-altering choice that forces him to truly understand what it means to be a hero.”

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, Daredevil showrunner Doug Petrie promised that the new season will be faster-paced, while also playing the relationship between Daredevil and The Punisher as a morality play.

“Viewers watching the show will be rooting for this guy with a gun but we’re also going to force people — the way we force Matt — to second-guess themselves,” Petrie says. “Taking lethal justice into your own hands in America in 2015 is tricky s–t. We have not shied away from the rich complicated reality of Now. If you’ve got a gun and you’re not the police you’re going to incite strong feelings. We’re stirring the pot and we’re aware of the headlines where we live and we’re trying to get people to think.”

Season 2 of Daredevil launches on Netflix on 18th March.

Netflix Announces Marvel’s Jessica Jones Release Date

Netflix has announced that its next Marvel miniseries, Jessica Jones, is hitting its streaming service on 20th November. Jessica Jones is Netflix’s second Marvel series, following the successful Daredevil adaptation earlier this year.

The show is based on the Brian Michael Bendis and Michael Gaydos dark comic Alias – a name already taken on television by JJ Abrams’ spy show, starring Jennifer Garner, who played Electra in the risible 2003 Daredevil movie, starring Ben Affleck. This follows the titular Jessica Jones, a former-superhero-turned-private-investigator who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The Netflix show stars Krysten Ritter of Breaking Bad and Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23 fame as Jessica Jones, and boasts an impressive supporting cast, including Carrie-Anne Moss, Rosario Dawson, crossing over from her role as Claire Temple in Daredevil, and Doctor Who’s David Tennant as “The Purple Man”.

Melissa Rosenburg, writer of a number for the Twilight films and former producer of Dexter, is the showrunner of Jessica Jones. Rosenburg has prior form with comic book adaptations, acting as consulting producer on DC Comics TV show Birds of Prey.

Netflix is producing two more Marvel shows, Iron Fist and Luke Cage, with the two shows interlinking with Daredevil and Jessica Jones for one further show: a small-screen, Avengers-style team-up, The Defenders.

Thank you Empire for providing us with this information.

Real-Life Daredevils: Some Blind People Can Use Echolocation to “See”

A Canadian neuroscientist has demonstrated that blind people can use echolocation to compensate for their absent sight, using sound to determine the proximity, shape, density, and texture of an object, operating in a similar way to Marvel superhero Daredevil. Dr. Mel Goodale, Director of the Brain and Mind Institute at the University of Western Ontario, has been researching echolocation – a sound visualisation technique used by bats and dolphins – in blind people since 2011, and has now proven that certain visually impaired individuals can effectively imitate sight through the echoes produced when the sound of tongue or finger clicks echo off of objects.

“Our experiments show that echolocation is not just a tool to help visually-impaired individuals navigate their environment, but can act as an effective sensory replacement for vision, allowing them to recognize the shape, size, and material properties of objects” Goodale says.

Goodale’s experiments show that when subjects use echolocation, the visual centre of the brain – the part that would ordinarily process information received from the eyes – lights up, meaning that the brain is actually “seeing” its surrounding, constructing images through the echolocation process.

“Remarkably, expert blind echolocators can tell whether something is hard or soft, dense or not, just by listening to the echoes bouncing back from that material” Goodale adds.

‘Losing one sense enhances the others’ may be a myth, but Goodale’s experiments demonstrate that the infinitely complex brain has other ways of compensating for lost senses, and that perception isn’t necessarily confined to its associated sense.

Thank you Gizmodo and EurekAlert for providing us with this information.

Firefox Users Can Now Stream Netflix Without a Plugin

Firefox users will no longer be required to download the Microsoft Silverlight plugin if they are wanting to watch Netflix through their browsers. The newest version of Firefox integrates Adobe Content Decryption Module (CDM), which is needed to stream from Netflix on HTML 5.

For a long time now Mozilla has been anti-DRM due to their open-source philosophy, but it seems now they are bending to the demand of users by including the Adobe Content Decryption Module. They haven’t forgotten their roots though as they also have a non-CDM version of Firefox that users can download if they don’t want any additional DRM in their browsers. This may help Firefox gain some users since there are so many who currently stream Netflix through their browsers. It seems like they are wanting to capitalize on part of that user base that wants to move away from Chrome or another browser. There are millions of Netflix users around the world with more customers joining every day so even gaining a small percentage would help grow the Firefox user base.

Now the only problem for users with Netflix is what to watch and how long they will have to wait for the second season of Daredevil to drop so they can binge watch it in one sitting.

Thank you Engadget for providing us with this information.

Netflix’s Daredevil Now Has Audio Description for the Visually Impaired

Netflix is introducing audio description for the visually impaired and the first show to benefit is, aptly, its new Marvel superhero show Daredevil, the story of a blind man who relies on his acutely tuned hearing to “see” sound.

The move was announced on Tuesday on the Netflix blog, coinciding with the launch of the audio description option, with the promise of more shows and movies to benefit from the service in future:

“At Netflix, we work hard to continually improve the experience for our members when viewing movies and shows on our service, including providing accessibility across devices,” says Tracy Wright, Netflix’s director content operations. “Now we’re expanding our accessibility options by adding audio description on select titles, beginning today with our new critically acclaimed series, Marvel’s Daredevil.”

Audio description is an additional soundtrack that aims to convey visual information that appears on-screen in words for the benefit of those with a visual impairment. Similar services have been rolled out by major television channels over the last six years, including BBC and Channel 4 in the UK, with BBC’s iPlayer becoming the first video-on-demand platform to provide an audio narration track.

Following Daredevil, Netflix plans to extend the service to its other original shows, including House of CardsOrange is the New BlackUnbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Marco Polo. The video streaming company has not set a date for branching out its service, but Tracy Wright, Netflix’s Director of Content Operations, says the company is “actively committed to increasing the number of audio-visual translations for movies and shows in our English-language catalogues.”

Thank you Newsarama for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of Forbes.