TIME Television

Netflix Only Took Home 7 Emmys After All

Uzo Aduba
Uzo Aduba arrives at the 66th Primetime Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Los Angeles. Evan Agostini—Invision/AP

Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards didn't snag a ton of awards — but hey, they'll always have the nominations

Seth Meyers couldn’t stop joking about Netflix and cable shows outperforming network television at the Emmys — but the streaming service-cum-network didn’t quite make the splash that some expected at this year’s award ceremony.

Clocking in at 31 nominations (including 13 for House of Cards and 12 for Orange Is the New Black), Netflix went home with just seven statuettes, all of them won in the Creative Arts session, which are given out ahead of time instead of during the NBC broadcast. Uzo Aduba was the only actor to be recognized, for her role as Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren in Orange Is the New Black.

Here’s the full list of all the awards Netflix won this year. Next year, they’ll just have to inject some of that Frank Underwood ruthlessness to up their game.

Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series: Uzo Aduba, Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Picture Editing for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series: Orange Is the New Black

Outstanding Sound Mixing for a Comedy or Drama Series (One Hour): House of Cards

Outstanding Cinematography for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

Outstanding Direction for Nonfiction Programming: The Square

 

TIME Television

Watch Ricky Gervais Invade Netflix Shows During the Emmys

He made special guest appearances in a few Netflix series

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Just minutes after Jimmy Kimmel roasted Ricky Gervais onstage at the Emmys — “Where’s Ricky? Now that’s a television face,” he said, contrasting the comedian with handsome Matthew McConaughey, “not even really a television face, it’s a Netflix face” — Gervais appeared quite literally as the face of Netflix in a commercial for its original programming.

“You know when you’re watching your favorite Netflix show,” Gervais asks the camera from his seat on a couch, “and after five straight episodes, it’s like, you wanna be in it?”

Next thing you know, he pops up on the sets of Netflix shows from House of Cards to Lilyhammer to Orange Is the New Black, crumbling under the hostility of the Litchfield inmates.

Gervais himself stars in Derek, a British import streaming on Netflix, for which he was nominated in the category of Best Actor in a Comedy Series, which he has already lost to Jim Parsons for his work on The Big Bang Theory. What are the odds of Netflix paying actors $1 million per episode anytime soon?

TIME Innovation

Oculix, Netflix’s Oculus Rift Virtual Reality Demo, Looks Pretty Boring

Virtual reality interfaces should be more than clumsy-looking design transplants.

It’s a little discouraging watching Netflix’s Oculus Rift demo (a so-called hack it’s calling “Oculix”), the one where the screen pans through a black void in which the observer finds her- or himself circled by show portals.

Imagine iOS wrapped around your head like a towel: a vortex of lights, or a sheath of video boxes. (For some reason, it made me think of the Senate chamber in the Star Wars prequels with its movable hover-platforms.)

Pick a channel by waving your hands in the air (using LeapMotion’s gesture sensor) and you can stream movies or TV shows through Oculus’s head-mounted contraption direct to your eyeballs.

This isn’t what’s interesting about virtual reality to me. We’ve placed movies up close to our faces for decades, be that on giant screens or via glasses with special LCD displays designed to confound our sense of scale. But what’s so different about sitting in a comfortable movie theater (or for that matter, an Omnimax wraparound dome) looking at screens dozens of feet tall and wide, compared with watching video at home through a glorified, full-motion View Master?

Home convenience, there’s that, though I’d argue there’s little convenient about clapping hardware as unwieldy as World War I gas masks on our heads, then leashing ourselves to stationary servers with clumsy cables.

I’m less put off by the ungainliness of Oculus Rift (and Project Morpheus, and every other attempt to revive the buzz-concept “virtual reality” lately) than I am by the lack of imagination in these hacked-together interfaces, whereby a company takes the most obvious and mundane approach toward exhibiting the potential VR lays at its doorstep. Strap on Oculus Rift and you can watch Netflix videos up close to your face! Wave your hands in the air like Tom Cruise in Minority Report and take two or three times as long to do what takes everyone else microseconds with a remote or on a touch-based tablet!

To be fair, it is just a hack, and in a statement Netflix noted that it “may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or otherwise be used beyond [Netflix] Hack Day.” In other words, it’s just for fun, not even rising to the level “proof of concept.” This isn’t Netflix trying to sell you on either its stake in VR or the Oculus Rift headset itself.

I’m just surprised by its obviousness. If you’re going to hack Netflix into VR, why not do something no one’s seen before? Imagine, for instance, summoning a movie like The Matrix, only going into the extras and bringing up the making-of clips, then having the option to pan around virtual versions of the “bullet time” sets to see for yourself how that went down. You could be Keanu Reeves (or see what he’d be seeing) as he falls back limbo-like, his arms splaying, or you could be the circle of cameras themselves, wheeling around the actor’s frame at different velocities and elevations. Imagine reassembling a scene to create your own version of events, playing the role of virtual director with godlike visual command of the landscape.

Netflix is a viewing environment, an interface to conjure videos on demand, a kind of “visual carrier.” If we’re about to experience the visual paradigm shift everyone keeps telling us VR amounts to, it has a much bigger role to play in shaping what it means to stream a video in a virtual environment. To me, it at least means more than forklifting a bunch of screens into a wraparound environment, just because enveloping yourself in a cone of colors looks cool.

My hat’s off to the programmers who took the time to build the Oculix demo. I certainly couldn’t have done it. But next time, why not show us VR that feels like a compelling reason to use VR, and not just lights in a box on your face.

TIME apps

Good Idea: Dock a Tiny Netflix Window in Your Browser While You Work

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Behold Netflix Mini in all its glory.

The idea was spawned from one of Netflix’s hack days. That’s the bad news: Netflix Mini is still just an idea at this point.

It would ostensibly be an extension for Google’s Chrome web browser that would dock a tiny window in the lower-right corner, allowing you to work on whatever you’re working on while catching up on whatever show you’re binge-watching. A similar extension called PIP Video already exists, but I couldn’t get it working with Netflix videos. YouTube videos worked fine, however.

While Netflix Mini may or may not become real someday, can we all agree that it probably should? Yes? Handshake?

Check out Netflix’s writeup of its summer hack day for other ideas that were presented.

[Geek.com]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 20

1. Smart labels that monitor food can reduce food-related illness and waste.

By Adrienne LeFrance in the Atlantic

2. With a “Right to Work” law that lets refugees earn a living, Uganda avoids the pitfalls of wartime migration. Other countries can too.

By Gregory Warner in National Public Radio

3. Integrate the protests: Why Ferguson needs a “Freedom Summer.”

By Jay Caspian Kang in the New Yorker

4. To deter Putin and defuse the crisis in Ukraine, policymakers must be creative, strategic and collaborative.

By David Ignatius in the Washington Post

5. Extra ISP fees for companies like Netflix only stifle Internet innovation.

By Reed Hastings in Wired

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Television

Orange Is the New Black Locks Up 3 Creative Arts Emmy Awards

Uzo Aduba
Uzo Aduba accepts the award for outstanding guest actress in a comedy series for her work on “Orange Is the New Black” at the Television Academy's Creative Arts Emmy Awards at the Nokia Theater on Aug. 16, 2014, in Los Angeles. Phil McCarten—Invision/AP

Uzo Aduba won for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series

The main Emmy Awards are a little more than a week away, but Netflix upstart Orange Is the New Black has already stolen a march on its big-name competitors.

At the 2014 Primetime Creative Arts Emmys — a precursor to the main event that mainly focuses on the technical, behind-the-scenes work of television production — the comedy drama set behind the bars of a women’s prison took home three big awards.

Uzo Aduba, who plays Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren, claimed the award for Outstanding Guest Actress in a Comedy Series on Saturday, while the show’s casting director, Jennifer Euston, won for Outstanding Casting for a Comedy Series.

“I don’t know how to say how incredibly impressed I am to be a part of this show day in, day out,” Aduba said while accepting her award, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The show also won an editing award.

Among the other winners were HBO’s Game of Thrones, which took home 4 awards, and Saturday Night Live, which won 5.

Aduba’s co-stars Laverne Cox — the first openly transgender woman to be nominated for an Emmy — and Natasha Lyonne were also nominated for the same guest-star category. The show is up for several more awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series, during the main awards due to take place on Aug. 25.

TIME Television

Watch Jimmy Fallon’s Hilarious House of Cards Parody

A dead-on spoof with a shocking twist ending

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Jimmy Fallon has already parodied popular TV shows like Breaking Bad and Downton Abbey, so it’s about time he crafted a spoof of House of Cards too. He channels Frank Underwood by busting out his best southern accent, donning a pretty terrible wig and speaking slyly into the camera. Ladies and gentlemen, say hello to your new favorite show: House of Cue Cards.

The spoof features Ellen Barkin as a spot-on Claire Underwood, and also includes an extended reference to Freddy’s Barbecue. Be sure to watch the second installment below, which, in true House of Cards fashion, features a crazy twist ending:

 

TIME movies

What’s New on Netflix in August? The First 5 Rocky Movies

Metro-Goldwyn-Maye/MGM/UA Entertainment

What's new to stream in August

A new crop of movies will be available on Netflix in August. Here are some of the highlights:

  • The first five Rocky movies (1976-1990)
  • Rounders (1998)
  • Nymphomaniac, volumes I and II (2013)
  • The Mighty Ducks (1992) and D2: The Mighty Ducks (1994)
  • Freaky Friday (2003)
  • The Birdcage (1996)
  • Mad Max (1979) — just in time for the Mad Max: Fury Road trailer
  • Spice World (1998)
  • Kinky Boots (2005), which has since been turned into an award-winning Broadway musical
  • The entire Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey series (2014)
  • Airbud (1997)
  • Red Dawn (1984)

Get streamin’, folks.

TIME Tech Policy

Netflix Is Paying AT&T To Make Movies Stream Faster

Netflix Garners Two Top Show Nominations With 'Cards,' 'Orange'
The Netflix Inc. application (app) displays the "Orange is the New Black" series on an Apple Inc. iPhone 5s in this arranged photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, July 9, 2014. Bloomberg—Bloomberg via Getty Images

After already making similar deals with Comcast and Verizon

Despite its public war against interconnection fees, Netflix has signed another paid peering deal with an Internet Service Provider to improve the quality of its streaming and reduce buffering for its subscribers.

“We reached an interconnect agreement with AT&T in May and since then have been working together to provision additional interconnect capacity to improve the viewing experience of our mutual subscribers,” Netflix spokesperson Anne Marie Squeo said in an emailed statement. “We’re now beginning to turn up the connections, a process that should be complete in the coming days.” AT&T spokesperon Mark Siegel offered a nearly identical statement. Netflix will pay AT&T for this additional capacity, but the payment amount hasn’t been disclosed.

Such fees have become a hotly debated topic among Internet giants this year. Netflix believes it shouldn’t have pay ISPs like AT&T to deliver its video content because consumers are already paying for Internet access. The streaming service argues that these tolls could be used to discriminate against certain Internet companies, and it has conflated the issue with the ongoing debate about net neutrality.

The ISPs disagree. In a March blog post, AT&T executive Jim Cicconi called Netflix “arrogant” for trying to dump its cost of doing business on all subscribers to an ISP. “When Netflix delivered its movies by mail, the cost of delivery was included in the price their customer paid,” he wrote. “It would’ve been neither right nor legal for Netflix to demand a customer’s neighbors pay the cost of delivering his movie.”

For now Netflix has come to an uneasy truce with AT&T in a deal similar to those already established with Verizon and Comcast. But the company is lobbying to get these tolls outlawed when new rules for net neutrality are drafted by the Federal Communications Commission later this year.

MONEY The Economy

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Netflix, Amazon, and Chipotle have raised prices without losing the support of their customers or investors on Wall Street.

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