Netflix added a few game shows to its South African offering the other day, one of which did enough to pique our interest and then subsequently have Chantelle and myself happily make our way through all of the first seaon over the next couple of days.
Idiotest essentially pits two teams of two against one another as they strive to answer a series of brain teaser and puzzle questions. None of the questions are devilishly difficult and there is always only one answer to any screen – all you have to do is make sure that you figure out the trick before time (and the money meter) runs out.
The wonderfully sardonic Ben Gleib ably hosts the show and although the stakes aren’t particularly high (the big prize is $10,000) and essentially only the very last question screen is the one that decides who makes it to the final screen, the series is wonderful to watch with your partner as you battle it out to see who can a) get the answer the quickest or b) see who can figure it out at all.
It’s all a lot of brain scratching fun really. For example:
(The answer is the flowers in case you were wondering…)
There is a lot of varied content on Netflix, which is great because you can pretty much always find something to watch which you haven’t seen before. I tend to favour watching documentaries on the odd occasion that I do find myself in front of the television, and one of the most interesting ones that I recently caught is definitely well worth the watch – particularly if you love beautiful fast cars!
APEX: The Story of the Hypercar is a slickly put together documentary detailing the rise of the hypercar, a class of car that is so exotic, so beautiful, so rare and so unobtainable!
The current era of the hypercar (essentially supercars that are elevated to even higher levels of perfomance, perfection and price) is exciting for any petrolhead, and APEX (which was put together over a period of 3 years by a team lead by directors Josh Vietze, J.F. Musial) stitches interviews with car journalists and car creators together with jaw dropping footage of these cars in action against a variety of exquisite backdrops all across the world.
All the big names seem to be chasing the move to electric/petrol hybrids, with the result being a stunning subset of cars that include the likes of the Porsche 918, McLaren P1, Ferrari LaFerrari, and now the Koenigsegg One:1 (on which the film does focus quite a bit).
Also featured is the Pagani Huayra and the nod of the head to the original hypercar, the Bugatti Veyron.
Pulse pounding stuff!
So at long last streaming video services are now properly available in South Africa.
This of course means that I then needed to make a choice, because we don’t actually have DSTV (too expensive and I don’t watch the sport needed to vindicate having it), but we do have Internet access!
After some investigation, the only two real options boiled down to either the fresh faced Naspers-owned ShowMax, or the global heavy hitter, Netflix. (Note: I’m not in the market for geo-unblocking VPN services. I don’t want the extra hassle of still dealing with all of that!)
After evaluating both of them, I came up with the following conclusion. ShowMax has by far the newer, more relevant, more interesting show line-up, whilst Neflix has by far the better apps and technical infrastructure.
Over time, I’m sure ShowMax’s apps will get better, and its video streaming technology will catch up, whilst Netflix’s content should improve once its catalog licencing to Multichoice (and thus ShowMax by virtue of the shared lineage) lapses.
Considering the fact that I’m not a big TV watcher (nor is Chantelle for that matter), most of the Netflix catalogue is actually new to us both, so given the fact that I have both an Xbox 360 and an Xbox One setup for the televisions in the house, and the fact that Netflix runs so smoothly over both those platforms, I’ve opted to go for the more technically sound Netflix streaming video option – the experience of which by the way has me so far pretty much smiling from ear to ear.
For $7,99 per month (I can up it to $9,99 if I want to add extra screens and HD – for now I’m still trialing it…) I get four distinct user profiles, one for myself, Chantelle, Jessica and Emily. This means that everyone has their own unique playlist with suggested shows, suitably tailored to taste and viewing history. (In other words, I can have comedies and documentaries suggested to me, while Chantelle can stick to all the real proper TV stuff!)
The adaptive streaming works fantastically well, and I have yet to experience any buffering issues on my rather paltry 4MB ADSL line – the only break I have experienced thus far was when our Internet briefly went down!
The on demand aspect of streaming video is by far my favourite feature. Long gone are the days of sitting down at a preset time once a week to catch a show – no, I far prefer the freedom and flexibility to sit down when I finally get a chance to breath and take a moment for myself, pick something that I actually want to watch, and shock horror – watch it.
So far so good. Now it is just a matter of seeing how long it takes for Netflix to start throwing a bit more (and slightly fresher) content at us!
Related Link: Netflix
It’s weird how almost socially acceptable pirating video content has become. It is wrong of course, everyone seems to know that, but for some or other reason, just about everyone that does pirate can come up with some sort of reasoning that it’s a justifiable thing to do – at the drop of a hat.
Now I’ve seen mention of something called Popcorn Time for probably at least a year now (if not longer), but have never really bothered to make the effort to see exactly what this is all about. However, after a recent article on TorrentFreak made mention of this uber piracy vehicle yet again, I thought it best to go and have a look for myself – you know, to get a first hand view.
The verdict? Wow. Now there’s a major problem for anyone who wants to make a living by producing and selling video content!
In the past, there was always some sort of friction that made piracy not the easiest option around. In the old days of “Sneakernet”, well, you a) needed friends with content and b) needed someway of getting that content on your machine.
Then of course came the Internet and with it the likes of Napster, eDonkey2000, news groups, IIRC, and those with enough technical know-how could get material just fine, though of course with plenty of application and file handling slog.
Today’s current favourite, in the form of BitTorrent, still requires pirates to search for material via dodgy sites, download them via clients and then move them across to media players – in other words, still not quite as easy as simply turning on your DSTV, firing up Netflix, or simply walking into a video store.
But Popcorn Time changes all of that. It removes all friction that comes with piracy, making it so simple that even a completely technologically challenged newbie could do it without any hassle at all.
At the heart of it, Argentinian-made Popcorn Time is a multi-platform, open source BitTorrent client that includes an integrated media player – thereby acting as a free alternative to subscription-based video streaming services.
Its interface presents thumbnails and film titles in a manner similar to Netflix, with this list of media fully searchable and categorized. To play a television episode or movie, a user simply clicks on a title in order to initiate the file download via the bitTorrent file-sharing protocol.
As with other BitTorrent clients, as soon as Popcorn Time starts to download a film, it also starts to share the downloaded content with other users (in technical terms, it seeds the torrent to others in the bittorrent swarm.), continuing to make the downloaded content available to others until the movie is deleted – which is normally done automatically but only when the application closes!
And not just that mind you – it’s also rather clever.
By forcing BitTorrent chunks to be sequentially downloaded, Popcorn Time allows you to watch a video file whilst it is still busy downloading, meaning that there is literally none of the classic wait time a pirate faces in first having to download and then move around content.
Also, it’s easy to use, well written, features an intuitive, beautiful interface,and is available for Windows, Mac OSX, Linux and Android.
No wonder content holders are so twitchy about it.
Without a doubt, Popcorn Time MORE than deserves the current giant sized target on its back – because there is absolutely no way content studios can let this one walk around freely for very long!