Learning from the RIAA's mistakes?

November 11, 2002 9:42 AM   Subscribe

Learning from the RIAA's mistakes?
"Seeking to protect movies from the rampant online piracy that afflicts the music industry, five major film studios plan to begin offering today rental feature films that consumers can download from a Web site for a fee." Sounds like at least a step in the right direction, but I still wonder: who watches movies on their computer anyway? Would you rather wait for your 90 minute feature film to download, or just get off your butt and go rent one? (first link is to the NYT)
posted by Gilbert (25 comments total)
 
It looks like the same crap the RIAA wants to feed us. Proprietary format, no copying, no transfer to another machine, yada yada yada. Plus, I can't imagine downloading an entire movie over my (admittedly slow, for "broadband") 256K DSL connection.

I'll continue to rent DVDs for the same price, and keep them more than 24 hours, thank you very much.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:49 AM on November 11, 2002


Yes, i watch movies on my computer. I have been doing so since around 1997. I would download them on a t1 over night and then watch them. Was great money when cdr's first came out too because you can get movies while they are still in theaters or even before they are released. Sell them for 20 to 10 bucks a pop depending on "rarity." I made a lot of money, but now everyone has a cd-r. At any rate its nice to have them all just sitting on your hardrive. If you have a 120 gigs what are you gonna do with all that space anyway. A quick search on bearshare, or kazza or any p2p will show you that the Movie industry is already to late. It might not be mainstream but its been around a long time already.
posted by sourbrew at 9:54 AM on November 11, 2002


Thank you for your interest in Movielink. We want you to take part in the powerful Internet movie rental experience that Movielink delivers; however, you currently do not meet our minimum system requirements. You will need to adjust the following:

* You Need Windows 98, ME, 2000, XP


No, I really don't.
posted by nicwolff at 9:58 AM on November 11, 2002


Wow -- due to the fact that I'm not using IE on a Windows machine, the Movielink site won't even let me browse around! Oh well...

Anyway, from the sound of it, I could see people downloading movies to watch on airplanes, and stuff like that. Granted, that's a pretty small market, but its a start. And if it leads in the future to true VOD on TV, which I personally think would be awesome, then I consider this a good development.
posted by spilon at 9:59 AM on November 11, 2002


More broadband providers are limiting the number of gigabytes per month you can download, so that puts downloading movies out of the question for a lot of users.
posted by bobo123 at 10:00 AM on November 11, 2002


I highly doubt this will work for all but the most hardcore geeks (those with in-house t-1s) or pirates.... (Snagit anyone?). But I hope the plan isn't contingent on immediate success.

This looks like the precursor to what will one day be standard operating procedure. Assuming the convergence prophecies ever come together.

Sure if you're playing it right now you're stuck at your desk squinting at a low res image on your computer, but eventually we'll get better compression and hook it all into your home entertainment system anyway.

Kudos to the big wigs for at least not stepping in the way of regress for once. Maybe this will even kick start something useful.
posted by KnitWit at 10:02 AM on November 11, 2002


sorry for not catching it on preview...

regress Progress

fruedian what?
posted by KnitWit at 10:04 AM on November 11, 2002


"We consider the pirate services our competition."

I hope there's some truth to this. Even though I have a hard time seeing how MovieLink can be successful, the film industry has the right attitude (as opposed to the music industry.)
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 10:15 AM on November 11, 2002


This is what I got... "Thank you for your interest in Movielink. We want you to take part in the powerful Internet movie rental experience that Movielink delivers, but it is presently unavailable to users outside of the United States. "

How did they know?!
posted by keno at 10:21 AM on November 11, 2002


I'd think pretty seriously about using it, if they had movies that I wanted to see. My nearest video store is about a 15 minute walk or so and they never have enough copies of new releases. My dell laptop has an s-video out, so I can just plug right into my tv (I least I think I can although I've never actually tried it). My only hesitation would be quality. If it's not somewhat close to DVD quality, I probably wouldn't bother unless I was REALLY desperate.
posted by boltman at 10:25 AM on November 11, 2002


It's very annoying not to be even allowed to look around the site if you're not in the US.

I'm guessing they are only letting through certain IP ranges but that's never 100% reliable. Oh well. Guess I'll have to go through a US proxy or anonymizer.com or somesuch.
posted by mopoke at 10:26 AM on November 11, 2002


They don't allow Mozilla either:
You need Internet Explorer 5.0 or higher - Upgrade Now
posted by tellmenow at 10:40 AM on November 11, 2002


Aside from the obvious accessibility reasons, I also think this won't fly. The crucial thing about viewing downloaded movies is that you must be able to view it on your telly in the comfort of your own living room. The main problem with this is that computers aren't being designed to be compatible household appliances. They're still huge, noisy, and TV-out isn't a standard feature yet. Additionally, to view a downloaded video on the TV would require at least videotape quality, and that would require broadband.
posted by freakystyley at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2002


boltman: There are five video stores within 500 feet of my house, and I still much prefer Netflix.
posted by nicwolff at 10:43 AM on November 11, 2002


This is what I got... "Thank you for your interest in Movielink. We want you to take part in the powerful Internet movie rental experience that Movielink delivers, but it is presently unavailable to users outside of the United States. "

How did they know?!


I got that message, too. While sitting at a computer in Seattle, Washington.
posted by mr_roboto at 11:05 AM on November 11, 2002


The crucial thing about viewing downloaded movies is that you must be able to view it on your telly in the comfort of your own living room.

Our desktop computers *are* our telly (and music centre, DVD, video recorder, etc, etc). Have two in the living room and one in the bedroom, networked and ADSLed. I finally gave my aging stereo to a charity shop a few months back, and I'm not quite sure what to do with the old TV set. This setup works well if you pony up for cordless devices and Dolby 5.1 add-ons, and I'm also thinking hard about a wall projector for playing movies and games. Yes, I probably would use the movie download service (depending on the price), except I'm not in the US.
posted by walrus at 11:15 AM on November 11, 2002


...but it is presently unavailable to users outside of the United States. "

How did they know?!

I got that message, too. While sitting at a computer in Seattle, Washington.


Browser preferences?


Also: If you've ever watched a local 700+kbps RealVideo or WM file encoded in the last year or so at full screen on a decent-sized monitor... you have to know that this can be a very cool experience: close to DVD, superior to VHS.

I agree with walrus, I'd much rather have a movie expire by itself on my hard drive than have to return (or mail back or whatever) a rented disc, geekiness notwithstanding.
posted by rhruska at 11:29 AM on November 11, 2002


What Walrus said: My 'puter is my home entertainment center: TV, music, movies, DVD watching, I even have my VCR hooked up thru a capture card for those rare times I feel I must watch an old VHS movie (of course, that's hard to admit, because once you've had DVD baby, you hardly go back). The computer is also networked, and my computer is a 'video jukebox' with DivX rips of my entire collection stored on my HD for other members of my household to view on demand.

I like using my computer because a) the clarity is worth the smaller screen size, b) my sound is better than what I've got attached to my TV, c) I've got close to 600 hours of video entertainment on my computer, meaning I'll never have to change discs or tapes.

The only drawback is the entertainment is just the movie with the original soundtrack, no DVD extras, no multiple soundtracks (but Ogg Vorbis is gonna change that!).

I would use a movie download service, but not the way it's currently being offered on the site linked in the post. Too restrictive and proprietary. One of these days, a studio is going to hire a kid who's been ripping since the day he was born. Then we'll see some practical solutions.

I think. Hollywood will probably fsck it up.
posted by WolfDaddy at 11:32 AM on November 11, 2002


Sure if you're playing it right now you're stuck at your desk squinting at a low res image on your computer

I've got my computer hooked up to a video projector and stereo for the super ghetto home theatre. The quality is no where near theatre, but the fun level is much greater then a computer screen. While i did get a copy of LOTR's a few days after it opened, i still saw it on the real big screen first.

As for this tech really taking off i doubt it, divx can occasionally give nice quality but unless they sell the very new releases i would still rather go out to a video store and get the dvd.
posted by NGnerd at 11:33 AM on November 11, 2002


One fun use for this thing is watching old movie trailers. I went to the "Classics" section and found "Firefox"-- that's right, the 1982 Clint Eastwood... er... classic about stealing a thought controlled MiG or something. Oh my goodness, is that the "Barbarella" trailer? Gotta go...
posted by gwint at 1:28 PM on November 11, 2002


WolfDaddy & Walrus: I have a humble setup myself. My computer's in my room, but thanks to the ATI's awesome All In Wonder card (I'm sure there are others), I can broadcast my computer display to the living room TV. A little cabling is involved, but it does the job. The thing is, this setup requires the PC to be in another room. That infernal humming... really annoying to have in the living room. And sometimes the CDROM sounds like it's gonna take off like a jet. It seems that PC manufacturers don't pay much attention to the noise levels of PCs.
posted by freakystyley at 1:29 PM on November 11, 2002


freakystyley:

The person who invents a pc that's quiet and that eschews bulky and messy cables to connect everything will be richer than Bill Gates.

The person that does it in a manner that fits in my pocket will be the recipient of many slavish favors from one lupine father.
posted by WolfDaddy at 2:13 PM on November 11, 2002


NGNerd: My experience with ripped movies is that they need to be around 1.5 gigs to be good quality on my computer screen. Of course, I have a fifteen-inch laptop screen, so I have no idea how that file size looks on an actual TV (or larger computer screen.)
posted by Yelling At Nothing at 2:30 PM on November 11, 2002


Yelling, i'd have to agree (the LOTR copy i referred to earlier was on 3 cd's and was divx (i think) and still didn't have anything close to the quality of the DVD). You also lose quality when switching between the various components (i have a vga to tv signal box (which i plan to rid myself of with the next video card) and an OK projector (spreading out a tv's 480x640 onto 10'xsomething takes away allot of the quality). that said, it's still allot of fun.
Really what i'd like to see wth the technology is the ability to "rent" movies before they're released to the video stores and at cheaper prices then the $8 to $10 for a theatre ticket (because there are some movies which just aren't worth that much). I'm sure the studios would rather see the money go direct to thier pockets then through blockbuster's first.
posted by NGnerd at 4:04 PM on November 11, 2002


What really gets me is that they use Real and Windows Media codecs with "Digital Rights Management" and yet they only allow users using Windows, not withstanding the fact that there are Mac versions of both software packages which support DRM.

I just wish, for once, that a company would take 10 minutes to make their web applications cross platform. Not because I am using a Mac, because I could just as easily switch to the PC, but because standards based usage allows everyone to see something, not just Windows users, and not just Internet Explorer users.
posted by benjh at 4:26 PM on November 11, 2002


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