Binging on Mad Men via Netflix or Blu-ray has a few advantages over watching the show when it broadcasts. Namely, not having to sit through commercials that jump higher in volume than anything heard in the halls of Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce. As spotted by The Hill, the FCC is hoping to change that last bit with an update to 2011′s Commercial Advertisement Litigation Mitigation (CALM) Act; the outfit recently ruled for further volume-fluctuation restrictions for certain TV ads. Starting June 4th next year, an improved loudness measurement algorithm will be implemented that should make watching TV a bit more pleasant. How? It won’t count the silent parts of an ad that can offset the commercial’s average volume measurement, thus bringing the overall audio level down — something that apparently hasn’t been done before. We can’t imagine that Harry Crane would be pleased by any of this.
[Image credit: Associated Press]
Via: The Hill
Source: FCC (PDF)
Following Sky’s big Sky Sports News rebrand, it was only a matter of time until the updated channel made its way to the broadcaster’s Now TV set-top box via an app. Already delivering breaking news on smartphones and tablets, the new Sky Sports News HQ app comes to the £10 streamer today, offering 24/7 access to sports updates, breaking news and highlights. While access to the app isn’t free, there are a couple of easy ways unlock it, as long as you subscribe to Sky’s existing Now TV packages. One way is to buy a Sky Sports Day Pass or the new Sky Sports Week Pass, which will allow you to access the channel for up to 30 days after your current pass has expired. Sky’s making it available to Entertainment or Sky Movies pass holders too, meaning that if you’re already putting money down to catch up with the Lannisters or watch Sandra Bullock float around in space, you’ll be able to follow all of the latest player movements come Transfer Deadline Day.
We’ve already seen how digital effects make Game of Thrones’ world more believable, but there were some spectacular scenes in the show’s fourth season: giant city-states, an undead horse and battles involving thousands of cavalry. Want to know just how important computer graphics were in bringing those moments to life? Graphics house Rodeo FX will gladly show you. As you’ll see in the footage below, some environments (such as Meereen’s pyramid-laden landscape) depended very heavily on computer effects, with only a few live humans and real-world places involved. And that cavalry battle demanded even more work — animators populated the field with “smart” horse soldiers that reacted both to each other and the world around them. You may not want to watch the demo clip if you haven’t caught up on the show, but it’s otherwise worth checking out to see how fantasy and reality can blend together.
Source: Rodeo FX
The service will initially work on mobile devices, the web, Xbox 360 consoles and cable set-top boxes when its public beta test launches in the first week of November. Naturally (if unfortunately), Rogers and Shaw customers will have first crack. The pricing is definitely competitive at $9 Canadian per month, although you may not want to chuck any existing subscriptions just yet. While Shomi will have 340 TV series and a strong dose of Canadian content (30 percent), it has just 1,200 “cult-classic and fan-favourite” movies — if you want to watch a recent blockbuster, you’re probably better off sticking with Netflix for now.
Like it or not, another US election is almost upon us — and this time around, the incessant political advertising may cut a little too close to home. Both Democrats and Republicans are using a new TV ad targeting system from DirecTV and Dish that takes advantage of voter records to put personalized campaign ads on your DVR. If you tend to swing between both parties, you may get different commercials than lifelong supporters. You may also get reminders to vote early if you frequently cast absentee ballots. And unlike conventional targeting methods, which run ads on shows they believe certain demographics will watch, these promos will automatically appear on any show you record as long as there’s a free slot.
Yes, there’s a chance these pitches will get very annoying; there’s enough data that they could chastise you when you haven’t donated or volunteered. However, the sheer expense of producing customized ads makes it unlikely that candidates will get that specific. The DVR technology may actually spare you some grief, in fact, since politicians won’t waste your time if you’re set in your ways. There is a risk that this approach will further polarize voters by limiting their exposure to different views. With that said, many political TV spots aren’t exactly honest to start with — this may just reduce the amount of propaganda you have to put up with during commercial breaks.
Happy Saturday! Welcome to another edition of Feedback Loop! This week we’re exploring obscure TV channels, the gadgets you travel with and just how much space is too much on your phone. So sit back, get comfy and get ready to talk with fellow readers.
Do you need 128GB in a phone?
With rumors circulating that the iPhone 6 will come in a 128GB model, Dave is wondering if we really need that much storage. He’s currently using around 40GB in his 64GB iPhone, but still wants more room for his apps and music. Would you want a phone with this much capacity or is it kind of unnecessary?
What are your favorite weird or obscure TV channels?
Our very own Zach Honig explores the odd collection of channels bundled into your cable TV subscription; turns out we’re paying for a lot useless and redundant crap. However, Kris enjoys some of the more obscure networks she receives — in particular the rerun-heavy Cozi and the diverse action of ONE World Sports. If you have a cable plan, what obscure channels are you tuning into?
What do you keep in your bag?
Whenever I head to the office or get ready to fly, I always feel like I overpack my bag. I stuff it with what seem like essential items, but maybe some of you have ideas for how to lighten my load. Whether you travel light or like to pack your bag full of gear, head on over to share what you’re rocking while on the go.
OnePlus One vs. Oppo Find 7
After being lucky enough to acquire a OnePlus One, as well as grabbing an Oppo Find 7, awsom is looking for help in figuring out which one is superior. Brad and Chris reviewed both phones already, but we’re curious to know what you think. If you have either device, give awsom a hand in determining which one is the best.
Other discussions you may also like:
- Are my Cat 5 Ethernet cables pretty useless?
- What are some of your favorite tech podcasts?
- How do you backup and manage all of your valuable data?
That’s all this week! Want to talk about your favorite gadget or have a burning question about technology? Register for an Engadget account today, visit the Engadget forums and start a new discussion!
AT&T is making U-Verse more appealing with each passing day. After the carrier revealed it would beat Google to the punch on bringing gigabit internet to Silicon Valley, now U-Verse is getting a great deal of fresh content and making its way to additional mobile devices. Aside from launching on Amazon’s Kindle Fire HD and Fire HDX, as well as the Fire phone, the U-Verse app today also welcomed over 50 new channels to its catalog of live TV streaming channels. This includes Cartoon Network, CNN, EPIX, ESPN, GolTV, HBO, HGTV, TBS, TNT and Travel Channel, plus many others — most of which you can watch even if you’re away from your home network. All in all, definitely a boost for U-Verse subscribers, and if you aren’t, it’s at least good to know that U-Verse looks to be a solid choice, especially now that DirecTV is joining AT&T’s ranks.
Apple Halts In-Store Pickup Option for Apple TV in Online Store, Still Available for Shipping [Mac Blog]
Apple has seemingly halted in-store pickup for the Apple TV in its online store, as none of the company’s U.S. locations are providing the option. Notably, the Apple TV is still listed as shipping”within 24 hours” on the company’s online store, and is still being offered with a $25 iTunes Store gift card as a part of an ongoing promotion.
Currently, it is unknown as to why Apple halted the pickup option for the Apple TV. It is entirely possible that the inability to schedule an Apple TV for in-store pickup is an outage or error on Apple’s part. While mostly unlikely, it may also indicate that Apple is gearing up to release an updated Apple TV, which has been heavily rumored for quite some time.
Czech website Letem Svetem Applem (Google Translate) claimed last week that European Apple resellers have stopped receiving their supply of Apple TVs, however no other sources have indicated that stock has been running low. In the United States, retailers such as Best Buy and Amazon still show the product as “in stock”.
Previous rumors have suggested that the next-generation Apple TV would be a major product for Apple, featuring set-top box features that interact with live and on-demand content, gaming capabilities, Siri integration, and more. However, a report from The Information this past July claimed that the new Apple TV would be delayed until 2015 due to negotiation difficulities between Apple and cable companies. Apple’s SVP of Internet Software and Services Eddy Cue stated earlier this year that it was “complicated” solving problems with TV, adding that Apple is continuing work on the subject.
Today, we go hands-on with HTC’s One M8 for Windows, shop for 4K TVs, ponder an ASUS-made smartwatch, and more! Read on for Engadget’s news highlights from the last 24 hours.
Filed under: Misc
Activision games like the Call of Duty series are practically movies between their big-name actors and Michael Bay-like action scenes, so this begs a question: why doesn’t the company actually make movies? Apparently, it may do just that. The Information hears from sources that the developer is tentatively planning to launch a studio that would produce movies and TV shows based on its brands. The new outfit would theoretically be a Marvel-style hit factory that produces exactly the titles it wants to see on the big screen, rather than licensing out to third parties that historically botch the job. That certainly makes sense — for every successful adaptation like Resident Evil, there’s a dozen Wing Commanders that tarnish an otherwise fine legacy.
Whether or not this project pans out is another matter. CEO Bobby Kotick is still in talks to get the necessary executive talent, and Kotick himself has been worried that movies might sour people on the franchises. Activision certainly isn’t commenting on the rumor at this stage. However, the firm might feel like it has little choice. Call of Duty sales have been gradually dropping for a while, and there’s no guarantee that Skylanders will remain a cash cow forever — movies may rekindle interest in these well-worn properties and prevent a Guitar Hero-level burnout.
Source: The Information