prof. e.

Mass Communication, [multi]media, methodology and much, much more!

Streaming movies to your computer, and to your TV

Posted by prof e on May 24, 2008

For years the movie industry has been trying to figure out how to distribute their products to consumers. Movies that have a theatrical release have film “prints” made, which are then shipped to theaters (BTW, printing and shipping can cost tens of millions of dollars), loaded onto projects, and presented to audiences sitting in the dark listening to cell phones and small talk while their shoes adhere to the floor. Although I’m exaggerating the down-side of the theater experience (and ignoring the positive aspects such as image and sound quality, the group dynamic that allows us to laugh, scream and cringe at exactly the same moment, etc.), the economic reality is that printing and projecting 35mm film prints is destined for the same fate as the broadsheet newspaper. But until digital distribution and projection technology (and security) improves, it is still the best alternative for the group viewing experience.

Roku's interface box for NetflixViewing motion pictures in the comfort of your own home on your Blu-Ray high definition, 5.1 surround sound home theater system is another matter. With gas at $4/gal and climbing, there’s got to be a better way than driving to your local video rental store to pickup and return a movie on DVD. Cable would like you to subscribe to their VOD (Video On Demand) service to watch something in their library. But that’s part of the problem…their library is limited. Netflix, on the other hand, has a huge database of movies available. While currently only a fraction (about 10% of their 100,000 title library) are available for streaming to your computer, the good news is that more and more movies are being added, and you can purchase a piece of hardware for $100 that makes your Netflix moves available for viewing on your big-screen TV. Think AppleTV but cheaper. The Roku costs less (Apple TV is $250), and there is no additional cost per movie if you’re on one of Netflix’s unlimited plans that starts at $8.99/month.

When broadband internet connections and large-screen HD displays reach saturation, all movies will be distributed online rather than on disc. And if you want that group-viewing experience, you’ll just have to invite your friends over to the house!

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7 Responses to “Streaming movies to your computer, and to your TV”

  1. Danette Sheron said

    It’s about time I comment on a post. I personally like streaming movies on the internet for personal viewing (mainly Japanese anime). For people who enjoy movies Streaming movies over Netflix is a brilliant idea. I also like the Roku box where you can watch movies from Netflix over the TV. It’s at a much better price, Apple is such a rip off (I have an MP3 player, but it’s not an iPod!) The On Demand feature through Comcast is a good idea if you’re searching for something to watch and they have some good movies to select from.

    I don’t see movie theaters with the same fate as newspapers. People still love going to movies. People love the experience. If movie theaters do go out, it’ll be more than 100 years before that happens.

  2. Edward Garcia said

    This is the way that things will likely happen. Movie pirates always find a way of distributing an illegal copy of a film onto the internet despite a movie studios efforts to stop it. With digital distribution now becoming a way of renting and purchasing movies, it might be possible to see theatrical releases in our homes and not the theaters. With the rising cost of gas prices, netflix and blockbuster will be getting more business. Unless movie companies find a way to lower piracy of distribute films without having to create prints, online distribution will likely happen as a way to serve the masses in their homes, and to save money.

  3. Adam Winick said

    “Streaming movies to your computer, and to your TV”

    Adam Winick (Mccnm)

    The whole thing of just getting movies from instead of having to rent them or go to the movie theatres an stuuf this will make getting and watching movies more accesible. But there is a down side to this technology being created and taking over the other ways “out of date” ways to watch a movie. Going to the movie theatres is a classic and fun experience and is very popular. and it is a hug business. also this would to start hurting movie production and make the movie business lose lots of money through sales. This would hurt the movie production indusrty more then help it because it will lose alot of money it makes through sales of tickets and sales of discs. So it would make life alot easier to see a movie but i dont think it would be as much fun as going out and going to a theater. It just wouldn’t be the same. I don’t think that this is a good technology to put into this day in time.

  4. Kraig Brownlow said

    Because of the many different issues with media in the last few years, new innovation was forced to occur. It all began with the purchasing of music on various internet music stores such as iTunes and Napster; now other companies are following their lead. Netflix, not only sends movies through the mail, but they are following the trend of digital on demand with their in house service. It is a really good idea for Netflix to offer movies through their online service. With the box they provide being cheaper than apples TV subscription service and by including it if you are already a member of their unlimited rental service, they are for sure going to make good money and netflix will provide good competition to apple. Eventually all movie renting will probably be done on the internet. If Blockbuster doesn’t completely bomb because of all the different competition they have, like McDonalds and Netflix, it will probably move to only an online based company, that will either mail out videos, or provide a mail service as well as streaming.

  5. Mitchell Trujillo said

    I think that this idea is a great turn for media. I hate not being able to get the movies I want right when I want them. Without waiting for printing and distribution the movies will get to us immediately and many of which are going to be on computers we can instantly see feedback from other viewers that will keep up from sitting through a terrible movie, and let us scope for the best of the best. Sure it is easy to download movies illegally, but you run the risk of poor quality picture sound and there is no telling your getting just what you want. I think a marginal fee service that can provide me with limitless movies that i can rate and post on will be a wonderful addition to the media.

  6. Jesse Rodriguez said

    I think its about time that the movie industry is doing something. I got a little tired of going to blockbuster to enjoy my favorite movies, and with gas going down again it feels like a waste to go anymore. So I found an easier way to view my movies, Bit torrent them. Then download them for free, at a good quality and sound and enjoy. You can even get movies that came out recently that’s not a cam version. You just have to find the right website.

    Mass Comm
    11:00 a.m.

  7. Melissa G. said

    Having the streaming off popular movies and shows is a great idea. Getting out of the house to go get a movie makes it a hassle sometimes for most families. It makes things a lot easier to receive movies and shows through the internet or even through your streaming console. Making things easy and accessible is part of the new age, people do want to slow down they want to speed up and get through the day without any interruptions.

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