Ripping CDs and DVDs Will Remain Illegal in The UK

The UK’s legal system has struggled to keep up to date with technological advancements and enact copyright laws designed for the digital age. For example, up until year last, it was illegal to rip content from optical media and create a backup. This is completely absurd when you consider how popular streaming devices are and the slow demise of physical media. Thankfully, the UK parliament repealed this ridiculous law in 2014 and made it legal to create digital backups. However, a few months ago, the High court made a ruling and deemed the repealed 2014 act act as illegal.

Earlier indications suggested this ruling could be overturned with an appeal from the government. Sadly, this isn’t the case and the UK government has accepted this particular decision. A spokesperson for the Intellectual Property Office (IPO) told Out-Law:

The government is currently focusing its resources on the upcoming European copyright reforms, and does not intend to take further action on private copying at this time.”

While it’s still illegal to rip content from optical media, this isn’t going to stop anyone from engaging in this activity. Furthermore, it does seem pointless due to the popularity of digital content and streaming. There are some individuals who prefer optical media but this is becoming more of a niche audience. On the other hand,  the notion you cannot make a digital backup of something you purchased legitimately is laughable.

Vin Diesel Announces Riddick Sequel Plans

Bounty Hunters, Unlikely Heroes, Escaping from Jails and Spaceships. The Riddick series has brought all of this and more to the screen, with actors such as Karl Urban and Dame Judi Dench starring in the film’s that at times seem to have been created by Vin Diesels determination to see the Riddick Universe expand. Riddick is an unlikely hero with a dark past, wanted around the universe for crimes and escaping prisons, one of which you can even play in Escape From Butchers Bay before having to escape yet again in the games sequel Assault on Dark Athena, both made by Tigon Studios, founded by (you guessed it) Vin Diesel himself. With his latest film, the Last Witch Hunter, being based on his D&D character and his love for the game, what’s next for Vin Diesel? The answer came in an Instagram post from the man himself.

In the pictures description, Vin Diesel states that “last night Our company had a party to launch Our TV division”. He then goes on to explain how Merc City, a new series, will follow the mercs and bounty hunters in the Riddick universe. He then ends the post by stating that next month “DT begins writing the next Chapter in the Chronicles of Riddick… FURIA”, DT standing for David Twohy, a screenwriter who has worked on every single Riddick film since Pitch Black started it all off.

Are you excited to see more from Riddick? Did you enjoy the Riddick games and do you want to see another one released for the new film or TV series?

Microsoft Offer Tools to Help You Upgrade to Windows 10

Microsoft is both parts eager and keen in its attempts to upgrade everyone from the older systems to the latest, Windows 10. From offering free upgrades for windows 7 and 8 users, to automatically downloading the materials needed to install Windows 10 without warning the user, it’s clear that staying on the older systems may not be a choice for many.

In the new year, they intend to make that step a little easier for users. Currently, Windows 10 as an “Optional Update” for Windows 7, 8 and 8.1 users. This means that if you wanted to, you could install it. In a blog on their site, Microsoft recently announced that early next year this will be changed and Windows 10 will become a “Recommended Update”, meaning the update process will automatically start. They have clarified that when this happens you will be given the prompt asking if you wish to continue or not, with the option to revert back within 31 days if you are not happy with windows 10.

Alongside this, the tool used to create DVD ISO’s and USB installers is being updated to create a single image that will cover everything, such as the 32 and 64-bit versions of both Home and Pro copies of Window 10. All within one installation media, this means that you can install on any PC, regardless of the wanted version without having to create separate installation media.

Have you upgraded to Windows 10? Did you revert back? Give us your story in the comments below.

Marvel Phase 2 Collection Available For Pre-Order

Marvel have been releasing film after film, bringing together TV series, online series, and movies to create a rich and diverse universe. Marvel have called each set of films they aim to release (normally ending with a big film containing several of their heroes) a phase. With Marvel phase 2 recently over, the limited collector set is now available for pre-order and it impresses.

The first phase was what started it all, with Iron Man (1 and 2), the Incredible Hulk, Thor and Captain America, all coming together in The Avengers as one of the biggest films ever seen before. As if this collection of amazing films wasn’t enough, they went further and created a collectors edition and we all know that nothing bad comes in collectors editions.

In this case, the Blu-ray’s (both 3D and 2D) came in sleeves that were hidden nicely within a metal case alongside Shield documentation on the Avengers Initiative. As if that wasn’t enough, the case also carried a replica Tesseract (Devices Of Ultimate Power supplied separately).

So why would we expect any less from the Phase 2 collection? With films like Iron Man 3, Captain America 2 and the second Thor film carrying on strongly from the first, while the Guardians of the Galaxy join the universe and Ant-man being the latest to join. This time, your collection is ordained with the orb from Guardians of the Galaxy.

Being a huge marvel fan I own several films, but you can’t help but appreciate the effort and style found in the collectors editions. Do you buy collectors editions? Are they not worth the difference in price? Voice your opinions in the comments.

Quentin Tarantino Dislikes Netflix And Still Records Films To VHS

I do enjoy a Quentin Tarantino film, from the stylised Kill Bill volume 1 – 2 to From Dusk Till Dawn. Streaming may be the way forward for many consumers and industries, but not according to Mr Tarantino, who voices his disgruntlement for the format within a new book entitled “I lost it at the video store.

Tarantino says: “I am not excited about streaming at all. I like something hard and tangible in my hand. And I can’t watch a movie on a laptop. I don’t use Netflix at all.” I agree with him to a point. My view is this, if you pay for Netflix you receive a vast array of content at a reasonable price, this is all well and good until one day you might decide to stop paying the subscription price, at which point all the content you enjoyed is gone and you’re left with nothing tangible

You could counter argue and state that Netflix is cheaper than buying a collection of DVDs, and that consumers have evolved to watch a particular film once before moving onto the next one. Hence the reason why there might not be any need to purchase the DVD in question; it might all depend on the tech generation which a person grew up with and therefore remember.

The next comments by Mr Tarantino are certainly interesting “I don’t have any sort of delivery system. I have the videos from Video Archives. They went out of business, and I bought their inventory. Probably close to eight thousand tapes and DVDs”. Imagine owning 8000 tapes and DVDs, the rewinding would drive many people crazy not to mention the lens cleaning equipment. Tarantino also states that he has “a bunch of DVDs and a bunch of videos, and I still tape movies off of television on video so I can keep my collection going.” I draw the line using a VHS tape, which never really liked me, considering I often receive a black bar which flickered across the top of the screen.

Quentin Tarantino is a purest in terms of producing film. Digital formats do not enter his realm and it depends on your point of view. Kids of today will only know music in terms of an MP3 download or even streaming only while others remember CD, tapes and Vinyl. Nostalgia brings back memories associated with an individual’s life which is intertwined with fond experiences they had, i.e. buying their first album. Streaming is the future and many people will love it, it just depends on the viewpoint of that individual.

Thank you independent for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of blackfilm

Check Out the Windows 10 Packaging Boxes

With the launch of Windows 10 later this month, more and more information about Microsoft’s upcoming OS is appearing. Today we have been gifted with some images that show the box art for Windows 10. This time around, the OS will be available on both DVD and USB installation media for the first time. Above, you can see the box art for the USB media with purple being the Pro version while blue is for Home. This is a change from the previous blue for Pro and green for Home that prior releases had adhered to.

For the DVD box art, a detailed depiction of the OS desktop is front and center. It seems Microsoft made pains to ensure that the much-missed Start Menu features front and center. Once again Pro gets a striking purple while Home is blue. Given the relative rarity of DVD drives in PCs and the rolling release style of Windows 10, this may be the last time we will ever see DVD media being sold. In fact, the USB installation media might also fall by the wayside as more and more users create their own installation media and USBs from downloadable ISOs. Be sure to follow our Windows 10 coverage here as we near the release date.

Images Courtesy of Microsoft Insider

Microsoft Listed the Features You Won’t See in Windows 10

As the release of Microsoft’s latest distribution of Windows approaches, we all need to be informed on what changes to expect from the company. This is why the company listed a few deprecated features for users to know what the final build will miss compared to previous versions.

Of course, we will see some driver compatibility issues at first with older hardware, but we are more interested in what features are not included compared to Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. From what we can see, Microsoft is stripping out the Media Center completely, along with Windows 7’s gadgets.

Solitaire, Minesweeper and Hearts Games will be removed as soon as users upgrade to Windows 10, but the latest distribution is said to come with a new version of the latter games named Microsoft Solitaire Collection and Microsoft Minesweeper. Also, I don’t think anyone is using a Floppy Disk nowadays, but it’s nice to see you can still get support for it through additional drivers. The full list of deprecated features can be viewed below:

Feature deprecation section

  • If you have Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate, Windows 8 Pro with Media Center, or Windows 8.1 Pro with Media Center and you install Windows 10, Windows Media Center will be removed.
  • Watching DVDs requires separate playback software
  • Windows 7 desktop gadgets will be removed as part of installing Windows 10.
  • Windows 10 Home users will have updates from Windows Update automatically available. Windows 10 Pro and Windows 10 Enterprise users will have the ability to defer updates.
  • Solitaire, Minesweeper, and Hearts Games that come pre-installed on Windows 7 will be removed as part of installing the Windows 10 upgrade. Microsoft has released our version of Solitaire and Minesweeper called the “Microsoft Solitaire Collection” and “Microsoft Minesweeper.”
  • If you have a USB floppy drive, you will need to download the latest driver from Windows Update or from the manufacturer’s website.
  • If you have Windows Live Essentials installed on your system, the OneDrive application is removed and replaced with the inbox version of OneDrive.

Thank you Gizmodo for providing us with this information

Could this be the End of TV Leaks?

Following the complete blunder at HBO for the massive leak of the first few episodes of the newest Game of Thrones series, it seems the procedure has changed.

Previously HBO sent out DVD copies of the upcoming part or full series to critics for review, but now they are going to start a streaming only policy. The new policy will apply to all of HBO’s programming, but it seems that the primary target is aimed towards preventing more blunders like last month’s Game of Thrones; which spoiled almost half of the season before the premier. The four leaked episodes spread like wildfire, with them being downloaded hundreds of thousands of times within a day. At the time of the leaks, HBO said the episodes were in fact leaked from a group on its approved list and that it was actively searching for the culprits.

“The first round of streaming review copies will start with the next batch of Veep episodes, which will be made available to critics through a secure streaming site. Switching to streaming for press access has become more common as the HD quality of streams has grown more reliable. Currently, ABC and FOX both exclusively use streaming.”

Now in a digital age, where effectively nothing is safe online; surely making access to the upcoming episodes digital will prove more vulnerable? If someone on the internet wants information, they will get it.

How do you think making the new episodes a stream only service will play out? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to IGN for proving us with this information.

4.9 Million New Netflix Members in the First Quarter

Netflix just reported its first quarter financial performance and shareholders sure have to be happy with the news that sent shares up more than 10%. The company reported that there were 2.3 million new domestic subscribers and 2.6 million non-domestic subscribers.

The company beat market expectations of $0.69 adjusted earnings per share on a revenue of $1.57 billion by having an adjusted earnings per share of $0.77, with GAAP profit per share of $0.38 on a revenue of $1.57 billion.

With streaming media becoming so prevalent, the huge gain in members is no surprise with more people finding the joys of on-demand entertainment. The fact that Netflix is producing some amazing high-quality original programming is probably responsible for some of the new subscribers, but really it is just icing on the cake. In case you forgot that Netflix still has a DVD and Blu-ray by mail option it is interesting to see that it only accounted for $85 million during the same time, showing the sheer dominance of streaming media. Netflix had negative cash flow in the same period due to its “growing original content investment” though they still have $3 billion in cash and equivalents. Worth noting is that the revenue is weaker thanks to the increasing power of the US dollar, reducing international revenue by $48 million using 2014 exchange rates.

Thank you Tech Crunch for providing us with this information

D’oh! No More The Simpsons Boxsets

With the first DVD boxsets of The Simpsons being released back in 2001 and many fans building collections up there is news that many won’t be able to complete their collections. There was a decision to stop making the boxsets, which comes as little surprise with streaming media dominating that of physical media sales.

Now that The Simpsons can be streamed from Hulu and Fox’s own service the demand for physical media of the series is probably taking a big hit. The previous releases of the box sets had special features such as deleted scenes, behind the scenes footage and commentary on episodes. This is something that the die-hard fans will definitely come to miss and it will be interesting to see what kind of special stuff Fox will do for streaming media.

Source: Metro

ASUS Showcase Mini PC’s @ CeBIT 2015

ASUS, humble motherboard makers have now delved into the mini PC segment. This can only be a good thing, as ASUS know how to make the motherboards, maybe it can produce an extremely compact system from the vast company knowledge. We saw one regular (boring) looking mini PC, the VIVO mini, this could sit happily behind your TV without a fuss. The next was a Chromebox, a little more of a funky design with the power button on the corner, but still nothing too spectacular here. Then we move onto the ROG not-so-mini, mini PC. This little beast is something you want to shout about. Okay it only has a GTX 750Ti for the time being, but it’s only a matter of time before ASUS figure out how to squeeze a GTX 970 ITX graphics card into it. This is a serious bit of kit, with a serious ~£800 price tag. A little over priced for what it is, but innovation has to start somewhere right?

Along with the more consumer-friendly mini PC’s, we also saw ASUS keep things simple, displaying a small range of external Blu-Ray and DVD writers. It’s good to see a huge company keep the old technology users in the loop; maybe they don’t want to go digital just yet.

We look forward to seeing what else ASUS has to offer, maybe they do have a more powerful ROG gaming mini PC coming up, but it just wasn’t ready for the show?. Any news or updates from ASUS, we will keep you updated.

Addonics Announced Sapphire Combo Storage Drives

Addonics Technologies announced their new Sapphire Combo Blu-ray/HDD and Sapphire Combo DVD-RW/HDD external enclosures that combine optical and hard drive storage into one small package with one connection.

The new enclosures are perfect for use where only a single eSATA or USB 3.0 connection is available, and it would be equally great during reinitialization of systems.

The Blu-ray model is equipped with a Blu-ray player/DVD burner while the DVD model is equipped with a DVD burner. Both models will allow you to play movies or access data stored on all popular optical media and allow you to burn video or data onto optical discs. The integrated Snap-In Mobile Rack that allows any 3.5-inch SATA hard drive to be conveniently added or removed.

An added bonus is the AES 256-bit encryption trough the optional Addonics CipherUSB where no extra configuration of software is needed. Once encrypted, the information on the disc will be invisible in any ordinary Blu-ray or DVD/CD player.

The MSRP for the Blu-ray model is $269.00 while the DVD model is fairly cheaper at just $189.00.

Thanks to Addonics for providing us with this information

Microsoft Launched Windows 7 Restore Site with ISOs

With all the talk of Windows 10 in the media, many people have downloaded and installed it for a test. They might soon want to change back, but that could be difficult if the recovery partition is gone and reinstalling the system with Windows 7 might prove difficult.

Microsoft to the rescue. They’ve launched the new Microsoft Software Recovery site that allows you to return to Windows 7 by making ISO’s available for download. The downloaded ISO file can then be burned onto a DVD or to a thumb drive for quick and easy installation of the old system. The downloaded ISO will work for both clean installs and upgrade installation from Windows Vista.

But the site and the tool are both equally useful for anyone with a broken or bad disk, or maybe you lost it all together. All you need to have is a genuine key and there is no need to visit dubious pirate sites to get the ISO to use with that legal key.

Thanks to Microsoft for providing us with this information

 

Expendables 3 Leaks Online; Hundred of Thousands Have Downloaded Already

The Expendables 3 has leaked ahead of its August 15 debut, with a copy of near-DVD quality finding its way onto piracy websites, torrents and other download sources. Within the first 12 hours of the movie making its way online, news had spread fast and over 100,000 copies of the film had been downloaded.

“LETS GO DOWNLOAD THE MOVIE!” I hear you cry, but I wouldn’t be so fast, as Nu Image wasted no time in tracking down and suing those who downloaded the original movie. Although I’m sure most of you are at least wary of the legal risks of movie downloading anyway.

Movies leak all the time, but this one stands out from the crowd by a large margin. Not only is this pegged to be the ultimate summer blockbuster, featuring almost every famous action movie star and a few other tough celebrities in the one film (Sylvester Stallone, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Wesley Snipes, Jason Statham, Jet Li, Randy Couture, Ronda Rousey and more), but it’s the fact that it leaked so early and in such high quality. Normally you’ll find a movie leaks with shaky cam footage from some murky cinema.

What is unclear at this time is how this happened. I certainly wouldn’t like to be the guy who has to explain to Lionsgate, and I wouldn’t like to be the source of the leak, because it’s pretty likely that they’ll be traced.

Thank you TorrentFreak for providing us with this information.

UK Retailer Game To Start Stocking A Lot More Blu-Rays & DVD’s

It’s no big secret that games and movie go well together, or at least so long as your name isn’t Uwe Boll (zing!), but that is besides the point. Where ever one kind of disc based multimedia is sold, another is likely to sell just as well and with games consoles of this generation and the next set to consume everything from streaming media to Blu-Rays, it makes sense that Game is about to take new step into the world of entertainment. From 13th May GAME, the UK’s leading videogames retailer, will launch its biggest range of Blu-Ray and DVD titles to date.

Following the successful in-store trials with The Hobbit and Skyfall earlier this year, GAME is extending its movie offering. The full range will feature over 50 titles and include everything from some of the latest releases such as Life of Pi, Argo and Skyfall, to blockbusters including Kill Bill, Resident Evil and Avatar.

The move forms part of GAME’s strategy to deliver for all aspects of UK gamer lifestyles and reflects the diverse nature of the UK gaming community. No longer are games the reserve of teenage boys in their bedrooms: 82% of 8-65 year olds play games, 49% of gamers are now female and 18% of over 60’s game more than three times a week. Of course this will also be part of the strategy that makes them a lot more money, although it’s been clear for some time that the company is no longer having financial difficulties, so much so its even started expanding to new stores again this year.

Charlotte Knight, Category Director for Game Retail Ltd says: “Gaming and movies go together hand-in-hand – you only need to look at the cinematic effects found in many games, along with how many games are based on films and vice versa, to understand how closely the two are related.

“Introducing this range of movies is another big step towards delivering for every aspect of a gamer’s lifestyle. We’ve already had very encouraging performances on The Hobbit and Skyfall, and we’re confident that the time is right to extend our range. We’re really excited that our customers will be able to get their hands on their favourite movies both in-store and online.”

The new range will be available both in-store and online at www.game.co.uk/en/movies from Monday 13th May.

Asus Release External Slim Optical Drive For Ultrabooks

For a number of users, when buying a new notebook or ultrabook, one factor that they take into consideration is the inclusion of an optical bay. On the notebook front this is generally not a problem but when things are scaled down to the ultrabook size, potential buyers not the drop of the optical bay which for some people leaves them in a decision conundrum.

We do acknowledge that the use of optical media is generally not as profound as it used to be due to the presence of digital downloads, streaming services and overall faster internet speeds, but there is still a market for optical media and also a need for it as well.

As an addition to their product lines and targeted directly at their Zenbook range, Asus have released a line of three external DVD writers that come in three colours; Lively Mellow Metallic, Bright Berry and Dusty Rose and all feature a “concentric-circle hairline texture” in their 13mm thick, brushed aluminium frames.

The SDRW-08U5S-U comes with a built in stand that allows the drive to be left laying flat or stood up to take up a smaller space depending on the users preference. On top of this the drives support Asus’ Disc Encryption II which, as the name suggests, encrypts data with passwords and encoded file names to secure valuable data.

Whilst the drives have been announced, there is currently no word about pricing nor availability, but we will keep an eye out for this ideally suited add on to the Zenbook range.