RSS Feed
Netflix wants to create its own chain of movie theaters, according to new report
Posted by Stephen Lambrechts on 20 April 2018 12:31 AM

Netflix has already changed the way people think about films and television, giving its subscribers the ability to stream prestige shows and blockbuster movies from the comfort of their homes, but could it also be looking at bringing the theater experience back to its glory days?

According to a report by the Los Angeles Times, the streaming giant has been looking into starting its own theater chain, giving movie buffs the opportunity to experience its Netflix Originals on the big screen. 

The report states that Netflix considered purchasing the LA-based Landmark Theatres chain, which is co-owned by renowned businessman and investor, Mark Cuban, though it reportedly backed out of the deal due to the sale price being too high. 

Binge-watching in public?

Not only would the prospect of Netflix-owned theaters bring the streaming giant closer to becoming the world's biggest media company, it would also give it the perfect platform to showcase its films for awards consideration. 

With the very-public spat between Netflix and the Cannes Festival Festival reaching its inevitable zenith recently, putting films back in theaters and on the big screen could make Netflix more respectable in the eyes of the traditional movie industry, as well as potential filmmakers. 

One thing's for certain, it won't be lacking in content — Netflix plans to spend $8 billion on original content in 2018, and with recent big-budget hits like Bright and smaller, thoughtful films like Annihilation, it's shown that it's not afraid to hit Hollywood where it hurts

Read more »

eBay just made creating product listings heaps easier
Posted by Harry Domanski on 20 April 2018 12:26 AM

While the eBay apps for Android and iOS have long had the function of barcode scanning, the latest addition moves beyond simple identification of products to a feature that should make the selling of products process a breeze.

Instead of manually entering in data, descriptions and images of your item, once you’ve found the appropriate product via the barcode scanner or search, it will autofill all this information.

This includes product images, a basic description, and a starting price to help you sell your item based on how that product’s previously sold across the site. The process is made possible by eBay’s “structured data and predictive analytics”, although you can make adjustments, or edits, to the info before posting it for sale.

This isn’t the only tech-forward feature the app has introduced recently, with augmented reality helping eBay’s US customers send the perfect package via UPS. And while useful, we hope this new automation won’t see the search results flooded with even more generic results than already plague the service.

Read more »

Facebook will move the data of 1.5 billion users to avoid EU’s new privacy law
Posted by Sharmishta Sarkar on 20 April 2018 12:23 AM

By making a minor change in its terms and conditions of use, Facebook is moving the data of all users outside of the US, Canada and the European Union from its Ireland headquarters to its offices in California, effectively escaping the EU’s new privacy protection law.

This shift in responsibility comes despite Facebook’s promise to protect user data in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal.

The move will be completed before the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) law goes into effect on May 25, and will affect users from Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America. That’s about 70% of all Facebook users.

Escape route

Under the EU’s new law, Facebook, or any company, becomes liable to fines of up to 4% of their global turnover in case of a data breach. For Facebook, that could amount to around US$1.6 billion.

In a statement to Reuters, Facebook downplayed the significance of the changes made to the terms and conditions, saying, “We apply the same privacy protections everywhere, regardless of whether your agreement is with Facebook Inc or Facebook Ireland.”

Yet, when questioned by the US Senate whether the social media giant would adhere to the GDPR, Mark Zuckerberg said yes but noncommittally referred to the GDPR “controls” as opposed to its “protections”.

Once the jurisdiction moves away from Ireland, Facebook will be governed by the more lenient laws of the US, giving the company some freedom on how it handles user data.

[Via Reuters]

Read more »

Vizio TV Catalog 2018: Here’s every new Vizio TV coming in 2018
Posted by Nick Pino on 19 April 2018 10:35 PM

There’s never a dull moment in the land of big-screen TVs. Just when you think you’ve reviewed, tested and ranked the best TVs, another manufacturer has to complicate the matter by adding a pool of new TVs for us to test. 

Today, that manufacturer is the American-owned and operated Vizio - one of the largest US manufacturers and a brand that has built itself on the pillars of affordability and performance. 

Like years prior, the Vizio TV line-up is divided into a few segments. At the bottom, you’ll find the budget-friendly (but small) D-Series. In the middle, you’ll find the second-screen-in-your-home S-Series. Then the median M-Series, which typically does the best blend of price and performance. And finally, at the high-end, you’ll find the P-Series, which is now adorned by the P-Series Quantum.

It’s a massive line-up this year and sifting through the specs of each series can be a time-consuming task - one that most folks looking to buy a new TV aren’t exactly enthusiastic about. To that end, our complete guide to Vizio’s 2018 TV series is here to help you figure out which TV from the budget-friendly manufacturer is worth buying this year.

For the full line-up along with the technology that’s going to power it, read on.

Vizio 2018 TV technology 

Vizio’s biggest strength in terms of technology is its use of local dimming zones on the vast majority of its TVs. That helps the screens turn off sections of the screen to better match OLEDs perfect black levels while still allowing other sections to be emitting peak brightness. 

Vizio’s flagship screen - the P-Series Quantum - not only boasts 192 of the aforementioned local dimming zones on a full array panel, but according to Vizio it will even be able to output 2,000 nits of peak brightness. This would put it in direct contention with Samsung’s flagship QLED TV, the Samsung Q9FN - one of our favorite TVs to come about in 2018.

Of course, brightness and contrast are just two of the key components of any good TV. You also need high-end color reproduction, motion handling and a robust smart TV offering. 

Thankfully, Vizio has those aspects covered, too. 

To handle color, Vizio has equipped the P-Series Quantum with its proprietary Quantum Color Spectrum technology that leverages quantum dots to more accurately match incoming signal. It will also boast Vizio Clear Action 960 - giving the screen a 240Hz effective refresh rate. 

On top of all that will be Vizio’s SmartCast system, which offers both traditional streaming apps for Netflix, Amazon and Hulu as well as Chromecast built-in for whatever Cast-compatible apps you might have on your phone.

The P-Series Quantum, P-Series and M-Series will support Dolby Vision and HDR10, giving you access to the vast majority of HDR content out there today.

The pièce de résistance of the system is that it will support both Amazon and Google’s smart systems, allowing voice-control support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant.

We focused on the P-Series Quantum here, but that’s because you can find almost all of the technology listed above in one form or another in every model in Vizio’s line-up. The standard P-Series trades Clear Action 960 for Clear Action 720 and 192 local dimming zones for a still-substantial 120, while the M-Series drops to Clear Action 360 and 48 zones. 

Want the full specs on each model? We’ve got them! Keep on reading.

Vizio P-Series Quantum 2018 models 

Vizio P-Series Quantum 4K HDR Smart TV (available in 65-inches) 

Model number: PQ65-F1

A direct challenger to Samsung’s Q9FN QLED, the PQ65-F1 is the most well-equipped screen we’ve yet to see from Vizio. Loaded with a panel capable of 2,000 nits peak brightness, 192 local dimming zones and Clear Motion 960 (240Hz effective refresh rate), it is the pinnacle of Vizio TVs in 2018. The screen will be available to buy later this year for $2,199.  

Vizio P-Series 2018 models 

Vizio P-Series 4K HDR Smart TV P55-F1 (55-inches): The smallest model in the standard P-Series is the ultra-affordable Vizio P55-F1. The TV offers 4K and HDR - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG - 56 local dimming zones and Clear Action 720.  It sports 802.11ac Dual Band and 5 HDMI ports. All models of the P-Series will offer 1,000 nits of peak brightness which is pretty much the industry standard for HDR. It won’t be as bright as the P-Series Quantum, but hey, it’s only $899. 

Vizio P-Series 4K HDR Smart TV P65-F1 (65-inches): The middle child of the P-Series is the P65-F1. At 65-inches it’s the best option for the living room, supporting 4K and HDR in the forms of HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. The big difference here besides the amount of screen real estate is that the P65-F1 has 100 local dimming zones instead of 56. Pricing for the P65-F1 will start at $1,299.

Vizio P-Series 4K HDR Smart TV P75-F1 (75-inches): At the top of the standard P-Series list is the Vizio P-Series P75-F1, a monstrous 75-inch screen. It features all the 4K HDR goodness listed above, as well as Clear Action 720, but ups the local dimming zone count to 120. You’ll be able to buy it later this year for $2,499. 

Vizio M-Series 2018 models 

Vizio M-Series 4K HDR Smart TV M55-F0 (55-inches): Stepping down from the performance-focused P-Series is the more moderately specc’d M-Series, the smallest of which is the Vizio M55-F0. Inside it, you’ll find 32 local dimming zones, Clear Action 360 (a.k.a. a 120Hz refresh rate), 802.11ac Wi-Fi and, on the outside, four HDMI ports. One of the more unfortunate aspects of the M-Series, though, is that it will only be able to output 600 nits of peak brightness - something to keep in mind if you want the boldest, richest colors. If the low peak luminance doesn’t turn you off, the M55-F0 will be available for $699. 

Vizio M-Series 4K HDR Smart TV M65-F0 (65-inches): Similar to the M55-F0, the M65-F0 only supports Clear Action 360 and four HDMI ports. It does, however, boost the number of local dimming zones to a respectable 40. It’s available for $999. 

  • Curious about the M-Series? Here's our hands on preview of the Vizio M65-F0

Vizio M-Series 4K HDR Smart TV M70-F3 (70-inches): The last member of the M-Series in 2018 is the M70-F3. It has everything you’d find in the M55-F0, but instead of a 55-inch screen and 32 dimming zones, you’ll get a 70-inch screen and 48 dimming zones. It will be available later this year for $1,499. 

Vizio E-Series 2018 models 

Vizio E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV E75-F1/E75-F2 (75-inches): Here’s where things start to get tricky. The top of the E-Series is the E75, which, as you might expect, comes in 75-inches. There are two models of the E75, both of which have the same specs. The difference between the two is the location of the analog audio port. Very minor difference aside, both E75s offer 16 local dimming zones, Clear Motion 240 and support for the three types of HDR - HDR10, Dolby Vision and HLG. They’re both available for $1,549.

Vizio E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV E70-F3 (70-inches): The E70-F3 trades down to a 70-inch screen size instead of 75, and drops the amount of dimming zones to 12. The E70-F3 will be available for $1,049. 

Vizio E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV E65-F0/E65-F1 (65-inches): Drop down to the E65, and the only thing you’ll lose is screen real estate. There’s no difference in local dimming zones or motion handling between the E65 and E75. The difference between the two versions is that the F1 sports 15-watt speakers while the F0 only sports 10-watt speakers. Not a huge deal overall. Both TVs are $799. 

Vizio E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV E55-F0/E55-F1 (55-inches): The E55 bumps you down to 10 local dimming zones and a mere three HDMI inputs. That said, you’ll be able to shave $300 off the price - the E55 will only run you $499. 

Vizio E-Series 4K HDR Smart TV E50-F2/E43-F1 (50- and 43-inches): The last two models in the E-Series are the E50-F2 and the E43-F1. These models share almost all the same specs - 10 local dimming zones, three HDMI inputs, Clear Action 240 - and are only separated by their speaker setup and screen sizes. The E50 is 50-inches corner-to-corner and uses 10-watt speakers, while the E43 is 43-inches and uses 8-watt speakers. The E50-F2 is $439 while the E43-F1 is $349. 

Vizio D-Series 2018 models 

Vizio D-Series 4K HDR Smart TV D70-F3/D65-F1/D60-F3/D55-F2/D50-F1/D43-F1 (70-, 65-, 60-, 55-, 50- and 43-inches): Sorry for the wall of model numbers here but, by and large, all models in the D-Series are the same. 

You’ll find Clear Action here, but you will find a 120Hz effective refresh rate thanks to backlight scanning. There’s also no Dolby Vision here - you’ll just have to live with HDR10 and HLG. The D-Series also doesn’t use an active full array lighting system, either. You’ll still get Vizio’s proprietary operating system, though, if that makes you feel any better. You should also enjoy the pricing of the D-Series, which starts at $349 for the 43-inch and only goes as high as $999 for the 70-inch TV.

Vizio D-Series Full HD Smart TV D39f-F0 (39-inches): If you’re looking for a second screen, Vizio’s Full HD Smart TV might be what you’re looking for. The FHD TV only supports 802.11n Wi-Fi and two HDMI ports but it will only cost you $249 - which isn’t bad for a brand-new TV in 2018. 

Vizio D-Series SmartCast Full HD D24f-F1 (24-inches): And here we are, the last Vizio TV in the 2018 line-up. The Vizio D24f-F1 is only Full HD, 24-inches across, edge-lit and packs two HDMI ports, but it will only cost you $139. 

Read more »

The best Xbox One bundle deals in April 2018
Posted by Brendan Griffiths,Stephen Slaybaugh on 19 April 2018 07:28 PM

If you're in the market for an Xbox One, why not get a bundle? You usually get a game or two to get started, not mention more for your money. As such, you're in the right place for the cheapest Xbox One deals from around the web as we're constantly on the lookout for the best offers. Below you'll find of select of configurations with different amounts of storage and different game titles.

The Xbox One S has as slim design in comparison to the original chunky launch model and supports 4K content. But not only is it a better design, but it's considerably less expensive than the original. If you'd prefer to leap into the world of full-on 4K HDR gaming, then you might be tempted by one of the latest Xbox One X bundles instead.

Looking to buy an Xbox One in the UK or Australia? You'll want to take a look at our UK page or AU page.

cheap xbox one deals and bundles

The best Xbox One deals

The slimmed-down design of the Xbox One S looks much better than the original chunky box and the power brick has been absorbed making thing s bit tidier behind your TV. The main draw though is 4K visual support meaning you'll be able to watch specialized 4K Blu-Ray and Netflix content in 4K on your new 4K TV. Most Xbox One S models comes with 500GB of storage and there are some 1TB options too. The limited edition 2TB model has all but disappeared now, but it pops up with an enormous price-tag occasionally. Let's take a look at the cheapest Xbox One deals below, followed by the bundles.

The best Xbox One bundles

The best Xbox One X deals

Released in November at a list price of $499, the HDR- and 4K-equipped Xbox One X is considerably more expensive than the Xbox One S. The prices below are mainly for the console on its own. But if you'd like to see the options that include games too (sometimes you'll get ones thrown in for free), then head on over to our Xbox One X bundles page.

Xbox Live Gold deals

Need to top off your Xbox Live Gold membership? Don't pay the default automatic $60 renewal price. Check out our range of Xbox Live Gold deals  to save some serious money.

Still considering a PS4 instead? Then you'll want to take a look at our cheapest PS4 bundle deals

Read more »

Best Linux distro for developers in 2018
Posted by Nate Drake on 19 April 2018 07:27 PM

More popular versions of Linux such as Ubuntu focus on enhancing the user experience by automatically updating packages and providing flashy, resource-heavy GUIs.

While user-friendly distributions (distros) certainly have their place, in this guide, we've tried to get back to the glory days when developers would customise their Linux build. These Linux distros allow you to fine-tune your development environment so whether you're a veteran programmer or relative newcomer, you can get on with your coding. 

In short, whatever your programming preferences, you’ll find a distro to suit your needs in this top 10 roundup.

1. Arch Linux

Arch Linux offers a powerful level of customisation during setup, allowing you to download and install only the packages you need. While this is definitely not for newbies to coding, the fact you can install only a minimal number of programs on your machine using the Arch Build System and Arch User Repository, reduces the possibility of anything interfering with your coding.

This means, for instance, that you can install a barebones window manager like i3 to be certain your system will respond quickly when using your chosen text editor. If you run into difficulty, the Arch Linux Wiki offers a helpful installation guide.

2. Debian

Debian is one of the oldest Linux distros and is built with stability in mind. All programs included with Debian have to meet the Debian Free Software Guidelines. Packages are carefully selected and tested for inclusion in the 'Stable' branch of Debian meaning that while some may be dated, there's very little chance of system instability, making this OS ideal for programmers.

The Debian website has extensive manuals, including a chapter on programming talking you through the basics of creating a script, compiling it, and using Autoconf to allow your scripts to be compiled on other Linux distros.

3. Raspbian

Raspbian is the default operating system which is included with the Raspberry Pi. As the Pi was designed as an educational tool, Raspbian is the perfect OS for those interested in getting started with coding.

The Raspberry Pi website has excellent guides on using the visual programming tool Scratch, which is used to create animations and games. There's also an excellent section on getting started with Python, which is supported out of the box.

Younger coders might prefer to learn to use the programming language for Minecraft Pi, a mini-version of the highly popular sandbox game.

4. Gentoo

Named after the fast-swimming penguin, Gentoo is sometimes called a 'meta' distribution as users download and compile its source code manually according to their needs. This not only makes it a perfect match for the hardware requirements of your machine, but it allows you to decide exactly which versions of packages can be installed.

Gentoo suffered a minor setback a few years ago when its comprehensive Wiki went offline. Fortunately, it has since been restored and now includes the official Gentoo handbook. There's also a small diehard Gentoo following on Reddit if you need further help.

5. Ubuntu

Unlike barebones distros like Arch Linux and Gentoo, Ubuntu is designed to be ideal for beginners, complete with a desktop interface and automatic updates. 

Ubuntu is the chosen distro of the Android Open Source Project for building source files. The Android build is regularly tested using the most recent versions of Ubuntu. 

You can also install other development environments using Ubuntu Make.  

Ubuntu now supports the 'snaps' application packaging format, using the Snapcraft tool, which allows you to write apps in the programming language of your choice and package them with all the required dependencies. Visit the Ubuntu Developer portal here.

6. Fedora

Fedora is a community supported derivative of the commercial distribution Red Hat Linux. It also enjoys the distinction of being the distro of choice of Linux kernel creator Linus Torvalds.

Aside from being very easy to set up and install, Fedora has a dedicated Developer Portal. Simply click 'Start a Project' to see dedicated guides on developing web, command line, desktop and mobile apps. There's also an excellent section on working with hardware devices such as Arduino. 

If this wasn’t enough, the Fedora repositories also include Eclipse, a fully featured and multi-language IDE. Eclipse is probably best known for Java, but also has a C/C++ and PHP IDE. You can expand its functionality even further with plugins. 

7. OpenSUSE

OpenSUSE (formerly SUSE Linux) is a distribution specifically designed for software developers and system administrators. Installation and system configuration is a breeze with the integrated YaST tool. This allows you to install all the '-devel' packages needed by developers with one click.

OpenSUSE comes preinstalled with all the basic tools a software developer needs, such as the Vim and Emacs text editors, build automation tools such as CMake and packaging tools like RPM. The operating system also comes with OBS (Open Build Service), a tool for developers to build software for various distros and platforms.

8. CentOS

Like Fedora, CentOS is a free, community-based variant of Red Hat (a commercial version of Linux). Many of the packages are the same and theoretically it's possible to build a version of CentOS which is functionally identical to Red Hat itself, although this is difficult to achieve in practice. 

This results in a highly stable system. The CentOS repository also contains the Developer Toolset, which boasts a range of essential programming tools

For developers, the Xen virtualisation platform offers a way to compartmentalise your projects and run applications safely inside a virtual machine. 

You can find instructions on how to do this and other developer tips in the excellent CentOS Wiki.

9. Solus

Solus is special in that it's one of the few Irish Linux distros, and also because it follows a curated rolling release model. The advantage of this is that once you've installed the OS, you can keep running updates rather than a major upgrade. Solus, however, tries to avoid installing extremely recent packages and beta software to maintain system stability.

Solus supports several editors and IDEs such as Atom, Idea and Gnome Builder, as well as the Git GUI, GitKraken. The Solus project website also claims that the OS supports a number of programming languages such as Go, Rust, PHP, Node.js and Ruby.

10. Puppy Linux

Puppy Linux is an extremely lightweight distro based on either Ubuntu or Slackware. The entire OS is only around 325MB in size, meaning it can be run entirely in RAM as well as installed to an ordinary hard disk. It comes with a minimal number of packages, although you can add more, such as 'devx' which contains various development tools.

The Puppy Linux 'Wikka' details the programming languages supported by the OS. One notable language is BaCon, which can convert code written in BASIC to C.

The Wikka also has an extensive selection of tutorials on writing Bash scripts and getting started with Python.

Read more »