Movie Downloads Get Even More Confusing Thanks To Sony

from the this-is-not-a-step-forward dept

The New York Times is talking up a new experiment that Sony is running with the movie Hancock. Before the movie is even available for rental, owners of a specific Sony television with a special "internet package" (only $299) will be able to download the movie for a fee (as if the $299 weren't already enough). The New York Times piece seems to go out of its way to make Sony look like it's made some huge breakthrough with this offering, in part because it brings together the content side of the business with the consumer electronics side -- two groups that not only rarely spoke, but were often at odds with each other on certain projects. On that part, perhaps it is a step forward -- but for the overall market, this seems like a big step backwards.

Requiring a specific brand of TV just to watch a movie over the internet seems hugely problematic. And, when you combine that with Apple, Netflix, Blockbuster and others all working on their own proprietary solutions for downloading movies to watch on your television, the entire market is splintering. By now, you would think the industry would recognize that proprietary solutions that only play on a particular piece of hardware tend not to be a very good solution, and actually scare off buyers who don't want to get stuck having bet on the wrong horse. But, apparently, someone forgot to tell all of these guys working on their own proprietary movie download solutions.

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  1. identicon
    Gentlemen., 1 Jul 2008 @ 12:28pm

    Re: AppleTV

    I agree with Michael. What would be good for the customer would also in the long term be best for the industry.

    However, since the early successes of Blockbuster, Hollywood has always been very interested in trying to get into the rental/Pay per use model. However, if hollywood leveraged some of the technologies that have come to pass in the past 5 years, it would render the PPV model obsolete. By lowering manufacturing, distribution, and advertising costs to nil, it may make more sense to consider selling the content digitally for less, absent of a PPV/Rental model. So what does the production company get for a video sale anyway? $1.25? $5.00?

    First, in order to have a "good" PPV model, you need to standardize to gain critical mass. Multiple technologies only confuse consumers, and the already non-compatible technologies will create FUD in the consumer mindset.

    But this has it's own challenges- the idea of standardization levels the playing field from a technology perspective. Is there an "Open" DRM technology? (That seems paradoxical.)

    Also the potential of monthly bandwidth caps or Net neutrality makes a PPV model less applicable. PPV has the potential to download the same content over and over again, increasing network utilization exponentially and has the potential to push backbone bandwidth past the breaking point. It would be best to just download the content once.

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