Best shows on Netflix (August 2017): the 50 best Netflix series

UPDATE: It’s finally here! The Defenders has arrived and is one of the 50 best Netflix series, bringing together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and that annoying glowy fist bloke. It’s eight episodes long, far better than the travesty that was Iron Fist, and has Sigourney Weaver in it. What more could you possibly want?

Want to know what the best shows on Netflix are right now? Well, you’ve come to the right place. This is TechRadar’s constantly updated guide to the best Netflix series right now. 

We’ve chosen the 50 best Netflix shows that you need to watch. Whether you are into meth-laced dramas (Breaking Bad), talking horses (Bojack Horseman) or fear-inducing dystopias that are far too close for comfort (Black Mirror) there’s something for you on the list. 

Netflix is currently the hottest streaming service on the planet. Not only is it creating fantastic original shows – House of Cards, Orange is the New Black – it is teaming up with the likes of Marvel to adapt famous superheroes for the small screen. And it’s just bought its own graphic novel IP so expect more original comic-book content soon. 

It’s also trialling news things, such as the Puss In Boots choose your own adventure show and is a big advocate for 4K and HDR. Oh, and it finally did something it said it never would – allow you to download many of its shows to watch Netflix offline.

It’s fair to say there’s never been a better time to bag yourself a Netflix subscription and binge watch, so get stuck into our gallery and let us know if your favourite show isn’t on the list.

  • Check out our in-depth and completely updated Netflix review
  • Want to test out the rival? Here’s our Best Amazon Prime Video TV Shows
  • Want know the best movies on Netflix. Then this is your in-depth guide
  • Want to know the worst movies on Netflix? The check out Not On My Watch
  • The best sci-fi movies you can stream right now

There’s a reason Iron Fist isn’t on our Best Shows on Netflix list: it’s terrible. Which is such a shame as the rest of Netflix’s Marvel series have been hard-hitting, explosive delights. Thankfully The Defenders sees the Marvel TV universe fighting fit once more, with the mini series proving that all of the characters are better together – yes, even glowy fist man. Given its limited episode run – it’s a lean eight episodes – it’s a little strange that it takes a good three episodes to get going but once it does, and mostly because of Sigourney Weaver, it’s great.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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It’s always a pleasure to watch Neil Patrick Harris in anything but A Series Of Unfortunate Events is the perfect platform for him. He plays Count Olaf with all the vim and vigour you’d expect – adding a certain weirdness to what is already a strange show. Based on the first four Lemony Snicket books, the series consists of eight episodes – so four two-part stories – and is arguably a better adaptation than the Jim Carrey starring movie. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Archer is now into its eighth season and apart from a few hiccups – season 5’s Archer Vice is particularly grating – it’s a brilliant, adult pastiche of Bond. The plot is simple: Archer is a heavy drinking womanising spy for an agency that’s headed up by his mum. The cartoon charts his antics, alongside his co-workers Cheryl, Cyril, Lana, Pam and Krieger. Featuring many of the cast of Arrested Development, and a  sprinkling of Mad Men, Archer is hilarious, off-kilter fare.

Seasons on Netflix: 8

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Arrested Development is one of the best comedies ever made. So it made sense that Netflix would want to resurrect it for a fourth season. While it wasn’t perfect – primarily because most of the cast were too busy to get into the same room – it was great to see the Bluth family back. Full of in-jokes, jokes that run for entire seasons and more, well, jokes, this is essential TV. And the good news is that a fifth series has been commissioned.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Babylon is a cutting satire on policing in the UK. Written by the folks behind Peep Show, it focuses on a bumbling commissioner (James Nesbitt), Brit Marling as a PR person trying to modernise the force and firearm officers on the ground. It’s both hilarious and dramatic in equal fashion, making it one of the most highly original shows on British TV in recent years. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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On paper, the idea of a show that mines the early life of Hitchcock psycho Norman Bates is pretty terrible. But over the course of a number of seasons Bates Motel has proved to be a hit. Focusing, with a lot of unease, on the relationship between Norman (a brilliant Freddie Highmore) and his mother (Vera Farmiga) acting more like a psychological thriller than outright horror. The best thing about it is how it manages to keep you guessing as to what is going to happen next, even though the story it is building up to is one of the most famous of all time.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Charlie Brooker was best known for his snarky looky at the news in Weekly Wipe and his fantastic, caustic look at meeja types in London’s Shoreditch before he penned Black Mirror – and now the show has given him superstar status. For good reason, it’s fantastic TV with each episode taking on a different dystopia topic, mostly framed around technology going very long. The third season was commissioned by Netflix and is in 4K, with most of the episodes being feature length.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

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‘Clear eyes, full heart’. That’s Coach’s mantra in Friday Night Lights, a fantastic show that everyone should watch – even if you have absolutely no interest in American Football. Kyle Chandler is the coach of a small time football team, who moves to the fictional Texas town of Dillon, a place obsessed with the sport. Over the course of five seasons, the show paints a fantastic picture of America through the lens of sport. 

Seasons on Netflix: 3

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Better Call Saul is better than Breaking Bad. That’s a sentence we never thought we would write, but it’s now three seasons and it is flawless TV. It doesn’t have the menace or fear that propelled Walter White in Breaking Bad, instead it takes its time to paint a picture of Saul Goodman, someone that was in Bad mainly for comic relief. In his own show, though, creators Vince Gilligan and Peter Gould have created a well-rounded, means well character whose descent into criminality is a slow burn. Although some characters have started to appear from Breaking Bad, the show doesn’t beg for the appearance of Walter White or Jesse – it’s now it’s own thing and we can’t wait for Season 4.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 

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Yes, Bojack Horseman is hilarious. Yes, it’s the best thing Will Arnett has done since Arrested Development. And, yes, it should be the next thing you watch if you are into anthropomorphic comedy about a once great TV star who has fallen on hard times. It’s all of that but it’s also a pretty accurate portrayal of depression and should be celebrated as such.This may make it sound like the saddest show ever. It’s not but it’s far more weightier than most of the cartoon comedies doing the rounds on Netflix at the moment.

Seasons on Netflix: 3

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Breaking Bad is must-watch TV and one of the reasons Netflix has risen to the popularity it has. Before Breaking Bad, Netflix was seen as a fairly decent streaming service. After it got the rights to show the final season of Breaking Bad in the UK, Netflix propelled itself to superstardom. Not bad for a show that’s ostensibly about a high-school teacher with cancer who goes on to sell meth to pay for his hospital bills. 

It goes without saying, if you haven’t yet spent time with Walter White and Jesse – do so now! But, be warned, the show is as addictive as the stuff Walter is peddling. 

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Is The Crown Netflix’s crowning glory? Not quite, but it is a sumptuous look at one of the world’s most famous families: the Royal family. Charting the early years of the relationship between the Queen (Claire Foy) and Prince Philip  (former Doctor Who Matt Smith), the show was written by Peter Morgan and, at £100 million, is one of the most expensive TV series ever made. Which means there’s enough pomp and ceremony to keep those pining for a Downton Abbey replacement happy.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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When it comes to superhero movies, Marvel are bossing DC thanks to the rich tapestry it has weaved with its cinematic universe. Its TV shows, as fun as Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter are, haven’t had the same success as DC’s The Arrow or The Flash. Thankfully Daredevil has come along to change all this. Released in one binge-watching dose, Daredevil is superb television, regardless if you are a superhero fan or not. Matt Murdoch’s (Boardwalk Empire’s Charlie Cox) rise from blind lawyer to vigilante is brutal and steeped in realism. The reason it works so well is that it doesn’t shy away from being violent – each crack and crunch is a world away from Ben Affleck’s terrible movie version. And special mention has to go to Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk, his best role since the tortured Private Pyle.

Daredevil season two is out now and adds Elektra and Punisher into the mix. With new showrunners on board, the show has shifted slightly tonally but the brutality of the fight scenes are still there – you just need to check out Episode 3 to see what we mean.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Mackenzie Crook was one of the breakout stars from The Office, swapping his brilliant performance as the hapless Gareth for Hollywood roles in Pirates of the Caribbean and Game of Thrones. But it’s on home soil where he fares best.

The Detectorists, written by and starring Mackenzie, is a warm, brilliant comedy. Based around the lives of a group of metal detectorists, it features brilliant writing, acting and characters – in any given episode, you will either be in tears of laughter or poignancy. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Following in the footsteps of fellow ‘mumblecore’ members the Duplass brothers – whose brilliant Creep was a Netflix exclusive – Joe Swamberg has hit Netflix with a candid and considered look at sex and relationships.

Easy is an eight-episode look at relationships in Chicago. There’s a different subject for each episode, although each life portrayed eventually overlaps in the show in some way. 

Cast-wise, Easy has some surprisingly big names. Malin Akerman and Orlando Bloom star in one vignette, while the likes of Emily Ratajkowski, Marc Maron and Dave Franco also make an appearance. 

Don’t go into Easy expecting explosive drama or high-tense action, but as a realistic look at other people’s love lives it’s a great, if slightly meandering watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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There was a collective groan by Coen Brothers fans the world over when Fargo the television show was announced. But what could have been darn tootin’ awful ended up being fantastic, thanks to the casting of Billy Bob Thornton who is both funny and psychotic – well, his character is anyway. The series thankfully didn’t retread the movie but added to it, acting as a strange but sublime companion piece. It’s so good, the Coens initially refused to have their name on the show – until they saw it and loved it.

The second season is also now on Netflix and surpasses the first. The plotline veers away from the original film, but the heart of Fargo is still very much in this TV show. The second series flips back 27 years before the events of the original.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Unfairly cancelled after just one season, Freaks and Geeks was the starting point for many AAA comedy actors, directors and writers careers of today. Set around two factions of kids trying to get by in a typical US school: the freaks and, well, the geeks. 

James Franco, Seth Rogan and Jason Segel are fantastic as part of the geek ensemble – Franco playing the heart throb, Rogan the monosyllabic beer fiend and Segel, the loveable stoner. While the geeks include Silicon Valley’s Martin Starr and a superb John Francis Daley. But it’s Lind Cardellini who’s standout, playing Lindsay Weir, the math kid who decides to rebel. 

Created by Paul Feig, who recently tried his hand at rebooting GhostBusters, and written by Judd Apatow, the show is great antidote to the whimsical teenage world of Dawson Creek and the like.  

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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The Get Down has a lot to live up to. It’s the most expensive Netflix show ever made – knocking Marco Polo of that perch – thanks to its creator Baz Luhrmann’s vibrant style that suits the show’s premise. And that premise is a doozy: The Get Down charts the beginnings of hip-hop in the 1970s, telling the tale through the eyes of young rapper Ezekiel. Bombastic in its approach and beautiful to look at, The Get Down is a potent mix of fictional characters and real-life stars of the hip-hop scene, including Grandmaster Flash who also produced the show. All 12 episodes are available to binge now – you’ll either love or hate it!

Netflix recently revealed that this will be the only season of The Get Down as it’s cancelled the show – which we reckon is a big mistake as it’s a great watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1 (part one and two)

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Alison Brie already proved she had comedic chops in Community but GLOW cements her as a comedy genius who can turn on the seriousness when she needs to. In GLOW (gorgeous ladies of wrestling) she plays Ruth Wilder, a struggling actress in ’80s LA who turns to women’s wrestling to make a star of herself. The show is a look at the underground sensation of ladies wrestling, with all the wit and gender stereotype reversing you would expect from the maker of Orange Is The New Black. It’s a great, highly original watch, with a superb cast that includes British singer Kate Nash.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Him & Her is one of the best British sitcoms in years. Based around the lives of a bored, lazy but happy 20-something couple, the show’s plot is slight but it manages to get laughs out of the most mundane happenings. Sarah Solemani is fantastic as Becky whose love for Steve (Russell Tovey) never falters, despite her parents disliking him. And Kerry Howard as Laura, Becky’s sister, is the most hateful character since, well, ever.

All four series are now on Netflix and are an essential watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Homeland, now in its fifth season, is a very different show now than it was when it first aired back in 2011. Based on the Israeli series Prisoner of War, the first few seasons were based around the premise of a returning war hero that may or not be holding a dark secret. This duplicity has been a running theme since then but the narrative has moved on. What hasn’t changed is the brilliant central performance by Claire Danes as the CIA officer with bi-polar disorder – she’s superb and the glue that holds this sometimes disparate show together.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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If there ever was a poster boy for Netflix, House of Cards would be it. Funded completely by the streaming service, Cards’ first season boasted direction by David Fincher and acting by Kevin Spacey and was addictive television. The reason: Netflix positively wanted you to binge watch, putting all episodes up at once. Now in its third season, Netflix’s Card trick is still impressive and shows just how far Netflix has come, given it’s shot in both 4K and HDR.

House of Cards Season 4 was more timely than ever before, with Frank Underwood fighting to get re-voted in as president which, on the face of it, was about as likely as Donald Trump rising to power. Oh…

And now we have the arrival of Season 5. This is the first without showrunner Beau Willimon. The good news is that is still feels like House of Cards and it also has a number of familiar faces returning. 

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Ever gorged on Toblerone and driven to Dundee in your bare feet? Alan Partridge has. The fictional disc jockey is easily comedian Steve Coogan’s finest creation, and the I’m Alan Partridge series is the character at his cringe-inducing best.

From zombie infestations at travel taverns to arguments with farmers over 20 foot chickens to a guest appearance from “Bono”, the BBC’s best worst former employee will have you in stitches.

Jurassic Park!

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Initially made on a shoe-string budget, It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia first season had a cult following, but low viewing figures meant it was destined to be a one-series wonder. Thankfully, everything changed when Season 2 was eventually green-lit, thanks to some big-time star power. Danny De Vito joined for a 10-episode run that was extended because he loved it so much. He’s still in the show that’s now in its 11th season, bringing with him huge viewing figures. The antics of Dennis (Glenn Howerton), Mac (Rob McElhenney, the show’s creator), Charlie (Charlie Kelly) and Sweet Dee (Kaitlin Olson) won’t be for everyone – at its darkest the show’s ‘comedy’ themes range from nazism to drug abuse – but stick with it and this deliciously depraved classic will reward you.

A new, 12th season, has finally landed on Netflix, after airing in the US earlier this year. The show has also been renewed for two more seasons, which will make it the longest running live-action comedy series on TV ever. Impressive stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 12

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And there was us thinking that Daredevil’s subject matter was dark. Jessica Jones is another tale set in Hell’s Kitchen that may be under the Marvel banned but is about as far removed from the bromance of Thor and Iron Man that you are likely to see.

Breaking Bad’s Krysten Ritter is superb as the titular Jones, a private detective with superpowers and super issues. This is nocturnal noir that moves in the same circles as Daredevil – figuratively and literally as both characters will eventually team up in the Defenders. It may not have the bone-crunching violence that Daredevil is famed for, but there’s enough booze, sex and black humour on the screen to make this a cracking comic-book caper that’s strictly adults only.

Check out our Jessica Jones review

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Netflix struck true crime gold with How To Make a Murderer and its done the same again with The Keepers. This time the case in question is the murder of a nun in 1969 in Baltimore. The case remains unsolved and this documentary series goes back to the scene of the crime, speaking to witnesses and people who worked on the case.

This is a meticulously researched series, and one that has been in the works longer than Making a Murderer. It shows, too. Each episode ends on a new piece of evidence and by the end you’ll be horrified with just how this case remained unsolved for so long. Gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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This awkward rom-com has been penned by Judd Apatow and it’s yet again another hit for Netflix Originals. It’s a similar bedfellow to Master of None, but it improves on the themes of dating, love and city life with characters that are more rounded and a touch more awkward. Community’s Gillian Jacobs is great as the prim Mickey, while Paul Rust is effortless as slacker Gus. The show stealer, though, is Apatow’s uber talented daughter Iris who plays a frankly horrible child star.

The ‘will they, won’t they?’ shenanigans continue in the second season – those expecting a plot-heavy season will be disappointed, though, as Love meanders through its storylines – which is no bad thing if you ask us.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Luke Cage is the latest addition to Netflix’s impressive and growing Marvel TV show offering. Marvel has created a rich cinematic universe and although some of its TV shows (Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D and Agent Carter) have struggled to stay on their feet others like Jessica Jones and Daredevil have flourished.

Luke Cage is more in the same vein as Jessica Jones and Daredevil, with less light-hearted superhero fun and more hard-hitting themes, violence, and grit.

After making his debut in the first series of Jessica Jones, Luke Cage is getting his own show which sees him swap Hell’s Kitchen for Harlem, delving into his origins as a hero. Viewers who lamented the fact that they didn’t get to see more of him in Jessica Jones will enjoy the opportunity to find out more about what makes his character tick here. Don’t worry if you haven’t watched Jessica Jones, it’s not a requirement to understand or appreciate anything about Luke Cage.

The first season in its entirety is on Netflix now, making it perfect to settle in and binge watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Idris Elba was a relatively unknown actor when he blew us all away as Stringer Bell in The Wire. After starring in the show his career catapulted him into the A List, but he thankfully never forgot his TV roots. Luther is a cop show with a difference, and that difference is Elba. He brings that bit extra to a cop who is battling both deranged criminals and his own demons. He befriends murderers and breaks rules, all amongst the beautiful but broken backdrop of London’s East End.

Seasons on Netflix: 4 

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Five series of Mad Men have arrived on Netflix. While it may not be the full set – there were seven in all – there’s enough here to bing watch and get caught up in Matthew Weiner’s modern TV classic. On the face of it, Mad Men is about advertising execs – lead by the ever-conflicted Don Draper – in the Sixties but it’s much much more. Each episode lingers, taking time to tell its tale, but it’s worth the wait. Superb television.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Marco Polo may not have had the accolades that Netflix would have hoped for such an pricey series – at $90 million only Game of Thrones is more expensive – but it has enough going for it to keep you entertained. Benedict Wong is Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan dynasty, while Lorenzo Richelmy plays Marco Polo, the Venetian whose travels to China see him given a place in the Khan’s court.

Bombastic and old school, Marco Polo is a stunning watch – it’s also HDR-ready so make sure you have a TV that can handle this type of content.

It was announced recently that Marco Polo will not be getting a third season, making it the first Netflix-owned series to be cancelled. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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Aziz Ansari was part of one of the best comedy ensembles ever in Parks and Recreation, but in Master of None he proves he can hold his own when he goes it alone. Channeling Louie CK, by way of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Master of None is a fantastic look at being in your 30s in Hollywood and all the trappings that go with it. Ansari plays the fictional Dev but this sitcom comes off as deeply personal and is all the better for it.

The second season improves on what is a fantastic first season. Dev is now in Italy, making pasta and trying to forget about acting. It’s not long before he heads back to New York, though.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The world’s fascination with real crime seems to be at its highest at the moment and it’s all thanks to the podcast Serial. Now on to its second series, Serial highlights cases of crime in forensic detail. Making a Murderer is in a similar vein. This 10-part series looks at Steven Avery, someone who spent 18 years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit and is then accused of a different crime. The show has been ten years in the making and is gripping stuff.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Narcos is that wonderful thing: a TV show that doesn’t scrimp on controversy. Based on the exploits of Columbian drug lord Pablo Escobar, the show examines the criminal’s rise to the top of one of the biggest drug rings the world has seen, while constantly trying to avoid the clutches of the DEA.

Uncompromising, uncomfortable but completely unforgettable, Narcos is exactly the sort of thing that Netflix should be commissioning. It’s also the sort of thing that HBO would have snapped up just a few years ago – which is very telling as to where television is today.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

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The OA rounds off what has been an exceptional year for television on Netflix. Co-created by and starring the ever-brilliant Brit Marling, the show consists of eight episodes that rival Stranger Things for, well, strangeness. 

Marling is a blind woman who comes back after disappearing for many years. Her sight is restored and she has a tale to tell. Although there are eight episodes they vary wildly in length – from 70 minutes to 30 minutes. The whole thing has been made to make you feel uneasy and it does a great job of that.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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Orange Is The New Black consistently tries to oust House of Cards from the Netflix top spot, with its superb tale of life in a women’s prison. It’s so popular that its makers have announced that the show will be running until at least season seven.

The show has finally returned for a fourth season and things of gotten very dark! Racial tensions and issues with the US prison system are the main plot points for season four and while the comedy is still there, it’s slathered with a fair bit of drama.

Seasons on Netflix: 5

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Fresh from giving horror anthologies a new spin with American Horror Story, creator Ryan Murphy has taken this idea and expanded it into the world of crime. The first series of American Crime Story focuses on the very public case of OJ Simpson and the death of his wife Nicole. It’s superb TV, dramatising what was one of the most engrossing true stories to come out of the ’90s. Cuba Gooding Jr is great as OJ but it’s the supporting cast that steals the show. Sarah Paulson, David Schwimmer, John Travolta and Courtney B Vance ham it up to the max and it makes for some of the most entertaining television in years.  

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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Netflix’s latest TV drama has been tipped as the next Breaking Bad, but it doesn’t quite deserve that accolade. One of the main reason is that Jason Bateman’s Marty Byrde has already broke bad, helping a Mexican cartel to fudge their figures. This means the descent that was so brilliant in Walter White isn’t really seen here. But that doesn’t mean that show isn’t worth a stream – it’s a tense, occasionally terrifying watch that mashes stereotypes and cultures as the Byrde family leave their home in Chicago for the Ozarks in Missouri. 

Also, Jason Bateman is always worth a watch, even when he isn’t winking at the camera Arrested Development style. But the real scene stealer is the ever-brilliant Laura Linney. She acts, directs and produces in this series, proving she’s the real star of the show.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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All nine seasons of Peep Show are now on Netflix – and if you haven’t seen the show, then you are in for a treat. Charting the rather mundane lives of two flatmates Jez (Robert Webb) and Mark (David Mitchell), the show is a wry look at adults trying and failing to be adults. 

All shot in first person – hence the name – Peep Show doesn’t shirk from sex, drugs and political incorrectness but it does it all in such a brilliantly British way, that you don’t mind at all when you are watching some of the most awkward TV moments, including one of the characters serving up a dead dog for dinner. 

Don’t ask, just watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 9

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From the mind of Jonathan Nolan – Inception writer and brother to Christopher – this twist-ridden series is as high concept as it gets. A computer algorithm offers up ‘people of interest’ to a crack crime-fighting team which consists of former Jesus Jim Caviezel and Michael Emerson, last seen chewing the scenery as Lost’s big bad Benjamin Linus. While the first season is a little by the numbers, this show has blossomed into something of a must watch.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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As its third season nears, it’s a perfect time to get into Rick and Morty. The show on its most linear level focuses on the relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. But it’s oh so much more. It’s a meditation on sci-fi tropes, a pop culture cauldron, a high-concept cartoon that’s endlessly quotable and also a show that contains more than its fair share of fart jokes. It’s endlessly bingeable and very funny – all thanks to its creator, Community’s Dan Harmon.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 (new episodes streaming every Tuesday)

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Slathered with a fantastic dose of black comedy, Santa Clarita Diet stars Drew Barrymore are the stereotypical TV mum, with one difference: she likes eating people. This brand-new show on Netflix is a great send up of the family sitcom, taking all the tropes that make Modern Family and the like so successful, then turning them on their head, and then eating their head. And be warned: when things are eaten it’s all very grizzly. Timothy Olyphant also stars as the dad who is happy for his wife to be a flesh eater. 

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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The Wachowski siblings have been more miss than hit lately – Cloud Atlas was brave but flawed, Jupiter Ascending was just flawed – but Sense8 sees something of a return to form for the directing duo.

Yes there are problems with Sense8 but this uneven show is brilliantly high concept and packed with interesting characters. Well, eight characters in all, from different parts of the globe that are connected in a variety of ways.

The disparate batch of characters means this is a show that has a lot in keeping with Cloud Atlas, where different genres nestled uneasily against each other. But it’s a brave show and one that suits the lavish cinematography the Wachowskis are famed for.

A Sense8 Christmas special helped fill the gap before the second season – but now the second season is here and proves that the show is developing into something great. Unfortunately, the second season will be the last as Netflix has decided to pull the plug on the show.

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (plus a feature-length Christmas special)

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There’s very good reason Sons of Anarchy is the highest rated show on FX ever – its Shakespeare-esque plot (think Hamlet on bikes), following the tumultuous lives of a motorcycle gang, has everyone who watches it gripped. The show ended in 2014 after seven glorious seasons – although later seasons could never quite reach the glory days of one to three – and is perfect fodder for those looking for another Breaking Bad-style fix.

Seasons on Netflix: 7

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Now celebrating its 50th year, Star Trek is a movie and TV phenomenon that has no signs of slowing down. The original series, The Next Generation, Voyager and Deep Space Nine have all landed on Netflix but it is the first two series that are the best.

Watching it now, the original Star Trek maybe full of creaky sets and suspect acting but the show was bold, colourful and slathered in ’60s sci-fi innovation. The first series is superb, with perhaps the greatest-ever TV double act: William Shatner’s Kirk and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock. Kirk is all bluster and pomp, Spock is cool, calm and authoritative.

Unlike the original series, the Next Generation took a few seasons to get things right but it still fantastic viewing. Patrick Stewart is effortless as Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the rest of the crew are – including Data, William T Riker and Geordi La Forge – up there in stature with the original crew.

Seasons on Netflix: 3 (Original Series); 7 (The Next Generation)

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When it comes to TV and movies, the ’80s is the nostalgia decade of the moment. Whether it’s Jeff Nichols’ Midnight Special that plays like a Steven Spielberg film, if Spielberg still made films like he did in the Eighties, or The Goldbergs and Red Oaks mining the decade for laughs, filmmakers can’t get enough of the shell suits and Sony Walkmans.

Stranger Things is another brilliant homage to this era. Leaning heavily on Spielberg, John Carpenter and Stephen King – so much King – the story revolves around a small town, a group of friends, a missing person and a dodgy science lab. Writing anything else would give away the myriad twists in a show that is full of brilliant creepy fun.

The second season of Stranger Things had a new trailer debut at ComicCon and it looks epic.

Seasons on Netflix: 1

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The Thick Of It is perfect satire. It is the closest we will ever get to the machinations of politics, until they decide to let cameras roll 24/7 at Number 10. From the ever-sweary Malcolm Tucker to the string of forever-wrong MPs he has to protect with his profanities, The Thick Of It manages to show the world what an omnishambles a government in charge can be, with hilarious consequences.

Seasons on Netflix: 4

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The Trip is the perfect gig for Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon and one that must have been too good to pass on. Based on the flimsy premise that hyper realised versions of the two comedians drive around rural England eating in the best restaurants as food critics, the show shouldn’t work but it really really does. Completely unscripted, each episode is strewn with movie star impressions and passive-aggressive jokes, where the two try to one-up each other. Director Michael Winterbottom manages to hold the show together with clever editing and cinematography and manages to add subtle plot through phone conversations with Steve and Rob and their respective families.

The second season has also landed on Netflix and it feels like a sumptuous main course. Italy is the setting and its beautiful surroundings seems to have made the pair more relaxed about life, while still bringing the funny.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Watch on Netflix now

Someone escaping from a Domesday cult shouldn’t be a recipe for comedy but Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt manages to squeeze the funny out of this premise. Created by Tina Fey and starring Ellie Kemper as the title character, the show sparkles with wit and is the right side of kooky – unlike some other shows *cough* New Girl *cough* we won’t mention.

Season Two of Kimmy Schmidt has arrived and is fizzing with the same energy of Season One and there’s not long to wait for Season Three – it’s out 19 May.

Seasons on Netflix: 2

Watch on Netflix now

The prequel to a film sequel that no one watched, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp is both fantastic and utterly stupid. It has a cast list to die for – most of Mad Men are in there as is Ant Man’s Paul Rudd and Bradley Cooper – and focuses on the goings on at the first day at camp.

These goings on include X-Files style conspiracies, homoerotic dancing, long lost rock singers, journalists going undercover and government hit men. In the original film the cast were in their 30s and were playing 17 year olds. In the prequel, the same cast is now in their 40s and are playing their characters’ younger selves. If you can get your head around that, then you are going to love the show.

Its TV sequel Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later has also arrived and follows the gang 10 years after they left school. 

Seasons on Netflix: 2 (First Day Of Camp / 10 Years Later)

Watch on Netflix now

Watch on Netflix now

Netflix shows no sign of slowing down when it comes to creating its own original content. The following shows will be out later in the year and all of them have had A Lot of money spent on them and big stars attached…

Narcos: Season 3

  • Out 1 September

We’re not one to offer up spoilers so we’ll just let the latest trailer speak for itself. But it’s fair to say that it’s all change for Narcos in season 3 – the fantastic Netflix drama that centres on the drug empires of the Seventies and Eighties and the agents whose job it is to track down the bad guys. 

Inhumans

  • Out TBA

Comic-Con San Diego has thrown up a ton of new trailers for the comic-book crowd. One that’s causing quite a stir is the new trailer for Inhumans, a new TV show for Netflix. The first trailer wasn’t that well received, with the acting, costumes and effects all looking a little shonky, but the second trailer is a vast improvement. We’re still not 100% convinced but maybe that’s because there’s been a glut of superhero stuff around at the moment. 

Stranger Things: Season 2

  • October 27

Stranger Things was a revelation when it first landed on Netflix. A love letter to the horror and sci-fi movies of the ’80s, the show played on nostalgia but also managed to be something original. The second series looks to expand on the mythos behind The Upside Down and promises bigger and scarier monsters.

Star Trek Discovery

  • 25 September

Star Trek Discovery has been a long time coming. Show-runner Bryan Fuller delayed the show as he was working on American Gods but now we finally have a  release date. It will be shown in the UK on Netflix from 25 September, with a new episode to air weekly. Although the show is 15 episodes long only eight are being released initially with the rest coming in the new year. This is to help with pre-production, apparently. This was a trick The Get Down used – it’s unknown how many actually came back to watch the second batch of episode of the now-cancelled show. Discovery stars The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green and is set 10 years before Kirk and his crew boldly went through space and beyond.

The Dark Crystal

  • Out TBA

We may soon have a new must-have watch in our best shows on Netflix guide! Do you remember Dark Crystal, the fantasy, puppet-filled adventure from the brilliant mind of Muppet creator Jim Henson? It’s set to make a comeback as an all-new prequel TV series thanks to Netflix. It’s vaguely slated to be “coming soon” to the service, but you can get a sneak peek in the trailer.

The Punisher

  • Out November

The Punisher was meant to just play a bit part in Netflix’s Marvel world.But  Jon Bernthal’s depiction of Frank Castle, the vigilante war veteran was so good in Daredevil: Season 2 he’s been given his own show. The plot is still shrouded in mystery but don’t expect this one to be a laugh-fest. The character of the Punisher is one of the most tortured around, so the atmosphere for this show is going to be dark, dark, dark.

Jessica Jones: Season 2

  • Sometime in 2018

Krysten Ritter recently revealed that Jessica Jones: Season 2 will be more ‘bingeable’ than season one. Quite what that means we don’t know but it does point to a faster-paced than the first fun but stretched instalment. Alongside Ritter, Trish Walker (Rachael Taylor) is back and the action takes place after The Defenders show, which debuts in August.

Mindhunter

  • Out October

David Fincher is no stranger to Netflix, he’s heavily involved in House of Cards as producer and directed the first episode, but Mindhunter is Fincher going full Fincher. It’s based on John Douglas’ book of the same name and charts the life of an FBI profiler whose job it is to track serial killers.

Dark

  • Out Winter 2017

If you are at a loss after watching Stranger Things, the Dark is for you. It’s the  first German-language series Netflix has made and the lot is about two missing children – but it’s not just about that as there’s supernatural elements and sci-fi twists galore.

Really bad movies you shouldn’t be streaming on Netflix and Amazon Prime

Welcome to Not On My Watch, the only place to get your weekly fix of truly terrible movies that are streaming on Amazon and Netflix right now. 

As we are now onto our ninth edition, it felt right to do something to celebrate – and what better way than doing a whole article on freakin’ ninjas?

Ninjas, they’re cool right? I mean, throw a ninja into a movie and it’s a recipe to print money. The thing is, ninjas were kind of dicks. They were the scrawny underclass of feudal japan, not perceived as being of a good enough ilk to be samurai, and turned to covert warfare to do their damage. Sure they looked awesome but their modern day equivalent is a teenage hoodie giving you a slap from behind and riding off on their stolen moped.

That hasn’t stopped Hollywood and, more importantly, b-movie makers from liberally usimg ninjas in their oeuvre. And one actor who keeps cropping up in these movies is none other than Richard Harrison. 

Between 1986 and 1988 Harrison made 20 movies with ninja in the title. Yes, 20. They include such gems as: Ninja Operation: Licensed to Terminate, Ninja Powerforce, The Ninja Showdown, Cobra Vs Ninja… he truly is the granddaddy of Ninja-based shenanigans which is why three of the following movies are dedicated to him.

If Harrison is the master, then Michael Dudikoff is his apprentice. He is the star of the American Ninja franchise. Our pick for the one you shouldn’t ever watch but kind of really should is the second one, which has one of the most underwhelming taglines in movie history…

Enjoy/Endure – delete as appropriate.

  • The best Amazon Prime movies 
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1. American Ninja 2 The Confrontation

  • Steaming now on Netflix

The Premise: Private Joe T Armstrong is a ninja, an American one, who has to confront a load of other ninjas on an army base in the Philippines. 

After the blinding success of American Ninja (seriously, it made over $10 million which in b-movie land is big bucks) its makers had something of a quandary. What do we call the second movie? I mean, they couldn’t just call it American Ninja 2, that would be too easy. They needed something bigger, a tagline that didn’t just encapsulate the epic-ness of a movie about elite ninja assassins, but one that at the same time summed up exactly what was going on in the film. 

And with that, American Ninja 2: The Confrontation was born. Nailed it.

Many of the ‘confrontations’ in American Ninja 2 take place on a beach, with the ninjas in question oiled up with sunscreen and wearing bermuda shorts. When they aren’t sunning themselves the rest of the movie plays out like a buddy cop drama – but more like It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia’s take on Lethal Weapon than Lethal Weapon. 

Also, for a movie set predominantly on an American airbase there’s a lot of ninjas about. They’re bloody everywhere, confronting people left, right and center. 

2. Ninja Terminator

The Premise: Ninja master Harry is in search of a mystical statue that will give him superpowers so he can fight some ninjas and cut up watermelons. 

Well, I like terminators and I like ninjas – despite me ripping into them in the intro – so a film called Terminator Ninja seems ideal, I’ll just pop it on the old TV and ‘oh, my god what the hell am I watching?!’

That was pretty much my reaction to watching Terminator Ninja, a movie that is hands-down one of the most bizarre things I’ve seen. It’s a bad movie, really bad. But it’s also so compelling. I don’t really know how to describe the movie, so forgive the stream of conscience writing but here we go: 

Richard Harrison is Ninja master Harry (obviously) who trains for his fights by slicing up melons with samurai swords. He is the only person who can get back the golden ninja warrior statue that gives whoever owns it special powers. Ninja master Harry spends most of the movie cutting up watermelons, wearing guyliner, and speaking to someone over increasingly over the top phones. Seriously, there’s one bit where Ninja master Harry has a serious conversation with someone on a Garfield shaped phone. Ninja master Harry then puts down the Garfield shaped phone just so he can slice up a watermelon. Ninja master Harry is the original fruit ninja and it’s an amazing watch. Ninja master Harry is no ordinary ninja, either – instead of wearing all black, he wears a camouflage ninja robe, even though he never actual goes anywhere near any foliage to camouflage himself against which means his camouflage ninja robe makes him stand out more. And when he – spoiler – does eventually get the golden ninja warrior statue he gains special powers (essentially disappearing in smoke) that set him up for the big end fight. 

I rarely say this in Not On My Watch but please watch this film. It’s utterly, majestically bonkers.

  • Steaming now on Amazon Prime

3. The Ninja Squad

  • Steaming now on Amazon Prime 

The Premise: Ninja Master Harry is no more! Long live Ninja Master Gordon! He stars in this ludicrous move about two rival gangs, the Furious Fox and the Black Eagle, looking to take over the world.

Oh, dear. Where Ninja Terminator was actually good bad, this is bad bad. The Ninja Squad seems to have the only ninjas in the world where they feel the need to wear day-glow shell suits instead of black robes. And if that’s not conspicuous enough they have headbands saying NINJA on them. Let that just sink in for a second. 

And that’s not the most ludicrous part of this movie. For a start, there’s not much fighting but a lot of prancing around and the fact this is almost certainly an old movie spliced together with some new footage shot in ’80s America doesn’t do it any favors either. 

4. Ninja Dragon

  • Steaming now on Amazon Prime

The Premise: Something about ninjas and gangsters, all wrapped in the worst dubbing ever committed to film.

Ninja Dragon is yet again another cut-and-shut job of a movie. I’m getting the feeling that even though Richard Harrison made over 20 ninja films over two years, the filmmakers actually only had him in a room for one day, gave him a load of costumes together and then said: ‘don’t worry Richard, we’ll fix the rest in post’. Ninja Master Gordon is back and this time he’s been spliced into a 1930s Chinese gangster movie. While everyone else wears nifty pinstripe suits he parades around either half naked or in his camouflage ninja robe last seen in Ninja Terminator. Hang on, isn’t that end fight the same one that’s in Ninja Terminator? I think it is. I don’t know what’s real anymore. 

Not even Ninja Master Gordon can save me now.

More bad movies you shouldn’t be watching

Marc Chacksfield is a former film journalist (and TechRadar’s global managing editor) who is already regretting agreeing to watch terrible movies for the sake of his column Not On My Watch.

Hacking the home: how connected tech is making your shack a security risk

If there’s one place in the world that’s supposed to feel safe and comfortable, it’s the home. When you’re not working or doing things outside, this is the place where you and your family members can relax. However, as a result of modern homes becoming increasingly connected, there are fears that they are becoming hot targets for cyber criminals.

Connected technologies are taking over the world. According to recent statistics from research firm Gartner, there will be 8.4 billion internet-enabled devices in use by the end of 2017. And this number will grow to a staggering 20.4 billion by the end of the decade. Total spending on Internet of Things products and services is expected to reach $2 trillion this year, too.

Gadgets such as smart fridges and wearables are making our lives easier and more productive in a plethora of ways, whether keeping a track on your personal stock of milk, or suggesting you at least attempt to lift your bum off a chair. That’s why they have such a potent role in our homes. But while they’re so useful, that’s not to say they’re safe. Hackers are using these devices to get hold of personal information and cause havoc. A recent investigation by consumer group Which? found that tech-savvy crooks are able to compromise a home network and connected devices within just four days. 

In this study, ethical hackers were able to gain access to a variety of home-based connected gadgets – including CCTV cameras, smart children’s toys, internet routers and artificial intelligence speakers like the Amazon Echo. 

These threats go largely unnoticed, until it’s too late. So it’s time to spot the threats before they happen. Here’s how the modern home can be hacked. 

Consumers less confident

From the NHS attack to the Ukrainian security breach, there have been a number of high-profile cyber attacks over the past few months, and they’ve all had great consequences for the general population. The thing is, these hacks are not only happening more frequently, but they’re also becoming more complex. Shaan Mulchandani, director of technology and security at global engineering firm Aricent, says that cyber criminals are targeting a range of consumer devices and that consumers are becoming less confident in manufacturers. 

“Data leakages undermine consumers’ trust in connected environments and attacks like WannaCry and Petya cause for further consternation,” he tells us. 

“This is the tip of the iceberg as physical threats can have profound consequences. Disabled smart locks in homes and offices may lead to theft while disabled vehicle detection and collision prevention features in a connected car can be fatal. 

“Similarly tampered connected fire alarms, Carbon Monoxide / Natural Gas detectors and smart thermostats among other devices can all lead to fatalities. What’s more, cybercriminals can use connected toys and digital assistants to access and manipulate home patients’ insulin pumps and pacemakers, or instruct children to consume dangerous substances.”

Mulchandani believes that if tech companies put security first, they can forge better relationships with consumers. 

“These threats should not put off increasing connectivity. Instead, businesses must recognize security as a value creator to increase the take-up of connected and smart use cases. Focus on preventive capabilities and build trusted, resilient ecosystems.”

Spying on your passwords

Although many types of technology can be hacked, many cyber criminals are showing an interest in webcams. Last year, researchers at Vectra Networks – a threat detection and response company based in California – were able to hack into a low-cost D-Link Wi-Fi web camera and reprogram it to act as a network backdoor. This gives hackers the ability to not only access computer systems, but also use the camera to capture credentials and passcodes. 

Matt Walmsley, EMEA director at the company, says it’s become increasingly difficult for companies and individuals to  secure their networks from outside attacks – especially those committed through unsecured connected devices such as surveillance cameras and sensors. 

“Webcams are of interest to hackers given the video and voice recording functions that can enable them to capture credentials and passcodes to access computer systems and secure facilities,” he says. 

“There are numerous tried and proven ways to exploit these features. For example, to capture and recover hand movements to reveal someone’s passwords and other sensitive details. 

“Last year, we demonstrated how easy it is to hack a D-Link Wi-Fi web camera and reprogramme it to act as a persistent network backdoor without disrupting its camera function. These IoT cameras are installed in businesses as well as homes and the irony in this particular scenario is that Wi-Fi cameras are typically deployed to enhance security, are giving ‘Peeping Tom’ voyeurs with unauthorised access the ability to spy, spread and steal without being detected. 

“To protect homeowners from being hacked, smart devices need to have secure credentials, enabling the purchaser to configure the device for their own network environment. However, the default credential very often goes unchanged after installation, creating a significant vulnerability for attackers to leverage.”

Manufacturers ignoring threats

Despite the fact that these security risks are pretty obvious, many people believe that manufacturers aren’t paying enough attention.  Pete Turner, a consumer security expert at Avast, happens to be one of them. He says hardware makers often put factors such as speed and affordability before security, creating big opportunities for cyber criminals. 

“Because of the demand of IoT and smart home devices, impetus is usually put on the speed of manufacturing and an affordable retail price, with security sometimes coming as an afterthought. Hardware manufacturers are rarely experts in security software so consumers have to figure out how best to keep their devices and their personal information safe and secure, with many not knowing how,” he tells us. 

Turner says common devices such as broadband routers and webcams are easy targets for hackers. Cyber criminals are also using webcams to take down internet services. 

“Internet routers are one of the devices revealed to be hackable and, in a recent study, Avast found that nearly half of all routers (47%) in the UK are in fact unsecured, along with around a fifth of the webcams (22%) in our homes. Webcams are in fact a popular choice with hackers who access these devices either to create a botnet which can take down our internet services, as happened to Talk Talk routers just last year,” he says. 

Before an attack occurs, it’s important to ensure your devices are secure, and Turner says there are some basic steps to do this. 

“Firstly, change any default passwords as soon as you get a device – or immediately if you have never changed any that you currently use – and make sure that your passwords are unique to each of your appliances and not shared across other devices. Also ensure you have a good and up-to-date antivirus software,” he suggests.

Smart TVs and speakers

Dr Ben Silverstone, course leader for computing and quantitative business at Arden University in Coventry, says data leakages and phishing scams can affect devices like smart speakers and connected TVs. 

“There is issue of potential data leakage. Items such as smart speakers and home assistance devices transmit a large amount of data about behaviours, and preferences which could be used to build a profile of owner activities,” he says.

“There is also the potential for phishing type scams such as the hacking of smart TVs, which could be used to target other connected devices in the home. However, there would only really be value in attacking devices that require human interaction. The damage caused by trying to control a light bulb or central heating may be an irritation but would not necessarily be overly damaging.

“Before there is a real move towards financially motivated hacking of connected devices there will be the ‘hobby hacker’, who will try it just to see what can be achieved. Looking at the patterns of this and the types of attacks committed will give a good indication of future issues.”

Homes are easy targets

Cyber criminals may have some sophisticated techniques to get into complex systems, but in the home environment, the majority of devices just happen to be easy to hack. Raj Samani, chief scientist at McAfee, says hackers often have the ability to develop code to get into and brick devices quickly.  

“You just need to look at Mirai for example to see that cyber criminals hacking techniques aren’t particularly sophisticated,”he says. 

“In fact, many of the devices that are used as part of the connected home are currently being secured by passwords that are publicly known. This in turn makes it easier for hackers to develop code that can exploit these devices, which in some cases are known to ‘brick’ these devices.

“No matter what the device, consumers need to always ask the following questions: What data does it collect? Where does it go?  Who is it shared with?  If they are not comfortable with the potential answers then they must walk away. If they do feel comfortable, it is essential to check whether there is a default password and whether that can be changed. Cyber criminals often exploit the fact that many consumers don’t switch to a new, more secure password, making it even easier for cyber criminals to attack.”

We all love the connected devices and commodities that we keep in our homes. They make life more convenient and keep us entertained, but they also happen to be potentially dangerous. Unfortunately, manufacturers don’t always focus on hardware security, and this is creating lucrative opportunities for hackers. There’s no doubt that we’ll see hacks continue to happen as connected technology evolves – and if security doesn’t improve. For the time being, for our own sakes we’ll have to personally be extra careful, and extra vigilant.

  • After Wannacry, here’s how you can protect against ransom attacks

The best translation software of 2017

Technology has taken some major strides to break down language barriers in recent times, with translation software from giants such as Google and Microsoft employing some clever tricks.

Thanks to the likes of ‘neural machine translation’ tech – the system Google has been trumpeting lately – the Babel Fish skills of these sort of apps have never been stronger. This had led to features like a camera mode – that’s where you simply point your phone camera at a sign to see an instant translation of the words on-screen.

But which are the very best apps in this category? That’s the question we’re answering here, and the good news is that the top performing apps are free (although some have in-app purchases, and one of the apps in this article has a paid-for pro version as well as a freebie offering).

Anyhow, without further ado, cast your eyes over this platter of top-notch apps, any of which could be a massive boon on your next holiday or business trip.

  • We’ve also rounded up the best voice recognition software of 2017

Google is a heavyweight when it comes to the translation game, with some serious technology powering its free Android and iOS apps. Recent advances in machine learning have meant that Google Translate is coming somewhere near the powers of a human translator, the company claims, with ‘neural machine translation’ tech now offering powerful translation chops from English to 30 other languages (initially only Chinese was supported).

The end result speaks for itself (ahem). Google Translate offers the ability to translate text to different languages (that you’ve typed in, or copied from an app using the handy ‘tap to translate’ feature), or you can use the split-screen ‘conversation mode’ to directly translate speech in order to converse with someone in a foreign language (32 languages are supported with this mode).

Even when you’re offline, the app is still capable of translating 52 languages. Perhaps one of the coolest features, though, is being able to use your camera to look at a sign or menu written in one of 30 languages, then have the app magically transform this into English with impressive accuracy.

Featuring high quality speech recognition and translation routines, this is a powerful, neat, free piece of software that you shouldn’t be without when it comes to translation duties and travel in general.

  • You can download Google Translate for Android or iOS

Microsoft’s rival translation app is free and supports over 60 different languages, with most of them (45) coming complete with spoken translations, so you can have the translation read out loud (and not just presented in text).

The app also boasts a split-screen mode which allows two individuals to hold a conversation in different languages, with their responses being translated to each other. And much like Google Translate, there’s a camera mode so you can decipher signs and menus (although this didn’t work quite as well for us as Google’s effort).

Microsoft Translator also facilitates translating conversations across multiple devices for group chats, a very nifty extra. The app further allows for downloading language packs so you can get translations when offline, and it offers a very impressive overall level of both speech recognition and translation accuracy.

  • You can download Microsoft Translator for Android, iOS or Windows

The basic (free) iTranslate app offers a library of 92 languages and some impressive translation chops, along with wide platform support (with the mobile apps complemented by Windows and Mac software).

You can translate text or spoken words in any of those languages, and get the resulting translation spoken out loud (text-to-speech) in 42 of them. The software also keeps a full history of translations you’ve made, so you can refer back to them, and you can mark often-used phrases as favorites.

It can occasionally be a little glitchy when processing spoken words, taking a little time to do so, but that’s the exception rather than the rule. Also note that the app is ad supported, and will pop up an advert every now and then.

You’ll need to upgrade to the Pro version of iTranslate in order to benefit from the convenience of real-time voice conversations, and with this you also get an offline mode, along with verb conjugations (and of course the adverts are banished).

The paid app will set you back £4.99 ($6.50) per month, although there is a free trial to give it a spin first. Also note that iTranslate usually has deals running, and at the time of writing we were offered a year’s subscription for the cheaper rate of £3.33 ($4.30) per month.

  • You can download iTranslate here

This free app is a little different because alongside its core translation capabilities it provides a broad umbrella of useful features for those travelling abroad. TripLingo supports voice translation across 23 languages, with a simple instant translation system that allows for two participants to have a conversation with their responses spoken out loud. It’s fairly accurate, and further languages are supported with text output only.

You also get an Image Translator in the same vein as Google and Microsoft’s camera efforts whereby you snap a picture of a sign or menu, then get a translation. In this case, you don’t get an on-screen translation, rather it’s supplied in the form of simple text. It isn’t quite as good as the aforementioned big two, but it does the job.

However, the real major bonus here is the huge amount of stuff you get on top of this, including a full phrasebook, a breakdown of essential phrases (including slang), flashcards and other basic language learning material, along with cultural information like etiquette and travel tips. There’s even safety information provided such as emergency service numbers and contact details of embassies. Note that all these extras are only supported for 13 languages.

All this goes to form a really well-rounded translation and travel app which is worth considering simply because of all the additional elements on board. If you get really stuck language barrier-wise, this app also has a novel live translation capability powered by a human staff member – although it costs to use this functionality (this is one of several in-app purchase options for those who don’t mind forking out a bit of cash).

  • You can download TripLingo for Android or iOS

If you want a very simple yet powerful translation app, look no further than SayHi. The software is free and supports 46 languages, and it couldn’t be easier to use.

You select two languages, press the mic button, dictate a sentence and then it’s automatically translated (and in the majority of cases read out loud – most languages have text-to-speech support). The person you’re conversing with can then do the same thing in their language, with the conversation tracked in a simple chat view.

Translations are nicely accurate and there are several nifty features here, including the ability to select different dialects of, say, Spanish or Arabic (if you include these different dialects, 90 languages are supported in total). You can also choose to have a female or male voice when it comes to the app’s speech, and slow down the talking speed of that voice for better clarity if needed.

But there are no other options beyond these. The idea is to keep things simple, and this certainly works for those who want a streamlined app to facilitate conversations across a good number of languages. The app is available for iOS and also Android, but note for the latter you’ll need to install via Amazon Underground (because the app isn’t on the Play Store, but rather it’s part of Amazon’s Android app offerings).

  • You can download SayHi Translate for Android (from Amazon) or iOS

Apple and Comcast reportedly in talks for movie rentals right after theater debuts

As more people find creature comforts in watching movies from home with services like Netflix and Hulu, movie studios could soon skip the wait and release new flicks to streaming shortly after they hit theaters — for a price.

Distributors like Apple and Comcast — in conjunction with studios like Warner Bros. and the Comcast-owned Universal Pictures — are reportedly in talks with movie theaters to negotiate releasing brand-new films just weeks after their theatrical debut, according to Bloomberg.

Apple in particular has been keen to get movies added to its iTunes library as close to their release in theaters as possible, according to a report from December of last year. 

While no details have been made official yet, the price for “premium video on demand” rentals of these early-release movies could range anywhere from $30 to $50, with theaters receiving a cut for their cooperation.

However, months of negotiations seem be at a standstill, as theaters cling to keeping the home release of movies as far from the exclusive theatrical release as possible.

Theater or bust?

Typically, theaters urge studios to keep new movies theater-exclusive for between three to six months in order to encourage customers to see them on the big screen.

Should studios refuse, theaters may choose to boycott showing the film at all, denying that lucrative opening weekend at the box office. Appropriately enough, Netflix ran into such an issue when 2015’s Beast of No Nations was barred from major theater chains because the streaming service wanted a simultaneous online release alongside its theater run.

As such, theater companies have reportedly been hesitant to give studios and companies like Apple any slack at the risk of losing customers. However, as DVD sales drop in proportion to more people waiting for movies “to hit Netflix,” studios may be forced to twist some arms.

While $30 to $50 for a movie sounds like a steep price to rent a just-released-in-theaters flick, it isn’t that much more expensive than the price of a movie night for two these days — if you throw in some overpriced Icees and a large popcorn, of course.

  • Movie buff? These 7 gadgets are must-haves for your home theater

Xbox One X ‘Project Scorpio Edition’ could be on the way

Microsoft might be readying a special Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition, if leaks on two German retail websites are to be believed. 

The listings, which appear to have been taken down, seemingly reveal a unique version of the 4K-capable console is on the way. Project Scorpio, you may remember, was the codename of the Xbox One X before it was called that, so this new version appears to be a nod to those origins. 

XboxDynasty.de, which made today’s discovery, gathered up some photos of the console from one retail site, which you can see below.

The Xbox One X Project Scorpio Edition looks to feature a blacked-out controller with ‘Project Scorpio’ running down the middle in an electric green font. The console itself is tattooed with the same marking, and it appears to have a textured, mesh-y finish that’s unlike the matte plastic casing of the standard Xbox One X. 

This special Xbox One X is likely a limited-run console similar to the Day One Edition that Microsoft released for the Xbox One. 

The Day One Edition featured flashy accents that set it apart from the regular Xbox One, including “Day One 2013” stamped on the controller. Microsoft also released a Day One achievement for those who purchased the console. 

Microsoft is gearing up for a big weekend, where it will reveal Xbox One X pre-orders info during its Gamescom 2017 press event, going down this Sunday, August 20, at 9pm CEST / 8pm GMT / 3pm ET / 12pm PT.

It’s rumored pre-orders will open following the event. If Microsoft announces the Project Scorpio Edition during Gamescom, there’s a high chance you can pre-order one for yourself come Sunday, too.

Via The Verge; Top image credit: XboxDynasty.de

  • It’s the time of big reveals: the Samsung Galaxy Note 8 is next

The 5 best Windows tablets: top Windows tablets reviewed

Update: Having replaced the HP Pavilion x2, the Acer Switch 3 is an affordable alternative to the Surface Pro that even gives the Lenovo Miix 510 a run for its money. Read on to number 2 on our list to find out more!

Despite its flagship Surface devices having been pegged as unreliable by Consumer Reports, Microsoft has taken strides to get its return rates to an all-time low and – in turn – inspire its partners to create some of the best Windows tablets around. Though they’re not all equipped with physical keyboards and industry-leading specs, they are all worth your consideration.

  • Find out which of these tablets also made our best laptops list

Most of these top Windows tablets are outfitted with Windows 10 (or Windows 10 S in some cases). However, it’s a little known fact that even the ones that aren’t can still be updated to the latest version of Microsoft’s operating system completely free of charge. Either way, you don’t have to worry about resorting to stripped-down mobile versions of your favorite sites and apps.

The top Windows tablets range from convertible to detachable and they’re all graced with compelling features curated in Redmond by Microsoft itself that give these devices the edge over competing machines from the likes of Apple and Google, and we don’t just say that because of the default browser. 

Whatever makes a slate the best Windows tablet for you, count on finding it here.

Best Windows tablets

Despite the subdued naming convention, this is actually the fifth iteration of the Surface Pro. As a follow-up to the winning Surface Pro 4, it would have been every bit deserving of a number attached to it, too. That’s because the latest Surface Pro sees not only the battery life improve by as much as 32%, but, of course, the processor has been updated to Kaby Lake as well.  Plus, although it’s now sold separately, the Surface Pen has 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity. 

Read the full review: Microsoft Surface Pro

  • This product is only available in the US and Australia as of this writing. UK readers: check out a fine alternative in the Lenovo Miix 510.

The Acer Switch 3 arrives at a time when most of the best Windows tablets are premium 2-in-1 devices designed to oust both your PC and your tablet. But for anyone who doesn’t need the horsepower of a Surface Pro, the Acer Switch 3 is a wallet-friendly alternative. Even without cutting-edge specs, this tablet is highly competent in other ways. Its impeccable build quality, for example, is complemented by a top-notch active digitizer and pressure-sensitive pen.

Read the full review: Acer Switch 3

Best Windows tablets

HP’s Spectre x2 bears a striking resemblance to the Surface Pro 4. Take a closer look and you’ll notice that it’s thinner and lighter than Microsoft’s slate. Although the Intel Core M processor might leave you tentative to adopt the HP Spectre x2, this isn’t the Core m3 we’re talking about – this is a 6th-generation, Skylake Intel Core m7, which bears almost the same performance as the full-blown Core i5 chip harbored by the Surface Pro 4. 

Read the full review: HP Spectre x2

Best Windows tablets

The Samsung Galaxy TabPro S is a knockout 12-inch tablet that’s thinner and better built than most Windows 10 slates. It also offers a uniquely vibrant Super AMOLED screen you won’t find on any Windows device either, plus a pair of punchy speakers that actually sound good. Its keyboard feels a bit lackluster but if you get over this short coming, it’s the perfect Windows 10 tablet to use while streaming media and games.

Read the full review: Samsung Galaxy TabPro S

In a sense, the Lenovo Miix 510 is the Surface Pro alternative that you buy when you’re fed up with Microsoft’s reluctance to move forward with its connectivity practices. USB-C is here, and it’s brought USB 3.0 with it. While the screen is limited to 1080p, the Lenovo Miix 510 comes with an active stylus, a detachable AccuType keyboard and an articulating kickstand for flexibility without limits. While the battery suffers, the Lenovo Miix 510 is still a surefire win.

Read the full review: Lenovo Miix 510 

  • This product is only available in the US and UK as of this writing. Australian readers: check out a fine alternative in the Microsoft Surface Pro.

Gabe Carey has also contributed to this article

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals in August 2017

With its huge screen, superb camera and sleek dimensions, we’ve branded the Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus as the best big Android phone on the market. Quite the acclaim, considering some of the competition. And a great option while we wait on the forthcoming Galaxy Note 8.

In fact, the Note 8-shaped silhouette on the horizon is probably what’s causing Samsung Galaxy S8+ prices to slip slowly downwards over the last coupleof months. We have the full rundown right here, with the best deals from the major networks – EE, O2 and Three – with Vodafone producing some of our favourite prices at the moment, especially on 16GB tariffs.

That said, EE’s sub-£33 per month tariff with 2GB data is still leading the way for value. And if the prices still look to rich for your blood, then you can buy the smaller Galaxy S8 for less. But if it’s the Plus-sized screen that you need, then we’ll find you the best deal here.

See also: Galaxy S8 deals | iPhone 7 Plus deals | Mobile phone deals | SIM only deals | Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review 

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals this month:

Directly below we’ll take you through all of the best value Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals available to purchase – handy if you don’t want to wait until Black Friday 2017. This page breaks down the best deals in the UK, but if you’re after the US or Australian pages, go to the best Galaxy S8 Plus deals in the US page or check out the best Australian Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals. 

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £99.99 upfront | 2GB data | 1000 minutes | Unlimited texts | £35.49pm
The Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t come cheap, but this tariff is one of the least expensive ways you can get hold of it – it’s getting closer and closer to the £950 mark for the two years. And now you get 2GB of data instead of 1GB. £36 a month is actually rather good for a phone this good…and big. Total cost over 24 months is £951.75

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Affordable Mobiles

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £180 upfront | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £37pm
3GB of data is plenty for the average user thanks to the abundance of free Wi-Fi. The £180 upfront cost is offset by the low £37 monthly fee. Plus, you can sign up to O2 Priority rewards for lots of monthly freebies and discounts. Look downwards before you buy, however – there are better tariffs to be had… Total cost over 24 months is £1068.

View this Samsung Galxy S8 Plus deal at Mobiles.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | Vodafone | £100 upfront | 16GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £38pm
POW! Mobiles.co.uk just dropped this terrific tariff on the Galaxy S8 Plus. This is a top, top deal considering you get 16GB of data and unlimited everything else. The retailer has somehow got the monthly bill down to less than £40 a month, which is fantastic for such a premium handset. Everything about this deal is excellent. Total cost over 24 months is £1012

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Mobiles.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £19.99 upfront | 30GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £45pm
Three is offering the cheapest 30GB deal of any network so far and this deal is almost £400 cheaper than the most affordable unlimited data deal over the 24 month contract. 30GB is a serious amount of data a month and the savings speak for themselves. So don’t go for unlimited for the sake of it… Total cost over 24 months is £1099.99

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Affordable Mobiles

If you want a huge Android phone with market leading specifications, an incredible display and a superb camera, then the Galaxy S8 Plus is a must for your shortlist. The price might still put you off, but this is for tech fans who crave the best of the best.

Read TechRadar’s full Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus review

Now let’s take an in-depth look at the best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals by network…

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals on EE

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £99.99 upfront | 2GB data | 1000 minutes | Unlimited texts | £35.49pm
The Samsung Galaxy S8 doesn’t come cheap, but this tariff is one of the least expensive ways you can get hold of it – it’s getting closer and closer to the £950 mark for the two years. And now you get 2GB of data instead of 1GB. £36 a month is actually rather good for a phone this good…and big. Total cost over 24 months is £951.75

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Affordable Mobiles

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £140 upfront | 5GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £32.99pm
This deal costs more upfront than the last one, but it’s even cheaper over the two years! Plus you get more than double the data allowance. That makes it probably the very best Galaxy S8 Plus deal on the market right now. Total cost over 24 months is £931.76

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Buymobiles

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | FREE upfront | 15GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £42.99pm
Big data from EE on Samsung’s big flagship phone just got a little more affordable. This tariff now includes a FREE handset, and the monthly payments are a very reasonable £42.99 relative to what else is around. You’ll also be able to take advantage of EE’s super fast 4G signal to use BT Sport for three months and Apple Music for six months for free. Total cost over 24 months is £1031.76

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Mobile Phones Direct

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals on O2

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £180 upfront | 3GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £37pm
3GB of data is plenty for the average user thanks to the abundance of free Wi-Fi. The £180 upfront cost is offset by the low £37 monthly fee. Plus, you can sign up to O2 Priority rewards for lots of monthly freebies and discounts. Look downwards before you buy, however… Total cost over 24 months is £1068.

View this Samsung Galxy S8 Plus deal at Mobiles.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £189.99 upfront | 20GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £39pm
We’ve deleted all the O2 Galaxy S8+ tariffs at 5GB and 10GB, because this 20GB plan beats them all. It’s a huge amount of cash to pay upfront, but those sub-£40 monthly bills make it worth the pain. 20GB is a fantastic amount of data, as it will allow you to stream videos, download tonnes of podcasts and still not have to worry about going over your allowance using Google Maps or Facebook. Total cost over 24 months is £1125.99.

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Carphone Warehouse

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal on Vodafone

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £129.99 upfront | 1GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £34pm
The cheapest Galaxy S8 Plus deals on Vodafone have been yo-yo-esque in their ups and downs. And at the moment, the price is nice and low. You only get 1GB data allowance, with unlimited calls and texts. But £34 a month actually is very good for a phone this good. Total cost over 24 months is £945.99

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Carphone Warehouse

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | Vodafone | £100 upfront | 16GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £38pm
POW! Mobiles.co.uk just dropped this terrific tariff on the Galaxy S8 Plus. This is a top, top deal considering you get 16GB of data and unlimited everything else. The retailer has somehow got the monthly bill down to less than £40 a month, which is fantastic for such a premium handset. Everything about this deal is excellent. Total cost over 24 months is £1012

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Mobiles.co.uk

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | FREE upfront | 16GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £48pm
Now this is a very interesting offer. The free handset was enough to pique our interest initially. But dig deeper and you find that there’s a massive £182 cashback promotion attached to it as well. That brings the tiotal price in below £1000 for the two year term, which, frankly, is incredible. Total cost over 24 months is £1152

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal: at Mobile Phones Direct

The best Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deals on Three

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £19.99 upfront | 8GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £43pm
If you don’t need huge amounts of data, this 8GB deal is competitive. We’d be tempted to go for the larger 16GB Vodafone deal mentioned earlier – it’s cheaper than this. Three becomes a lot more attractive if you start cranking up the data; just look below to see what we mean. Total cost over 24 months is £1057.99.

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Affordable Mobiles

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £19.99 upfront | 30GB data | Unlimited calls and texts | £45pm
Three is offering the cheapest 30GB deal of any network so far and this deal is almost £400 cheaper than the most affordable unlimited data deal over the 24 month contract. 30GB is a serious amount of data a month and the savings speak for themselves. So don’t go for unlimited for the sake of it… Total cost over 24 months is £1099.99

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Affordable Mobiles

Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus | £99 upfront | 600 mins | Unlimited data and texts | £58.15pm
There’s no getting around it. The cost for true unlimited data access per month is incredibly high. Three still won’t give you the handset for free upfront either! We’ve chosen this deal with a 600 minute call restriction as it’s over £100 cheaper than unlimited and you can always use apps like WhatsApp to make calls with all that data instead. But bear in mind that going for 30GB instead is considerably cheaper (see above). Total cost over 24 months is £1494.60

View this Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus deal at Unshackled

Should you go SIM only on the Galaxy S8 Plus?

The Samsung Galaxy S8 Plus costs £779 SIM-free and you can find the latest deals in the comparison chart above by clicking the ‘Handsets’ tab at the top. If you can afford to buy the phone upfront and pair it with your own SIM only deal it can be a lot cheaper than buying it on a two-year contract. Check out the best  SIM only offers below. You can choose 30-day or 12-month SIM only deals. So there’s lots of room for flexibility – ideal if you’re not 100% sure how much data you’re going to need. Deals start from just £3.99 a month too.

Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017), A5 (2017) price slashed by up to Rs 5,000

Samsung today slashed prices of its phones in the Galaxy A series. The smartphone maker announced this permanent price cut today. This price cut comes at an important time with the festive season just around the corner in India.

The 2017 line-up of the Galaxy A series was launched in India in March, after being revealed at CES earlier this year. While the Galaxy A5 (2017) was launched at a price of Rs 28,990, the Galaxy A7 (2017) was launched at Rs 33,490. Both the phones were selling at an MOP (market operated price) of Rs 26,900 and Rs 30,900 respectively, which is a fall of more than Rs 2,000 on both the phones compared to their launch price.

After today’s price cuts, the Galaxy A5 (2017) will be available at an MOP of Rs 22,900 and the Galaxy A7 (2017) at Rs 25,900. In short, the 2017 edition of the Galaxy A5 and Galaxy A7 have been discounted by Rs 4,000 and Rs 5,000 respectively. At these prices, and given the trust in Samsung, these two phones are a little more competitive compared to the options available in the market.

  • Buy Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) On Amazon @ Rs. 22,800
  • Buy Samsung Galaxy A5 (2017) On Flipkart @ Rs. 22,900

To recap, the Galaxy A5 (2017) comes with a 5.2-inch Full HD Super AMOLED display and is powered by an octa-core Exynos 7880 processor. The phone comes with 3GB RAM and 32GB internal storage. A 3,000mAh battery powers the phone.

In terms of the cameras, the Galaxy A5 (2017) comes with 16MP f/1.9 aperture camera on the rear as well as the front. Dual SIM, 4G VoLTE, a fingerprint sensor and IP68 certification round off the features of the phone.

The Galaxy A7 (2017) features the same specs as the Galaxy A5 (2017), for the most part. The only differences are the bigger 5.7-inch display and the 3,600mAh battery.

  • Buy Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) On Amazon @ Rs. 25,900
  • Buy Samsung Galaxy A7 (2017) On Flipkart @ Rs. 25,900

With the festive season ahead, consumers can expect a lot of companies to offer discounts on their products. The recently concluded sales on Amazon India and Flipkart also had some good deals. In case you’ve missed your chance then, you can look forward to some more deals in the near future.

5 of the most popular Linux gaming distros

Note: Our most popular Linux gaming distros round-up has been fully updated. This feature was first published in May 2015.

A Linux gaming distro, as the name suggests, is tailored for avid gamers. As such it usually comes bundled with games to play, as well as drivers for graphics cards, games controllers and so forth. 

There aren’t many Linux distros specifically made for gaming. This isn’t because Linux users dislike games, but rather it’s due to the fact that most modern Linux distros support virtually every type of recent graphics card anyway. As such, any regular Linux distro can easily be turned into a ‘game station’.

  • These are the best Linux training providers and online courses in 2017

Despite this, some distros continue to churn out special gaming editions which provide hundreds of games right off the bat, and the means to install even more with additional software such as Play on Linux, Wine and Steam.

In this guide you will discover five of the very best Linux gaming distros.

  • 5 of the most popular Raspberry Pi distros
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  • 10 best Linux distros: which one is right for you?
  • 10 of the most popular lightweight Linux distros

The Fedora Project produces several “spins” which are alternate versions of the distro, offering tools and software components chosen for a specific purpose. 

The Games Spin of Fedora features a vast collection of games spread across different genres such as arcade, sports, strategy, adventure, action, etc. Although not every game is included, Fedora tries to incorporate the best from each genre (see a full list of available titles here). 

The 3.8GB ISO can run off a Live USB, or alternatively be installed to disk, like regular Fedora. You can also install additional games from the repos using the YumEx application. The distro doesn’t ship with Steam, Wine or Play on Linux pre-installed, but these can be downloaded via the software repositories to access even more games.

Fedora Games Spin is ideal for those looking to quickly try popular titles such as SuperTuxKart, The Battle for Wesnoth, Freeciv, Warzone 2100 and many more.

  • Download Fedora Games Spin here

Lakka is a lightweight version of Linux which can turn your computer into a retro games console. It’s built on top of media centre software LibreELEC, and the most recent stable version 2.0 makes use of RetroArch 1.5.0 to emulate a huge number of consoles.

Lakka is available as a bootable USB image for Linux and there’s also a Raspberry Pi version.

This distro supports most keyboards as well as wireless PS3 and PS4 controllers, along with Xbox 360 controllers if you have the proprietary dongle. RetroArch boasts a very handy autoconfig feature which should mean that most controllers will work out of the box without you having to manually map keys. The Lakka documentation also has some excellent walkthroughs for more unusual setups. 

For copyright reasons, the OS ships without any games preinstalled. You’ll need to obtain legal copies of either ISO images of game CDs you own or precompiled ROM files of arcade games. Check out the Internet Archive which contains some public domain ROMS.

  • Download Lakka here

Sparky Linux is based on the testing version of the Debian operating system (Buster). The most recent version of Sparky’s special ‘GameOver Edition’ also includes the awesome Lutris gaming platform.

The distro weighs in at an impressive 3.8GB. Besides Lutris, GameOver Edition also includes a number of tools such as APTus Gamer which can download a variety of game emulators so you can relive old console favourites, although you may need to download these elsewhere. The OS also contains a number of free and open source games like Wesnoth and Robots. 

The gaming applications Wine, Play on Linux and Steam are also pre-installed. These are particularly useful for running old DOS and Windows games on Linux, such as Sim City 2000.

  • Download Sparky Linux GameOver here

Ubuntu GamePack comes from Ukrainian developers UALinux. In addition to proprietary codecs and drivers, the distro provides two different systems for you to enjoy gaming on Linux – Steam and the Lutris Gaming Platform. With these you can access and install hundreds of games on your Ubuntu machine.

UALinux claims that its distro provides access to thousands of games and applications for Windows and DOS. The emulators DOSBox and DosEmu are preinstalled, as is the more fully-fledged Windows emulator Crossover. 

Like Lakka, Ubuntu GamePack doesn’t come with any games, but as it includes both Wine and Play on Linux, you won’t have any trouble getting your existing games running. The distro also supports Adobe Flash and Java so you can play online games too. 

The current version of Ubuntu GamePack (2017.01) is based on Ubuntu 16.04. There’s both a 32-bit and a 64-bit version; each are around 2GB in size.

  • Download Ubuntu GamePack here

This Debian-based distro (recently updated to the latest Debian 8 release) has been specifically designed to run Valve’s Steam platform, and comes pre-installed on the firm’s Steam Machine games console. 

SteamOS is probably the closest Linux distro to an actual games console. Technically, you could install additional software using the Debian Jessie repositories, but this operating system’s main emphasis is on gaming.

The install-only distro is available for 64-bit machines and works best with at least 4GB of RAM. It also needs around 200GB of free space on your hard drive and an Nvidia graphics card. If you’re handy with computers, consider building your own Steam Machine. 

SteamOS can only be used to play Steam games. Users can’t benefit from Play on Linux or Wine when running SteamOS. However, the unique in-home streaming feature lets you connect the machine running SteamOS to another computer on the network, allowing you to stream a game to that PC. Unlike most Linux distros, not all of SteamOS is open source software.

  • Download SteamOS here