Tech round-up for July 25: San Diego Comic-Con news, TCL and Roku Channel coming to Canada, Nathan Fillion as Nathan Drake in Uncharted short

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Categories Consumer technology | Video games

This week, TV manufacturer TCL announces a push into Canada, as does video streaming company Roku with its Roku Channel. Plus, two Canadians made a splash at San Diego Comic-Con with an unauthorized film, and two announcements about digital entertainment.

The big digital news from San Diego Comic-Con

Last week in southern California, fans of genre entertainment descended to celebrate the things they love.

The annual San Diego Comic-Con started out with comics, but has mushroomed to include movies, television, and video games.

There were two announcements that could impact your digital life.

The first is that Star Wars: The Clone Wars is coming back with new episodes.

The animated series first aired in 2008 and masterfully bridged the gap between Episode 2 and Episode 3, showing the lives of Anakin Skywalker, Obi Wan Kenobi, Padme Amidala, and other characters created for the series, like favourite Ahsoka Tano.

The Clone Wars, which filled in the details on how Anakin gets to the point where he can become Darth Vader, was cancelled after five seasons, and in the middle of the story.

The new episodes, which may have been triggered by the recent success of Star Wars Rebels, will air exclusively on Disney’s streaming service, which is expected to launch next year.

Meanwhile. Marvel, which has been releasing comics in digital form for years, has announced a new line of digital-only titles the publisher is calling Marvel Digital Originals.

The first four series are based on the characters Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, and the “Daughters of the Dragon”, Colleen Wing and Misty Knight. All characters have been featured in Marvel’s Netflix Originals series (Wing is in Iron Fist, while Knight is in Luke Cage).

TV manufacturer TCL is coming to Canada

If you’ve ever found yourself looking at the ads and promotions in the U.S. around televisions, wondering why we don’t get those same deals up here, that may be about to change.

TCL has announced it is expanding its TV business into Canada. It already sells BlackBerry devices in Canada having purchased the brand from BlackBerry Limited (which is what remains of Research in Motion).

For years, the company has been manufacturing and releasing highly-rated sets that provide image quality and features that are equal to, and sometimes better than, TVs that cost hundreds of dollars more.

One of TCL’s key partnerships is with Roku, which manufactures streaming players and software. TCL Roku TVs use the Roku operating system, and starting this fall, Canadians will be able to consider them when they start shopping for a new screen.

Just in time for the holiday buying season.

Roku’s going to help you find free movies and TV shows

Speaking of Roku, the company revealed on Monday that it’s launching the Roku Channel in Canada. Roku wants you to use its streaming devices, and has created a service to make it easy for you to do just that.

The streaming service is free, and does not require users to subscribe or log in. It will be supported by advertising.

What the Roku Channel delivers is access to the free movies and TV shows that are out there in the digital space. You can also access paid streaming services with your Roku, including Crave, Netflix, and Prime. The company claims that at the moment, the channel delivers “more than 5,000 free and paid for channels that offer access to 150,000 movies and TV episodes.”

The Roku Channel has started to roll out to devices in Canada. You can add the channel from the Roku Channel Store on your device.

Nathan Fillion is a perfect Nathan Drake

Nathan Fillion has become a popular Hollywood star, but the humble Edmonton native continues to support emerging artists.

Case in point is a new fan film starring Fillion as another Nathan. In “Uncharted: Live Action Fan Film,” he is Nathan Drake, the protagonist from the series of video games developed by Naughty Dog and published by Sony for the PlayStation game consoles.

The short was released just prior to Comic-Con last week, and Fillion and Toronto director Allan Ungar were in San Diego talking it up.

The vehicle serves as a concept of sorts, featuring some innovative ideas from the young director. In the video game, when things shift from cutscene to player-controlled action, the camera view slides in behind Drake to provide a third-person perspective that allows players to control the character.

Ungar does the same thing in his film, which is elevated by note-perfect performances by Fillion as well as Stephen Lang as Victor “Sully” Sullivan and Mircea Monroe playing Elena Fisher.

Sony does have Uncharted in development as a film, but it seems to have been stalled recently. Company representatives have made no official comment on Ungar’s short, or on the possibility of Fillion as a credible Drake.

But it’s sure fun to speculate what might come of it all.


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