The UpStream

Netflix to Remain Whole - Another Change in Direction

posted Friday Oct 14, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Netflix to Remain Whole - Another Change in Direction

Netflix seems to have lost their mind. First, they raise their prices, splitting DVD and streaming into two packages. Then, they announce they are splitting the DVD business into its own brand - Qwikster. This week brings us even weirder news - they have decided to axe the Qwikster brand even before it launches.

In a letter from the CEO of the company, directly to customers, he writes,

It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs.

This means no change: one website, one account, one password. In other words, no Qwikster.

While the July price change was necessary, we are now done with price changes.

So, they are still planning to keep the services as separate packages, as well as keep the prices higher, but the two websites and separate brand names will be discarded. I'm not entirely sure about their reasoning here, but I'm pretty sure they don't quite understand it.

Why are they really doing this and will it help? Hit the break to find out.

Hank Williams Jr Compares Obama to Hitler, ESPN Pulls Him From MNF

posted Sunday Oct 9, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Hank Williams Jr Compares Obama to Hitler, ESPN Pulls Him From MNF

When you ask somebody "Are you ready for some football?", they know you're talking about Monday Night Football. Singer Hank Williams Jr. has opened MNF for quite some time and his name and football have been synonymous with each other for over 20 years, but after this week's remarks on Fox and Friends, the Disney-owned ESPN and Hank are going to part ways.

Williams was brought onto the show, for a reason I cannot even begin to figure out, to talk about politics. It should be noted that when I think about deep, thoughtful political debate, I think about Hank Williams Jr. (or Willie Nelson). When asked for his thoughts on President Obama playing golf with House Speaker John Boehner, things went a little sideways.

That'd be like Hitler playing golf with Netanyahu.

He went on to say that Obama and Biden were the enemy but the hosts certainly didn't help the situation. It seems that they were told to antagonize and encourage the actions from Williams, who clearly shouldn't be on a political talk show.

For ESPN's reaction and Williams' explanation, click the break.

Facebook Knows What You're Doing Even After You Log Out

posted Sunday Oct 9, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Facebook Knows What You're Doing Even After You Log Out

Have you stopped using Facebook yet? Or have you not yet believed that their demise is not too far from the present? Either way, here's news that will be sure to get you to demand for a "Dislike" button. Remember when we talked about Facebook using their Like system for more than just a fun way to interact with friends? It appears that now Facebook has started to collect the information associated with you Liking something even after you have signed out of their software. They claim that this is part of their way to help protect your account and to make sure that nobody else is trying to login.

Facebook also says that all of the information from those Likes are not necessarily stored. This all stems from a discovery from an Australian computer expert, Nik Cubrilovic, who posted that some data was sent from Likes by users even after the user was already signed out. This not only raises some new concerns, but also questions Facebook's privacy policy yet again.

For more on this developing story, click the break.

Apple iPhone 4S - Picking Up Where 2007 Left Off

posted Sunday Oct 9, 2011 by Nicholas DiMeo

Apple iPhone 4S - Picking Up Where 2007 Left Off

Amazing, indeed. It's amazing how anyone could think this device is revolutionary, powerful or even something out of this year. In case you couldn't figure it out, the new iPhone was announced this week. With much speculation of how the event would pan out after the untimely resignation by Steve Jobs as CEO of the company, Apple had a lot riding on the announcement of the new iDevice. As luck would have it, the presentation was lackluster at best.

For a company who has always relied on the "shiny", flashy and glamorous presentation style, with products to match, they really seemed to drop the ball with this one. We could only assume that the people on stage, who were close to Jobs, knew about his passing in the coming days, however since Apple did not choose to push back the conference, they had to bring their "A" game and didn't. Instead, an empty seat reserved for Jobs, who obviously could not attend, spoke volumes for the lack of energy and presence of that man himself on stage.

What we did see was the announcement of the iPhone 4S, the "S" of course standing for "stuck behind the times." For the breakdown on the list of the "Hey, we can do this too!" Apple features, check after the break.

FOX vs The Simpsons Standoff

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

FOX vs <i>The Simpsons</i> Standoff

It's been a pretty rough week for FOX and The Simpsons. The show hasn't been doing as well as it used to and FOX needs to cut costs in production. The easiest place to cut costs is in salaries, and no one gets paid quite like the primary voice actors. Needless to say, FOX started discussions with the voice talent to see about cutting salaries. The only requirement the voice actors had was that they get some of the massive licensing fee profit in exchange.

It all seems pretty reasonable, especially considering the alternative of terminating the show and no one getting any money anymore. FOX did finally reach a deal with the cast, including a possible 30% salary cut (which still leaves them with an average of $300,000 per episode) and zero back-end profit sharing.

What it does mean, however, is that The Simpsons will be returning for their 24th and 25th seasons, making them the longest running comedy in US television history. That is an impressive feat by any measure, but for it to be an animated series is even more impressive. It takes a lot more effort to produce an animated series than it does live action, and to stick with it for 25 seasons and manage to keep it entertaining, relevant and funny, my hat is off to you, which is something that doesn't happen often.

I look forward to the FOX jokes that will come out of this over the next 2.5 years. What about you guys? Are you happy to see the series continue, or do you think it was over a long time ago? Let us know in the comments!

Xbox LIVE Announces Its Video Lineup

posted Saturday Oct 8, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Xbox LIVE Announces Its Video Lineup

Ever since this year's E3, we have been looking forward to seeing exactly what Xbox LIVE had planned for video. We've known a Dashboard update was coming, but what we were missing was the list of content providers coming to the platform.

This week, Major Nelson announced the lineup and it is pretty amazing. Major Nelson said,

We have nearly 40 world class TV and entertainment providers coming to Xbox LIVE... that will begin rolling out to consoles in more than 20 countries this holiday.

Want to see the full list, both current and future? Hit the break.

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