Press To Apple, Amazon On Video Offerings: Eh? That's It?

from the try-again,-please dept

We were among those not impressed by the new video download offerings Amazon and Apple launched over the past few weeks, and it seems like plenty of major media publications are in agreement. Both the San Jose Mercury News and the Washington Post are suggesting that the two new services aren't worth very many people's time or money. The Merc points out that you're probably paying more for the downloads, while getting fewer features and convenience. The Post is even more straightforward: "maddeningly thin selection, uncompetitive prices, middling video quality and no DVD-burning option." The odd thing is that there have already been plenty of crappy movie download services that no one wants and no one uses. Both Apple and Amazon have known this. While a lot of blame can be placed on the movie studios for failing to budge, it's the job of both Apple and Amazon to convince them otherwise -- or else not launch yet another crappy movie download service that no one wants. It's becoming increasingly clear that the movie industry would rather that these services fail, so it can whine to politicians about how much piracy is "costing" them, instead of innovating and figuring out new ways to provide more value to the many, many people out there who want to watch movies.
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  • identicon
    Michael Long, 18 Sep 2006 @ 3:20pm

    Thin Selections

    I suspect that in regard to the "thin selections" Apple is again attempting to do what they did with TV shows. Start with what they could, and then show the networks that it's a viable income stream that's going to help increaase, not decrease, their business.

    When Apple launched TV shows not even a year ago, they had a handful of shows and networks involved. Today, they have 40 networks, over 200 shows, and have sold 45 million TV shows.

    Another piece of the puzzle lies with the iTV announcement. Watching movies on your computer or pod is one thing. Being able to shift them to your living room is quite another.

    I predict that the other studios are watching this experiment VERY carefully. Let Disney rack up even some semi-impressive sales numbers, and the other studios will climb on board. Or to mangle a moive metaphor...

    "If you build it, they will come."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      DittoBox, 18 Sep 2006 @ 3:30pm

      Re: Thin Selections

      "Another piece of the puzzle lies with the iTV announcement. Watching movies on your computer or pod is one thing. Being able to shift them to your living room is quite another."

      As if crappy quality, DRM infected, propietary quicktime videos aren't bad enough they're only at a whopping 640x480. That's going to look like an unholy pile dog poo on your 1080p panel. That'll even look trashy on your 720p display.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Michael Long, 18 Sep 2006 @ 3:51pm

    Thin Selections

    "As if crappy quality, DRM infected, propietary quicktime videos aren't bad enough they're only at a whopping 640x480. That's going to look like an unholy pile dog poo on your 1080p panel. That'll even look trashy on your 720p display."

    Steve indicated that the quality is better than non-high-def broadcast quality, which means to me it's much better than the crappy super-compressed stuff already coming out of most channels on my digital cable box...

    ...and since I bought one and tried it out using a pod and a video dock, I believe him. I suggest you actually try it yourself before making unwarrented guesses and comparisons.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Sep 2006 @ 5:47pm

    what they need to do is get the guy who encodes the movies that i pirate to encode theirs... they look superb!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    ScytheNoire, 18 Sep 2006 @ 7:37pm

    they lost me at DRM

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Todd, 18 Sep 2006 @ 8:07pm

    The quality of the iTunes downloads looks damn good on my 50" TV. I went direct from my computer to my TV via DVI. The selection does leave something to be desired.

    Besides my first purchase, which was to check out the speed/quality, the only way I'll ever download in the future is if the Downloads are available before the DVD. I'm probably not the only one who would actually consider paying for a download a week or two after the movie is released in theaters, and then buying or renting it again when it comes out on DVD.

    Maybe one day Hollywood will get that concept.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      Phil, 20 Sep 2006 @ 12:43pm

      Re: before the DVD

      Agreed. Why pay almost same price as COTS DVD price, wait 1.5 hours to download the thing at typical broadband rates, if you can get the DVD?

      I thought this was going to shorten the availability window. But that will only happen when the studios are sure that it won't eat into their DVD revenue and that it is secure. Given how often DRMs are being cracked, don't think that will happen.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Bishop, 18 Sep 2006 @ 9:51pm

    Amazon quality

    In a small defense of amazon I have to admit, I downloaded the Firefly series and I was impressed at how good it looked. Both my G5 and my pc are connected to separate plasmas. I aslo downloaded two star trek episodes and the quality was excellent. However that feeling soured, of course beacuse of DRM. I can't play them on my mac, I can only back them up and can't play them on my dual g4 that is running ubuntu. I can't even burn them to dvd. Therefore it was a quaint novel experience that I will never do again. Its more economical and flexible to buy the dvd.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Gavin, 18 Sep 2006 @ 10:10pm

    Too Soon!

    It is so early in the downloadable movie game that these launches were bound to suck. Too much for too little and who exactly is going to really opt for this over DVDs? Initial impulse buys will peter out quickly and then this is going to be a stagnant market for some time to come. It will work eventually but now is not the time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 19 Sep 2006 @ 2:02am

    Like others have said, with the "iTV" in the coming months, indeed we will see a bigger jump in sales because finally, you will not be limited to just your Computer or iPod.

    The resolution bump indeed will be nice. I myself have downloaded "Lost Episodes" and I stream my content from my G5 to my Mac Mini thats hooked up to a "true" HD tv, meaning im sourcing out 1080p on my 50" Sony SXRD LCD Projection and they look just fine. So the resolution bump indeed will be nice. Are they "true dvd quality?" nope and the movies dont claim to be but then, some Movies and Shows have such shitty DVD transfer that it just might beat other shows.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Cleverboy, 19 Sep 2006 @ 6:35am

    iTV announcement

    Apple knows what they're strategy is, even when no one else knows what they're doing. Some people, like Woz might question Apple's pre-announcment rationale, but it makes perfect sense. --They want to make it clear that they're not "STUPID". I'm surprised at Amazon though. There doesn't seem to be much strategy there.

    Apple sells music to sell iPods. Apple will sell movies to sell iPods and iTVs (which is having the content play the way people want to play it). Putting frontrow on a television set and having it control digital media wirelessly is the right direction. Bypassing the DVD burning nonsense and jumping straight to the set top is a master stroke. Neener-neener, Hollywood. Get on board for crying out loud.

    BOHICA, bitches.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    eb, 19 Sep 2006 @ 6:39am

    Definition of Insanity

    One definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. I can just hear them "But OUR way is going to work . . ."

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Sohrab, 19 Sep 2006 @ 12:39pm

    well, 1st week and 125,000 downloads...I think their on the right track

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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