back to article Jobs moves to the heavens with Apple TV

With its Apple TV revamp announced Wednesday, Apple dipped its toes into the entertainment cloud — if you'll forgive a muddled metaphor. It's a tentative baby step, but expect more cloudy offerings from Cupertino if the experiment is a success. Although iTunes has allowed you to either rent or buy movies for some years now, the …

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If their local hard disk filled up with movies and TV shows...

what on earth would they do?

Presumably burning files to CD or DVD is either too old-hat for Steve or is something that only pirates and thieves would ever want to do.

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Coat

Isn't that fiddling while Nero burned?

or something.

OK I'm going.

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It's laziness, not stupidity

Contrary to what the article suggests, the problem isn't that people are too stupid to manage files (they understand copying tapes and DVDs just fine), it's just that file management is a damn tedious nuisance that requires an investment in time and hardware. A single TV season could eat up 5 DVDs, and I don't want to wait for them to burn, I don't want to store them, and I don't want to juggle them around when I feel like watching the show again.

Hard drives are a better solution, but they still fill up, they still need backing up, and they're still an extra hardware expense.

Apple's rental program isn't too bad, but what I really want is a service that lets me buy a license to watch a video and lets me both leave a copy in the cloud to stream to whatever device I like, as well as download the file for offline viewing and as a backup in case the service goes under. I can dream, can't I?

In the meantime, the Apple TV is cheap enough and does a good job of integrating with my devices. I'm willing to give it a whirl. Can't wait for Netflix to come to my country.

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Silver badge

@famousringo

"A single TV season could eat up 5 DVDs, and I don't want to wait for them to burn, I don't want to store them, and I don't want to juggle them around when I feel like watching the show again.

Hard drives are a better solution, but they still fill up, they still need backing up, and they're still an extra hardware expense."

A 2TB hard drive will store at least 235 DVDs, assuming 8.7GB dual layer discs. One of these plugged into a WDTV and you're done. Blu-rays aren't worth mentioning as the Apple device will be streaming and that's an awful lot of data required to be of comparable visual quality.

To me devices like the WDTV can offer the same service without the control freakery. The exception is the streamed video, but it makes up for it with the formats it's capable of and there are other similar devices that offer streaming as well if desired.

Apple - late to the party and offering less. They'd be better off adapting the mac mini to have a PVR capability and media streaming etc out of the box by bundling it with some elgato hardware etc.

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Untitled

Bingo famousringo!

And let me add my underlined emphasis on the back up issue.

Plus, I have enough exposure to civilians to know that the care and feeding of /Volumes/BigHardExternalDrive/AuxITunesLibrary is placed deep in their Venn Diagram circle marked "Life is Too Short For."

And Rik, Rik, Rik, does Apple exert any censorship over MobileMe facilitated storage via iDisk? That said, one would have to question the intelligence of any one who would upload actionable (in certain prudish jurisdictions) files of, oh, let's say, sensitivity.

Which makes me wonder. Would a zealous North Carolina DA be able to subpoena Apple to get a looksee for prosecutable media files?

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Heart

Boom

Tish

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Indeed, but...

... as has happened to a few folk I know, what happens when that 2Tb drive develops a dodgy sector, or worse fails.

Unless you've kept a full, up to date backup (big waste of another 2Tb drive) then you've lost everything. If you're not a downloader of films, or heck even if you're backing up your own DVD's (which is dodgy in some places) then you've got to convert your media library to your newly purchased disk again....

If Apple get this right they could be along at just the right time again - smaller companies have done similar, but Apple have the brand name and the infrastructure to do this. Maybe they'll open it up to offer online storage of episodes/seasons that you actually buy, rather than rent.... but unless you're a real film or tv buff, it's unlikely you'll watch too many shows or films over and over again, so renting them as and when may be cheaper in the long run anyway!

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Grenade

Silver Disc - Wash your mouth out!

As mentioned by his Steveness, and signalled by the new iTunes logo - We don't do discs any more. And he has a point now that downloads outsell CDs, for music now, and movies too in the not too distant future.

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PVR - Interesting, and doable too

Since the AppleTV can work with wireless streams from computers, then in theory, it could transmit whatever it is playing to said computers for offline use and/or backup, couldn't it?

Is HDMI a two way interface, because then it could even do it with anything you happen to be viewing on screen (encrypted content excepted, natch)

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Anonymous Coward

"doable if Apple has kept all purchase records"

Yes, they have: you can find that data in the Purchase History of your account, and it's also used when you select "Check For Available Items" from the Store menu

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Jobs Horns

The thought police strike again!!

That's awful good of Steve to tell me what I want or in this case don't want. There's me getting all above my station with the stupid notion that I can think for myself. How could I possibly have any idea as to what I want or don't want. Thanks for putting me straight Steve.... You da man!!!!!!

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FAIL

to be honest

It's immaterial what you want or don't want... it's a product he wants to sell. if you want it, as it is, buy it, if you don't, don't... we all make the same decision every day.... i want jacob's jam creams. i don't want hob nobs.

you don't hear thousands of people moaning every day that hob nobs are a crap, over-priced product, even though they don't like them. why's everyone got to do it with apple?

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Paris Hilton

Sacrilege..

I don't moan about hobnobs being a crap overpriced product (admittedly in part because they aren't) because once I have bought them I own them to do with as I wish.

If I decide I don't like them (highly unlikely) I don't lose access or control of them. If I decide I dislike them (again unlikely) I still own the hobnobs to do with as I wish and McVities don't keep records of how many hobnobs I eat or try to suggest that I might like garibaldis as well.

Paris, The hobnob of totty, she'd let you dip her as many times as you want.

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Silver badge

Plus the fact that it is very unlikely that....

......they will suddenly taste bad because you are "eating them wrong".

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VCR

...and you've never rented a video tape or DVD instead of buying it at a much higher price and wondered why the rental shop wants it back?

The thumb's for Paris.

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WTF?

Oh please...

Repeat after me 'I don't have to buy things I don't want, I don't have to buy anything I don't want...'

OK?

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Jobs Halo

Eeeh... Now that I think of it, it does make sense in the long term

As the whole planet becomes wired, any logical observer would laugh at the idea of having millions of copies of the same movies stored all over the place in various formats, when it is much simpler to store them in data centers and stream them... If Apple's timing is correct, they will have a huge role in this. I feel awed, suddenly.

Sooner or later, people who want to have their own physical copy will sound out of touch. On the other hand, it will take a while. I'm not going to get rid of my 300+ books and replace them with eBooks anytime soon. Physical copies are here for at least 30 more years... But maybe not much more.

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Jobs Horns

I certainly hope not

It's bad enough that many online rental streams are locked by region IP check. Want to watch iPlayer or Hulu? Can't do it, you're not in the country where the bloody service will stream to. Heck, more than half of the world are blocked from everything but the App store on iTunes, and even then more than half of the apps on the App store aren't available worldwide. Believe me, I've clicked on an URL only to be met with a "App is not available in your country" error in iTunes.

With physical media on the other hand, many stores are indeed willing to ship worldwide. I've bought numerous DVDs and audio CDs. Region locking? Solved by the fact that many cheap Chinese DVD players won't honor region locks anyway.

Jobs as satan. Because as long as these media are region-locked and IP blocked, there will always be people wanting physical copies, be it legal or otherwise.

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Pint

You've got to love ...

those practically pragmatic 'cheap' Chinese drives - freeing the viewing world.

They perfectly match the equally low-priced copied media that is so readily available there.

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WTF?

Last time I looked...

iPlayer was not a rental system, but a UK License payer funded catch up system.

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Anonymous Coward

Not his fault!

It's actually not all Steve's fault as the various music, movie and TV companies have different agreements in different countries, as any fule noes.

Why everybody blames Apple for this historical mish-mash I fail to understand!

...Oh! Wait...........

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Silver badge

@I certainly hope not: That is indeed what Apple and many other companies are after.

They wish to turn all of us into "leaseholders" on such terms that they can "withdraw the lease" whenever they want. They are in fact attempting to change the nature of that which the law describes as "private property". Their version reminds me of the Patrician. He ran a "one man one vote system". He was the man and he had the vote. That is exactly Apple's attitude to what they "sell" to you. The biggest problem with that is that there are all too many companies out there who wish to emulate that model.

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Jobs Horns

TV

I have a HDR-FOX T2 or whatever, it picks up HD freeview (where available) and next month will let me stream from "the internet" including Sky Player.

Maybe there is a market for such a device, but not in the UK I'm going to guess where everyone with Sky generally has Sky+ (or Sky HD), Virgin with catch up services etc. Why buy a piece of kit which you have to spend money on to watch content... twice. Once for the content and again for bandwidth. They tout HD, but is that "true" HD or a highly compressed file, I'm going to go with highly compressed file so really shouldn't be able to claim "HD".

I think I'll stick with my freeview box and if an episode of something comes out I really have to watch, I'll use my PS3, that has Flash don't ya know! So yeah, wheres the market?

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Silver badge
Alert

Tivo / Sky+

Yup, many people in the UK now own either Sky+ boxes or some form of PVR. Stateside I'm less sure what the Sky+ equivalent is, but I know that people went crazy for Tivo.

Presumably we all hate it when they fill up though. Yet another problem I didn't know existed - thank you Sir Steve.

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Sky+

No problem there, Sky+ will automatically delete older programmes (unless you mark them as keep). My T2 has a 500Gb hard drive, might take quite a while to fill that, and if I do, I can just plug in my 1Tb external and umm, yeah, space is never really an issue.

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Pirate

Sky Plus

With my Sky Plus (upgraded HDD; now stores about 150 hours), I burn the programmes I want to keep to DVD+RW with a standalone recorder; then copy the DVD+RW to DVD+R using K3B (the recorder doesn't like +R discs, and I can store the ISO images on an external HDD in case I ever need to make another copy).

Using the -dumpstream option of mplayer, it's even possible to extract MPEG2 data from loopback-mounted ISO images (for some bizarre reason, the .vob files on a home-burned disc don't correspond with individual programmes) and transfer this to an MPEG2-capable HDD media player. Or re-encode to another format with ffmpeg, to watch on a portable device.

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deh

10 billion?

You know, the relevant number is more Iike how many songs and videos are in the store, not how many have been sold. They don't have to store a separate identical copy of the same song and video for each person.

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Jobs Horns

Misdirection

Clearly all these films and other media are stored in the cloud already, waiting to be streamed. If you can rent and stream something as many times as you like, there's no good reason why you should not be able to buy access to the item outright and watch it as many times as you like, for free. There's no storage management to worry about whichever way you do it. This is clearly an artificial limitation.

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Silver badge

Who Lou?

I can actually see Steve's point. There isn't much (any?) TV/video content actually worth owning. The only question that remains is will people continue to pay for one more given the current buffet already there?

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Jobs Horns

Fooled..

In the beginning there was walkmans, and you could take an hour or so with you and always carry extra tapes.

Then discmans and MD players did much the same task.

The iPod and the whole mp3 player concept extended the same idea but with the ability to take more tunes.

Now, i cannot take all my tunes with me, knowing i can listen wherever i am, now i need a constant fast connection to the internet (which i will have to pay lots for and will be patchy at best - even in London) and also now i will no longer own the tunes.

Can i suggest prior art in the form of RADIO!!!!!

The rental / cloud model is great for business to get repeat revenue, but it goes against the basic design idea of mobile media and if it works will provide a pre-existing function that was free for a cost. That is how you make a multi-billion dollar company!

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Jobs Horns

Meh

Do. Not. Want. Any of this.

That's just me though. If recent history tells us anything it's that La Jobs has either been almost unerringly correct about what the majority of people want, or that he has somehow managed to convince the majority of people that they want what he tells them to.

I really hope he's wrong about this one. I'm fed up to the back teeth of Apple.

Whinge whinge grumble grumble moan moan etc.

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Stop

Meh...

Don't. Buy. It. Then.

While I'm at it, if you are "fed up to the back teeth of Apple", stop reading articles that are about them and their products. Your (and my) quality of life will be vastly improved if you simply ignore them! It really is **that** simple!

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Go

Re: Meh...

You missed my point, but then since I was just moaning and didn't explain my position I can't really blame you for that can I? Oh hang on, I can. At no point did I say I felt forced into buying it and besides who are you anyway? The comments police? Last time I checked there wasn't a rule against having a good old moan (sorry Sarah). Why should I ignore it? It concerns me and it won't go away by ignoring it so I add my voice to the chorus of dissent. You didn't like my comment, so how come you didn't just ignore it?*

I don't want it because of what it stands for, not because I personally don't want to own it. Really - I'm the first to admit I can be a bit dim sometimes but I'm not that much of an idiot. If successful (and there's every chance it will be, even if only moderately so - as alluded to in my original comment) it means Apple will gain more control over the media that large numbers of people consume on a daily basis, leading to a knock-on effect on mainstream culture in general. I don't want it because there's every chance that, despite how much I avoid it (as you so _cleverly_ recommend) its effects will still be inescapable. Apple's not alone in causing me such disappointment, but since this story is about Apple... Clear enough for you?

* btw that was a rhetorical question - please do not answer.

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Grenade

Holy Crusade?

"I don't want it because of what it stands for" And here in lies the problem. You see yourself as a member of a just "chorus of dissent", except here you are only preaching to **that** choir.

You said " Apple's not alone in causing me such disappointment, but since this story is about Apple...", but you've also said "Then we can all move on to the Next Big Problem™ i.e. how to get rid of Apple." Why do you want to get rid of a business? Is it because they are successful now? Do spew that bollocks about them being controlling; it's a rather tiresome rhetoric. It's quite clear that you do have an agenda, but what a silly one! They are a **business* who make products that lots of people like. is that what doesn't sit well? People like their products? How to get rid of them is easy; make better products than them that are more profitable and desirable. Since they released the 2G iPod and iPod Mini though, no-one has. Going on like this is a religious war is what makes your opinions utterly irrelevant; they are not objective, rather ideological and irrational. So, put up (ie make something better) or shut up.

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Misconstrue much?

Religious war? Maybe for you it is. I just don't like Apple. You on the other hand seem hellbent on showing me the hideous error of my ways to the extent that you'll check my history to extract some tongue-in-cheek comment I made elsewhere just to build a wee straw man for yourself.

Take a breath, count to ten, wipe the spittle from your mouth and try again.

PS: The 2nd gen iPod and iPod mini were shit. Apple didn't release a decent music player till they finally caught up with the rest of the world and introduced the Touch. But then that's just my humble opinion. I'm sure nobody else anywhere shares it, and you can safely ignore it when reassuring yourself that I'm just some fool talking utter bollocks.

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Silver badge

Content is King (Queen) - not delivery

Jobs has only managed to sign up two TV networks who are undoubtedly analyzing everything that sells and when they realise that there is a good potential of making money, they are either going to renegotiate their cut or even look ar setting p their own cloud.

No doubt Hollywood, as well as the record industry, is trying to figure out how to increase their cut and when they do, Jobs will find himself in an unusual position of not being in control.

And what of the Jobs morals clause? Is he going to censor all of the content to meet his rules? Can you imagine Sex in the City landing on his servers?

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FAIL

Parus major...

"No doubt Hollywood, as well as the record industry, is trying to figure out how to increase their cut and when they do, Jobs will find himself in an unusual position of not being in control." Do pay attention to the real world an not what goes on in your mind! The record industry succumbed to the online sales model years ago; iTunes sell more than HMV; and Amazon aren't far behind.

The movie industry aren't quite as convinced by the model; in much the same way as the publishing industry aren't; and aren't so willing to get on board and sell at a lower price, hence the rental model and the DRM everywhere. Trouble is history and fact don't fit in with your agenda, do they?

"Can you imagine Sex in the City landing on his servers?" I'm sure I'm not the only one that would applaud Jobs' decision to ban that particular title...

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re: I certainly hope not

That's similar to my beef - not much point in a *portable* device having Flash Player support if some sites *cough - Hulu - cough* refuse to stream to portable devices.

And this whole rental/cloud thing - is your $.99 a rental fee or a license? In the sense that do you have to pay every time you watch the same show over again or do you just pay once for each item and can then watch it as often as you want (and on whatever device you might happen to have on you at the time)?

The latter option might have some appeal.

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Pirate

HD Streaming?

if it's really only streaming and really HD (!) I wonder who apart from Cable (Fibre hybrid) and Fibre users will be able to use it?

(!) Of course may not be HD in sense BluRay or BBC Satellite is HD.

I can't see why I would buy a box to rent poor quality video (compared to Broadcast, DVD or BluRay). Of course people did that with VHS. But they used the VHS to Time shift and save shows too. Cheap DVD & BluRay purchase and Broadcast PVRs make this a niche product.

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(Written by Reg staff)

Re: HD Streaming?

It streams at 720p, IIRC.

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FAIL

720p

And presumably takes 30 minutes to buffer... otherwise how is my 6Mb adsl broadband going to cope? Probably the same as it does with iPlayer HD - not well.

I'm out on this one.

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Anonymous Coward

Good idea, but not yet workable.

I'd much prefer to have all my media stored in 'the cloud'. Then I don't have to worry about my media drive failing, backing it up, replacing it, etc, as I do now. I still want to have the right to pay once and watch many times though, i.e., own it.

The main problem right now is simply that the internet is not up to streaming HD content, and that's now, when not many people (relatively) are streaming stuff to watch/listen on a regular basis. It will only get worse as more do. Or maybe I'm just unlucky because I have to put up with the incompetent cockmonkies known as Virgin.

Another problem is with content on the iTunes store. Whilst Apple do offer HD TV shows, those shows in almost all cases, if not all, do not have HD audio and just offer stereo or pro-logic (and, yes, I'm talking about the very latest stuff here, that if you got it on DVD/BluRay, or watch it on Sky HD even, it would have 5.1 audio).

The movies they sell/rent are more likely to have 5.1 audio though.

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Boffin

one word: Drobo

I could mention Handbrake, Mac the Ripper and opensourcemac.org, not to mention cheap and cheerful 500GB USB HDDs, but I think most readers of this site won't dissolve in a pile of tears if their hard drive fills up. I seldom bother with DVDs anymore, except to support the artist, rip and backup the content, and sell the exoskeleton.

I live in an area where the Jobsian view of peddling everything via his software is largely unavailable. Even if I wanted to buy into his view of multimedia-distortion-field, I couldn't.

JtB

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this model will work for me

I've done the buy-vhs, buy-DVD bit..

fool me once, shame on you

fool me twice, shame on me..

so no more movie buying for me thanks - I just don't watch them again, and again, and again

well, not typically. Occasionally there'll be something worth while to watch several times, but that's probably a movie I'll watch after a few years again

So this really does work for me.

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Anonymous Coward

Got kids ?

They watch stuff again and again and again...

I guess there could be a "rent unlimited" option for a title.

Now, how long before BT upgrade their entire network (I'm getting just over 2 Meg to my house)... and Apple TV is only 720p, not 1080p so to live stream 1080p might be very expensive...

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Silver badge
FAIL

Apple don't really suit the Cloud.

There's no lock-in, you see. I predict a Fail, unusually for Apple.

GJC

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Stop

Carbon Footprint...

... of billions of personal media streams???

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Still has a long way to go

I keep everything all catalogued movies and Tv SHows, with media served via CCX stream on my iMac to XBMC servers all over the house...I like the look of the device and if XBMC can be ported into it then I will replace my classic Xbox's and use the new kit

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Thumb Up

You know, I think it just might work...

If you’ve got a PVR (Sky+ or Virgin HD box, say) how big is the hard drive? One of the things that REALLY annoys me at the moment is that I’m constantly having to manage the recordings on the V+ HD because it’s so small (80 or 120 GB, IIRC), while my 2TB WD box sits on my home network, which I can’t connect the Vbox to, despite the ethernet socket in the back! I use Airfoil to send music to different sets of speakers all over my house, connected to the network, and I’ll be getting an Apple TV so that I can do the same with video and picture content to my second TV screen. The rent/buy idea is secondary, but I might be persuaded - first run movies cost £4.99 on Filmflex, so the pricing isn’t so bad, and I already have loads of DVDs that sit in boxes because I don’t watch them over and over again. Come up with a flexible streaming pricing model (watch once for £2.99, up to three times for £4.99, and unlimited times for £8.99) and all my use cases are covered, and I’m in...

M.

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FAIL

Not a great solution

When you consider data caps and average speed of UK broadband I wonder how many people will bin it after a very short period of time?

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