'Star Wars: Episode VII' tells tale 30 years after 'Jedi'

Some news for fans excited to find out what life is like post-Ewok battles and that metal bikini: Lucasfilm has announced a start date for shooting "Star Wars: Episode VII." Director J.J. Abrams and his team will begin shooting principal photography in May at London's historic Pinewood Studios.

Lucasfilm also announced that "Star Wars: Episode VII" will take place about 30 years after the events of "Star Wars: Episode VI Return of the Jedi," and will star "a trio of new young leads along with some very familiar faces." … Read more

Disney Interactive lays off 700 workers, adios social gaming

After dismal earnings, Disney announced Thursday that it's laying off one quarter of its gaming and Internet division -- that's about 700 people, according to the Associated Press.

The cuts are in the company's Interactive unit and will most likely affect people who work on Disney's social games, according to the AP. The layoffs also come with discontinued games like Sorority Life and Tap Tap Revenge.

The restructuring was "difficult but necessary given our long-term strategy focused on sustainable profitability and innovation," Disney told the AP.

Disney put most of its Internet properties into … Read more

DirecTV reportedly in talks with Disney for Internet deal

Following Dish Network's lead, DirecTV is in discussions with Walt Disney to offer the media giant's content as part of an Internet-based offering, the satellite TV provider told Reuters.

The licensing discussions are part of a programming pact that would replace a contract set to expire in December, Reuters reported. The deal is reportedly similar to an agreement announced Monday that gives DirecTV rival Dish the right to stream video, live and on demand, as part of an Internet-delivered television service.

"The deal and terms are not unexpected as the Dish contract was the most recent in … Read more

Dish-Disney deal changes future of online TV

CNET Update is hacking coffee machines:

In this episode of Update:

- Learn why Dish made a deal with Disney so its DVR won't auto-skip commercials on ABC shows for three days after airing. In the compromise, Disney scored the rights to stream Disney-owned networks online, including ESPN, and that could be a game changer in accessing TV on the Internet.

- You may need to hack the Keurig 2.0 machine if you want to use bargain-priced unlicensed single-serve coffee cups. Keurig is fighting copycat K-cups with high-tech machines.

- Watch thousands of music videos on Xbox Music, … Read more

Disney deal blazes trail for a Dish without the dish

Dish Network just took the lead in turning Internet TV into reality.

Long have the biggest names in technology -- Apple, Google, Sony -- aspired to elevate tech's courtship of television to full-blown marriage: a multichannel television service, giving you the most popular networks of your cable provider but delivering them over the Internet.

And long has it been a story of unrequited love. No company has yet to make major, public, legitimate strides toward that goal, relegating them instead to grand proclamations of intent or sidelong glances at their hearts' desire.

That changed late Monday, as Charlie Ergen'… Read more

New Movies Anywhere app streams Disney's world

Like a Disney princess waking from an evil witch's spell, Walt Disney Studios is finally releasing its digital-rights-locker project KeyChest from its deep slumber.

On Tuesday, the media powerhouse launched a cloud-based movie app -- descriptively called Disney Movies Anywhere -- based on KeyChest, an alternative to consortia like UltraViolet that has languished for years.

KeyChest was built as a place to store and access all your Disney media, and with the new app, Disney has connected it with Apple's iTunes, another longtime holdout from UltraViolet.

The app -- which lists more than 400 live-action and animated films … Read more

The force is very much with 'Clone Wars' Season 6 trailer

Get ready, "Star Wars" fans: The first trailer from the upcoming final season of "The Clone Wars" is here, and it's a lot of fun.

Earlier this month, Netflix announced that it will be making the 13 episodes of the final season of the animated "Star Wars" show available to subscribers starting March 7. Now, it has released the trailer for the season, and "Star Wars" fans have a lot to be excited about.

Though Disney, which purchased Lucasfilm in 2012, said last year that it was shutting down production of &… Read more

Oyster e-book subscription service just got interesting

If you're the parent of a young reader, you know that kids can chew through books faster than a dog chews through tennis shoes. (I'm speaking figuratively, of course -- unless your kids are teething.)

That's awesome, though indulging this wonderful love of reading can get expensive. Too bad there's no "Netflix for e-books," no way to pay a small monthly fee for all the children's books your children can read.

There is now. Oyster, a startup e-book subscription service, just announced a new children's section, one that's stocked with hundreds … Read more

'Star Wars Rebels' unveils Kanan, 'the cowboy Jedi'

Disney is ramping up the promotion engine for "Star Wars Rebels," and so it's time to meet what might be the first "cowboy Jedi": Kanan.

The media giant on Wednesday unveiled one of the main characters from the new show -- which is expected to begin airing sometime this year and take place chronologically between the "Star Wars" prequels and the original 1977 "Star Wars."

Known as Kanan, and played by Freddie Prinze Jr., he has survived the Emperor's purge of Jedis. He's a little less traditional (and more … Read more

Disney, channeling Silicon Valley, launches startup accelerator

Disney on Wednesday launched its first-ever startup accelerator, a three-month program pairing 10 teams of entrepreneurs with mentors like CEO Bob Iger and giving them access to the media giant's IP.

The accelerator, which is accepting applications now through April 16, will be hosted in Los Angeles, Calif. It will be managed by Techstars, which has run similar programs for companies like Sprint, Barclays, and Nike. A team of judges from Techstars, Disney, and the venture capital community will pick the 10 startups, all of which will be given $120,000 each to try to get their companies off … Read more