Don't waste your shareholders' money on the pointless crap known as "streaming services"....
Amazon has signed a deal to stream Viacom's kiddies' TV shows for a rumoured whopping $200m. The giant web bazaar said yesterday that it will get its hands on popular children's telly shows, including Dora the Explorer and SpongeBob SquarePants, in the deal for its Prime subscribers in the US. Amazon-owned LoveFilm users in …
DRM is somewhat acceptable when you are only borrowing the content rather than buying it, at least there is no pretense of ownership or lifetime access. I wouldn't buy any DRM content with the expectation of being able to watch it more than 24hrs later.
I actually access Lovefilm on my TV which while the content is protected there is no DRM as such as it is only streamed and there are no video outputs. This means my computer doesn't need to be infected by DRM. The quality is really pretty good, definitely HD for some content these days although I'm not sure it is as good as Netflix.
The quality isn't crap...
Depends on how you can view it. Amazon currently only offers HD streaming for a few specific client types -- you can't stream in HD using their web viewer, and they don't have a streaming client for Windows, either.
If Amazon fixed either of these massive gaping wounds, I'd subscribe.
"HD" streaming is a con. The so-called "HD" picture looks worse than an SD DVD upscaled by a decent DVD player because of much higher degree of compression used in the streaming video (yes the MPEG4-based codec is more efficient but the bitrate is just too low even for that).
You may all argue how convenient it is even if it looks like crap but, seriously, did I pay all that cash for a decent TV screen at home just to watch the blocks, crushed levels and colour bands of a streamed video on it???
I suggest you go back and think about life and the universe and contemplate the idea that convenience is not an acceptable trade-off for quality. ;-)
"HD" streaming is a con. The so-called "HD" picture looks worse than an SD DVD upscaled by a decent DVD player...
Then you're using a shit streaming service or you have a shit internet connection. Netflix HD streaming on my home internet connection is better than cable HD and I have to get right up to the screen and look really hard to find any compression artifacts at all.
I suggest you go back and look for a better ISP or streaming video provider, and contemplate the idea that not all of us have made the same bad decisions you apparently have.
I suggest you go back and think about life and the universe and contemplate the idea that convenience is not an acceptable trade-off for quality.
On that basis, you obviously would never listen to recorded music at all, because the only true way to experience music is live, and if you're not willing to go see an artist live, then you obviously don't appreciate their music, so you shouldn't listen to it at all.
Back in the real world, people often do sacrifice convenience for quality, hence the rise of things like portable media devices, camera phones, fast food, etc. What may come as a surprise to you is that using these devices does not immediately make someone an idiot; it just means that convenience has value to them.
And now how about explaining to all the people who have netflix accounts so that thier children can watch Spongebob now also have to pay for an amazon account, but they probably still have to keep thier netflix account for other stuff they watch. The problem with streaming is not really the DRM or the quality, it's the fact that you can't stream everything you want from one location. DRM and the low quality is bad enough, but having to pay multiple times for the ame service? Fail!
Netflix is available from my BluRay player, I can get an app for my phone... I think Lovefilm is similar. Amazon I would have to use my computer.
But my real problem is with their whole business model.
They carve up the world. Don't give me that "oh, it's because of the contracts" crap, you wrote the contracts and that's the way you like it.
So I can get the crippled Canadian versions of Netflix, or iTunes. No Amazon Video or MP3s at all...
Exclusive deals, now you get to choose what you want more as most people are not going to subscribe to multiple services just for exclusive content. (worse with cable as an exclusive may end up on a service that's not even available to you.)
The article wasn't clear, but I'm pretty sure this was talking about LoveFilm.
As for the rest, I couldn't agree with you more. Why can't they all stop p*ssing about and stop with this ridiculous "exclusive" nonsense.
It's fine if you've funded the show, otherwise the content providers should just license to everyone and let the consumers decide which service is best.
Due to Netflix and LoveFilm being basically a non-overlapping Venn diagram, I've opted to spend my money with BlinkBox and Google Play, paying to rent on a per-movie basis.
Amen. Long suffering Canuck here too.
However, I am not sure how much of that crap is due to the bad intentions of the companies themselves. I'd guess it's more due to the needless complexities of the Canadian regulatory environment.
For example, a while back, Rogers and Bell (cable cos) were bravely lobbying the feds in order to get Netflix to conform to Canadian content quota requirements. Their argument being that, with shows like House of Cards, Netflix is in effect a broadcaster and needs to air 40% or so of thrilling Canadian shows like "watching beavers" or Arctic Air. Or whatever*.
Which would, sadly but unavoidably drive up Netflix's cost.
Ditto Amazon.ca which was getting lobbied to conform to bricks & mortars reqs to carry Canadian magazines.
Amazon mp3s? Probably due to Canadian artists wanting their snouts in the through and/or preferring to be first in line on non-Amazon Canadian mp3 sites.
And let's not add Canadian French bilinguality requirements :-(
I am pretty sure a good deal of the mess is due to the entrenched media oligopolies here, rather than US providers purposefully not wanting our business at no cost to themselves. Just look at how we still have Air Canada "serving" us. Ditto mobile operators.
* there are excellent Canadian shows but Netflix.ca doesn't carry many of them. Its real strength is their BBC portofolio.
"Millions of people clearly think Justin Bieber is a great singer and musician, doesn't mean they are right."
...but the people who put up their money to get Bieber going clearly *were* right.
Given that Amazon's job is to make a return for shareholders rather than to personally please Vladimir Plouzhnikov's sensibilities, I'd say they've made the correct choice.
David W.: "Given that Amazon's job is to make a return for shareholders rather than to personally please Vladimir Plouzhnikov's sensibilities, I'd say they've made the correct choice."
Vladimir...hmmmm. I'd leave his name out if you ever have to explain to a 6 year old girl why she can no longer watch her favorite cartoon. Also, don't tell her that companies only care about her parents money, she may feel companies are using her to make her parents targets, that could scare her. Just tell her what Amazon or Disney would, "Cough it up kid! Mickey loves ya!".
EVERYTHING has a price and not even children can remain outside of corporate greed. Children are dollar signs in the eyes of many.
I see I touched a raw nerve for many here...
@Steve Knox: "I suggest you go back and look for a better ISP or streaming video provider"
My ISP is OK and I don't want a streaming video provider. I want Amazon and the likes to sell me a DRM-free, well encoded MP4 file for a reasonable price, just like they do with MP3s. That's all.
@David W.: "...but the people who put up their money to get Bieber going clearly *were* right."
Yes, because, unfortunately, a sucker is born every minute, as we all know.
"I'd say they've made the correct choice."
Time will tell. At the moment I can't be bothered to look up their numbers and try to see if they are making any money with LF and if they do, what are the prospects of them to eventually break even and make a return on the original investment. With a lot of corporate acquisitions (and, especially, internet-related corporate acquisitions) it never comes to that but ends in write offs and tears instead.
@Tom Maddox: "if you're not willing to go see an artist live, then you obviously don't appreciate their music, so you shouldn't listen to it at all. Right? RIGHT?"
Wrong. In part, because most of the music I like actually sounds better as studio recordings, but also it is a matter of balance - using an expensive hi-end system to listen to MP3s is a bit stupid, watching a DVD on a good TV screen is reasonable.
"What may come as a surprise to you is that using these devices does not immediately make someone an idiot;"
Well, I certainly won't categorise someone as an idiot just because he uses a smartphone. If he'd use the smartphone to watch a video, on the other hand, that's a whole different story...
Streaming services have their place. Stuff that you really like enough to watch again you download to your own server. No DRM, no "aww, they removed [INSERT SHOW OR MOVIE HERE THAT YOU REALLY LIKED] from my streaming service due to contractual reasons".
Stuff that you kind of like but not enough to take up your personal storage space you watch via streaming. Netflix fills this niche for me and I feel is good for the price even though I watch it about once per week. I connect when there is nothing else to watch.
Most Blu-ray players come with a Netflix app (this is how I watch it) so no PC required.
When will they realise that limiting content to one platform means people will not sign up to streaming services and BUY/RENT their content, because it can't be got from one place.
People do not want to have to sign up to several platforms to get their media, they end up being pushed to the platform that provides everything they need. That platform is currently known under various names, to ordinary people, like torrents, pirate bay, peer-to-peer or just 'downloading'. That one platform happens to be 'free' too, which makes it even more attractive.
I'll second that. If we could access Amazon Prime on the Galaxy and Nexus tablets in our house, we'd already have signed up. We buy stuff on Amazon, but not quite enough to justify paying for Prime, and we're still paying for cable, so the streaming side of Prime is almost but not quite enough to make it useful, but if we could stream to the tablets, without having to buy Kindles, that might just be enough to make the difference.
I removed my creditcard details from Lovefilm as my prepaid year was up, and they STILL wern't talking about the Android plans.
Whilst I think Netflix's content is worse, and I have no plans to downgrade from LoveFlim to Netflix, I have no plans anytime soon to re-enable my Loveflim either. Not at least until they can tell me thier plans to match Netflix device support.
in the last year has been Doctor Who. I'm seriously considering turning my TV into a wall mounted monitor for my PC, since the display quality in AAA games easily exceeds the pitiful quality of the over compressed crap the TV channels* transmit at never more than 720p.
*In Australia. Your Brontosaurusage may vary.
A year ago I when I really managed to get into Netflix it was an awesome experience. Catching up on old shows and even at times a kiddies cartoon or two.
Now looking at Netflix with it losing all the streaming rights, the amount of content that has come off already is ridiculous. Here today and gone tomorrow.
I have cancelled my Netflix because of this. Netflix we watch you for the content you put on, not for the "original shows" you stream.
If they do not watch out Amazon might just over shadow them, sooner than later
Money in the bank for shareholders. Dora and Spongebob are more popular than air with the kids in this neighborhood.
As an experiment some years ago while waiting for a Harry Potter movie to start I shouted "Who lives in a pineapple under the sea?"
Not one dissenting vote from the under 12s. I nearly lost an eardrum.
And Dora's appeal crosses normally polarized racial lines with ease, to judge by the backpacks the young ladies of tomorrow are toting their crayons'n'lunch'n'stuff to school in.
And each has a running history that puts Dr Who to shame.
Money in the bank.
Spongebob is actually pretty awesome. They slip in a ton of pretty acidic social commentary that's aimed squarely (ahem) at adults - an episode where the god of the sea came to the Krusty Krab for his birthday and attracted a huge group of blithering, royal-watching fish was particularly excellent...
For all the haters: You are aware your TV has an off switch and alternate programming available at the push of a button, aren't you? No-one forces anyone to watch kid's TV. You could all just get involved in your kids' quality time.
Or, you know, just admit that the shows for a useful way for you as adults to get some quiet time doing what *you* want without the normal incessant demands for attention from munchkins and belt up.
I could understand if this rage were directed at Barney or (shudder) teletubbies.
What next? An anti "Blues Clues" pogrom? The mass burning of archival "Hectors House" footage? Actually, that last one is okay by me.
It is my understanding that true adult afficionados(spelling?) prefer "the Clangers". I was informed that an entire bond trading floor in a merchant bank did Clanger speak for a morning and made a fortune!
Personally my preference was for the last minute of Magic Roundabout, which I believe should be compulsory viewing in all households with young parents.
The value or Netflix or any similar service is tied to your location. For instance, if you live in certain third world countries* you are offered literally one quarter of the content that Americans can watch.
Or you find that Netflix has a full series, except for the final episode which closed out the series. (Hello Pirate Bay!)
This whole fractured content thing will eventually lead to some kind of upheaval. We actually like Netflix (Brit crime dramas galore) but the content issues, and the woefully bad user interface are a constant irritation.
Actually, where Netflix is concerned that's not true.
You can either go down the VPN route to access other Netflix regions or you can try www.unotelly.com (amongst others).
Basically you use their DNS servers to access programs on the Netflix CDN (content delivery network) so you can choose which region you want to see content from. Works like a charm and if you have multiple devices with Netflix clients (eg Apple TV & PS3) you can point one at your "home" region (eg default DNS settings) and the others at the "foreign" region.
This is what I've done so our ATV2 sees Netflix USA whilst the PS3 sees Netflix UK. Oh, and it works with your existing Netflix account, no need for a secondary account or additional billing from them. The UnoTelly bit is chargeable, but at least you have the choice.
I don't work for Netflix or UnoTelly, just a happy customer of both.
Oh, and to anybody saying the playback quality on Netflix is bad, I'd have to disagree. On our Pioneer Kuro (non full HD) the quality is very respectable and is easily equal to if not better in many cases than DVD). That's from the PS3 or the ATV2.
As to the woeful interface, well that's down the manufacturer of the device you're using to watch it on. The interface on both the PS3 and ATV2 is I think pretty good but don't have much experience with other devices in that respect. For example I like the way that the PS3 will cue up the next episode in a series when you hit the end credits of the current episode and starts playing it automatically after a delay unless you intervene. If however the ability to playback Netflix has been "bolted on" to something (eg TV, dvd/blu ray player) then I could believe that the experience is less than entirely slick.
Agreed. I would love to watch MST3K on Netflix ... but the series isn't available in Mexico. I could do the VPN thingy, but that's cheating. Netflix should be able to serve content worldwide; the problem is that content providers are the ones screwing stuff up, not Netflix per se.
Not sure how the VPN or UnoTelly option would count as cheating, but the reality is that services such as Netflix etc are beholden to the rights owners/content providers as you mention.
The days when content will be routinely licensed on a global basis are not yet with us, in the meantime it's a case of making the best use of what's already available to us.
Only having experience with Netflix, I will say I was and remain very pleasantly surprised at the quality of the image via the PS3 and ATV2. Our internet connection originally ran at around 11Meg downstream (now 76Meg thanks to FTTC) and I was used to DVDs being upscaled by a broadcast quality scaler (Denon 3930 with the Realta HQV) so Netflix was a real eye opener for me.
Is it perfect? No. But for me its more than good enough that I'm more interested in what I'm watching than trying to see if I can spot banding or chroma upsampling errors.
Amazon's steaming services have the 2nd worst user interface imaginable. As a Prime subscriber it is painful to watch an entire season as each episode must be hunted down with a search from the top. Especially painful under Yahoo! Widgets, which is how Amazon is often implemented in "smart" TVs.
The all time record worst user interface is used by Dish in their PVR 722 for Blockbuster streaming. Its so bad it makes Windows 1.0 look innovative.
Netflix's user interface is not necessarily good, but at least its not awful.
Instead of paying $XX per month to the Cable TV or Satellite TV, we instead can ultimately pay $YY per month to each of several different Internet Streaming TV services such as Netflix and Amazon and etc. etc. etc.
Let me guess... $YY multiplied by several necessary providers is going to end up being pretty close to $XX.
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