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Downloading movies / content? Wave of the future?

Old 06-06-08, 06:02 PM
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Downloading / Streaming movies? Wave of the future?

Reading the thread on how soon Blu-Ray might be "outdated" and seeing many comments on how downloading movies is the wave of the future, I just have to ask, how can streaming content in any acceptable quality be achieved? There are at least three issues which need to be overcome for this to even have feasibility:

1. Quality... Are we so conditioned to postage-stamp sized, compressed to hell streams that we will forgo our high-quality physical media for the "convenience" of such abysmal quality? A 10 mb/sec broadband connection is greater than at least 75% of people currently have, yet it will be required to stream movies at 480p resolutions in good quality. 50 Mb/sec for 1080p content. Most of the early-adopters will be picky, and quality is paramount.

2. Time... How long will we need to wait get each movie once streamed? Can streaming be done in real time, with a 100% seamless experience (no bugs / stuttering / errors).

3. DRM and permanance... The studios will make it hard to impossible for us to back up any movies we download via streams. The price will probably be comparable to a SD-DVD now for a "limited" number of viewings.

The idea of ISPs metering broadband usage and capping downloads per month is mutally exclusive with streaming content, as well. Will the studios ultimately squash the proposed download caps that ISPs are threatening?

We all know streaming movies are coming. What are your thoughts on this? Is the broadband infrastructure ready for such a mammoth increase in bandwidth load?

Last edited by zyzzle; 06-06-08 at 06:09 PM.
Old 06-06-08, 07:12 PM
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This is discussed in just about every "future of Blu-Ray" thread out there but once again I say downloading will never truly take off because of two factors. The first, multi-part reason is Joe Six Pack has enough glitches and errors with his computer already, before trying to use it to download movies onto, plus he probably doesn't want to watch films on a computer, AND it won't be in HD, and it would require a lot of bandwidth and a lot of space to accumulate a library; and the other reason is there will always be people who prefer packaged media.

Downloads have a good chance of eradicating the rental market but I think people will always have the mindset where if you want to own something you go to a store and you buy a copy of it.

I think if VOD services really want downloading to take off, the PPV/On Demand model of hooking it to a cable service via your television is the best route. I can certainly imagine people hooking an external drive to a flatscreen television and downloading movies to be watched on the TV, if the interface was simple enough. But again, this is a threat more to rentals, and it won't be good enough for everyone.
Old 06-06-08, 11:15 PM
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Yeah, some people just assume it would be on a computer, but really it will be on a set-side box near the TV.

Frankly, I think it could go in any number of directions, and I'm not that concerned about it. If I can buy physical media, I'll buy it, and if I can't, I'll just have to adapt.
Old 06-06-08, 11:52 PM
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I heard today that Comcast is either developing or getting ready to rollout cable that's so fast you can download a high-def movie in minutes. They didn't say how many minutes.

Maybe an app for the PC that makes it brainless to burn the download to Blu-ray or a standalone box would make it easy enough for the normal consumer. At that kind of speed a standalone box wouldn't have to store the movie in any form that the consumer would end up owning it. It could just be available for a single viewing.
Old 06-07-08, 05:33 PM
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Comcast can't get the current technology right, so I don't hold out any hope that they'll improve much. Combine that with Time Warner and other providers implementing monthly download limits and I question whether downloads are the wave of the future.

If I've learned one thing over the years here it's that people like to collect things. That means physical media, not a bunch of copy-restricted computer files.
Old 06-07-08, 06:06 PM
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I can get a SD or HD movie playing on my TV within 2 minutes of booting up my AppleTV. I browse the store, find what I like, click buy, and within a minute or two its ready to play. Pretty damn easy for me. The same can be said for my Xbox 360, and soon the PS3 Video store.

Its not like they have to locate a firmware update, download the ISO, make sure they have a program that can burn the ISO properly, burn the ISO to a CD, and then make sure the firmware update works correctly to nearly every single BD player on the market right now. That seems a bit more difficult (when needed to update the firmware for a certain movie to play correctly) then clicking 'Buy' and waiting a minute for it to start.

X, I almost broke my smacked by laptop screen looking at you're avatar! You need to change that
Old 06-07-08, 06:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Mr. Salty
If I've learned one thing over the years here it's that people like to collect things. That means physical media, not a bunch of copy-restricted computer files.
If that was true iTunes would not exist. Or Amazon Unbox, Netflix downloads, Napster, Zune Marketplace etc. There is a market for downloading media, its just how many people will use it vs. a physical copy.
Old 06-07-08, 07:45 PM
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Originally Posted by GizmoDVD
If that was true iTunes would not exist. Or Amazon Unbox, Netflix downloads, Napster, Zune Marketplace etc. There is a market for downloading media, its just how many people will use it vs. a physical copy.
I'd say the difference is that people will so rarely like all of a CD that they just want certain tracks, and I'm sure picking and choosing and then burning mix CDs is a major factor in iTunes business.

I think a CD being purely an audio format and something you generally listen to by yourself on personal time and a movie being an audio/video format that you can take around and show at a party for lots of friends also makes a big difference.
Old 06-07-08, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by GizmoDVD
If that was true iTunes would not exist. Or Amazon Unbox, Netflix downloads, Napster, Zune Marketplace etc. There is a market for downloading media, its just how many people will use it vs. a physical copy.
First, there is a distinct difference between music collectors and movie collectors.

Second, there is also a difference between there being a market for downloadable movies and downloads rendering Blu-ray or DVD obsolete, which is the topic at hand.
Old 06-08-08, 05:36 PM
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Downloading is the way of the future. Will it make DVDs obsolete? Probably not because CDs aren't even obsolete yet. Will it make Blu-rays obsolete? Possibly. Only because the people that are buying in Blu-ray are technologically savvy enough to support downloads.
Old 06-08-08, 10:01 PM
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Originally Posted by X
I heard today that Comcast is either developing or getting ready to rollout cable that's so fast you can download a high-def movie in minutes. They didn't say how many minutes.

Maybe an app for the PC that makes it brainless to burn the download to Blu-ray or a standalone box would make it easy enough for the normal consumer. At that kind of speed a standalone box wouldn't have to store the movie in any form that the consumer would end up owning it. It could just be available for a single viewing.
Your old gif was better
Old 06-09-08, 01:57 PM
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I don't even like to download music. I'm part of the breed that loves to search out and collect physical items. Downloading will never replace the feeling of finding a DVD/CD I've been searching ages for, opening it, and pouring over the packaging and liner notes.
Old 06-09-08, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by KillerCannibal
I don't even like to download music. I'm part of the breed that loves to search out and collect physical items. Downloading will never replace the feeling of finding a DVD/CD I've been searching ages for, opening it, and pouring over the packaging and liner notes.
movies are a different breed than music, you can listen to a song over and over again, with a movie what watch it once and then it becomes a coaster. I think thats what happened, joesix pack bought thousands of dollars worth of dvds at circuit city,best buy,amazon and ddd, looked around and found out he either watched them once or they are still in shrinkwrapped unopened . He went to go try to sell them, found out they were worthless and would get only pennies on the dollar for them as he was told we only want blu-ray.
I go to the movies everyweek and what blockbuster movie I miss I buy ondemand, I rarely ever buy a dvd unless it`s a tv set that I will actually watch.
Old 06-09-08, 04:33 PM
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Originally Posted by nateman
Although I can see Digital Downloads putting a dent in physical media sales for movies, I don't see it replacing or making it obsolete.
Rentals sooner than sales I think, and I doubt downloads will even begin to impact sales significantly before 5 years, and more likely 10 for hi-def.

Originally Posted by nateman
A large reason why CD sales declined massively is because kids want music on their MP3 player or Ipod now, and since mom and dad isn't giving them $10-$15 for a CD all of the time, file sharing sites are the best option. Unless you're a fan of a certain musician chances are you only want select a select song from an artist.
Too true. Single sales are what made Apple's iTunes successful.

Last edited by Jon2; 06-09-08 at 04:35 PM.
Old 06-09-08, 10:33 PM
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I wonder if this will have an effect on the movie downloading market:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080603/...NiLxTPEwKs0NUE
Old 06-10-08, 02:33 AM
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I think VOD is going to be the future of TV shows but not necessarily movies. We've had pay per view for movies for years, but people still rented and bought VHS, LDs and DVDs. I'm sure pay per view makes a little money, but it never has come close to replacing home video.

VOD on the other hand is great for catching your favorite TV show that you missed. I use my DVR to record the shows I watch and always fast forward through the commercials. I never watch live TV unless its a sporting event. I think the future will be a menu with all the TV shows in categories, and you just pick the one you want to see. The real problem for the stations will be trying to figure out how to make money since no one will watch commercials any more.

I still see movies being in packaged media, although i'm sure downloading will generate some revenue. I think most people want to own there favorite movies and not just have a hard drive with data on it.
Old 06-10-08, 02:45 AM
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Originally Posted by droidguy1119
This is discussed in just about every "future of Blu-Ray" thread out there but once again I say downloading will never truly take off because of two factors. The first, multi-part reason is Joe Six Pack has enough glitches and errors with his computer already, before trying to use it to download movies onto, plus he probably doesn't want to watch films on a computer, AND it won't be in HD, and it would require a lot of bandwidth and a lot of space to accumulate a library; and the other reason is there will always be people who prefer packaged media.
Your observation is not too far off where I stand on the issue. The needed infrastructure, capacity model, and delivery requirements for such an imaginary mass VOD market are extremely unlikely to become a reality. Certainly not in the USA.

Pro-B

Last edited by pro-bassoonist; 06-10-08 at 02:50 AM.
Old 06-10-08, 04:30 AM
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This thread couldn't have come at a better time for me to reply, being that iTunes UK has finally seen fit to give us movies.

I, for the first time, have now done the 'download experience', and feel I am qualified to reply as a 'Joe Six Pack' which I assume is American for 'normal person'.

I would call myself such - I have a pretty run of the mill computer, a decent, speedy internet connection, and i'm not really a technophile when it comes to sound quality or picture quality, etc. I have no interest in Blu-Ray, for instance.

I managed to download a movie yesterday in about 8 minutes from iTunes - The Fly (original version), and I was delighted with the results. Picture quality was just as good as I would expect the DVD to be, and sound, etc was fine. I will be doing this for sure in the future.
Old 06-10-08, 05:01 AM
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i think the htpc is the way of the future. i love having all of my music at the touch of a button. if they could get a decent compression codec for hd video, i might invest in an htpc. the apple tv has some serious hd flaws, but something like that would suit my needs.
Old 06-10-08, 05:27 AM
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I think the ideal solution is to have discs that can also be put on a server. That way, you have the solid physical backup and packaging, and the convenience of instant access. Managed Copy may allow for this to be done legally, but I would be annoyed if they require you to copy the whole disc (with previews, FBI warnings, dubbed tracks, and extras I could leave on the discs).

However, the storage cost is still way too high. I'm not willing to step down at all in quality, so if I wanted to back up all of my discs, even if I restrict it to the movies only with no extras, it would take around 4-5 TB of space. That's about $1000 the last time I checked. That storage requirement will only get bigger and bigger as I buy more BD titles that take up around 5 times what the DVD counterparts use.
Old 06-10-08, 07:06 AM
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It will be but not anytime soon
Old 06-10-08, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by vedderstapp
This thread couldn't have come at a better time for me to reply, being that iTunes UK has finally seen fit to give us movies.

I, for the first time, have now done the 'download experience', and feel I am qualified to reply as a 'Joe Six Pack' which I assume is American for 'normal person'.

I would call myself such - I have a pretty run of the mill computer, a decent, speedy internet connection, and i'm not really a technophile when it comes to sound quality or picture quality, etc. I have no interest in Blu-Ray, for instance.

I managed to download a movie yesterday in about 8 minutes from iTunes - The Fly (original version), and I was delighted with the results. Picture quality was just as good as I would expect the DVD to be, and sound, etc was fine. I will be doing this for sure in the future.
I'm curious about some things. First why did you download it instead of buying the DVD? was it more convenient to download? How much did it cost to download? And did you watch it on your computer?
Old 06-10-08, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by zyzzle
1. Quality... Are we so conditioned to postage-stamp sized, compressed to hell streams that we will forgo our high-quality physical media for the "convenience" of such abysmal quality? A 10 mb/sec broadband connection is greater than at least 75% of people currently have, yet it will be required to stream movies at 480p resolutions in good quality. 50 Mb/sec for 1080p content. Most of the early-adopters will be picky, and quality is paramount.

I think many early adopters have already adopted, and they probably aren't people who visit here. And quality doesn't seem to be the issue. "Acceptable quality" is a relative term, I think.

People accustomed to "abyssmal" postage stamp-sized streams probably haven't done their homework. I've been downloading--not streaming--a phenomenal selection of indie and foreign movies (and a few studio pictures) via Jaman on a Mac (don't know if that makes a difference, but I've had no problems). Picture size is screen-filling OAR, not postage-stamp and the quality is excellent for films I've heard about but don't want to pay potentially more to rent from a video store, or even more to buy an actual disc. If I like something enough, I can then search for it used on DVD.

Sites like these are still hindered, only somewhat, by sticking use-by dates on their rentals, and a small amount of region-locking or whatever it's called (some U.S. stuff can't be ordered here in Canada, etc), but at $2 for seven days (or $4-5 to own), one can't complain overall. The technical service and image/sound quality at this point are far above what many users would associate with, or likely get from, streaming. And it's definitely more convenient, depending on your download speed.


.

Last edited by Brian T; 06-10-08 at 02:26 PM.
Old 06-10-08, 06:26 PM
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Originally Posted by Nickofdoom
I wonder if this will have an effect on the movie downloading market:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/nf/20080603/...NiLxTPEwKs0NUE
Yes it will, and just about every major telco is planning to do this, or engaged in "trial programs" to see how well it flies with their customers. Which I'm sure it won't, but many people will have no choice as there is no competition in their marketplace.

The telcos all see video as an ever increasing component of the internet... and they all want as big a piece of the pie as they can get. Just like the killers of the Golden Goose.


Originally Posted by vedderstapp
... I, for the first time, have now done the 'download experience', and feel I am qualified to reply as a 'Joe Six Pack' which I assume is American for 'normal person'.
You'd be wrong. Joe Six Pack (or J6P) is a pejorative for someone considered to be average (or somewhat below) and not too smart.

Originally Posted by vedderstapp
I would call myself such - I have a pretty run of the mill computer, a decent, speedy internet connection, and i'm not really a technophile when it comes to sound quality or picture quality, etc. I have no interest in Blu-Ray, for instance.
I won't comment on your self assessment. Here, a typical J6P is lucky if he has an internet connection at all, let alone a speedy one. And, in all likelyhood, most of his internet activity is probably reserved for looking for por n.

Originally Posted by vedderstapp
I managed to download a movie yesterday in about 8 minutes from iTunes - The Fly (original version), and I was delighted with the results. Picture quality was just as good as I would expect the DVD to be, and sound, etc was fine. I will be doing this for sure in the future.
Glad to hear it worked out so well for you. More options are good because no one thing is going to be suitable for everyone. Personally though, even as a Mac user, it's very unlikely I will ever use iTunes for movies or TV shows (although I do use iTunes for buying some music and controlling my music collection). I just have no interest in downloading them or streaming them. I don't even rent them.

Last edited by Jon2; 06-10-08 at 06:29 PM.
Old 06-10-08, 10:36 PM
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Interesting and insightful comments from all, especially Brian T.

I may not be giving quality of downloads enough credit in the early stages. The major overall point I was trying to make about quality of downloaded streams is: Will these either intentionally or unintentionally lower the bar of quality expectation by J6P eventually? Is this a way the studios can malevolently condition most of us into "acceptable" quality, while full-profile 1080p and beyond in physical media, (excellent quality) is quietly abandoned?

I think eventually both physical and streamed media will co-exist (peacefully, I hope). The idea of downloading individual TV-shows is a great one... I hope physical media never go away completely because I *like* having my movies as a physical presence in my home theatre, not in some nebulous digital DRM'd domain that I can't absolutely control & have instantaneous access to like I can with physical DVDs, Blu-Rays, and HD-DVDs.

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