Amazon Fire TV (2015) Review

Amazon Fire TV 2015 Review

This is the WaysToWatch.com review of the 2015 Amazon Fire TV. Does it live up to the hype? How does it rank amongst the new streaming devices from Google and Apple?

Amazon Fire TV Design

It features the same design from the previous model. There is not much more than a square box. But who cares about the exterior? It is about how it feels and performs.

Amazon Fire TV Remote

The remote is well made, but there are issues with the back of the remote. It is hard to remove it. After working through the back of the remote, the remote actually feels really good in my hand. It works well and is really responsive. The iOS Fire TV App is helpful and easy to use.

Streaming On The Amazon Fire TV

It performs well for streaming, but is limited when it comes to gaming. Amazon’s ASAP feature aims to eliminate buffering time by assuming what you will watch. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime work on Fire TV. If you have a Plex Media Server, good news, the Fire TV can stream movies from the server.

Alexa on Amazon

Amazon’s Alexa voice service can play music, do searches, check sports scores, and provides weather forecast.

X-Ray, FreeTime On The Amazon Fire TV

Another feature from Amazon for the Fire TV is X-Ray. X-ray gives you information about a movie or TV show, like which actors are in a particular scene. Parent can use FreeTime as their parental control tool. All of the main streaming services are available on the Fire TV. The user interface on the Fire TV can be confusing, overall it is a decent streaming box.

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

The iPad Mini Review: The Best Small Tablet for Watching Movies, Top Five Reasons

Read the article or watch the video.


For many years people have accused Apple of being closed and limiting their customer’s options. Even though I am a Mac user, I often agreed with this assessment. But when it comes to movies on the iPad Mini this is actually not true.

Here are my top five reasons why the iPad Mini is the best small tablet for movie lovers.

The iPad Mini has the Most Video Options

Of all small tablet options, including tablets from Amazon, Samsung and Google, the iPad Mini actually can access the most video. Amazon only allows its Kindle tablets to buy from Amazon Instant Video.  And Google and Samsung can only buy movies from Google Play. The iPad Mini can use purchased movies from Amazon Instant, Vudu, and, of course, the iTunes store.

The iPad Mini has the Best Downloadable Movie Option, iTunes

When it comes to digital downloadable content the iPad Mini is the only small tablet that has access to extras, like director’s commentary and deleted scenes. This is true because it can get video from iTunes and Vudu the only digital download options that offer movie extras. Amazon Instant and Google Play do not offer any extras.

The iPad Mini has the Best Battery Life

The reviews are in, and they all agree, this device stands up to the test of time when it comes to watching movies. You get 12 hours of movie watching, 20 percent better than the closest competition.

The iPad Mini is the Best for Shooting and Editing Your Own Video

Shooting and editing your own video on this device is solid. With a 1080p camera and iMovie you are set the make you own family movie.

AirPlay

And the fifth reason why the iPad Mini is the best small tablet for watching movies is simply AirPlay. Any thing that you can play on the device will play on an Apple TV. It is simple and easy. Currently, Google and Amazon do not have anything that competes.

So, there are my top five reasons. Do you agree? Android users, do you want to push a contender? What do you think? Comment on our Youtube channel or below.

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.

 

Google TV Finally Delivers Movies Directly to TV

Google has finally caught on to the obvious and brought movies and tv shows to the Play Store for Google TV. Yes, movies have been available on the Play Store for a while now, but not on Google TV. Better late than never. You now have the option to purchase a movie and play it on your TVand Android tablet or phone in HD (provided you have HD screen resolution). This is great news if your an Android user as previously, most other download options were limited to SD for portable devices from services such as Vudu, UltraViolet, and digital copies included with Blu-Rays. This may become one of the best options for your movie purchases if you’re one of the few who own a Google TV box. Google began rolling out the  availibilty October  8th, and will be available to all in the next few weeks.