Sony Blu-ray Player BDP-S6200 Review

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Performance

Buy From Amazon
Buy From Amazon

One of the highlighted features of this Blu-ray player is its dual core processor. For the most part, consumers have accepted long load times and a lagging responsiveness as an inherent part of the overall Blu-ray player experience. Sony’s promotion of a modern processing unit in their top tier Blu-ray player set my expectations high. Over the last two years their Blu-ray players have noticeably increased in speed but those increases have been incremental and not necessarily praise worthy.

In a head-to-head comparison with the BDP-S5100 the BDP-S6200 loaded disc about 2 seconds or about 20 percent faster.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Connectivity

Audio and Video

bdp_s6200_connection

Sony has removed all analog connections with the BDP-S6200. This is the second year where Sony has decided to discontinue the addition of analog connections on their Blu-ray players. For audio out, this model uses the HDMI and Digital jacks. These digital audio connections transmit stereo or up to 7.1 surround sound.

Wireless

It comes with Super Wi-Fi or 802.11 b/g/n, speedy enough for 1080p or 4K video streaming. If you use this connection you will want to minimize the number of walls between your WiFi router and the BDP-S6200.

LAN 100

When it comes to a consistent unhindered viewing experience, using this connection works best. The local area network or LAN port allows you to connect the Blu-ray player directly to you cable or DSL modem.

USB

There are two USB ports, one on the back and the other on the front. You will need to have a USB drive plugged in for the BDP-S6200 to store information. This is disappointing. For a device that cost nearly $200, the lack of memory seems a bit stingy on Sony’s part. I thought I had gotten use to the need for a memory stick, but this deficiency still bothers me. When you buy the device there is nothing on the box that notifies you of the need to buy a USB stick to use the prominently displayed streaming services. If you do not have one lying around and you have to take a trip to your local electronics store, that is just a poor first experience. This is a necessary step if you want to use any streaming services. The front USB port can be used to view video and images from another USB drive.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Screen Mirroring

Sony’s “Screen Mirroring” is their implementation of the Miracast standard. Currently, Android and Windows devices support Miracast. Miracast was established largely as a competitor to Apple’s Airplay. Airplay works flawlessly. This is not the case with Miracast. In practice, this standard suffers from having too many cooks in the kitchen. Every company that adopts the standard gives it a unique name and not every Android or Windows device supports Miracast. Conceptually this feature is great, however it may or may not work well for you.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Streaming channels

streaming_options_sony_bdp_s6200

To use any of the available streaming services you have to connect the player to the Internet and then download the services. Once I verified my connection to the Internet over WiFi, I proceeded to download the services to the player, but it would not connect to Sony’s servers. I tried using the LAN connection, and I still could not connect. Then I tried surfing the web using the included Opera browser and that worked. I could load WaysToWatch.com and other websites with no problems. I was frustrated. After an hour of trying, I called Sony support. I was on hold for about a minute, and the support agent eventually determined that I needed to manually configure my network settings. For those of you who run into this problem, here is a link to the instructions and settings to resolve the issue.

There are over 70 video and audio streaming services that work through the BDP-S6200. This total is roughly a third of what you can get through any Roku player, but it is a nice compliment to having the top quality viewing experience offered through Blu-ray.

The Sony Blu-ray Player BDP S6200 streaming channels:

  • Sony Entertainment Network
  • Netflix
  • Hulu Plus
  • Youtube
  • Vimeo
  • Pandora
  • Crackle
  • Vudu
  • Cinema Now
  • Amazon Instant Video
  • MLB.TV
  • NBA Game Time
  • My Sports & Fitness
  • NHL GameCenter
  • TechCrunch
  • 3net
  • WeatherNation
  • Wild TV
  • AOL On
  • CelebTV
  • Revision3
  • Popcornflix
  • ACC Digital Network
  • SnagFilms
  • EarthCamTV
  • WealthTV
  • blinkx
  • TMZ Video
  • Break.com
  • Indaba Music
  • Billabong
  • Cult Movie Network
  • iFood.tv
  • Moviefone
  • Taylor Swift and Sony
  • The Wiggles
  • euronews
  • HuffPost Live
  • HappyKids
  • Canal a
  • Yoga for Everyone by Tara Stiles
  • YuppTV
  • XOS College Sports
  • TV Guide
  • Wired
  • LaunchPad- Fueled by Flingo
  • Epicurious.com
  • Concierge.com
  • Style.com
  • SGNL by Sony
  • Dailymotion
  • NewsLook
  • uStudio
  • GolfLink.com
  • LiveStrong.com for a Healthy Life
  • eHow.com
  • Flixster
  • SingingFool
  • 27 Podcast Channels
  • MUZU.TV
  • Garage TV
  • Terra TV
  • elgourment
  • Cosmopolitan TV
  • Green.TV
  • DW: German Broadcaster

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Value

Blu-ray is still the best

Currently priced at $178, is a solid combination of a Blu-ray player and a streaming device. There are a few new streaming channels compared to what was initially available on last year’s model, the BDP-S5100. Although streaming movie services have greatly improved in recent years, Blu-ray disc continue to have superior image quality. Blu-ray is a home viewing experience without compromise. Video is crisp and audio has depth. With 4K upscaling, the BDP-S6200 future proofs your Blu-ray collection, so you do not have to worry about the obsolescence of your Blu-ray collection.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Design

The design of the BDP-S6200 is similar to non-conventional designs from Sony’s previous generation of Blu-ray players. The focal point on the top of the device is centered and the top side is made of a slightly translucent material. This design is unique and a nice addition to your home theater.

Blu-ray offers the most Special Features

Blu-ray still, without comparison, offers the most content when it comes to special features, bonus content and extras. iTunes and other streaming services offer extra content with their movies, but rarely do they offer a comparable amount. Blu-ray continues to be the ideal medium for movie fans who want to gain insight into the development and making of a movie.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 3D Playback

The industry is influx regarding 3D televisions. Movie studios continue to push this feature which enables them to charge a premium price both at the theater and for Blu-ray disc sets. Despite this push by movie producers and electronics makers, the format has not gotten significant traction amongst consumers.

When I connected the BDP-S6200 to Sony’s 65” XBR 4K Ultra HD TV, the 3D Blu-ray of The Amazing Spider-Man looked really impressive. I preferred this experience over that of watching 3D movies in the theater.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 4K Upscaling

Here is a side-by-side comparison of Upscaled 1080p and 4K video.
Here is a side-by-side comparison of Upscaled 1080p and 4K video.

This is an interesting feature because most 4K televisions include upscaling. To check the quality of the 4K upscaling, I compared The Amazing Spider-Man on Blu-ray in 1080p to the 4K version played from the Sony 27-FMPX1 4K Ultra HD Media Player. Upscaling does not compensate for lower resolution video. When you are over 8 feet away from the XBR 4K Ultra HD TV you barely notice the difference, but the closer you move to the television the more apparent the difference in quality becomes. The BDP-S6200 does a solid job of upscaling any clear lines, such as hair or the edge of a table or a book. However, it fails when upscaling skin. Skin looks blurry and blotchy. This becomes apparent in close-up shots.

Even with its weaknesses, the BDP-S6200’s upscaling still presents a higher quality image than a normal Blu-ray player without 4K upscaling. When comparing the BDP-S6200 to Sony’s 2011 BDP-S480, the difference is immediately noticeable. The BDP-S6200 will provide an acceptable viewing experience when using Blu-ray on 4K televisions. Until the Blu-ray consortium establishes a 4K Blu-ray standard, upscaling 1080p Blu-ray disc will be the best visual experience you can get from a disc.

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 TV Side View App

TV Side View App
TV Side View App

This app is available for Android devices, iPad and iPhone. It allows you to control the Blu-ray player through your tablet or phone. This app addresses the biggest shortcoming of this device: text input. Using a touch screen is an exponentially better experience than using the included remote to input text. There are other features available, but inputting text is the most noticeable benefit of this app.



Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 User Interface

Xross Media Bar
Xross Media Bar

Sony continues to use the XMB (Xross Media Bar) interface which was first designed for Playstation devices. The improved speed of the BDP-S6200 contributes to a better, more responsive experience. It is not quite a fluid as the experience with the interface on a Playstation 3 or 4, but it works well. You will find that your most used channels are at the top of the list, but scrolling through dozens of icons can get old fast. It would be nice if Sony allowed you to set the order of streaming channels.

<

Sony Blu-ray BDP-S6200 Remote

Sony RMT-B126A
Sony RMT-B126A

The Sony RMT-B126A remote has a shorter, more condensed design. With this iteration of their Blu-ray controller, Sony has removed the numbers. This change makes the remote 30 grams lighter, about a third lighter than the previous remote. Users with smaller hands will appreciate the change, however the lack of number buttons only adds to the already annoying process of inputing information.

Wrap Up

The Sony BDP-S6200 is a great media device. It is currently the best of both worlds; it is a responsive Blu-ray player and respectable streaming device.



Other articles on WaysToWatch.com

The Dark World Buyer's Guide - Which will you choose?
The Dark World Buyer’s Guide – Which will you choose?

The-Hunger-Games_Catching-Fire
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire Blu-ray, DVD and Digital Buyer’s Guide

The Dark Knight Rises Review

The Dark Knight Rises (TDKR), the last of the most recent Batman movie interpretation, is available on December 4th. Christopher Nolan has done an amazing job revisiting the most popular DC Comics movie character. Yes, I believe Batman beats Superman. The Dark Knight Rises was an amazing finish. Today in our review we will cover all the usual options Amazon Instant, Blu-ray, Google Play, iTunes, and Vudu.

Buy from Amazon Instant

The Dark Knight Rises on Amazon Instant

Amazon has to be joking. The Dark Knight Rises from Amazon Instant offers only the movie in stereo (maybe we should be grateful, it could come in mono). You will be able to watch it nearly everywhere except for Android phones and tablets. Here is the death knell, Amazon charges $19.99. Fail.


Buy TDKR on Blu-ray

The Dark Knight Rises on Blu-ray

All of the Blu-ray options out there are all iterations of the same Blu-ray/DVD Combo+UltraViolet Digital Copy. If you want to dive in and buy the trilogy, you will get a few nice extras, but would not be fair to the other options in the review today.
The Blu-ray Combo boast three hours of bonus features. You get the The Batmobile, an extra showing all five Batmobiles at once; Ending The Knight Nolan and his team commenting on the making of The Dark Knight and much more. Check the comparison list below. The price for this set at Amazon is $18.99. This option is hard to beat at that price.


Google Play

The Dark Knight Rises on Google Play

Will update once the option becomes available. They may think there is no reason to offer an early view if their offering of TDKR is like all other Google Play movies, nothing more than the film at the same price as the competition. Google needs this option to float Android as a media consumption platform. It does help, but when Apple, in both hardware and extras, continues to dominate Google Play, it makes it difficult to take it seriously as a media outlet. UPDATE: TDKR is only available for rent from Google Play. There is not an option to buy. Sorry Android fans.


TDKR on iTunes

The Dark Knight Rises on iTunes

The Dark Knight Rises is Director Christopher Nolan’s last film in his Batman Trilogy. Nolan’s films were definitely the best of the many renditions of Batman we’ve seen on film in my opinion (even with Bane’s horrible voice)…although lets face it, there wasn’t much competition out there. Remember The Governator playing Mr Freeze? Although this is the last we will see of Nolan’s Dark Knight, we are sure to see the Caped Crusader again in the reboot and possibly in The Justice League.
The Dark Knight Rises is available for preorder in HD on iTunes for $19.99. The download comes in 1080p and Dolby Digital 5.1.

                        

The iTunes version lists 3 main special features:

  • Beneath Gotham: Christopher Nolan and production designers
    discuss the design and build of Bane’s lair.
  • Batman vs. Bane: How the cast and crew planned and filmed
    the fight sequence between Batman and Bane.
  • End of a Legend: Filmmakers give their final thoughts on
    working on the The Dark Knight Rises.
 

The 3 special features sound very intriguing and should give a good behind the scenes look at the film…..just don’t look at the list of special features that will come with the Blu-Ray version. As typical, the Blu-Ray versions of films offer much more special features than their digital download counterparts but the list of what is being offered for this film on Blu-Ray makes the iTunes list depressing.


TDKR on Vudu

The Dark Knight Rises on Vudu

Wow. Vudu is a serious contender. JR Sanchez, may have thought that iTunes had the silver medal in this review, but Vudu brings one extra more iTunes. Like Amazon Instant, Vudu can be accessed from everywhere (except Android devices). Vudu continues to improve upon its service. Pricing is not yet available, but it will most likely be inline with the other digital download options.

 

  BR iTUNES VUDU GP AI
Price $18.99 $19.99 TBA TBA $19.99
Ways To Watch 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, Roku 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
Second Screen Experience Yes Yes Yes (audio sych) Yes (audio sych) Yes (audio sych)
The Prologue: High-Altitude, Hijacking Yes No No No No
Return to the Batcave Yes No No No No
Beneath Gotham Yes Yes Yes No No
The Bat Yes No No No No
Batman vs. Bane Yes Yes Yes No No
Armory Accepted Yes No No No No
Gameday Destruction Yes No No No No
Demolishing a City Street Yes No No No No
The Pit Yes No No No No
The Chant Yes No No No No
The War on Wall Street Yes No No No No
Race to the Reactor Yes No No No No
The Journey of Bruce Wayne Yes No No No No
Bane and Selina Kyle Yes No No No No
Shadows and Light in Large Format Yes No No No No
The End of a Legend Yes Yes Yes No No
The Batmobile Yes No Yes No No
Trailer Archive Yes No No No No

 

Wrap Up of The Dark Knight Rises

Did you see the chart above? There is no contest. It is as Warner Brothers prefers for us to buy the Blu-ray set instead of downloading it digitally. The Blu-ray set has the most for the cheapest price. Nuff said.


Written by: Lawrence Stansberry and JR Sanchez

Pixar’s Brave- Best Buy and Walmart Exclusive Disc Sets Unboxing and Review

Pixar’s Brave is now available on Blu-ray and DVD. WayToWatch.com wanted to review the best disc sets out there for this great movie. After combing through the numerous Blu-ray disc sets, we settled on two. The exclusive sets from Walmart and Best Buy are the coolest sets available. The Best Buy exclusive has an edge over Walmart’s, because of the 3D Blu-ray disc and the lunch box included in the set. You pay an extra $10 for that edge, but I think it is worth it. The real the determinant is the age of the kid for whom you are purchasing this set. Younger kids may enjoy the plush of Angus, where as older kids may like and have use of the lunch box.


Brave Walmart Exclusive

The Walmart Exclusive Blu-ray Combo Pack Gift Set includes:

The stand out feature of this exclusive set is the Angus Plush toy. It is nice, something a young kid could really enjoy.

Brave Disc 1

  • Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus
  • La Luna- Short Film
  • The Legend of Mordu- Short Film
  • Brave Old World
  • Merida and Elinor
  • Bears
  • Brawl In The Hall
  • Wonder Moss
  • Magic
  • Clan Pixar
  • Once Upon A Scene
  • Extended Scenes
  • Audio Commentary

Brave Disc 2

  • Blu-ray Bonus
  • Alternate Opening
  • Fallen Warriors
  • Dirty Hairy People
  • It Is English…Sort Of
  • Angus
  • The Tapestry
  • Promotional Pieces
  • Art Gallery
  • And Much More!

Brave Disc 3

  • DVD Feature Film + Bonus
  • La Luna- Short Film
  • The Legend of Mordu
  • Audio Commentary

Brave Best Buy Exclusive

The Best Buy Exclusive Collectible Lunch Box 5-disc 3D Blu-ray Combo Pack includes:

As the name explains, this set includes a lunch box. Check it out in the unboxing, it is really, really cool!

 

Brave Disc 1

  • Blu-ray Feature Film + Bonus
  • La Luna- Short Film
  • The Legend of Mordu- Short Film
  • Brave Old World
  • Merida and Elinor
  • Bears
  • Brawl In The Hall
  • Wonder Moss
  • Magic
  • Clan Pixar
  • Once Upon A Scene
  • Extended Scenes
  • Audio Commentary

Brave Disc 2

  • Blu-ray Bonus
  • Alternate Opening
  • Fallen Warriors
  • Dirty Hairy People
  • It Is English…Sort Of
  • Angus
  • The Tapestry
  • Promotional Pieces
  • Art Gallery
  • And Much More!

Brave Disc 3

  • DVD Feature Film + Bonus
  • La Luna- Short Film
  • The Legend of Mordu
  • Audio Commentary

Brave Disc 4

  • Brave Digital Copy Of Feature Film- Watch it on your tablet computer.

Brave Disc 5

  • Blu-ray 3D
  • Immerse Yourself In A Whole New Dimension
  • Bring The 3D Experience Home With Disney Blu-ray 3D
  • La Luna in 3D

Let us know what do you think? Which set are you going to pick up?

First Ultra HD 4K TV from LG

LG 84LM9600

LG is going to be the first to release the newest HD stadard available for consumers. So if you’re one of the people who have a spare $20,000 in the bank account or just value the latest in entertainment over paying for your kids college tuition, then this may be your next purchase. What does this $20,000 exactly buy you? To start, the now officially named Ultra High Definition gives you four times the resolution of your current 1080p TV. At 3,840 x 2,160, you are getting over eight million pixels in this 84″ set compared to the two million 1080p offers. 84″ is huge, so you need a big living room so you can put enough distance between yourself and the TV to get the most out of the picture. This is a 3D TV with 240Hz “Tru Motion”, so there is a lot of potential for some eye popping images without the blur. They’re including six pairs of glasses too. LG also offers some of it’s best features in this smart TV, such as voice control to help guide you through their interface. One cool feature is the built in 2.2 sound. Two 10-watt speakers and two built in subwoofers, but if you are buying this, you must shaking your house down with Neo:X.

Other features include:

  • LED Plus Technology for deeper blacks and richer colors
  • 3D depth control
  • Two player gaming without split screen (sounds like a cool feature, but requires glasses that sold seperately)
  • 2D to 3D conversion
  • Voice and hand motion controls

The big question here is going to be what type of content will be available in this new UHD. As of yet, nothing. But it will upscale your  Blu-Rays for you… Most movies today are filmed in 4K resolution, that’s what you probably see at your local theater. If Hollywood wants to open up it’s vaults for you, then you could see what this tv can really do.

Maybe UHD isn’t ready for the prime time yet, but once they are able to cram all of those pixels into a smaller set that will fit the average home, and once there is enough content available, it might just catch on. For now, it may just be a bit overkill, not to say it’s not impressive. Let’s see where this new technology takes us in the future. Available as of October 30th, and so far only Video and Audio Center in Southern California has it available for purchase.

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

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.

The Avengers Review

 

The Avengers on iTunes

The Avengers on iTunes

If you choose to purchase the iTunes version of The Avengers in HD (1080P) the first thing to note is that it is a 10GB file download, 8GB of movie (both the HD and SD versions are downloaded) and nearly 2GB of iTunes Extras, so make sure you account for the space needed.

Since this is an iTunes Purchase you can view it on all your iOS devices (iPad, iPhone, iPod,) and the Apple TV.  The audio is in Dolby Digital 5.1 which is common and will meet the needs of most.  For those looking for 7.1 to take advantage of their extensive home theater setup, it’s not currently available.

This download comes with several special features that you will find in the Blu-ray version, but the big omission is the director’s commentary.  If the director’s commentary is a must for your movie watching pleasure then this version is not for you.

Included in the special features are a short film related to the movie, a couple of behind the scenes videos of the actors and locations, a gag real and deleted scenes.  The deleted scenes I found interesting as they have an alternate intro and ending that gives the character Maria Hill more screen time as well as some cool “raw footage” of the viaduct fight scene.

Also in the special features was “The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience”.   This is the feature I was most looking forward to checking out.  This is a Free app you can download for your iPad or iPhone. It can be synched through the movie audio so that it shows pictures, trivia, and short behind the scene videos on a timeline that coincides with what is happening in the movie.  Although I liked the behind the scenes looks in the short videos, overall I was underwhelmed by the experience.  Maybe I expected too much.

If missing the directors commentary isn’t a deal breaker for you then purchasing Avengers through iTunes is a good choice especially if you have other apple products you typically enjoy watching your movies on.

Unfortunately there is NO directors commentary with this version of The Avengers on iTunes.

The Avengers on Vudu

The Avengers on Vudu

The Avengers on Vudu  is a great streaming experience. If your plan is to stream directly to your internet connected TV or  through a streaming box (such as a Roku, Xbox 360, Blu-Ray player etc.), it couldn’t be any easier or faster. It streams in glorious 1080p with 7.1 surround sound.  And it comes with some nice extras like the short film, Marvel One-Shot: Item 47, deleted scenes, and a few more. If you’re looking for more than streaming, however, the fun stops there.

However, if you want to download the movie, you might not be as satisfied as you were streaming it. Downloading to a PC or Mac will take you to a flashback of the olden day as it is limited to standard def. To add to that, you can only play it on Vudu’s software, Vudu to Go, which must be downloaded and installed to your PC first. Want to take it with you on your iPhone or iPad? There’s an app for that, but standard def only. Little green robots need not apply, Vudu leaves Android left out in the cold completely.

The Avengers Target Exclusive

The Avengers Target Exclusive

Full disclosure: I loved seeing this movie in the theater. Many comic book super hero flicks have been disappointing and mediocre. Marvel’s The Avengers was one of those rare movies where it all worked: the characters, the relationships and the action. The build up from all of the individual hero movies was genius. Enough gushing . . . This release had a lot of buzz around it.  There are nearly a dozen unique Collector or Exclusive releases. For our review we will consider Target’s exclusive 4-disc set.

To start the case is really cool. If you are into tangible, tactile experiences you will not be disappointed. All of the characters are embossed, bringing me back to a childhood experience of enjoying simple embellishments.

Now regarding the content: the box includes 4-disc plus the “Building A Cinematic Universe” 90 minute Target exclusive disc. Excluding the forthcoming 10-Disc Limited Edition, this is the most content you can find on any release. After ordering the set from Target’s website for $32.99 I saw that the price was dropped to $19.99 (refund please!). It appears that this exclusive quickly sold out, because it is no longer available on the website or in stores. Disc 1 is a 3D Blu-ray. Yay! disc 2, a 2D Blu-ray, Disc 3 a DVD, Disc 4 is a Digital Copy with Digital Music Download and Disc 5 is the 90 minute exclusive video.

One of the big draws for buying the disc is the Director’s commentary and 3D. I really appreciate  hearing some of the thoughts behind the creative process.  This is a huge draw over most downloadable options. Even though iTunes has started to add this feature, most digital downloads do not. iTunes continues to add features, such as, scene selection and director’s commentary, but I do not believe that a 3D option will be offered through the online store in the near future.

 

TARGET BLU-RAYEXCLUSIVE iTUNES Vudu
Price $32.99 $19.99 $22.99
Ways To Watch 3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy (iTunes or Windows) Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad, iPhone
Max Resolution On TV 1080p 1080p 1080p
Digital Copy Max Resolution 853 x 478 1080p Standard Definition for mobile devices
Audio 7.1 DTS-HD 5.1 Dolby Digital 7.1 Dolby Digital

 

 

Special Features

TARGET BLU-RAYEXCLUSIVE iTUNES Vudu
Marvel One-Shot: Item 47 Yes Yes Yes
Gag Reel Yes Yes Yes
The Avengers Initiative: A Marvel Second Screen Experience Yes Yes No
A Visual Journey Yes Yes Yes
Deleted Scenes Yes Yes Yes
Sound Garden Music Video Yes Yes Yes
Assembling the Ultimate Team Yes Yes Yes
Director’s Commentary Yes No No
Bonus Disc “Building a Cinematic Universe” Yes No No

 

Wrap Up

All three options have dominant strengths. The Target disc-set has the most features, but like Vudu, mobile-ways-to-watch are lower quality. If you are looking for the best viewing experience across all devices iTunes can’t be beat, but who wants to be limited when they purchase movies? Of the three vendors we covered, VUDU is the best all around purchase. Its price and various viewing options make it a stand out.
Written by: Lawrence Stansberry, Robert Corrales and JR Sanchez