Friday 16 August 2013

Microsoft rebooting Blake's 7 for Xbox LIVE!

Microsoft will be bringing 1970s cult sci-fi television series Blake's 7 back, with Casino Royale director Martin Campbell at the helm, according to the Financial Times!

Series creator Terry Nation (mastermind behind the Daleks) cashed in on the success of Star Wars with a weekly, brightly lit, space opera that ran between 1978 and 1981.

This deal would replace SyFy's proposed remake and mirrors Netflix and LOVEFiLM Instant's move into original programming. Netflix has enjoyed critical success with House of Cards and Orange Is The New Black.

Xbox Entertainment Studios has already announced a live-action Halo series with Steven Spielberg. Blake's 7 may beat it to the punch...

Thursday 15 August 2013

Return of the Emperor in Star Wars: Episode VII?

Interesting Star Wars snippet from Jedi News.

The site states: "An unnamed source has informed us that Ian McDiarmid is set to return to the galaxy far, far away for a part in Episode 7."

The site continues: "The specifics of the role are unclear, but it seems likely that McDiarmid will be returning to his signature role of Palpatine," adding: "Whether as the original [Palpatine] or a clone of, we are yet to discern."

Jedi News has updated the story to debunk the theory that Palpatine will be a clone as seen in Dark Horse Comics' Dark Empire trilogy. Apparently he will appear as a ghostly apparition much like Obi-Wan Kenobi in The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi.

Thursday 8 August 2013

Xbox One unboxed by Major Nelson

The much-maligned Xbox One will include a chat headset! Earlier Microsoft had indicated it would not include a headset with the next generation console.

Following Microsoft's DRM U-turn and GPU speed boost from 800MHz to 853MHz. Launch editions of Xbox One will mimic Xbox 360 with the addition of a chat headset revealed by, brand ambassador extraordinaire, Major Nelson during a QVC-inspired unboxing on Xbox Wire.

The chat headset offers "3x the sampling rate of the Xbox 360," Microsoft said. It is also described as "super lightweight"--weighing in at 44 grams. The headset also features a padded earpiece that can be worn on the left or right year, as well as a rotating mic.

The contents of the Xbox One Day One limited edition package include the console itself, the Kinect sensor, a branded Day One controller, a chat headset, 4K-rated HDMI cable, power supply and a redeemable code for a Day One-exclusive achievement.

Ironically, the black bag, used to protect the Xbox One in transit, evoked the premature demise of my original Xbox following the infamous 'catching fire' issue in 2005! Microsoft posted a cable with a trip switch to affected customers. I binned the machine and never envisaged owning another Xbox again...

Is the Xbox One pack-in enough to persuade you to pre-order? The launch titles are more intriguing than those announced for PS4, but the form factor, lack of backwards compatibility and Kinect (can be disabled) means I'm sticking with Xbox 360 S for now...

Tuesday 6 August 2013

Star Wars Rebels logo and concept art revealed

Disney's unveiled a new logo and concept art teasers for the upcoming Star Wars Rebels series on Disney XD!

The colour palette evokes the original and prequel trilogies and draws heavily on the art style of celebrated concept artist Ralph McQuarrie.

Monday 5 August 2013

"We're gonna need a bigger chopper."

SyFy's Sharknado, a cult monster movie and social media phenomenon, premieres on UK television this Wednesday.

Unlike Steven Spielberg's seminal blockbuster Jaws. This shark tale is best viewed with copious amounts of alcohol and fast food.

Friday 2 August 2013

Review: NOW TV Box

There's a multitude of streaming devices available to consumers: from Apple TV to Roku and PS3 to Xbox 360! Many of which will cost you in the region of £50 or, in the case of consoles, much more...

Enter the NOW TV Box. Sky's newest Trojan horse in its war with BT Sport, LOVEFiLM and Netflix.

Launched last Friday amidst the lollapalooza surrounding Google Chromecast. £9.99 (including P&P) gets you everything you'll need to start streaming albeit with Sky, understandably, as curator. The pack-in includes the svelte NOW TV Box (based on a Roku LT), a HDMI cable, remote and AAA batteries. Sky hasn't skimped on anything.

Setup is a breeze, thanks to an intuitive modern UI, and you don't have to subscribe to NOW TV to use other apps: including BBC iPlayer, Demand 5, Spotify, Facebook and VEVO from the Roku Channel Store. Sky promises to add more apps in the future!

Once connected, wirelessly to a router, HD is a respectable 720p and I noticed nothing deleterious whilst streaming Prometheus with the monthly Sky Movies Pass.

Obviously rivals LOVEFiLM and Emmy-Awards nominee Netflix are missing from the app roster for now. But, 4oD, ITV Player and YouTube are odd omissions. This tragically nixes the notion of a one-box solution where space is at a premium. For an extra £40 Roku LT will better serve Netflix subscribers who don't require Full 1080p.

A Sky Movies Month Pass is £9.99. You can cancel at anytime and resume on a month-by-month basis. This'll be a boon at Christmas time! Then there's the Sky Sports Week Pass for £10.99. And you'll need a robust wireless network because there's no Ethernet. However, I experienced no problems connecting the NOW TV Box to AirPort Extreme.

It would be great to see a companion app for iOS given its Roku heritage.

Regardless of whether or not you decide to continue subscribing after the free trial. For those without a so-called smart TV, or catch-up device, it would be churlish to pass up a NOW TV Box for the bedroom, kitchen or study. It's a very slick streaming player and a decent HDMI cable will set you back £10. What's not to like? I'll take one, two...

***** out of *****

Special thanks to Sky for providing the NOW TV Box.