Comcast has outbid 21st Century Fox for Sky

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Comcast has won an auction to acquire UK telecommunications company Sky, bidding $38.8 billion to overtake Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox after a lengthy bidding war this summer. Comcast’s win paves the way for it to acquire Sky and its 23 million European subscribers and entertainment assets. Sky’s shareholders will now need to approve the deal.

Over the course of this year, Comcast and Fox have been locked in a titanic battle over their futures, one that will define the nature of the industry as a whole. Last summer, Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke with Murdoch about an acquisition of Fox, and Comcast had made its own overtures. The two made several bids this spring, but after Disney later upped its offer, Comcast dropped its plans to...

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Destroyer is a guilt-ridden detective story made by one incredible director

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Welcome to Cheat Sheet, our brief breakdown-style reviews of festival films, VR previews, and other special event releases. This review comes from the 2018 Toronto International Film Festival.

Tackling the leap from directing low-budget indies to tentpole features is no easy feat, and Hollywood has a history of being particularly unforgiving when the filmmakers are women. Case in point: director Karyn Kusama, who burst onto the filmmaking scene in 2000 with her debut feature, Girlfight. Five years later, she took on the feature-film adaptation of Aeon Flux, but the movie ended in disaster. After a studio regime change, Paramount Pictures balked at Kusama’s original vision, taking the movie away from her in order to hack it into the...

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A draft executive order targets social media companies for anti-trust violations

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A draft executive order from the White House surfaced last night that would direct federal authorities to “thoroughly investigate whether any online platform has acted in violation of the antitrust laws.” However, White House officials say that the document hasn’t gone through any sort of formal policymaking process.

Bloomberg obtained a copy of the draft executive order, noting that it directs antitrust officials and other federal agencies see if any “online platform” has violated antitrust laws. The publication notes that the document didn’t specifically name companies that have attracted Trump’s ire, but it’s not hard to imagine that Amazon, Facebook, Google, and Twitter wouldn’t be a subject of such an order.

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You can now watch Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic The Room in its entirety on YouTube

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Tommy Wiseau’s 2003 movie The Room is often proclaimed to be the worst films ever made. If you’ve ever been curious about just how bad the film is, now’s your chance: Wiseau just posted the entire film up on YouTube.

The film follows a love triangle between Johnny (Wiseau), Mark (Greg Sestero), and Lisa (Juliette Danielle), along with a bunch of unrelated and unresolved bizarre subplots. It was panned by critics, but since its release it’s become a cult favorite, and was the focus of James Franco’s biopic The Disaster Artist, which earned an Academy Award last year. The film regularly pops up in theaters for midnight screenings.

The film hasn’t been available to stream or download from places like iTunes or Amazon (there have been...

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A new report outlines Apple’s reluctance for mature content on its streaming service

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This morning, The Wall Street Journal released a report that details the state of Apple’s yet-to-be-unveiled streaming service. It highlights some of the difficulties Apple has faced in striking the right tone for its content, particularly when it comes to “gratuitous sex, profanity or violence,” and cites sources who expect the launch of the streaming service to be pushed further back.

The report opens with Apple CEO Tim Cook’s reaction to Vital Signs, a show based on the life of Dr. Dre. Apple picked up the show back in 2016, but when Cook viewed it a year ago, he told Apple Music executive Jimmy Iovine that it was too violent, and that the company can’t show it.

Apple has some big plans for its original content ambitions. It brought...

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10 new trailers you should watch this week

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Something you see a lot in action movies is an opening sequence that jumps straight into some kind of chase or mission, in an attempt to kick things off with a bang. But too often, these sequences can end up kind of dull — if you don’t know the character very well, or have any idea what’s going on, then what do you really care about the outcome of these events?

Earlier this week I watched Mary and the Witch’s Flower, the first film from Studio Ponoc, which kicks off in this very same way. But for some reason, it works unusually well, and I’m still trying to figure out why. On a very basic level, I’m sure it’s just because the film is ridiculously beautiful, but there’s obviously more to it than that.

More important, I think, is that the...

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Amazon’s new device preorders dominate this week’s best deals

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Last week was Apple’s time to shine with the introduction of the iPhone XS and XS Max and Apple Watch 4, but the tail end of this week was all about Amazon. It announced more than 10 products at its hardware event in Seattle, consisting of a few redesigned popular sellers, and several additions to its Alexa-powered arsenal.

Preorders for most of its new tech are open, and the products should start shipping in mid-October. If you think you can hold off, we’re likely to see discounts for most, if not all, of these Amazon products come Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

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Trump’s Space Force may come with a big price tag, and no one can agree how to structure it

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Two months after Vice President Mike Pence announced the plan to create a Space Force, the military is fighting over how to make it happen. This week, an internal Air Force estimate leaked to the press that said the Space Force would cost nearly $13 billion to create. And an Air Force organization is arguing that we shouldn’t create the Space Force at all, but rather rename the Air Force.

This is just the beginning of a debate about the right way to move forward with the Space Force, says Brian Weeden, a space expert at the Secure World Foundation, a nonprofit that specializes in space security. Creating a new branch of the military is going to require a lot of complicated bureaucratic reshuffling. “The other piece of it is, how do we...

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The future of DIY abortions is the internet, not a back-alley doctor

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     No need for a clinic at all

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YesOJO’s Switch speaker dock looks like a slick way to play on the go

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YesOJO’s Switch projector dock was a surprisingly clever way to play your Switch on the go with friends. Now the company is following that up with another slick Switch solution: a portable speaker dock that turns your Switch into a miniature boombox.

The Switch speaker dock is designed to use with a Switch in tabletop mode, but YesOJO says it should offer dramatically better sound than the Switch’s onboard speaker (in addition to a far more sturdy base). The speaker dock also features a cooling system, so your console doesn’t overheat, and an integrated battery that should allow for eight to 12 hours of play time off a single charge. If you don’t need to juice up your Switch, you can just use it as a...

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Why Twitter reset the @Twitter account

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On Friday morning, Twitter posted a single word to its Twitter account: “The.” Average users began replying, telling a story one word at a time. When it was done, the first thread read: “The beginning of the end is near. Yay.”

Had it been posted a month or so, it’s likely the world would have written off Twitter’s “the” as a pocket-tweet. But if you’ve been paying attention to @Twitter for the past few weeks, you’ve noticed an undeniable transformation. An account best known for posting almost comically remedial education to its user base — it was still instructing followers on how to retweet as recently as 2016 — suddenly felt a bit more alive.

In recent days the account started a service-wide conversation around the meaning of users’...

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Spotify is testing personalized song recommendations in official playlists

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Spotify is testing out personalization for its editor-curated playlists, according to a report today from Hypebot. In one named example, songs that Spotify’s algorithm believed a user would like were mixed into a hand-curated workout playlist. A source independently confirmed the test to The Verge.

The test appears to only be showing for select users and on mid-tier playlists. Whether Spotify plans to roll this out as a permanent feature is still to be determined — the company runs tests all the time for groups of users. But having Spotify’s algorithm shuffle in songs individualized for each user on playlists could be one way to keep the content fresh, as most playlists are updated by curators on a weekly basis.

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Nintendo lets terminal cancer patient play Super Smash Bros. Ultimate early

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Chris Taylor, like any Nintendo fan, is hyped to see that Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is shaping up to be mashup fighter of epic proportions, but unlike most of us, the 21-year-old is not sure he’ll live long enough to see the Switch game on store shelves. Taylor has terminal cancer and has been given months to live, so his friends started a social media campaign to get Nintendo’s attention.

Over the last week, Smash Bros. fans on Twitter and Reddit have lobbied Nintendo to let Taylor play Ultimate before he passes; these posts have gotten thousands of signal boosts from fans who were touched by Taylor’s situation.

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Vergecast: reviews of the iPhone XS, Apple Watch 4, and the Amazon event

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This past week, Nilay reviewed the new iPhone XS and XS Max while Dieter reviewed the Apple Watch series 4. Paul, Dieter, and Nilay dedicate half the show to their review and whether it’s worth upgrading to the new model.

Second half of the show, the crew tries to cover all of the insane amount of gadgets that Amazon announced this week, including a DVR for over-the-air channels.

There’s a whole lot more in between that — like deputy editor Liz Lopatto’s “This week in Elon” segment — so listen to it all and you’ll get it all.

01:26 - Apple iPhone XS and XS Max review: smoothed out

32:10 - Apple Watch Series 4 review: the best gets better

54:44 - This week in Elon Musk with Liz Lopatto

59:00 - Paul’s weekly segment “Spin to win

1...

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Audi’s new subscription service lets you swap vehicles twice a month

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Audi is the latest luxury automaker to launch a subscription-based service to get customers who want to have access to a fleet of fancy cars but don’t necessarily want to own or lease one. The German car company’s service is called Audi Select, and it launches exclusively in Dallas-Fort Worth this week.

For the set monthly price of $1,395, subscribers can chose from a range of vehicles, including the Audi A4 sedan, A5 Cabriolet, Audi Q5 and Audi Q7 SUVs, and S5 Coupe. The subscription includes two vehicle swaps per month and users can chose between having their vehicle delivered to their homes or picking them up at a local dealership.

Insurance,...

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For more kid-friendly horror like The House with a Clock in Its Walls, stream The Gate

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There are so many streaming options available these days, and so many conflicting recommendations, that it’s hard to see through all the crap you could be watching. Each Friday, The Verge’s Cut the Crap column simplifies the choice by sorting through the overwhelming multitude of movies and TV shows on subscription services, and recommending a single perfect thing to watch this weekend.

What to watch

The Gate, a kid-friendly horror film that was modestly successful at the box office in the summer of 1987, became a sleepover staple once it hit VHS. Written by Michael Nankin and directed by Tibor Takács, the film stars a teenaged Stephen Dorff in his first movie role, playing Glen, a nerdy suburbanite who unearths an enormous geode in his...

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Apple-owned sleep tracker Beddit is eliminating cloud service support

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Beddit, the sleep tracking product acquired by Apple last year, will no longer support cloud service, as spotted by 9to5Mac. The news was announced in an App Store update for Beddit, which says that new users will no longer be able to use Beddit Cloud, and existing users have access until November 15th.

The company’s Beddit 3 Sleep Monitor is a sensor-equipped strip that slides under your bedsheets to track movements through the night. The acquisition seems at odds with Apple’s efforts in body-tracking, which now includes an EKG feature with the Apple Watch Series 4. Then again, even with the Watch Series 4’s updates and refinements, it still doesn’t offer any native sleep-tracking capabilities. Bloomberg reported in 2016 that Apple had...

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Marvel gets first woman of color director for The Eternals

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The Eternals, a tale of cosmic beings created by Jack Kirby in the 1970s, now has a director: Chloé Zhao, a Chinese filmmaker who is known for working on indie projects, says The Hollywood Reporter. It will mark the first time that a woman of color has directed a film for the superhero studio, which has largely relied on white men to helm its films.

The Eternals is a comic about an Earth with two races that eventually led to mutants. Eternals can live for a long time, yet they are not immortal, and they use their talents and advanced technology to protect humanity. With Avengers 4 coming next year, the studio is looking ahead to what comes next for the franchise. Earlier this year, Marvel Studio head Kevin Feige said that The Eternals...

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Sennheiser and Magic Leap are partnering to develop spatial audio products

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Sennheiser is getting involved in the augmented reality space. The headphone and audio gear company announced today that it’s partnering with Magic Leap to develop spacial audio accessories for the AR headset’s platform.

It’s specifically joining the “Works with Magic Leap” certification program, which is basically just Magic Leap’s way of ensuring that accessories and tools work as they’re supposed to when interacting with its headset. Sennheiser also hinted that it might have more news to share during Magic Leap’s LEAP conference taking place in Los Angeles next month. Right now, users can hear audio through the headset’s built-in speakers or via headphones plugged into the headphone jack.

After years of secrecy, Magic Leap unveiled...

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