Why Does it Cost $300 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 12/21/10

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

Who’s buying 3DTVs and 3D Blu-ray players? People who watched 3D movies in theaters, then want to re-live the experience at home. So why are the top movies, like Avatar and Coraline only available as bundles with hardware? What’s the deal?

It’s a matter of greed. Home theater 3D is still a crawling infant, meaning most of the population still needs to buy hardware. But what’s the differentiating factor between Samsung’s 3D set and Panasonic’s, or even Sony’s, if you’re a Costco shopper? How can normal people tell the difference between any Blu-ray player that’s not the PlayStation 3? It’s pretty much impossible, which is why companies’ ads don’t rely on specs or saying their version does 3D better.

But what they are relying on right now is taking movies hostage in order to force people’s hands. Don’t believe me? Check this out.

Avatar, the most wanted 3D movie of all time, is only available in a $300 “starter bundle” from Panasonic that includes two rechargeable 3D glasses. How to Train Your Dragon is in a “starter kit” from Samsung for $280, which includes two 3D active shutter glasses. What happens if you already have one type of TV and just want the other type of movie? Looks like you get two pair of glasses that you can’t use on your set.

There’s also Shrek and Monsters vs. Aliens, which your kids will ask you for, because they’re kids, and they want to see their movies in 3D. Because they’re kids. Kids who don’t know the value of $300.

Why Does it Cost 0 to Buy Avatar on 3D Blu-ray?

So what if you go on eBay and try to get some scalped Avatar action? Oh hello, I’m out $150 for a $30 movie. Thanks jerks!

It gets worse. Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs and Coraline are only available if you buy a Panasonic 3DTV. A TeeVee! And Bolt, which I’m sure is a fine dog movie in the realm of dog movies, is only gettable with Sony TVs. Same with Michael Jackson’s This Is It.

Retailers are also getting in on the exclusivity. My Bloody Valentine and The Last Airbender are Best Buy exclusives, whereas Amazon has some IMAX movies locked down. This, of course, is much less of a big deal, because Best Buy’s movies work just fine on any player.

The good news is that some of these seem to be timed exclusives. Alice in Wonderland was the same $300ish dollars if you bought the pack, but is now available for separate purchase. And there are a number of less desirable (apparently?) titles like Resident Evil, The Polar Express, Step Up 3D and Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs that the manufacturers didn’t think would entice anybody to spend $300 on.

Point being, manufacturers seem to have their heads up each other’s asses on this one. If you want people to get on board your 3D train, don’t make content for it so hard to get! Imagine the scenario where you could only watch NBC’s 3D channel if you had a Samsung TV, then had to get a separate set entirely for ABC’s 3D content. Who’s going to throw down a couple thousand dollars for that scheme?

Your Gadgets Don’t Break As Soon As Your Warranty’s Expired – Your Brain Is Just Wrong

via Gizmodo by Jason Chen on 5/15/09

Wired takes a look at the “phenomenon” of your gadgets breaking just after the warranty on them expire. A conspiracy? No.

There are two components to this. One, manufacturers calculate with extreme thoroughness how long to make their warranties so they don’t have to repair a bunch of products for free. Two, it’s your brain that makes you remember that one time that something broke outside warranty.

“It’s really connected to two things: regret and memory,” says Dan Ariely, author of Predictably Irrational. A gadget that dies a day out of warranty will piss you off a lot more than one that soldiers on until after you’ve lost the certificate. And years later, you’ll probably remember it more acutely, too.


CVS Beverage Prices: Only Off By $997 Or So

via Consumerist by Laura Northrup on 5/14/09

A few weeks apart, in different stores, readers Spencer and Sean spotted the same error on CVS shelf tags. Printing error? Zoned-out employees? Maybe our assumptions are all wrong, and it’s an innovative new pricing strategy.

The same error showed up on bottles of bottled Starbucks Frappucinos and Diet Orange Crush.



Ripoff Alert: Best Buy scamming customers into a $300 HDTV ‘calibration’

via DVICE by Charlie White on 12/30/08


Watch out for electronics retailer Best Buy. The company is reportedly scamming customers, making them think they can purchase a magical $300 “calibration” that can make their HDTVs capable of displaying video with noticeably higher quality. The company is said to be showing its customers HDTV through an HDMI (digital) cable, and comparing that with either standard-def or lower-quality HD over analog component cables.

This is not the first time Best Buy has been accused of such tactics. With more stunts like this, Best Buy could be headed for the bankruptcy junk heap, just like Circuit City. Our advice: look at and touch the electronics at Best Buy, but then go home and compare prices for the actual best buys online.

Via The Consumerist

Voting machine problems? Share your stories

via DVICE by Peter Pachal on 11/4/08


We hope everyone in the U.S. who is able to vote does so today. When you get to your poll, you might encounter any number of machines (check which one on our interactive map), and just like any other device, technical problems can occur. Personally, everything went smoothly for me when I pulled the lever on my precinct’s AVM Prinotmatic machine, although I almost missed the ballot initiative in the bottom right-hand corner. Good thing I read this before I went out.

Any problems where you’re at? We’d love to know about them — share your voting-machine troubles in the comments below.

Logitech Premiere Edition Guitar Is Such, Such Guitar Hero Overkill

via Gizmodo by Mark Wilson on 10/23/08

The Logitech Wireless Guitar Controller, Premiere Edition shows that even a keyboard and mouse manufacturer is ready to challenge Fender in the world of high end game guitars. The $250 PS2/PS3 accessory features a premium build including a genuine wood neck, rosewood fingerboard and metal frets.

Plus you’ll see the wonky Touch Sensitive Neck Slider that will support new functions in Guitar Hero IV (we doubt it’ll do much in Rock Band). The controller will be available this December to anyone willing to pay as much on a guitar controller as they could on a real guitar. And let us apologize in advance for this slightly disappointing, less artsy bonus pic:


NXE requires 128MB space, MS to offer ‘storage solutions’

via Joystiq by Ross Miller on 10/10/08

Microsoft has released an official statement stating that the New Xbox Experience will require 128MB of free space (a hard drive is recommended to “take advantage of some new features”). The company also said that “a small percentage of Xbox 360 owners do not have enough memory to accommodate the update” and will be “offering storage solutions to the Xbox LIVE community.”

Details are promised in the coming weeks, so for now we’re left to wonder how Microsoft plans to provide solutions other than the current option of purchasing a memory card or hard drive. Full statement after the break.

Continue reading NXE requires 128MB space, MS to offer ‘storage solutions’

Intel patent attorneys kick some dirt at AMD

via Engadget by Nilay Patel on 10/9/08
AMD’s breakup into two separate companies is certain to have wide-ranging impact in the industry, and unsurprisingly, Intel’s among the first to react — it’s warning that it has “serious questions about this transaction” as it relates to its patent cross-licensing agreement with AMD and that it’ll “vigorously protect” its intellectual property rights. That’s about as aggro a patent attorney can get without coming to your house and peeing on the lawn (or, uh, filing a lawsuit), so we’ll see how this shakes out — for its part, AMD says that it’s taken the deal into account, and that it’ll “continue respecting Intel’s intellectual property rights, just as we expect them to respect ours.” That’s a respect throwdown, right there — you gonna take that, Intel?

Tantrum Alarm Clock doesn’t make waking up any less annoying

via DVICE by Adam Frucci on 9/22/08


You might hate your alarm clock, waking you up as it does every morning, but think about it from your alarm clock’s perspective. You sleep through its alarms, and when you do deign to wake up when it goes off, you just hit the snooze button and go back to sleep.

How would you react if you were treated this way? Probably in a similar way to this Tantrum-Throwing Alarm clock. When it goes off, it doesn’t just beep at you or play the radio. It waves its arms, flips open and closed, and generally flips out. Just listen to this:

As your selected wake-up time approaches to within five minutes, its feet and body will begin to glow, and when the alarm sounds, it begins tapping its arms lightly, but if you are dilatory in touching its snooze sensor by more than one minute, it launches into its full tantrum routine and turns off after an hour of unabated whining.

Maybe giving your alarm clock human characteristics isn’t such a great idea after all.

Hammacher Schlemmer, via Boing Boing Gadgets

Mott’s Will Help You Water Down Your Juice If You Like [Sneaky Labeling]


via Consumerist by Chris Walters on 9/9/08

Here’s a perfect example of why you should always approach “healthy” labeling on food products with a skeptical eye. Summer did a quick side-by-side comparison of regular Mott’s apple juice with new Mott’s Plus Light. What she found was that except for a few added vitamins, the Light product was just Mott’s juice diluted by 50% with water—but selling for the same price as the 100% juice.

I’ll start by saying that I’m a fan of apple juice, but I’m not a fan of super-sweet beverages. So, for a few years now, I’ve been buying 100% apple juice and watering it down. 50% apple juice & 50% water is the perfect combo for me.

I was at Giant today in Phoenixville, PA and I found a sneaky little ripoff in the juice aisle. I found Mott’s 100% apple juice selling for $2.69. Then, right next to it, I saw another one of Mott’s products also selling for $2.69 — Mott’s Plus Light. The “plus” designation seems to come from the extra vitamins that they throw in there, that’s all. But the word “light” caught my attention because it’s a term that usually means lower sugar content (which is something that I’m always looking for.)

I checked the nutrition facts on the back of the bottle, and sure enough, it had half the sugar of the Mott’s 100% apple juice! Had I just found the perfect beverage for me?

Not so much. A more thorough investigation of the label made me realize the following:

Regular Mott’s | Light Mott’s
120 calories | 60 calories
240mg potassium | 120mg potassium
28g sugar | 14g sugar

And then, the final straw: I saw that the Mott’s Plus Light was 50% juice! I’m no math whiz, but it seems pretty clear that the Mott’s Plus Light is clearly watered-down apple juice being sold at exactly the same price as the Mott’s 100% apple juice. The Mott’s Plus Light label makes it appear so… so much healthier, and it’s clearly designed to trap carb- and sugar-conscious shoppers into buying half the product for the full price!

I’ll keep watering down my own juice; I don’t need to pay Mott’s to help me out with that one.

Yes, Mott’s Plus Light also comes with more of vitamins C & D as well as calcium, but with less iron and potassium, and you’ll be paying twice the price of regular Mott’s for what’s otherwise just watered down juice.