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

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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  • The oak and the palm (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_Bionic_lemming ( 446569 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:16PM (#46589691)

    The Oak stays strong and the palm tree bends - but with the Hurricane of fed up cord cutters, only one species will survive the storm.

    I'm patient.

  • or just say no (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dltaylor ( 7510 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:24PM (#46589735)

    I have not, and will not, use my cable provider's "on demand" service for anything for which I have to pay ($5 - $10 per selection per 24-hour viewing window). If there were some "bundle" price, al la Netflix, I'd give them $10 for access. Of course, I don't pay the obscene fees for "premium" channels, either. I only have one cable box attached to a screen. I cannot watch all three (four?) at the same time, but I would have to pay an additional monthly fee for each one, even if it is discounted slightly for second, third, ... selection.

    I may miss something, but nothing I've heard of justifies the pricing.

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

    by MrBigInThePants ( 624986 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:44PM (#46589847)
    I live in NZ.

    We WISH we had netflix. And our only pay-tv option Sky is not on-demand, stupidly expensive per month (even without the movie channels) AND complete shit. Netflix is a dream in comparison and it is 10-20x the price per month!

    But do not worry folks, uto(rrent)pia is already upon us.

    Here is my message to the movie/TV industry:

    Until you get you act together and provide a decent, convenient service comparable to what the US has I will be getting them for free. And I wont feel at all guilty regardless of what any corporate shill says in the media or here on these forums - if you want to be anti-competitive then I simply will not play the game AT ALL.
  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by kylemonger ( 686302 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @10:45PM (#46589849)
    Netflix doesn't even get rewind right, something my lowly 11 year old TiVo got right on day one. "WTF did he just say?" Hit the instant replay button and jump back 8 seconds. With Netflix it's as if someone there has to get up and change reels any time you want to skip backward.
  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jedidiah ( 1196 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:03PM (#46589945) Homepage

    I don't think Netflix is anywhere near 100% satisfying but it comes pretty close. It's basically a replacement for 30 or so channels on cable that are dominated by re-runs.

    However, I think the idea that this has to be some sort of one stop option is bogus and stupid. There's no good reason that multiple services can't do the job. We already have multiple channels in the old model.

    Netflix + Amazon(PPV) together is a pretty complete solution.

  • Re:Um. WRONG. (Score:4, Interesting)

    by epyT-R ( 613989 ) on Wednesday March 26, 2014 @11:20PM (#46590007)

    Interesting, because, to me, most movies that win lots of those awards are either overdone romance dramas or center left political propaganda schlock. Talk about formulaic and dull. They make those teen vampire serial shows passed off as 'science' fiction seem tolerable....for a a distance. Hell, these people think 'gravity' is good science fiction, so their opinions count for exactly nothing to me.

  • Re:Um. RIGHT... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by David_Hart ( 1184661 ) on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:12AM (#46590233)

    Netflix is 100% satisfying. WTF back country bullshit throttled cable internet service are you using?

    Netflix is utter crap if you want to watch new movies. It's the reason why I dumped Netflix a year ago. Amazon and Redbox both get new movies much faster and you can stream them. I'll grant you that Netflix does a good job at adding to their impressive old movie collection and they tend to add TV series fairly quickly. They may meet your needs, but there are many of us left wanting.

    A combination of Redbox, Amazon Prime, Comcast, and NHL Game Center Live does it for me...

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 27, 2014 @12:06PM (#46593419)

    The problem isn't that people don't know the difference between streaming and local playback! The problem is that streaming simply is inferior tech compared to local playback. Of course, people who are accustomed to year 2000 tech are, yes, going to find it "unsatisfying." You would expect a tech downgrade to come with that kind of baggage.

    Next on Slashdot: Car Owners wonder why Ox Carts are unsatisfying to drive.

    This one little playback issue (though it's not Netflix's only problem) is one of the many illustrations why, when people bring up Netflix as some kind of acceptable modern thing, I'm just totally baffled. In 2000 you wouldn't have praised Netflix (because you were already using something better than Netflix back then), so why praise it now, when you ought to expect things to work at least as well? (And really, I think most of us expect our 2014 computers to be better than our 2000 computers.)

    IMHO Sickbeard and Couchpotato (and their like) are the benchmark techs, now. I don't mind paying, but stuff has to be that good, and I'm not going to settle for less. Nobody offers products anywhere in that league of quality yet, so nobody is getting my money right now. I await their opening for business.

    Strangely, (and I say this as a non-Apple guy who doesn't have any Apple stuff) I think iTunes is closest to doing it. All they have to do is open up the API so people don't have to use the shitty iTunes application to buy the files -- let us write sickbeard or nzbdrone plugins. And lose the DRM so the video files can be played on anything (if you try to lock me into Apple players, that's a dealbreaker ; OTOH if the files play on everything, then Apple's hardware can possibly be a contender). Those two things (open API and DRM-free files), and they'll have a winner, and start displacing piracy.

Never buy from a rich salesman. -- Goldenstern