back to article Blinkbox to sell Game of Thrones series 2 by stream

If you can't face waiting any longer for the DVD or Blu-ray release of Game of Thrones' second series, you'll be able to watch it today courtesy of Tesco IPTV service Blinkbox. A breathless PR just called to say the Netflix and Lovefilm rival has just gained HBO's permission to sell you the series for £1.89 an episode or £17.99 …

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Megaphone

Looks like HBO didn't learn their lesson from Season One

I have money HBO! And this is a product I want!

No I don't want to stream it! I want to watch Blackwater Bay going up in a burst of High Definition green fire again and again and again!

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Headmaster

Re: Looks like HBO didn't learn their lesson from Season One

Do you think HBO's accountants are stupid? If there was more money to be made from releasing box sets immediately after airing the show than from selling the show to client broadcasters in other territories, then that is what HBO would do. Since there isn't, they do not.

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Re: Looks like HBO didn't learn their lesson from Season One

@Jedit

Well, kind of. The key is in finding the balance between restricting legitimate access to the material and provoking the Oatmeal Reaction (http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones, if you haven't seen it already). I suspect that a substantial proportion of publishers are getting that one very, very wrong thus far...

Personally, I'm getting sick and tired of hearing the same old squealing about piracy from content publishers who resolutely refuse to offer their content through 21st century channels....

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Almost, but not quite

I would probably pay for it if they streamed it at the same time as airing it on TV.

I'm *not* willing to pay for streaming only when the series has already ended.

Sorry HBO, try harder next time.

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Re: Almost, but not quite

That's never going to happen given the distribution deals HBO has. In the same way that we're not going to see simultaneous movie releases in the cinema and via VoD - the cinemas would be up in arms if that ever was to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

"the only legitimate UK source"

The key word here is legitimate. "Other sources" have had the whole series in HD available for download for ages. and from there it'll play on pretty much anything. Good job ThePirateBay is blocked to prevent people from getting a decent service like that.

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FAIL

Hands up who hasn't already downloaded this

I think I can see the horse in the distance...

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FAIL

Why??

Not new content, not downloadable, not HD, why would I want to waste my cash & bandwidth on this??? :(

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Re: Why??

It's better than nothing.

It's legal and at least provides a stop gap until the Blu-Ray is released.

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Re: Why??

So you'd pay £18 to stream it, then £30+ to buy the Bluray? I know where I'd make my cost cutting.

Services need to not only compete with piracy, they need to be more attractive than it. Spotify, Steam and iTunes have success because they compete with piracy, and you can't underestimate things like convenience here. Netflix and Lovefilm are still hamstrung by the Film and TV industries being very slow in wanting to release their content. People are expecting more and more things on demand, rather than just televised. Who wants to stay in on [x]day to watch a TV program, importance of audience figures for live TV are going to wane eventually. I know people who Sky+ (etc) entire series and watch them only once the series is complete as they don't want to wait for weekly episodes. They need to embrace the fact they need to massively cut the time down between broadcast and retail release, TV companies aren't happy with it because it means a loss of power and less revenues for them.

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Re: Why??

Yep. Happy to. People are happy to fork out a TV license fee, plus Sky subscription with all the trimmings, buy Blu-Rays on top of that, go to the cinema, theatre, etc. etc. etc. etc. That costs a fair old whack of money each month. Why would you begrudge me £48 to watch something now - albeit in SD and streamed - then buy and watch the HD version with lots of extras - assuming I enjoy the SD stuff in the first place?

I don't have Sky. Do not want Sky. Given my viewing habits, not worth it. I rent individual film titles from iTunes or Blinkbox if they're not available via Netflix. I also occasionally buy Blu-Rays. The rest of the time I watch the very occasional program PVRed from Freeview.

Entertainment is subjective. Cost is subjective. I don't buy into this piracy argument even if the pirates do a better job at distributing stuff ;)

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Why??

I don't have Sky either, I don't begrudge your decision but many would see it as a gigantic waste of money, paying over 50% more for 30 days of streaming seems expensive. If it was the HD from the off with no silly arbitrary time limit, then we'd be talking, and available very quickly after the broadcast date.

The problem is these shows are hyped up and loved, all the popular TV is heavily pirated because of that, and the water cooler factor (you're behind?!). People don't want to wait, and to be honest the reason we have services like Spotify and Steam are because of piracy... I'd like the decent TV equivalent, we're in the same dark days with the TV services as the music industry was a few years back with lots of competing pointless companies who aren't doing it quite right, like the pay for Napster. As much as LoveFilm or Netflix are decent, TV/Film has yet to hit it's Spotify moment... the fact one is better for TV and the other for Movies says everything about the stage we are in... like the old music services that didn't carry entire catalogues of places like EMI.

TV companies fund plenty of TV though, and that's arguably one of the biggest hurdles. They want the exclusivity but don't realise that they devalue their resale rights abroad as it's already been watched by lots of fans already meaning lower ratings.

It'll change in time, but piracy exists in the gap between the legal... working as a nice convincer there is a market for a product.

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Far too expensive

£18? Really? For a one-time viewing? And only on that service?

What planet are these buffoons on?

I'll await the box-set thanks.

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Re: Far too expensive

Where does it say a one-time viewing? You can re-watch any number of times after purchase.

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Re: Far too expensive

Only if you've got a working internet connection.

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Re: Far too expensive

@mbdrake - Thanks. I am not familiar with the terms of Blinkbox and to me "stream" generally implies a one-time deal. The article made no mention of a license-in-perpetuity (as Ultraviolet grants).

Considering the other downsides of a stream-only option I still find it over-priced.

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Thumb Up

Re: Far too expensive

Once you buy it its yours for ever!!!

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Re: Far too expensive

It isn't ideal. I realise that. But it's good enough for me to watch it (I should be able to AirPlay it over my Mac laptop to my Apple TV device - yes, SD, but then again Now TV doesn't even let me do that so - meh).

I still have access to my purchased Blinkbox content from several years back, so this service (and what you've bought) isn't going to go away over night. I'll still buy the Blu-Ray box set. £18 isn't that much to see it first without any extras or in HD.

It really depends: how desperate are people to watch this *now* despite the limitations? Nobody is forcing anybody to turn to use Blinkbox or to turn to piracy.

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Re: Far too expensive

No different from having a working satellite or decent TV reception. The Blu-Ray/DVD will obviously sort all that out - but expect a long wait for it.

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K
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Devil

Nor can you download it...

lol ... Is it Aprils fools day already?

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JDX
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Crap but a step forward

Even in crummy SD, these services NEED to get content to be better. Netflix is wonderful but lags way behind on US shows, even behind boxsets being released.

As for streaming-only... sorry guys but this is how things are going. Even though my usage isn't limited it feels wrong that I'm downloading Gbs every hour, but it works well and I just have to accept this is the future, and be consoled by the fact I can watch it on any of my devices (at home or anywhere with decent wifi) at the click of a button (or finger) without running a media server.

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Facepalm

I'll wait for the boxset....

...from the local lending library. £4 for a two week rental.

Bargain and I don't feel like a freetard.

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Joke

Re: I'll wait for the boxset....

The old bricks and mortar file-sharing network eh!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I'll wait for the boxset....

I used to do that with CDs in the late 90s / early 2000s. Walking to the library was faster than Napster on 56k and I'd just bought myself a nice new shiny CD writer (up to 4x !). From what I remember though the local library would always buy in the censored version of any album with explicit lyrics. If they have a similar policy with DVDs then perhaps the series box set you'll be renting will come on one DVD with a run time of about 45 minutes...

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Insane

Anyone who buys inherently portable content such as books, music or videos in a format which is tied to a single service provider needs their head examined. I wouldn't trust Amazon, Apple or any mainstream provider to host my purchases let alone Blinkbox.

Will they be around in 1, 5 or 10 years? Will they offer the content on the same terms in 1, 5, 10 years? What devices will be supported in 1, 5 or 10 years?

The sensible thing to do is purchase content which stands the best chance of remaining viewable for the longest period of time. That currently means physical content. I don't see the story changing for digital content unless the industry adopts a single DRM standard, or even uses passive techniques like watermarking combined DRM free content.

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FAIL

Ugh

Just when you think things are looking up and media companies have finally entered the 21st century... standard def and streaming only....

Keep trying guys!

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FAIL

£17.99

Fuck off.

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Anonymous Coward

Might have paid that

... for HD quality version, assuming availability within a few hours of when it first really came out. But for slightly sub SD quality, now months later?

Doutless some marketing droid thinks that because it looks OK on his iphone then it's good enough for my telly.

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Re: Might have paid that

Or perhaps most people in the UK don't have a fast enough internet connection to reliably stream HD content and Tesco figured it didn't make any economic sense to buy the HD rights when most of its customers would be streaming in SD?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Might have paid that

Blinkbox have a download option which works well but is still sub DVD quality - I recently paid for a film but the downloaded file was 700megs for a 95 min film - i.e. pretty poor on a proper TV. It uses Windows Media Player rights management similar to iplayer. If done properly it would overcome the streaming issue and allow HD. Realistically I dont think punters who are prepared to cough up are going to want to pay for less than 720p with 5.1 audio,

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Anonymous Coward

I gave up waiting and torrent'ed it last month; sorry Tesco (not that I ever use you anyway).

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Anybody can be a backseat studio exec, but nobody here (that includes me) seems to be doing much (apart from whinging of course) other than support piracy (except me) and buries their head in sand. Well done (slow clap).

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@mbdrake

Nice demonstration of "thinking like a bellend" there, chap...

Personally, I try to support what modern services I find available that overlap my requirements. I signed up for Netflix pretty much as soon as it was available (after much frustration with Lovefilm's abject failure to offer a streaming service worth a damn for years, I object to the idea of giving them money now that the presence of competition has finally scared them into getting their act together). I've used Film Four's On Demand service and will be using the Curzon's On Demand service shortly as well.

I like the idea of Blinkbox, but the pricing is out of whack for DRM'd SD downloads. Contrary to the article, folks running Windows can download both seasons of Game Of Thrones - but you're tied into a mix of Windows Media Player and Silverlight, at SD. That's not really a compelling deal for the price, really. They're moving in the right direction, but still trying very hard not to learn the lessons learned by the music industry over the last 15-20 years. For obvious reasons - the music industry didn't have a huge array of legacy partners who have to be kept happy and whose business model required encrypted distribution channels as part of their agreements, so the transition to DRM-free mp3 as a baseline standard was less traumatic. Publishers and studios working in the film & tv sector are used to encryption being the norm for broadcast and haven't yet copped to the fact that, for recordings, they're going to have to get rid of it. Encryption & DRM are fine for rentals or streamed services, but not for something sold as "buy to own".

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Anonymous Coward

Unwatchable

Shame the streaming/buffering was so bad last night (13 Aug) as to make S02 E01 unwatchable.

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Unwatchable

Shame the streaming/buffering was so bad last night (13 Aug) as to make S02 E01 unwatchable.

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Re: Unwatchable

Yeah - I noticed the same when I tried to stream it on my LG telly either after 9am, or outside 4-7pm...

Tried again today - still buffering like crazy. Suspect their CDN isn't man enough at the mo.. and they really need to get content close to users (as in CDN edge kit in ISP datacentres and on their core nets a la BBC). Especially as streaming to TVs require 2Mbps throughput...

Already logged with my ISP and with Blinkbox themselves.

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