Binge Watch Star Wars! Sounds Great but How?

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I couldn’t wait to see Star Wars: The Force Awakens. I was so excited that I decided to purchase and binge watch the first 6 episodes offered online as “Star Wars: The Digital Movie Collection”. I’m writing this small guide to help inform you of the major and minor differences before (or after) committing to purchasing content on one of the digital video platforms. You can read more about my experience below or scroll to the bottom to skip to the important part.

Let me start by saying I’ve been very comfortable as a cord cutter for the last 2 years. I have access to all of the popular streaming services which I have found to be pretty straightforward to operate. As a result of my familiarity, I figured I’d be watching the original Star Wars in a few minutes. I was so wrong! An hour after starting my search my girlfriend was wondering why we weren’t watching the movie yet, and I gave up on the attempt to determine which of the popular streaming services was my best bet. How was it that an hour of research couldn’t get me to the point where I was comfortable making the purchase?! Every platform I encountered limited my ability to watch the movies based on my existing hardware setups at home and work. I’ll admit I’m a picky buyer and I was looking for a platform that would allow me to play on Google, Apple and Microsoft hardware, but consumers are increasingly caught in the middle of the platform battles between Google, Apple, Amazon and Microsoft.

At Yidio, our goal is to help connect consumers directly with their desired TV shows and movies. Much of this information, such as price comparison and direct platform availability, is readily available in our app and on our website. This situation was particularly confusing so I decided to go a level deeper to help you determine which platform might be the best fit for you. I hope this helps!

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Google Play

Price: $89.99

Works on: iOS devices, Android devices, PC, Chromecast, Roku, and various televisions with the Google Play app.

Limitations: iTunes, Apple TV, Amazon devices, Xbox One.

Workaround: Disney Movies Anywhere. You can airplay from an iOS device to an AppleTV with Disney Movies Anywhere, but it does not include Episode IV: A New Hope. It also limits the use of your iOS device and doesn’t always provide full resolution. Disney Movies Anywhere is available on PC, iOS devices, Android devices, Xbox One, Amazon devices, and Roku. Google Play purchases are also sometimes available in the “purchases” section of the YouTube app (which is available on Apple TV), but additional steps may be required to view the content.

Verdict: One of the more open platforms, but has limitations if you also want to easily watch on other platforms, especially Apple.

iTunes

Price: $89.99

Works on: iOS devices, Apple TV, PC.

Limitations: Android devices, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox One.

Workaround: Disney Movies Anywhere. You can cast from an iOS device to a Chromecast with Disney Movies Anywhere from an iOS device or cast from either a Chrome web browser or Android device to a Chromecast using the “cast screen” option, but it isn’t a seamless experience like app enabled casting. Disney Movies Anywhere does not include Episode IV: A New Hope and is available on PC, iOS devices, Android devices, Xbox One, Amazon devices, and Roku.

Verdict: Apple is a very closed platform, only purchase here if you’re already locked into the platform.

Amazon Video

Price: $89.99

Works on: Amazon devices, Android devices, Chromecast (from Android devices), PC, Roku, Xbox One, and various televisions with the Amazon Video app.

Limitations: Apple TV.

Workaround: Amazon app and Disney Movies Anywhere. You can airplay from an iOS device to an Apple TV with the Amazon Video app or Disney Movies Anywhere. You can also cast from either a Chrome web browser or Android device to a Chromecast using the “cast screen” option, but it isn’t a seamless experience like app enabled casting. Disney Movies Anywhere does not include Episode IV: A New Hope, and it is also available on the Xbox One, Amazon devices, and Roku.

Verdict: I wish Amazon enabled casting to Chromecast within its apps. I made my purchase from Amazon because I have Apple, Google, and Microsoft devices and Amazon works on all of those plus my Panasonic TV. It presented the most hardware options for me at the lowest available price.

Microsoft

Price: $89.99

Works on: PC, Xbox One.

Limitations: iOS devices, Android devices, Chromecast, Roku.

Workaround: Disney Movies anywhere. See above for platform and content restrictions.

Verdict: Microsoft is a very closed platform, only purchase here if you’re planning on watching on a PC or Xbox One.

Vudu

Price: $99.99

Works on: PC, iOS devices, Android devices, Chromecast, Roku, Xbox, and various televisions.

Limitations: Price. This is the only platform that currently costs $99.99. Apple TV.

Workaround: Vudu app and Disney Movies Anywhere. You can airplay from an iOS device to an Apple TV with the Vudu app or Disney Movies Anywhere, but it limits the use of your iOS device and doesn’t always provide full resolution.

Verdict: It costs $10 more than all other solutions. It does support Chromecast in-app for iOS (and Android), which is a step above most other non-Google platforms. If you don’t care about the extra $10, this solution has few platform limitations. Vudu also works with Disney Movies Anywhere.

– Christian Peterson –  Finance Guy / Star Wars Fan

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