The Next Track, Episode #75 – Movies about Music, Part 2: Documentaries

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxDoug and Kirk discuss their favorite music documentaries.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #75 – Movies about Music, Part 2: Documentaries.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.

The Next Track, Episode #70 – Movies about Music, Part 1: Fiction

The Next Track Blue Flat Button2 400pxDoug and Kirk chat about their favorite movies about music, and some that they don’t like.

Listen to The Next Track: Episode #70 – Movies about Music, Part 1: Fiction.

Find out more, and subscribe to the podcast, at The Next Track website. You can follow The Next Track on Twitter at @NextTrackCast, to keep up to date with new episodes, and new articles from the website.a

Here’s Why Apple Is Going to Upgrade All Your Movies to 4K for Free

Apple today announced a 4K Apple TV, along with the availability of 4K video content on the iTunes Store. And in a surprising move, they announced that any purchases you have made will be upgraded to 4K for free. I speculated on this earlier today, but did not expect free upgrades.

But I understand why Apple is doing this.

In order to get you to buy a 4K Apple TV, and start buying and renting content in 4K, they’re essentially giving you a lagniappe in providing the free upgrades. If you had to pay, say, a few bucks per movie, and you have a lot of movies, you might not think of buying the new Apple TV, because of the cost of upgrading your library. Now, you’ll see that the new Apple TV not only gives you a new device, but also provides an instant library of movies and TV shows in the better format (assuming you have purchased videos from the iTunes Store, and that these videos are available in 4K, which won’t be the case for everything).

Apple is essentially priming the pump, and probably at their own expense; I’d expect that movie studios probably didn’t agree to this. But you’ll be more likely to buy and rent videos from Apple, because few people have 4K optical disc players, and discs in UHD format are expensive.

This is a savvy move from Apple, who stands to usher users into the world of 4K video, and hold them captive through their existing libraries and new content. You’d probably thought you might like to get 4K versions of your favorite movies, but Apple is giving them to you on the house. So if you were hesitating about buying the new Apple TV, think how much you’re saving by not paying for upgrades to your existing digital video purchases.

The Dark Tower Review Roundup – Hollywood Reporter

Hollywood has been trying to adapt Stephen King’s eight-book saga for well over a decade, but the first film adaptation left the critics underwhelmed.

The Dark Tower reviews are in and the critical consensus can charitably be summed up with one word: meh.

I had been looking forward to this movie, being a big fan of the books, but everything I’ve heard about it has made me want to avoid it. Not only because it may be a truly bad movie, but because seeing it will change the way I see the characters and locations the next time I read the series. This has happened with the Lord of the Rings. I used to reread those books every ten years or so, but the last time I tried, I had too many images from the films – which, in this case, were very good – that ruined the novel.

Source: The Dark Tower Review Roundup | Hollywood Reporter

Why YouTube Switched From 5-Star Ratings to Thumbs Up/Down in 2009 – Daring Fireball

I got a lot of pushback from readers regarding my post yesterday supporting Netflix’s switch from a 5-star rating system to a simple thumbs up/down system. The gist of the complaints is that some people do carefully consider their star ratings, and do value the granularity of being able to say that you like/dislike something a little or a lot. But of course some people take that care. The problem is that most people don’t, and collectively, 5-star rating systems are garbage.

This post from YouTube back in 2009 shows it with data: when they had a 5-star rating system, the overwhelmingly most common rating was 5-stars. The next most common was the lowest, 1-star. 2-, 3-, and 4-star ratings were effectively never used.

For a personally curated collection, 5-star ratings can be meaningful. But for a recommendation service that averages ratings among all users, they are not. It’s the difference between designing for the ideal case of how people should behave versus designing for the practical case of how people actually behave.

John Gruber makes a good point about the difference between binary ratings (thumbs up or thumbs down) and granular ratings (stars). Binary ratings make a lot more sense in certain contexts, and with YouTube, it’s a natural fit. You don’t rate a movie on YouTube; you generally rate a cat video, a TED Talk, or something short.

I disagree that this type of rating will work on Netflix. I sometimes look at ratings when I’m browsing Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. If a movie has a 5-star rating, I’m more likely to check it out. If a movie looks interesting but only has, say, a 2- or 3-star rating, I’ll give it a pass.

On YouTube, you see the number of thumbs up and down, and you have to do the math. (I know, it’s not hard.) I think it would be better if Netflix shows a percentage rating based on the thumbs up and down rather than just the totals for each rating; it’s a more logical way to consider movies, since many people are used to Rotten Tomatoes ratings, which are percentages, or IMDB ratings (which are presented as a number out of 10, such as 8.5/10, which is easy to see as a percentage).

There is a corollary with the ratings available in iTunes. The app long had star ratings, which, as John Gruber says, are good for a personally curated collection. But Apple added Love ratings, so you can help Apple Music’s algorithms. Curiously, the company didn’t add the opposite – Dislike ratings – for some time; I think they truly didn’t see the need. You can use Loves and Dislikes in your own library, if that works for you, but that’s not what they’re really for. Having two different rating systems in an iTunes library makes it all very confusing, especially since Apple Music does not use your star ratings when deciding what to present to you.

Source: Daring Fireball: Why YouTube Switched From 5-Star Ratings to Thumbs Up/Down in 2009