Hmmm, you probably dodged a bullet there.
It's not every day that I'm torn between the physical and the digital. Usually, I manage to make a firm choice one way or the other, or at least rationalise my equivocation. For instance, when it comes to books, I buy the majority of them electronically now, but there are still authors for whom I'll buy a new title in physical …
maybe, but what is the point of streaming services with no long tail, and removal of content they did have.
Perhaps you see, real quality VOD needs a huge number of distributed servers at various nodes of each ISP or it doesn't scale. This problem (solved by Netflix insisting major ISPs install their servers) was identified over 15 years ago for IPTV / VOD. Storage costs thus go up linearly with the number of customers, as the number of servers has to rise as they get more customers.
So only the current popular stuff. Netflix and all the other streaming services only replace physical video libraries in the high street, ultimately they can't replace DVD sales or BD sales. Apart from the fact than nearly 90% of people don't have bandwidth for even decent DVD quality. What too if the kids, the teens and mum and dad (or sharing students) want to watch different content?
So for a long time to come, streaming, physical disks and broadcast are complementary. Netflix and similar really most appeals to the regular video library customer.
12TB zfs raidz plex server + Nowtv2 (roku3) + Plex (Rarflix) + Blu-Rays/DVDs + makemkv + handbrake + getiplayer = Big Win
Got boxsets of Joan Hickson Marple and Blakes 7 for £25 each last month so wifey and I are both happy for a few weeks (at least till the rugby is over 8-)
Netflix is fine, but it's stupid to view it as a complete replacement for all your media. It's a complementary service to a personal library - it's great for things you might not have heard of, or are happy to watch but don't necessarily want to watch on DVD. Thanks to the nature of the marketplace, it will always be second-fiddle for things that you really want to watch right now and will want to watch over and over, because the rightsholders for those things would rather try and shaft people as hard and as often as possible. (And then wonder why their customers aren't all that happy with how they do business...)
Me, I happily pay for Netflix, alongside running a home server for media files to which I rip all my DVDs and Blu-Rays. Is it a ballache? Yeah, kinda. Does it involve storing discs as well as the server? Yep. But the upside is - a server I run for myself never gives me a "no licence, PFO" error. Nor does it fall over on a recurring basis. Nor does it expire licences on me, or require me to run a bunch of accounts on external services for no good reason. Nor does it require me to install additional crapware just to decrypt the pointless DRM that encumbers the film.
Very much this. I got Netflix, thinking I'd use it for films, but it's pretty rubbish for that (just as Lovefilm was), but rather good for TV. OK, there are gaps, and sometimes only entire series are missing, but I get to watch things that I wouldn't bother buying the boxset for (most TV boxsets I've bought get watched once and forgotten about), and I can drop it once I've watched what I want.
DVDs are down in price, and £5-£10 is a fair price for something I'll watch more than once. Blu-Rays can take a hike, though (not least because my PC has no Blu-Ray drive, and thus I can't get them onto the NAS).
"Another advantage of ripping one's DVDs & Blu-Rays is that one loses all the pre- and post-roll crap that infests such media."
I can do one more than that and say I (illegally) copied a legally purchased entire box set first, then watched the copies. The menus were such a pain in the arse to navigate, I blew that away during the ripping process and just left the episodes.
It's as if paying for it wasn't enough, they wanted me to work for it by moving around the pain-in-the-arse DVD cursor keys, as well as kindly remining me that to "fix" that problem would be impossible without breaking the law.
Thanks but no thanks.
Just like the local one 'full' of books. You pay for it (though not in local taxation) and you have access to whatever is on the shelves at the time you go into it.
But like a book library, stuff gets removed, replaced with something different, or the library gets in the first five books by an author but doesn't get the sixth. And the only way to be sure of having something to enjoy again and again is to buy a copy for yourself
I still buy disks for series that I want to watch:
a) More than once
b) when I am away from home.
I rip them to MP4 or MKV and watch them on a standard full HD TV (or laptop).
I don't share them - so the author still gets the royalties. But it's so much more convenient.
I bought myself a Synology NAS this year, and since I've had it I've been ripping my DVD collection to it without pause.
The NAS is obviously hooked up to the TV via a media box, and it works great. Now I can watch my films without the hookey commercials or stupid FBI warnings (hey, I live in France, FBI, and I bought the bloody disk, so fuck off).
I will continue buying physical media, and ripping them to my personal local cloud. The Internet can fall down, I will always be able to watch my films. THAT is convenience.
Sometimes you end up buying the disks for something you may want to watch once simply because you can't get the content elsewhere. I had to do that recently with "The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya" (still have to find the second season) and I'll probably have to do that with "Lucky Star" as well if I want to watch it. Already had to buy "Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood" because Netflix didn't carry the last 10 episodes. Go figure on that one: they still had all the episodes till *nearly* the end, but didn't finish it.
May have to see if I can switch my Crapcast subscription to their most ultra-mega-basic service, and use the money saved to subscribe to Crunchyroll and Funimation (already have AcornTV so the wife can watch her British shows)
It wasn't illegal in the UK between autumn 2014 and July 2015, then it became illegal again when a judge quashed it because in his opinion if you buy music or a film and rip it to your NAS for your own private use rights holders lost out as they weren't paid compensation.
Which is bollocks.
But life will go on like before autumn 2014. People will buy stuff on disc and will rip it or download the equivalent torrent because no digital format beats that. Was it a week or two ago that MS turned off their DRM servers a second time?
I don't think it's the physical media you need: You want your own copy of the film in some fairly universal non DRM format (e.g. MPEG) If there was the equivalent of being able to download the MPG of a film, like you can an MP3 of a song, that would really useful.
The problem is, that the (movie) world is taking the view that people don't want to "own" anything, with people being quite happy to pay subscriptions for ever. (And to lose them if they stop paying too!)
I use emby myself, all media on all devices when and where I want. I have a huge collection of dvd and blu-ray films which I have ripped for my personal use.
I also have two satellite cards and a freeview card which link into my own oscam pi server using dvdlink with my own paid for subscription that is not shared with anyone else, this also allows me to watch and record tv wherever I am. 4g is great for that btw.
I tried netflix/amazon(didn't watch a thing on amazon it was that crap) but the content was rubbish, there have been some good ones, daredevil for example but can I justify an extra 10 pound a month when they will eventually be on another channel?
I think at the end of the day this diversification of television isn't doing anyone any good, it's just forcing people to have multiple subscriptions to multiple formats.
I've almost gone the opposite way. If there is a film or TV series I want to watch out of casual interest I'll find the cheapest DVD copy on eBay, usually for less than £3, watch it and then immediately flog it again. I often break even, rarely lose more than the cost of postage (90p) and occasionally even make a few quid. When they arrive I'm careful to open the jiffy bag without ripping it so I can just pop it straight back in.
The stuff we REALLY want to watch tends to be series on netflix; House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and plenty of others.
Indeed. You might not like, use, support, agree with, know about torrents, but until the media industry comes up with equivalent or better "customer service", they are fighting a losing battle.
I have netflix for convenience and a smattering of new content.
I have Walmart for the cheap (<$5) spontaneous DVD's.
For everything else there is the interwebs with caution...
( ( Netflix || Amazon || NowTV ) && ( NAS && ( Pi(s) || Roku || Chromecast ) && ( ( Charity Shops && New disc seller ) || ( Charity Shops ) ) ) )
1) General stuff to watch, I stream, or pick up on a whim in a charity shop.
2) Stuff I know I, or one of my family, really like and will likely want to watch again, I keep an eye out for in charity shops.
3) Stuff I need to see at the first available opportunity, I buy new.
If I buy it, I rip it to my NAS, keep the disc (in large CD binder(s)) and sleeves (in shoeboxes) for defence against The Man and stream around the house / copy to a device for trips away.
Same with music ( 'cept with free Spotify/Deezer), similar with books.
I've never been one for buying films as I don't tend to rewatch things. I save that for my absolutely favourites. Does that mean I've taken the streaming route? Not at all. I've always thought it was a waste of good bandwidth for one. (-; While I do love my service from Andrews & Arnold, their 100GB/month allowance doesn't get you all that far in streaming terms. I also appreciate quality too and would much rather get the full blu-ray experience than put up with the extra compression. For these reasons, disc rental has suited me just fine. I was rather unhappy when Amazon took over LoveFilm but now I'm with Cinema Paradiso and all is good again.
Some make this option sound like a right hassle but it really isn't. I choose what to watch. A little while later, it arrives. I watch it. I bung it in the postbox at my local Tesco. Rinse and repeat. At the end of the day, I'm just not that impatient and I've got more than enough other things to do while I'm waiting for the discs to arrive.
Sort of. I prefer Slysoft AnyDVD HD myself. That way, the DRM magically vanishes in a puff of smoke and I can use any player of my choice to play its contents. (or rip the thing to a media server for faster access)
As for streaming, I keep hoping somebody will copy Steam's concept. Movies aren't all that fundamentally different from computer games. Why not use the same distribution mechanism? Keep it simple!
Amazon used book market, or direct to same used book vendors. Hardcover. Used - Like New, or Used - Very Good. Avoid ex-library books, as libraries are the worst book destroyers on Earth.
Lots to choose from at prices like $0.01 or $1.00; plus $6.49 S&H. ~$7 delivered.
Buy about 6 or 10 a month. Cheap as chips.
1) pay some online service officially distributing the stuff you want to watch
2) get the stuff you want to watch off torrents, saving you all the hassle with overcomplicated setup, crashing system, disappearing content, etc..
win-win: producer get paid and you get to watch what you want without any problems
I dont forsee the disappearance of pirated content any time soon
"For instance, when it comes to books, I buy the majority of them electronically now, but there are still authors for whom I'll buy a new title in physical form – and often in hardback – since I have their other titles in print."
"This autumn, I'm really looking forward to The Martian. And if it's half as good as the book was, it is very likely I shall want to watch it at home, too."
There's no way the film's going to be a patch on the book - but I've only just read the book, and the film's due out here RSN I think, so I've probably made it a whole lot worse for myself.
I still get irritated at shows/series that never make it to DVD. It amazes me that the only people who seem to get quality of service are the pirates. No ads, quicker delivery time, better quality, no region locking/DRM and thats before we look at the price aspect. I did have some hope when the streaming services started up but would never sign up after hearing the lack of content vs just buying the DVD
"the only way you can own a copy of a show is to pirate it or import from Europe/Australia."
Worse still, if they eventually get some DVDs out, it's only to "test the waters". This usually leaves fans with half the seasons or less, with no plans at all for the remaining seasons.
We have Netflix, but with shomi and others starting up and having exclusive content a problem arises. I'm not going to subscribe to multiple sites. Similar way that I can't subscribe to HBO on cable only to a movie bundle with HBO
Creators need to stop making their content harder to access, there isn't an unlimited amount of money for their products.
Then of course with Netflix, every few months it just stops working at all. Once my family informs me (sometimes after a few days - I don't really use it much myself) - I have to remove any devices that are linked or whatever, and redo it over again. I don't know why this happens, but I'm sure Netflix knows - it doesn't even seem to be accidental, it's like they purge all devices occasionally on purpose.
While I like the idea of Netflix, their selections is EXTREMELY limited. Have they ever heard of black & white movies? Classics? They don't exist on Netflix.
To be fair it isn't entirely the fault of Netflix. Its the rights holders of the films preventing their distribution via streaming. You CAN often get them via Netflix's DVD service, but then you have to pay separately for that service. I guess everyone is over being pissed at Netflix for splitting their streaming and DVD services. Used to be able to get both for the price of the streaming. I miss that.
"Have they ever heard of black & white movies? Classics? They don't exist on Netflix."
They're bending to user demand.
I have a reasonably extensive collection of DVDs on my NAS (~6Tb?) with a good spread starting from films in the 20's to more modern ones. The first thing I get asked is for films that are just fresh. Frequently, ones that haven't even been released yet.
It stumps me they can keep up with not-yet-released titles, but have absolutely no idea they used to make films more than a few months ago.
I searched amazon.co.uk and could only find a US import (released 2014).
There is however a DVD boxset (released 2012) containing no less than 12 discs (1350 minutes run time). The bluray title does not seem to list run time, but I will venture a guess that you have to get all three bluray titles to cover the material found in the DVD boxset. In that case, the bluray version is atleast twice as expensive.
I think this highlights some of the problems with how the market functions now. Finding the stuff you are interested in takes quite a bit of detective work. Especially if you want the best version available.
Gave up trying to buy a copy of Space Milkshake from Amazon as they insist that I "register" my "device". Too much bullshit.
Went to the Space Milkshake website - the download was $2 cheaper than Amazon and was a plain, old MP4 file with no stupid DRM to inconvenience me.
Wonder what Worstall thinks of this...
I have a NowTV subscription for TV and movies which gives the same content as available on Sky but for a fraction of the price but even Sky struggle to offer full series in perpetuity. They are currently advertising Game of Thrones box set but it turns out to be only season 1! What about the other 4? Oh well, off to the torrent sites...
You have to look at Amazon or Netflix like a restaurant. You turn up, you get some stuff to eat the chef offers you. He'll probably tell you to clear off if you ask for prawn cocktail and crepe suzette if they aren't on the menu. But as long as they have caesar salad or waffles, you'll be happy, you'll find something to eat. No Hot Fuzz, but you can get Scott Pilgrim vs the World on Amazon. No Throne of Blood, but you can watch Seven Samurai.
One tip: 2nd hand DVDs and BDs on Amazon. I got the 2nd hand blu ray of Die Hard for
"There are films I've bought on DVD (and a couple on Blu-ray) that have only been watched once and I wonder if it's worth it"
Rent first time, unless you can't get it on rental. The cost of an extra £3 for 10% of your films that you want to watch again is much cheaper than £15 on 100% of your films, 90% of which you could have spent £3 on. And by the time you want to see them again, they'll have fallen from £15 to £7 anyway.
As mentioned it would be nice if Netflix and Prime had a on screen indicator of 'shelf life' for a title.
I find it frustrating that as a FireTV user I don't get that 'soon to leave' info on my Fire TV and I have to look up a separate website for it, same for netflix.
Man I was so annoyed when Frasier went over to paid on Prime, just as I reached the end of Season 3.
Also I'd love to be able to switch off all the non Prime stuff on Prime. I don't rent or buy on-line movies, so only want to see the 'all I can eat' stuff.
Yeah, buy a bunch of DVDs and blurays. Keep 'em in a box. Wait 10 years. Where do you find a player?
I have a couple of boxes of vhs tapes. I'm sure I have a working player somewhere. If I want to watch something I know I have on vhs today, I choose not to look for the tape. Maybe it's easier to get it again (on DVD, download) than bring out the (legacy) vhs player.
I don't imagine current formats will be better supported in the future than my old box of vhs tapes.
Just be prepared to keep buying it again (if it's popular enough for shops to keep on selling) or make sure you've got a jolly good (restorable) backup otherwise.
Well, CDs are still widely readable thirty three years on. 200 billion of them sold.
DVDs are a mere twenty years old and are still a higher volume product than BR discs.
I suspect we'll be able to read them for many years yet. By the time it becomes an issue, solid state storage will be extremely cheap.
"Netflix - it's a library "
Well... books are "retired" from my local library when they wear out, not just whenever for whatever reason. So I wouldn't compare Netflix to a library.
I run into none of these problems. Go ahead and google a free stream for that movie, download it with downloadhelper or jdownloader. Done, you have a copy that will not randomly disappear at the whims of whoever, it won't crap out in the middle, it won't give you licensing errors.
I found Netflix worked perfectly fine -- but I couldn't find ANYTHING TO WATCH ON IT. I mean, I'd go look for some movies, they weren't there (I wasn't expecting something unrealistic like some movie that just came out.) I went to look for a few older TV series, they weren't there. I found one TV series, but the episodes I wanted to watch, that entire season was missing. I was glad I was just a guest at someone's house and not paying for it!
"So, this is what modern technology has brought us to, it appears. Whether or not I'll be able to watch a film smoothly is going to depend on which studio made it."
Or pirate it. Silky smooth.
STUDIOS: If you want to cut back on piracy, you MUST quit playing these games with Netflix, Amazon, etc. and license out your whole catalog. It's a win-win. The end-user would actually get to watch what they want; Netflix etc. would get more subscribers; piracy rates would drop since people could actually watch what they want via Netflix etc.; and ultimately you studios would get more money too. (If you studios get a per-stream payment, there'd be more streams; if you get a per-user payment, there'd be more users; if you get some flat rate, you might just want to start out to a similar rate as now since that's clearly all they want to pay... but agree with Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc. that the payment increases as they paying customer base does.)
I signed up for Amazon Prime with the $79 offer. Having been a Netflix user, there is some stuff on Amazon that I wouldn't mind seeing. First off, no Chromecast support, apparently because Amazon doesn't like the Google Store, and Google will only let your app talk to Chromecast if you distribute it through their store. For security, because the Google Play store is the paragon of security.
Amazon wants me to buy a Nick Nolte Amazon TV Stick or whatever, because you can never have too many HDMI devices hanging off of your AV kit. Not wanting to buy an Amazon TV stick, I tried casting the video from my Droid Turbo, which was horrible quality and skipped a lot (apparently Motorola and Google couldn't be bothered to get last year's flagship phone to work properly with Chromecast, even though they were still a "couple" when it was being designed). My PS3 supports Amazon TV, so I got to the video from there, but only after sifting through two PS3 update screens (it's been a while since I used it), and registering my Amazon account using the game controller (which was loads of fun).
This is not frictionless. It is not not pleasant. It is why Redbox still survives in the US (for pepole who are not technically inclined) and pirating is still popular (for people who are). Until the proprietary squabbling stops between companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Hollywood Studios, et al, the biggest adopters of video streaming will be the pirates. I don't mind paying for content, I just don't want to buy and deploy redundant hardware based upon which content I am trying to watch.
You need a service and hardware that supports local storage. I'd rather give it a few minutes to buffer or even download the whole thing at my connections full speed than rely on that same connection operating flawlessly for an hour or more.
This is where using something like a PS4 or Xbox One will have advantage. Amazon is leading the way in supporting this and their latest generation of hardware has slots for memory cards, unlike their predecessors.
Alternately, you could torrent the item to watch reliably and go through the motions of streaming it so that the owners gets their piece of the action on the subscription.
It was a gift subscription so no worries about auto-renewal or any of that crap.
Long story short, we used it quite a lot initially but usage tailed off and off and off until about 7 months later my wife asked if we still had access to Netflix, checked and realised the subscription had expired. The problem is they don't add new stuff often enough. At least not the stuff we wanted to watch. And it takes way too long to scan through the "poster wrap" menus with no indication of what a show of film is about unless you click on it. Sideways scrolling is the poorest implementation of data presentation ever invented.
XBMC/Kodi media menu works best IMHO. A consistently styled text list down the left you can scroll through quickly with a plot synopsis on the right you can read *now* if something catches your eye. Poster wrap style menus are hard to follow because the show titles change font, style, colour and position from one "DVD cover" to the next. They only work if you already know what you are looking for.
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