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Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

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Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Old 03-14-13, 08:52 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post

**Although personal property - and particularly the accumulation of clutter - is relatively historically recent, so... maybe it's a return to a more normal state of being!
Absolutely. My wife is getting into mimimalism and decluttering lately; ever she's bought a Kindle, she's been getting rid of her physical books and trying to get me to give them up. I'm okay with some titles being digital, but I still need the tactile experience and I want my son to grow up with that too. There's just some titles that need to be held in your hands (I can't imagine reading Jonathon Strange and Mr. Norrell on a Kindle).

And there's even shows we have on DVD that we find ourselves watching on Netflix rather than going and getting the DVD off the shelf. Looking back, there's a lot of titles I could have probably done without buying ( a lot of adult swim stuff), and just dealt with watching it online.
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Old 03-14-13, 10:06 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
It is often, I find, necessary (and even more frequently interesting) - particularly with ticket prices as high as they are - to read a review to try and assess whether I will likely enjoy a film.* But so many reviewers now seem to deliberately/accidentally spoil things or give away plot points that they need not. The Internet-led democratisation of reviewers has been beneficial in many ways - reviews of and recognition for films that might otherwise be sidelined or overlooked; reviews by 'people like me'; space for lengthier reviews, etc. - but has also allowed people to become popular reviewers who don't really seem to have grasped some of the necessary skills of omission and description.

You should be able to read most articles before seeing a film without expecting to have all the surprises blown.
I'll second that. When I'm checking out reviews, it's typically because I don't know about the movie at all. I'm a little more interested in films it's comparable to because an overview of the entire story doesn't really explain what it's similar to. You could give me a synapse of the plot for a Godard film but if I hadn't already suffered through many Godard films, I might think it's worth watching.

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
*Yep. A library disc destroyed my DVD player.
The one time I rented a DVD from the library at work, it too messed up my DVD drive and I had to buy a new drive.
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Old 03-14-13, 10:42 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

All this talk about convenience and watching what you want when you want it takes me back to the days when I cut my teeth as a film buff watching commercial TV broadcasts of old movies and having to sit in front of the TV when the films were shown and watch them at that exact time--or not see them at all! And we were grateful as hell for what we got. And we got a lot: all the Tarzan, Bowery Boys, Andy Hardy, Frankenstein and Godzilla movies you could want, plus a virtual Cinematheque's worth of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, David Lean, Robert Aldrich, Don Siegel, Anthony Mann, Phil Karlson, George Cukor, George Stevens, Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak, etc., etc., etc., plus dubbed Italian, French, German, and Japanese films. And occasional subtitled films, like SEVEN SAMURAI and Cocteau's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on the local educational channel.

I remember setting the alarm for 4AM so I could get up and watch "The Late Late Show" on WCBS-TV and see my very first Sam Fuller: THE STEEL HELMET. And you paid attention to these films because you never knew when they would be on again. No multitasking back then.

My point is--you appreciated what you saw more. You couldn't fast forward. One was not tempted to bail after a few minutes just because it didn't grab you right away. You gave it a chance.

Last edited by Ash Ketchum; 03-14-13 at 04:20 PM.
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Old 03-14-13, 04:13 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

I have amassed a large DVD collection, and really enjoyed the collecting mentality, but recently I wanted to streamline my surroundings. I didn't like the idea of buying digital copies because I wasn't used to it, but after awhile, the convenience of purchasing songs from amazon and buying movies and tv episodes and watching them on my phone was too good to pass up. And on top of that they can all be stored in a cloud account (i think that's what it's called).

Anyway, just recently I checked my amazon cloud account to listen to some songs that I had download a while back and found that they're gone because the group took their album off of Amazon's mp3 purchases. And I didn't bother to burn them or save them to my computer.

So yeah, physical media all the way.
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Old 03-15-13, 01:00 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

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Old 03-15-13, 01:52 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
All this talk about convenience and watching what you want when you want it takes me back to the days when I cut my teeth as a film buff watching commercial TV broadcasts of old movies and having to sit in front of the TV when the films were shown and watch them at that exact time--or not see them at all! And we were grateful as hell for what we got. And we got a lot: all the Tarzan, Bowery Boys, Andy Hardy, Frankenstein and Godzilla movies you could want, plus a virtual Cinematheque's worth of John Ford, Howard Hawks, Alfred Hitchcock, Billy Wilder, John Huston, Fritz Lang, William Wyler, David Lean, Robert Aldrich, Don Siegel, Anthony Mann, Phil Karlson, George Cukor, George Stevens, Ernst Lubitsch, Otto Preminger, Robert Siodmak, etc., etc., etc., plus dubbed Italian, French, German, and Japanese films. And occasional subtitled films, like SEVEN SAMURAI and Cocteau's BEAUTY AND THE BEAST on the local educational channel.

I remember setting the alarm for 4AM so I could get up and watch "The Late Late Show" on WCBS-TV and see my very first Sam Fuller: THE STEEL HELMET. And you paid attention to these films because you never knew when they would be on again. No multitasking back then.

My point is--you appreciated what you saw more. You couldn't fast forward. One was not tempted to bail after a few minutes just because it didn't grab you right away. You gave it a chance.
I do hear that point of view a fair bit, and I don't disagree. But I do have a counter-argument:

You might appreciate something more because you'll never know when/whether you might see it again. But if it's only on once at an odd and obscure time - let's take that 4AM showing - there is no guarantee you'll be in the right frame of mind to give it your full attention. You might 'force yourself' (and I know that's an over-simplification of a complex set of emotional cues) to sit through something and ultimately find you enjoy it; you might sit through it all and decide you wasted your time: but you can't make a judgement either way unless you watch the whole thing, so it isn't relevant whether you choose a time or have one forced upon you. Therefore, it becomes One Set Time (plus commercials?) vs. ANY TIME(S) OF YOUR CHOOSING. It should be obvious which of those two is more likely to allow you/me/a person the time and mindset to make it through a film that doesn't instantly grab us.

The relative death of appointment-television is said to have downgraded the 'experience'; the rising cost (and associated distractions/rudeness) of the cinema experience, ditto. But I still think the core experience is comparable: watching a film you've never seen before. That I can now do it without financial risk, at a time of my choosing is surely... if not definitely a step forward (and I think it ultimately is, with caveats) then at least not any worse than scouring TV listings and hoping I'm not too tired/busy to sit down/set a recording device at a particular time.



If you'll forgive the impertinence, your argument is a not much different from anyone saying "we didn't have much choice, and we had to lump it." Which itself is not far from sounding like simple jealousy - it could sound like the same feeling I get when I see what great toys are now available for children twenty-odd years younger than me! I wish I had had then what people have today...

Now, I imagine what you're actually saying is that an over-abundance of choice dulls the senses; makes people more blase and perhaps their experiences somehow lesser, because it's (perhaps) harder to appreciate something that you haven't had to struggle to see... Maybe; maybe not. Particularly when watching 'classic' films, there's really no way to recapture now the experience of someone who could watch the same film ten, twenty, thirty, more years ago: too much has changed, too many films have been made since, so the experience is different. Possibly worse, possibly not, but certainly different.

(Case in point: for the severalth time, as I finally see some of the great films from yesteryear, there was a scene - that now slips my mind - in either Man With the Golden Arm or Seven Days in May that I'd see before. "Before" as in, from a film made fifty years after either, but seen 'earlier' by me. To me, the reference goes the 'wrong' way, and for the briefest second, I think that the wrong film is referencing/ripping off/riffing on the other, even though it's chronologically impossible! Our experiences and viewing orders change our experiences every bit as much as the struggle we have to see something, or the method by which we view, etc., etc.)



EDIT: One final point:

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post
My point is--you appreciated what you saw more. You couldn't fast forward. One was not tempted to bail after a few minutes just because it didn't grab you right away. You gave it a chance.
I'm reasonably sure that I've only bailed on one film in the last six-odd months, and that was (I think) an Amazon-made super-low budget "comedy" "sci fi" film that was just awful.* I have, however, fallen asleep a couple of times and needed to rewind and rewatch a couple of films. Which I would have missed if I'd merely stayed up late or woken early to watch them on TV. So that's a plus point for DVDs and streaming!


*Hm. I may have to find it again for next month!

Last edited by ntnon; 03-15-13 at 02:05 AM.
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Old 03-16-13, 03:15 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Nice discussion! I loved the comparison of streaming to fast food (spot-on, in my opinion). It's a useful thing, it's everywhere (theoretically), it's easy, it's cheap, and people like it even if it's not particularly good for you. If I lived in a location where it actually worked for me, I'd probably make use of it. (The infrastructure for true high-speed internet for the house stops about 2000 feet away from where we need it to be. If I can download 70kbps I'm enjoying a fast day.)

But.

Even if I did have the ability to stream a cinema-quality show, I would not trade that for the option to have a physical copy. "Cloud" storage is accurately named: made of vapor, prone to changing, not exactly a solid or reliable thing. A physical copy means you will always have it despite any changes made by the contractual agreements of others, technology changes, etc. If the media becomes outdated, chances are a conversion to something more modern is available.

I see streaming as a great substitute for cable tv, because most cable packages are expensive and you get a lot of junk you don't want in order to get what you do want. With something like Netflix, the price is a good deal.

I do dislike how streaming is being shoved at people, though. I used to be a Netflix subscriber, but stopped when they made their streaming change. Now it seems you can only get DVDs *in addition to* a streaming subscription, which makes it useless for me. I'm not paying for something my location can't support. When I read that people are renting fewer DVDs, I wonder how many of them stopped because of changes like this? It's a bummer because Netflix had the best selection of things I wanted to see. If they still had the subscription I used to have, I'd still be with them.

Apparently I am one of a handful of people who actually watches the DVD extras. I very much enjoy them, but I only tend to buy tv/films that I *really* like and I try to wait to buy the most feature-packed edition available. For things I just plan on viewing once, rental was my option (which means now I don't see a lot of things, so miss the chance to fall in love with an undiscovered gem that I'd purchase).

Bonus points for the mention of the WKRP debacle! I was not much of a tv-watching kid, but I *loved* that show. So much so that we taped episodes (on betamax!) that I eventually transferred to digital files. The quality isn't great but it has the music which was possibly more integral to the show than any other tv series.
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Old 03-17-13, 09:28 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by ntnon View Post
I do hear that point of view a fair bit, and I don't disagree. But I do have a counter-argument:

You might appreciate something more because you'll never know when/whether you might see it again. But if it's only on once at an odd and obscure time - let's take that 4AM showing - there is no guarantee you'll be in the right frame of mind to give it your full attention. You might 'force yourself' (and I know that's an over-simplification of a complex set of emotional cues) to sit through something and ultimately find you enjoy it; you might sit through it all and decide you wasted your time: but you can't make a judgement either way unless you watch the whole thing, so it isn't relevant whether you choose a time or have one forced upon you. Therefore, it becomes One Set Time (plus commercials?) vs. ANY TIME(S) OF YOUR CHOOSING. It should be obvious which of those two is more likely to allow you/me/a person the time and mindset to make it through a film that doesn't instantly grab us.

The relative death of appointment-television is said to have downgraded the 'experience'; the rising cost (and associated distractions/rudeness) of the cinema experience, ditto. But I still think the core experience is comparable: watching a film you've never seen before. That I can now do it without financial risk, at a time of my choosing is surely... if not definitely a step forward (and I think it ultimately is, with caveats) then at least not any worse than scouring TV listings and hoping I'm not too tired/busy to sit down/set a recording device at a particular time.



If you'll forgive the impertinence, your argument is a not much different from anyone saying "we didn't have much choice, and we had to lump it." Which itself is not far from sounding like simple jealousy - it could sound like the same feeling I get when I see what great toys are now available for children twenty-odd years younger than me! I wish I had had then what people have today...

Now, I imagine what you're actually saying is that an over-abundance of choice dulls the senses; makes people more blase and perhaps their experiences somehow lesser, because it's (perhaps) harder to appreciate something that you haven't had to struggle to see... Maybe; maybe not. Particularly when watching 'classic' films, there's really no way to recapture now the experience of someone who could watch the same film ten, twenty, thirty, more years ago: too much has changed, too many films have been made since, so the experience is different. Possibly worse, possibly not, but certainly different.

(Case in point: for the severalth time, as I finally see some of the great films from yesteryear, there was a scene - that now slips my mind - in either Man With the Golden Arm or Seven Days in May that I'd see before. "Before" as in, from a film made fifty years after either, but seen 'earlier' by me. To me, the reference goes the 'wrong' way, and for the briefest second, I think that the wrong film is referencing/ripping off/riffing on the other, even though it's chronologically impossible! Our experiences and viewing orders change our experiences every bit as much as the struggle we have to see something, or the method by which we view, etc., etc.)



EDIT: One final point:


I'm reasonably sure that I've only bailed on one film in the last six-odd months, and that was (I think) an Amazon-made super-low budget "comedy" "sci fi" film that was just awful.* I have, however, fallen asleep a couple of times and needed to rewind and rewatch a couple of films. Which I would have missed if I'd merely stayed up late or woken early to watch them on TV. So that's a plus point for DVDs and streaming!


*Hm. I may have to find it again for next month!
Points well taken. This could all be simple nostalgia on my part for that period when I was discovering all this stuff and everything was new to me. Now I've got a backlog, with enough stuff to view to last me the rest of my life and little energy or patience left to seek out and discover new stuff. Certainly, young film buffs today have a wealth of material literally at their fingertips, much of it in far better shape than the cut, pan-and-scan TV prints my generation had to make do with. But how many of them are taking advantage of it?

The culture was different back then, though. People discovered things together. When clips from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE were shown on PBS in a documentary on Frank Capra, all the film students talked about it the next day. Everyone now wanted to see the movie, which so far none of us had seen yet. That was the beginning of the great IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE revival and I was there at the beginning.

Also, when Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST premiered on ABC-TV's Sunday Night Movie in, I believe, early 1973, everybody watched it and talked about it the next day, not just film students. Granted, I watched it on a black-&-white TV set in a pan-and-scan print (closeups of Bronson's eyes were reduced to one eye), not the ideal way to see it, so today's students discovering Leone are much better off. But they're not discovering it all together.

What kind of comparable experiences are film students having today?
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Old 03-17-13, 02:48 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by Ash Ketchum View Post

The culture was different back then, though. People discovered things together. When clips from IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE were shown on PBS in a documentary on Frank Capra, all the film students talked about it the next day. Everyone now wanted to see the movie, which so far none of us had seen yet. That was the beginning of the great IT'S A WONDERFUL LIFE revival and I was there at the beginning.

Also, when Sergio Leone's ONCE UPON A TIME IN THE WEST premiered on ABC-TV's Sunday Night Movie in, I believe, early 1973, everybody watched it and talked about it the next day, not just film students. Granted, I watched it on a black-&-white TV set in a pan-and-scan print (closeups of Bronson's eyes were reduced to one eye), not the ideal way to see it, so today's students discovering Leone are much better off. But they're not discovering it all together.

What kind of comparable experiences are film students having today?
I remember when THE NIGHT STALKER originally aired on ABC. The next day everybody I ran into asked if I saw it.
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Old 03-17-13, 04:07 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by Mister Peepers View Post
I'll second that. When I'm checking out reviews, it's typically because I don't know about the movie at all. I'm a little more interested in films it's comparable to because an overview of the entire story doesn't really explain what it's similar to. You could give me a synapse of the plot for a Godard film but if I hadn't already suffered through many Godard films, I might think it's worth watching.



The one time I rented a DVD from the library at work, it too messed up my DVD drive and I had to buy a new drive.
I've never had this issue, but how does a dvd mess up a drive ?
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Old 03-17-13, 04:24 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by snoopygirl View Post
I do dislike how streaming is being shoved at people, though. I used to be a Netflix subscriber, but stopped when they made their streaming change. Now it seems you can only get DVDs *in addition to* a streaming subscription, which makes it useless for me. I'm not paying for something my location can't support. When I read that people are renting fewer DVDs, I wonder how many of them stopped because of changes like this? It's a bummer because Netflix had the best selection of things I wanted to see. If they still had the subscription I used to have, I'd still be with them.
You can get the DVDs by themselves--that's the option I have. I didn't want to pay for both, and while I like the streaming, I like having the discs for new releases (Redbox isn't convenient for me) and for specialty titles that aren't available on their streaming. I tend to have something specific in mind that I want to watch rather than just surfing for anything, and their disc selection is still better for that.

I do have Amazon Prime for some streaming options like TV shows.
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Old 03-17-13, 06:29 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by Spottedfeather View Post
I've never had this issue, but how does a dvd mess up a drive ?
I've seen this on a computer. A client brought in their tower system in which they'd attempted to watch a rental disk that was cracked. It literally flew apart inside the drive after a few minutes (so they indicated) and took out some of the mechanism. It cost them the disk, drive, and repairs.
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Old 03-17-13, 07:29 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by davidh777 View Post
You can get the DVDs by themselves--that's the option I have.
Thanks for the info! I'll have to drop them an email and ask how to sign up for that. The last time I checked their website, it mentions being able to rent discs for an additional charge, but no mention of a disc-only option. Maybe it's a secret club!
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Old 03-17-13, 09:40 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by BobO'Link View Post
I've seen this on a computer. A client brought in their tower system in which they'd attempted to watch a rental disk that was cracked. It literally flew apart inside the drive after a few minutes (so they indicated) and took out some of the mechanism. It cost them the disk, drive, and repairs.
I hadn't thought of that. I was just thinking of the normal stuff that would be wrong with discs. Like scratches, fingerprints, or even old fashioned laser rot.
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Old 03-20-13, 02:39 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Right now it's $ 14.99 to stream the Hobbit on Amazon. No thanks. I'll pay $ 5 more to own it.
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Old 03-20-13, 02:49 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Originally Posted by nodeerforamonth View Post
Right now it's $ 14.99 to stream the Hobbit on Amazon. No thanks. I'll pay $ 5 more to own it.
I think that might be to download it, not just stream/rent it.
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Old 03-20-13, 03:29 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Still way too much for a digital file.
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Old 03-20-13, 03:32 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

$19.99 for hd. I think that's for streaming. Kindle fires don't have THAT much space!
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Old 03-20-13, 03:41 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

I'll stick with physical media for the EXACT SAME PRICE!
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Old 03-20-13, 04:35 PM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

It does include download. But it's limited to 2 locations and a few compatible devices (Windows PC, iPad, Kindle Fire, Tivo DVR)

http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.htm...v_sr_download2

It also comes with an hour of bonus features. I'm not sure what's included, it just says, "Includes production videos hosted by Peter Jackson!"

http://www.amazon.com/The-Hobbit-Une...dp/B00BMVTS1S/
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Old 03-24-13, 09:32 AM
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

That was a fantastic read, but I stumbled upon this thread in about as an ironic way as possible. After installing XBMC on my laptop, which I play through my HDTV via hdmi and getting my brother's Hulu Plus password, I decided I was done purchasing DVDs (not Blu-rays) and wandered into the DVD Discussion Forum to see if there was some sort of "Day I Quit DVD" thread or something to contribute to.

What I found, was this gem of a thread and a link to a conversation I read wishing I could have contributed to given the many areas it hit personally (Hell, I even own a DVD copy of Cinemania).

Yet, I am still quitting DVDs. Perhaps, for now, I am simply lucky in that I can use my brother's Netflix and Hulu Plus accounts (costs me nothing) and I have not run into any of the streaming issues it seems you fellow have. The worst that has happened so far is that a film/show takes a little longer to load than usual on Netflix before beginning and playing without stuttering.

And frankly, I think the claims about video quality, especially in comparison to SD-DVD and MOD DVDs, might be due to the a combination of the manner in which you are using the services (via IP proxy) and sample size. Two films into Criterion's Hulu channel, the films (Drunken Angel and Rossellini's Fear) played without issue and the video was certainly on par with every MOD disc I have ever seen, which is important considering Fear is not even available in the US on MOD as of now.

In regard to special features, I am in the same boat as Stuart. It is rare I finish a film and feel compelled to dive into the special features in lieu of another film. At most, I will take some time to read about the film, generally, on the internet while deciding what to watch next or to simply take a viewing break. But, supplemental features at best are half-paid attention to by me if they are played at all.

Another issue not addressed in the conversation that I feel is valid, especially given the championing of MOD discs, is disc rot. I purchased early Warner Archives titles that I had to immediately rip to a hard drive b/c of reports that the media was easily corruptible. Spending $10-$20 for discs that are burned on shoddy commercial blank discs as opposed to professional pressed has become a bridge too far for me. Perhaps, if I truly MUST see a particular film that is MOD (Coppola's The Rain People, being one I own), I will make the purchase b/c there are simply certain directors I hold in higher regard than others and whose films I want to see for the first time over others. But, generally, even if I am interested in a MOD title, I am positive that I can find at least 5 other titles between Criterion's Hulu channel and Netflix that I am equally interested in seeing.

As was noted in the conversation, life is literally too short to watch everything. Finally realizing that, I have tended to relax. I got into film relatively late in life (not until late in my senior year in high school, 2003, when I took Classic Films and discovered A Streetcar Named Desire and On the Waterfront). From that point on, I became as insatiable as I was unguided. I discovered great films in bizarre ways. For one, being a proud Italian-American 17 year old, I mistook Brando for an Italian-American actor and sought out every thing he was in that I could get my hands on (a happy accident). Scorsese quickly became my favorite director and remains so today because Mean Streets showed a society of real Italian-American New Yorkers that were more relateable than the operatic mafioso of The Godfather. My most misguided discovery was seeing Serpico and discovering Sidney Lumet. I had watched and loved Saturday Night Fever. Travolta is told he looks like Pacino, has a Serpico poster on his bedroom wall, and starts shouting "Attica! Attica!" the morning after. I stumbled on the Serpico DVD for $7 in J&R one night, the DVD cover matching the poster, and bought it expecting to hear "Attica! Attica!" What I got was a great film and perfect segue to Dog Day Afternoon.

Those long winded reminiscences was the long road to my final point, which is that Criterion's Hulu station and to a lesser extent, Netflix, is the closest I can come today to being that naive kid browsing the J&R DVD-filled basement. And while, I refuse to watch films on my iPad barring long flights and never films I have not seen before, there is something to be said to be able to browse a film library, make discoveries, and not even need to wait until you get home to watch the film, let alone purchase it. The only exception is that if the film is available on Blu-ray, I do not watch it via streaming, if I don't own it yet, I wait to watch it until I get it in high definition.

As I near the 2,000 mark in my personal home media library (DVDs, HD-DVD, and Blu-ray) and have contemplated the spacing issues, it seems a reasonable line in the sand to draw at standard definition content. Streaming is not perfect, but the difference in quality between it and SD-DVD, is simply not of a degree that I don't find one a reasonable substitute for the other.

Regarding expiring Netflix titles. The website, instantwatcher.com has been invaluable to me in keeping track of what is set to arrive on Netflix and when and also, what is set to expire. It is also a much easier way to search the Netflix streaming library than trying to go through whatever Netflix interface you may be using.

Last edited by BambooLounge; 03-24-13 at 09:37 AM.
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Old 04-06-13, 03:23 PM
  #97  
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Stuart, that conversation was an interesting read although, like someone else had pointed out, it did have a strong anti-streaming stance to it. You and your friend brought up a couple topics that I added my thoughts to and posted below. It has been spoiled for length.

Spoiler:
Stephen Bowie: Just to frame the conversation a bit: It seems like we’re at a sea change moment in terms of both theatrical & home video exhibition, with the digital switchover from 35mm to DCP, and then the apparent movement from physical media to online streaming. And yet, while I’ve read a lot of articles mourning the loss of celluloid, it feels like no one is talking about the latter.

Regarding 35mm to DCP, I don't care one way or the other about it. I never had a particular affinity to either one; as long as I get good picture and sound, I’m happy.

Stephen Bowie: And everybody gets that about DCP – there’s no clear upside for the consumer – but streaming offers users “convenience,” or the illusion thereof. Shrewd of Netflix to brand it’s streaming as “Instant!” Also, not only can you watch a movie right now, but you can watch it on your telephone or your tablet.

What “illusion”? It is convenient (when what you want is available).

Stuart Galbraith IV: I mean, Blu-ray was never going to be “the new DVD,” but I imagine its success has exceeded expectations.

Except the analysts, the studios, and the Internet all hyped it as the successor to DVD when it first came out, yet the general consumer didn’t give a damn.

Stephen Bowie: I mean, I always thought a great home theater was every movie fan’s goal, and it was just a question of whether his or her circumstances made that possible, or not.

Unfortunately, not everyone who has a home theater can use it to its full potential. When I lived at my mom’s house, I had a surround sound system hooked up to my HDTV in the basement, but I could never use it because there was always someone home who would bitch at me for using it. Now, I live in an apartment and I still can’t use a surround sound system because it would bother the neighbors.

Stephen Bowie: But now it feels like streaming, and the iPod, have proven that a lot of movie fans really don’t care how a movie looks. Is that true? How can that be possible?

I don't think it shows that they don't care; I think it shows there aren’t as many hard-core movie aficionados as we thought there were a few years ago. I’m willing to bet that big DVD craze we saw during the last decade could have been nothing more than a big fad.

Stephen Bowie: One thing we were discussing a while back is how the aspect ratio war was a sort of unexpected triumph – through a probably unreproducible series of events, the movie fans won that battle over the people who didn’t understand the “black bars” at the beginning of the DVD era. It sort of feels like we need that kind of unity and purpose now, not to defeat streaming, but to set some baselines to make it as acceptable for high-end home theaters as well as cellular phones. I don’t care about the medium so much as the file size.

Yes, I agree with this. Movie fans and technologists who are behind streaming need to sit down and have an intelligent discussion setting acceptable baselines for how movies should look via streaming. On a side note, I think hi-def TVs coming out in the 16x9 aspect ratio did more to settle the aspect ratio war than anything.

Stephen Bowie: Something else that doesn’t really exist in the world of streaming: bonus content. And the lack of an outcry, frankly, has been so deafening that it’s almost a repudiation of that aspect of the DVD era: Naaah, we never really cared about that “film school in a box” shit anyway!

As I said before, I don’t think bonus content is much of a deal maker or breaker at this point. I have however notice that movies have been showing up on iTunes with bonus content you can download. I was interested in bonus content when I first got into collecting DVDs, but after a couple years, I became very ho-hum to it. I do still watch the bonus features on my MST3K DVDs though.

Stuart Galbraith IV: Moreover, this library of a reflection of me: my tastes and interests. It expresses who I am.

Agree 100%; this is always what I thought of when I looked at my collection.

Stephen Bowie: I’d be more than happy to let somebody store movies in the cloud for me, as long as it comes with some guarantees that (1) they won’t all evaporate and (2) they won’t look any worse than what I’m accustomed to on discs.

With streaming services, I think these are the two questions that they really need to pay attention to and get right. Hopefully in the future, the kinks streaming has now will get worked out in favor of the movie fan and these two questions won’t be a problem to comply with.

Stephen Bowie: You couldn’t do anything, under the current parameters. This is interesting in terms of Netflix: One of the main complaints I see on blogs like HackingNetflix.com is that a movie someone wanted to see used to be there but “expired,” or a TV series disappeared before the watcher reached the end. But while this is seen as a negative, it doesn’t seem to be a dealbreaker for a lot of users.
I’m thinking now about how many intangibles separate movie lovers on issues like this. I don’t revisit movies nearly as often as I think you do, so the question of having a library is less essential. We’re all aligned or opposed so unpredictably based on the different ways we watch and appreciate movies. Harlan’s typewriters will probably outlive him, but once I bought a few DVDs that were upgraded before I pulled off the shrinkwrap, that essentially cured me of needing to “collect” movies. They will slip through your grasp, one way or another.

I never kept my movies in the shrinkwrap, although for the last several years I’ve had a pretty consistent backlog, which has dissuaded me from wanting to buy more and more movies. Every time I looked at my backlog of 20 or 25 movies, I was thinking, “geeze, I need to watch all those movies. When am I going to find the time?” It started to get to the point where I was forcing myself to watch some stuff (which a movie fan should never do), although there were some other movies that I had for maybe two or three years that I just lost complete interest in and dumped. I really think that help to kill the collector mentality for me.

Another thing that kind of killed my collector mentality is that despite my love for movies, I just don’t rewatch a lot of movies once I've seen them. Most of the time, once I'm done with a movie I give it a rating, then move onto the next. That’s why I can justify saying I am perfectly fine with renting my movies through Netflix either via DVDs or via streaming because I know I’m probably not going to rewatch a lot of these movies.

Stephen Bowie: I won’t watch anything on a computer monitor, except for cat videos. And if there’s an ad in front of it, I close the window; I just don’t care enough about that Jon Stewart bit, or whatever, to endure being advertised at, even for ten seconds. It’s likely that your AppleTV can play YouTube videos, but the question becomes, will they look like anything other than a pixilated mess on a TV that’s – what size? Probably bigger than mine.

That’s a pretty strong stance against ads. I don’t have a problem sitting through a two-minute ad if I’m watching something on Hulu (probably because I just walk away and do something else until the ad is over).

Stephen Bowie: Being a child of the home video era, I never really had that. I prefer to watch alone. The presence of other people always distracts me at least a little bit, even if they’re behaving. This is theoretically contrary to the original idea of how movies are “supposed” to be experienced, but I’ll make an argument for it. Plus, TV (and I’m a TV specialist, of course) complicates that; the magazine ads always showed the whole family gathered around the set, but of course TV made private viewing possible.

I’m with you on this. I also prefer to watch movies by myself, which could be why I don’t really care about the “theatrical experience” argument.

This “re-creating the theatrical experience” argument has been brought up in other forum posts I’ve read, but it’s an argument I really don’t feel anything for. Out of my entire collection, only a few dozen of those movies I’ve seen in theaters. The vast majority of everything I watch I have first seen and discovered on home-video. Even a lot of newer movies I saw first on home video. So, when I hear that argument, it’s falling on deaf ears. When I watch a movie, I don't necessarily care about recreating a “theatrical experience”. I just want to watch the movie and enjoy myself.
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Old 04-06-13, 05:58 PM
  #98  
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

Re: Aspect ratio. I work in television and I've seen more aspect ratio problems than ever since the whole hi-def era began, with images getting cropped on top and bottom or on the sides, or anamorphic stretching of non-anamorphic footage or on-air squeezing of anamorphic footage. We got a documentary series from a PBS supplier in which all the archival footage (originally in the old 1:33 Academy Ratio) was stretched out to conform to HD. So everyone in black-and-white looked fat. I complained to the distributor and he claimed he couldn't tell what I was talking about.

Just in the past two weeks at my station, we did some kind of transition that required putting everything in borders on all sides, no matter what the aspect ratio or whether it was HD or SD, which means making everything smaller. It's just stupid. And the techies have tried to explain to me why they did it and why it will be that way for a while and I don't understand a thing they're telling me. Techie Talk is a completely different language. It's very frustrating. My boss signed off on it--he's a genius who can't tell the difference between an image that's "stretched" or "squeezed"--so there's nothing I can do about it.
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Old 04-10-13, 09:39 PM
  #99  
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

I started reading this thread when it was created and most of what I had to say was said much more elegantly than I could. But, one thing that is not mentioned, and I'm having a huge problem with right now, is that there are so many different sites that you have to create an account for. You can't just have an Ultraviolet account, you have to have a Vudu and a Flixster one as well, plus any number of studio accounts just to get the movie from the digital content sheet to the Ultraviolet account. If you want to link with a couple people, ten more steps to go through.

Right now, Ultraviolet is saying I have 3 accounts. The first one I created and deleted within an hour because I was invited to join a group and I had to join through a request from them. So, deleted the first account, created a second. Somehow, along the way, a 3rd was created. I have no idea how this happened, so didn't do it on purpose, but it's there and now has 8 movies that aren't connected. (took 2 months of back and forth to find out I had the 3rd account, to make matters worse). Yet, when I try to merge the accounts, I'm not able because they want me to delete someone and all the movies already there.

I consider myself fairly computer savvy. I've been working with them since the early-80s. I am no programmer but I can get around the web and many, any sites without problem. This, this is kicking my butt. I haven't been able to actually WATCH a movie through any of these programs as they don't like my iPod Touch, they don't like my Android tablet and I find watching at a computer screen way too uncomfortable. None of them support the Wii either, so I can't watch on my TV. My point is, if a 30 something can't figure out all the ins and outs, how is the majority of the people over my age going to? I know about 2 of my many relatives that maybe able to figure this out-if it goes perfectly.

I was kind of excited when my friend told me about the Ultraviolet group-hey, a way of seeing a bunch of films without risking losing a disc and hey, when I travel, I can watch on my tablet! Yet, none of this has actually happened in 4 months.

This is why streaming won't become the only option. To me, it seems like they are working against themselves. There needs to be way fewer accounts and sign ins and lot better customer service to work with the customers. If things had actually worked, I may have branched out into renting or finally getting Netflix...instead, I am firmly keeping my money in my pocketbook, saving for the physical disc of anything I want to see.
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Old 04-10-13, 10:28 PM
  #100  
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Re: Steaming, Physical Media, and the Future of Home Video

But streeming is the fyoochure!
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