Star Wars & Disney: Top Five Reasons Why It’s Great For Fans!


Yesterday’s announcement of Disney buying Lucasfilm caught many fans off guard, but it I think it will turn out well. Here are my top five reasons why I believe so.

1. Better Dialogue in the Star Wars movies

The Original Title of Episode 4

George Lucas is a visionary; he introduced a new standard of space science fiction to film. From special effects to incredible sound, Lucas has changed the movie watching experience for a generation. But even fans of the Star Wars movies will agree, minus legendary lines from Yoda, dialogue was not the highlight of the movies. Disney will bring in numerous writers to build on the story established by Lucas.

2. More Star Wars Movies

There was a massive 16 year gap between Star Wars: Episode 6 and Star Wars: Episode 1. And after the prequel trilogy, there were no plans on the horizon for another Star Wars related movie. With Disney buying Lucasfilm, those plans have changed. Disney has already announced plans to release Episode 7 in 2015, with additional plans to release Star Wars films every two to three years. This is great news for any fan of the films, even those who were not satisfied by Episodes 1-3.

3. A Star Wars Television Channel

Star Wars: The Clone Wars

Disney owns numerous television networks: The Disney Channel, ESPN and ABC. The challenge with creating a network is content. The Star Wars Universe has over 30 years of movies (including the Ewok movies) , books, cartoons, video games and comics. Star Wars has an international fan base that spans generations. Disney could leverage all of the content to create a channel that discusses older content and promotes newer additions to the franchise. For instance, many fans may not know about the hundreds of Star Wars books.

4.Star Wars is in Safe Hands

When I first heard the news, my heart skipped. But I quickly thought of the track record Disney has demonstrated thus far. Purchased in 2006, Pixar continues to be a dominant brand in the animation industry. And we all know how Marvel is doing. With the release of The Avengers this past summer, Marvel, as a brand and as a production house, continues to provide relevant and engaging content for fans. The Avengers is arguably the best comic book movie ever produced. Disney has demonstrated that they can bring an established brand into the family without diluting themselves or the new addition.

5. A Star Wars Theme Park (speculative)

Disney World Florida

The Star Wars movie franchise is the second highest grossing movie franchise. The James Bond franchise is number one. If Harry Potter can have his own theme park, Luke and the crew should have their own too. Disney has mastered the theme park experience. The world over Disney dominates the theme park industry in terms of visitor experience and profit margin. Applying their expertise to the Star Wars franchise could make for an theme park unlike any other. The only challenge may be the amount of insurance they would need to carry for kids whacking each other with toy light sabers.

As a franchise, Star Wars will grow far beyond what George Lucas conceived over 30 years ago. Whether it is through film, television or print it will be around for a new generation to enjoy!

Do you like Disney’s purchase of Lucasfilm? Do you think that it will be good for fans? Let us know by leaving your comment.

Contributions from: Ramone Tysinger & Jake Jepsen

Disney Buys Lucasfilm for $4 billion

Were you surprised when Disney bought Marvel? Well hold on, Disney is buying Lucasfilm. The deal is said to be worth over $4 billion. This deal includes Industrial Light and Magic, Lucas’ digital graphic house. In addition, Disney will get the Indiana Jones franchise. The mouse house now controls numerous major ongoing movie franchises. Disney is currently planning on making a seventh Star Wars film with more to follow every two to three years.

The Amazing Spider-Man Review

The Amazing Spider-Man will soon be available for purchase through digital and Blu-ray.

The Amazing Spider-Man on iTunes


So you’re thinking of buying The Amazing Spider-Man and you want to be able to play it on all your iOS devices like iPhone, iPad or the brand new iPad Mini. Well you are in luck, iTunes has The Amazing Spider-Man available for preorder for $17.99. Let’s face it though, as much as you like the movie, you want to know you are getting as much bang for your buck as possible and that means special features. The iTunes version of your favorite web slinger’s latest rendition is promising 90 minutes of “making of featurettes”. You will receive footage of stunt rehearsals, pre-visualization sequences, Oscorp Art Gallery as well as the standard deleted scenes.
There is an iPad app available for the Second Screen experience which seems to be the thing to do for movies these days. The Avengers, Prometheus, The Dark Knight Rises and more all have a similar app. However, this app will only sync for the Blu-ray version of the movie so you won’t get the full experience if you purchase the movie on iTunes. The app is free, so you can still get it to see more behind the scenes pictures, videos, and more, it just won’t be synched as you watch the movie.
All in all, not a bad deal. As with most digital versions, you won’t get as many hours of extra features as you would in the Blu-ray version (2+ Hours of features) so you will have to weigh your options to see if you think 7 or more dollars is worth an extra half hour or so of features.

The Amazing Spider-Man Blu-ray Box Set


The disc set we choose for this review is like a McDonald’s Happy Meal, but with better toys. If you choose to go all out, The Amazing Spider-Man– Limited Edition Four-Disc: Blu-ray 3D/Blu-ray/DVD with Figurines is an awesome buy. The collectible figurines of Spider-Man and The Lizard are a nice touch for . . . for anywhere your wife will let you keep them. In the area of special features it is packed. It has tons of extra content and includes multiple commentaries, deleted scenes and alternate takes. Film students will appreciate the “3D 101 with Marc Webb” extra where he explains some of the nuances of 3D filmmaking. Again, as with most disc releases, you get a standard definition digital copy. This, as it says on the box, is a great gift for any fan of The Amazing Spider-Man.

The Amazing Spider-Man on Vudu


Vudu is starting to bring its A-game. For The Amazing Spider-Man release they are offering exclusive footage in addition to deleted scenes and stunt rehearsals. The exclusive featurette is Enter The Lizard an extra fans will appreciate. It explains why The Lizard was picked as Spider-Man’s enemy by the producers of this film. It also shows the computer generated images that brought the creature to life on the silver screen. I love exclusive content and this one sounds like it is pretty good.

The Amazing Spider-Man on Google Play


Google customers may be excited about the new tablet lineup announced yesterday, but they will not be happy about the Google Play version of The Amazing Spider-Man. For $17.99, you only get the movie. It plays on most Android devices and of course on the newly announced tablets. Currently, there are only a hand full of settop boxes that offer connectivity for your HDTV or you can use a tablet with a Micro HDMI connection. It is hard to suggest buying from this store, because there are no extras.

The Amazing Spider-Man on Amazon Instant


Amazon Instant seems to be offering the basics here. For a penny less than $19.99, you get just the digital copy of the movie in HD (1080p or 720p depending on your device of choice). Amazon lets you download to your choice of two devices as long as those two are either the Kindle Fire HD, the iPad, a TiVo DVR, or a good ol’ fashioned PC.

Click To Buy From Amazon
Of course there is no limit to how much you stream your purchase. However, when it comes to sound output, you are quite limited to stereo sound. However, for whatever reason, downloading to a PC allows you to enjoy a 5.1 sound experience.
Amazon is probably your best bet if you have or are planning to have a Kindle Fire HD. Owning one of these tablets lets you easily take the movie with you on your travels. And let’s not forget the Kindle Fire HD 8.9” is just around the corner.
Click To Buy From Amazon
Kindle Fire owners can enjoy new features from Amazon called “X-Ray” and “Whispersync.” “X-Ray” let’s you explore more about the characters and actors on screen by using information from IMDB. This allows to touch the screen while the movie is playing and it identifies who’s on screen, allows you to jump to other movies they star in, and more. “Whispersync” allows you to begin watching on your Kindle HD, pause, and then resume from that same scene on your TV. Amazon is also to be considered if you want to watch your movies on many devices. Amazon has apps on PC’s, Macs, iOS, Android, TV’s, game consoles, and more.

Legend: BR= Blu-ray, GP=Google Play, AI= Amazon Instant

BR iTUNES VUDU GP AI
Price $59.96 $17.99 $19.99 $17.99 $19.99
Ways To Watch 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, Mac and PC, iPad and iPhone Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC Android tablets and   phones, Google TV, Mac and PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad,Kindle Fire (HD), Roku, Mac and PC
Max Resolution On TV 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Digital Copy Max Resolution 853 x 478 1080p Standard Definition for mobile devices 1080p 1080p
Audio 5.1 DTS-HD Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 Stereo Stereo

 

 

Special Features BR iTUNES VUDU GP   AI  
Director’s Commentary Yes No No No No
3D Versions of the Film Yes No No No No
3D 101 with Director Marc Webb Yes No No No No
3D Image Progression Reel Yes No No No No
90 Minutes Behind-the-Scenes Documentari-es Yes Yes No No No
Oscorp Archives Yes Yes No No No
Stunt Rehearsals Yes Yes Yes No No
Deleted Scenes Yes Yes Yes No No
Enter The Lizard No No Yes No No
Angle Viewer No Yes No No No

 

Wrap Up

From the start, Google Play is out of the competition. They offer no extras, not even surround sound. Amazon, like Google Play, offers no extras, but gets a step ahead of Google Play, because the movie is easily accessible on numerous types of devices. Vudu and iTunes each offer an unique extra. The Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray 3D 4-disc set is a stand out, because of the numerous 3D extras. But if you do not have a 3D HDTV, the Blu-ray set may not be for you. Without the figurines it cost $34.96. The best way to watch The Amazing Spider-Man is from iTunes (if you do not have a 3D player and television).

Written by: Lawrence Stansberry, Robert Corrales and JR Sanchez

Google Announces New Tablets!

Google Nexus 7 Tablet

Today Google announced updates to its table line. The Nexus 7 has been refreshed with a lower weight and more storage. It now weighs 12 oz., and has up to 32GB of storage. The 7 inch HD screen has a resolution of 1280×800. It has a front-facing camera and uses a micro USB connection for charging. It offers mobile access and a quad-core processor. With up to 10 hours of battery life it gives you plenty of time to stay connected. With only access to Google Play for movies and music the new tablet has limited media options. The strength of this tablet is the integration with Google’s services. It includes apps for Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Google+ and Youtube. Google’s Nexus 7 will give Apple’s new iPad Mini a competitive battle at a price point of $199.

Google Nexus 10 Tablet

With the announcement of the iPad Mini, Apple invaded Google smaller-screen-tablet-territory. Today Google fired back with its Nexus 10, 10-inch tablet. Starting at $399 the Nexus 10 claims the title of the world’s highest resolution tablet display. The resolution is 2560-by-1600 besting the current iPad’s resolution of 2048-by-1536. This larger screened competitor weighs 8% less than the full size iPad and includes Micro HDMI. It includes front and rear cameras. The strength of this tablet is the integration with Google’s services. It works with Google Maps, Gmail, Chrome, Google+ and Youtube. It only offers wireless connectivity through Wi-Fi.

All major competitors are now all-in. Samsung, Apple, Google and Amazon offer tablets across the tablet spectrum. Oh, wait, what about Microsoft? We will need to wait and see if their new offering gets any traction in the tablet battle.

 

WaysToWatch.com iPad Mini Giveaway Contest!

iPad Mini Black & Slate

This week Apple announced their new iPad Mini, the newest member of their iPad family. They are promising a full iPad experience on this smaller device. Apple promises 10 hours of battery life. With this device Apple took a different approach from other competitors. The iPad Mini’s screen is  7.9 inches instead of the typical 7inches. Since the mini keeps the same aspect ratio as the full size iPad all of the nearly 300,000 iPad apps should work well on the new device. Any one who owns digital content from the iTunes store will enjoy the same seamless experience.  The design will help the mini stand out from the pack. It is only 7.2 mm thick and weighs only 0.68 lbs. This new iPad fills in the gap between the size of the iPod Touch and the iPad. Starting at $329 it is a premium price compared to Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire. The iPad Mini will definitely increase the pressure on the competition. Stay tuned for the WaysToWatch.com unboxing of the iPad Mini.

iPad Mini Giveaway Contest

Now here are the rules for the WaysToWatch.com iPad Mini Giveaway Contest. To be eligible for the contest you must be  an United States resident, a subscriber to our Youtube Channel, Youtube.com/Waystowatchcom and follow us on Twitter, twitter.com/waystowatchcom. For the contest to go into action we will need to have 5000 subscribers to our Youtube Channel. If we hit our goal of 5000 subscribers by November 9th, 2012 we will randomly select a winner from our subscribers. If you win you will be notified by email. If you do not reply within 3 days a new winner will be randomly selected. So, if you want to win a new iPad Mini remember you will need to subscribe to our youtube channel and follow us on twitter. Good luck!

Madagascar 3 Review

Madagascar 3
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted is the first movie of the franchise to be available in 3D. For this installment the characters find themselves avoiding the law in Europe. The continent hopping team of zoo animals proved to be a really attractive option for parents and children during the summer of 2012.
Speaking with a friend recently he commented on how much he and his kids loved this movie. He mentioned that price is a primary determinant in how he chooses which place to buy movies for his children. Typically, when reviewing the best way to watch a movie for the home, our team considers the best possible options regarding quality, extra content and viewing options. Price is considered, but it is usually secondary.
For movies that are often bought for the home to anesthetize children, we will be taking a different approach. Our top consideration will be price, the price for the movie and devices that are used to watch them. How many people trust their 4-year-old with their new iPad? Exactly.
Our review for ways to watch Madagascar 3 includes options from Google Play, iTunes, Amazon Instant, Vudu and the Blu-ray disc set.
 

Madagascar 3 on Google Play

Madagascar 3 purchased  on Google Play gives you only the movie, but then again how many kids want to watch the making of an animated movie. You can watch the movie on  all Android tablets and many Android phones. The movie cost $19.99. There are not many devices that will allow you to easily watch this film on your HDTV. And it appears to be a bit confusing about the crossover between Youtube and Google Play. You can watch this movie on Google’s only self-made tablet the Nexus 7. The Nexus 7 is priced starting at $199.
 

Madagascar 3 on iTunes

Now with Apple’s iTunes you get a few more options in terms of extras. They have a behind scenes look with the filmmakers and the cast, three deleted scenes and an interactive map.  The interactive map highlights real life locations that inspired locations in the film. This can be an educational experience for kids. At the price of $19.99 it the best digital download option regarding content.

Of course this options works with all Apple’s iOS options, including the new iPad Mini. This new device starts at $329, a better price point, but still not on par with competing tables.
 

Madagascar 3 on Amazon Instant

You get only the movie with this purchase. For $19.99, that is it. But then again Amazon is not pushing the movie features, but the accessibility. You can watch this on numerous devices. Ironically, you can not watch this on any other Android devices other than Amazon’s own Kindle Fire HD 8.9 and Kindle Fire HD. The Kindle Fire HD is $199
 

Madagascar 3 on Vudu

Vudu’s offering of Madagascar 3 is the only digital download option that comes close to what iTunes offers. My gripe with Vudu is that it limits the mobile experience to Standard Definition on all iOS devices. But, hey you get more than just the movie for $22.99. And you have tons of options to watch it on your television at home.
 

Madagascar 3 on Blu-ray

When it comes to features, the Madagascar 3 Blu-ray 3D can not be beat. The price of $34.99 may scare off some. All of the usual extras, such as, director commentary present. One thing that may be of interest to the kids is the Blu-ray exclusive “Get Them to the Train” game. It even includes the Making of How to Train Your Dragon (go figure). There is a digital copy, but Android users are again out of luck. The standard definition digital copy of Madagascar 3 only works with iOS devices, Macs and PCs.
 

Madagascar 3 Wrap Up

Currently, Amazon and Google both offer Madagascar 3 for $19.99. They both offer the most affordable tablet computers. But in this contest the award will go to Amazon, because of there numerous ways to watch the movie, not only on their own devices, but on numerous others, including the iPad.


Legend: TBR= Target Blu-ray, GP=Google Play, AI= Amazon Instant

  TBR

 

iTUNES VUDU GP AI
Price $34.99 $19.99 $22.99 $19.99 $19.99
Ways To Watch 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy, Mac and PC, iPad and iPhone Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad, iPhone, Mac and PC Android tablets and   phones, Google TV, Mac and PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad,Kindle Fire (HD), Roku, Mac and PC
Max Resolution On TV 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p 1080p
Digital Copy Max Resolution 853 x 478 1080p Standard Definition for mobile devices 1080p 1080p
Audio 5.1 Dolby Digital 5.1 Dolby Digital 7.1 Dolby Digital Stereo Stereo

Blu-ray Disc Are Here To Stay (for awhile)

Blu-rays are here for the foreseeable future and here is why: No digital option offers nearly as much content in terms of extras.  Recently, we did a review of the best ways to watch Prometheus at home and  the stand out factor was the vast amount of content and additional features that came with the 4-disc set.  The Prometheus 4-disc set comes with over 7 hours of additional footage (7 hours is not an exaggeration). iTunes consistently offers the most extra content of all digital download options, but no one competes with what is offered on Blu-ray.

I am not sure why this is the case. At first, I thought that the content on Blu-ray disc is just too much information to download; the content would take too much time to download via our current Internet speeds in the States. According to Akamai, more recent State of the Internet report, the U.S. average Internet connect speed is 5.8 Mbps. At that speed it would take about six and a half minutes to download the average two hour movie. Not bad, right? Now, if your were to download all of the content available in the Prometheus box set it would take an estimated thirty-five minutes. That is about the time it would take for a trip to the store and back minus the gas.

Even if you could, would you want to download that much content? Twenty of the average 2 disc sets would fill a terabyte hard drive. How about that, purchasing a new external hard drive yearly to download new movies. Looking further down the line, the Blu-ray spec is positioned to take advantage of the next movement of home theater technology, Ultra HD. Ultra HD is four times the resolution of current HDTV’s. The Blu-ray spec currently includes 25 and 50 GB disc with plans for 100 GB disc.

I enjoy the experience of opening a disc set. For that matter, I like real books.  Maybe I am old school, but I like tangible items so much I am willing to pay extra for them.

As long as Blu-ray disc-sets offer a superior amount of content and flexibility they will always be around. Nothing is fixed in stone, as every year Internet speeds and hard drive sizes increase. The content of digital downloads will eventually resemble what is on blu-ray, but not in the foreseeable future.

Purchasing HDMI Cables

Common HDMI Cable

On my trip to buy a Blu-ray player a few weeks ago I was struck by the disparity in pricing for HDMI cables. Again, I was in my local Fry’s Electronics. In the television section there were numerous options ranging in price from $12.99 to $249.99 (yeah, I am serious). I felt annoyed by all of the options. I did not know if gold plated wires were better than the regular copper ones. Was two layers of shielding good enough or did I need 3 layers? Was there a difference between the HDMI cables that claimed to be 3D ready and the ones that did not mention it?

Slick Rick

At first glance the packaging of the more expensive HDMI cables looked amazing; it made me feel like I would be  getting my first gold chain as a teenager during the birth of Hip-Hop in New York (I know, random), as if the purchase of this item would fantastically enable my television far beyond its technical specs.  But all that glitters ain’t gold. Well, even if it is.

Unsatisfied with my pricing options I decided to look around. First , I decided to shop around the store. Most Fry’s locations are massive and will have HDMI cables in at least 3 different departments. So, I walked all over the store. After leaving the TV section, I went to the general cable and wiring section, then lastly to the video game department. In the last stage of my travels I found the lowest priced HDMI cables in the store. It was $5.99. Just in case the lower priced cable did not work, I also bought a higher priced cable. No, not the $249.99 price, the $12.99 cable. What can I say, that was my limit. Once I got home I connected my 3D Blu-ray player to my HDTV with the lower priced cable. It worked well with no issues.

I then investigated some of the marketing claims I remembered. Was there a difference between 3D ready and regular cables?  I found this article on Cnet that explains that there is no performance difference between HDMI cables regardless of what is written on the box. What about the shielding? Some cables claim double and others triple shielding. Shielding limits interference from electrical current in other cables that are near your HDMI cable. Interference is a real issue, but according to MyCableMart.com double shielding is plenty of protection. Now regarding gold. It is far more expensive than copper and chemically it is less reactive to other elements. But what counts is electrical resistivity and conductivity. It is  a measurement how electricity flows through a particular material.

Copper Wiring

The marketing material of the more expensive cables led me to believe that gold is the best material for carrying a signal, but actually the title for best electrical resistivity and conductivity goes to Silver and secondly to Copper. Gold is actually the fourth best metal.

So, I will happily stick with the $5.99 cable. Recently, I strolled into Fry’s and saw a basket of cables for $3.50. Be sure to measure for distance between devices when getting a cable. Most are about 6ft, but longer HDMI cables are available.

Apple’s New iPad Mini

Apple’s new iPad Mini in Black or White

Today, Apple has introduced the iPad Miniinto its repertoire of products. The long rumored iPad Mini has finally made its debut in time for the holiday shopping season and like its full size predecessor is sure to get lots of attention from consumers.

The Mini’s 7.97 inch screen has a 1024×768 resolution (same as iPad2) and it has Apple’s Dual Core A5 chip so movie watchers will not be disappointed with their viewing experience even with a smaller screen.

With the iPad Mini being 7.2mm (“as thin as a pencil”) and .68 lbs (“as light as a pad of paper”), not only does it fit in one hand but it may be a good option for parents to use for their kids to hold as they watch their movies.

As with most Apple products, the cutting edge engineering and beautiful design comes at a price…a high dollar price.  The base model for the iPad Mini has a price point of $329 which fits nicely (for Apple) between the iPod Touch and the full sized iPad models but is significantly higher than its direct competitors. Google’s Nexus 7 ($199) and Amazon’s Kindle Fire ($159) certainly have the edge on the Mini from a pricing standpoint however, with over 275,000 iPad optimized apps, iTunes music, iBooks, podcasts, tv shows, and of course movie collections along with other products/accessories all part of Apple’s integrated ecosystem consumers will get a lot of bang for their buck.

The iPad Mini is available for preorder October 26th and ships November 2nd.   Come back to WaysToWatch.com for our unboxing of the new iPad Mini on November 2nd.

 

iPad Mini Specs Wi-Fi Wi-Fi + Cellular
Color Options Black & Slate, White & Silver Black & Slate, White & Silver
Dimensions  Height:7.87 inches (200 mm)Width: 5.3 inches (134.7 mm)

Depth: 0.28 inch (7.2 mm)

Weight: 0.68 pound (308 g)

Height:7.87 inches (200 mm)Width: 5.3 inches (134.7 mm)

Depth: 0.28 inch (7.2 mm)

Weight: 0.69 pound (312 g)

Storage 16GB, 32GB or 64GB 16GB, 32GB or 64GB
Wireless Tech 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-FiBluetooth 4.0 wireless technology 802.11a/b/g/n Wi-FiBluetooth 4.0 wireless technology
Cellular AT&T LTE, Sprint LTE and Verizon LTE
Display  7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit , 1024-by-768, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating 7.9-inch (diagonal) LED-backlit , 1024-by-768, Fingerprint-resistant oleophobic coating
CPU Dual-core A5 Dual-core A5
Video Conference 720p HD 720p HD
Video Recording 1080p HD 1080p HD
Battery Life Up to 10 hours Up to 9 hours with cellular
Video Playback 1080p HD 1080p HD
Video Out Yes, 1080p Yes, 1080p
Price 16GB      $329 16GB      $459
32GB      $429 32GB      $559
64GB      $529 64GB      $659

CEA Announces Ultra HD

The next generation of high definition is upon us, and it will be officially called “Ultra HD.” The Consumer Electronics Association has decided to come up with the new term to help consumers differentiate between the old and the new. The current standard for HD resolution of 1920 x 1080 will be bumped up to 3840 x 2160, which means your next set will be packed with over eight million pixels.  That should make your viewing experience better if you hope to someday outfit your home with an even larger screen. Sony and LG are among some of the manufacturers who have announced 4K sets with this new resolution. So let us look forward to enjoying this new standard which will really allow us to see all the imperfections on our favorite movie stars’ faces.