Sony Pictures Entertainment

Here's an odd twist to the Sony Pictures hack: the attackers are becoming courteous... relatively speaking, of course. The Guardians of Peace are threatening to release yet more of the studio's data as a "Christmas gift," but they're also offering to withhold personal information if employees ask to keep it out of the public eye. It's not clear what prompted the sudden concern for privacy, although it may come from a realization that the leaks are hurting ordinary workers, not just actors and executives. It's a half-hearted gesture -- real privacy wouldn't involve leaks in the first place, after all -- but it suggests that the hacking group won't just dump everything it has. Not that Sony will take much comfort in this, mind you. The Guardians claim that the future data release will be "more interesting," which is no mean feat when previous posts have included movie scripts and celebrity conversations.

Update: And now Sony is sending legalese notes to news organizations, demanding that they stop reporting on the leaks and delete any data that media has received from the hackers. And if they don't comply? Sony said it will have "no choice but to hold you responsible from any damage or loss resulting from such use or dissemination by you."

[Image credit: Toshifumi Kitamura/AFP/Getty Images]

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Need a way to drown out your extended family while they're visiting for the holidays? So long as you own an Android device and are in the United States, Hulu's got you covered. See, the TV-streaming outfit is offering "many popular" shows as part of its free Share the Joy of the Seasons promo on Google's mobile OS. As the app's Google Play listing tells it, episodes from the current seasons of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Sleepy Hollow and South Park are on tap, amongst others. More episodes and content -- like Party Down -- naturally are locked behind the Hulu Plus paywall. And for iOS users, well, we suppose they'll have to settle for that recently redesigned app.

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LONDON - OCT 4: Apple store logo on a store exterior in central London as the US technology giant launches the new iPhone 5 in t

The federal antitrust case Apple's fighting isn't looking any more favorable for the hardware giant since we last reported on it. Former iTunes engineer Rod Schultz testified on Friday that he'd worked on a project to block "100 percent of non-iTunes clients" in addition to keeping any third-party software from interfering with iTunes, according to The Wall Street Journal. This, the plaintiffs claim, was part of an anti-competitive way to boost the prices of iPods from 2006 to 2009. Despite the plaintiff's best efforts, however, they weren't able to submit a 2012 academic paper (PDF) Schultz had written detailing Apple's blocking operating systems that didn't support iTunes (namely Linux) as evidence.

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Once upon a time awards shows had sources from a predictable list of sources, but now internet video has crashed the party. When the Golden Globe Awards are presented January 11th, Netflix will be up for seven while Amazon has snagged two nominations for its new show Transparent. The two are even going head to head in the Best TV Series, Musical or Comedy, where Transparent and Orange is the New Black are joined by Silicon Valley, Jane the Virgin and Girls. Last year Netflix broke through with its first win as Robin Wright brought home a trophy for her performance in House of Cards, and now it's back for more. The company's focus on original content is showing (has anyone watched Marco Polo yet?) and Amazon is quickly catching up, while Hulu has... a GIF generator and some episodes of Deadliest Catch. (That was mean, actually we'd keep an eye out for season two of The Wrong Mans December 24th, plus new series from Amy Poehler, J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot Productions and Jason Reitman on the way. Maybe next year Hulu.)

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It's true: you probably bought Call of Duty and/or Destiny this year. If you play games or buy presents for someone who does, there's a strong possibility that you paid for one or both of these two blockbusters this year. They're number one (Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare) and number two (Destiny) on this year's top sales list, and they're both from one publisher: Activision.

Do you know how many games Activision publishes? Three games, more or less: Call of Duty, Destiny and Skylanders. There's a strong possibility you've heard of that third game from your children, who won't stop hounding you for more and more $12 toys to use with their $60 game.

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Mario, Link and Kirby Amiibo figures

When Nintendo first introduced its Amiibo figures, Bill Trinen, senior product marketing manager at Nintendo of America, said that the toys open "a whole range of potential new gameplay experiences" for players on a character-by-character basis. And he's not lying: The toys -- activated by an NFC chip that connects to the Wii U gamepad -- come to life in the latest Smash Bros. game, as well as unlock new characters, levels and other good stuff in various other Nintendo Wii U games. Want a new character or two in Mario Kart 8? Amiibo figures have you covered.

But maybe not forever. Why? Because certain Amiibo characters have already been discontinued less than a month after their debut. Or, maybe they haven't? Nintendo's flubbed the messaging here (again), saying one thing about the future of certain figures to one publication, and something fairly different to another. Confused? We are too! Are some Amiibo figures limited edition? Which ones? How about those yet to be released? We asked Nintendo to clear this mess up.

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Netflix Sign

It's been more than a year since Netflix first came to Virgin Media TiVo boxes, and in that time the experience has remained largely the same. However, with Christmas fast approaching, the quad-play provider has finally decided to take some action. It's snuck in a new update that gives you many of the features you may already enjoy on your smartphone, tablet or set-top box. These include profiles, which support up to five individual users, recommendations from your Facebook friends, the ability to play a previously-watched film or TV episode from the beginning (instead of just resuming) and an option to view all episodes from all seasons of your favourite programme in a single list. Virgin Media also says the app is a touch faster, letting you slip between live TV and streaming a touch faster than before (if you have an account, that is).

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Building on its success from last month, Microsoft has announced that the Xbox One was the number one selling console for November -- ending the PlayStation 4's almost year-long top spot. As Redmond tells it, by way of NPD Group data, its latest console was the best selling in the United States and the United Kingdom for last month. That price cut and killer lineup of exclusive software undoubtedly factored in pretty heavily there. Console sales overall are up in a few different ways as well. NPD says that hardware unit-sales have increased by three percent over last November when the PS4 and Xbox One launched, and that compared to sales from the first 13 months of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360, they're up by 80 percent.

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Right now, the term "virtual reality" still means "headset" for most people. What we should really think when we read "virtual reality" is first-person immersion. The headset -- like Oculus VR's Rift, Sony's Project Morpheus, and Samsung's Gear VR -- is simply the first tool for creating that sense of immersion or "presence." But once you're in a headset, the first things you do are the undoable: reach out with your physical hands into virtual reality. It's not exactly surprising, then, that Oculus VR would acquire Nimble VR -- the company behind Nimble Sense, a camera and software combo that brings the world around you into virtual reality. Think of it like Kinect: cameras that are able to track your skeletal movement and create a point cloud around you, which then translate that data into a virtual representation on-the-fly.

Still confused? We've got a video hands-on of Nimble VR's Sense camera from early November below the break, used in-tandem with Oculus VR's second Rift development kit (pictured above).

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Yes, Dish went through a tough time recently with certain TV networks, but this didn't stop it from working to make the experience better for subscribers in the meantime. Today, the satellite provider announced a few new features that'll likely be welcomed with open arms by its customers. The main highlight is that the Hopper receiver now gives viewers the option to start watching live shows and movies from the beginning, so long as the content is part of Dish's video on-demand catalog -- this is similar to Time Warner Cable's "Start Over" feature, which is only available on some programming.

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There you were, enjoying your iPad for Netflix, perhaps occasionally flinging some relatively upset avians or getting cerebral with Monument Valley. Suddenly, an air raid siren. Someone in the distance shouts, "Glory to Arstotzka!" What is even happening? It's Papers, Please, the post-Soviet Bloc simulation that puts "players" in the position of an unwitting immigrations office, stuck on the border of two dangerous territories, trying to make enough money to feed and care for an ailing family. The critically-lauded game is heading to iPad tomorrow, and we're betting it'll be just as "fun" as the first time around on PC.

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Created as a way to boost flagging cinema attendances, Orange Wednesdays has become a mid-week tradition for many film fans. However, after a successful 10-year run, EE is finally pulling the plug. According to Marketing Magazine, the decision was made after the UK network struggled to hash out a new deal with its partner Cinema First. It means Orange Wednesdays and EE Wednesdays, which offered a stellar two-for-one deal on both cinema tickets and Pizza Express, will cease to exist come February 25th, 2015. It's not all doom and gloom though. EE says it has another "exclusive" offer planned for its customers in 2015, although we suspect it won't be related to theater tickets. In the meantime, you have just over two months (or 11 Wednesdays, to be precise) to take advantage of the decade-old promotion. We recommend heading here to see what'll be released in the weeks ahead.

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With the number of content providers that keep coming on board with Chromecast, the next big step for Google is making the device a bit easier to use. Case in point: Today marks the launch of ultrasonic pairing -- otherwise known as "Guest mode." All you need to do is enable Google's streaming stick to connect to a nearby device and voila: Now anyone can cast to your TV from their Android, no WiFi password needed. For now, it's exclusive to Google's own OS, but there's a reason for that. Chromecast product manager Jagjit Chawla says that with iOS, you can't scan for a list of nearby WiFi access points because there isn't an API that'd allow it. Thus, Guest mode on Apple's mobile software isn't going to happen right away. "Either we can solve these tech problems, or, we can release it on Android first, gather user feedback, improve our back-end and find solutions," he said, with the goal of reaching iOS feature parity sometime later.

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BBC iPlayer iPhone

One of iPlayer's great features is the ability to download all of its programmes for offline viewing. The Beeb traditionally let you download and keep shows for up to seven days, allowing you to catch up on the commute to work, but as part of its iPlayer revamp, that period was extended to 30 days. After rolling out the feature on the Xbox One and Android devices last week, iPhone and iPad users can now join in the fun. Not only will you be able to download all the programmes you've missed today and carry them over until the New Year, the new update will also let you specify your location to access regional on-demand programmes via the TV Guide. Great if you're visiting friends and family over Christmas and need some entertainment during the post-dinner lull.

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It's been a long time coming, and something we know many of you have been waiting with bated breath for: Sainsbury's has finally released a Roku app for its Entertainment film and TV streaming service. Wait, let's backtrack a second... Sainsbury's runs a streaming service!? To be honest, it's something we'd completely forgotten about, though it's available on Android, iOS, Xbox 360, and now Roku's lineup of streaming devices. Sainsbury's Entertainment offers movies and TV shows for purchase or rental, thus bearing more than a passing resemblance to Tesco's Blinkbox service -- something we tend to hear more about given it's actually advertised, promoted on the rival supermarket's Hudl tablets, and thought to be in jeopardy of being sold off or shut down. Sainsbury's Entertainment appears to have a pretty up-to-date selection of things to watch, so it might be worth checking out. Choice is always appreciated, after all, and being able to pay for purchases and rentals with Nectar points ain't so bad either.

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