Roku Declares We’re Now in “The Streaming Decade”

Roku home menu during Halloween 2019

The volume in and around Roku is growing louder (emphasis mine):

We have now entered the streaming decade when we believe consumers around the world will choose streaming as their primary way of viewing TV,” Roku CEO Anthony Wood wrote in his letter to investors. Roku believes that by 2024, half of all US households with a TV will have either cut the cord or never had cable to begin with.

Roku predicts half of US households with a TV will cut the cord by 2024 – The Verge

Our household cut the cord from cable TV long ago, going back a couple times just to see if things had changed (they hadn’t). Cable TV was all about a bunch of channels not worth watching, a ton of commercials and suspect billing practices brimming with fees.

So, when Roku claims this decade as “the streaming decade” my ears perked up. Will this be the decade (2020-2030) that most people cut the cable TV cord? They believe by 2024 50% of households with a TV will not have cable TV.

As new streaming channels open up that are available through Roku, this will increase its presence:

…it would seem fair to assume that Roku may have grown net adds naturally by about 700,000 accounts, bringing the total number of new accounts to around 4 million. It could imply that of Disney’s 26 million new streaming subscribers; Roku only saw a benefit of an additional 600,000 new accounts above its natural rate of growth. 

Roku’s Post-Earnings Plunge May Only Be The Start via Forbes

Honestly, with the excessive expense of cable TV compared to cord cutting alternatives I’m surprised we aren’t already past the 50%. Then again, in more rural areas high speed bandwidth might not be as widespread.

If that turns out to be true, that’s quite the tipping point.

Have you cut the cord yet? Do you still have cable TV?

30+ more Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Reviews – the future of Star Wars is on Disney Plus + All 9 Films Ranked

Disney didn’t spend billions buying Star Wars to roll out a few movies and call it quits.

The company has already confirmed that audiences will be getting an Obi-Wan Kenobi series, featuring Ewan McGregor as the Jedi Master, as well as a series that follows K-2SO and Cassian Andor from “Rogue One.”

After ‘The Rise of Skywalker’ the future of Star Wars is on Disney Plus

Their streaming service Disney+ is where we’re getting more Star Wars for the next couple years. In 2022, Disney promises another Star Wars movie will appear, but it won’t be dealing with the Skywalker clan.

Ranking All 9 Skywalker Saga Films

Here, then, is my ranking — best to worst — of all the Skywalker saga films (also see Letterboxd list):

  1. Star Wars IV: A New Hope ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Star Wars V: Empire Strikes Back ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️½
  3. Star Wars VI: The Return of the Jedi ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Star Wars VII: The Force Awakens ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Star Wars XI: The Rise of Skywalker ⭐️⭐️½
  7. Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones ⭐️⭐️½
  8. Star Wars I: The Phantom Menance ⭐️⭐️
  9. Star Wars VIII: The Last Jedi ⭐️½

Based on our recommendation system, only the five of the nine films are recommended to watch. Yes, that means you’re largely skipping the prequels — don’t really need Anakin Skywalker’s formulative years — and the new films. I could make the argument those films are unnecessary, too.

Only The Force Awakens makes the cut because it promised a new adventure with some creative ideas (like Finn being a stormtrooper turned good), but alas most of that was ruined in The Last Jedi and it was probably too far gone to come back to it without major retconning for The Rise of Skywalker.

I am interested in seeing future Star Wars films, but want them to be spinoffs on cool races in places we haven’t seen or been before. The Mandalorian is a promising direction, but we’ll see if more of that unfolds in the future.

SPOILERS ahead, yes, of course.

Reviews by Others

What do other moviegoers think of Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker?

Recommended

  1. A Taste of Spongey (Rating: Good): “It’s a mixed bag to say the least, and I am disappointed they couldn’t go out with a bigger bang that made it easy to love. I get why people are being harsher but my better nature has to take it over and say that the was movie was good, but not exactly THAT good compared to what I wanted and even on its own.”
  2. Bunkazilla: “A messy, drawn-out, box-ticking, fan-servicing final chapter that, thanks to good acting, Chris Terrio’s script and some ace direction from J.J. Abrams (who shows the same flair for character moments through original action scenes he has done since the ALIAS pilot), still manages to stick the landing.”
  3. Colin McMahon: “I didn’t hate the movie. I walked out of the theater feeling satisfied and a day later that feeling continues. Yes, it’s not amazing, but it’s far from horrible either.”
  4. Confessions of an Unemployed Real OC Housewife (4/5): “Overall, I thought the movie was a great way to “end” the Saga. I honestly don’t think this is the end. I know we have some more amazing things to see.”
  5. Cup of Tea Reviews: “I had a lot of fun. It evoked all the right emotions for me. While I can see the flaws, the movie generated enough good feeling and positivity that I can honestly say I liked it a lot.”
  6. Dexter Discuss: “Not everyone will like it. In fact, some people will absolutely hate it. For me though it was probably the most fun and wild Star Wars film for better or worse. Just don’t think about things too much: take it at face value and you will enjoy it much more.”
  7. dreager (7/10): “The action and effects should still keep you busy though and the film is technically sound. The writing is good and at the very least you can see how there was a lot of effort put in here. I’d recommend checking this film out whether you are a Star Wars fan or not.”
  8. Herjuk’s Blog: “Given what JJ Abrams had to work with following the Last Jedi, this is better than what I expected, it is an enjoyable film, it respects its heritage and honours it where it can.  I doubt many will make it their best Star Wars movie but it is certainly better than many in the franchise.”
  9. I Am The Real Mace Windu (8.5/10): ” The strengths of this film are the cast, the relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren and Princess Leia’s backstory. The weaknesses of the film is the heavy plot, the ending kiss, and a character missing from the film.”
  10. Kendall Lacey’s Webworld: “I‘m being vague because I am trying not to spoil things, I‘m also not here to slay the film, I did enjoy it, no doubt, but it will never be up there with IV, V and VI, or III.”
  11. Musings of a Middle-Aged Geek: “…this movie had a lot of tables to wait on, and not everyone or everything will get the same level of service. Given the Hurculean task of trying to wrap a nice, neat bow on nine Star Wars movies over 42 years (not including the standalone movies, TV and streaming spinoffs), I’m frankly astonished that it came out as enjoyable as it did.”
  12. That Review Site (Grade: A-): “As for this movie though, I loved a lot of it, the battles, the duels, the music, and the ending. Just like we don’t complain about the Ewoks fighting in battles with the heroes, 30 years from now, no one is gonna complain about the fairly ignorable mistakes.”
  13. rosslangager: “If the director of the movie won’t approaches these details like they matter, why should anyone else? If cinematic storytelling is such a painfully cheap trick to J.J. Abrams, why give it a second thought, let alone a third or a fourth?”
  14. Sean Ian Mills (7/10): “I loved almost all of the twists and surprises and came out of the movie feeling excited and entertained. A couple of the fan service things made me roll my eyes, but I’m pleased with the overall film. It was all perfectly fine.”
  15. Tony Rossi: “And this moment serves as a fitting ending for the saga of a family that has captivated our attention for generations with morality plays about the struggle between good and evil inside all of us.”

Not Recommended (or on the fence)

  1. Aaron / TGYK: “I really enjoyed this film, but I would be lying if I said it was one of my favorites. I think it is the worst of the sequel trilogy, but that does not mean it is a bad film!”
  2. Carlo Simone: “In the end this film could have been a lot better, but it could have also easily turned out a lot worse. If JJ Abrams had done a little less pandering to the audience, and spent more time on the script I could be sitting here writing about a great time at the cinema. Alas, it’s not to be.”
  3. Earl Hopkins (5.3/10): “Ten years from now, this trilogy will be remembered for its calculated reveals and safe character choices. It delivered all the ground-breaking visuals and signature plot tropes viewers have been accustomed to seeing. But in doing that, it veered away from what made the previous films uniquely their own. “The Rise of Skywalker” suffered from a lack of cohesion and originality, thus bringing the end of the saga to an unmemorable finish.”
  4. Grant Wilson / Fiction Machine: “Describing The Rise of Skywalker as a good film is to be overly charitable, but it is easier to describe it as a fun one. Spaceships fly around. People exchange gunfire in pitched battles. Good battles evil, and destinies are resolved.”
  5. Isabelle Reviews Movies (Grade: C+): “…it got a bit tiresome and redundant. The pacing was also meandering at times, with a lot of planet hopping and checking in with various characters. I also feel like the newest side characters which consisted of Keri Russell and Naomi Ackie as well as Rose (Kelly Marie Tran) did not have a lot to do.”
  6. La Vie En Rouge: “Now, let it be said: I do not care about Star Wars. It’s a dumb little franchise that was created to sell toys to kids. There’s nothing smart or creative about it. If you like it, fine. But it’s a series of movies that you can watch and turn off your brain off for a while. It’s for children.
  7. Matthew Liedke (2.5/5): “Rise of Skywalker” isn’t bad. It has the entertainment value one expects from a “Star Wars” film and the characters remain enjoyable to follow. However, it fall so short in where it takes its story and many of its characters that it ultimately becomes lackluster.”
  8. Meandering Milieu: “We go from a hard left turn with one film to a hard right turn with the next, which leads to whiplash, and a sense that the story of this last trilogy is more “the clash of egos” than it is “the resolution of a 40 year saga”.”
  9. Movie Reviews by Johnny: “So how do I rate the movie. I can often judge a movie by how many times I closed my eyes and drift off. I counted two times in this film. It was a bit boring. It seemed to have a lot of chase scenes, laser fights, and oh oh…we better get going. Rinse and repeat.”
  10. Not Another Script Guru (Grade: C-): “The result is a clunky by-the-numbers quest that feels derivative at best and like the dregs of appalling fan fiction at worst.”
  11. redmangoreviews: four mini reviews (6.5/10, 7/10, 2/5, 3/5)
  12. Riley’s Ramblings: “It’s not good. I thought I could grant it being “good enough,” but the more I think about it, the less happy I am with this film. J.J. Abrams, stop merrily pooping on my favorite science fiction franchises.”
  13. The Caledonian Critic: “We can barely follow it, we can’t care about it, and it makes our lives worse. Legitimately, I can call this nothing else but the worst ‘Star Wars’ movie, by dint of sheer lack of caring and sheer toxicity of theme. And this is the note we go out on… The sequel trilogy is built on what came before, because it can’t build anything worthwhile for itself.”
  14. The Howler: “To me, The Rise of Skywalker is the strongest film of the sequel trilogy. Rey’s characterization and the trio’s interactions are not enough to make the film live up to other trilogy-closers”
  15. The Stop Button (1/5): “…a disappointing conclusion to a forty-two year-old story. But it’s a far less disappointing conclusion to that story than the one Disney Star Wars started for Ridley, Driver, Boyega, and Isaac four years ago. Though it still manages to be a more disappointing sequel to the previous entry two years ago.”
  16. View From The Cheap Seats: “…it’s hard to say what sort of damage has been done by Episode IX being like this. Overlong, poorly paced, dull, and often very stupid. It brings this era of Star Wars to a close on a terrible note, and makes me question this entire thing.”
  17. Wyatt Crosher: “…we have a flawed finale to what could have been a truly outstanding trilogy of movies. It’s a pretty decent time while it’s going on, but there’s almost nothing I will take away from “The Rise of Skywalker” as a top-tier scene or character development.”

Also see: 35+ Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker Reviews – Rian Johnson Calls Pandering to Star Wars Fans a “Mistake”

Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quote from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.

Dear Netflix, Don’t Go Napster Hunting

Competition for Netflix over the last couple years has ramped up and one way consumers can only hope they will not follow is cracking down too much on piracy.

Napster is the great historical digital media example of what happens when consumers become the criminals.

However, with existing services like Disney+, Hulu, and Apple TV+ already threatening Netflix’s hold on the market along with a few more streaming platforms launching in the near future, it seems that cracking down on password sharing is one way in which Netflix will try to level the playing field.

Is This a Desperate Move by Netflix to Keep up With Disney+?

Sure, Napster is gone. But in large part Spotify has become the new, legal Napster and the traditional physical music model is well past six feet under. Consumers don’t buy (much) physical media for music any more. The same is already happening to movies, but to a lesser extent.

Netflix started — for those who remember anyway — as a better Blockbuster video (today reduced to a single nostalgic act store). You could rent movies and have them sent to you in the mail inexpensively. Streaming would need more years before people had the bandwidth in their homes to make it worthwhile. Netflix started in 1997 and it wasn’t until 2010, a mere 9 years ago that they went after streaming as the ultimate buffet movie concept: binge watch what you want for one low price.

That low price has steadily increased over the last decade. To the point that our family now is edging toward $20/month. We’ve watched the content library shrink while the price has gone up. Yes, Netflix has a lot more original content now and it is still king of the hill with TV series, but the massive movie library it once had is fading fast.

In fact, we watch more movies on Amazon Prime than Netflix. TV series, Netflix is still #1, but it’s going to be dethroned there too eventually as more and more competing services come out. Disney+ already dominates the movie theater, with something like 40-50% of the box office revenue. They’ve got Pixar, Marvel and Fox and of course their own massive library. And, for now, they have offered consumers a great low price for their Disney+ streaming service.

We shouldn’t kid ourselves that when/if Netflix falters, Disney+ will raise their price and lock up more of their content. Consumers need Netflix and others to remain a competitive force to business check Disney+ or else.

Piracy crackdown is the worst way for any of these streaming giants to compete. They will turn off consumers who time and again are out here paying for content in different formats. I think some are tired that we had VHS, then DVD, then Blu-ray and now … 4K UHD (someday 8k …) It didn’t work for music and it won’t work for movies.

Though piracy might make a comeback, it does so in a substantially different online environment than the one at the turn of the millennium. The hard lesson that the film and music industries learned the first time around is that fighting piracy in court is a foolhardy endeavor. You cannot scare people into not pirating things, you can only offer them better alternatives. Perhaps the bundle makes a comeback, but unlike traditional cable, the costs don’t become bloated and prohibitive. But that’s wishful thinking.

Piracy Is Back

If a movie doesn’t do well in the theater there is still some chance to make money on the physical media secondary market but not by continuing to create new formats to buy essentially the same content. That market is eroding and increased focused on treating your customers as crooks could be the perilous path Netflix chooses.

Napster hunting, if you will.

Don’t.

The battle with Napster also instilled an image of the music business as grasping and arrogant. “Even today, the music sector are perceived as control freaks, living in the old world and trying to hold back innovation,” says Smith. “Obviously, that is not the case, but that image still haunts us today. That is one of the biggest downsides of what happened with Napster.”

I’m not advocating piracy as a solution. The solution is and will always be creativity. But don’t kid yourselves thinking that the music business and movie business situation aren’t related (cough! popcorn time cough!)

Since August 2019 when we jumped on board the Regal Unlimited plan as a way to legally watch more movies in the theater. This is a great plan, but fear it won’t last because how long before the movie studios want to have their own deep(er) cut of the buffet movie theater pricing? Greed kills more big businesses than common market sense.

The people who pay — your customers — are not the people you want to target. Just ask Metallica, who took a major publicity hit because of their stance on Napster. It didn’t hurt them that much financially, because they are content creators (Netflix!), but the underlying message from fans was wallet backlash to the industry as a whole.

Camp Chaos video – Warning: language is NSFW!

Visit any Best Buy today and you won’t see aisles and aisles of CDs any more. Their movie section isn’t as large as it once was either.

History has shown that cracking down on fans — restricting, reducing, legally attacking — for any sort of creative endeavor doesn’t — and probably never will — work.

My Advice for Netflix

Here’s my 2 1/2 rusted pennies advice for Netflix: find creative ways to lower your streaming prices (pricing higher for less is business suicide), focus more on producing quality original content instead of as much original garbage as you can buy and, finally, spend whatever money is left convincing the studios that it’s better to partner with you — an established streamer — than trying to cut the pie into (gasp) more streaming services.

TV SERIES Review: The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3 – The Sin ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

The Mandalorian Season 1 Episode 3 Chapter 3 “The Sin” is now streaming on Disney+

Season 1

“Chapter 3 – The Sin”

The Mandalorian turns in Baby Yoda and gets the bounty of baskar steel used to forge powerful new armor. He asks what will happen to baby Yoda during the exchange, which is met unfavorable by the handler. And then it’s back to the cantina to meet Apollo Creed, er Carl Weathers and acquire a new bounty.

Nice to see this episode runtime inching back up at 37 minutes. Would like to see 40+ minute episodes minimum, but this is the right direction. Also, we learn that The Mandalorian appears to have a conscience. Good character arc episode. We are definitely left wanting to see what happens next. Another four star episode for me. I am liking this series a lot so far.

Reviews By Others

Warning: the links that follow may contain significant SPOILERS. They are here and intended to see what others think of the episode after you’ve watched once, twice or more.

  • Brian Salvatore: ” I’m not sure if this is my perception, or the perception at large, but The Mandalorian did not seem like a huge deal when it was announced. I expected an interesting, though pretty low-priority show on Disney+, one that wouldn’t really move the Star Wars needle all that much. I was 100% wrong.”
  • Kevin McNichols: “I really cannot express my excitement for what’s to come with this series, as I can admit the ending of the most recent episode (Episode 3: The Sin) had me excitedly cheering in my seat like a 12 year old. (Note: I am a 35 year old man.)”
  • Ricardo: ” I love seeing the character development of the Mandalorian so far. Also, the action was so good, I even screamed out loud from how excited I was! This episode, in my opinion, was perfect, and I don’t know how they’ll top this.”
  • Josh / Star Wars Thoughts (10/10): “There was just so much to love about this episode. The action sequences were incredible, the suspense and intrigue was very high, and it was great that he went back and rescued the child. We have no idea where they’re heading, but I can’t wait to see it next week.”
  • Tyler Hersko: “Series creator Jon Favreau has referred to “The Mandalorian” as a serialization of “Star Wars,” where viewers will be dying to figure out what happens next in each episode’s weekly installments, and he’s not far off. We might’ve all seen some iteration of this sci-fi story elsewhere, but that doesn’t mean that “The Mandalorian” isn’t a journey worth taking. “

How are you liking The Mandalorian series so far, we’re only 30% in (3 episodes of 10 total for the first season)? What do you think of Episode 3, Chapter 3 “The Sin”? Use the comments below.