Excitement over last month’s announcement that iTunes-purchased movies would now be available on iCloud was hampered somewhat by the caveat that Universal and Fox weren’t on board with the new arrangement just yet. Though all of the other major studios were participating, Universal and Fox weren’t able to join in due to licensing conflicts with HBO. The pay cable network promised to work something out, however, and now it’s starting to make good on its word. As of this week, Universal titles are now available to re-download on iCloud. More after the jump.

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Watching movies on your computer has long been a convenient option that comes at the cost of quality. But as Hulu’s video player gets a size upgrade and iTunes launches 1080p videos, digital media is looking better and better. After the jump:

  • Hulu unveils a shinier, cleaner new UI
  • Cablevision subscribers can now sign up for HBO Go and Max Go
  • Discovery Communications brings 3,000 more titles to Amazon
  • The difference between 1080p and Blu-ray may be smaller than you think

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You probably have heard that Apple announced a new iPad and new Apple TV box this morning. But you might not know what this means for you the media-consuming film geek — that is where we come into play.

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As it has been widely known and rumored for a while now, Apple has been working to revolutionize the television set. Steve Jobs’ final project was trying to create a product that would change the tv world, the same way the iphone changed the world of mobile smart phones. Jobs told Walter Isaacson in his recently published biography that he had finally “cracked it” after years of trying to solve the problem:

“‘I’d like to create an integrated television set that is completely easy to use,’ he told me. ‘It would be seamlessly synced with all of your devices and with iCloud.’ No longer would users have to fiddle with complex remotes for DVD players and cable channels. ‘It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine. I finally cracked it.’”

The recent release of the iPhone 4s has gotten some to believe that the voice powered Siri software might be part of the solution, which may be true, but I believe it is much more complex than that. Now Sony has come forward and announced that they have also been developing a “different kind of TV set” in their race to beat Steve Jobs to the new television revolution.

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This week marked the launch of UltraViolet, a new digital locker system that would allow users to purchase content in one physical or digital format and access it across all platforms via a cloud-based system. The service came about through years of negotiation and collaboration between major studios, manufacturers, and retailers, but not everyone in the industry was on board — Apple and Disney were among the two biggest holdouts.

We’ve now learned why Apple declined to participate, and it’s pretty much the same reason Disney did. Apple has quietly been working on its own cloud service, expected to launch in late 2011 or early 2012, and has been working out deals with studios to allow videos purchased through iTunes to be streamed on any Apple device including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.

The good news for UltraViolet is that Apple is reportedly considering allowing UltraViolet users to access their libraries via apps on their Apple products. As the company accounts for a whopping 66% of digital movie sales and rentals — not to mention a sizable share of the market for both tablets and smartphones — this could be a big help to UltraViolet. However, in an effort to encourage customers to continue buying Apple electronics, iTunes purchases would only be playable on other Apple devices. [LA Times]

After the jump, read about a new deal between Netflix and The CW to bring all the Gossip Girl and Supernatural you could possibly want to your streaming account.

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One of the killer features in Apple’s new iPhone 4S is a virtual personal assistant program named Siri. The new software, which is built into the core operating system, allows users to ask questions or create tasks using natural speech. The engineers at Apple have also included a bunch of cool Easter eggs in the results.

For example, when Siri is asked “What’s the best phone?” it says, “Wait… there are other phones?” or when a person says “I love you” to Siri, she responds, “I hope you don’t say that to those other mobile phones, [NAME]”. When you ask her what her name is, she responds “My name is Siri, but you already knew that.” If you ask who made Siri, she responds “Like it says on the box, I was designed by Apple in California.” And this is only the beginning of a list of funny responses that has been uncovered pre-release.

But best of all, Siri responds to, and references, Stanley Kubrick‘s 2001: A Space Odyssey and Douglas AdamsThe Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy. Details after the jump.

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Apple Attempts To Address Final Cut Pro X Concerns

It has only been about one week since Apple released Final Cut Pro X, but the response has been fast and furious: many professional editors have found it totally inadequate for their needs, and some surmise it will never become the industry standard that Final Cut 7 was, regardless of how many updates it receives.

Apple has finally issued an official response in the form of a FAQ page. But does it sufficiently address the concerns of industry professionals?
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I’ve been closely following the recent release of Final Cut Pro X, and I’m sure many of you have been as well. I have never edited any video professionally, but having recently purchased some DSLRs with solid HD video capabilities, I was excited that Apple would be releasing a new version of Final Cut Pro that not only simplified and expedited the video editing process, but also only cost $300 in the Mac App Store. However, the recent critical firestorm surrounding the release of Final Cut Pro X has given even me pause about clicking that “Buy” button.

Hit the jump for more details and to share your thoughts on Final Cut Pro X.
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It appears that Sam Mendes, the Academy Award-winning director of American Beauty, Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road and Away We Go, is filming a commercial this week for Apple’s new iPhone which will be announced later this month. According to Engadget, the series of commercials are being referred to internally as the Mammoth / N90.

A trusted source has confirmed to us that the ads will feature at least one spot where a mother and daughter are having a video chat conversation using the new front-facing camera that’s been spied on the face of that iPhone floating around Vietnam and Northern California.

Some tweets on Twitter revealed have revealed at least one actress who is up for a role in the “f***ing apple commercial” in New York, and another man in California auditioning for a role. The commercial will likely premiere after Steve Jobs announces the new iPhone during Apple’s WWDC keynote on June 7th 2010.

But this isn’t the first time that Apple has employed a big director for their television commercials… The Northern California-based computer company has a long history of hiring big name filmmaker for their television spots (chronicled in brief after the jump).

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Cool Posts From Around the Web:

How Netflix is changing the Future of Movies


We all knew this was in the works. The future of media is on demand / digital, and not HD DVD or Blu-Ray. Everyone knows this to be true. And now Netflix has officially announced they will be offering Internet Movies On-Demand. No, this isn’t a lame movie download service like the ones you’ve seen in the past. This is something that will revolutize the way you watch movies.
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