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Media Movies The Internet Entertainment

Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way 323

Posted by Soulskill
from the shut-up-and-take-my-money dept.
mendax sends this excerpt from a New York Times op-ed: "like Napster in the late 1990s, [torrent-streaming app Popcorn Time] offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we've all felt when settling in for a night with today’s popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft’s media stores: They just aren't good enough. ... In the music business, Napster’s vision eventually became a reality. Today, with services like Spotify and Rdio, you can pay a monthly fee to listen to whatever you want, whenever you want. But in the movie and TV business, such a glorious future isn't in the offing anytime soon.

According to industry experts, some of whom declined to be quoted on the record because of the sensitivities of the nexus of media deals involved, we aren’t anywhere close to getting a service that allows customers to pay a single monthly fee for access to a wide range of top-notch movies and TV shows.Instead of a single comprehensive service, the future of digital TV and movies is destined to be fragmented across several services, at least for the next few years. We’ll all face a complex decision tree when choosing what to watch, and we’ll have to settle for something less than ideal."
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Why Movie Streaming Services Are Unsatisfying — and Will Stay That Way

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  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vux984 (928602) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:22PM (#46589723)

    Netflix is 100% satisfying.

    Sure, if you are satisfied by most of the top 200 movies on IMDB not being available there...

    Most academy award winners? Not present.
    Most Oscar winners? Not present.
    Most Sundance Film Festival Winners? Not present. ...

  • by ZorinLynx (31751) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:23PM (#46589729) Homepage

    It shouldn't cost more to "rent" a two year old movie to stream online that it does to BUY it in the bargain bin. Not only that, but many older movies aren't available to rent at all, only for "purchase" (which, when bought online is really a long-term rental anyway due to DRM).

    Get the rental prices down. Let me pay $2-$3 to watch a movie rather than $6-$10. And for the love of Princess Celestia, when you PAY for content online, it should look good! No compression artifacts, no buffering. Let me pull down the whole thing, or maybe half of it before watching to ensure a good experience.

  • by fadethepolice (689344) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:35PM (#46589805) Journal
    they are not selling food. the product is inherently of no value. I say make them sing for their supper. In the end all they are are fools for our entertainment. the idea that they dictate the terms of the price of a non essential good is in the long run just silly
  • by Harlequin80 (1671040) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:40PM (#46589829)

    Why would anyone want to stream something outside of sports?

    From my own experience the quality of streamed services available to me, frankly, suck. They are either low quality, embedded in some kind of stupid player, or system resource hungry. Why would I want that when I could queue something up on a torrent, get a high quality rip that is encoded in a way that my raspberry can play it happily and it sits nicely into the lovely media centre interface I'm running?

    I pay my money every year to get access to the motogp streams from motogp.com Every race I have to stuff around plugging my laptop into my tv and then making sure ABSOLUTELY NOTHING ELSE is touching the internet. That way I can get their 720 stream and usually it doesn't have too many buffering pauses in it. If my wife decides to surf the internet on her phone at the same time then bam, buffering. It sucks. But it is the only option to watch the races realtime outside of a foxtel connection which I would never use for anything else.

  • Re:Physical Stores (Score:4, Insightful)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:48PM (#46589869) Homepage

    I can walk into a physical store 2 miles from my house, drop 5 bucks for a movie, and if I bring it back within 24 hrs, I get 4 bucks back.
    Why can't I just pay $1 /movie to stream any video I want whenever I want?

    Well if the movie studios had their way, you wouldn't be able to rent movies cheaply on disc either. They have no interest in customer satisfaction, convenience, or affordability.

  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:52PM (#46589891)

    And even if you had netflix, you'd still pirate movies and tv shows. You'd just use a different excuse.

  • Re:Three words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sbrown7792 (2027476) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:34AM (#46590347)

    "2 dozen channels"

    You must have missed the part of the article that laments the fact that "the future of digital TV and movies is destined to be fragmented across several services..."

    If you have to hop between 2 dozen services to get to your content, whereas 'pirates' can get basically anything they want from one central location, that is where the media industry has failed.

  • by pepty (1976012) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:36AM (#46590367)

    It shouldn't cost more to "rent" a two year old movie to stream online that it does to BUY it in the bargain bin. Not only that, but many older movies aren't available to rent at all, only for "purchase" (which, when bought online is really a long-term rental anyway due to DRM).

    Get the rental prices down. Let me pay $2-$3 to watch a movie rather than $6-$10. And for the love of Princess Celestia, when you PAY for content online, it should look good! No compression artifacts, no buffering. Let me pull down the whole thing, or maybe half of it before watching to ensure a good experience.

    The point of making movies is to rake in huge profits and transferable tax credits while pretending to have lost money. How does providing you good service at a modest price make the current rights holders richer than they already are?

  • Re:Three words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian (840721) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:42AM (#46590393) Journal

    The media industry has a cunning plan, you see. Rather than give the customer what they want, they'll sue anyone who tries to bypass the complex system their incompetence and greed has generated.

    Always remember, no matter who wins or loses, lawyers win.

  • Re:Physical Stores (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sg_oneill (159032) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @04:17AM (#46590883)

    I dont think this is really the problem. I'm on a mid range ADSL2 connection and Netflix streams fine for me, as does youtube and most silverlight based sites (Silverlight was a misconcieved technology that nobody wanted, but to its credit, its video streaming worked exceptionally well).

    The problem is straight up the fact that some of what I want to watch is on Netflix, some of it is on hula and yet more is just straight up not available.

    Unless I use Pirate bay.

    If the industry wants people to stop downloading unauthorized copies, maaaaybe they could consideri doing like them music industry did and fixing this. I havent downloaded an unauthorized mp3 in years because iTunes and spotify just work.

  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@sl[ ]dot.fi ... m ['ash' in gap]> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:32AM (#46591141) Homepage

    And that's one of the biggest problems with netflix and other streaming services... Your limited by your bandwidth, which is also likely to go down during peak times (ie when you want to watch), and heavy use streaming means you can't do anything else on the connection either because its too slow or because your activity would cause the stream to stall.

    I want a service where i can download and watch later, i have limited peak time bandwidth usage and unlimited late at night, at night the network is less congested therefore faster and i'm generally asleep so i don't care if it makes the connection laggy, and downloads are not hampered by fluctuations in performance.

    With a downloaded file i can take it offline to watch somewhere i have no or poor connectivity, once the file is downloaded i can watch it knowing there wont be any dropouts, i can download overnight in whatever quality i want , even a 1080p movie will be finished by the morning on a 5mbps connection.

    Streaming is often utterly impractical at the times you most want to watch something, eg:

    on a train/bus/coach/car - the motion makes 3g slower, tunnels make it drop out entirely as does travelling in/out of service areas...
    mobile data is often expensive...
    abroad - roaming data is even more expensive
    wifi is not always available, and even when it is sometimes its unusably slow and you trying to stream only compounds the problem...

    On the other hand, a usb stick full of stuff you downloaded the previous night works very well in all of these situations. I travel a lot, and frequently find myself sitting around bored waiting for something, while having poor or no internet connection.

  • Re: Um. WRONG. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@sl[ ]dot.fi ... m ['ash' in gap]> on Thursday March 27, 2014 @05:42AM (#46591165) Homepage

    So you're violating their terms of service and effectively pirating the content anyway...

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