Wizard World’s Cleveland Comic-Con kicked off its third annual show this past weekend, with a pretty good crowd. Fans gathered at the Huntington Convention Center in downtown Cleveland to get their fill of comics, art, toys and several celebs. Famous faces included: Lou Ferrigno (The Incredible Hulk), Gene Simmons (Kiss), Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter), Millie Bobby Brown (Stranger Things), Charisma Carpenter and Nicholas Brendon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer), Jewel Staite (Firefly), Nichelle Nichols (Star Trek) and more. Wizard World Comic Con Cleveland will return, March 23-25, 2018.
Streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Sky’s Now TV might have overtaken DVRs, DVDs and Blu-ray but I’ve discovered that physical discs have one major advantage…..no-one can take away the film until you’re finished watching (excepting small children and drunken relatives).
Our family subscribes to a streaming service, and while I normally watch a film or episode in a single viewing, there are some that I don’t get through in one go, perhaps because friends call round unexpectedly (yes, I have friends). Recently I’ve twice had the experience of returning to a film only to find that it’s no longer in my queue. The first time I thought I was mistaken as I couldn’t find the film but the second time was no mistake. I was very annoyed.
Streaming services take on new content and drop old content regularly as they license films from studios and other copyright holders for set periods. I can understand this but what bothers me is that they don’t feel it’s necessary to either email or pop-up the deadline on-screen. I would have made a special effort to watch the ending if they’d dropped me an email to say, “Hey, I see you’re watching Spiderman. Just to let you know that film’s going away at the end of the month so you’ve three days to find out what happens.” How hard would that be?
Anyway, if someone could let me know if Spidey saves the world, I’d be grateful.
With the demise of Justin.TV, so went the channel that streamed (albeit, probably illegally) Mystery Science Theater 3k 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Well, chin up fellow fans of the Satellite of Love and all it’s crew, you can now watch the show over on Vimeo!
The folks at MST3K and Vimeo have managed to get 80 episodes available for rental or own. (Who knew Vimeo had movies to rent/own?) Rumor has it that eventually all 197 episodes of the series will be available to watch.
Rentals will cost you $2.99 per episode and $9.99 if you want to buy it. You can get them all for $300.
Winner, winner chicken dinner! Head on over to the site and get yourself a healthy helping of Joel, Crow, Tom, and Mike.
Incredibly, it’s been 21 years since the first commercial SMS text message was sent, and appropriately the message was, “Merry Christmas”. It was sent from Neil Papworth to Richard Jarvis on 3 December 1992 but it was a little one sided as Richard’s phone didn’t have a keyboard to reply on. I know how Neil must have felt as I never get a reply from my parents when I text them either….
To celebrate the amazing advances in technology since then, LG are showcasing their latest mobile devices at a pop-up cinema this weekend at Westfield London, UK. Instead of the silver screen, cinema-goers will be able to watch the latest films on LG’s G2 smartphone and the G Pad 8.3 tablet. Between 13th-15th December, the pop-up cinema will feature luxury seats, buckets of popcorn and the latest films in the palm of your hand.
Now showing is LG’s premier smartphone, the G2, featuring a 5.2″ full HD screen and tiny 2.65 mm bezel, giving owners a larger screen in the same overall dimensions.(Don’t you love the juxtaposition of imperial and metric units?) The IPS display keeps colours accurate and clear, perfect for the latest blockbuster.
But if that’s too small, the new G Pad 8.3 is step up from the usual 7″ tablet fare, with an 8.3″ screen to enhance the cinematic experience. The 1920 x 1200 WUXGA goes beyond full HD and the 1.7 GHz quad core processor makes sure that the G Pad keeps up with the action.
LG have partnered with Sky TV, to bring Now TV to their range of Smart devices and visitors to the cinema will be able to view a selection of the latest films using the Now TV app, which is available from Google Play.
If you are still wondering what to get your loved one and you are near Westfield London, pop round and munch some popcorn at the LG pop-up cinema. Apparently it’s near the Disney store….that’ll keep the kids quiet for 10 mins.
Today Disney announced that they are closing their online web movie service on December 31. This service allowed consumers to watch any Disney or Pixar movie that were available.
I have to admit I have never used the service and I don’t know anyone who does. However after reading its limitation I am not surprise it failed. The videos couldn’t be downloaded. You could only watch them on a computer through a web browser. No watching them on an Xbox 360, PS3 or other internet connected devices. If Disney wanted to create a service that was guaranteed to fail they couldn’t have done a better job. In an era where consumers want to watch videos when and on what device they want, Disney created a platform that did the exact opposite. It is pretty clear why they did it they wanted to maintain control and prevent piracy. However in their attempt to maintain control, they drove consumer to other options such as Netflix or Amazon Prime.
If you purchased a Disney Combo Pack, you can transfer the Digital copy either to iTunes or Windows Media Player. Disney said they are working on a new service called Disney Movies Anywhere, that would allow consumers to watch Disney and Pixar movies anywhere across multiple devices. No launch date has been announced at this time. Even if Disney has a successful relaunch of their online video service. I wonder if a service that only provides videos from a single studio, even if that studio is Disney and Pixar can survive in an era that include services like Netflix.
Supermarket Tesco and on-line movie site Blinkbox have introduced a new innovation to the UK where the purchase of a physical DVD or Bluray at Tesco also buys an online copy at Blinkbox. At today’s launch there are only about 25 movies included in the offer but more will be added to the service over time. The big blockbusters available now are Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part II and Transformers 3: Dark of the Moon.
Tesco customers tie their Clubcard account to their Blinkbox account and then qualifying purchases of DVDs in retail stores (or online) will automatically be added to Blinkbox. Once in Blinkbox, customers can watch the films through PCs, Mac, PS3 and certain smart TVs. For non-UK readers, Clubcard is Tesco’s customer loyalty programme and there are 16 million active Clubcard members.
Richard Brasher, CEO, Tesco UK said “Customers know that Tesco is a great retailer for new technology. This innovation with blinkbox will help start a digital revolution, combining the physical with the digital for the first time. Starting with the magic of Harry Potter, there will be many more great titles to follow for customers to enjoy online wherever and whenever they like.”
Michael Comish, CEO, blinkbox said “To be able to bring this truly ground-breaking service to consumers is very exciting for blinkbox. Our customers already know that we are the number one choice for the latest new movie titles the day they released on DVD, so working with Tesco to give them access to both a physical and a digital version allows them choice and the best of both worlds.”
For those outside of the UK, this is probably all a bit “so what?”given the offerings from Amazon and others. However, here in the UK, the law still currently prohibits format-shifting, even if no-one pays attention, even if the law isn’t enforced. By effectively purchasing both copies at the same time (or buy one, get one free), this gets round any issues with the law. If this way of thinking takes off, other companies will follow with similar products in the UK, so it’s good news all round.
24 hours after iCloud officially releases, talks are underway to fill your cloud drive with movies. In reports today, Horrible Bosses and Green Lantern will be the first of many movies you will be able to hold on your iCloud drive.
iCloud is a service available with iOS5 and at www.icloud.com. With iOS5, you can back up your phone to the cloud (what Apple is calling the PC-less setup and sync). So it only makes sense to also turn it into your all-in-one cloud device.
Hopefully, when Apple officially rolls out this service, that they will offer similar cloud options like Amazon. Things like free storage with any item purchased through Apple (so it doesn’t affect your personal storage limit). You get 5 GB free, then pricing starts at $20 for an additional 10 GB (15 GB total).
Is Apple’s Movie Service Too Late?
The real question is: Have you already committed to Amazon cloud service for movies? Would you switch back? Or would you want to skip the service and actually just get the physical DVD or Blu-Ray discs?
With iTunes still being a walled garden, it’s tough to commit to their services. At least with Amazon, one can get content to their iPhone, computer or Android. Apple really needs to look at this stumbling block, because we live in a cross-platform world.
The day of the DVD is numbered. Being able to access content without physical media is becoming reality. It’s just a question of where you get your content.
Today I saw my first 3D film in a cinema…and it’s very likely to be my last. Not because I’m thinking of shuffling off this mortal coil but because it was a second rate experience at a premium price.
Where do I start? First of all one size does not fit all. The glasses suitable for an adult are not going to fit a 3 year old so why there aren’t smaller frames for young ones at children’s films, I’ve no idea.
Second, I came away from a 2 hour film feeling absolutely knackered and ready for a good snooze. This is not normal for me and I can only assume that it’s something to do with the 3D effect. At least it didn’t give me a headache.
The polarising glasses make everything extra dark too. You fumble around in the dark trying to find packets of sweets before finally taking off the glasses so you can see where they are. Not conducive to the cinematic experience.
There’s no doubt that the 3D effect works, but after admiring it for the first 10 minutes, I’m not convinced it really adds that much to the film. Story and character development are worth so much more and you don’t expect to pay extra for those (though admittedly you don’t always get them).
Movie directors, don’t waste your time on 3D filming: just hire better writers for decent plots as I won’t be returning to a 3D film. Stick to 2D and I’ll be regular customer with my family.
Google announced today that they will be rolling out an update to the Android Market for devices running version 2.2 or higher of the OS. The new version will still contain all of the apps we know and love, but will books and movies.
Google claims that the US version will give users the ability to rent thousands of movies for $1.99 each, however, I found plenty of $3.99 rentals so it may be based on the popularity of the title. The movies will be available for download or streaming. The rental period be 30 days, but, once you begin a movie, once you begin watching a rental you will have 24 hours. It is not only available from your Android device, but also from the web on your computer. Just head over to the Android Video Market.
To browse Books for purchase you can visit the Android Books Market. Books listed on the front pager were all $12.99, but older titles will likely be discounted.
If you are already wondering why you aren’t seeing this update on your device, Google has the following to say:
“The new Android Market will be rolling out in the coming weeks to Android 2.2 and higher phones around the world. You don’t need to do anything – the update is automatic on supported phones. If you’re in the U.S., you’ll also be able to download the Videos app, rent movies, and buy books once you receive the new Android Market.”
Since getting the latest version of the 32 gigabyte iPod Touch a couple of months back, one of the uses that has surprised me has been late-night movie-watching after I’ve gone to bed but am not yet drowsy enough to go to sleep. The iPod Touch works extremely well for this task. I am able to pair the iPod to my Sprint HTC Evo’s WiFi hotspot feature and generally get very good Internet connectivity.
By far, Netflix is the best on-demand movie service available. Netflix has the most and best content available. The Netflix app for iPod/iPhone works great. It gives me the most relevant features of the full Netflix service in a tidy little package. So far, I’ve watched dozens of movies right on my iPod.
But are there other iPod/iPhone movie and documentary apps available? It turns out there are, though the quality can vary tremendously. One of them is called “NFB Films” which is an app created by the National Film Board of Canada. You can watch over 1,000 movies, including documentaries, animations and trailers.
Another app is called “Big Star TV.” The app itself is free to install, but if you wish to watch any content, like with Netflix, you have to pay a monthly fee. Big Star’s movies don’t seem to be up to the high quality level of Netflix.
B-Movies is a free app that presents Internet Archive (www.archive.org) films in an organized, easy-to-use format. It should be noted B-Movies is not associated or a part of the Internet Archive. Among other things, the Internet Archive contains an incredibly rich and diverse set of older classic corporate, school and government documentaries.
Apart from these choices of course is YouTube. Certainly YouTube has a tremendous amount of content, but therein lies the rub: there’s so much YouTube content, it makes it difficult for any single app to categorize, let alone try to catalog what’s available. With YouTube it’s best to simply search on a keyword or phrase that interests you and then start surfing.
The promise of the future that was held up when I was a kid has in many ways arrived, but as always there remains a lot of room for improvement.