Movies and Television Online: Can’t Stop the SignalTuesday, April 20, 2010 1:07
I may not be old enough to remember the birth of the Internet, but I have been around long enough to see its introduction and growth outside in the workplace and family household. A lot has changed since the time my family first connected to the Internet. Internet connection speeds are 200 times faster. Web pages have grown from text with gray background to rich multimedia experiences. We live in a world where steaming audio is no longer a theory; we are surrounded by streaming HD video.
Video sites similar to YouTube and Hulu have been instrumental in showing the value of streaming video over the Internet. The public has proven they yearn to be free of the evening line-up and make TV fit their schedule rather than the other way around. Many broadcast companies and media outlets have added alternative methods for the distributing television shows, movies and other video content.
Current strides in multimedia delivery mechanisms are also showing the big conglomerates that consumers don’t always want to be tied to their computer when interacting with multimedia via the Internet.Â Take for instance the Apple TV or Netflix‘s arrangement with Microsoft’s Xbox. People feel validated that they didn’t throw away $2,000.00 on a new flat panel, high definition TV. Let’s face it, the couch in front of the TV is more comfortable than the chair in front of the computer. Plus, it seats more.
My family has been enjoying (and by using I mean paying for) Netflix in conjunction with out Xbox for well over a year. (Netflix requires that you have an “unlimited plan” and Xbox requires you have a Gold membership. Very inexpensive for what you get.) Yes, we still enjoy receiving DVDs in the mail and actively manage our Netflix queue; but we’ve elected to receive only one movie at a time. I see little to no difference in the quality of a DVD in hand versus the same movie streamed to my home. DVDs allow us to see deleted scenes and outtakes. However, the streaming side of it means that we don’t have to tie up our Netflix queue with a few TV shows for our son. Wow does he love Kipper!
Netflix has really pushed ahead of its competitors. More and more Netflix enabled devices are being sold in the market. I’m not just talking about black boxes that connect to the Internet and your TV like the Roku. Some televisions are coming with Netflix baked right in!
I really hope companies like Netflix, Hulu, Boxee, Microsoft and Apple continue to forge forward and break new ground. We can’t get complacent because we’re not just there yet. These technologies are friendly to most, but not to all. One annoyance that pops up is the lack of subtitles.Â Â Enthusiasts still want to be able to access the deleted scenes, outtakes and commentaries associated with the movies and TV series. Most importantly, there’s too much fracturing and bickering as to the delivery mechanism. There’s no one central place to get all of your movies and shows due to fragmentation. Not all of them are TV friendly.
Let me clarify that last point. I think it’s essential that media companies have their own methods for distributing their content. However, it’s just as important that they allow third party hardware and software vendors distribute that content as well. This allows the public to choose how they receive content rather than being forced to have multiple devices in their living room.
Mark my words. Our culture is moving away from physical media. Just as the current generation has thousands of songs and very few CDs, so it will be with the next generation with movies and TV shows.