Short answer to both of these questions is that, no, Sony haven’t done anything of the sort.
That thing you can see on your PS4 is just an advert, so don’t sweat it. Obviously, Sony aren’t going to be giving games away for free, and you can assume that they understand how jumpy gamers are, so they wouldn’t want to anger them by making them have a game they didn’t want or have the memory space for.
Basically, in that horizontal information bar, Sony have whacked an advert for Destiny in it, which might annoy you if you’re anti-adverts, but you can opt-out of those too if you want.
If you don’t like these ads – which Sony have been mercifully tasteful with thus far – you go to your PlayStation 4 Settings, click System, then Automatic Downloads, and there, you should untick the Featured Content box. That means no more ads, which are uniformly ‘opt-in’ as standard.
There’s a similar thing with Microsoft’s Xbox One, which has a ‘What’s New’ section. Either way, if the appearance of Destiny on your PS4 has bugged you, you now know what you need to do, to get rid.
Fans of Back to the Future will know that October 21st 2015 is a special date – basically, Marty McFly went there. And yes, this is the real deal, not some ‘shopped job which has changed the date.
With that, a lot of people will be kicking their marketing teams into action. Pepsi, who star in the film, have been at it, and are recreating their bottles that star in Back To The Future II.
At the moment, it looks like it’ll be US-only, which is rubbish. That could change, mind you.
PepsiCo’s senior director of marketing, Lou Arbetter, said: “So we wanted to take advantage of the fact that Marty travelled to the future, to this month, and wanted to actually come out with the product.”
Each bottle will also come in a furnished case, which means it’ll probably be expensive and one for hardcore fans only. The lads down the comic book shop will be wetting themselves over this, and if you’re at New York Comic Con this week, Pepsi will give you a Back To The Future Pepsi bottle if you’re one of the first 1,5000 people there dressed up like Marty McFly.
We’re looking forward to a portaloo company doing a Jurassic Park marketing stunt. Anyway, here’s the bottle from Back to the Future II…
…and here’s Pepsi’s adverts about it all…
Amazon are being weird babies again, this time, they’re going to stop selling media-streaming gadgets from Apple and Google. Why? Well, they don’t want to sell things that aren’t easily compatible with their own video service. Honest.
Amazon sent an e-mail to its marketplace sellers, which said that it will be stopping selling Apple TV and Google’s Chromecast, because those gadgets don’t “interact well” with Prime Video. Keep in mind that Christmas is just around the corner, and a lot of people will be wanting to buy Google and Apple products, you almost have to admire the brass balls on Amazon.
Also keep in mind that, if you’re not the sort of person who can root things, Amazon’s tablets don’t run on the proper Android OS, which means if you get a Fire HDX or whatever, you won’t be able to download Google apps like YouTube, the Google Play store and the like. You can’t get the BT Sport app either. So it looks like Amazon are fencing themselves in, and trying to only flog their own stuff, which is a risky move.
This isn’t the first time Amazon have tried this. They got in a row with the Hachette Book Group, over the sales of print and digital books. Basically, Amazon blocked pre-orders for some of Hachette’s books, and a load of authors got angry and said the whole thing was anti-competitive.
Now, with that, you could argue that not selling Google and Apple stuff could fall under anti-trust rules, which means this could get very messy for Amazon. Even if it doesn’t raise these concerns, it is unusual for a company to send a load of potential customers elsewhere, if they want premium or popular products.
Either way, if you want Apple TV or Chromecast, you won’t be finding it at Amazon – mercifully, loads of other retailers are available.
Google have been busy bees, which has resulted in the release of a bunch of new stuff – notably, two new Nexus smartphones and two new Chromecast devices.
First off – the phones. Google showed off the new Nexus 5X and Nexus 6P, which will both run on Android’s latest OS, Marshmallow. Google reckon the phones both have improved batteries, and the 5X will have a 5.7″ ultra HD screen, and it’ll have an all-metal body, which is fancy.
The 6P meanwhile, has a 12.3-megapixel Sony sensor, which Google reckon is the best ever camera on a smartphone. It’ll also have a fingerprint scanner too.
Google have also put out the new Pixel C tablet, which is basically a larger version of the two new phones, melded together. It’ll come with a full size keyboard as well. The 5X will start at £339 while the 6P will start at £449, with pre-orders beginning on Tuesday.
In addition to these, there’s also some new Chromecasts to check out – an updated version of the existing Chromecast, and Chromecast Audio.
The new version of Chromecast will still cost £30, and will have better connectivity, thanks to an upgraded antenna system and a WiFi chip that chooses the best connection. Google have updated the app (for everyone, regardless of which dongle you’re using) so it’ll feel more like a remote, rather than doing everything through your screen.
The completely new Chromecast Audio is pretty interesting too – basically, it is a dongle where you can stream audio. It isn’t the same as Google Cast for Audio, which links up Chromecast with your speakers, but rather, it works with any phone, tablet, or laptop that is connected to your network.
It has a ‘guest mode’ too, which will let friends play music to your speakers, even if they don’t have your WiFi password. Good for those of you who like having people over to your house and all that.
Obviously, Chromecast Audio links up with Spotify and all that too. It will cost £30 as well.
A lot of people have been going on about having a ‘Netflix and chill’ lately. For those of you who are a thousand years old, it basically means ‘would you like to come round for some intercourse?’
Well, Netflix have gone and created a button to facilitate exactly that. A proper, real life button with schematics so you can build it. Seems a bit much, like having a klaxon horn for when you’re getting the condoms out of the box, but there you go – stating ‘Netflix and chill’ should’ve already made your intentions clear.
Anyway, it’s called ‘The Switch’, and it puts your phone into Do-Not-Disturb mode, silencing incoming calls and messages, and if you have a smarthouse, it’ll dim the lights too.
It’ll also order you a pizza if you want and, of course, it’ll turn Netflix on. It can’t turn your partner on as well – you have to do something to earn your coital behaviour.
Netflix aren’t planning on selling these buttons to those who can’t build things like this, however, if you can, maybe you can make a load and sell them to randy people.
If you can’t manage to get someone over to your house, you can certainly have a Netflix and chill on your own, if you catch our drift.
Firstly, there’s the small matter of a redesign. If the leak is correct, then the new dongle will look markedly different to the O.G. model. There might be different colours you can buy of the device, should you want it to match your eyes or whatever.
This new Chromecast doesn’t look like a USB stick either, rather, it resembles a key fob or a rubbish pancake.
It looks like Google are keeping an eye on Apple TV as well, as there’s rumours of new functions for the stick. It is likely that the new model will have better, faster WiFi. It may also have ”background feed” capabilities, which sounds like it’ll be able to sync up with social media accounts, should you want to do such a thing. There’s probably going to be some Spotify app built-in too.
It is thought that the device will also have sports and news widgets, which you’ll be able to customise, so you can watch highlights and video content from providers who free videos up. There’s also talk of something called ‘Fast Play’, and we’ve no idea what that it. If we had to guess, we think it’ll be something to do we pre-loading and buffering times.
So when will we see this? Well, we suspect it’ll be unveiled at a Google event on 29th September.
You thought Microsoft had quietly taken Zune out the back a killed it ages ago didn’t you? Well, not the case because they’ve just announced (to the 6 people that were using it) that they’re pulling the plug on their music service on November 15th. We’re setting up a helpline and will be holding a memorial in due time.
So, if you are using Zune, start saying your goodbyes, as Microsoft have said that you won’t be able to stream or download anything from it after that date, and, gallingly, anything you bought with DRM won’t play if the license can’t be renewed.
And people wonder why so many people illegally download music.
That said, your Zune device, and all the MP3s you have, will work as normal, so that’s something at least, eh? There’s more - Zune Music Pass subscribers will be migrated over to Microsoft ‘s new Groove service, which works with Windows 10, Xbox One, Android and iOS. Concerning the latter, we’d be very surprised if any Apple Fanboys are prepared to use a Microsoft music product on their devices.
If you’re on a monthly Zune pass, then your account will switch to a Groove Music Pass, which will cost you £8.99 per month, or £89 if you’re buying an annual pass.
Apple TV will have a brand new operating system, and will be able to host a variety of third party apps. While a lot of the talk about next Wednesday’s Apple event has focused on a new iPhone, it is the set-top TV box that will be seeing the biggest improvements.
Naturally, you’ll be able to watch loads of shows and films with the new box, but also, it looks like it’ll be a big device for gaming.
Apple launched a new Twitter account last week, called App Store Games, and Apple TV’s remote control looks like it will be getting a microphone too, which could be incorporated into games (or at least make it easier for you to get through the menus without moving your fingers much). The remote will invariably have accelerometers, which means you could be thrashing around like you’re playing Wii Tennis or whatever.
It seems that Apple are going after casual gamers, rather than the hardcore who play games on the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One console… and not forgetting the gamers on PCs.
It looks like the new Apple TV will cost around £150, as a starting price.
Now, for some dodgy practices, concerning people getting paid to say nice things about a product on the sly. It looks like Machinima paid YouTubers tens of thousands of dollars to promote the Xbox One launch in a very positive light, without actually declaring their work was actually an advertising deal.
The Federal Trade Commission found that Machinima paid a bunch of YouTubers tens of thousands to talk up the launch of Microsoft’s Xbox One, and at no point did anyone declare that the endorsements were actually a rather lucrative deal.
As part of the agreement, the videos had to “showcase Microsoft products in positive light”. You can imagine that there’s a host of popular YouTubers who talk about make-up and clothes and the like, also on the make like this.
A YouTuber called Syndicate bagged a lovely $30,000 for running sneaky adverts, while SkyVsGaming got $15,000 in a deal. Neither disclosed that they were being paid by Machinima, the streaming company.
Machinima were throwing their money around like no-one’s business, paying tens-of-thousands to people to create videos that “could not contain anything negative or disparaging regarding Machinima, Xbox One, or any launch title” and “keep confidential at all times all matters relating to [the] agreement.”
This of course, saw the FTC saying that these promotions were not impartial, “false and misleading” and not independently produced. They continued: “In numerous instances, [Machinima] has failed to disclose, or disclose adequately, that the individuals who posted the reviews were compensated in connection with their endorsements.”
“This fact would be material to consumers in their purchasing decisions regarding Xbox One and the Launch Titles. The failure to disclose this fact, in light of the representations made, was, and is, a deceptive practice.” Cheeky!
You can read the full report as a PDF here.
That’s because Technics are every DJ’s favourite decks, so you can imagine the consternation when it was announced in 2010, that they were no longer being produced.
Well, Panasonic – who own the Technics brand – have decided to start making them again, as part of a revival for the famous brand.
Much of what is planned is still under wraps, but it looks like there’s going to be a host of Technics products like amps, headphones and of course, direct drive turntables. It looks like they’ll be unveiled and on the market some time between April 2016 and March 2017.
Panasonic showed off a prototype of the new turnable at some industry show, which is made from aluminium and basically looks a bit like a metal kitchen sink from a secondary school.
See for yourself. You could play records and drain your cutlery on the side of these rascals.
The innards are going to be rebuilt, but Panasonic assure vinyl enthusiasts that they’ll be as responsive as the old turntables, so don’t you worry just yet.
“Turntables are a very iconic product for the Technics brand,” Michiko Ogawa, director of Technics and executive officer at Panasonic, told Wired. “It is important to show our sincere dedication [to that]. The turntable market is very small but it is a very important brand product.”
We’re surprised Netflix hasn’t already got on this and now they’ve been beaten to the punch by Amazon. Of course, other companies have talked about this as a feature before, and have usually said that licensing issues are the reason it can’t be done, but here we are.
Of course, you can do this with BBC and Sky through the Sky Go and iPlayer services, but this is a little different as this is a streaming-only affair, so you can expect Netflix and Hulu to start making moves into the area.
Amazon have 2,164 films and TV shows available to download to iOS and Android devices. They’ve not said how long you can have the downloads for, so more on that when we can be bothered to find out.
One thing that is a massive boon for Amazon is that they can push this as something that you can do so you don’t batter your data allowances, if you want to watch stuff while travelling or what have you.
Records are lovely things. It is nice that, when you buy some physical media, you get something big for your money. Of course, vinyl attracts dust and if you’re moving house with a load of records, you wished they’ve never been invented… but other than that, it is lovely to have records in the house.
Of course, vinyl got hammered by the introduction of cassettes and CDs. When everything got thrown into oblivion by MP3s, vinyl clung on in there and is currently in the middle of a small resurgence. While vinyl sales have been climbing, compact disc sales fell by 6.5% last year and legal downloads were down by 9%. Everyone’s streaming these days or off up the torrents.
So with that, surprisingly, vinyl is going to make an appearance on supermarket shelves for the first time in ages!
Tesco will be stocking the new Iron Maiden album, on LP, from Friday. While you’re in your local Tesco, you can see if they’ve got any Iron Maiden beer in and make a night of it, if that’s your thing.
Michael Mulligan, responsible for sourcing music for Tesco, said: “Parents are getting their old vinyl albums down from the loft and teenagers are discovering the joys of the 12 inch record for the first time.”
‘The Book Of Souls’ by Iron Maiden will be on sale in 55 of the largest Tescos and is on a whopping triple LP format and, thanks to the dewy nostalgia in us, we’re going to be very happy seeing a bunch of records in a high street supermarket again.
EE are going to dole out a load of new features to their TV service, in the battle to win the hearts, minds, arses and eyes of the UK. Seems like everyone is getting involved in television at the moment.
So what’s going on? Well, next week, EE will launch new features in a ‘My TV’ section, which will let you personalise your televisual experience. Basically, you’ll have options for your favourite channels and programmes.
There’s also going to be a companion screen function, so you can use a secondary screen for additional information and interactivity, which relate to whatever you’re watching. EE are also promising a better search tool and functionality.
EE have also said that there’s going to be some new channels too, including a film channel called Mubi.
“The new EE TV features take the personalisation capability that all smartphone and tablet owners are familiar with, and incorporates it to create what we believe is the best multi-screen TV service available today,” said Simeon Bird, director of home broadband and TV at EE.
So there you have it. Another thing to try and win your TV affections. When BT take over EE, this could all change, or indeed, it might be merged with BT Sport. One to keep an eye on, that’s for sure.
Apple have had to put back the release of their internet TV service that they basically copied off Netflix, but with added live broadcasts. The company announced their plans a while back, and the service would revolve around the Apple TV set-top box, and offer you films and some live TV.
These plans have been pushed back to 2016, thanks to the tricky and difficult world of TV executives and getting the rights for shows.
It was thought that the TV service would launch in September with a new phone, as well as an updated version of their Apple TV hardware.
What will the new hardware be like? Well, it seems that it’ll have a redesign remote, bigger storage and Siri voice control. You can expect Apple to give it a specific bit off the App Store as well.
Of course, Apple have got form when it comes to getting rights and dealing with awkward CEOs – just look at the way Apple have become a major player in the world of music. If they can do for television, what they’ve done for music, then Apple are going to make a frightening amount of money in the process.
How much will Apple charge for a monthly subscription, that’s the big question.
Sky have more than doubled their annual profits thanks to a load more people subscribing to them. This is according to their own figures. They were also keen to point out that profit after tax jumped to £1.957 billion in the year to the end of June compared with £865 million for 2013/14.
This was the first results they’ve put out since Rupert Murdoch’s empire brought together BSkyB with Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia, to create a European pay-TV behemoth.
“The past 12 months have been an outstanding period of growth for Sky,” chief executive Jeremy Darroch said in the results statement. ”The UK and Ireland, where our strategy is most progressed, put in a particularly strong performance. We passed the 12 million customer milestone with the highest growth in 11 years.”
Seems like throwing all that money at football coverage is still doing them rather well.
While it performed very well in the UK and Ireland, it is elsewhere that Sky are most pleased about. ”Germany delivered its highest-ever customer growth, while Italy maintained its subscriber base in a tough market.” added Darroch.