I’m Excited About Guardians of the Galaxy, But Not Why You Think

In the 1990’s comic book movies were for comic book fans to not enjoy. In fairness, this is not much different than traditional book fans and most of the movies made from them, but comic book fans are just rabid about sticking to stories. If the story is too much then at the very least, it’s expected they stay true to who characters are or were. I know this because I am a comic book fan and cringe when I see characters molded into Hollywood super-types instead of highlighting the deep multidimensional traits common in our heroes.

In any case, the Guardians of the Galaxy (GotG), one of my favorite Marvel teams, is in process of making it to the big screen. Part of me wants to jump up and down in excitement. In my opinion GotG is much more fun and interesting than The Avengers. I know, that’s crazy talk for many people but that’s what I think. Another part of me is worried. Worried Hollywood will do to GotG what they did to Daredevil, or Parallax, Deadpool, etc.. But really the movie isn’t what is getting me excited about GotG. It’s something else.

A few years back I started to read Nova mainly because I had read most of the Green Lantern books that were available. I like cosmic level and/or SciFi stuff and this, like GL, fit the bill. It even is sometimes jokingly referred to as Marvels lanterns as there is some similarities. As I read more and more I started to realize how interesting of a character Rider (Nova) was. And from there I went to read Annihilation followed by GotG. It was good stuff but the creative team decided to focus on other characters in the cosmic realm. I ended up following the writers through their other cosmic teams but never felt the same pull to them as I did GotG.

But there is hope again. Bendis and McNiven are writing a new series! In general it sounds great (except the Iron Man part…). We are getting Star-Lord back. Star-Lord! One of my favorites! That also brings hope for Rider at some point down line as well. We also get Rocket Racoon, Groot, Drax and Gamora (it looks like).

I’m hoping Bendis and McNiven can take the team in a direction that finally solidifies them as THE cosmic team in the Marvel Universes. And also drop Iron Man. Seriously. Well, unless we can see Nova wipe the floor with Iron Man’s weak tech.

So that’s why I’m excited. There is hope for a great cosmic team to be in the forefront again. The movie is nice but the books will be where the action and creativity will shine.

 

Guardians Of The Galaxy #1. Read more at IGN.

What I Want From a Home Theater PC/Digital Media Receiver

A few years ago I sat down to figure out how much I was paying in cable versus the amount of time I was using it. I found that I really only watched a handful of shows and could probably save money by buying the seasons. In other words I was a normal casual TV watcher. The next course of action was easy because for me it was a no brainer. I cut cable. I haven’t wanted to go back.

Today I use a PS3 to watch Netflix and Amazon while relaxing at home. On the go its Android devices to watch Google Play and Netflix. These are great services and, overall, I’m happy with the content they provide (though Netflix seems to go up and down in terms of stability..).

I just read about the newer BoxeeTV after hearing about it in some podcasts. I like it’s idea but, for me, it still isn’t what I really want out of an entertainment device. I like the idea it uses cloud storage because it should make it easier to stream the content to other devices as well (at least in theory). It’s nice on general functionality now, but I can’t see it as a long term solution. I still have two issue with the designs of Boxee and the like that keep me waiting to put down money on a dedicated HTPC/DMR.

When I want to watch something that I will be paying for I want to feel like the customer. I want to feel like I’m getting the best price for the item I’m purchasing. Simple concept. So far I’ve yet to see a device which makes me feel this way. Instead, I feel like I get access to one or more video services where I can pay their price if I choose to buy/rent/subscribe. Most of the time I know what I want to watch and what I really want the device to do is search across all the services I have accounts on for the best price. Am I a Netflix member and it’s there? Great! Take me there! Is it, $0.50 cheaper on Google Play than Amazon VOD? Let’s buy it from Google then. In the end I don’t much care who is providing the content so much that it’s legal, I am getting it at the best price and am able to access it when I want to watch it. As a bonus it would be nice to tell the difference between watching it because it’s in a subscription and owning a watch it forever license.

The other item is not something a HTPC/DMR company can really influence directly in my opnion. I believe that when I purchase a video online I’m actually purchasing a license to stream the content. Not all services are available on all devices (as I eluded to before with Amazon not being on my tablet). Why can’t I import my licenses from provider A to provider B? At the very least why can’t I do it if provider A changes its business to something else (or goes out of business)? The quick argument against license import/export would probably be about how a customer could move away to another service but, honestly, that wouldn’t be a major problem. In fact, it could be a benefit  Someone who moves  is likely moving over to make the other service the sole provider of their content due to price/convenience/access for their specific situation. This would mean future revenue from the person. The original seller wouldn’t lose the money already made by selling the license and would gain back bandwidth by not needing to stream the content to the user. The also consumer wins here as well as they can gain the best access and use the service(s) they wish to use at any time. It’s not remotely like this today and I’ve been burnt in the past by companies deciding to change direction and cut access to purchased content. For this reason I can’t see any of the devices (or services) today as a long term buy nor a replacement for buying a blue ray or dvd.

The closest option seems to be XMBC but it also seems to be more channel focused instead of content focused and the issues around future access still exist from the big players. Things do seem to be moving in the right directions but, for now buying content in a physical media format is the safest bet for watching later.