Asteroids the movie – what HD was made for

Asteroids is coming to a big screen near you. That’s no lie. The classic Atari title, originally released 30 years ago, is being made into a movie.

I’m expecting it to be quite intense viewing – plenty of complicated dialogue, elaborate plot twists and some Oscar-worthy performances from its cast.

Or maybe it will stay faithful to the original game and will simply be two-hours of a triangle-based spaceship blowing up some square-ish looking asteroids with little or no plot at all. Maybe they could even shoot it in black and white for added authenticity.

Universal has apparently signed up Matthew Lopez to write the script for the film which will be produced by Lorenzo di Bonaventura.

It sounds like a winner. No honestly. Although it will have a hard job dislodging Super Mario Bros as the best ever movie adaptation of a game. Bob Hoskins as Mario – genius.

(via THR & @clashcityrocker)

Get yourself in the mood for the movie with a quick blast on the original game:

Asteroids made by Neave Games

Mobile phone companies agree on universal charger for EU


The 10 companies who control 90% of the European phone market have signed a deal which will see mobile phone chargers become universal by 2010.

The group, which includes Apple, Sony Ericsson, Nokia, Samsung, LG and NEC, has agreed to a harmonisation that will see mobile phones charged by mini-USB adaptors. The move is not only good for people who have drawers full of various charges – it’s great news for the environment too.

Every year there are 185million phones sold in the EU and therefore around 185million chargers as well. The majority of these chargers become useless after upgrading to a new phone – even, in some cases, if users stay with the same brand.

The idea is that, after an unspecified time following the release of the universal charger, chargers and phones will be sold separately. The move only applies to smartphones and is only for the EU at the moment.

Hopefully, the rest of the world will follow suit soon after. They should do – not only would it save them money because they won’t have to manufacture and package chargers for every phone they sell (I can’t see them reducing the price of phones just because it ships without a charger) it will also be good for their green-credentials.

(via Reuters)

Virgin and Universal to team up again – this time for movies


Virgin and Universal sitting in a tree,
First comes music,
then comes movies,
then comes….actually I can’t think of anything to rhyme with movies but you get the point.

After the announcement earlier this month that Virgin and Universal are to join forces to offer a DRM-free music download service it seems you can’t keep the two media giants apart.

Virgin have today announced that they are to offer Universal’s Picturebox service to their 3.6million TV subscribers.

The service, which is already available to BT Vision and TopUp TV customers, will cost a fiver a month and will give subscribers access to around 28 films a month – with seven new ones being put up every Friday. The majority of these should be available in HD too.

Virgin seems to be aggressively targeting the on-demand generation with their latest announcements. They have realised that, amongst other things, the internet and new technology have brought with them a culture whereby users want their content instantly and they want it when it fits their schedule. Well done Virgin I say, well done indeed.

If Virgin’s Picturebox service is enough to tempt you in to a subscription then sign up here.

Virgin and Universal team up to offer unlimited music package


Virgin Media has announced that they have signed a deal with Universal Music to offer their customers an unlimited digital music service.

The move, which sounds a darned sized better than previous digital music services such asNokias Comes With Music, would mean users get unlimited access to DRM-free mp3s of Universal artists for a monthly fee, rumoured to be around £10-15. Users would be free to store these mp3s on any players of their choice.

Universal Music owns a huge number of record labels and artists available in the service will include the likes of Kanye West, Jack Johnson, U2 and Elton John. Virgin are also said to be in talks with other record companies.

The only snag is that you have to be a Virgin broadband customer in order to use the service. If successful though, hopefully other ISPs will get involved or similar services will be set up.

This news comes a day before Lord Carter’s digital review is due to be published. In it, he is expected to call for ISPs to offer more attractive options to music fans than illegal downloads. Virgin’s package will seemingly do just do that.

Virgin has also announced that it would be doing more to prevent illegal downloads via its network. They’re talking about educating users and may suspend Internet access for persistent offenders.

It will be interesting to see how other ISPs respond to this news and how they respond to Lord Carter’s report in general. It’s obvious that illegal downloading is a big issue at the moment.

Hats off to Virgin for being the first out of the blocks in response.

(via Reuters)

People's Music Store adds content from Universal


Make-your-own-download-store service People’s Music Store announced yesterday that it’s managed to convince Universal to part with the licenses necessary to allow people to sell its music for them. It expands the catalogue to include artists such as Amy Winehouse, Girls Aloud, U2, Kanye West, James Morrison.

You would have though major labels would be gagging for other people to start selling their MP3s for them, but it appears not to be the case. Only Universal have so far signed a deal with the revolutionary People’s Music Store service, and that’s led to a slow takeup from users – only 1,000 people have so far created stores, which allow people to keep 10% of the profits earnt.

For digital music services to survive, they really need to concentrate wholly on getting the catalogue present – something that Spotify has excelled with. If People’s Music Store can sign up the other majors quickly, then it has a chance to do well, otherwise it’s likely headed for the internet graveyard – and that won’t be its fault, it’ll be the fault of the major labels.

People’s Music Store

Government gets behind 2Mbps broadband for all by 2012


The UK government has signalled its backing of at least one section of Lord Carter’s Digital Britain interim report from earlier this year by setting aside enough cash to give everyone in the UK a minimum of 2Mbps broadband by 2012. The cash will come primarily from an underspend in the promotion of digital TV.

It’s not yet clear exactly what form that broadband might take – ADSL, cable, wireless and satellite are all options – but that information will hopefully be contained in the final version of the Digital Britain report, which is due out in early Summer 2009.

(via BBC)

Microsoft announces improvements to Xbox Live


Microsoft today announced plans to extend the services offered on Xbox live, pushing the console even further from being a pure games machine to include movies too. There’s also plenty of content for existing games, and a gameshow.

Starting with the movies, Microsoft has done a deal with NBC Universal, which means that a limited selection of films will be offered for people to buy using Microsoft points, in both standard and high definition. Average price is £3 – £5, depending on which format you want, and how new the film is.

Then there’s a selection of bonus content for a variety of games. More content for Gears of War 2, Grand Theft Auto IV, Fallout 3, Tomb Raider, Fable 2, Lips, Rock Band, Guitar Hero World Tour and Scene It will be available, all of which will be exclusive to the Xbox 360 platform.

Lastly, there’s going to be some sort of weird quiz show thing called 1 vs 100. Over to Microsoft to explain it: “a completely exclusive, completely interactive television quiz show game giving gamers the chance to compete against each other and win real prizes”. Is anyone even remotely excited about that?

Overall, it’s a decent upgrade to the system and a ‘thankyou’ to owners, but I don’t think it’s going to be selling any new consoles over this. Especially when the company is banning people who identify themselves as a lesbian.

The iDAPT modular charging unit saves you a wiry mess


I’m filing this one under ‘gadgets I actually want’. I see a lot of gadgets every day and, if I’m honest, I’m not actually that bothered about owning most personally. The iDAPT, on the other hand, is definitely on that list. It’s a little box that sits on your desk and lets you plug stuff in standing up, and it’ll charge them. No more wires, chargers, or lost gadgets to contend with.

Sure, it’s not perfect – there’s no Zune adapter, and pink isn’t exactly my colour (it’s available in other colours too, thank god) but it’ll charge almost everything you can think of – BlackBerry, Nokia, iPod, PSP and TomTom, among others. The full list is on the manufacturer’s website. It’s available now, and set you back just £35. Bargainous.

Amazon (via ShinyShiny)

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RUMOUR: Sky launching its music subscription service in April

Many have tried to make the all-you-can-eat subscription model work for music, but it’s never taken off due to incompatibilities between different portable music players and the lack of any big companies really getting behind it. Well, we’re hearing a rumour that Sky will finally launch its previously-announced subscription service in April.

Last we heard, we were promised a mix of both streaming and downloadable tracks. Over Christmas, pricing was allegedly leaked – unlimited free streams, plus a set number of MP3 downloads each month. £5.99 for 5 downloads, £7.99 for 10 and £9.99 for 15.

I’ve asked Sky for more details, and I’m waiting to hear back. I, for one, am convinced that it’s not only possible for a subscription service to work, but it’s actually the future of mass-market music consumption. There’s too many people who don’t care about anything beyond the top 40 for that not to be the case.

Related posts: NOISE GATE: Why music subscription services will eventually work | Sky and Universal Music partner to launch subscription music streaming and download service