Digital Trends Live: Netflix price hike, Starsona’s celeb connections, and more

With CES in the rearview mirror, Digital Trends Live, DT’s live morning show, returns to its regular format, and in episode 48, hosts Greg Nibler and Adrien Warner dove headlong into the tech world’s biggest news stories.

First up, calamitous news for Netflix subscribers: The streaming giant is going to raise its prices. The $11- and $14-per-month plans will increase to $13 and $16, respectively, while the $8-per-month plan will go up to $9. That’s the price customers have to pay to continue watching Friends, for which Netflix recently shelled out $100 million to retain the streaming rights, to say nothing of all the money Netflix has been investing in original projects. The decision is a controversial one — nobody likes to pay more — and given how many rival streaming services are popping up, one wonders if Netflix may lose subscribers over this decision.

In perhaps happier news, Nokia is back! (Sort of.) The ancient smartphone brand now exists under the aegis of a company called HMD, a company run by a number of former Nokia employees. Digital Trends’ Julian Chokkattu and Andy Boxall wrote an extensive feature on the company’s resurrection of the Nokia brand, interviewing numerous people involved in the deal.

Digital Domain’s Darren Hendler explains how to make digital humans

Later in the show, Greg and DT’s Emerging Tech editor Drew Prindle spoke to Darren Hendler, director of the Digital Humans Group at Digital Domain, a visual effects company that has had a hand in creating a variety major films. Among the company’s most famous projects is animating Thanos, the cosmic villain in Avengers: Infinity War.

“Digital Domain was founded in 1993 by James Cameron, Stan Winston, and Scott Ross,” Hendler explains, “and it was basically a company founded to create some of the best visual effects for movies. We just recently, last year, celebrated our 25th anniversary … besides that, Digital Domain does a lot of work on feature films, we do a lot of commercials, we also do a lot of holograms of maybe deceased celebrities and things like that.”

“We work with the University of Southern California. They have a scanning rig where we can actually scan actors’ faces down to their pore structure, so we know what each individual pore looks like.”

Starsona connects users to their favorite celebrities

Also on this episode, Peter Krapas of Starsona called in to discuss the company’s peculiar service: Starsona enables customers to pay celebrities to record personalized videos. According to Krapas, the idea sprang from a trend in the smartphone era.

“One of my partners works with stars all the time,” Krapas explains, “and he saw was people would come up to these stars at restaurants, in the elevator, and they would always pull out their phone,” hoping the celebrity might record a message for a friend or such. “In some ways, he thought that that was unfair to most people,” Krapas continues. “Part of what we want to do is democratize access to stars.”

Among the celebrities currently on Starsona are NBA player Paul George, internet personality Maddox, and someone called “Granny PottyMouth.”

Digital Trends Live airs Monday through Friday at 9 a.m. PT, with highlights available on demand after the stream ends. For more information, check out the DT Live homepage, and be sure to watch live for the chance to win occasional prizes.

Product Review

It's a camera! It's a printer! And it's more fun than it has any right to be

By going digital and adding a built-in mobile printer, the Instax Mini LiPlay puts more features into a smaller form factor than previous Instax cameras, while still being every bit as fun.
Emerging Tech

Adobe develops tool to identify Photoshopped images of faces

With deepfake videos making headlines, and campaigns against the Photoshopping of models, people are more aware than ever of the digital manipulation of images. Now Adobe wants to give tools to users to let them spot faked images.

5 Gaming Trends from E3 2019

Mobile technology is finally advancing out of the standard form we've become used to. The Samsung Galaxy Fold is one example of further innovation and possibly a redesign of how we communicate and interact with our devices. Will 5G…

Garmin DriveSmart 65 puts Alexa in your car and tells you where to go

Garmin just upped its dashboard game by integrating Amazon Alexa with DriveSmart 65, the company's top-of-the-line, voice-controlled navigator. Drivers can access two digital voice assistants in the same device: Garmin voice and Alexa.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Prime’s one-day shipping, Samsung Fold delay, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the current tech news, including quantum interface, Prime's one-day delivery, the Samsung Fold delay, a browser that pays you in crypto, Tesla's robot taxis, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Spotify hits 100 million subscriptions, simulated asteroid

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss Spotify's latest subscription milestone, NASA's simulated asteroid strike, Amazon's tracking (and firing) of workers based on A.I. results, flying car skyports, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Game of Thrones’ race to the finish line leaves no time to enjoy the scenery

Game of Thrones only has a few episodes left to wrap up its story, and it shows. The series is knocking out important plot points at a frantic pace, and that is to the detriment of what was once a thoughtful and detail-rich fantasy series.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Impossible Burger rollout, Mother’s Day guide, and more

Join us on DT Live as we cover the day’s top tech news, including the Impossible Burger’s nationwide rollout at Burger King, Marriott's plans to compete with Airbnb, Samsung’s vertical viewing TV, our Mother’s Day Gift Guide, and…
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Facebook F8 wrap-up, iPhone 11 mock-ups, and more

On today’s DT Live, we discuss the Facebook F8 developer conference, new mock-ups for the iPhone 11, Hulu grows to 28 million subscribers, Daimler quits the Smart EV car, and “biosolar leaves” may help clean London’s air.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google I/O preview, Blue Origin rocket test, and more

On the latest episode of DT Live, we preview the Google I/O conference, and discuss the Pixel 3a leak, Blue Origin’s space tourism rocket launch, contact lenses with AR capabilities, Bethesda’s Rage 2 release, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Escooter safety, Swarm A.I., Spotify’s voice-enabled ads

On today’s DT Live, we look into the potential dangers of riding escooters, Spotify’s voice-enabled advertising, Swarm A.I., the induction of Microsoft’s Solitaire into the video game hall of fame, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google I/O wrap-up, Lyft and Uber strike, and more

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the Google I/O conference, the Lyft and Uber strike, Amazon’s New York Go store, Germany’s electric delivery truck highway, Japan’s successful rocket launch, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Google and Huawei, Alphabet’s meatball drones, and more

On Monday's episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing battle between Google and Huawei, Alphabet’s meatball-delivering drones, Facebook’s secret robot division, deepfake Joe Rogan, and more.
Digital Trends Live

Digital Trends Live: Huawei updates, Starlink launch, and Pac-Man’s birthday

On this episode of DT Live, we discuss the ongoing Huawei saga, Amazon’s social games for workers, Ford's partnership with a robotics company, the Starlink satellite launch, Pac-Man’s birthday, and more.