Categories
Tips Video

Movies Anywhere

One of the possible downsides to having so many different purchasing options is that in oder to get the best deals, you have to stop around. One area where people look for deals is with movies. The biggest problem to today’s movie landscape is that there are two main competitors, when it comes to purchasing content; Amazon and iTunes. The most annoying aspect to this is that if you purchase a movie on Amazon you cannot watch it on iTunes, and vice versa. There was one exception to this, Disney Movies.

If there were one company that you would think would want to charge you every time for every movie on every service, it would be Disney. However, this was not the case. Disney actually allowed all of their movies to be purchased once and watched on iTunes or Google Play. This included all Disney movies, Pixar Movies and Marvel movies. This is a great solution for Disney Movies, but what about non-Disney Movies?

Movies Anywhere

Movies Anywhere takes the Disney Movies Anywhere concept and expands it to more than just Disney. Movies Anywhere will allow you to purchase a movie from iTunes or Google Play and play it anywhere. The movie studios that are involved with Movies Anywhere are:

  • Walt Disney Studios
  • 20th Century Fox
  • Universal Pictures
  • Warner Bros. Entertainment

There is one additional advantage to Movies Anywhere, and it is a big one.

Additional Viewing Locations

Being able to watch your movies on iTunes and Google Play is great. However, it would be very helpful, for many, to be able to use their Amazon Fire TV to watch the movies that they have purchased. With Movies Anywhere, this is possible, not because you can download a Vudu app to the Fire TV, but because Amazon is also part of the Movies Anywhere service. This means that you can watch the movies that you have purchased through Amazon.

Ultraviolet

Ultraviolet is a service that wanted to become the one-stop shop for your movies. However, this did not pan out as they might have hoped. Particularly since Apple was not on board. With Movies Anywhere, Ultraviolet is likely to disappear. If you, like me, never redeemed any of the ultraviolet codes that you received with your purchased DVDs and Blu-Rays, you can now do something with them. If the movie studio that produced the movie is supported by the Movies Anywhere service, you can use that code on the service to redeem the movie.

Downsides

The inclusion of all of these means that you now have a selection of even more movies than before. There are still two companies that are not included, Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate Films. This means that not everything you purchase will be available through everywhere.

Tip for Purchasing Movies

There are two tips that I have for purchasing movies.

First Tip

What the lack of all movie studios being on the Movies Anywhere service means that some movies are not available. What this means you for is that you should continue to purchase movies, that are not on the service, from whichever service you primarily watch movies. If you watch most of your movies on an Amazon Fire, then continue to buy from Amazon. If you use an Apple TV, then continue to use iTunes to purchase your content. I recommend this because if Paramount and Lionsgate do come to Movies Anywhere, these movies will then be available everywhere. I also recommend this because even if the two studios are not added, you can still watch your movies using the application that you enjoy most.

Second Tip

The second tip I have is to always look for deals. You can purchase movies from Vudu, Google Play, Amazon, or iTunes and the movies will appear on all of the services. Therefore, it is a good idea to see where the movie is the least inexpensive and available on Movies Anywhere. You can see which movies are available on Movies Anywhere by doing a search from the homepage.

Final Thoughts

If you like looking for deals and prefer to be able to search any of the participating web stores, but still want to watch your content wherever you want, then Movies Anywhere is a good service to sign up for. The fact that Amazon, Apple and Google Play all participate means that a vast majority of users will be covered. If someone in 2007 said that you could purchase a movie on one platform and watch it on another, they would think that you were insane. However, in 2017, it is the case, and you can do just that with Movies Anywhere. If you have a Disney Movies Anywhere account, I highly recommend moving your collection over to Movies Anywhere, sooner rather than later.

Categories
Tips

European Union E-book Pricing

Beginning January 1st, 2015, prepare for E-book prices in the European Union (EU) to rise. There reason for increased e-book prices is because the EU is going to be changing the rules on Value Added Tax (VAT) that is require for e-book prices. Currently, e-book retailers like Amazon and Apple have been using the Distributor’s country of origin, Luxembourg, as the rate for VAT. Why choose Luxembourg, it is quite simple, they have the lowest VAT out of all EU countries at 3%.

The rules for online purchases are changing. Instead of being based on the distributor’s country of origin, VAT must now be based upon the purchaser’s country. This means that publishers will need to adjust their prices on Amazon and Apple.

Publishers should have received emails from both Amazon and Apple regarding these changes. Within Amazon’s email, they stated that they will automatically make the necessary adjustments, on or shortly after January 1st, 2015. However, Apple states:

The customer prices you deliver to iBooks are customer facing prices which include VAT, while Apple’s commission and the publisher’s proceeds are calculated after VAT is deducted. We will not be making any automatic adjustments to your prices to reflect any new VAT rates. Unless you update your prices on iBooks, your proceeds for some book sales in the EU may change.

See the table at the bottom of the page for what the new VAT rates will be in each country.

The differing approaches to e-book pricing has me thinking “Where should the burden lie for making adjustments to e-book prices?”. Should the burden be placed on the publisher to manually adjusts all of their prices, or should this be a service of the e-book distributor (Amazon and Apple). I am honestly not sure where the responsibility should be placed. Currently, if the publisher is solely responsible for setting prices, and the distributor does not modify the price in anyway, shape or form, as is the case with Apple, then the publisher should be responsible for setting the prices. However, if the distributor has ultimate discretion over pricing, as is the case with Amazon, then the distributor should be increasing the price.

There are some that will argue that the distributor should automatically be updating the price, and I can see this argument. However, Apple is forcing publishers to change their prices. With Apple, you can schedule the date that a new price goes into effect, so you do not have to do this on January 1st. Conversely, Amazon does not allow you to do this, likely why Amazon is going to handle updating the prices on the publisher’s behalf.

I have created an E-book pricing calculator, so you can calculate the minimum amount you would need to set your e-book at in each country in order to take into account of VAT, and maintain the same general revenue from each book sale.

VAT Rate Applied to eBooks (By Country)
Austria 20%
Belgium 20%
Bulgaria 20%
Croatia 25%
Cyprus 19%
Czech Republic 21%
Denmark 25%
Estonia 20%
Finland 24%
France 5.50%
Germany 19%
Greece 23%
Hungary 27%
Ireland 23%
Italy 22%
Latvia 21%
Lithuania 21%
Luxembourg 3%
Malta 18%
Netherlands 21%
Poland 23%
Portugal 23%
Romania 24%
Slovakia 20%
Slovenia 22%
Spain 21%
Sweden 25%
UK 20%
Categories
Apple Tips

Food Tip: How to get Four warm pieces of toast out of a two slice toaster

I’m a firm believer that cereal is good for dinner. One of my favorite cereals is Frosted Flakes. The best accompaniment of Frosted Flakes is toast. We only have a two slice toaster so I have developed a way to get four good slices of toast out of a two slice toaster.

Here are the steps:

  1. Place two slices of bread in the toaster.
  2. Toast the bread.
  3. Wait for the bread to be toasted.
  4. Place the newly toasted bread on a plate.
  5. Toast the next two slices of bread.
  6. Wait for the second set of two slices to finish.
  7. Place to second set of two slices on a plate.
  8. Take the first two slices of toast and place them back in the toaster.
  9. Start the toaster again.
  10. Butter the second set of toast.
  11. Once the second set of toast is buttered, cancel the first set.
  12. Butter the first set of toast.

That’s how you get four good slices of bread out of a two-slice toaster. It will all keep them warm and toasty.

Categories
blog Tips

Google Reader

I don’t think google reader gets enough credit for some of the little additions that it puts into the software. I use Google reader exclusively as my RSS aggregation utility of choice. Not only because it’s simple to use, but mostly because then I do not have to worry about syncing between multiple clients, and thus re-reading what I’ve already read through once.

But the thing that most don’t realize is that it can give statistics on all sorts of things. Anything from which feeds you do not read, to which ones you read the most. To even how many other subscribers are subscribing the same feeds you are reading. For instance, see the image below.

Most Obscure in my RSS Feeds
Most Obscure in my RSS Feeds

The ability to see how many others are subscribed to the same feeds is quite unique. Granted, don’t take the numbers as the total number of subscribers, it’s just the same number of subscribers to that exact feed. Sadly, I’m the only subscriber to my own feed 🙁 Oh well, not the end of the world. I guess I should post more often, I might get more readers.

The other cool thing within Google Reader is the overall Trend Data. You can see how much information you’ve received, read, shared, and starred over the last 30 days. Too bad they don’t keep the historical data as well. But that’s a whole lot of data to really keep, so it’s understandable as to why they cannot keep this information. See the image below for my stats from 04/07/09 to 05/07/09.

30 Day Google Trends Data
30 Day Google Trends Data

I suggest people use google reader for their RSS reader, because you don’t have to sync, it works on mobile phones as well as on desktop clients, and you can just browse and find what type of content you wish to read. Give it a try.

Categories
Apple blog Tips

Tip: iPhone Photos

To pull your iPhone photos off of your phone, connect it to any computer, and use your favorite Photo application to obtain the images. on the Mac, you can use IPhoto, this will preserve the XIF data and import the photos. They are initally at 1600×1200 resolution. On windows, feel free to use MSPaint or Even Word. I’m pretty sure Photoshop Express would allow this too….