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Motion picture entertainment is always shifting. It went from theaters to TV to cable and now to digital streaming.  Each change has given consumers’ new advantages. The latest, streaming services, offer users the ultimate flexibility to watch movies when and where they want. Major entertainment distributors are taking note and adjusting accordingly. HBO Now is a streaming service of the cable channel.  Disney Plus is a streaming service that allows an entertainment conglomerate to control content from all its subsidiaries and CBS All Access is a streaming service for a traditional TV network.

Monthly Plan Prices

  • HBO Now | $14.99
  • Netflix HD Quality Plan | $12.99
  • Disney Plus | $12.99
  • Hulu (without ads) | $11.99
  • Showtime | $10.99
  • Prime Video only | $8.99
  • Hulu (with ads) | $5.99
  • CBS All Access | $5.99

Movie Selection

  • Prime Video | 14,210
  • Netflix | 3,803
  • Hulu | 1,437
  • HBO | 926
  • Showtime | 489

TV Offerings

  • Prime Video | 2,317
  • Netflix | 1,966
  • Hulu | 1,931
  • HBO | 189
  • Showtime | 70
Quantity doesn’t always mean quality.  Just because Prime Video has the most movies and TV shows does not mean it has the best titles. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video are nearly equal when it comes to the number of “high quality” movies offered as defined by Reelgood – a “high quality” movie as has an IMDB rating of 7.5 or higher.

High Quality Movies

  • Prime Video | 125
  • Netflix | 124
  • Hulu | 52
  • HBO | 32
  • Showtime | 32
With this information, you can make an informed decision about where to spend your entertainment dollars.
British actor Sacha Baron Cohen has been known throughout his career for playing silly, politically incorrect and at times extremely controversial characters. In his self-created films such as Borat and Bruno and in his role in Talladega Nights as well as in his TV work as Ali-G and on his recent show Who is America, his hilarious, yet slightly disturbing roles define Cohen. Resume aside, Sacha is returning in a new Netflix, 6-episode mini series, The Spy that is a very serious role. The series is based on true events.  Cohen plays the role of Eli Cohen (not related), an Israeli accountant who infiltrated Syria as a deep cover Mossad agent for six years in the 60’s. The older Cohen was behind enemy lines gathering information about Syria’s military plans while posing as Kamel Amin Thaabet, a patriotic Syrian shipping magnate. Like Sacha Baron Cohen’s movie characters, Eli Cohen got results by going deep into character, but for real.  Cohen playing the role of a undercover spy is rather poetic. The Spy is now available on Netflix.

Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever, including good things like stunning movies on Netflix. September will see several great movies leave the service. Here’s a quick list of five great films to check out before they disappear.

1. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

The futuristic, dystopian crime film.  

2. The Fast and the Furious (2001)

About an LA cop struggling with his loyalties when he encounters the world of street racing.

3. Sweeny Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

  A humorous, high-quality musical which follows a murderous London hair cutter.

4. The Dark Night (2008)

 A Joker centered movie about Batman’s worst enemy.

5. Carol (2015)

  Already classic drama about an aspiring photographer’s relationship with an older woman.

In a significant increase, Netflix has announced that it will release ten films in theaters this fall with the intention of competing for the Oscars. The service has made movies for the Oscars before including well respected films Beasts of No Nation in 2015, then Roma, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and Mowgli in 2018.  The schedule for 2019 follows (First Date is Theatre Date, Second Date is Netflix Date):

  • The Launderette with Meryl Streep  – Sep 7  | Oct 18
  • Dolemite Is My Name with Eddie Murphy – Oct 4  | Oct 25
  • The King with Robert Pattinson – Oct 11 | Nov 1
  • Martin Scorsese’s The Irishman with Robert de Niro – Nov 1 | Nov 27
  • Earthquake Bird with Alicia Vikander –  Nov 1 | Nov 15
  • Marriage Story with Scarlett Johansson – Nov 6 | Dec 6
  • Klaus -animated – Nov 8 |Nov 15
  • I Lost My Body – French animated – Nov 15 | Nov 29
  • Atlantics – French drama – Nov 15 | Nov 29
  • The Two Popes with Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce – Nov 27 | Dec 20

 

When talking about video game streaming, we aren’t discussing sites like Twitch that allow gamers to broadcast their game play online for others to watch. Video game streaming is a new way games can be delivered and played – it’s la carte. Think Netflix for video games, where the games are stored in the cloud and can be accessed on a device to be played without the disc and without the console.

Play devices could be your TV, phone, PC, laptop or iPad … all the above. Currently, Sony’s Playstation Now is the only full version available, but it’s accessibility is limited to PS4’s or PC’s for a subscription of around $100 dollars a year. For that users get access to a library of nearly 1,000 old and new games.

Competition is on the way from GeForce Now and Google Stadia, both of which are in test stages. Google Stadia is set to release a version of its service in November.  It will work on pretty much any device that has access to Google Chrome. You will be able use your mouse and keyboard on a PC/Laptop or buy a controller for TV gameplay. If you already have a controller that has Bluetooth capabilities, you can use that or buy Google’s own controller product that will surely have a faster response time since it is specific for this service.

It is important to remember that you will need a very stable internet connection to enjoy these services the way they were meant to be enjoyed.  After all, you’re playing a game that is stored in the cloud and is played over an online server.

Is this the future of gaming or will a console and disc services always have their place? Time will tell, but we will have a good idea of how popular these services are within the next year as the betas become full products.

We have been learning more and more about Disney+ weekly as the company continues to release new information ahead of its November 12th release date. We reported a ton of announcements regarding content last week and now we have some information on their streaming limits.

One Disney+ account will be given permission to stream on up to 10 devices – sounds like a generous offer next to Netflix, which allows permission for only 1, 2, or 4 devices.  Example: If you have a Disney+ account on your TV, your iPhone, and iPad, you’re at three right off the bat. Let’s assume a family of four has Disney+ on each of their phones and on a TV in each of their bedrooms, that’s 7. Throw the family room into the mix and it’s up to 8.

Disney’s Special Labor Day Weekend Offer:

Disney Club members can sign up for a 3-year package of Disney+ over Labor Day Weekend for a cost of $141, a package that will cost regular folks $70 a year or $210 for 3-years.  

On its November 12th US launch, Disney + will offer 300 movie titles, a number that will grow to 500 in the first year, and 7,500 TV episodes.  The service will be the exclusive home for all Disney theatrical releases going forward.  At launch you’ll see Captain Marvel, Iron Man, Iron Man 3 and Thor: The Dark World as well as Star Wars films The Phantom Menace, Attack of the Clones, Revenge of the Sith, A New Hope, The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, The Force Awakens and Rogue One. Avengers: Endgame will come on December 11th. Also coming are several original series: a live-action Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, an Obi-Wan Kenobi series starring Ewan McGregor, three Marvel series called Ms Marvel, Moon Knight and She-Hulk.  Then there’s Muppets Now and a Lizzy McGuire revival. Other New Shows at Launch Forky Asks a Question SparkShorts Marvel’s Hero Project High School Musical: The Musical: The Series Encore! The Imagineering Story The World According to Jeff Goldblum Year One Movies From Marvel: Ant-man and the Wasp Avengers: Endgame Avengers: Infinity War Black Panther Captain America: The Winter Soldier Guardians of the Galaxy Iron Man 2 Thor: Ragnarok From Star Wars The Last Jedi, Solo and The Rise of Skywalker From Pixar Toy Story 4 Year One Original Shows The Falcon and the Winter Soldier Marvel’s 616 Lamp Life Monsters at Work Star Wars: The Clone Wars Into the Unknown: Making Frozen 2 Be Our Chef Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies (working title) Diary of a Female President Magic of Animal Kingdom (Re)Connect Rogue Trip Shop Class (working title) Year One Original Movies Noelle The Phineas and Ferb Movie (working title) Stargirl Timmy Failure Togo Day One Film Library 101 Dalmatians A Bug’s Life A Goofy Movie An Extremely Goofy Movie Bambi Bao Big Hero 6 Born in China Cars Fantasia Finding Dory Finding Nemo Free Solo Frozen Fun and Fancy Free Hercules High School Musical Honey I Shrunk the Kids Inside Out Iron Man Lady and the Tramp Lilo & Stitch Mary Poppins Mickey, Donald, Goofy: The Three Musketeers Mickey’s Once Upon a Christmas Moana Monsters University Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Pixar Short Films Collection Vol 1 Ratatouille Remember the Titans Rogue One: A Star Wars Story Sleeping Beauty Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones Star Wars: Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Star Wars: Episode IV: A New Hope Star Wars: Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back Star Wars: Episode VI: Return of the Jedi Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens Steamboat Willie The Good Dinosaur The Incredibles The Little Mermaid The Parent Trap (1961) The Prince & The Pauper (1990) The Princess Diaries The Rocketeer The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (short) The Sword in the Stone The Three Caballeros Thor: The Dark World Toy Story Tron (1982) Up Wall-E Zootopia Day One TV Library Amazing Planet Andi Mack (seasons one-three) Boy Meets World Brain Games Dog Whisperer with Cesar Millan Dr. K’s Exotic Animals Dr. Oakley Yukon Vet Drain the Ocean DuckTales (1987) DuckTales (2016, season one) Earth Live Goof Troop Great Migrations Howie Mandel’s Animals Doing Things Kim Possible Malcolm in the Middle Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy (animated series) Marvel’s Ultimate Spider-Man (animated series) Mickey and the Roadster Racers (seasons one and two) Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Mickey Mouse Shorts One Strange Rock Raven’s Home Rocky Mountain Animal Rescue Star Wars Rebels Star Wars: The Clone Wars (series) That’s So Raven The Incredible Dr. Pol The Simpsons Unlikely Animal Friends Wicked Tuna

After much speculation from the fan base, Disney finally unveiled something at the D23 Expo 2019: a self-promoting documentary series titled “One Day at Disney.”  This series will take viewers behind the scenes with the Walt Disney Company performers who bring the magic to life in Disney Parks, Disney Theaters and Walt Disney Imagining. Those featured in the Disney documentary are:

● Eric Baker – a Walt Disney Imagineer who has overseen the creation of detailed props within Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge, the newest land at Disneyland and Walt Disney World Resorts.

● Ashley Girdich – a Research and Development Project Manager who helps teams execute innovative robotics technology projects at Disney parks.

● Eric Goldberg – an animator known for creating the Genie in Aladdin, Phil in Hercules, and animating Mickey Mouse in the short film Get a Horse! directing “Pocahontas”

● Mark Gonzales – a worker on the world-famous Disneyland Railroad.

● Grace Lee – a Senior Illustration Manager at Disney Worldwide Publishing.

● Zamavus “Zama” Magudulela – a South African actor currently playing Rafiki in The Lion King.

● Ryan Meinerding – Marvel Studio’s Head of Visual Development.

● Dr. Natalie Mylniczenko – a Veterinarian who cares for creatures large and small at Walt Disney World Resort.

● Jerome Ranft – a Pixar artist who created detailed sculptures for animators to use in films including Finding Nemo, Toy Story 3 and Ratatouille.

● Robin Roberts – a former ESPN sportscaster who has been co-anchoring on Good Morning America since 2005.

The Roku Channel is a two-year-old streaming service with 30.5 million users is offering a new Kids and Family portal, which is going live the week of August 19th.

Rob Holmes, VP of programming and engagement for Roku said, “We recognize that it can be a challenge to find quality kids and family entertainment across multiple streaming channels, particularly free, ad-supported options.”

With that in mind, Roku has bundled 7,000 free, ad-supported movies and TV episodes and they promise the ad intrusions will be 60% less than on standard TV.  Participating programmers include: Hasbro Company, DHX Media, Happy Kids TV, Lionsgate, Mattel, Moonbug and pocket.watch, among others. Brands include: Care Bears, The Cat in the Hat, Leapfrog, Little Baby Bum, My Little Pony, Rev & Roll, Super Mario Brothers and Thomas and Friends.  Premium channel viewers will see even more options.

Roku’s new family friendly portal includes a PIN-based system for parents to monitor the content their children watch. The free-to-consumer, ad-supported content is the advantage Roku brings to the market against some fierce completion from the paid offerings of Netflix and Disney+.

If money equals success, our friends at Apple are going for it.  The Financial Times reports that the company is increasing its budget for content from $1 billion – which sounds a lot like Netflix’s reported budget for this year – to $5 billion.  With that bankroll they’ll assure themselves of a competitive position against Netflix, Amazon, HBO, Hulu and Disney +.

One particular Apple program, The Morning Show, is reportedly budgeted at $300 million for just the first two seasons, which makes it more expensive than HBO’s Games of Thrones that is estimated to have cost a mere $15 million a season.  The math says one season of The Morning Show will cost more than the entire run of Thrones. Nuts.

Apple is throwing big money and a-list talent into its efforts to establish a dominant position in the streaming industry. Jennifer Anniston, Steve Carell and Reese Witherspoon lead in The Morning Show cast while producing talent like Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg are also contributing content. An interesting side story that comes out of all this content expansion is the need for lots of talent, both back stage and in front of the camera.  There will be fewer starving actors in the future.