Tag Archives: Vudu

Star Wars: The Choice Awakens

Star Wars: The Force Awakens landed in movie houses last December and like clockwork four months later, the film is just about to roll out on home video. For fans of the franchise, the digital ‘n’ disc release to the masses means we can see The Force wake up all over again — but now with the power to fast-forward/rewind/obsess over all those little tidbits that whizzed by on the original big-screen viewing(s).

And of course, home video traditionally means: BONUS FEATURES.

Disney is not holding back with this one. Not only do most versions of The Force Awakens have extra video treats, you can also choose between delivery formats — and even the packaging for your copy.

And you don’t have long to wait. Digital high-def downloads from various legitimate sources will be available this Friday, April 1st, while physical discs — Blu-ray and DVD — hit stores Tuesday, April 5th.

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So, what do you get if you buy the film? Deleted scenes, of course! These snippets from the editing-room bin have already been officially teased by Disney, spoiled here and there and leaked in various places online. There are said to be six official deleted scenes for disc buyers, and a seventh clip for the digital-only releases.

And what would a home-video release be without a few behind-the-scenes minidocs? Sure, the offerings may vary by retailer, but here are the ones most retailers are advertising (complete with original breathless blurbs from Disney):

• Secrets of The Force Awakens: A Cinematic JourneyFor the first time, discover the complete story behind the making of The Force Awakens, revealed through in-depth footage and exclusive interviews with the actors and filmmakers in this feature documentary.

• The Story Awakens: The Table ReadCast members familiar and new reflect on the memorable day they all first came together to read the movie’s script.

• Building BB-8See how the filmmakers brought the newest droid to the screen, creating an instant fan favorite in the Star Wars universe.

• Crafting CreaturesWatch movie magic as the filmmakers bring a cast of new creatures to life.

• Blueprint of a Battle: The Snow FightGo deeper into the epic, climactic lightsaber battle between Rey and Kylo Ren.

• John Williams: The Seventh SymphonyThe legendary composer shares personal insights of his work on Star Wars and The Force Awakens.

• ILM: The Visual Magic of The ForceAn insider’s look into the remarkable digital artistry of the movie’s visual effects.

• Force For ChangeHeroes come in all shapes and sizes. See how the Star Wars: Force for Change initiative has united Star Wars fans all over the globe to help others.

Can’t wait four days for a disc and going for the digital downloads? You can get it from all the usual suspects on Friday.

You can find the film on the Google Play store, Apple’s iTunes Store, the Microsoft Store and Walmart’s Vudu service. Most are charging $19.99 for an HD download of the film with bonus content included, and $14.99 for a standard-definition widescreen edition with no extra features. Amazon of course, likes to undercut everyone in price, and is charging $17.99 for the HD download with bonus material and $14.99 for the standard. (You be you, Amazon.)

Want a hard copy of the film on a good ol’ shiny disc? You can get one of those next Tuesday — and you have some options there as well. Film buffs will probably go for the Blu-ray/DVD combo back that also gives you a digital copy for your devices. The combo pack has a list price of $29.99 but you can find it cheaper if you look around. The straight-up DVD will cost around $18.99.

Four big retailers are doing their own packaging as well. These include:

• BEST BUY. The Best Buy Blu-ray Combo pack features sturdy SteelBook packaging for $29.99.

 DISNEY STORE. The Disney Store Blu-ray Combo comes with an exclusive lithograph set. That’s all while supplies last, and the package rings in at $24.99.

• TARGET. The $24.99 Target Blu-ray Combo pack comes with its own special packaging and an added 20 minutes of bonus content. Target claims to have never-before-seen interviews with new stars Daisy Ridley and John Boyega, plus a deep dive into at the movie’s costumes and weaponry.

• WALMART. Wallyworld’s own Blu-ray Combo pack comes with spunky BB-8 packaging and a Star Wars Galactic Connexions trading disc. List price is $39.99, but it’s on sale for $19.98.

And all these are just for the 2D editions — a 3D version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens will be available later this year. Finally! Something to keep us busy until Rogue One arrives on December 16th.

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Episode 30 News: Gonna Build a LEGO Mindstorm Dalek

The holidays are over and we’re back to business. While Apple just announced it hit the 40 billion downloads mark for its App Store since it opened for business in mid-2008, it may not be enough to beat Google to the Million App Mark this year, as growth-rate calculations favor the Google Play Store to get there first. Google Play is currently estimated to have 800,000 apps available. Android-based devices are also taking a bite out of Apple’s iPhone sales. ComScore’s November 2012 Mobile Subscriber Market Share Report shows Samsung on top with 26.9 percent of US sales compared to Apple’s 18.5 percent of users. The iPhone also has a Consumer Reports ranking behind Samsung and LG handsets.

Way back in 2010, the Library on Congress signed an agreement with Twitter to gain access to all public tweets sent since the microblogging service went live in 2006. As of last week, the archive now holds 170 billion Twitter messages and continues to grow. If you have an unprotected Twitter account, odds are, you’ve been archived. So remember, tweet for posterity!

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Walmart has enhanced its Vudu To Go app for the PC and Mac and will soon let customers do their disc-to-digital copies at home without having the schlep a bunch of previously purchased DVD and Blu-Ray discs to the nearest Wal-Mart for conversion. AT&T is also dabbling in the streaming business with its new $5-a-month U-Verse Screen Pack, although it doesn’t quite have the massive inventory of Netflix. Still, if you have AT&T U-Verse and want to stream flicks like St. Elmo’s Fire, Hudson Hawk and The Care Bears Movie all month, it’ll cost you less than a movie ticket, even with matinee pricing.

Get ready Lego Mindstorms EV3! The new kit, due out in the late summer/early fall features all kinds of fun stuff for your do-it-yourself robot. The $350 EV3 system includes an infrared sensor, the ability to be controlled by a smartphone or tablet and a Linux-based system for programming the robot. Remember kids, practice your robotics and someday maybe you can build rovers for NASA missions. (Speaking of NASA. The agency has scheduled a press conference at the Johnson Space Center next Thursday, January 17, to preview the next two missions to the International Space Station.)

And finally, Walt Disney theme parks are going high-tech with the new MyMagic+ vacation management system, which comebines a new integrated Web site, mobile app and electronic wrist bracelet called the MagicBand to handle all your scheduling, housing and monetary needs during your stay in the Mouse House. The potential for data gathering and tracking has not gone unnoticed by privacy advocates, but the MyMagic+ system won’t be mandatory. It may be a small world (after all) — but big data is growing.