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Amazon takes a shot at Neflix.
February 22, 2011 8:13 AM   Subscribe

Amazon's Prime Streaming service has gone live. The online retailer is adding this to its free 2-day shipping service gratis.
posted by boo_radley (118 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite

 
The streaming video comes free with Amazon Prime, but only if you're paying for Prime. If you've got Prime for free, like they offer for students, you don't get the streaming video.
posted by Faint of Butt at 8:16 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


So from the screenshot it looks like you have to watch the stream with Amazon's UI surrounding it. If there's no full-screen to get rid of that, it already sucks.
posted by blucevalo at 8:18 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Is it only free streaming to a browser for viewing? I have Amazon movies on my TiVo but they're not real-time streams and cost a few bucks for so-so quality.
posted by mathowie at 8:18 AM on February 22, 2011


I just tried it, and you can pop the window out of the browser or go fullscreen. So there is that.
posted by procrastination at 8:21 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't get why people are so excited about the DIVX reboot attempts.
posted by DU at 8:22 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because you don't have to go to a store to buy it, DU! ;)
posted by wierdo at 8:24 AM on February 22, 2011


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.
posted by eyeballkid at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2011 [23 favorites]


I've used Amazon's streaming a few times when I purchased an item and they gave me a few bucks in credit good toward that service. My experience is that it's generally a little lower quality than a Netflix stream, but I lack a set top box capable of viewing Amazon content (PS3/Apple TV is my setup) so it may look nicer on a television screen.

Generally, it looks like the free content is much of the same stuff that's available through Netflix, although there's less of it. Really, what gets me is the pricing and availability differences between services. For Showtime shows, Netflix lags by several seasons. iTunes has the content for purchase, as does Amazon, although Amazon is typically much cheaper.

I'm a fan of the all you can eat plans like Netflix and Hulu (and now Amazon Prime) have, but for those content providers who don't feel it's a good idea, I don't mind rentals. I just wish that any one service would have an edge on pricing or availability.
posted by mikeh at 8:26 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I read about this on the Gizmodo article. It might answer a few more questions than the linked article.

It already has much better selection than netflix streaming did when it first launched. It's a nice extra perk to a service I'm already paying for, I suppose.
posted by zephyr_words at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2011


I don't get why people are so excited about the DIVX reboot attempts.

I cancelled my cable subscription, and don't even own a "Television" anymore, and yet I can watch all the TV shows that I want now, legally. I've been on Netflix instant for a long time, and I use the free Hulu. I already have Prime because the shipping cost savings is amazing, and this is a pretty awesome add-on for that.

So from the screenshot it looks like you have to watch the stream with Amazon's UI surrounding it. If there's no full-screen to get rid of that, it already sucks.

There is a fullscreen button.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2011


As someone who already pays for Prime to get free shipping, I hope this doesn't end up resulting in future price increases.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Here's Engadget's trial of it. Quality sounds good, and of course it plays on various full screen devices. The real limitation is the size of the catalog, but, well, it's a lagniappe.

I've come full circle on digital rentals and really like Amazon's on demand service. $2-$4 to watch a movie any time I feel like it, with excellent quality, it's a great service. Their time limits are a but frustrating, though. The typical deal is watch within 30 days of the rental; that's no problem. But you also have to finish it within 24 hours of starting it. That's a bummer, because you can't finish a movie the next night. Even 30 hours would fix that, and really 54 hours seems most fair to me.

I've got Netflix as well. The streaming catalog is just too limited, I think I have less than a 50% hit rate for stuff I want to watch.
posted by Nelson at 8:27 AM on February 22, 2011


> I don't get why people are so excited about the DIVX reboot attempts.

Uh, no one is really "excited" here, but it is interesting that after so many years of failed attempts (not the least of which was the original Enron/Blockbuster thing), it's actually a successful implementation now.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Me either. That's why I have a small number of metal discs that I keep all my favorite movies and TV shows on, that I watch pretty often and without commercial interruption or hassle.
posted by DU at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [7 favorites]


Amazon's on my shit list this week, so don't get me started...
posted by Thorzdad at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


One thing that Amazon does way better than the others is you can choose to watch HD when you're on a computer.

Netflix doesn't offer many things in HD unless you're on a TV-connected device, and when they are available on a computer, it just "decides" if you get HD or not. I have a dedicated leased line with 3x the bandwidth needed for their HD streams and half the time, it sends down a pixelated SD stream. Hulu doesn't even have HD available to computers.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:30 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


We need to get this stuff sorted in Canada. Our Netflix is still sub par and our bandwidth restrictions/costs are still ridiculous.
posted by ODiV at 8:31 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


On a somewhat unrelated note, has anyone else used the Hulu Plus interface on PS3? It's really pretty damn nice.
posted by mikeh at 8:34 AM on February 22, 2011


Netflix on my BlueRay player is the shit. I've never even put a disk in the thing. I hope they update the code to support amazon.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:35 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Paucity of content aside, what sticks out after a quick browse is how bizarrely crappy the catalog metadata is; it's full of truly weird typos.  I don't understand how errors like "The Bleak House" and "MacBeth" happen, since someone dumb would have to be retyping the names from memory to mess them up that way. Does what's handed over from studio to retailer in a digital distribution deal include only the content itself, rather than the metadata? Seems trivially stupid for it not to include the titles, synopses, etc.
posted by RogerB at 8:37 AM on February 22, 2011


Ooh, neat!
posted by cavalier at 8:39 AM on February 22, 2011


Does NetFlix still have that tie-in with Starz? That was really the only way that quality movie content was getting into their online streaming, and if Amazon doesn't have that, it will still be the same old generic back-catalog, which is like the eBook services bragging about their public domain books.
posted by smackfu at 8:40 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Because for those movies that I really, really care about, I'll always be in control of when, where and how I can watch them when I have them on physical media in my possession.

The alternative is to be subject to the whims of organizations who have no concern over my desires the instant I fail to represent a positive to their return on equity, or who may choose to alter or "disappear" the original form of the movie if it becomes politically expedient.
posted by de void at 8:41 AM on February 22, 2011 [9 favorites]


Netflix still has the Starz deal, but I believe it's only for SD content.
posted by mikeh at 8:42 AM on February 22, 2011


Neat - although it would be even neater if someone would innovate some way of organizing a browsable list of titles besides Popularity, Price, or New Release. Maybe there if some boffin somewhere who is hard at work on a new method of organization, something that keeps similar titles together so that you don't have to go hunting through multiple screens to figure out exactly which seasons of Top Gear are available? When they develop that technology, it will be a grand day, letmetellyou.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:45 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


More competition is a good thing, but if they want to seriously compete with Apple or Netflix their interface needs a lot of work.
posted by starman at 8:47 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


> I hope they update the code to support amazon.

Firmware updates that actually add new features are pretty rare in the world of Blu-Ray players.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, it's a start. Once they get the industry to pull their heads out of their asses and offer movies for download in regular MP4 format without DRM (like they did with Amazon MP3) I'll be happy.

Until then, BitTorrent is still the only option for my XBMC movie collection. It's funny how much effort media companies put into not letting me pay them money for things I'm only going to use how they want anyways.
posted by chundo at 8:48 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Same reason people want to own lots of dead trees with words in them: status, sentimentality, definition of self, tribal messaging.
posted by spicynuts at 8:51 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Or maybe they like to watch movies or read books more frequently than you think they do? I don't get this leap to see having a library/collection as necessarily a form of conspicuous consumption. Sometimes people engage personally with works of art and want to have them around for further contemplation.
posted by RogerB at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Other benefits of little plastic discs:

1) I can loan them to my friends (I don't think I can loan Amazon Prime to my friends).

2) If I go out to some benighted segment of the boonies where bandwidth is terrible, I can still watch them.

3) With the aid of a cheap plastic device about the size of a box of Kleenex, I can still see movies in a random hotel room.

4) I do not have to worry about subterranean licensing agreements undergoing some tectonic shift and my ability to see my favorite films vanishing without note.

People make different choices based on different priorities and wants. Shocking, I know.
posted by adipocere at 8:56 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


Dealbreaker #1 : I did a quick look of supported devices, and it looks like they don't have an app for the PS3 or the Wii.

Dealbreaker #2 : "5000 movies and TV shows." I can't find any indication of how many Netflix offers, but I'm pretty sure it's more than that.

I suspect both issues will change shortly, and when you add better shipping on Amazon, a lower cost than Netflix and their "Watch Instantly" account ($8/mo or $96/yr), I can see how this might be an attractive alternative.
posted by crunchland at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2011


I loves me some Roku - but Netflix has significant image quality issues, especially deep blacks and color fidelity - it's instantly noticeable when we play a Blueray disc and then watch a Netflix movie online. Amazon's not much better.

Also, Amazon's kind of irritating, in that they'll sell some shows by the season, and some only by the episode.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:00 AM on February 22, 2011


Grumble. No PS3 support. Lame.

It'd be *really* nice if we drew up some standards so that consumers didn't need to play mix-n-match to make sure that their devices supported the right services, especially since consumer electronics manufacturers tend to obsolete their products almost instantly, requiring users to go out and buy a new TV/BD Player/STB every time a new service launches.

(And, the funny thing is that a lot of these things are built on standards-compliant bases. Netflix's PS3 GUI is actually HTML5 running on a port of Webkit that Netflix developed in-house)
posted by schmod at 9:02 AM on February 22, 2011


It can't cost Amazon more than 2 or 3 cents of bandwidth cost everytime I stream a movie from this service. How dare they charge money for it. This is just another example of the corporate fat cats trying to destroy the middle class! I demand to pirate all of these movies from free!
posted by gagglezoomer at 9:02 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Firmware updates that actually add new features are pretty rare in the world of Blu-Ray players.

They added something like AccuWeather or MLB.com once. I can see how they would have no incentive to add a feature after I have already bought it.

status, sentimentality, definition of self, tribal messaging

People collect all sorts of things I'll never understand. I had an aunt that flew to England several times a year to buy Beatrix Potter figurines. There are worse things to collect than DVDs or books.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:03 AM on February 22, 2011


We got rid of cable, got a Roku box and Hulu Plus and haven't looked back. As I already have Prime this will be a great addition and add many wasted hours. Ditching cable was a great idea and has saved us a ton of money. No more channel surfing, now if we want to watch something we just watch it and don't spend a bunch of time watching junk.

Of course the big problem is that now there is so much stuff to watch.
posted by misterpatrick at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2011


Dude! HUMAN CENTIPEDE IS AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT FREE STREAMING.
posted by mathowie at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


3) With the aid of a cheap plastic device about the size of a box of Kleenex, I can still see movies in a random hotel room.


Surely...
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:04 AM on February 22, 2011 [14 favorites]


We need to get this stuff sorted in Canada. Our Netflix is still sub par and our bandwidth restrictions/costs are still ridiculous.

I've enjoyed Netflix, and I thought I was a bandwidth hog for watching it so frequently, but I've never come up against my data transfer limit which is apparently 125 GB on the basic plan. That would be about 60 movies worth apparently, which I simply don't have time to watch in a month anyway. It doesn't always have the best movies, but I've certainly spent less at $8 per month than I would renting movies from the local rental shop.

I still manage to find a fair amount of interesting stuff on it that I might have otherwise overlooked. Am I wrong to think the limited selection is temporary as they grow in Canada? Is it going to stay this way?
posted by Hoopo at 9:06 AM on February 22, 2011


Dude! HUMAN CENTIPEDE IS AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT FREE STREAMING.

It's been available for streaming on netflix for months. Somehow I've managed to resist.
posted by dersins at 9:07 AM on February 22, 2011


mathowie: "HUMAN CENTIPEDE IS AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT FREE STREAMING."

And yet you don't have an amazon wish list. *tsk*

The one freakin' show that my wife Looooooooooooves that is her whole reason for buying cable is goddamn "What Not To Wear". Nobody has streaming episodes of it, it's not on DVD, nothing. If anyone knows of a service that can solve this stupid problem PLEASE let me know.
posted by boo_radley at 9:08 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Hah! I didn't think of that. Sorry, I have a raging fever at the moment and had to put in a new DVD player last night since my last one finally died and the first thing my eyes lit upon is the KleenexTM box.

I think my use case is very different from that of many people. DSL just came to town out where I visit friends. There's a lot of watching strange films in hotel rooms and I just don't think I'm going to see Liquid Sky as a high priority item for many streaming services.
posted by adipocere at 9:10 AM on February 22, 2011


I love Netflix and would depend on it for my hour wasting needs, but my world fell apart when they started removing my comfort shows from streaming (The Vicar of Dibley, As time goes by).

I wish they increased their streaming collection, instead of taking stuff out!
posted by Tarumba at 9:11 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Seriously. I just can't be bothered watching anything I have on DVD. I end up downloading films I already own just to save myself the trouble of having to fidget with them.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 9:11 AM on February 22, 2011 [5 favorites]


The one freakin' show that my wife Looooooooooooves that is her whole reason for buying cable is goddamn "What Not To Wear".

The cable providers loooooooooove people like your wife. That's why [insert your favorite unfindable show/film/event here] will never be available streaming.
posted by blucevalo at 9:12 AM on February 22, 2011


"What Not To Wear". Nobody has streaming episodes of it

I was going to suggest torrents or usenet, but damn, I can't find a single record of the show on either.
posted by mathowie at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I love Netflix and would depend on it for my hour wasting needs, but my world fell apart when they started removing my comfort shows from streaming (The Vicar of Dibley, As time goes by).

They probably ran into licensing difficulties with those shows. I'm not sure that Reed Hastings has a diabolical plan to erase "The Vicar of Dibley" from the world.
posted by blucevalo at 9:14 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]




The cable providers loooooooooove people like your wife. That's why [insert your favorite unfindable show/film/event here] will never be available streaming.


If there's no way to buy dvds or stream, then Bit Torrent seems to fill the gap. (I consider that the equivalent of borrowing your friend's VHS tape collection. heh.)

...but I'm not sure where you're from, what the laws are where you are, or how you feel about using that particular technology. Even between Canada and the States there seems to be a pretty gap between what's legal and illegal right now.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2011


eyeballkid: I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Those silvery discs are part of my plan to safeguard my residence against intruders of most sorts.

* Against birds: hang the discs on string from the eaves, and the dancing lights reflect off and confused the birds, who think it is fire or some other dangerous element, and they leave.

* Against zombies: cut the edges to create saw-like teeth, and launch them from a special device (yet to be built, but I'm working on it) that will sever heads and limbs.

* Against angry mobs: fling out the DVDs in cases, yelling things like "You really should see this one, it's pretty funny! Have you seen the bloopers? They're hi-larious! And the commentary? Did you watch it with commentary? And the alternate ending is way better than the theatrical cut!" I figure there'll be enough second thoughts and debates on the merits of bonus features or certain actors or directors that the mob will discuss itself into a stupor, allowing me and my family to escape safely.

Can streaming videos do any of that? No! Winner: shiny discs.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


They have What not to wear on youtube, apparently. I know, sucky quality, but good enough for me at the gym!

I watched all survivors seasons on my droid, while on the elliptical.
posted by Tarumba at 9:16 AM on February 22, 2011


mathowie: "I was going to suggest torrents or usenet, but damn, I can't find a single record of the show on either."

I know, it's insane, right? Like TLC has a super-mafiosi lock on the thing. I can find episodes of Hoarders on usenet and torrent sites for crying out loud, but not this WNTW thing.
posted by boo_radley at 9:17 AM on February 22, 2011


Human centipede wasn't even worth the effort of queuing it up on instantwatcher.com. If I had had to unwrap a DVD to watch it I would have felt cheated.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:17 AM on February 22, 2011


It can't cost Amazon more than 2 or 3 cents of bandwidth cost everytime I stream a movie from this service.

Assuming 1-2GB of transfer per movie, you're looking at just under 8-16 cents worth of bandwidth, if we assume that Amazon's own AWS is run profitably, with slim margins.

Also, if we assume that Amazon is interested in competing with Apple, this means that content producers now have leverage, can drive down commissions, and keep more of the money for themselves.
posted by schmod at 9:18 AM on February 22, 2011


"What Not To Wear". Nobody has streaming episodes of it

mathowie: I was going to suggest torrents or usenet, but damn, I can't find a single record of the show on either.

A friend of mine got in trouble for downloading similar shows that seem to only be available on TV for a limited time. The only other legal option seemed to be limited clips and "extended discussions." I don't think even Hulu had more than the last 5 episodes. My friend was pissed.
posted by filthy light thief at 9:19 AM on February 22, 2011


Dude! HUMAN CENTIPEDE IS AVAILABLE FOR INSTANT FREE STREAMING.

How much do they charge you to avoid watching it?
posted by Obscure Reference at 9:20 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


You have to watch Human Centipede so that you won't be confused while you're watching the sequel.
posted by octothorpe at 9:24 AM on February 22, 2011


* Against zombies: cut the edges to create saw-like teeth, and launch them from a special device (yet to be built, but I'm working on it) that will sever heads and limbs.

This is one of the reasons why CDs should never have replaced vinyl. Just remember, only use a Stone Roses album if it's The Second Coming.
posted by Infinite Jest at 9:25 AM on February 22, 2011


Not Amazon.co.uk it appears. Looks like we're still going to have to wait until the year 2525 for our streaming goodness.
posted by seanyboy at 9:28 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was hoping they would name the sequel The Very Hungry Human Scaterpillar. It just sounds more ... fun?
posted by adipocere at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


FWIW, I was able to relay Amazon VOD (and Hulu) to my networked blu-ray player about a year a go using PlayOn, a streaming-management application for Windows. I don't recall how satisfactory it was; I did not really have streamable bandwidth at the time. I do recall there was some hackery needed to get the signal to lay back at a proper ratio.

Since then, PlayOn has changed its TOS several times and I decidedly do not trust the service to deliver experiences that I have paid for, but I do think they offer a free version still, and surely there are other tinkerers here who might wish to mess around with it and AZVOD.
posted by mwhybark at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2011


if we assume that Amazon's own AWS is run profitably, with slim margins.

I would not be surprised if they were getting close to 50% profit margins. Buying in bulk at their level makes it very, very cheap.

Assuming they are seeing booked costs of 4 cents a movie, that would give you 1,975 movies a year. Even at your 8 cent figure, that's still 987 movies a year.

Prime is amazing, I definitely order more when I think "free two day shipping!" when I know it is not really free. I would not be surprised if this was written off as a marketing effort. Get people on Amazon, using their services and get the "Recommended for you" after and before each movie. This is the real advantage to them.
posted by geoff. at 9:30 AM on February 22, 2011


I wish there was some reliable and reasonably cheap way to watch Netflix outside the USA. I think I'd pay their monthly rate for the convenience but having to pay for a VPN makes it a non-starter.

Amazon has a similar problem, renting is too expensive, it requires a US credit card and Prime's free shipping would be useless for me anyway.

I guess I want a Steam for movies: limited region restrictions (that can be easily bypassed by "gifting"), cheap and extremely convenient as I don't have to worry about keeping seeding ratios or finding the best release.
posted by Memo at 9:33 AM on February 22, 2011


...I'm not sure where you're from, what the laws are where you are, or how you feel about using that particular technology. Even between Canada and the States there seems to be a pretty gap between what's legal and illegal right now.

I'm convinced that licensing nonsense, probably the thorniest of buisness issues, is also a primary cause for piracy, copy-theft. Create demand for a hot new show/movie/music/book and then tell someone it's not available in their market? A thousand mice click on their pirate bay links. Cheap and easy is better than free, but free and illegal is better than "not for a few years". Burn Notice is currently legally available in mid-season 2 in my jurisdiction, while Season 4 is finished in the States. Am I going to wait? Why would I, when all four seasons are conveniently packaged on a friendly Ukrainian torrent server?
posted by bonehead at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Any techie who wants to make a great weekend project, here's the idea - load up the full list of free movies from Amazon's API and match them with Netflix so I can use my Netflix recommendations to watch Amazon movies (when Netflix doesn't have them available). Scrolling through 900 pages of randomly sorted movies is annoying.
posted by lubujackson at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm guessing that it won't be long before my local cable company starts looking for alternate revenue streams to make up for the lost TV dollars.
posted by Sir Cholmondeley at 9:39 AM on February 22, 2011


Man, this fascination with cloud anything is starting to get annoying. Why the hell do I need a streaming service for primes? I can generate all the primes I need with a good old-fashioned sieve.
posted by Dr Dracator at 9:47 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Memo: "I guess I want a Steam for movies: limited region restrictions (that can be easily bypassed by "gifting"), cheap and extremely convenient as I don't have to worry about keeping seeding ratios or finding the best release."

I basically want Steam for this too. I know eventually gaben will die and the company will go public and someone will squeeze my balls like tomatoes, but dang if I don't love steam like a teenage megacrush.
posted by boo_radley at 9:54 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


It doesn't look like they have captions.
posted by Soliloquy at 9:55 AM on February 22, 2011


you know what would be cool? Amazon VOD for iOS.
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 AM on February 22, 2011


Not that Uncle Steve's gonna let *that* happen.
posted by mwhybark at 9:56 AM on February 22, 2011


I'm pretty sure they're starting to crack down on the "gifting". It's kind of annoying you've got to trust that some Internet stranger didn't borrow his mom's credit card for a $5 discount. Of course I'm in Canada, so I don't suffer from the more egregious pricing differences.

If Steam offered movies, I'd probably buy em.
posted by ODiV at 9:57 AM on February 22, 2011


It's been available for streaming on netflix for months. Somehow I've managed to resist.

Thank god I share an account with my mother and cannot watch it for fear of it showing up in her recent history.

Those silvery discs are part of my plan to safeguard my residence against intruders of most sorts.

Remember free AOL CDs and art made with them? Good times, man, good times.
posted by NoraReed at 10:07 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

Trying really hard not to sound too snobbish about this, but quite a few of the movies in my DVD collection simply aren't and will never be available on mainstream streaming services. Netflix (or, well, it's rubbish European equivalents over here) is great if you want to watch popular, current movies but not so much if you want to watch films from a century ago or more obscure foreign films. Which also happens to be the movies I go back to more often than not.

Also, you are licensing the content so it only takes one controversy from the MPAA, BBFC or some such other entity and content will be pulled permanently.

That said, I do love streaming services but they will never completely replace physical media for me.
posted by slimepuppy at 10:13 AM on February 22, 2011 [2 favorites]


Netflix (or, well, it's rubbish European equivalents over here) is great if you want to watch popular, current movies but not so much if you want to watch films from a century ago or more obscure foreign films. Which also happens to be the movies I go back to more often than not.

Not entirely true, as Netflix has had most or all of the Criterion Collection catalog available for some time. That's not everything you want to watch, I'm sure, but their streaming selection, and definitely their disc collection, are certainly not restricted to current, popular films.

N.B. that Criterion has changed licensing and is in the process of transferring some of its catalog to Hulu Plus. Different vendor, but still streaming.
posted by The Michael The at 10:28 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


but quite a few of the movies in my DVD collection simply aren't and will never be available on mainstream streaming services

You can say Porn here. We'll still love you.
posted by DigDoug at 10:29 AM on February 22, 2011 [8 favorites]


I was going to suggest torrents or usenet, but damn, I can't find a single record of the show on either.

Sometimes it is easy to forget what a role "the scene" still has in all this piracy. If there is no group that is regularly ripping a show, and it never comes out on DVD, episodes just won't exist. Unless there is some niche torrent site where people are ripping stuff manually that is below the radar of the scene groups. Or something like the UK torrent sites, where they are operating fairly openly and people are willing to rip and torrent anything, even stuff they don't watch, just to get their ratio up.
posted by smackfu at 10:39 AM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


Is this AmazonPrime/AmazonMp3/Hulu thing something I would have to live in the United States to understand/get?

Amazon, I'm still mad at you for promising to bring Amazon Mp3 to Canada years ago and then completely ignoring us.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:47 AM on February 22, 2011


So what's the story with Tivo? I used to be able to download Amazon video on the Tivo, but this morning I see that menu option is gone and Amazon's web site says "Prime instant videos are not currently available on Tivo devices." Then, under "compatible set top boxes," Amazon lists Tivos.
What the fuck is going on there?
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:13 AM on February 22, 2011


I think Amazon is still setting things up. They didn't have 5000 videos up for Prime Streaming when I looked - they had 2100. Either that, or they want to goose sales of Roku boxes.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:15 AM on February 22, 2011


I was going to suggest torrents or usenet, but damn, I can't find a single record of the show on either.
posted by mathowie


Like smackfu just said, it's because there are no scene rippers of the show, and the number of people who rip things and have an interest in Bravo fashion shows seems to be unfortunately too small. I recently bought an antenna for my TV so I could watch Jeopardy, because it's the only thing I want to watch that I couldn't consistantly find through another avenue. I can get HD rips of every Bayern Munich game in Russian, but consistant Jeopardy rips elude me.

With What Not to Wear, there is at least one set of two DVDs available, via mail-Netflix, not much of course, but it's a little something.
posted by haveanicesummer at 11:17 AM on February 22, 2011


I just can't be bothered watching anything I have on DVD. I end up downloading films I already own just to save myself the trouble of having to fidget with them.

I'm so glad I'm not the only one.
posted by CunningLinguist at 11:24 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


eyeballkid wrote "I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times."

Because the streaming services can't be bothered to include full stereo surround streams. Also the quality sometimes sucks. And I can watch those plastic disks whenever the hell I want, even when there's no Interwebs around.

Why do people bother printing out photos when you have your computer right there? Because sometimes a photo is just nicer. Now stop being intentionally obtuse here.
posted by caution live frogs at 11:34 AM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Netflix (or, well, it's rubbish European equivalents over here) is great if you want to watch popular, current movies but not so much if you want to watch films from a century ago or more obscure foreign films. Which also happens to be the movies I go back to more often than not.

Maybe the European version is different but I've found lots of cool obscure old, foreign and/or independent movies on Netflix streaming and actually not that many current hits since they're usually only available via disk.
posted by octothorpe at 11:41 AM on February 22, 2011


> I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

I generally don't want to own them, but as things stand I'd still rather travel to a DVD rental store - twice - than pay my ISP one red cent more than I already do, which is what using a streaming movie service would entail.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:47 AM on February 22, 2011


Are there still DVD rental stores where you are, Card? The only thing left around here are Redbox kiosks.
posted by octothorpe at 11:53 AM on February 22, 2011


Yeah, lots...but I live in Toronto (i.e. a large city in a country where internet service is ridiculously expensive).
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:56 AM on February 22, 2011


This is where I bitch about closed captioning as the reason torrents are still a better option for some people. Pirates care about accessibility more than corporations.
posted by Mick at 12:39 PM on February 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Criterion has changed licensing and is in the process of transferring some of its catalog to Hulu Plus

They're taking all of their movies off of Netflix streaming. I'm pretty torn about this. I like that Hulu is going to be supporting a massive Criterion channel with 800 films, but I'll probably end up paying for two services now.
posted by painquale at 12:46 PM on February 22, 2011


They're taking all of their movies off of Netflix streaming. I'm pretty torn about this. I like that Hulu is going to be supporting a massive Criterion channel with 800 films, but I'll probably end up paying for two services now.

Yeah I just paid up on Sunday b/c I was drunk and the SO really wanted to watch new episodes of SVU.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:02 PM on February 22, 2011


They're taking all of their movies off of Netflix streaming. I'm pretty torn about this. I like that Hulu is going to be supporting a massive Criterion channel with 800 films, but I'll probably end up paying for two services now.

From an article I found earlier:
An important note, though: Criterion Collection doesn’t control subscription VOD rights on all its DVD titles. In other words, many of the more contemporary Criterion DVD releases (movies from the major studios, auteurs like Wes Anderson, or indie companies such as IFC Films) will remain on Netflix Watch Instantly and not migrate to Hulu as part of this arrangement. So, if you’re worried about losing all Criterion DVD releases from Netflix Watch Instantly, this deal will primarily impact older catalog titles like the Janus Films library (with a few exceptions). That’s still hundreds of amazing classics, though. [source]
Either way, I already subscribe to both, so no loss personally.
posted by The Michael The at 1:30 PM on February 22, 2011


I wish they increased their streaming collection, instead of taking stuff out!

Me too, but I wouldn't hold my breath. Sort Amazon's selection by "Newest Arrivals" and you'll see what sort of new content they are adding.

I think Amazon is still setting things up. They didn't have 5000 videos up for Prime Streaming when I looked - they had 2100.

Yeah, I see 2,153 titles total (TV and movies), and that includes TV seasons as multiples.

Pretty odd you can't sort A-Z... kinda hard to evaluate the selection, but so far it looks weak.

Also, just browsing through the titles, it looks like a lot of stuff that's available on Netflix streaming is pay-only on Amazon (examples: Strangers with Candy TV show, California Split movie, Hopscotch movie, Sarah Silverman Program TV show, The Runaways movie, Stella TV show, Rashomon movie ...)

Actually, aside from two documentaries, I didn't find anything that was streaming on Netflix and also streaming for free on Amazon Prime. Conversely, I didn't find a single streaming title on Amazon that wasn't available for streaming on Netflix.

What the worst about Amazon, aside from the bad interface and weak collection, is the fact that the search results include movies that aren't available to watch! Aiee! If it's not available ... don't put it in your "instant" results!

It's a nice bonus for paying members, but it's hardly a competitor to Netflix. At least not yet or any time in the near future.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:41 PM on February 22, 2011


My girlfriend's been saying we need to watch Human Centipede because it's free for streaming on Netflix. It's just in the queue, taunting us, because we watched Teeth this one time.
posted by mccarty.tim at 2:14 PM on February 22, 2011


Netflix fires back, announcing deal with CBS. New streaming content includes Frasier, Family Ties, Star Trek, the original Hawaii Five-O, Twin Peaks and The Twilight Zone.

yeehah!
posted by CunningLinguist at 2:34 PM on February 22, 2011 [6 favorites]


Folks, I literally just had a baby and this is like a big hug from the universe.
posted by Alison at 2:50 PM on February 22, 2011 [3 favorites]


I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times.

I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of large bound volumes of books that they'll never read more than a few times.

When a neighbor started to look over my DVD collection, I thoroughly enjoyed explaining why I owned most of them... except the Everybody Loves Raymond box set that I assured him I only acquired for an article I was writing about the show (I still don't think he believed me - I probably should sell it on eBay).
posted by oneswellfoop at 2:50 PM on February 22, 2011


The biggest problem with this new Amazon deal is the interface. Finding a video to watch on Netflix streaming is hard enough; I just don't think I'll be able to handle using Amazon's browsing interface to find stuff. It's too bad -- they really need to make the interface more user-friendly. The facets don't even work very well.

I already have prime, but I doubt I'll be using the service, because it seems so annoying to navigate. It's kind of a pity.
posted by k8lin at 3:26 PM on February 22, 2011


and The Twilight Zone

HOT DAMN!
posted by Faint of Butt at 3:29 PM on February 22, 2011


Just signed up for my free month trial at Netflix for the hell of it. Let's see how bad it is in Canada on a 60GB limit.
posted by ODiV at 4:57 PM on February 22, 2011


buh bye netflix..been nice knowing ya
posted by museumway at 4:58 PM on February 22, 2011


"Battlefield Earth" is available. Just so you know.
posted by Dr. Zira at 5:36 PM on February 22, 2011


I reinstalled PayOn, PlayOn, and it does not appear to support the direct streaming service. That's just a first blush, though.
posted by mwhybark at 5:53 PM on February 22, 2011


I can still tape any dvd to VHS...+5 Vorpal VCR...really...o_o
F*$%
posted by clavdivs at 6:18 PM on February 22, 2011


Folks, I literally just had a baby and this is like a big hug from the universe.

Congrats on the birth of your child!

Don't worry, you won't be having TIME to watch TV. Even with a VCR, we never saw the last season of Babylon 5... too many other things to do - video took a poor third to watching the little guy learn how to roll over, and sleeping.
posted by JB71 at 7:15 PM on February 22, 2011


Heh. I have Amazon prime. They offered me a free trial and I never bothered to cancel it. I don't think I'm coming out on top at all, since I hardly ever order anything. But I do think it's fun to order random stuff and have it shipped in two days for no reason.

If this service is zero cost to me, why not not use it? The only problem for me is my crappy internet connection, which might not be fast enough for HD streaming.
Don't worry, you won't be having TIME to watch TV. Even with a VCR, we never saw the last season of Babylon 5... too many other things to do - video took a poor third to watching the little guy learn how to roll over, and sleeping.
Lately I've been watching videos while working out (I have my own elliptical)
posted by delmoi at 10:08 PM on February 22, 2011


The quality of Netflix streaming through my Roku player has declined dramatically in the past six months. Netflix is in dire need of competiton. I already subscribe to Hulu Plus, and thankfully already have the Prime service. Movies are already streaming in better quality there. Looks like I will ditch Netflix for a while, but keep an eye on reports re its services. If it still doesn't do anything about slower streaming on the Roku players, I will not be a return customer.
posted by raysmj at 11:58 PM on February 22, 2011


To bring all our magical threads together, I should point out that the original animated Legend of Zelda series is available for streaming. <3
posted by cavalier at 5:14 AM on February 23, 2011


Don't worry, you won't be having TIME to watch TV. Even with a VCR, we never saw the last season of Babylon 5... too many other things to do - video took a poor third to watching the little guy learn how to roll over, and sleeping.

But during those endless hours of (sometimes painful) breastfeeding for mom, it's hard to do much anything but sit there.

We canceled cable TV right before the birth of our first daughter, and my wife was desperate for it during feedings. Slow eater.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:47 AM on February 23, 2011


you know what would be cool? Amazon VOD for iOS. Not that Uncle Steve's gonna let *that* happen.

Why would Apple have a problem with Amazon when they have no problem with Netflix?
posted by Thoughtcrime at 5:03 PM on February 23, 2011


"I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times."

I buy DVDs of stuff I like so that I can lend them to my friends. I've found people are more likely to watch something if there is a physical reminder hanging around then if you just email them a link (which gets buried under all their other emails).
posted by Jacqueline at 5:41 PM on February 23, 2011


"But I do think it's fun to order random stuff and have it shipped in two days for no reason."

It's even more fun to live in a city with an Amazon distribution center, order something at 3am, and have it dropped off by a courier around noon -- for no extra charge.

I love Amazon.
posted by Jacqueline at 5:45 PM on February 23, 2011


Why would Apple have a problem with Amazon when they have no problem with Netflix?

Netflix doesn't sell MP3s.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:59 AM on February 24, 2011


"I don't understand why people want to own hundreds of little plastic discs with movies on them that they'll never watch more than a few times."

Ten years ago I flew Tokyo to Chicago on JAL. My four choices of movies in English on the inflight system for a fifteen-hour flight were Armageddon, Autumn In New York, Coyote Ugly, and The Replacements. I watched The Replacements seven times. Would you really wonder at me bringing along my portable DVD player and a season of The Wire in these circumstances?
posted by ricochet biscuit at 8:42 AM on March 3, 2011


I would definitely wonder at your possession of a DVD set that didn't even exist at the time, yes.

More seriously, the line you quoted wasn't written ten years ago, it was written this year. And if you were getting on a plane today it would make much more sense to use your tablet, netbook, or other device to watch digital copies of whatever you'd like.

I've got a DVD collection that, like the VHS collection before it, is seeing less and less use. If Netflix or similar ever gets its act together in Canada and our bandwidth limits go to something more reasonable, then I might stop using DVDs all together.
posted by ODiV at 9:00 AM on March 3, 2011


Jacqueline wrote: "It's even more fun to live in a city with an Amazon distribution center, order something at 3am, and have it dropped off by a courier around noon -- for no extra charge."

I have that same experience, but only with housewares and other things I rarely order and am rarely excited to see. They don't stock anything good in Coffeyville. :(
posted by wierdo at 6:43 PM on March 4, 2011


ODiV wrote "if you were getting on a plane today it would make much more sense to use your tablet, netbook, or other device to watch digital copies of whatever you'd like"

Unless you have a two-year-old, who appear to excel at destroying such devices. A rugged little DVD player works wonders for our little monster, but no way would I hand him a digital device that costs way way more than the cheapo DVD player did...
posted by caution live frogs at 8:35 AM on March 7, 2011


if you were getting on a plane today it would make much more sense to use your tablet, netbook, or other device to watch digital copies of whatever you'd like

...

Unless you have a two-year-old, who appear to excel at destroying such devices.

Interesting. My wife recently got a free iPad from a conference she attended, and it's the only electronic gadget we let our two-year-old play with. I don't even know how she'd break it ... there are like two buttons on a solid-state frame.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:48 AM on March 7, 2011


Possibly by bashing it's large screen against something? ;)
posted by wierdo at 12:54 PM on March 7, 2011


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