Well, that didn't take long. We reported yesterday that the FCC was taking aim at sports blackout rules this week, and today the Commission voted to nix the "unnecessary and outdated regulations." For nearly four decades, policies kept pay-TV providers from airing games blacked out on local stations. The rules also prevented that latter group from showing NFL matchups that failed to sell out at least 72 hours ahead of time. Now that the NFL no longer relies on ticket sales to drive revenue, the rules have been repealed to further eliminate blackouts for local viewers. As the press release notes, current over-the-air network contracts run through 2022 (FOX, CBS, and NBC), so the NFL won't likely make the jump to cable and satellite any time soon. If it so chooses, the league can create a private blackout policy (like MLB, for example), but it will no longer be afforded the protection of the government to do so. "Instead, the NFL must rely on the same avenues available to other entities that wish to protect their distribution rights in the private marketplace," the PR details.
[Photo credit: Bob Levey/Getty Images]
Looking for a streaming media stick that's more accessible than Google's Chromecast? You might have found it. After a few teasers, Matchstick has revealed the first Firefox OS-based media sharing adapter. The self-titled gadget lets you "fling" video, websites and other content from Firefox (naturally), Chrome and supporting apps to your TV. While the hardware should be a bit more powerful than Chromecast, the real allure is a completely open platform -- you can tinker with the software and even build your own hardware if you're the entreprenurial sort. A low price will help, too. Matchstick hopes to sell its stick for $25 this February, and that's assuming you don't back the upcoming Kickstarter project -- get in early and it will cost $18. Even if Matchstick doesn't get as much app support as Google's device, it may be worth a look.
It was nearly a year ago that TiVo brought streaming to its iOS apps, enabling you to watch recorded shows anywhere with a WiFi signal. Eleven months later, and the company has finally added the same functionality for TiVo's Android app. The feature will work on most devices running Android 4.1 or above, but there are a few caveats, like the fact that it won't work on devices with Intel's mobile chips, and you're still at the mercy of whatever copy protection restrictions is placed upon the shows. On the upside, the app will also access content from Hulu Plus, Netflix and Amazon Instant Video - the latter being another service that's belatedly gotten around to adding Android support for its users.
Fancy yourself a master of the Sonic Screwdriver? Well, in a few days you can put those skills to the test... in Minecraft, that is. Whether you're a timelord fanperson or a Dalek-sympathizer, you'll be able to show it off once the Doctor Who skin pack hits the Xbox 360 version of the pixely build-your-own-adventure on Friday. As if you needed another reason to look forward to this weekend, yeah? PlayXBLA (Microsoft's official blog for Xbox Live Arcade news) still doesn't mention any word of an Xbox One release, but considering that the company recently paid $2.5 billion for the game's developer, Mojang, we expect to hear it break the, ahem, silence on that soon.
Grooveshark's disappearing and reappearing act looks like it could finally come to an end; permanently. A Manhattan judge has ruled that because Grooveshark employees themselves had uploaded 5,977 songs to the service and infringing on copyrights in the process, the outfit couldn't be granted safe harbor for hosting music from the likes of Jay-Z and Madonna. Meaning, the firm's previous method of compliance under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act was null and void because it wasn't users who uploaded the copyrighted material (which would be subsequently removed upon request), it was in-house staffers including CEO Samuel Tarantino and CTO Joshua Greenberg, according to The New York Times. Reuters notes that there was also evidence of internal communications from Greenberg that told employes to share music as much as possible from outside the office in an effort to foster growth -- all as a condition of employment.
Netflix's tight relationship with The Weinstein Company has scored another win, and the streaming service's first big movie debut -- but definitely not its last. The two revealed tonight that next year when the sequel to Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon arrives in theaters, it will also be available streaming on Netflix at the same time. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon: The Green Legend also shares a writer, John Fusco, with another Weinstein/Netflix team-up, the Marco Polo series that's arriving next year. So far, studio efforts at sending movies home day-and-date with their theater release like this year's Snowpiercer have centered around VOD, but Netflix subscribers worldwide (the movie is being shot in English) are getting this flick at no extra cost. Back in 2011, Universal wanted to charge viewers $60 to watch Tower Heist at home instead of the theater, weeks after it debuted -- this seems like a slightly better value.
We hate to be the bearer of bad news, but one of your fondest childhood traditions has kicked the bucket: Saturday morning cartoons are no more. The CW has aired its last batch of Vortexx programming, leaving American kids without any animated broadcast TV to start their weekends for the first time in decades. From here on out, young ones glued to the tube will mostly be watching educational shows.
As the fall TV premieres continue to roll (Did anyone watch Scorpion last week? Did anyone enjoy watching Scorpion last week?) we're looking forward to a few big Blu-ray releases. Sure, Michael Bay's latest fighting robot epic is hitting the shelves this week, but we're waiting for Krull, complete with pre-Taken Liam Neesons. It's also a big week for videogames, with Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and Forza Horizon 2 arriving. While The Strain wraps up its season on FX, we'll be welcoming back Homeland on Showtime Sunday night. Also, Gilmore Girls fans can look forward to the entire series on Netflix starting Wednesday morning. Hit the gallery or just look after the break to check out each day's highlights, including trailers and let us know what you think (or what we missed).
For decades, the NFL blackout rules have been in place to encourage fans to attend games rather than watch from the comforts of home. According to Recode though, that could change this week. The FCC will reportedly axe the long-standing policy that keeps pay-TV outfits like cable and satellite companies from broadcasting local events that don't sell out. As the report points out, NFL fans are usually the most vocal about blackouts due to weekly showings on over-the-air networks (CBS, FOX, and NBC) and the 72-hour window required for a sellout ahead of kickoff. However, even after the rules are nixed, local stations will still be unable to show games that don't fill all of the seats. While the NFL's policies are tied to attendance, other leagues like MLB and NHL have rules in place to protect contracts with broadcasters. As you may recall, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has already spoken out about the NFL blackouts, saying that the league "not longer needs the government's help to remain viable."
[Photo credit: Rob Foldy/Getty Images]
When Tesco launched Clubcard TV early last year, everything we saw suggested that the ad-supported streaming service would be nothing more than an experiment. That hunch has proved accurate, because the company has said it will shutter the free service on October 28th. According to a Clubcard TV support page, Tesco didn't get "the level of repeat usage [it] had hoped for," so it'll close the service in order to concentrate on its more established resource, Blinkbox. The supermarket giant will still offer Clubcard points alongside Blinkbox movie purchases, though, which will suit those who intend to watch films on the new (and supposedly bigger) Hudl 2 when it's unveiled later this week.
SoftBank may have already bought both a major mobile game studio and one of the US' largest carriers, but it apparently isn't done expanding its turf just yet. Both Hollywood Reporter and the Wall Street Journal claim that the Japanese carrier is now in talks to buy DreamWorks Animation, the movie studio you likely know for How To Train Your Dragon and Shrek. Reportedly, SoftBank chief Masayoshi Son wants to wield exclusive content as a weapon against rival mobile networks. While the sources aren't diving into specifics about the potential partnership, it wouldn't be surprising if you could eventually buy Sprint phones that come bundled with DreamWorks' latest flicks.
You're probably aware that most sci-fi space battles aren't realistic. The original Star Wars' Death Star scene was based on a World War II movie, for example. But have you wondered what it would really be like to duke it out in the void? PBS is more than happy to explain in its latest It's Okay To Be Smart video. As you'll see below, Newtonian physics would dictate battles that are more like Asteroids than the latest summer blockbuster. You'd need to thrust every time you wanted to change direction, and projectiles would trump lasers (which can't focus at long distances); you wouldn't hear any sound, either.
It was only a matter of time. When word came down that Sony was shuttering the PlayStation 3 virtual space, PlayStation Home, in Japan earlier this year, the service's domestic days were likely numbered as well. Citing a "shifting landscape" as the cause (and likely no public outcry that the oft-laggy environment was missing from the PlayStation 4), senior community manager Paul Sullivan writes on the PS Blog that the last day to run around the hub will be March 31st of next year. Don't start fretting just yet, however, as the electronics giant plans to release new downloadable content for the quasi-Second-Life experience ahead of that. Perhaps it's time to do a mournful diva dance in your virtual domicile to commemorate this event. A bit rusty with the proper moves? Check the video after the jump for some inspiration, then.