“Begun the streaming wars have.”
November 12, 2019 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Your Guide to the Streaming Wars [The Verge] “The launch of Disney+ in November 2019 is ushering in a whole new era of streaming, one where established industry leaders like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Go, and Amazon Prime Video are facing growing competition from major new players in the industry. Apple is building its own streaming service, Apple TV Plus. AT&T’s WarnerMedia streaming service is in beta. And that’s not counting the many smaller, niche-oriented streaming services, like The Criterion Channel, Crunchyroll, and Shudder. [...] We’ll sift through the deluge of content for the worthwhile films and TV, analyze the technology and consumer costs behind these services, help you choose which services matter, and cover how the streaming wars are changing the media landscape.”

• The essential comparison guide to every streaming service [Polygon]
“LookingLooking at the apps on my Roku TV marketplace — Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, HBO Now, Apple TV Plus, and Crunchyroll, just to name a few — I’m overwhelmed at the veritable avalanche of streaming services available to me. Disney Plus is under a week away, while HBO Max and NBC’s Peacock are not far behind. The streaming wars, ushered in by an era of Peak TV, are in full effect. No one can watch everything; money and time are finite resources, after all. To make it a little easier on you (and your wallet), we here at Polygon broke down nearly every streaming service — how much it costs, what to watch, and who should subscribe — from the big guys like Netflix to niche collections like Mubi.”
• The Disney+ rollout shows the streaming wars are over. Viewers lost. [NBC]
“For years, the entertainment industry has been locked in a battle it calls “the streaming wars,” in which tech companies — Netflix, Amazon and many smaller players — work tirelessly to sell you subscription services filled with old TV shows improved by the glow of nostalgia. Across the field of battle, the companies that own the legal rights to the shows try to see how vigorously they can gouge Netflix for the privilege of airing reruns of "The A-Team." Well, the streaming wars are over, and the loser is who it was always going to be: You. [...] In exchange, consumers will be offered an intimidating number of individual, new, conglomerate-owned streaming services, which, if viewers pay for all of them, will amount to even more than they used to spend on cable, with the minor added convenience of being allowed to select the show or movie they’d prefer to watch rather than channel surfing to see what’s on.”
• Pop culture unites us as Americans. Will streaming services change that? [Vox]
“We’re on the precipice of the “streaming apocalypse.” That’s what Vox critic-at-large Emily VanDerWerff calls the current television landscape. In addition to the traditional TV infrastructure, we’ve also got streaming players like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, HBO Now, and CBS All Access. And more are about to enter the scene. Apple TV+ just launched, Disney+ is launching on November 12[today], HBO Max is coming in May 2020, and Peacock from NBC Universal will arrive in April of next year. “It’s definitely a situation where everybody is getting their horses in their own stable, and then they’re granting you access to come and look at the horses,” Emily said on this episode of Today, Explained.”
• Why Consumers Are Already Losing in the Streaming Wars [Variety]
“Big media has inadvertently come up with a way to lasso cord-cutters. As Walt Disney, NBCUniversal and AT&T’s WarnerMedia work furiously to stand out in the streaming-video arena, they are betting heavily on something that rivals like Netflix and Amazon can’t produce: decades of hit TV series to which the old-school entertainment companies ultimately control the rights. To keep watching some of their favorites, fans will have to pony up more dough for a wider selection of services. In the early streaming wars, one could posit that it’s consumers who are losing: The companies are creating a new and complex world for TV watchers who love to binge. “In the next few years, it is going to be an avalanche of consumer confusion and angst,” says Tim Hanlon, CEO of The Vertere Group, a media and marketing industry consulting firm. “The reality is that consumers will not have an endlessly elastic ability to pay for multiple streaming services over the long term — something a cyclically overdue economic correction will eventually put into stark relief.””
• Piracy Crackdown May Be Next Front in Streaming Wars [Hollywood Reporter]
“How will consumers afford Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Apple TV+, Disney+, HBO Max, Peacock and on and on? To many industry analysts, the answer is simple: They won’t. Consumers will be selective in deciding which digital services are worthy of their money. Hence, the so-called streaming wars. But there’s another way to look at the issue. Thanks to rampant free-riding, one account doesn’t mean one viewer. Passwords will be shared, and platforms will be hacked. Under this framework, the streamers aren’t battling with one another. They’ll be teaming up against the grifters to fight Piracy 2.0. [...] For now, insiders caution that there are no plans to make moves against individuals who share passwords with family and friends. Instead, ACE will work on “best practices,” like, say, technological measures limiting the number of devices that can simultaneously stream via a single account. That said, there are sure to be uncomfortable discussions ahead. If sharing a password with a friend is not actionable, what about a college dorm sharing a Disney+ account to watch Star Wars? And as pirates become more sophisticated in evading limitations on what any singular streaming account can provide, what will be the legal response?”
posted by Fizz (145 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
 
Shudder is actually very good. I recommend it highly which surprised me. Channel Zero is an anthology show that does creepy pastas. Sounds dumb, eh? Well, season 3 is the one my girlfriend and I picked up to watch in October and it was fantastically creepy. I got it to watch Creepshow with her (which was also largely good) but I think I'll keep it!
posted by OnTheLastCastle at 8:51 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Piracy 2.0? I'll stick with Piracy 1.0. (Or, I suppose, Piracy 1.5. Whichever BitTorrent is.)
posted by SansPoint at 8:52 AM on November 12, 2019 [28 favorites]


I’m so tired you guys
posted by The Whelk at 8:53 AM on November 12, 2019 [81 favorites]


I'm sure this is why I'm not a rich executive, but I don't understand why there's not more money to be made in producing a show or set of shows that you just license to everyone. I mean let all the streaming services fight it out, you'll win either way.
posted by Carillon at 8:53 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Any streaming post on Metafilter leads me to only one thought: I miss Filmstruck.
posted by kuanes at 8:54 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Any streaming post on Metafilter leads me to only one thought: I miss Filmstruck.

So, the rebooted Criterion streaming service is really good and worth investing in.

Also, also, reach out to your library and check out Kanopy. It's totally free (a part of your taxes) and easy to sign up and watch a ton of great documentaries, movies, you name it. They get a ton of classic films and Criterion as well.
posted by Fizz at 8:56 AM on November 12, 2019 [26 favorites]


As some of the articles have mentioned, I'm sure the next big crack-down will be on sharing passwords and profiles. For now though, my wife and I have arrangements/deals with several other of our friends. We share Netflix, they share Hulu, we share Criterion, they share Disney+, etc. It's all about pooling your resources together.

That and using a VPN. Get a VPN. You need a VPN. It's worth investing in.
posted by Fizz at 8:58 AM on November 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


Back in the day when there was cable, but only cable, we used to say "Gee, I wish I could pay for just the channels I want to watch." This is exactly that future, much more so than the mishmash midpoint of Netflix and Hulu ever were. But now somehow we've lost because we got what we asked for?

I predict the next step will be someone creating a "bundled streaming" service where you pay a certain larger amount each month for access to a selection of streaming channels. Almost, like, you know, a cable package.....
posted by anastasiav at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2019 [19 favorites]


Unfortunately, Kanopy access may soon be a thing of the past, as they've ramped up costs and thus library systems are dropping it.

I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment across these pieces: the loser of the streaming wars is us. Companies have decided that their best bet is to make a walled garden and try to trap users inside, or at least assume everyone is going to subscribe to 10 different services.

No thanks, guys. My decision to set up my own Plex server a few years back has seemed better and better each day.
posted by tocts at 9:00 AM on November 12, 2019 [29 favorites]


Added to the general skull-fuckery that many of these services are only available in first world countries, makes me wish there were some way to, I don't know, 'download' shows and movies in a few minutes. Maybe someday there will be.
posted by signal at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2019


Fizz: "That and using a VPN. Get a VPN. You need a VPN. It's worth investing in."

Which? The ones I've checked all seem scammy.
posted by signal at 9:06 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Unfortunately, Kanopy access may soon be a thing of the past, as they've ramped up costs and thus library systems are dropping it.

My library still uses it, but caps per-user usage at 4 films per month.
posted by solotoro at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I'm a Comcast/Xfinity customer. I live in a mid-sized American city, and it's the only broadband I can get. The only other option is AT&T DSL. Recently, Xfinity booted Turner Classic Movies into the specialist sports tier. I literally can't figure out how to even pay for it. TCM was the last thing connecting me to the world of cable television. I decided it was time to ditch the cable subscription and just get the biggest broadband pipe I can, then subscribe to the streaming services of my choice. Come to find out, I literally cannot do that. It's not possible under Comcast to not pay for and not receive a cable package. The best base price I can get is $130. That doesn't include a mandatory "regional sports fee". I do not watch sports at all. I don't know why I have to subsidize sports of any kind when they won't subsidize my classic movie habit. This is a direct result of the lack of antitrust enforcement in this country.
posted by vibrotronica at 9:08 AM on November 12, 2019 [13 favorites]


That and using a VPN. Get a VPN.

I'm pretty reluctant to jump through hoops to give someone my money for a service.
posted by ODiV at 9:11 AM on November 12, 2019


We got a letter from Xfinity that they're dropping Starz and my wife being a huge Outlander fan, is already sharpening up her claymore.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:11 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Disney is apparently going to try to force you to get a subscription to Disney+ in order to be able to understand its feature films.

Plus they are already doing their "fake scarcity" Disney thing to the Fox catalogue.
posted by NBelarski at 9:12 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Which? The ones I've checked all seem scammy.

Look at Windscribe, Mullvad or AirVPN. I've been told those are good. Not that I would know myself. That's what I've heard. *nudge nudge wink wink*
posted by riruro at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


It's a shame that media writers have to use words like "deluge" to describe the rise in streaming options. For people who work in production, it means more opportunity for jobs. I see this as a win/win for everybody.
posted by cazoo at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


We're back to the "content owners" playing cleverdick artificial scarcity games Again.

I expect we're going to see a lot of apocalyptic messaging about piracy, Again. I'd hoped that the lessons of the 2000s would have burned this in the brains of the moguls, but it appears this round of corporate giants need to learn the function of Bittorrent in failed markets. Again.
posted by bonehead at 9:16 AM on November 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


Under Polygon's guide, they say the cheapest streaming live TV service is $25, but they didn't list Philo. I subscribed to watch The Walking Dead without cable, and was upset they raised the price from $16 a month to $21 a month. I guess I shouldn't complain. They let you go and come back whenever you like, so I only buy it four months out of the year. There's plenty of channels, but no news. News I get from Metafilter and YouTube.
posted by Miss Cellania at 9:17 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


My Netflix account finally lapsed (I got a bunch of gift cards for the holidays and eventually loaded them all up but never put in CC info) and honestly, I can't even bother to put in a CC because I haven't been watching it lately. Oh well.
posted by sperose at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2019


Unfortunately, Kanopy access may soon be a thing of the past, as they've ramped up costs and thus library systems are dropping it.

TY for pointing this out tocts. It seems like this is missed a lot.

From another perspective - Kanopy's evil genius PR ("it's free!") combined with the general "a library is a library is a library" understanding of... libraries has been horrible to deal with in the context of an academic library. Over the course of one term leasing Kanopy titles eats up the equivalent of a year's worth of physical media purchases, with not much to show for it when the licenses have expired. Just very disappointed faculty who (quite understandbly!) don't get how the platform/service model works and now have all kinds of busted up stuff embedded in their online course materials.
posted by cocotine at 9:18 AM on November 12, 2019 [18 favorites]


Wanted to give a shout out to JustWatch, a search engine that tells you which of 50+ commercial streaming services has any particular show or movie. I believe the site is supported by the big content providers, which means it's well funded and not full of annoying ads and scams. It's implemented remarkably well too. I hate the fragmentation of services but it's nice to at least have one place to look things up.

It's not perfect. They claim to support Kanopy but aren't finding things I know Kanopy has. (Also I sure hope Kanopy doesn't screw up their relationship with libraries. They have a remarkably good deep catalog of less commercial stuff that is unavailable elsewhere. I'd gladly pay $5 to stream something from them but I think library access is the only thing they support?)
posted by Nelson at 9:22 AM on November 12, 2019 [22 favorites]


but I don't understand why there's not more money to be made in producing a show or set of shows that you just license to everyone. I mean let all the streaming services fight it out, you'll win either way.

That's what existing channels do, and the bundling that everyone hated so they can charge more for more.


However, if I were an enterprising Silicon Valley guy (I'm not, I've got a job already and my hobbies involve silently staring at the ceiling) I'd essentially create a 'stock market' for tv shows rights prices, on an individual series-basis, which would determine how much the run of Friends for example would be worth to each individual streaming company.
posted by The_Vegetables at 9:23 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


I wholeheartedly agree with the sentiment across these pieces: the loser of the streaming wars is us.

It can be, or you can just decide none of it is worth the cost and effort and choose not to sign up for any of it. I know everyone or family has their own needs and interests, so one solution won't fit all, but there's no need to start from the assumption that not joining these services is a loss.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:23 AM on November 12, 2019 [16 favorites]


Seems like a bubble content wise, with everyone positioning themselves to not get left out.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:33 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


The artificial scarcity issue is my main concern - that and the lack of DVD/digital purchase options for streaming produced content. The sheer amount of options hasn't bothered me, because I don't have time to watch more than two (well, two and a half) streaming services worth of content anyway. On the occasion that I do find that there's something that I really would like to watch on a service I don't have, I'd like the option to buy or rent it, even if it's a year after release at an inflated price, like what HBO does (or used to do - HBO went from having nothing I really wanted to pay for to having five shows I'm willing to pay for in less than a year, so it's been a while since I got their DVDs).

I still rent or buy movies online when I want to watch something specific, and I still use my library DVD services, if not kanopy. And I'm kind of okay with the watercooler 'only three options' time specific conversation being about what's out in the movie theater while the stuff that's maybe not for everyone is on television.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:40 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Despite the fact that it lost the rights to a bunch of its old content, there is still plenty of good stuff on Netflix for when I want to watch TV, and my antenna picks up all the networks for free.

I don't feel like I've lost anything with all these services emerging that I don't care to subscribe to, except maybe for any compulsion to watch specific content that isn't available on what I'm already paying for.
posted by bananana at 9:41 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Also, this thread could use a 'disney' or 'disneyplus' tag
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:42 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I suspect the content providers will be shocked to find out that there's a massive gulf between organic growth of ironic nostalgia (See friends on netflix), and people who are willing to pay for a completely new streaming service to watch some crap show from the 90's.

Disney+ is 7 bucks a month and has a massive library. Netflix is pushing hard with some really great new content (Irishman. Also Green eggs and ham is fucking great). HBO so far is nailing it (watchmen, dark materials, john olliver)

Hulu is on the chopping block for me because frankly, It's just filler. And paying double the price to avoid ads rubs me the wrong way.

Peacock or cbs all access might have a library of old shows, but (SWEEPING GENERALIZATION), it's crap. It's not competitive with the quality bar that's set by the content providers we already have. The new players (and I guess HBO as an old player) have kicked the networks asses up and down the field. And now the networks are trying to start their own sports league.

So yeah, streaming apocalypse ahead. Expect a lot of the big players to struggle severely. HBO MAX is interesting, but never underestimate AT&T's ability to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory by being AT&T. Netflix seems to still be trucking along.

I don't list apple+ in this lineup because they're more of a one-off show provide. And boy oh boy it's a weird lineup. Also everyone I know got a year free or multiple years free.
posted by Lord_Pall at 9:45 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


CBS All-Access seems to be going all in on being the Star Trek network.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:50 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


It's pretty gross how the media companies are trying to stir up consumer FOMO to try to push the services. Late stage capitalism in all its glory.
posted by signal at 9:52 AM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


So the one thing that the now somewhat worn gag about having several streaming services being the same as having cable doesn't capture is that at least you don't have to sign up to the fuckers for eighteen month minimum contracts. It's a mild drag but at least you can do a month of bingeing on one, cancel and flip over to the next, etc. I mean it's something.
posted by ominous_paws at 9:56 AM on November 12, 2019 [22 favorites]


I'm also trying to remember what it was - Vera? Shetland? There was one of the British detective TV shows where half of the seasons were only on Acorn and half were only on Britbox, and while I realize that they're both only $5 a month, I refuse to get either of them now. Not even for more Miss Fisher.

I don't list apple+ in this lineup because they're more of a one-off show provide. And boy oh boy it's a weird lineup.

I really don't understand what apple+ was trying to do - have a bunch of genres available, spend a lot of money on them, and make them bland as possible. You can't get people to sign up for a new service with only programs that they might watch if it's on and they can't think of anything better, maybe. If there's a lot of other competition, you get people to choose your product by standing out. Make weird shit - or at least shit that's weird enough to seem different.
posted by dinty_moore at 9:57 AM on November 12, 2019


Star Wars toilet. People will be talking about that later today.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:59 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


The nightmarish future that was described in Max Berry's SF novel Jennifer Government (2003) is becoming more and more of a reality. It's terrifying to contemplate.
“Taxation has been abolished, the government has been privatized, and employees take the surname of the company they work for. It's a brave new corporate world, but you don't want to be caught without a platinum credit card--as lowly Merchandising Officer Hack Nike is about to find out...”
The prioritization/corporatization of everything is how our society has become worse.
posted by Fizz at 10:05 AM on November 12, 2019 [18 favorites]


The big difference between Neflix and cable is that I can sign up one month and cancel the next. I don't need to subscribe to all the channels at once, I can pick and choose depending on what TV show I want to watch next, so even if subscribing to them *all together* is more expensive than cable packages, you don't have to do that! As a streaming customer, I don't feel I've lost as long as the subscriptions are still monthly and easy to cancel.
posted by stillnocturnal at 10:06 AM on November 12, 2019 [7 favorites]


Disney+ doesn’t have to sell anyone on streaming (Julia Alexander, Verge)

What they have is for the most part very well known already, or directly linked to something very well known.

(Also, holy SEO Batman! The end of the url for the article is "disney-plus-star-wars-marvel-pixar-national-grographic-simpsons-netflix-hbo-max-peacock")
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:07 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Anyhow, as a UK resident I shall obviously be pirating the shiny metal ass right off The Mandalorian. What were they thinking?
posted by ominous_paws at 10:11 AM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


I really don't understand what apple+ was trying to do

Repatriating a bunch of oversea funds to the US.

I’m convinced a huge amount of high budget prestige TV is money laundering.
posted by The Whelk at 10:18 AM on November 12, 2019 [36 favorites]


The Disney+ launch ratchets up talk of streaming competition. But the same creators work for all of them. (Steven Zeitchik, WaPo)
As companies like Apple and Disney compete for viewers, they find themselves hiring the same high-end talent as Netflix and HBO Max.

As the streaming wars intensify — Disney’s steaming service debuted Tuesday and AppleTV+ launched Nov. 1 — companies are fighting to lock up consumers’ entertainment dollars. But another scramble is underway to land creative talent. The skirmish is so fierce, and the talent so scarce, it sometimes means that rabid streaming competitors are messily in business with the same creators. It’s a trend contrary to long-standing Hollywood tradition.

“What we’re seeing unfold in front of us is a shift from exclusivity to ubiquity,” said Tom Nunan, a veteran producer who counts films such as “Crash” among his credits. “Companies are willing to let creators work everywhere, which is a major and consequential change.

At stake, Nunan and others say, is not just a rearrangement of where creators produce their work but what consumers watch — and even the quality of the entertainment itself, with new voices and fresh discoveries potentially squelched in the process.

“I worry about a sameness with all this,” Nunan said. “If everyone’s chasing the same few names, where are the original voices, where’s the space for green shoots to grow?”

Streamers — and consumers — would be better served if the companies spent more of their dollars carving out niches for new talent, Nunan said.
Makes sense, sadly.
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:21 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


I’m convinced a huge amount of high budget prestige TV is money laundering.

Has that ever NOT been the case in Hollywood?
posted by 1970s Antihero at 10:23 AM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Annoyingly, my local PBS conglomerate abandoned my area, moving all their channels to San Francisco antennas, which means that even with a rooftop antenna, it's unwatchable half the year and unusable for anyone with a regular antenna. I'm sure they had financial reasons for it, but the largest population concentration in the area can't watch, and that was about 80 percent of what I watched OTA. Not that I'm going to sign up for cable or satellite again even so.
posted by tavella at 10:25 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I really don't understand what apple+ was trying to do

Repatriating a bunch of oversea funds to the US.

I’m convinced a huge amount of high budget prestige TV is money laundering.


It certainly explains why most of the Apple lineup sounds like fake TV shows from a sitcom about a struggling TV network.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:31 AM on November 12, 2019 [28 favorites]


Hulu is on the chopping block for me because frankly, It's just filler.

Huh, that's funny. Netflix shows to me are the definition of filler. The only one I care about anymore is The Crown. Meanwhile, Hulu has the entire run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, which I am currently watching for the first time. Earlier this year, I watched all of St. Elsewhere for the first time.

I do dip in and out of Netflix and HBO depending on what they've got airing that I want to financially support, but that's relatively infrequent these days.

But I mean, since I'm primarily spending my TV-watching time watching shows that are 40 and 50 years old, I'm obviously not a streaming service's ideal customer, so good luck to them, I guess.

(I also torrent as a second option, if one of the 3 streaming services I have access to (Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Criterion Channel) don't have it.)
posted by Automocar at 10:38 AM on November 12, 2019


Possibly as a side-effect of growing up in the 1960s and 1970s when TV meant broadcast and it was more or less a wasteland of low-brow sitcoms, variety shows, and Hollywood movies from the 1930s-1950s, all punctuated with commercials, I don't feel a lot of angst around all of this. Do people really feel compelled to pay for every possible service at once? Is there some conditioning around media consumption at play which I didn't participate in at an early enough age to get worked up about the current glut of choices?
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 10:40 AM on November 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


@tavella That move was probably due to the spectrum repackaging that is ongoing. The FCC wanted to sell a bunch of spectrum to mobile phone companies to push wireless data, so doing that meant they had to bump all the existing channels out of the airspace and squeeze them closer together. A lot of stations got shuffled around and, due to the spectrum space constraints, were obliterated. Can't compete with the billions the FCC raised in auctioning off airwaves again.
posted by msbutah at 10:49 AM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


As to VPNs, we use TunnelBear at my place of employment. I can't speak to the cost because the company pays for it, but it works well in Linux so it has that going for it.
posted by kokaku at 10:52 AM on November 12, 2019


Do people really feel compelled to pay for every possible service at once?

This is ... honestly sort of a judgmentally framed question? And it's something I see a lot of, and it's not great.

The issue isn't that we're zombies conditioned to need to get All The Services. The issue is, there was a point in time where there seemed like there was a reasonable chance that we'd have a future where content creators get paid reasonably and also viewers can get access for a reasonable price and not be constantly having to track who owns the licenses to what today (which was different yesterday), etc. Instead, we've got conglomerates choosing to each launch their own walled gardens, effectively re-enacting the old studio system of one studio for production, distribution, exhibition, etc.

Basically: rent seekers are gonna rent seek here, and each has decided they think they can make a tiny bit more profit by making things much harder on the average person just wanting to watch a movie. That sucks for consumers. If you don't care, then go on not caring. But, these kinds of questions (which might as well be the modern "Area Man Constantly Mentioning He Doesn't Own A TV") are frankly pretty tiring.
posted by tocts at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2019 [24 favorites]


Back in the day when there was cable, but only cable, we used to say "Gee, I wish I could pay for just the channels I want to watch." This is exactly that future, much more so than the mishmash midpoint of Netflix and Hulu ever were. But now somehow we've lost because we got what we asked for?

The point, though, was that it would be affordable to do so because of the economies of scale involved in the content creators having cable providers as their buyers instead of individuals. This isn't the same thing.
posted by invitapriore at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Shower thought: in 2000 it took a few maybe a couple dozen minutes minutes to get a 3 minute/3MB song on Napster/eDonkey/Kazaaa. Today, I can download a 120 minute/3GB movie in about the same amount of time over my new fibre service.
posted by bonehead at 10:55 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


10 lessons for Disney, Apple, and all the new streaming companies trying to take down Netflix (Matthew Ball and Alex Kruglov ; Vox)
Advice from two veterans of Amazon and Hulu. […]

2. The only arbiters of the quality of your content and service is the audience. You don’t keep subscribers by delighting the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences or the 90 members of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association or having the highest average Rotten Tomatoes score. These bodies might help build awareness for your shows, but ultimately, the audience needs to watch them and want more.

Rather than focus on Golden Statues, we recommend you keep the following principles in mind:
  • “The Nickelback Principle”: Audiences like content that is “bad.” They even like pretending they don’t like certain content and will go out of their way to complain about it. Nickelback was the bestselling band of the 2000s. This year, TLC’s Dr. Pimple Popper was more popular with women 25-54 in its timeslot than the Shonda Rhimes series How to Get Away with Murder, which stars Tony and Academy Award winner Viola Davis.
  • “The Marshmallow Principle”: If you ask audiences to come back on a weekly basis for new episodes, they better be good. The longer the gap between seasons, the better the show needs to be, too. If your content doesn’t justify 167-hour or 18-month waits, just binge-release it and conveyer-belt produce it.
  • “The In-and-Out Principle”: You probably need more content than you think. If your audience isn’t complaining about having too many series they want to watch, they’ll pause their subscription and come back when you have them.
  • “The Lump of Coal Principle”: Consumers don’t value content they don’t watch or want. In fact, the pay TV bundle showed that they eventually resent having access to it. At a certain point, the value of unwatched content is negative, not zero.
  • “The WeWork Principle”: You don’t need sophisticated metrics to tell if your audience likes your content. All you need to know is, “Are they coming back?” The more complicated the analysis, the more likely it has been exaggerated.
posted by ZeusHumms at 11:00 AM on November 12, 2019 [24 favorites]


No judgement implied so sorry for that. But the framing (“streaming wars” and we’ve already lost) implies deep concern over something I don’t personally relate to and an abstract ideal of consumption (“pay only for what you want to watch”) at a time when everything offered to us via the Internet seems exploitative...here’s another example.
posted by Insert Clever Name Here at 11:05 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Oh okay so the streaming industry is definitely a bubble then
posted by The Whelk at 11:08 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


A continuum of bubbles, as no hit lasts longer than popular memory. A froth.
posted by bonehead at 11:09 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Disney+ being $7/mo can't possibly last. Between my wife and I we watch primarily only streaming services and Disney has gobs of content. We ended up buying three years because it was 3 years for the price of 2 plus $2 and it locks in the price for that time. It brought the effective monthly price down to $4.72/mo so I feel like I've bought the streaming equivalent of AA's AAirpass.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 11:12 AM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I still find it weird that we're having a conversation about how there are Too Few Choices! Everyone is forced to watch the same 3-5 things that are made to be as bland and appeal to as many people as possible! about theatrical releases . . while simultaneously having a conversation about Too Many Choices! Nobody can possibly be expected to watch the same things and have a conversation about them, and there's always the feeling of missing out! about streaming services . . . and not think about how maybe those two interact in a way that's a little deeper than 'streaming services are killing cinema'.

This isn't to say that there aren't major issues with both the health of movie theaters and streaming services (and yes, if I had my way, production and distribution would have to be separated, plus being able to buy specific seasons of shows for, say, $20 seems like the sort of thing that would eventually make them money), but it really does seem like it's worth looking more into how these things interact, if only to think about how both are going to be affected when the current tactics keeping streaming and movie theaters afloat eventually stop working. Though really, we've hit Peak TV so many times now, I'm nostalgic for the innocence of the Peak TVs of yesteryear.

I do dip in and out of Netflix and HBO depending on what they've got airing that I want to financially support, but that's relatively infrequent these days.

Man, HBO is making a lot of quality content right now. I have a feeling that they panicked when they realized that Game of Thrones was ending and ended up making some bonkers great things. Gentleman Jack, Succession, Chernobyl, Watchmen, and Los Espookys are all great, and all different - I get the argument about the same people are making the same stuff for all of the networks, but I don't know how true it actually is. I hadn't even heard of the stuff that Gentleman Jack or Chernobyl's creators did before (though both shows had recognizable actors). I'm always for more diverse voices, and I do get the worry about the Dick Wolf effect, but I don't know if the problem was any worse now than it was before.
posted by dinty_moore at 11:19 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Re: VPN

I use Private Internet Access for when I need a proxy.
posted by mikelieman at 11:21 AM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


This year, TLC’s Dr. Pimple Popper was more popular with women 25-54 in its timeslot than the Shonda Rhimes series How to Get Away with Murder, which stars Tony and Academy Award winner Viola Davis.

Dr Pimple Popper is a better show than How to Get Away with Murder. Does a medical doctorate beat out a Tony (maybe?). It certainly beats out an Academy Award and a Grammy.

Nickelback was the bestselling band of the 2000s.
Ergo, play an advert for your show every 5 minutes on the radio?
posted by The_Vegetables at 11:23 AM on November 12, 2019


the framing (“streaming wars” and we’ve already lost)

There is something really wrong with that framing as it suggests the better possibility was having a single service carry every show and movie like Netflix briefly tried to do. That's pretty much the definition of a monopoly, which isn't a good thing for anyone and would in itself constitute a loss. Having choices of many smaller "niche" services one could pick up for a while and drop at will is decidedly better than a monopoly service by almost any definition.

I'd much rather have a bunch of diverse options, where they were trying different things, yes, probably at a lower budget and maybe with less stars involved, than a small handful of juggernaut services that had control over the industry. Right now I'm perfectly content to watch what's out there for free, from the library or whatever service provides that option, but I could easily easy paying for a niche service that supported a narrower field of interest where my money would at least have a chance to make a small difference for that niche market. If others want to see the big budget stuff, that's cool, but I'd prefer not to support that.
posted by gusottertrout at 11:23 AM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Maybe I’m just dumber or lazier than average but everything has become so fucking complicated that I just cannot be bothered. I’ve paid for Netflix, Hulu, Prime, Acorn, PBS, and a bunch of other crap within Apple TV, and I never end up watching anything because it’s too much effort. So now I’m not paying for anything and not watching anything and the only difference is I have more money.
posted by HotToddy at 11:31 AM on November 12, 2019 [26 favorites]


Fuck artificial scarcity. We need a new economics - an economics of over-abundance.

What's scarce here is my time and attention. There's no way I could ever watch a tenth of the shows that I'm moderately interested in, on top of the games I could enjoy playing or the books I'd read or all the other leisure options.

So why am I going to bother working out which streaming service I would have to sign up to watch a show that makes it to the top of my pile? There's what, ten of them in the US? And I'm in a different country with a different selection, with the option (and occasional necessity to VPN to a different country).

Quite simply - I'm not going to bother.

If it's less time and effort to pirate any of this, then that's what people are going to do.
posted by happyinmotion at 11:33 AM on November 12, 2019 [13 favorites]


I've also hit the oversaturation limit and have responded by barely watching anything at all anymore. There's a lot of other entertainment vying for my time: books, podcasts, games, music, and I still have hobbies too. CBS All Access got me with Star Trek, but I'm thinking of canceling and resubscribing as appropriate to catch up with Star Trek: Discovery. Disney+ is only going to get my money for as long as it takes me to watch next year's Falcon and Winter Soldier show. I think that's about all I can manage. Even the effort of keeping up with the things I "should" watch--and by "should" I mean things that friends have recommended or that people on my social media feeds are talking about--via piracy is too much for me at this point.

I know that's not the average consumer response to too much content, but it's mine. There's just too much, and filtering through it all for those things I'll like has tipped over into taking more effort than it's worth for me. I pick a thing to watch on Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime once every month or two, but it's my family members who are sharing my accounts who get more out of those services than I do.
posted by yasaman at 12:32 PM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


These days, I've found that youtube has enough "good enough" content to satisfy me most of the time. If there's a show I want to watch, I'll either snag a free trial of a streaming service or pay for a month.
posted by No One Ever Does at 12:33 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


> We got a letter from Xfinity that they're dropping Starz and my wife being a huge Outlander fan, is already sharpening up her claymore.

Some fans took out a full-page ad in The Seattle Times protesting the change.
posted by The corpse in the library at 12:36 PM on November 12, 2019


It is really convenient to have everything on only 2-3 services but I can see how studios like Disney figure they can cut out the middleman and stream their content directly. It'll be interesting to see which of the services will actually have legs and if we end up with lots of relatively equally-sized streaming services or just a couple of main ones and a whole bunch of smaller ones but I'll probably just stick with Prime Video (which is pretty useless in Canada but I'm paying for Prime regardless) and one other service that has a decent amount of content. There isn't anything I'd consider "Must See TV".
posted by any portmanteau in a storm at 12:41 PM on November 12, 2019


Has anyone created an app or website where they show you upcoming shows for the next year or so and you rate your interests, and then you it tells you which months to subscribe to which services to optimally rotate through them? Or even better, you put in your cc number and it subscribes and cancels for you, with weekly reminders what shows are now available for you? Seems like that would be relatively easy to do, or at least the suggestion/reminder part. It would almost be like old-school Netflix but with subscriptions instead of dvds...
posted by chortly at 12:44 PM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Disney+ has really made me realize how much of a minority I am as someone who thinks boycotting their company is the moral thing to do. Their strategy of putting a chokehold on what is the public's right to it's own ideas, swinging too-much money they have around to literally buy up the rights to massive swaths of IP means there is essentially no media consumer on Earth without some attachment to a property they have come to control.

Disney is single-handedly making a push for me to return to content sharing. It's the only way I can think of to enjoy art made my people I think deserve for their work to be seen, without the bad feelings that come from giving Disney money.
posted by GoblinHoney at 12:50 PM on November 12, 2019 [10 favorites]


It brought the effective monthly price down to $4.72/mo so I feel like I've bought the streaming equivalent of AA's AAirpass.

Hmm, I can't see any option available except for the free trial for Disney+? I admit, I'd be tempted to lock in <$5.
posted by tavella at 12:51 PM on November 12, 2019


So why am I going to bother working out which streaming service I would have to sign up to watch a show that makes it to the top of my pile?

Real question: how hard is this, really? If a show has made it to the top of my pile, I google its name plus “UK”. Or I use Justwatch.com. And then I decide whether I want to pay for it or not, whether that’s buying it from Apple or subscribing to whatever streaming service for a month. Once you’ve done that, you don’t need to mess about with torrents, stuff just appears magically on my TV.

It’s only when it’s not available by any legal means whatsoever (e.g. The Mandalorian) that I’ll consider pirating it, and even then I’ll make a mental note to subscribe when it’s finally available.

Look, I get it. I used to pirate everything when I was a student with no money and there were few if any legal means of getting US TV in the UK. But shows are a lot more accessible now and frankly, cheaper to access (I don’t need to commit to £500/year for Sky). So when I see people exclaim “well now you’ve forced me to pirate everything!” I wonder if the real reason for pretending it’s hard to obtain this stuff legally is because you... just don’t want to pay anything.
posted by adrianhon at 12:51 PM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Yes, it can't possibly be because I'm already subscribed to FIOS, HBO, Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime, and this is such a giant pain in the ass to manage that it ends up being easier to run my own Plex server and literally pirate content I already have rights to watch legally. I must just hate paying for stuff.
posted by tocts at 12:59 PM on November 12, 2019 [15 favorites]


I guess we have completely different experiences then. I use Plex for one or two things, and I subscribe to Amazon Prime, Netflix, Apple TV, NowTV (includes HBO originals), and BBC iPlayer (via the licence fee). I haven’t noticed any undue burden of using their apps that would make me throw up my hands, cancel all my subscriptions, and decide that no-one involved deserves being paid.

Because that is what we’re also talking about here - I don’t agree with Amazon’s politics, I hate that Netflix are censoring their own shows, I know the creators don’t see most of the most, I get that piracy isn’t the same as theft - but I do want the creators to be compensated for entertaining me.
posted by adrianhon at 1:05 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I already pay for AMC through my satellite provider. I set my DVR to record a show last fall (A Discovery of Witches) and it never did. I was able to see it using On Demand, so I planned to catch up before the next season came out. Now it is no longer available on demand but only on AMC's app. I can see episode 1 for free but I have to pay $5 per month to see the rest of them.

Except I already pay for AMC.
posted by soelo at 1:05 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


I’m a little baffled by these replies BTW. I’m not defending providers with shitty apps. If you look at the comment I was replying to, I was referring to the pretence that it’s so hard to figure out which service has Stranger Things that leads people to piracy. But by all means, carry on.
posted by adrianhon at 1:12 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Seems like a bubble content wise, with everyone positioning themselves to not get left out.

While I understand the practical and financial frustrations, this is the key aspect to me: we are experiencing an embarrassment of riches, content-wise. So much good (and even great) stuff is being made right now, it’s just fantastic.
posted by LooseFilter at 1:17 PM on November 12, 2019


No one's mentioned the new "Maclunkey"cut of a New Hope that's streaming on Disney+?
posted by octothorpe at 1:20 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Plus they are already doing their "fake scarcity" Disney thing to the Fox catalogue.

That link is excellent. Titled "Disney Is Quietly Placing Classic Fox Movies Into Its Vault and That’s Worrying," it points out Disney is pulling classics like Alien, The Princess Bride, Fight Club and many other films regional theaters use at special screenings to boost their bottom line. Often, the films have been pulled just a few days before the scheduled and advertised screenings, even though the agreements to show them were made months ago. It's disgusting behavior, especially Disney's refusal to comment about the practice, and the article is a very useful reminder of just exactly who we're dealing with as we look at our friends and enemies in the Streaming Wars.

Disney seems to be targeting theaters that also play first-run Disney titles, the assumption being that any screen in those theaters *not* showing the latest Disney release is an Attack on The Mouse that cannot be tolerated. Interestingly, there's one Fox classic Disney is leaving alone, for now:

The Rocky Horror Picture Show appears to be the one title Disney isn’t cracking down on — perhaps because, according to Rachel Fox, “maybe Disney knows that if they pull Rocky Horror too, there’ll be a full-scale audience revolt.”
posted by mediareport at 1:32 PM on November 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


While I understand the practical and financial frustrations, this is the key aspect to me: we are experiencing an embarrassment of riches, content-wise. So much good (and even great) stuff is being made right now, it’s just fantastic.

It won't last.

This newsletter from Matt Stoller seems relevant. Choice quote:

Disney already controls theater chains through agreements it negotiates based on raw muscle and market share. Disney’s strategy, especially with its new streaming service Disney Plus, is to recreate the system the Paramount Consent decrees took apart, but to add into it a combination of TV, movies, and theme parks, and to do it globally. Netflix, Disney, AT&T, Amazon, Comcast and perhaps a few others will try to ‘win’ the streaming wars' with various pricing games to subscribers, which is really a battle not over creating good content but over winning market power, much like the 1920s. In fact Netflix only started making original content because its executives realized the industry would vertically integrate, and it wouldn’t be able to license content from would-be competitors.
posted by Automocar at 1:33 PM on November 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


For now, insiders caution that there are no plans to make moves against individuals who share passwords with family and friends.

The added viewership data, combined with data collected from the computers of the family and friends who are sharing and then sold to miners, is almost certainly more valuable in the aggregate to folks like Disney, Netflix and HBO than the lost subscriber fees. I'd be surprised if there's much of a crackdown.
posted by mediareport at 1:36 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Hmm, I can't see any option available except for the free trial for Disney+? I admit, I'd be tempted to lock in <$5.

Sadly it was a Founders deal with a coupon code prior to the service launch.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:00 PM on November 12, 2019


They won't crack-down on profiles/passwords. They'll just increase the cost of shared accounts. They'll establish tiers (you know, how they're trying to do with the Internet), so that if you want 2 profiles that can be shared it's $9.99, if you want 4 profiles, it's $12.99, etc.

I see that writing on the wall a long way off, and there's no way that Disney+ is going to keep prices this low. They might for the first year or two and then they'll slowly increase the pricing in the way that Netflix has the last few years.

I am not a fan of Disney but Disney+ is pretty appealing with the amount of content they are offering. I'm testing it out. It's a but buggy today but my first impression is that it's a solid streaming service and it's going to give Netflix a fair bit of competition. And they know this.
posted by Fizz at 2:00 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Werner Herzog is starring in Disney+'s new flagship Star Wars TV show, The Mandalorian. So of course when Variety interviews him he's sure to discuss their streaming platform
Will you watch “The Mandalorian” when it blasts off?
Well, I can only watch it on Disney Plus. I’d have to sign up for it. So far, I have only signed up for one streaming platform, and that’s Criterion. They have hundreds of films, and every one of them is great.
posted by Nelson at 2:12 PM on November 12, 2019 [22 favorites]


Back in the day when there was cable, but only cable, we used to say "Gee, I wish I could pay for just the channels I want to watch." This is exactly that future, much more so than the mishmash midpoint of Netflix and Hulu ever were. But now somehow we've lost because we got what we asked for?

I said this in the last thread where someone made this comparison but the reason it feels like viewers are losing out is not really, I think, the proliferation of streaming services but the consolidation of IP ownership, and the way studios are currently throwing that weight around to secure a position in the streaming market.
posted by atoxyl at 2:30 PM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


Yar, har, fiddle dee dee...
posted by Quackles at 2:35 PM on November 12, 2019


This newsletter from Matt Stoller seems relevant.

Thanks for that link, I think it's the first place I've seen the direct comparison made to the old Hollywood studio system, which to me seems clear.
posted by dnash at 2:36 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Since it because extremely obvious that this whole thing was going to turn into a cash grab from everybody with a studio and a few billion dollars, I've been holding pretty firm to the "no freaking new streaming services." I mean, I'm already paying for cable, NBC Sports (Premier League soccer), Netflix, Hulu, Amazon and that's it.

But....ugh, Disney+ took the Simpsons collection from FXX, so I'm interested. Damn them from taking the Simpsons from something I'm already paying for and making me shell out for it. And this fuckery again. But I guess I won't miss the weirdly-timed ads all over the place. I wonder if they'll keep the "watch random episode" feature from the Simpsons World but I doubt it.
posted by General Malaise at 2:36 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yar, har, fiddle dee dee...

Julianna Rose Mauriello is 28 years old.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 2:36 PM on November 12, 2019


And this fuckery again.

Worst. Ratio. Ever.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:44 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


All these bastards could still get totally rich with a trivially easy payment scheme:
1) I pay per byte of what I stream.
2) Cost per byte is 2x marginal cost for streaming that byte.

Any VC would go for 50% margin, right?
posted by j_curiouser at 2:58 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I feel that some folks have just decided that anything more than... I don't know, whatever content they want to watch at any given second being spontaneously projected directly on to their retinas for $4.99 a month is rent-seeking, outrageous and a complete justification for pirating everything.

Still convinced the vast majority of normal folks will just subscribe to a couple of these, and switch rather than add if the monthly bills get too much.
posted by ominous_paws at 3:04 PM on November 12, 2019 [5 favorites]


why be stuck on an archaic model at all (subscriptions)? That is rent seeking by definition. Benjamins, is all.
posted by j_curiouser at 3:11 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Are people legitimately not aware that PlutoTV exists as a free built-in app to most smart TVs? There honestly seems to be a channel for just about everything. Want to watch Doctor Who? There's an entire channel for that. Want to watch Degrassi? Channel for that, too. And it's all free (minus the obvious initial cost of the TV, of course).
posted by Delia at 3:19 PM on November 12, 2019 [8 favorites]


In a former life I was an audio engineer in Nashville TN, mostly in studio. One of the often used techniques when working with an effect or eq or balance or pan or whatever is to jack it way up, then back off. Possibly apocryphal but the scuttlebut was that was how Cher invented the auto tune vocal effect - she walked into the studio when the engineers were messing with melodyne or whatever and had it jacked all the way up and said “that sounds cool!”

Anyways. Back before ubiquitous affordable streaming was a thing, a shit ton of ppl just pirated the content they wanted. Once an easy to access and relatively affordable, low friction alternative was available, a lot of those folks were willing to cough up some dollars and stopped pirating.

It feels like in response to an issue of widespread pirating, the markets jacked up the Affordable Convenient Streaming knob. And now that we all have gotten used to that, they are gonna slowly back it down, increasing price and decreasing convenience until juuuuuuuust before that threshold at which pirating starts to explode again. Goddamnit.
posted by lazaruslong at 3:27 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


Pluto also has channels for MST3K and Rifftrax (and it's on Roku, too).

Anyway, I have a full year of free Hulu saved up basically from playing ads on my laptop all day. I was led to believe Disney+ would be offered as an add-on for Hulu, but it turns out it's only in a very roundabout way. You have to sign up for the Disney+ bundle separately, and they'll credit your Hulu account, which is literally the opposite of what I need. So, oh, well, Boba Fett. You'll have to drink your drinks in the bar with your helmet on without me, I guess.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:31 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Any VC would go for 50% margin, right?

For an actual VC, any return less than 100X is seen as a failure and not worth doing. A 50% margin is close enough to just setting their money on fire as to be indistinguishable.
posted by sideshow at 3:33 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


You are conflating investment return with profits on sales. Then again the original proposal is conflating the cost of serving streaming bandwidth with the cost of producing movies like Star Wars. Metafilter is seldom a good place to have meaningful economic discussions.
posted by Nelson at 3:47 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


It's interesting, what hasn't really been mentioned much here is the variable of advertising. These streaming companies are well aware that there's any entire generation of soon-to-be young adults for whom the notion of advertising-supported entertainment is anathema and therefore feel emboldened to ask them to pay up in a few years.

Call them the YouTube generation or what-have-you, but that horse was out of the barn years ago. Ad-supported tv, at least in the traditional sense, is not going to fly with this group.

The key to understanding the streaming diaspora is by looking not at your own viewing habits but those of the current 6-20 year old crowd. When they have disposable income, will they pay to maintain their norm of bingeable content with no interruptions? That is the question.
posted by jeremias at 3:49 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I was referring to the pretence that it’s so hard to figure out which service has Stranger Things that leads people to piracy.

Stranger Things is a Netflix original, and anyone who's interested in it, knows that. What's hard to figure out is where you can watch MASH (Hulu now, formerly Netflix), Leverage (nowhere - must purchase individual eps or seasons), Ant Man (same), and various Star Wars movies (they're scattered, and some aren't available on any streaming service).

And after finding out that Amazon's offline viewing feature sometimes doesn't work, I've realized the only way to be sure I can watch what I paid for is to strip the DRM and save a copy. (If I had a library book that was only readable under fluorescent lights and went blank under others, I'd feel no qualms about photocopying the sections I wanted to read.)

The key to understanding the streaming diaspora is by looking not at your own viewing habits but those of the current 6-20 year old crowd.

I've got a pair of early-twenties daughters who don't distinguish between movies, tv series, and random-indie YouTube channels. They don't mind commercials, but their reaction to "that's no longer available here" is "I bet DailyMotion has it."

The streaming wars are not going to end the way the media mega-corporations want, because Kids These Days who learned media consumption online, don't have a hard line in their heads between "legit licensed use of content" and "someone just posted this thing." And all of YouTube's copyright bots aren't going to change their minds, since the false positives just convince them that nobody actually knows what's legit in which places.

The difference between this and the "I wish we could subscribe to just the channels we want" that we used to talk about with cable: Nobody said, "I wish I needed 8 logins and separate billing schedules to watch those channels," and they really didn't say, "I am fine with random security failures on the parts of some of those companies." Every new account service now comes with a side of identity theft risk.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 3:57 PM on November 12, 2019 [9 favorites]


We have Amazon Prime Video because we have Amazon Prime anyway.

We have Hulu, Netflix, and HBO Now because they all have shows that either both my wife and I want to watch or one of us does.

We have Disney+ because we have a seven-year-old, Disney has a lot of content we all like, and I got the early bird deal.

My new job came with a new iPhone, so I got a free year of Apple TV+. The alternate-history space show looks interesting.

Wirecutting may or may not be cheaper than cable (and I don't want to do the math) but it's certainly more confusing.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:05 PM on November 12, 2019


oh also fyi some ppl said on twitter that if you have a verizon unlimited cell plan you have free access to disney+ for a year.
posted by lazaruslong at 4:16 PM on November 12, 2019


Keep in mind that this is all based on the legal invention called "intellectual property" which is designed to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. A large portion of the economic inequality seen today is based on government enforced monopolies -- copyright and patents.
posted by JackFlash at 4:22 PM on November 12, 2019 [6 favorites]


Pre-IP laws we just had independently wealthy people doing either most of the scientific/creative work or being a patron of those who did. Bills gotta get paid. IP as a concept did allow the thinker to profit from their labour as much as a worker. Without it, I dare say a lot of the great American works of the 19th and 20th century might never have been written because they'd be too busy working and probably wouldn't be able to publish as many novels using only their leisure time.

What our current IP system gets totally wrong is that it can be hoarded. IP needs an ever increasing fee as a tax on keeping it out of the public domain. If it's economically exploitable, pay the fee. If not, into the public domain it goes.
posted by Your Childhood Pet Rock at 4:30 PM on November 12, 2019 [13 favorites]


Our four-year-old televisions are incompatible with Disney+, because they are locked to an outdated version of webOS. Yes, LG TVs run on the same OS as Palm did.
posted by persona at 4:31 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


Our four-year-old televisions are incompatible with Disney+, because they are locked to an outdated version of webOS. Yes, LG TVs run on the same OS as Palm did.
This is just not a Disney+ problem. I have a cheap LG TV in the bedroom, and while it's ok as a TV, and WebOS in itself isn't bad, it's horribly slow, and doesn't have apps for much interesting beyond Netflix and YouTube. Amazon Prime Video has nothing, HBO neither, and although that used to work with ChromeCast, the Latin American HBO app just removed the cast button from their iOS app for no apparent reason, so that doesn't work anymore either.

I'm going Android TV all the way in the future for smart TVs, it's the only thing that has apps for everything.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 4:35 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Our four-year-old televisions are incompatible with Disney+, because they are locked to an outdated version of webOS. Yes, LG TVs run on the same OS as Palm did.

A similar compatibility issue: Samsung Smart TVs from earlier than 2018 don't have the Apple TV app, and there's no indication they ever will. If you have a Samsung Smart TV that's more than two years old and you want to watch Apple's content on it, you have to either: have the Apple TV device, have an Amazon Fire stick or Roku, or hook up your laptop/tablet/whatever directly to the TV. This is part of the problem with the proliferation of streaming services: what should be easy to access has some invisible hurdles for many viewers, many of whom have hardware that's not even that old.

Part of streaming TV's appeal in the first place was simplicity, but if you have to juggle so many different devices and points of access, it's no longer so simple and cable TV starts looking almost attractive again. If any streaming service requires more from me than downloading one (1) app to the Smart TV/tablet/phone/whatever and inputting my login, then I'm out. I suppose this is more of a problem for the messy Smart TV marketplace to sort out, but it's obnoxious.
posted by yasaman at 5:02 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Are people legitimately not aware that PlutoTV exists as a free built-in app to most smart TVs?
Do they have anything from this century?
posted by soelo at 5:04 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


I dunno, even with fancier TVs the onboard apps are kinda sucky and clunky compared to an Apple TV, Roku, or screening via Chromecast (newer 4k).
posted by Burhanistan at 5:14 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


There's a Pluto TV channel for Leverage, for when you really start to hate late stage capitalism.
posted by dinty_moore at 6:00 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


So, oh, well, Boba Fett.

Just wait til the final episode of Season 1 airs on December 27 and then binge it with the free 7-day trial. (Also, it's not Boba Fett.)
posted by mediareport at 6:16 PM on November 12, 2019


It's not possible under Comcast to not pay for and not receive a cable package Man I am glad that's not a system wide policy, it'd force me to get DSL.
posted by 922257033c4a0f3cecdbd819a46d626999d1af4a at 6:19 PM on November 12, 2019 [1 favorite]


tocts - easier to run my own Plex server and literally pirate content I already have rights to watch legally

I agree and am entirely sympathetic. But doing it this way - arguably - deprives the companies some individual metrics data, which has both business value and when in aggregate has value to making business decisions.
posted by porpoise at 6:27 PM on November 12, 2019


porpoise - so what? I don't care to give away my personal data so I don't particularly care about HBO/Apple/whoever's marketing or business decisions that I am "depriving" them of. Just another reason to pirate everything if you ask me.

I paid $120 for a lifetime Plex Pass 4 years ago. Best decision ever. I use it every day for all my media, from streaming music on the subway to watching today's episode of the Daily Show when I get home.

For yall contemplating this there's no need for torrents or VPNs. You can get 95% of stuff from the usenet bins, I think it costs me $6/mo for the bandwidth. Everything is automated these days, once you set up Plex and it's supporting cast of downloaders it just runs itself. Their DVR function is also great, only requires you to buy a tuner once (I get 60 channels with a $30 antenna in my urban area).

If this is too much, think of the nerdiest person you know, they probably already have a server and you can share it with as many people as you want.
posted by bradbane at 8:01 PM on November 12, 2019 [4 favorites]


Plex is wonderful, yes. Although it seems like at some point the shoe will drop and it will get sued into oblivion.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:17 PM on November 12, 2019 [3 favorites]


How is Plex any different from any other software that plays video files? Plex is just a way to stream media you already have on your computer.

There's always Kodi which is basically just as good these days.
posted by bradbane at 8:23 PM on November 12, 2019


The beauty of Plex (and probably Kodi as well) is the addition of "the cloud" to the concepts of "media you have" and "on your computer". All that's needed is an easily shared username, password, and server name.

Plex is like Netflix, except with all the shows, for free, using piracy, and without the difficulty. Just open the app, find a show, and hit play.
posted by fragmede at 11:14 PM on November 12, 2019 [2 favorites]


Let's stipulate that for some people, streaming services are so badly designed and unreliable that it's preferable to watch pirated content. That's not my experience and I haven't see similar levels of upset on places like Reddit or Twitter as I have here, but I'll definitely admit to pirating stuff from Netflix that I wanted to take some screencaps of, so I do get the impulse.

The question then becomes, should you still pay for the content at all, whether via streaming services or buying digital copies, or whatever, even if you're downloading copies of it? Arguments against paying could include the fact that only a small proportion goes to the creatives involved, or that you have ethical objections to Disney/Netflix/Amazon's corporate practices. I'm sure there are other arguments that I haven't thought of, and I'd be genuinely keen to hear them.

I'm not convinced by those two arguments though. When I buy a book or watch a movie at the cinema or even buy groceries, an equally small proportion of my money goes to the actual creatives or farmers, but I don't see that as a reason to not pay. Now, those are slightly different cases because digital goods have effectively zero marginal costs and are non-rivalrous, so then the argument becomes whether the lack of paying does harm to the overall enterprise.

And I would argue, yes it does. If I pirate everything on Netflix and I don't pay a penny, then everyone else is subsidising my viewing. By a very small amount individually, to be sure! And perhaps the argument is that if I did pay, then they'd just pocket the extra profit. OK – but why is it that I get to be the person who wins out here over everyone who didn't pay?

So I'm not saying that you shouldn't pirate stuff you've already paid for access to, if the streaming apps are that bad. That feels justifiable to me, even if it's not my experience. But I think it's less defensible to pirate everything and never pay. At least, I haven't heard any great arguments for doing so here. I certainly don't see it as some inherently good or virtuous act.
posted by adrianhon at 2:03 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I live in the same mid-sized American city as vibrotronica, and I can't even get AT&T, so it's Xfinity or nothing. I pay "$130 a month" for TV and cable, plus $15 for HBO, but with cable box charges and fees and taxes I actually pay $200. I can drop my internet bill no lower than $100, regardless of package (and that requires me to get phone service through them for some reason). Now, dropping to 10 channels should reduce the fees, and dropping TV altogether might eliminate most of the fees, so there's a multiplier effect. But the day 5G wireless or some other home internet service becomes available is the day I cut the cord.

I'm used to browsing through my DVR and then looking through the channel guide to see what's on. If I have to hunt through 5 different apps, I don't know how I'm supposed to keep track of when my shows are on/back/new episodes, or know about new shows to ever watch them. Maybe it doesn't matter. Meanwhile, I'd like to watch Jeopardy when I get home, which seems to be impossible unless I pay somebody $50 a month for live channels, or build my own DVR somehow to save it off the antenna feed.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 5:35 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


But I think it's less defensible to pirate everything and never pay. At least, I haven't heard any great arguments for doing so here. I certainly don't see it as some inherently good or virtuous act.

I'm not sure anyone is making an argument that piracy = morally correct. I mean, I'd prefer to spend what little excess money I have supporting local, independent businesses than throwing money into the maws of Disney or Amazon, but that's not really a consideration when I add something to my automated piracy system.

What's interesting to me is the point at which streaming genuinely becomes more convenient. My piracy habits date back to double tape decks in the 80s - but I stopped with any music piracy at the point at which Spotify became more convenient - it has (nearly) everything I want, it's all available from one place, it hooks into every system I own, nothing is geo-blocked or time-gated.

If I had to use a different app for each record label, or if back catalogue stuff kept disappearing from one app and appearing on another, or I had to google to work out where I could listen to a particular album, or if albums were available overseas by VPN but not here, then I wouldn't use it. And that's still where video streaming is at.

Music separated the production and distribution, meaning distributors (Spotify, Deezer, etc) can license almost anything and offer almost everything. Video has seen the producers seek to retain distribution (or, in Netflix's case, distributors become producers) and everything is kept in it's own walled garden.

It's not that it's difficult using the apps, but if I want to browse for something to watch, dropping in and out of iPlayer, Netflix, Prime, Disney+, etc is far more painful than just flicking through Spotify. Give me that convenience and that back catalogue and you have my money for life.
posted by macapes at 5:55 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, I'd like to watch Jeopardy when I get home, which seems to be impossible unless I pay somebody $50 a month for live channels, or build my own DVR somehow to save it off the antenna feed.

As an FYI, TiVo still exists, and can record OTA content. I've been using a TiVo of some sort since ~2002. I won't lie, it's not as good as it used to be -- the current models have some good features, but are sometimes less responsive, and they recently made the jaw-droppingly stupid decision to remove the ability to thumbs up / thumbs down stuff (which used to be how they built profiles for suggestions, which I guess now they're just trying to guess based on your viewing habits, the guessing of which isn't nearly as good).

But: it's still pretty decent, and as I said, can record from antenna if that's your thing.
posted by tocts at 6:10 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


I think we should just outlaw exclusivity agreements. Let streaming platforms all buy the rights to shows. If they're truly valuable, then the rights holder should still make out okay, because more than 1 streaming service will want it. It's not like you can't rent a digital movie from multiple places: iTunes, Amazon, Roku, etc.
posted by Automocar at 6:48 AM on November 13, 2019


I'm not convinced by those two arguments though. When I buy a book or watch a movie at the cinema or even buy groceries, an equally small proportion of my money goes to the actual creatives or farmers, but I don't see that as a reason to not pay.

I have a limited amount of money to spend on media. So by pirating the content of transnational, multi-billion dollar corporations, I get to spend more money at local punk shows or buying art directly from artists. Which I do, on a regular basis. I'd rather spend my money on say, prints from the Magnum print sale. Paying rent to Disney or Apple is not high on my list of moral concerns, and my homebrewed Plex streaming service is a far superior experience to anything being offered by any of these companies.

So I'll say it: piracy is morally superior if I give my money to actual artists instead.

Meanwhile, I'd like to watch Jeopardy when I get home, which seems to be impossible unless I pay somebody $50 a month for live channels, or build my own DVR somehow to save it off the antenna feed.

DVR & Live TV on Plex is great. Removes commercials automatically and streams to any of my devices, I get 60 OTA channels in my area.
posted by bradbane at 7:27 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


So I'll say it: piracy is morally superior if I give my money to actual artists instead.

Oh, c'mon. It's not like you're somehow diverting income from Disney to a widows and orphans fund like some kind of Robin Hood, you're just trying to have your cake and eat it too. Pirate the stuff if you want, I don't really care, but let's not try to claim it as a moral act when you could just not watch the stuff at all. There's really no good excuse to pirate media you could get otherwise when there are so many options of things to watch or listen to that don't require pirating in the first place. Acting like there's some special need to see Disney or whatever product that makes pirating it therefore acceptable just doesn't wash.
posted by gusottertrout at 7:44 AM on November 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


What is an "actual artist"? Are you paying actors, writers, crew, etc for the stuff you watch directly?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:08 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Not watching is probably better at hurting Disney than pirating if that's the goal since ideally that would lose them cultural relevancy. If no one is talking about The Mandalorian or whatever then there will be less of an impetus for people to sign up for Disney+.
posted by ODiV at 8:13 AM on November 13, 2019 [2 favorites]


Piracy hurts artists.

I'm fine with people deciding that it's a better decision of moral calculus when in taking into account that there's no ethical consumption under capitalism. But it isn't an unblemished moral good.

I've quite a few friends who work in the lower levels of the TV industry. If their shows don't get renewed because there's not enough paid viewership (which has happened to people), they're out of a job. For example, SAG actors lose their health insurance if they don't work a minimum number of days or make a minimum amount of money in a year. There are real consequences to piracy for people who aren't stars of shows or CEOs of corporations. I get that the right answer here is universal health care, but in the right now where we don't have that in US -- people losing their health insurance is a potential consequence of piracy.
posted by JustKeepSwimming at 8:17 AM on November 13, 2019 [4 favorites]


The moral calculus of piracy really changes when you're talking about stuff that is decades old, though. I recently torrented Mary Poppins. Was that "wrong"? It's 55 years old. Under any sane copyright system, it would be in the public domain.
posted by Automocar at 8:31 AM on November 13, 2019 [5 favorites]


Automocar: I can respect that. Disney has a lot to answer for with its lobbying for ridiculously long copyright terms. It's one of the worst things they've done as a company.
posted by adrianhon at 8:34 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


I love Plex! But it's only a solution for watching stuff if you don't care about licensing or whether the show's owners and creators get paid.

How is Plex any different from any other software that plays video files?

Plex tries hard to not be identified directly with piracy. OTOH, almost all the folks who use it use it to watch unlicensed material. The place I wonder if they'll get into trouble is the very good matching the server software does. I can have some random badly named file on my server and Plex will figure out for me that it's actually Friends Season 6 Episode 12, bring up a good image to represent the show, and give me a show synopsis. Even though neither I nor Plex Inc have a license to have a copy of that episode. I'm not saying that's illegal per se, but it's a feature that's only useful to people without properly licensed access to the media.

Plex is like Netflix, except with all the shows, for free, using piracy, and without the difficulty

You're leaving out the challenge of stocking a Plex server with copies of video. Running your own Plex server means you're also doing some sort of downloading on the back-end (via torrents or NZBs) which is all the difficulty. You can point your Plex client at someone else's Plex server, so they're doing the work and not you. But last I looked there weren't a bunch of widely available pirate Plex servers open for anyone to use. Or is there some What.CD equivalent for Plex I just don't know about?
posted by Nelson at 8:35 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Not remotely a moral stance, but I dislike the idea of having a grajillion different services with their own walled gardens, even if they were free. Luckily I already have one u(senet)iversal service in addition to netflix and the amazon we get thrown in with prime.

So we'll treat it like we did ST:Discovery and just happily pirate it and buy the disc later. If they don't wanna sell us a disc set, that seems stupid but that's their business.
posted by GCU Sweet and Full of Grace at 8:45 AM on November 13, 2019


The moral calculus of piracy really changes when you're talking about stuff that is decades old, though. I recently torrented Mary Poppins. Was that "wrong"?

Personally, I'm torn over it for a few reasons. As you say, the copyright system is bullshit and I don't have any problem with pirating movies that don't fit a more reasonable definition of copyright law, which for me means anything before the eighties would be fair game along and some of the eighties work as well, but it does also mean I'm avoiding new work for the old along with making use of other systems, legal and dubious, to watch things in order to avoid paying for them.

I'm poor, but that's not a legit excuse in itself when I could easily choose not to watch anything but work purposefully made free or that which I was paying the artists involved to support. Even using things like the library system to see movies that I wouldn't choose to pay for does still feel like I'm being hypocritical with myself around what I'm doing in much the same way. I struggle with the feeling I'm using loopholes to justify my consumption in ways I can't entirely justify to myself.

That's just me though, not something I expect anyone else to be concerned with as I don't have an entirely satisfactory answer on my own.
posted by gusottertrout at 8:49 AM on November 13, 2019


But surely when you borrow a movie from the library, you are paying for the artists involved via your taxes and society as a whole, since the libraries have to pay for their copies/usage? Libraries are a great and underappreciated option for all kinds of content beyond books and I don't think anyone should feel remotely guilty in using them to the max.
posted by adrianhon at 8:53 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


We subscribe to Netflix, HBO, and the evil that is Amazon Prime (I required to issue that disclaimer on MeFi). That gives us an incredible amount of entertainment options. I have a Fire Stick to replace the outmoded streaming options on our smart devices and it works like a charm. Just a slim remote that only requires that I turn the TV to the proper HDMI input.

I see that Mouse Plus is available on Fire. It's sorely tempting. There are a lot of Disney films we haven't seen in decades. My wife would hit The Darn Cat and all those old Dean Jones movies so fast it would cause whiplash. And while I prefer Star Trek, the Force is still strong within me. But I must resist, I must resist. I'll probably be banned from MeFi for admitting I use Amazon.
posted by Ber at 9:08 AM on November 13, 2019


I'm not knocking the role libraries play in the society, just questioning myself about how I use them. I check out movies from the library that I wouldn't actually pay to see and thus "get around" my objections to the companies that make them and get to satisfy my own curiosity in a way that feels sorta internally hypocritical. It's not a judgement of others using the system at all, just an attempt to keep my personal ethics in view.
posted by gusottertrout at 9:11 AM on November 13, 2019 [1 favorite]


Plus they are already doing their "fake scarcity" Disney thing to the Fox catalogue.

Nothing will get me to hoist the jolly roger than being unable to legally obtain content. If some streaming service isn't going to allow me to view the content they own outright what the hell is the point of subscribing. And hey, once the flag is flying getting stuff that is available somewhere I don't currently have access to becomes a lot more attractive. Or even stuff I do theoretically have available but won't stream at camp. It's crazy I can stream Prime and not netflix at camp for example (and ironically Prime won't compress their inter-episode trailers at the same rate as the shows themselves so my streaming will grind to a halt when they pop up).

Bizarrely camp workers have dropped back to old school station wagon piracy. Any camp you go to there are guys who have TB drives full of practically anything that is or was mainstream that one can borrow to copy to your own TB drive.
posted by Mitheral at 9:45 AM on November 13, 2019


I can have some random badly named file on my server and Plex will figure out for me that it's actually Friends Season 6 Episode 12, bring up a good image to represent the show, and give me a show synopsis. Even though neither I nor Plex Inc have a license to have a copy of that episode. I'm not saying that's illegal per se, but it's a feature that's only useful to people without properly licensed access to the media.

I've been running my own personal/private Plex server for my own household use (i.e. no outside users) for the past several years, with probably 90 to 95 percent of my content being taken from CDs, DVDs and Blu-rays that I legally own (and keep tucked away in storage), or DRM-free audio/video files that I have legally purchased or acquired from online stores. The right of consumers to format shift lawfully-bought physical media and to circumvent DRM on the same has been upheld on multiple occasions, so I've gotten into the habit of buying used DVDs/BRs for cheap for the sole purpose of ripping and archiving them; as long as I own the discs, I also own the right to rip and keep copies on my hard drive.

So I wouldn't say that Plex's automatic matching feature is ONLY useful to pirates, but also to people who realize that buying movies 100% digitally is like buying a passing breeze: You have the right to stream that movie for as long as the studio who made it or the DRM storefront you bought it from continues to honor your license to that material. But physical media is yours to watch, copy, and format shift forever, as long as it's for your own use and you don't try to sell or otherwise distribute them outside of that personal context.
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:44 AM on November 13, 2019 [3 favorites]


I just want Netflix to allow me to turn off the horrible auto-playing previews on its PS4 app. It makes starting the app stressful: OK, gotta decide what to watch fast before it starts spewing unwanted noise! I hate it so much.

Anyway I want not only a universal interface for video, I want it to behave as I'd prefer. I am willing to pay. Not all that much. But some.
posted by asperity at 10:46 AM on November 13, 2019 [7 favorites]


You're leaving out the challenge of stocking a Plex server with copies of video. Running your own Plex server means you're also doing some sort of downloading on the back-end (via torrents or NZBs) which is all the difficulty.

Not exactly true. All you need to run a Plex server is some way of getting media files into your library directories. You certainly can source all of your stuff through pirate downloaders, if that's how you roll; Or you can do what I do and take an evening to learn how to rip DVDs (I use the indispensable freeware program Handbrake, along with MakeMKV for ripping Blu-rays) and make your own DRM-free files that nobody can ever take away from you, provided you maintain a scrupulous backup regime against inevitable hard drive failure. And also assuming you don't get cocky and try sharing or selling them online in a way that attracts the attention of rightsholders or copyright cops. The tools of piracy can also be the tools of a responsible digital archivist.
posted by Strange Interlude at 11:00 AM on November 13, 2019 [6 favorites]


Piracy hurts artists.
What is an "actual artist"? Are you paying actors, writers, crew, etc for the stuff you watch directly?

I work in production actually! In case you weren't aware, the crew doesn't get royalties. Neither do the actual artists really.

And by "actual artists" I mean when I spend the money it goes to actual people, not the rentiers who commissioned it. I just got 2 prints in the mail today from Magnum Photos (which is a co-op of artists) and am about to head out right now to see some indie touring bands. I do consider putting my limited dollars towards things like that morally superior to giving money to a company like Disney, best known by non-toddlers for being founded by a stone cold racist and union busting. Don't take it from me - go read what billionaire heiress Abigail Disney thinks.

Having a Plex server just saves me the effort of walking a block the my local library, which has several thousand DVDs. I would not be giving these companies my money no matter what. I don't even watch that much TV so this is all kind of moot, I'm not a fanboi so the continued existence of TV shows doesn't matter to me. I just like self-hosting my own services and have a lot of space to burn on my NAS.

The place I wonder if they'll get into trouble is the very good matching the server software does. I can have some random badly named file on my server and Plex will figure out for me that it's actually Friends Season 6 Episode 12, bring up a good image to represent the show, and give me a show synopsis.

Metadata isn't "piracy" either. I can go look it up on IMDB myself, what's the difference if Plex queries their API for you?

Running your own Plex server means you're also doing some sort of downloading on the back-end (via torrents or NZBs) which is all the difficulty.

It's 2019 all this stuff is entirely automated, I don't do any searching or download management at all. Going over to Youtube to watch Daily Show clips would require more effort. Sonarr & Radarr are the most common solutions for managing that, but there are others.
posted by bradbane at 6:18 PM on November 15, 2019 [4 favorites]


Disney+ will fix The Simpsons’ joke-destroying 16:9 aspect ratio starting in 2020. Aka why piracy still needs to exist. I can't imagine what Disney jerk thought it'd be a good idea to crop the top and bottom off of every frame of every episode of the first nineteen seasons.
posted by Nelson at 10:18 AM on November 16, 2019 [2 favorites]


You know they didn't do that themselves. They got streamable copies given to them and that's what needed the least work to shove out there.
posted by ODiV at 10:41 AM on November 16, 2019 [1 favorite]


The Simpsons was probably remastered by 20th Century Fox before Disney bought them. Fox has been pathetically bad about remastering their old material in HD and preserving aspect ratio.
posted by 1970s Antihero at 12:14 PM on November 16, 2019


Hell, I downloaded the first ten seasons of The Simpsons after the producers decided no one should be allowed to see that Michael Jackson episode again. It's not even that good of an episode, but I have my principles!!!
posted by riruro at 1:00 PM on November 16, 2019


I know this is a thread about the streaming wars, but I think this is interesting in the context of the ongoing discussion about concentration of ownership of media: the Justice Department is looking to repeal the 1948 Paramount Decree.
posted by nubs at 2:07 PM on November 21, 2019 [1 favorite]


The instant De Havilland dies theyre going too try and make actors legal property of the studio.
posted by The Whelk at 2:49 PM on November 21, 2019




« Older Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit smoking   |   Rot At The Bottom. Rot At The Top. Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments