Tech review: Apps to enhance Oscars night
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The Oscars will be hosted by funny guy Seth MacFarlane, and as always, from the red carpet to the ceremony, you'll want a second screen device to amplify the experience. To help you prep for an evening sure to be filled with hurried acceptance speeches and fabulous dresses, we've nominated these mobile apps:
Taking home the top prize for the best Academy Awards-based mobile is the official Oscars app, published by ABC Digital. Talk about Hollywood patting itself on the back! Oscars, a treasure chest of pop culture, is in a category all its own. You can read up on nominees, view photos and watch trailers and video clips. It also features an Oscars countdown and the interactive MyPicks, so you and your friends can predict the winners.
E! Live from the Red Carpet
Trust us when we say that you and this app should be best friends this awards season. The news and photo feeds contain stories, print and video interviews with celebrities on their outfit choices, and "Extras," which include shorthand bullet-point lists of this year's nominees in every category. Sure, it has amazing coverage of the Academy Awards, but the app also covers the Grammys, SAG Awards, Sundance Film Festival, Golden Globes and Emmys.
The Hollywood Reporter's Oscars-centric mobile app is for students of film. Race to the Oscars will feature live coverage, an aggregated feed of notable Twitter accounts, including film critics Roger Ebert and Leonard Maltin, and a digestible mobile version of The Race Blog, which provides amazing movie news and commentary.
File this app under "well, duh." Though you can't watch 2013 Oscar nominees on the subscription-based movie streaming service just yet, it has created a genre section for past "Oscar-winning Movies." Currently, this category promotes some 65 films, including last year's best-picture winner, "The Artist," among others from years past like "The King's Speech," "Lost in Translation," "Good Will Hunting," "Out of Africa" and "Platoon."
Frequency is a leader in aggregating video content from online channels and social networks. Available only for owners of Apple devices, the app streamlines the online experience by letting users build custom feeds of video channels. You can add specific channels to "Your Highlights," which could include Oscar-related videos, or others specifically focused on movies: Slash Films, Beyond the Trailer or Criterion Collection.
Honorable mention: SnagFilms (iOS, Android; free) is an app for lovers of documentaries and indie films, the movies that take a lot of heart to make but might not get as much mainstream exposure. Awards Hero: Oscars Edition (iOS; free) is a great app for anyone who obsesses over Hollywood's golden statuettes. What sets it apart? You can create voting pools for wagers with friends.
-- Appolicious.com, Tribune Media Services
If during tonight's Academy Awards telecast you see an item you'd love to own, check Amazon. It might be for sale. Amazon's new Entertainment Collectibles Store (amazon.com/entertainmentcollectibles) features 350,000 "unique and rare" collectibles, including autographed photos, original movie posters and costumes and props used in past and present movies. Want John Wayne's gloves from "The Horse Soldiers"? They're available -- for $35,000. -- Peter King
Balance of power
Owners of electric cars know finding a charging station can be daunting. PlugShare, available as an app (iOS, Android; free) or at plugshare.com, lists public charging stations on a map after you type in a ZIP code. PlugShare also lists locations of electric-car owners willing to share their standard household current to give a quick jolt to power-hungry travelers. -- Peter King
Best Buy extends price-match policy
Best Buy will make permanent its holiday price-matching policy to get shoppers to stop using its stores for scouting products they later buy online elsewhere. The policy, designed to end the practice known as "show rooming," takes effect March 3, a company spokesman said. But the electronics retailer also will narrow its window for returning merchandise to 15 days from 30 days. -- Bloomberg News