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 Prometheus Review

Prometheus on Amazon Instant Video

Prometheus on Amazon Instant Video

Prometheus is now available on Amazon Instant. I will start by saying that making your purchase from Amazon is not going to be my favorite. It’s available for $14.99 in 1080p, but depending on the device your viewing from, you may be stuck at 720p. Sound output is 5.1. They have a huge list of devices Amazon Instant is able to viewed from, most of them being from internet connected TVs. It’s also able to be viewed from devices such as Roku, Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and blu-ray players. Two others to note are Tivo boxes and Google TV.

You are able to take it with you on the road if you own a Kindle Fire or iPad, but your limited to those two options when it comes to tablets. Even though the Kindle Fire is built from Android software, it’s not available on any other Android tablet. It’s also not available on any smartphone. But it is downloadable so you can watch it anytime and don’t have to be connected to the internet. You can also download to a PC after you install Amazons Unbox software.

Here’s my biggest complaint about buying Prometheus from Amazon Instant: there are no extras included. No commentary, no deleted or alternate scenes, nothing. You can get it for the same price on Vudu with two alternate scenes, “The Final Battle,” and “The Engineer Speaks.” Or you can buy it cheaper on iTunes for $12.99 for the movie by itself. Amazon Instant isn’t going to be my favorite service to buy from, but maybe it fits your needs if you own a Kindle Fire.

Prometheus Target Exclusive 4-Disc Set

Prometheus Target Exclusive Blu-ray

Prometheus is an absolutely beautiful movie. The landscapes and production design are amazing.  The big draw of the 3D box set is of course the 3D Blu-ray disc and the promoted 7 hours of extras. I picked up the Target Exclusive 4-disc box set. Mostly covered in screen shoots, this is one of the best looking boxes I have seen. The 4-disc set covers all of your viewing needs.

The digital download accommodates laptops, Mac or PC, and iOS devices, but leaves Android out in the cold.  This may be a result of Android’s more open system. The digital download gives you access to the iTunes Standard Definition download and in addition, you can choose between either Vudu or Flixster. All digital download options are less than HD. They are labelled as Standard Definition, but upon close examination, their resolutions are about 30% higher than regular SD. Comparing the iTunes and Vudu digital downloads, iTunes comes out on top.

At $27.99, it is the most expensive option of all, but the content makes it well worth it. Depending on how serious of a fan you are of the Alien franchise, the Target exclusive photo book may sweeten the experience. There are images of art work, story boards and concept art. Some of the concept art may offer ideas into the Prometheus sequel (just a hunch).  Like the full HD download from iTunes, the Prometheus 4-disc set offers the Second Screen Movie App. We will get a review out on this experience later. The 7 hours of extras is like getting 3 extra movies with your purchase. I have watched some of The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus documentary; it provides interesting insights into the production and creative processes in the film.  But wait there’s more! The Blu-ray extras include 2 audio commentaries, one by Ridley Scott and the other by writers Jon spaihts and Damon Lindelof. Then there is the The Peter Weyland Files  and deleted scenes with alternate beginning and end. The Blu-ray disc delivers 1080p video and DTS-HD 7.1 audio. I wonder what it would have been like with the recently announced 11.1 from DTS. We can only dream . . .

If you have the time to indulge in the experience, the Prometheus 4-disc set is totally worth it and is a must have for any self-proclaimed Alien fan.

Prometheus on iTunes

Prometheus on iTunes

The iTunes version of Prometheus is an 11GB download, 7 GB of movie and 4 GB of extras.  As is typical with iTunes movies, you can watch them on any of your iOS devices.  The download is available in 1080P and the audio is in the standard Dolby Digital 5.1.

With so many options to choose from in purchasing a movie, typically what is going to separate one from the other is the extras.  Sadly, in this area Prometheus on iTunes leaves the buyer wanting.

Lets start with the good.  The iTunes version of Prometheus comes with directors commentary by Ridley Scott.  Its always good to hear from their own mouths what a director is trying to communicate in their work; things that a viewer may miss as they watch the film.  Ridley Scott’s commentary did not disappoint at all.  It is this type of extra that was sorely lacking in the iTunes version of Avengers so I’m glad it was included in Prometheus.

Now on to the bad.  The directors commentary is about as good as it gets for the extras in the iTunes version.  There is a short video called Transmission and a few deleted scenes with nothing spectacular…The End.

Overall, I’d say the iTunes version of Prometheus was a disappointment for me with very few extras but the directors commentary included definitely made up a lot of ground and made me feel like this purchase wasn’t a total loss.  If the extras don’t matter to you and you are only concerned about easily watching on your iOS devices then this may be the way to go for you.

TARGET BLU-RAY 

EXCLUSIVE

iTUNES

Amazon Instant

Price

$27.99

$14.99

$14.99

Ways To Watch

3D Blu-ray, 2D Blu-ray, DVD, Digital Copy (iTunes and Vudu or Flixster)

Apple TV, iPad, iPhone, iPod or PC

PS3, Xbox 360, Roku, Smart Blu-ray players, Smart TV’s, iPad,Kindle Fire (HD), Roku

Max Resolution On TV

1080p

1080p

1080p 

Digital Copy Max Resolution 

853 x 454 (iTunes download)

1080p

720p

Audio

7.1 DTS-HD

5.1 Dolby Digital

5.1 Dolby Digital

SPECIAL FEATURES

TARGET BLU-RAY 

EXCLUSIVE

iTUNES

Amazon Instant

Director’s Commentary

Yes

Yes

No

Writer’s Commentary

Yes

No

No

The Peter Weyland Files

Yes

No

No

Deleted and Alternate Scenes w/ Alternate Beginning and Ending

Yes

Yes

No

The Furious Gods: Making Prometheus Documentary

Yes

No

No

Second Screen Movie App

Yes

No

No

Transmission

No

Yes

No

Wrap Up

Prometheus is a visual experience that initiates as many questions as it answers. Primarily because of the content, the disc set is the the best option. Like Amazon Instant video and iTunes, you are covered regarding mobile viewing, but they can not compete with the 7 hours of additional content in the 4-disc set. The extras provide some answers to the questions that come after watching. Even when considering price there is no comparison. The 4-disc Blu-ray box set is the way to watch Prometheus at home!

 

Written by: Lawrence Stansberry, Robert Corrales and JR Sanchez