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19 Oct 13:41

“Binge Racing” is a Big Thing on Netflix and Canadians Are At the Front of the Pack

by Clarissa
Do you remember the days when you had to wait each week for a new episode of your favorite show? Sure, those days still exist now on network television, but streaming services like Netflix has done away with the week-by-week model and introduced fans to “binge racing”. “Binge racers” are Netflix viewers who strive to […]
19 Oct 07:52

'Mythbusters' reboot comes to Science Channel on November 15th

by Rob LeFebvre
What do you do when your highly-successful reality show goes out with a bang? If you're Discovery-owned Science Channel, you quickly reboot it and find new hosts to replace the iconic ones. If you're a fan of the original and willing to give the new...
17 Oct 08:10

A 747 'Supertanker' rains retardant on California's wildfires

by Steve Dent
A converted Boeing 747-400 used to fight fires is a great example of old technology reborn with a new purpose. The aircraft, the largest passenger model in Boeing's jumbo lineup, first entered service with Japan Airlines in 1991. After being converte...
17 Oct 08:09

Explore (most of) the solar system in Google Maps

by David Lumb
Google first added the moon and Mars to Google Maps back in 2014 to commemorate the Curiosity rover's second year exploring the red planet. Sure, you couldn't zoom down to Street View level, but it's the closest many of us will get to the celestial b...
17 Oct 08:07

Discovery’s Lt. Stamets Reflects on That Ending

by Scott Collura

Full spoilers follow for the latest episode of Star Trek: Discovery, “Choose Your Pain.”

There was a lot going on in last night’s Star Trek episode, which saw Captain Lorca escaping Klingon captivity, the first appearance of the (new) Harry Mudd in Rainn Wilson, Michael Burnham’s salvation of the tardigrade Ripper, and a bunch of classic Trek captains getting namedropped. There was plenty more to ponder in the segment, “Choose Your Pain,” too, but perhaps most intriguing was the genuine twist that it ended on.

Anthony Rapp as Lt. Paul Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery Anthony Rapp as Lt. Paul Stamets in Star Trek: Discovery

Continue reading…

16 Oct 21:06

Multiple WiFi Encryption Vulnerabilities Disclosed, Affecting Almost Everything

by Billy Tallis

Today a collection of severe security vulnerabilities in the WPA2 encryption protocol for Wi-Fi are being disclosed, along with a proof of concept exploit. The weaknesses center around the process used for negotiating the encryption keys used by the client and access point. These core vulnerabilities are part of the Wi-Fi Protected Access WPA standard itself, so even devices that correctly implement WPA2 according to spec are expected to be affected. Both personal and enterprise WPA modes are affected, and both the original WPA and WPA2 are affected. The primary mode of attack exploits vulnerabilities in client devices, but there are some variants that affect features used by some access points.

As a quick WPA refresher, the password you type in to connect to an access point using WPA2 is not directly used as the encryption key for the network traffic your device exchanges with the access point. Instead, that password (technically referred to as a pre-shared key) is used to authenticate the client device to the access point and start the process of negotiating the connection. The vulnerabilities disclosed today allow for attacks on the four-way handshake sequence that is used in setting up the encryption and determining what keys will be used, all without having to broadcast the pre-shared key itself. Once a connection is fully established, the client and access point regularly rotate the encryption keys to new ones derived from the pre-shared key.

802.11i Four-Way Handshake (Image Via Wikipedia)

The proof of concept attack technique, named KRACK short for Key Reinstallation Attacks, focuses on step three of the four-way handshake. In the third step, the access point sends to the client confirmation that the access point has completed its side of the key negotiation process. After receiving that message, the client can begin using the negotiated key and initialization vector to encrypt traffic, and the client completes the handshake by sending the access point an acknowledgment.

But that assumes each of the four messages in the handshake process is successfully received. The key negotiation process needs to allow for the possibility of radio interference, so it permits the access point to re-send the message that is step three of the handshake. If an attacker sends a copy of this message, the client device will be tricked into reverting back to the original encryption key and initialization vector used at the start of the session. The client's next transmissions will have been encrypted with the same key as earlier transmissions, even though that key was only meant for a single use. That allows for a key reuse attack, which doesn't directly expose the underlying encryption key but does make it relatively easy to decrypt the data that was encrypted, especially if something is known about the structure of the messages that were both encrypted with the same key. IP packet headers, in turn, provide exactly that.

Despite not leaking the Wi-Fi pre-shared key itself or the per-session master key negotiated by the four-way handshake, KRACK style attacks can net the attacker enough information to start hijacking TCP connections and escalate to similar attacks. If the wireless network is using the older WPA-TKIP protocol instead of the WPA2 AES-CCMP protocol, then the attacker may be able to forge and inject packets into the wireless network itself instead of using the recovered information in less direct attacks. Meanwhile, newer networks using the short-range Wireless Gigabit (IEEE 802.11ad) standard generally use GCMP,  which uses the same authentication key for both directions of communication between the client and access point, so a KRACK attack can allow for decryption of transmissions from either device.

Linux systems including Android version 6.0 and above generally use the wpa_supplicant program. This implementation of WPA tries to defend against key reuse by wiping it from RAM after it is used for the first time. When subjected to a KRACK attack, this means wpa_supplicant doesn't revert to the original key but instead replaces its key with all zeroes. Unfortunately, in the KRACK scenario this technique backfires and results in a known, fixed key, making decrypting future transmissions too easy.

Today's disclosure is documented across ten CVEs, each describing a different style of key reinstallation attack on different parts or modes of WPA. This means that any full-featured Wi-Fi implementation is likely to require patching in several places. Fortunately, these key reinstallation vulnerabilities can all be fixed in a backwards-compatible manner, and the Wi-Fi standards are expected to be updated to require defenses against key reinstallation attacks. This class of vulnerabilities was discovered earlier this year and the researchers involved began informing vendors in July. CERT issued a broad notification to vendors on August 28. OpenBSD has already patched their WPA implementation, and Aruba, Mikrotik and Ubiquiti are among the vendors reported to have fixes ready or already deployed.

As with many other recent major security vulnerabilities, this discovery has been given memorable branding and a logo:

This is hardly the first major security breach to affect Wi-Fi. The original standard for Wi-Fi encryption was named Wired Equivalent Privacy (WEP), a name that proved to be completely inaccurate as flaws were found permitting quick and easy cracking of the encryption. Wi-Fi Protected Access (WPA) was introduced as a replacement that could be deployed on most existing hardware with software and firmware updates, while WPA2 made more significant changes like switching from the RC4 cipher to AES. Previous attacks against WPA2 have all relied on some form of password guessing at heart, such as attacks exploiting Wi-Fi Protected Setup (WPS) PINs. Until now, the four-way handshake process in WPA was regarded as secure, and the AES cipher used by WPA2 is still considered secure.

This is also not the first widespread security flaw affecting common network infrastructure to have been disclosed recently. Earlier this month, a team of Google security researchers published several vulnerabilities in DNSMasq, the DNS and DHCP server most commonly used by consumer-grade routers. The severity of these bugs ranged from denial of service to remote code execution and affected both the DNS and DHCP functionality of DNSMasq.

16 Oct 12:45

Artificial pancreas uses your phone to counter diabetes

by Jon Fingas
If you live with type 1 diabetes, you have to constantly keep track of your blood sugar levels and give yourself just the right amount of insulin. It's arduous, and more than a little frightening when you know that the wrong dose could have serious...
16 Oct 12:45

Severe WiFi security flaw puts millions of devices at risk

by Steve Dent
Researchers have discovered a key flaw in the WPA2 WiFi encryption protocol that could allow hackers to intercept your credit card numbers, passwords, photos and other sensitive information. The flaws, dubbed "Key Reinstallation Attacks," or "Krack A...
15 Oct 20:55

Black Mirror creator gives exclusive season 4 details

by James Hibberd

Below EW interviews Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker about the upcoming fourth season of his Emmy-winning Netflix series. Don’t worry, Brooker avoids anything resembling a spoiler about his ever-twisty and twisted anthology drama, but he does offer several tantalizing teases about the new season, which includes the show’s first black and white episode, a 74-minute epic and a “Treehouse of Horror”-style anthology (a’ la “White Christmas”).

But first, you might want to watch this Black Mirror season 4 teaser video, if you haven’t already, which we refer to during the interview:

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Last season you described the episodes as a collection of outliers. At first glance from the teaser trailer, “U.S.S. Callister” aside, several of these seem like more traditional Black Mirror episodes?CHARLIES BROOKER: All the episodes are intrinsically Black Mirror and also aren’t. Like “Metalhead” is very unlike any episode we’ve done before. It’s a deliberately paired down and brutal tale. If you imagine every season like an album, this is like a 2-minute punk single. Each is pretty different from every episode we’ve done before and it’s difficult to explain why until you’ve seen them.

The “Metalhead” teaser gave us a glimpse of one of those horrifying Boston Robotics-style robots and a woman running, which makes us suspect a bot has run amuck.
Your instincts are not entirely incorrect there. Weirdly, the inspiration for this episode was I was trying to set myself a challenge of how paired back can I get. What’s a literally black-and-white story we can tell?

In the teaser for “Arkangel,” we have a device and a child…
Tone wise, that’s almost within the world of an indie drama — and you could say that’s classic Black Mirror. It’s about a mother and a daughter and a technological opportunity that comes along that’s seized upon .

How did you land Jodie Foster to direct? That’s a huge score.
Netflix had worked with her before and they suggested Jodie. We were like, “Really? You think she would?” We had a Skype conversation during which I managed to keep my cool and not freak out. She responded to the script and she had a lot of thoughts and suggestions on the characters so there were a lot of adjustments. She’s not just a gun for hire, she’s incredibly intelligent and comes in with some thoughts on the material. Which is what you want in a director because each story is a stand-alone , so you want each to be idiosyncratic to that director. And she brought a lot of that.

“U.S.S. Callister” is the WTF of the clips…
It certainly sticks out. Last time when we first released some images it was “San Junipero” that threw , and that’s certainly the case with “Callister” this time around. In a way, is what it appears to be… and also obviously this is also Black Mirror. There’s certainly more to it than meets the eye.

Are they are other inspirations for that one other than the obvious — Star Trek?
There definitely was but if I say what it is then it gives it away. I will say there have been questions about how is Black Mirror going to address Trump and Brexit and the way the world is now. I kept saying, “Well it isn’t, really.” We tried not to think about that. But if you look at “Callister” there are some stuff that leaked in from the outside world. There is stuff that has to do with regimes, you could say, that’s not there and also very much there.

The vibe I got from “Crocodile” is isolation and paranoia. How far off am I?
Not entirely off! No one has guessed what that one’s about yet, probably because it’s got the most opaque title of all of them. That title tells you nothing, in the way that Reservoir Dogs doesn’t tell you anything about Reservoir Dogs. It’s a title that was echoing around in my head for all sorts of reasons that have no relation what’s going on there. So I’m happy to keep it that way. It’s a fairly taut story; it’s kind of a thriller…

For “Hang the DJ” you got the great Tim Van Patten (Game of Thrones) on board to direct and my guess on that one is some sort of dating app twist.
That’s not a million miles away. There’s a hint of that. It’s probably more societal. We’ve gone for lots of different tones this season. There’s a couple more comedic. There’s some that are not nihilistically horrible from beginning to end and there are others that are. This is one that’s more enjoyable .

“Black Museum.” Um, something to do with race relations?
No, a black museum in the U.K. is a crime museum. It’s a phrase I didn’t realize wasn’t a universal phrase. That’s a “Treehouse of Horror.” We did “White Christmas” before. The show itself is an anthology and that was an anthology within an anthology. I always wanted to do another one of those and that’s what this is. You’re getting several stories. “Tales from the Black Museum” we could have called it. There’s quite a lot going on there. We do little nods and winks to previous stories we’ve done.

Which is not something you normally ever do, right?
Right. My position on this has changed. I used to say “they’re all individual stories.” Emotionally, they are. Sometimes I’d make suggestions for something in a news ticker or a Facebook feed that eludes to other stories. Certainly, by the time I got to “Hated in the Nation” I could have them refer to the case that’s central to “White Bear,” because why not? With “Black Museum” I realized we can build upon previous episodes. The basic rule with Black Mirror is you never have to see another episode of Black Mirror, so it doesn’t matter if “Black Museum” is the first episode you see. But if you have seen the rest you’ll see quite explicit nods — literal plots and devices and references to things we’ve done before.

Wouldn’t it be too horrible if all these things in your show were happening in the same world though?
Well, they are and they’re not. It’s weird. It’s interesting that I’ve now become convinced this is a shared universe and was once convinced it wasn’t. I think I’m right in saying in “Black Museum” we have a reference to every episode we’ve ever done but I’m not sure if they’ll all end up on screen.

Have you started anguishing over the order of the episodes yet?
Yes. We’re pretty sure what opens and closes the season, but we’re still working out the order of what’s in between. We’ve got a real variety of tone again this season. We run the gambit between the most broadly accessible mainstream commercial story we’ve ever done and the most gritty and hard-nosed. In that respect, we’re gonna piss off everyone. Last time we felt opening with “Nosedive” was a good gambit because not only was it a very good episode but it was also accessible and we could ease you into the anthology. This time around we think a little more knowledge about the basic concept so we’re going to open with a bit of an epic. I think also in 2017 people need a bit of f—ing cheering up. Black Mirror might not be the obvious show to call for that — and don’t get me wrong, this is not a series you want to watch like The Waltons — but we’re just looking at the balance of the order. We’ve also got very different lengths — “Callister” is 74 minutes long and some of the other episodes that are below 40 minutes.

I always wrestle over which episode to tell people who have never seen Black Mirror to watch first. Which do you tell people to watch?
I used to say, “Just start at the beginning.” But I recognize that “The National Anthem” is very divisive.

Which is why I don’t tell anyone to start at the beginning.
“National Anthem” is perceived slightly differently in the UK where I’m known for comedy writing background. Going into it cold it’s quite a spoonful. There is no right episode. I would suggest jump into the episode list, scroll up and down, and pick one that appeals to you based on the photo and description. Or pick whichever episode your friends recommended. It’s like a little movie festival, you don’t have to watch all of them. That’s a long way of saying that I don’t know. “Nosedive” is a good place to start for a lot of people.

If you weren’t already assured of an another season beyond this I assume after the Emmy win you’re most definitely assured of another season.
I’m not allowed to say anything about that! Obviously, it’s pretty good to get an Emmy. There will be an update on that soon…

Speaking of that: What was your reaction when your show’s title was called twice at the Emmys for “San Junipero”?
Terror. Because beforehand when we flew out, we saw various websites had the odds of winning and we thought we maybe had a chance in the TV movie category. You never think these things are a done deal — that would be psychotic — but we thought there’s enough of a chance to think about what we would say if we won. But for the writing category I genuinely never entertained the prospect. As soon as they announce you won, there’s a nice warm spike of surprise and joy immediately followed by a massive wave of fear because you hadn’t thought of anything to say. But it was a very pleasant surprise. To win both was flabbergasting.

It’s the most uplifting and optimistic and, therefore, the most incongruent episode of Black Mirror that got the most acclaim. So how does that sit with you given the show’s usual darker tendencies? Does it make you want to explore the lighter side more?
I like to think the reason it’s had a warm reaction is less to do with the optimism and more to do with the characters. I was lucky that the scenario one I thought up was an evocative one. And originally it was a heterosexual couple, so it meant there was a different resonance that came in when that changed, and it forced me to think about the characters in a more three-dimensional way. Certainly, I was more acutely aware of not wanting to f— it up. Obviously, a bit daunting, it’s now a higher bar to clear, you can only fail from here — my characteristically optimistic view on things.

To see an exclusive new photo from Black Mirror season 4, pick up the new issue of Entertainment Weekly on stands Friday. You can buy the whole set of Supernatural covers now, or purchase the individual covers of the group shot, Jensen Ackles, Jared Padalecki, or Misha Collins. Don’t forget to subscribe for more exclusive interviews and photos, only in EW.

Black Mirror season 4 will premiere later this year.

15 Oct 12:08

NBC cancels The Night Shift after four seasons

by Dan Snierson

The Night Shift has come to an end.

NBC has canceled the low-profile medical drama after four seasons, the network confirmed on Friday.

Launched in the summer of 2014, the series about ER doctors on the overnight shift at a San Antonio hospital featured Eion Macken, Jill Flint, and Scott Wolf in its cast. Ratings had dropped in recent seasons: Season 4, which wrapped in August, averaged 5.6 million viewers and a 1.0 rating in the 18-to-49-year-old demo in L+7, which was down 17 percent and 29 percent respectively from its season 3 average.

“We want to thank our amazing creators and executive producers, Gabe Sachs and Jeff Judah, for their dedication and stellar work; a cast and crew that were second to none; and the city of Albuquerque, N.M., which graciously opened its arms to us,” NBC Entertainment president Jennifer Salke said in a statement. “For four seasons The Night Shift gave audiences a window to heroic doctors, nurses and all-star medical workers who never hesitated to give their blood, sweat and time to help those most in need.”

15 Oct 12:05

First-ever 'negative emissions' power plant goes online

by Jon Fingas
Unfortunately, it's no longer enough to cut CO2 emissions to avoid further global temperature increases. We need to remove some of the CO2 that's already there. Thankfully, that reversal is one step closer to becoming reality. Climeworks and Reykj...
14 Oct 21:47

WD is developing 40TB hard drives powered by microwaves

by Steve Dent
Western Digital (WD) may have lost a bid to buy Toshiba's flash memory technology, but is still hard at work on its bread-and-butter hard drives. The company has unveiled a breakthrough called microwave-assisted magnetic recording (MAMR) that will al...
14 Oct 21:28

Steven Soderbergh's 'Mosaic' app lets you choose a show's narrative

by Jon Fingas
Many TV shows have apps, but they're usually meant as nothing more than companions that encourage you to tune in. What if you could actually choose how the story is presented? Steven Soderbergh is trying just that. His upcoming HBO miniseries Mosa...
14 Oct 21:22

Pornhub is improving search with an AI porn addict

by Daniel Cooper

Porn industry is leading the tech world

NSFW Warning: This story may contain links to and descriptions or images of explicit sexual acts. One of the (many) problems that porn websites that rely upon user-generated content have, is that its one-handed users often don't respect proper datab...
14 Oct 21:17

Richard Branson and Virgin join forces with Hyperloop One

by Daniel Cooper
Today, the Virgin Group has announced that it has invested in Hyperloop One, the startup that recently demonstrated a working prototype of the travel system. As well as cash, and the involvement of Sir Richard Branson, the company will re-brand as Vi...
14 Oct 12:23

IGN acquires pay-what-you-want game and book retailer Humble Bundle

by David Lumb
Media conglomerate IGN has acquired Humble Bundle, the pay-what-you-want gaming, book and software collection retailer that raises money for charitable causes. In a blog post, Humble Bundle cofounder and CEO Jeffrey Rosen noted that his company will...
14 Oct 11:25

How This Iconic Stephen King Story Fits into Hulu's Castle Rock

by Terri Schwartz

Expect to see plenty of familiar Stephen King properties fitting into the world of Castle Rock, a Hulu original series that is inspired by the horror writer's iconic works. The cast and creators of Castle Rock assembled at New York Comic Con to promote the new show, which premieres on Hulu in 2018.

Castle Rock debuted a new trailer at NYCC that ended with a pointed shot of a car sinking into a lake with a sticker on the back that says, "Department of Corrections, Shawshank." This big reveal confirms that Shawshank Prison, featured in King's Shawshank Redemption, will play a key role in the new project.

Shawshank Prison becomes a key part of Castle Rock when Andre Holland's character Henry, a death row attorney, is brought back to Castle Rock because of "an unusual case" at the prison. There he works with Bill Skarsgard's character, the mysterious, imprisoned "the Kid," though the cast was unable to get into the details of their relationship.

Continue reading…

14 Oct 11:23

Man in the High Castle: The Multiverse Is Real

The cast and producers of the Amazon series talk the multiverse and Season 3 at New York Comic Con.
11 Oct 09:21

Kit Harington played a hilarious prank on Rose Leslie — watch her scream and collapse to ground

by Maureen Lee Lenker

It seems Jon Snow knows nothing of how much Rose Leslie hates April Fool’s Day.

Kit Harington learned the hard way that his fiancée does not celebrate the prank-centered holiday, despite his family being avid observers of the April 1 celebration.

On The Jonathan Ross Show, Harington revisited a video of a prank he played on Leslie earlier this year. She opens the fridge and recoils in horror shrieking, saving the Brita filter in her hand before sinking to the floor in terror.

What was it that scared Leslie so much? A Game of Thrones prop head made to resemble a dead Jon Snow. “After that she was in tears and I was there going, ‘April Fool’s!'” he explained. “It didn’t go down well.”

Though the two are now engaged to be married, it seems the prank was a major sticking point for the couple. “She pretty much told me if I ever did it again that would be it,” said Harington.

Watch the video above to witness the full horror of Harington’s prank.

10 Oct 21:18

Dow Jones reported a fake story about Google buying Apple

by Mallory Locklear
As 9to5Mac reports, the Dow Jones newswires had a bit of a shakeup this morning after a "technical error" led to the announcement of some rather ridiculous fake news. Dow Jones reported that Google would be buying Apple for a mere $9 billion -- which...
10 Oct 17:44

Accenture Exposes Clients' Private Keys, Passwords

Accenture, a global management consulting and professional services firm, exposed sensitive information such as private keys, credentials, and secret API data of its Fortune 500 corporate clients on the web via four publicly-accessible servers.
10 Oct 12:07

Nvidia: Next-Gen 'Pegasus' AI Will Enable Level 5 Self-Driving Robotaxis

At GTC Europe, Nvidia announced its next-generation AI computer for Level 5 autonomous vehicles with 10x the performance of its current Drive PX 2 system.
10 Oct 11:30

The truth behind motion smoothing, and why you might want to leave it on after all

by Jon Porter

We’ve all been there. Someone you know has purchased a shiny new television, and they’re happily showing it off to you in all its high-resolution glory. 

But once you start up a movie, something looks a little Somehow? It’s as though the extra clarity of the new television is somehow making the film look worse. Film sets look like… well… sets, and CGI no longer blends into the real environment like it should. 

Some people seem to think this is just an inevitable consequence of buying a fancy new TV, but this couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, what you’re witnessing is more commonly referred to as motion smoothing, or the ‘soap opera effect’, and is caused by your TV aggressively processing its video in a way that actively makes content look worse. 

It’s a problem that’s gotten so bad that a group of Hollywood’s top directors has banded together to try and get the technology killed off. Over the weekend the director of Guardians of the Galaxy, James Gunn, tweeted: 

Since this original shot was fired, a host of other directors have since pledged their support for the cause. 

So what is motion smoothing, why do directors hate it, and why do television manufacturers insist on including it in their sets?

The 'soap opera effect'

Put simply, the ‘soap opera effect’ is the unintended consequence of your television’s motion-smoothing technology. 

Although most televisions these days feature a panel that refreshes 60 times over the course of a second, most content is still filmed at 24 frames per second. 

In order to smooth out this motion, most televisions now include some form of motion smoothing technology (although almost every manufacturer seems to have a different name for it). This technology will artificially insert more frames into a video in order to reduce motion blur, and make movement in general appear smoother. 

This works great for sports where it can be a struggle to keep track of a fast-moving ball, but it’s not as good for films, where the extra frames make everything look fake and unnatural. 

The problem with motion-smoothing comes down to the fact that, fundamentally, your TV is trying to add extra information to an image that simply isn’t there. Think of it like ‘colorizing’ black and white photographs. Here, you’re trying to guess what colors should have been in the original image, and as such it’s never going to look quite as good as an image that was originally shot in color. 

A TV is doing the same thing, but with motion instead of color. 

What makes this effect worse is the fact that a television is trying to do all this work in real time as it receives and transmits the data. It can’t afford to spend the time getting a frame looking perfect because it has to generate around thirty of them every second. 

Why you should leave motion-smoothing on

And yet, despite all the issues with motion-smoothing, it’s still pretty essential for all modern televisions. Bear with me. 

Part of this has to do with the fact that, as outlined above, motion-smoothing looks pretty damn good when it comes to sports, but it also has benefits for cinematic content like James Gunn and his ilk produce. 

The world of cinema has clung pretty tightly to the 24 frames per second standard over the years, and for the most part, the world of TV and online video has done likewise (the exception being the PAL territories of the world who prefer 25fps for… uh… reasons). 

Now, I don’t have an issue with 24fps as a standard, but it creates a lot of problems for 60Hz televisions. In an ideal world, TVs would be able to refresh at 24Hz, so they could neatly refresh once for every frame. 

However, with a refresh rate of 60Hz, TVs need to work out a way of dividing 24 frames into 60 refreshes, and this leads to problems. 

The standard way of dealing with this is to show the first frame twice, the second same thrice, the third frame twice, the fourth frame thrice, and so on. By the time the panel has refreshed 60 times, all 24 frames will have been shown. 

But this 2:3 ratio isn’t ideal, and creates a certain amount of judder that’s especially noticeable during panning shots. 

In an ideal world we’d all have 120Hz televisions that can neatly show 24 frames per second, but while we’re still predominantly relying on 60Hz screens a certain amount of motion-smoothing is going to be needed. 

Too much motion-smoothing creates the soap opera effect, but two little leaves your content juddering as your TV struggles to fit a square peg into a circular hole. 

To avoid the worst of both worlds we’d suggest leaving motion-smoothing on, but turning it to its absolute minimum setting. 

When you should absolutely turn it off

That said, there are certain occasions when you should absolutely turn off motion smoothing entirely. 

Chief amongst these is gaming in all its forms. The additional processing power creates input lag, which will make games feel sluggish and unresponsive. 

Trust us on this, just leave it off. 

Thankfully, some TVs allow you to change settings on an input-by-input basis. If you TV allows it, then we’d suggest turning off motion-smoothing completely on the HDMI input that your games console is plugged into. 

Then again, if you use your games console for any kind of media playback then this solution isn’t going to help you much. 

The soap opera effect is especially unkind to gaming experiences.

Will we ever not need motion smoothing?

It’s clear that the state of television technology at the moment will make motion-smoothing pretty essential for the immediate future. 

There’s just no foolproof way of playing back 24fps content on a 60Hz screen without introducing judder. 

In the longer term 120Hz panels could at least partially solve the problem, but even these will create issues with PAL’s 25fps content. 

In fact, to solve these problems for both 24 and 25fps content you’d need at least a 600Hz screen, which isn’t going to be possible anytime soon. 

So, for the time being at least, it seems motion smoothing is going to be a necessary evil. The realities of refresh rates mean that it’s not going anywhere anytime soon, and any attempt to kill it off is a bad thing for film-fans everywhere. 

  • For our top TV picks, check out our guide to the best 4K TVs or, if you're looking for a TV bargain, check our full guide to Black Friday
10 Oct 09:29

Here's your full-length 'Star Wars: The Last Jedi' trailer

by Richard Lawler
The next Star Wars film won't hit theaters until December 15th, but there's a new trailer that just aired during Monday Night Football. Star Wars: The Last Jedi brings Luke Skywalker back into the story -- along with the final appearance of Carrie Fi...
09 Oct 11:22

Microsoft confirms Windows Phone is dead

Windows Phone 8.1 is over and after series of tweets by Joe Belfiore we know that Windows 10 Mobile is also slowly but steadily heading to the product graveyard of Microsoft. The Microsoft VP, responsible for the mobile OS said that Microsoft will keep supporting the platform with bug fixes, but no new features or hardware will be introduced. Of course we'll continue to support the platform.. bug fixes, security updates, etc. But building new features/hw aren't the focus. 😟— Joe Belfiore (@joebelfiore) October 8, 2017 In the following tweet, Belfiore...

08 Oct 19:10

Recommended Reading: The 'Blade Runner' effect on electronic music

by Billy Steele
Do Androids Dream Of Electronic Beats? Al Horner, FACT After months of teases, trailers and short films, Blade Runner 2049 is now in theaters. FACT takes a look at the original film's impact on music, including comments from electronic music lege...
07 Oct 21:32

Why Blade Runner Matters

As Blade Runner 2049 finally hits, we look back at the influence the original Ridley Scott film had on movies, TV and more.
07 Oct 21:09

New Black Mirror season will riff on Star Trek

by Christian Holub

Fresh off their Outstanding Writing Emmy win for the standout episode “San Junipero,” the creators and cast of Black Mirror opened New York City’s 2017 PaleyFest with a brand new episode, titled “U.S.S. Callister.” Afterward, Black Mirror creator Charlie Brooker, executive producer Annabel Jones, and the cast of the new episode — Jesse Plemons, Cristin Milioti, Jimmi Simpson, and Michaela Coel — held a panel moderated by New York Times reporter Dave Itzkoff to discuss the new episode and the show in general. Here’s what we learned.

Black Mirror takes on Star Trek

Without giving away too many details, suffice to say that part of “U.S.S. Callister” is an extended riff on tropes and archetypes from the original Star Trek. This means there are quite a few lens flares (“we kept calling it ‘J.J. Mode,’” Brooker joked), and Plemons gets to channel his inner William Shatner. This being Black Mirror, though, there are several twisty takes on the material, and not a few echoes of Harlan Ellison’s classic sci-fi/horror story “I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream.” Brooker says it was conceived of as an “adult Toy Story.” Though it was written some time ago, the episode ends up with some timely echoes about “living under a tyrant,” per Brooker.

Jodie Foster is directing an episode this season

“U.S.S. Callister” has a more epic scale than Black Mirror viewers may be accustomed to. Unlike, say, “The Entire History of You” — an intimate story set in familiar suburban environments — this new episode spans multiple big sets, including the titular spaceship. But there will still be stories on a smaller scale this season, including one episode directed by the legendary Jodie Foster.

“The privilege of doing an anthology is you have that range. So you can do big space stories, and small indie stories,” Jones said. “Jodie Foster’s directing one for us, which is wonderful, and it’s so different in tone and scale and story.”

‘San Junipero’ was the first episode written for Netflix

“San Junipero” winning the Emmy was well-deserved — not least because it breaks from the traditional Black Mirror tone. Its story is based on love, not paranoia or resentment, and it actually has a happy ending for once. According to Brooker, some of this came from the fact that “San Junipero” was the very first episode he wrote for his show’s new home.

“‘San Junipero’ was the first one I wrote for Netflix, and it was a deliberate attempt on my part to go slightly off what I thought the show was,” Brooker said. “Because until then, we’d done six episodes and a Christmas special, and every single one had been nihilistic and bleak, so I was like ‘f–k that.’ And I’d read someone online complaining that with the show going to Netflix it will be Americanized. So I was like, alright, f–k you, California, here we go.”

Pitching ‘The National Anthem’ was an experience

Anyone who’s ever recommended Black Mirror to a friend knows that it can be dicey since the very first episode is an absurd satire in which the British prime minister (played by Rory Kinnear) is manipulated into having sex with a pig. Brooker admits that pitching “The National Anthem” was a weird experience — and that weirdest of all, Channel 4’s main point of contention was not what you might think.

“There was a meeting where I had to pitch that to the channel. That was an interesting afternoon,” Brooker said. “Their main question was not about the story or anything but just, ‘does it have to be a pig?’ So I also suggested a frozen supermarket chicken, but eventually, we went back to pig.

Charlie Brooker is now alerted to every bad thing that happens in the world

At one point, Itzkoff asked Brooker if random people now pitched him Black Mirror ideas based on their own experiences with technology or the news. Brooker responded that he instead has a slightly different problem.

“What happens more is I’m just immediately alerted to any horrible development in the world,” Brooker said. “People just email or flag or tweet me going, ‘This is quite Black Mirror-esque! Look at this horrible thing!’ So I can’t escape the world.”

The fourth season of Black Mirror is expected to arrive on Netflix later this year.

06 Oct 07:33

Replicas: Keanu Wants to Clone His Dead Family

by Scott Collura

If your family dies and you clone them, are they still your family?

This is the question posed by Keanu Reeves’ new sci-fi film Replicas, which had the world premiere of its first trailer at New York Comic Con today. Reeves was in the house to talk about the film, which he produced and stars in, along with executive producer Clark Peterson and director Jeffrey Nachmanoff. (Head here to find out what Reeves thinks of the new Matrix movie rumors.)


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06 Oct 05:50

Game of Thrones star: Season 8 to film until next summer

by James Hibberd

Even though season 8 will have Game of Thrones‘ fewest episodes ever, the production might spend as much time filming as before — increasing the evidence that GoT will return in 2019, skipping next year entirely.

Liam Cunningham, who plays Ser Davos Seaworth, told TV Guide on Thursday: “ definitely going to be bigger and what I hear is longer,” he said. “We’re filming right up until the summer. When you think about it, up until last season we’d have six months to do ten episodes, so we’re way more than that for six episodes. So that obviously will translate into longer episodes.”

GoT normally films for about six months, typically wrapping around December (the recent seventh season, which aired in the summer for the first time, shot from August to February). The final season starts shooting this month. If the production continues filming “right up until summer” that’s six months, at least, as Cunningham points out (and some rumors peg the season’s length of production as even longer).

As for the production length, GoT showrunners David Benioff and Dan Weiss first told EW they plan to spend a year and a half making the final season. EW also first reported that GoT might not return to 2019. With production not wrapping until summer, a 2019 rollout seems like an increasingly sure bet given the extensive amount of post-production required for the fantasy hit. Plus HBO’s other big splashy genre title Westworld is returning after nearly two years sometime in 2018 — there’s no premiere date yet — so it’s a good bet HBO will put its spotlight on the badass bots next year while focusing its Game of Thrones efforts on promoting season 7 for that fall’s Emmy consideration.

As for Cunningham’s other revelation, that the episodes will be longer, we’re less positive on that one at this point. The actor’s phrasing suggests he hadn’t yet received the scripts and another beloved Ser — Iain Glen (Ser Jorah Mormont) recently gave a very different reason for a longer production time: The final season will typically only have one unit filming at a time — much like a regular TV show. GoT in the past has often had two units — occasionally three, and very briefly even four — shooting simultaneously, typically in at least two countries. “I think this last season will take much longer to shoot because they can only use one unit because we’re all in the same sort of scenes,” Glen said. “We’re all starting to occupy the same territory, we’re all starting to be in the same storylines and so they can’t anymore.”

So that’s two different reasons why GoT will spend so long on six episodes. Both Sers could be right (and we hope they are). We would be shocked if there weren’t at least a couple really long episodes in the final season as the last two seasons had episodes that broke the GoT record for longest-episodes ever. The cast will all know for certain how big those scripts are very soon — there’s a final season table read this Sunday.

Season 8 will be directed by three teams of directors: Previous GoT Emmy winners Miguel Sapochnik and David Nutter, along with the showrunners Benioff and Weiss. For more on the GoT final season and HBO’s prequel plan, check out our GoT FAQ.