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Pay-Per-View to Provide DVD After Viewing?

ScuttleMonkey posted about 9 years ago | from the less-than-the-cost-of-the-dvd dept.

Movies 179

Anonymous Coward writes to tell us that Comcast is entertaining an idea that would allow digital cable customers to purchase a pay-per-view movie for roughly $17 that would also include a hard copy in the mail a few days later. From the article: "The only snafu in the entire idea is the fact that only 40% of Comcast cable subscribers have the required digital box at this point in time. But still, that is 40% of 21 million customers which is not too bad. DirecTV and Dish, are you listening?"

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Burners (3, Insightful)

Crixus (97721) | about 9 years ago | (#13763660)

They should just put DVD burners in the Cable Boxes and save postage.

Re:Burners (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763694)

They should just put DVD burners in the Cable Boxes and save postage.

Brilliant idea, oh wait, the burner would have to burn in "real time". Well we'll just ship hd's with the units, turn'em into tivo's. Let's see, let's take a $10 cable box, add a $50 in burning hardware (more powerful cpu + actual burner), add $30 for a hd all to save $.50 in postage on an as needed basis.

Re:Burners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763954)

These boxes already have hard drives. The CPUs do not need to be upgraded. And the only cost is programming (minimal if they take advantage of open source burning solutions) and having a DVD+/-R(RW) drive. The drive could just as easily be an external USB 2 or FireWire (or even SATA with power) connected, user-owned burner. Your nay-saying is negligible.

Re:Burners (1)

Babbster (107076) | about 9 years ago | (#13764148)

Oh wait. Standalone DVD recorders are already available that burn in real time without a hard drive. You might want to check out some of the new electronics that have been released over the past five years...

Re:Burners (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764414)

Oh wait. Standalone DVD recorders are already available that burn in real time without a hard drive. You might want to check out some of the new electronics that have been released over the past five years...

Dude, you miss the point. You will have to keep the unit on and hope that nothing happens for 1.5-2hrs while this thing is dorking away in real time. If you want to use any special features such as pause/rw/ff, then you HAVE to have a hd to keep the thing burning properly (or a large ass memory buffer). And even after all that, after you're done, you will have none of the "special features" that a "normal" dvd has. Hardly seems worthwhile to me. I'd just a soon simply record the stupid thing on a tivo and burn it later.

Re:Burners (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764478)

Shitty analog capture quality of a already so-so quality cable broadcast... No more 5.1 channel audio either (some of us have home theathers and do care). If you don't mind that - and the high price of most of those recorders (not counting media issues), then fill your boots!

If I'm going to make a copy I'm not entitled to (you're not supposed to record the PPV - it's only a "watch once" deal) I'd much rather make a perfect (or nearly perfect) quality copy off the original DVD which costs less to rent than the PPV costs in the first place, and the computer DVD recorder is far cheaper and a lot more useful.

Postage? Kill the factory! (Mod parent up) (1, Insightful)

smose (877816) | about 9 years ago | (#13763814)

Mod parent up, Insightful.

Burner-in-box saves more than postage. It has the potential to eliminate the need for a DVD stamping factory. The act of burning kicks the extra "DVD" fee, which should be *way* less than $17 total. If you don't burn it, you don't pay it.

Cover art and box contents are overrated, as are DVD extras. If you want all that crap, maybe the "purchase" comes with a code to unlock that content on the web -- go get it yourself.

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (2, Insightful)

almostmanda (774265) | about 9 years ago | (#13763909)

Do you really believe that the "cost" of the DVD depends on things like DVD burning, stamping, cover art, and a box? There's usually a multi-million dollar film to be made before any of that can happen. Cutting out burning and packaging costs would save the consumer almost nothing.

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (1)

mzwaterski (802371) | about 9 years ago | (#13764278)

It might not save the consumer, but in aggregate it seems like it would save someone some money.

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (1)

robertjw (728654) | about 9 years ago | (#13764895)

Do you really believe that the "cost" of the DVD depends on things like DVD burning...

Yes, they could drop the price to $16.75 if they didn't have to create the DVDs and the cover art.

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (Mod parent up) (1)

Oliver Wendell Jones (158103) | about 9 years ago | (#13763913)

How do you protect the content, though?

If you burn the DVD yourself, then it will be copyable, so you can pay the fee one time and then make it back selling digital perfect copies to all your friends and neighbors...

You could create a proprietary digital cable box/DVD burner that would burn DVDs that only play back on that device, but who in their right mind would want that?

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (Mod parent up) (1)

FidelCatsro (861135) | about 9 years ago | (#13763979)

Of course you could do that with a normal DVD you purchase , you would just need to sell more copies .

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (Mod parent up) (1)

interiot (50685) | about 9 years ago | (#13764044)

Cover art and box contents are overrated, as are DVD extras. If you want all that crap, maybe the "purchase" comes with a code to unlock that content on the web -- go get it yourself.
Cover art can earn companies more of a profit (otherwise they wouldn't do it), but you're expecting them to ditch it because it's overrated??

Maybe we can form a mob outside of Verizon HQ and nail a letter to their door that says $2.50 ringtones are overrated too. Why would they do anything but ignore us?

(while we're quibbling, I bet that real, physical cover art earns companies more money than virtual, easily-copyable covert art)

Re:Postage? Kill the factory! (Mod parent up) (1)

Shakrai (717556) | about 9 years ago | (#13764508)

Maybe we can form a mob outside of Verizon HQ and nail a letter to their door that says $2.50 ringtones are overrated too. Why would they do anything but ignore us?

Ya know, I've heard a lot of people gripe about Verizon's prices for ringtones, but really, what is a good price for a ringtone?

I don't think I would pay for them at all unless they were insanely cheap -- even a quarter would probably be more then I'd be willing to pay. Nobody cares about ringtones expect the teenie-bopper crowd -- so why care what they cost?

Re:Burners (2, Informative)

LiLWiP (918943) | about 9 years ago | (#13764076) es/05Apr02-1.htm []

Building upon its award-winning Explorer® 8300(TM) digital video recorder (DVR) platform, Scientific-Atlanta today announced its new MCP-100(TM) Media Center DVR with a built-in DVD burner. This market-leading product will combine all of the great features of the current Explorer 8300 platform, including multi-tuner DVR, optional high definition DVR, DOCSIS (DSG) and Multi-Room(TM) DVR capability, with a new built-in DVD player and burner.

The new MCP-100 Media Center will add DVD burning functionality for standard and high definition content that will give consumers the ability to simply and securely record their favorite shows and movies onto writeable DVDs. The MCP-100 Media Center will support the majority of writeable DVD formats and will also play off-the-shelf DVDs and CDs. In addition, the product is being designed to respect key content protection flags including 'copy freely', 'copy once', and 'copy never' tags.

Read and learn boys and girls. Scientific Atlanta has this product which should be available to Cable Customers early next year. I saw a demo of it at a Cable Show here in KC about 2 months ago...

The big question.. (5, Interesting)

almostmanda (774265) | about 9 years ago | (#13763665)

If you watch it, and find out it sucks, can you cancel the order/send the hard copy back? How much do they charge you, then?

The alternative (5, Interesting)

Mynn (209621) | about 9 years ago | (#13763701)

You pay $3 bucks to watch it; if you like it, you can upgrade at the end to a "hard" copy.

Or $3 to watch it, $10 to burn your own, or $17 to have a "good" copy sent to you (some of us don't realllly trust BYO DVDs to last, having had media/upgrade problems in the past).

Re:The alternative (2, Interesting)

Threni (635302) | about 9 years ago | (#13763727)

Doesn't seem to compare too well with Amazon's DVD rental deal, with which they are presumably competing even if you don't officially get to keep the DVD with Amazon.

Re:The alternative (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 years ago | (#13764159)

" You pay $3 bucks to watch it; if you like it, you can upgrade at the end to a "hard" copy."

This still doesn't beat the model I would use. Pay $20/mo to Netflix...3 movies out at a time, receive movie, rip movie, burn movie, return movie.

For $20/mo, you can do this easily for 20+ movies a month....and the DRM is stripped off your copies.

Re:The alternative (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 9 years ago | (#13764458)

I do wonder why you bother with Netflix at all when you could just hop onto Usenet / any Supernova-style torrent site and download to your heart's content. It doesn't take all that long to download 700mb on a broadband connection, I would tend to think it's much faster than any snail-mail.

Too fucking much! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764367)

PPVs are way overpriced. Yes, it is a bit more convenient than driving to a video rental store or waiting to get them mailed (you can watch right now instead), but the prices are just too high. The only times when I used them was to watch those live events (sports or humour shows) - whose cost is even more ridiculous...

If you're watching a couple of those (or even renting a couple from a overpriced video rental store like blockbuster here - although my local rental is 3$/2 DVDs and still has better selection than PPVs), then renting by mail (ala netflix) is FAR cheaper (always under 1.50$CDN/rental). Even here in Canada we've got like a couple dozen places like netflix. Last one I checked has over 36000 different titles - a little bit better than your average PPV selection or blockbuster which is not much better. The online rentals don't usually send me dirty or scratched discs either.

Upgrade? ROFL! You got a DVD burner and some blanks, right? DVD burners are under 50$, and blanks can be had at BestBuy between 30 and 40$ for a box of 200 almost everyday (good quality Taiyo Yuden aren't much more either). Combined with readily available warez'ed AnyDVD + CloneDVD/Nero Recode/whatever you like, and you got an excellent copy in a few minutes for about a dime. Not that I really encourage it, but it's the reality of it. Even my 60yo dad can, and does. If movies weren't so overpriced it wouldn't be so common perhaps. I just rented "Robots" because the 28$ they want falls under "too fucking much" - and quite frankly I still hesitated making a copy (it wasn't that good really). Most movies aren't worth the asking price. At other times, I'll be glad to buy it - like the T2 extreme edition DVD (an OK action movie watch watching again, and including the high def version - although it's DRM'ed) which was only 18$ for the 2 disc set with shipping.

Try before buy (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763856)

The pricing really should be somewhere between ppv + buy and just buying outright. So if $3 is the ppv and $17 is the buy, then maybe $5 with option to to buy for an additional $12. Comcast would win because a lot of ppvs would be $5 instead of $3. Consumers would win because they'd save on not buying a lot of dud DVDs. And Hollywood would win because consumers would buy a lot more movies they would not have otherwise bought. I can personally attest to the latter since there are a lot of DVDs I would have bought but didn't because the DVD rental put the total price over what I would have paid for that movie. Typically by the time I rent a DVD that I decide I like, the store price is $20 instead of $17 so it would "cost" me $23 to own the movie. There's aren't that many movies I'd eat the $6 extra on.

Packaging? (5, Insightful)

Yahweh Doesn't Exist (906833) | about 9 years ago | (#13763667)

if it's in the normal DVD packaging then you could leave it unopened and resell if you didn't like the movie. but if it's a cheap copy with their own branding then I think it costs too much. if you're the type of collector who is proud of their collection you wouldn't want this, and if you don't care about your collection the hard copy wouldn't matter too much either.

however it turns out at least it's something new.

Without packaging (1)

brlewis (214632) | about 9 years ago | (#13764244)

Without the normal DVD packaging, or after opening, you could still legally resell it, provided you don't keep any copies yourself. Unopened packaging may help you get a better price, but it isn't a legal requirement.

I Like It (2, Interesting)

SenFo (761716) | about 9 years ago | (#13763669)

This sounds like a great idea to me. I've often watched a movie on PPV and wished afterwards I had purchased the hard copy. The best thing is that it sounds like they're selling the DVD at a reduced rate.

"Reduced" rate (1)

chh1 (847723) | about 9 years ago | (#13764361)

Of course they're selling it at a "reduced" rate. It's just like ketchup at a restaurant or HBO at a hotel - both are offered with something for which you already paid them money.

Comcast is offering a "reduced" rate, but to take advantage of it you need to have their service first. That's not altruism and good will toward consumers, that's marketing.

In my experience... (2, Interesting)

rob_squared (821479) | about 9 years ago | (#13763672)

...Pay-Per-View comes out after the DVD release, so everyone who wants the DVD for home viewing probably would have it by then. I can't really see the point to this.

Re:In my experience... (2, Insightful)

BushCheney08 (917605) | about 9 years ago | (#13763699)

It seems that PPV comes out maybe a month after the DVD release, which really isn't that long a time. Not everyone watches the calendar and rushes out to buy movies the day they're released.

Re:In my experience... (1)

Gilgaron (575091) | about 9 years ago | (#13763704)

Why would you be ordering PPV of a movie if you already had the DVD?

Re:In my experience... (2, Interesting)

MaestroSartori (146297) | about 9 years ago | (#13763712)

Presumably the people paying to view the film on PPV are people who don't own the DVD but might like the film. These are exactly the kind of people you'd want to target with bargain prices to shift on DVDs you can't otherwise sell. It's like impulse buying - nothing on TV? Watch a film on PPV. Hmm, I'll give this random film a try! Ooh, I liked that, gimme a copy on DVD... :)

Re:In my experience... (2, Informative)

king wilson (252680) | about 9 years ago | (#13763748)


      the first two lines....

"Would you pay your cable provider 17 dollars to watch a movie in your home in a pay per view form? What if it was not released on normal PPV yet and wont be for over a month?"

    that would imply that you could watch it in PPV form when the DVD is released, as long as you order the disk as well....

Re:In my experience... (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | about 9 years ago | (#13763852)

That's a nice little twist.

For people who are impulsive this creates an point of sale inside their house. Instead of going out and buying a movie at a store, they can do it all wasted on their couch at 2:30 am. If you have kids, this allows you to take advantage of the rare unplanned lull in activity. Or you can get your kids a movie on Demand, and then have the disk in 2 days - saving you a difficult trip.

For those who are a little less impulsive, this could allow people the two step system of checking out a movie and then buying it right after if they liked it. All the benefits of an on demand rental, with none of the hassles of going to a store. This is assuming that the movies status would degrade from "to watch you must purchase DVD copy" to "watch with purchase option" after the movie became available on demand.

Comcast, and to an extent Circuit City, are slowly removing the "in my hands now" hurdle that online shopping has. Sure it's cheaper, but alot of people want it right this second, and the trip to the store and the extra bucks are worth it to them on certain purchases. If you can address that issue inside the online purchase model, you will become the first choice for most of the market.

Re:In my experience... (1)

Professor_UNIX (867045) | about 9 years ago | (#13764441)

Or I could just put it in my Netflix queue and get it a few days after it is released and then rip it if I really want to keep a copy.

Re:In my experience... (2, Insightful)

mblase (200735) | about 9 years ago | (#13763776)

Pay-Per-View comes out after the DVD release, so everyone who wants the DVD for home viewing probably would have it by then. I can't really see the point to this.

Because not everybody wants to go to Blockbuster to rent a movie to find out if they want to buy it first. This lets them watch it at home, then decide they like it and buy the DVD that way.

Think about it, man. Not everybody sees the film in the theater first or uses the rental store. Many use PPV simply because it's more convenient, even if they have to wait a little longer to get their first look.

Re:In my experience... (1)

DigitalOSH (884551) | about 9 years ago | (#13764449)

With Blockbuster's latest system, you can just keep your blockbuster DVD and pay them for it later...

Re:In my experience... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763825)

The point? It would be the easy option for the people who haven't got it but were going to get around to getting it. Instead of the money going to $DVD_OUTLET, it will go to $CABLE_CO, which is obviously in $CABLE_CO's interests.

First Prime Factorization Post (0, Offtopic)

2*2*3*75011 (900132) | about 9 years ago | (#13763673)

17 is prime, but will Comcast accept 4+i payments of 4-i dollars?

I prefer (-1, Troll)

radja (58949) | about 9 years ago | (#13763679)

to download and burn DVDs. works fine, is a lot cheaper and is legal.

Re:I prefer (2, Insightful)

Robmonster (158873) | about 9 years ago | (#13763733)

Which part of burning downloaded DVD's is legal?

Re:I prefer (1)

heelios (887437) | about 9 years ago | (#13763763)

Which part of parent said he lived in the United States?

Re:I prefer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764089)

Seeing as how /. is a US site posting mostly US news for mostly US readers, I would argue that the GGP is obligated to mention that he/she is not from the US when he/she mentions that it is okay to do something that is clearly illegal in the US. I would also argue that the GP's response is a perfectly acceptable one given the previous sentence.

Or if you want to ignore that for some reason, then I ask: Which part of grandparent said he/she was referring to US law (and not, for example, Canadian)?

Re:I prefer (0, Offtopic)

radja (58949) | about 9 years ago | (#13763816)

all of it. I'm dutch.

Re:I prefer (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764050)

There's two types of people I cannot stand... Those who are intolerant of other peoples cultures and the Dutch.

Re:I prefer (1)

jiushao (898575) | about 9 years ago | (#13764072)

I have somehow missed movie downloads being legal over there, do you have some link with information? (a search on copyright law does not seem to reveal anything special).

Re:I prefer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764722)

> Which part of burning downloaded DVD's is legal?

The part where RIAA torches them after confiscation... :-)

Re:I prefer (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763743)

Tell us that after the MPAA comes to your house and rapes your entire family

The only way to do it... (5, Insightful)

fmwap (686598) | about 9 years ago | (#13763695)

The only way I would ever find this useful, is if the option to purchase w/ a DVD copy would come *AFTER* you've watched the movie. That way you can tell if it's worth getting a hard copy.

i.e. You purchase the movie for $3.95 or whatever, at the end of the movie, you're prompted to purchase a discounted hardcopy at 13.05 ($17 - $PPV).

This is the only way I see it to be useful, otherwise you wind up with the same 'But I don't want to pay for a shitty movie' problem.

Unwanted DVDs sales will go up, MovieTheaters down (2, Interesting)

digitaldc (879047) | about 9 years ago | (#13763711)

I am willing to bet that if this goes into place, people will start buying DVDs that they would not normally want to own and will probably bypass going to see movies in the theater altogether. For instance, how many people would probably PPV & buy M. Knight Shyamalan's 'The Village' rather than just rent it or see it once in the theater? After seeing that so-so movie, I don't think I would want to own it on DVD, but if given that option when I first saw it, I might.

People may just buy the DVD and own it through PPV, rather than go to the movie theater/store and deal with the hassle. Even if the movie is not that great, people will still purchase the DVD anyway as a convenient alternative to going to the local movie rental store or theater. The DVD then would sell at a greater profit, since it may not otherwise sell at full price or would just sit in inventory.

Re:Unwanted DVDs sales will go up, MovieTheaters d (1)

flatass (866368) | about 9 years ago | (#13763817)

The movie houses said the same thing when betamax and vhs came out.

Re:Unwanted DVDs sales will go up, MovieTheaters d (1)

digitaldc (879047) | about 9 years ago | (#13763937)

But now you get the movie on demand and the DVD no matter what, it is not a choice of one or the other.

Re:Unwanted DVDs sales will go up, MovieTheaters d (1)

Peter La Casse (3992) | about 9 years ago | (#13764633)

I don't know if they said the same thing when Netflix came out, but if they did, they'd be right. Not only are "borderline" movies cheaper to see, but when I'm finished, they don't embarrass me by sitting around on my DVD shelf.

Hold the press! (5, Insightful)

dmayle (200765) | about 9 years ago | (#13763715)

Hold the press, folks!!! Comcast actually gets it.

They're going to take a business model (Pay Per View), add value by giving more to the consumer, rather than less (the ability to purchase the DVD), and deliver it at market prices.

You know, it's nice to see a company that actually wants to do business. Sure, you're paying top dollar prices for the media, but most movies you can buy on pay per view are new enough to still be charging premium prices anyway.

If they're smart, they'll offer the option to buy the media after the movie has been seen as well. (For all those users who will want a copy after seeing how great a movie is.) I can think of a number of times when a movie I've seen once has turned out to be a must-own. For example, Fight Club. The movie wasn't about what public perception thought it was about. As soon as I saw it, I knew I would watch it many times, and so bought it

Re:Hold the press! (2, Insightful)

RedNovember (887384) | about 9 years ago | (#13763793)

What's sad is that it's rare to see a company "get it". Why have we reached the point where we expect companies to be stupid? Was it always like this?

Re:Hold the press! (1)

BVis (267028) | about 9 years ago | (#13764697)

I don't see it so much as "stupid", it's more like "blinded by greed". We've reached the point where some of us (myself included) expect by default for something a big company does to be bad for the consumer/employees of said company. The problem is that that cynicism is well deserved.

That being said, IF this is done right (IMHO doing it right would be $3 for the PPV, additional $14 for the movie on whatever media is convenient, either a retail disc in the mail or burn your own), and that's a BIG "if", I would use this model to purchase movies. The convenience factor is huge, and if you've already seen the movie you don't mind either 1) waiting 3 to 5 days for the hardcopy (if you choose to get one in the mail) or 2) making the effort to burn your own copy. (Believe it or not that represents significant effort for a lot of people.) Even if the disk has the usual DVD DRM on it, I don't see that as a problem, as the retail disc would have that as well. (And it's not like it can't be circumvented - legally or not, that's another issue.)

However, being the cynical geek that I am, I'm sure Comcast will manage to screw up what could be a huge opportunity by applying their usual kludgy/clumsy approach to new technology. (Have you SEEN their PVR software? Ugly garbage. If it didn't record HD content and have 2 tuners, I wouldn't use it. To be fair, it works great most of the time, and it's a comparable expense to the TiVo that we had before, with more benefits.) The software to burn the DVDs will probably be buggy as hell, burning coaster after coaster, and the number of drives it supports will probably be laughable. (That's if they don't make you buy a Comcast unit.) And the DVDs will probably be stripped down, movie only, and contain advertising that can't be skipped.

Re:Hold the press! (1)

Nelson (1275) | about 9 years ago | (#13763824)

I've been saying this for years. It's good to see comcast moving in the right direction. You can run and move faster on offense than you can on defense,

CDs should come with better artwork and possibly ticket promotions and stuff like that in them (Camel cash anyone?) it helps defuse the piracy issue.

PPV is easy, it's actually fairly cheap, especially compared to going to the movies. Making it more worth while seems like a great move. Movie theaters should follow suit, the MPAA is up in arms over the minicam piracted copies so they should just make it worth you while to buy an actual ticket for the $9 and see the movie. With 2 tickets stubs, send me the DVD for free when it's ready or something.

Re:Hold the press! (2, Insightful)

dmaxwell (43234) | about 9 years ago | (#13764003)

Even a five dollar off coupon on the upcoming DVD would go some little way towards easing that bruised sensation in my rear anatomy that going to movies gives me. And I'm not referring to the mere discomfort from those weedy airline seats all the theatres seem to be using these days.

Market Prices, eh? (4, Interesting)

Famatra (669740) | about 9 years ago | (#13763877)

"They're going to take a business model (Pay Per View), add value by giving more to the consumer, rather than less (the ability to purchase the DVD), and deliver it at market prices."

That would be a terribly interesting feat indeed - to some how arrive at a market price on a monopoly (though copyright) good. Make no mistake, even though some DVDs are less than others they are still maximizing profit by leverging their monopoly power by pricing the product to gain maximum profit given the demand *for each type of DVD*. This is not (free) market pricing, it is monopoly price discrimination.

Re:Market Prices, eh? (1)

CharlieHedlin (102121) | about 9 years ago | (#13764919)

In this case there may be a small number of players, but the free market allows you to choose a movie you like at a price you are willing to pay. If they price too high, their sales should drop.

When I am at the store and I see a movie I liked a few years ago for $5, I often buy it. I have to be very interested in a movie to spend $20, and haven't in several years.

DVD's and movies are not something we need, so competition isn't required to set the market price.

Re:Hold the press! (1)

Dachannien (617929) | about 9 years ago | (#13763910)

My prediction is that, as usual, MPAA members will look this gift-horse straight in the mouth, and force Comcast and other cable providers into a contract where they can only put movies on PPV and subsequently sell the DVDs if they sell the rental versions of the DVDs, i.e., the ones with tons of unskippable ads before the movie itself starts.

Re:Hold the press! (1)

billcopc (196330) | about 9 years ago | (#13764533)

Which part of the protoplasm are you from ? I've got a handful of DVDs that force me to watch the ads, and I assure you they are not the "rental versions". Whenever you have a bunch of old farts with money (aka executive shareholders), you also have selfish hypocritical decisions such as "Let's make sure they know whose wallets they greased" when they show you three different corporate intros before even launching a long grainy irritating animated menu.

They probably reason that VHS had them anyway, so we might as well watch them. I guess these people never heard of fast-forward.

Finaly A Company that understands! (2, Interesting)

manno (848709) | about 9 years ago | (#13763724)

It's about time a company came up with a mutualy beneficial product for customers rather than the take-em-for all their worth.

Good idea, but doesn't quite hit the mark (5, Interesting)

tgd (2822) | about 9 years ago | (#13763732)

If I have to pay $17 for a PPV movie, I'm not likely to use it. If I pay $4 for one, and have the option to shell out another $13 after it for the DVD, thats something I'd use. Thats a try-before-I-buy sort of option.

Comcast is definitely a company that "gets it" though. The on-demand works well, they're pushing out more and more HD content. 5+mbit cable modems, etc. If they could only get reasonable software on the digital PVR cable boxes, I wouldn't even be entertaining a switch to satellite. That and if they got Universal HD, so I could see BSG in HD :)

Re:Good idea, but doesn't quite hit the mark (1)

mrgreen4242 (759594) | about 9 years ago | (#13763858)

I agree the DVD needs to be an add on after the film is over. An option in the menu somewhere that lets you buy the DVDs of PPV movies you've watched. What I would really like to see, tho, is for Comcast to add an optical drive to their DVR boxes. You could get 2 hours of HD quality movie on a DVD9 with the right codecs, and THAT would make the Comcast model the most attractive movie distrobution scheme in town.

Re:Good idea, but doesn't quite hit the mark (1)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 9 years ago | (#13764406)

"What I would really like to see, tho, is for Comcast to add an optical drive to their DVR boxes. You could get 2 hours of HD quality movie on a DVD9 with the right codecs, and THAT would make the Comcast model the most attractive movie distrobution scheme in town."

This made me think a little about the article that mentioned that only 40% of the subscribers there had digital cable boxes. I'm not with Comcast...but, with Cox cable in NOLA. I don't know how it is with Comcast, but, I didn't find that with Cox that digital cable was worth the premium price...nor the rental of the damned box. I tried it for awhile....I found I didn't watch all the extra channels that much, and very often, the reception was horrible..would get pixillated (sp?) very often...bad digital distortion. I said the hell with it, switched back to analog, and with the money I save..paid for a Tivo after a year. I've never been happier. I'm working on a MythTV box now...and with multiple tuners...I don't want to have to have multiple cable boxes to record on multiple channels at once.

And no one I know, is in that much of a hurry for HD tv. Sure it all looks good...but, none of us see a real push to go for it due to initial equipment, DVR's...etc. And I still don't see enough HD content out there to really make it worth my while. So, guessing some of these might be reasons not many more people are going with digital cable. It just isn't worth it at this point.

Re:Good idea, but doesn't quite hit the mark (1)

TGK (262438) | about 9 years ago | (#13764071)

If you're a HD junkie (like me) I'd avoid satelite. HD is only available (with some very rare exceptions) on a small number of national channels, none of which are networks. Under very rare circumstance you can qualify for HD content on a select number of national broadcast locals like CBS out of LA.

There were some rumors a few months back that DirecTV was planing on upgrading portions of their broadcast apparatus to allow locals in HD nationwide, a feat which I'm still not sure is even possible with existing DBS technology.

Voom carries some HD content, though IIRC, their Sci Fi feed is upconverted instead of native HD, which defeats the point entirely.

To stay on topic though - while I'd love to see Comcast implement a try before you buy system here, I find it unlikely. PPV sales are a major cash cow for most cable/sat providers. The policies I saw while working at Dish Network (EchoStar) were downright cutthroat with reguards to PPV content. These companies are suspicious of their customers and will fight tooth and nail to protect their PPV profit margins.

Satellite is good with an antenna (1)

alexhmit01 (104757) | about 9 years ago | (#13764307)

I had a UHF antenna in Boston, and grabbed all 6 networks with HD feeds, plus my nationals, all piped through my HD and later HD-Tivo box. In Florida, I needed to get a VHF/UHF antenna. Right now, the antenna only feeds through one line, I just need the 15 minutes to hop in the attic and switch the 4x8 multiswitch for the 5x8 multiswitch, and I could do HD on ANY drop...

Nothing with with OTA HD, it generally is at a higher bitrate than cable or satellite will give you (my local CBS looks much better than the NY Feed)... Plus Sunday Ticket + Superfan gives you LOTS of HD football. Now if only the Shortcuts ran in HD... maybe next year they'll get it.

The DirecTV boxes all include a built in OTA tuner, so no harm, no foul, and once you are putting in a satellite dish, the antenna is no big deal.


Re:Good idea, but doesn't quite hit the mark (1)

tgd (2822) | about 9 years ago | (#13764498)

DirecTV supporting locals in HD is not a rumor -- its the point of their Spaceway launches. They're starting a rollout of MPEG4 boxes this year, and by the end of next year will have transitioned the entire country to MPEG4 (at least for those who want HD).

Their claimed capacity is 500 channels per satellite at 19mbit. I don't recall the number of satellites being launched, but I know they require a 5LNB dish, so presumably its two additional satellites, unless they're going to EOL the others.

insanity (2, Interesting)

v1 (525388) | about 9 years ago | (#13763734)

On one hand we have companies like this trying to extend our view time of their media by sending us a hardcopy to watch later.

Then we have twits trying to make self-destructing DVDs that only work for a couple days before turning into coasters.

They need to collectively make up their mind.

It seems to be a case of them not wanting to charge for the media, but wanting to charge for each viewing of the media. Yet another in the endless examples of why the concept of "licensing" sucks.

Though i suppose in 20 years every video the consumer can get will be pay-per-view. What a mess.

Re:insanity (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763772)

Are you retarded? These are different companies and you are mad that different companies don't share some kind of borg collective business strategy?

Are you actually this stupid? There is no "collective" mind to make up these are different entities.

Re:insanity (2, Insightful)

SimilarityEngine (892055) | about 9 years ago | (#13763792)

I though the Microsoft self-destructing DVD story was just a rumour? That aside, I don't see anything wrong with Comcast's idea - provided (a) you can return/refuse the DVD if the movie was crap and (b) the DVD you get isn't an inferior copy (lacking some of the extras perhaps).

that's your duty, not theirs (1)

idlake (850372) | about 9 years ago | (#13764800)

Making up one's mind is your duty, not theirs. See, the way it works, these companies offer you all these different ways in which you can buy something, and you decide which one makes sense for you.

Comcast's offer makes a lot more sense than many other business models; I think I'll give it a try.

I like the idea if... (1)

Daytona955i (448665) | about 9 years ago | (#13763735)

If it's an actual DVD complete with package like you would get in the store (for collectors and such) then I think this would be a great idea as long as you could cancel the order and they take off a certain ammount. (So it would be more like renting) That way, if I watch the movie and don't like it, I'm not stuck with a crappy DVD but it's also better than renting a movie because I know there have been a few times I wished I bought a movie I rented because it was so good but usually I'm not inclined to go out and buy it after I've rented it. Then there are the times where I've bought a movie I wish I had just rented.

We'll just have to wait and see all the details.

But ofcourse... (1)

Bombah (572185) | about 9 years ago | (#13763738)

In Soviet Russia, you get payed per view.

what after you have seen it (1)

in-tech (912144) | about 9 years ago | (#13763747)

you see the whole movie and than you get the hard copy. hey $17 isnt it bit costly . so why do you need the hard copy. is it for the video library or what. huh.

Re:what after you have seen it (1, Funny)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | about 9 years ago | (#13763811)

Your grasp of English is... incredible.

Too expensive (3, Interesting)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 years ago | (#13763787)

I think this is too expensive. Here's why. The majority of people that watch a movie Pay-Per-View do not go out and buy the movie, nor do they watch it on Pay-Per-View again. Now there are always exceptions - people that really like a specific movie so they go out and buy it. However for most it is about watching something new and different, not watching the same movie over and over (think about how many movies you've rented from the movie store more than once).

So the extra cost is pure profit for Comcast and the movie producers. It's another a way of getting someone to commit to buy a movie before they've watched it - before they find out it is another one of the mindless, forgettable flick comprising 95% of what Hollywood produces these days.

Why do you think they've started premiering movies world-wide? So as many people can see it as possible before negative word of mouth spread, reducing ticket sales. This is similar, but more on an individual scale.

Now if they put a burner in their box, and let the customer burn their own copy for say $5 extra, then that would be reasonable.

Dan East

Re:Too expensive (1)

Jordan Catalano (915885) | about 9 years ago | (#13763839)

The majority of people that watch a movie Pay-Per-View do not go out and buy the movie, nor do they watch it on Pay-Per-View again.
You gonna site something, or are we just making up stats today?

Re:Too expensive (1)

Dan East (318230) | about 9 years ago | (#13763998)

I worked at a video store for quite a while, and it was blatantly obvious that the majority of people rented new releases, and only rented a specific movie once. The pay-per-view market is the same as the video rental market, so it is logical to expect the same trends. Why do you think video stores have dozens of copies of new releases, and only one or two of movies more than a year or two old? Because people aren't renting (or pay-per-viewing) movies they've already seen multiple times.

If the majority of people watched pay-per-view movies more than once, then the broadcasters would offer a lot more non-first-run movies. The market demands something new - something they haven't seen before. It is this demand that is partially to blame for the mind-numbing movies that Hollywood keeps producing. If people wanted quality instead of quantity then we would see Hollywood change their behavior. This is the same driving force with Pay-per-view and movie rentals. People simply want to watch something they haven't already seen, even if it is mediocre at best.

Dan East

I have Comcast... (1)

Conspiracy_Of_Doves (236787) | about 9 years ago | (#13763803)

I have Comcast and I used to have a Digital box. It was pretty decent, but I gave it up because it just wasn't worth the price.

iTunes should do this with CDs (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763837)

If Apple sent me a CD when I bought an album from ITMS, I would buy all my music from them.

This is Paul Jones (1, Funny)

jurt1235 (834677) | about 9 years ago | (#13763849)

I see the infomercial in the middle of the movie already in front of me:
This is Paul Jones, former frontman of the whatever music band. I have brought you the great collection CDs of the carpenters, and now I have for you the DVD of the movie you are watching right now. If you call the number in the bottom of your screen in the next 10 minutes, you will get it for $17 instead of the $24.95 usual price.

Wait a moment, watching at it like this: Is this PPV + DVD sale really new, or are we just fooling ourself.

Old news - divx first did this in 1998 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13763927)

Circuit City's divx program did this - after purchasing your 48 hour disc, if you enjoyed it you could "purchase" it and fully unlock any time constraint DRM built into the system.

Better model (1)

EwokMolester (918844) | about 9 years ago | (#13763931)

Alternatively, they could not bother to send a hard copy and pass on the saving to the consumer, thereby making pay-per-view ever so slightly closer to the freely available copy we can all get these days anyway.

I hope people don't get paid to come up with this shit.

New idea, well not really... (1)

east coast (590680) | about 9 years ago | (#13763964)

Netflix it for 20 a month, get upwards of 20 films in that time frame, burn what you like for next to nothing.

Is it illegal? In some places it is, but have you ever heard of anyone getting a visit from The Man for taping a show off of TV?

Even if you don't want to take that route I still would think that Netflix and a visit to a local Best Buy would be less expensive for the type of DVD consumer that buys more than one film a week.

Excellent slashvertisement (-1, Troll)

scovetta (632629) | about 9 years ago | (#13763994)

Excellent slashvertisement.

Seriously people, I know this is "news for nerds", but it's also "stuff that matters". What's next? "Charlie's Steakhouse To Provide Free Salad With Any Entree"?

Price too high (3, Insightful)

DeanFox (729620) | about 9 years ago | (#13764004)

For $17 one could easily go through 10 movies a month at Netflix. Granted you don't get to keep a hard copy unless you burn one. Walmart has shelves of it's movies at $9.

I suppose there's a market. This might appeal to a single mother who wants a copy of a Disney movie for her kids (assuming they're shown on PPV) or Spiderman. If someone only wants one movie a month I guess it's okay. But at two movies that's $34, three is 50+. I suspect this is going to get real expensive for some households real fast. But, then again, these are households that are already spending $90 a month for cable in the first place.

Comcast's Plan? (3, Interesting)

ChrisF79 (829953) | about 9 years ago | (#13764023)

What interests me the most about this article is how Comcast plans on delivering the movie. Will they keep a large inventory of DVD's in a warehouse, ready to ship to the customer (incur carrying costs), partner with another company that can ship the movie such as Amazon, or just have the movie drop shipped from the manufacturer? I think those would be the three most logical choices but all have their own unique hurdles. I really couldn't imagine Comcast keeping inventory of the movies they show on PPV but it seems like the best route to me if they truly wanted to offer this service. Just keep checking Ebay for a user named "Comcast" selling 100,000 copies of 13 Going on 30.

I for one (1)

Flibz (716178) | about 9 years ago | (#13764025)

welcome our new Pay-per-View overlords

What a Stupid Idea (0, Troll)

eno2001 (527078) | about 9 years ago | (#13764038)

OK. I am pretty sure I'm in the minority here, but there are very few instances where I would buy the DVD of a movie without having seen the film first. And the only reason I would ever watch something on pay-per-view is because I missed it in the theater. I'm not an impulse buyer. I consider my purchases for a very long time before making them and I wait until something is on the used market before I buy it. Especially where media like DVDs or CDs are concerned. The last thing I want to do is fall into the trap of owning stuff I don't really care for and then later losing money by trading it in for just a few pennies. I can't be the only person who thinks like this.

I would suggest that a lot of you who don't think like this re-evaluate your approach if you find that you are trading lots of stuff in at a loss. I used to trade stuff in thinking that I was still getting a return on my investment. But over time I noticed that unless I sold the stuff directly (without the middle man that a store or online used retailer is) I would stand to get more of my money back. But that's also too much effort for the return. So it's better to make sure when you buy something, that it's something you REALLY want. Unfortunately, this approach like so many others is going to sucker a bunch of people into thinking they're getting some kind of deal by combining their DVD purchase with a pay-per-view viewing.

Finally, don't say: "Hey... it's only media/a movie/music. Chill out". Some of us value our entertainment quite highly and therefore are extremely selective and cautious about pricing. I have yet to ever watch a pay-per-view movie because they all pretty much suck in general on DirecTV.

Only if... (1)

SilverJets (131916) | about 9 years ago | (#13764040)

...I have an option for purchasing the widescreen version of the movie on DVD. I also like the "try before you buy" idea that fellow Slashdotters are mentioning.

Not sure... (1)

jpellino (202698) | about 9 years ago | (#13764068)

I can already get pretty much any new movie at WalMart for $17 for the first release week.
I can see any movie I want via NetFlix for $17 per month. More than 5 and I'm doing better than pay-per-view.
This new scheme saves me going to Walmart sometime in the week i want to see a new release DVD.
Which for most people, you already know you want to buy that movie, so planning to get to a store in the next week isn't a great burden.
Comparing Netfilx - I've had it for a year, I've purchased two movies that I didn't know I wanted to own until I saw them - Royal Tennenbaums and Robots.

Old fashioned thinking (1)

JDogBird (659705) | about 9 years ago | (#13764129)

This offer seems a little backward thinking, even old fashioned.

Many people, including myself, simple use their DVR/TIVO to record the pay-per-view movie then watch the movie at their convenience as often as they want for as long as they want, all for $4. One is only limited by the size of their hard drive.

There is not much reason to pay the extra $13 for a hard copy unless you want to watch the movie in my car or on their laptop.

In my opinion... (1)

NotFamous (827147) | about 9 years ago | (#13764251)

That's simply Comcastic!

eh ?? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764293)

Whats up with headlines that end with a question mark.
Its almost guaranteed that bullshit follows!

It's about time! (1)

djdole (588163) | about 9 years ago | (#13764514)

It's about time that companies started doing this.
Hopefully now companies will see that consumers that buy 'ephemeral' products actually WANT something for their money besides the temporary service they are provided.

Hopefully Apple and Microsoft will take note and follow suit.
Like when you buy a FULL album from iTunes, they should send you the HARD copy as well since it cost them NOTHING to make a copy of the digital version.
And the Bull-Shiat that Compaq, Microsoft and PC manufacturers pull when your BUY a pc and are charged for a Windows license, (In Compaq's (now HP)'s case), only to be given a 'restore partition' on the hard drive (which is easily damaged or corrupted). If I buy a license, I EXPECT a physical CD in case the shoddy software/hardware craps out and takes my copy with it.

I was lucky enough in '99 to buy a Dell and they included a backup Dell image cd AND the Win98se install cd with manual. But then in 2003 when I bought my shitty Alien-Crap-Ware laptop I specifically asked the customer service agent if by paying on their website for "a copy of WinXP pro" if I'd be getting a install CD and not just a partition or just a manufacturer restore cd, and they said it would be a WinXP cd. Bullshit. It was a restore cd.

It's good to see some companies are taking steps to actually provide a valid service rather than fleece their customers, for pure-profit 'digital merchandise'.

Too bad lemon-laws aren't applied to software, and digital media.

Re:It's about time! (1)

djdole (588163) | about 9 years ago | (#13764716)

The more and more I think about it, the more I believe we all SHOULD petition the government for an expansion of the lemon laws to cover more media.
Like, if you go to a restaurant and buy a meal and they screw up what you ordered, you can usually send it back and hope they don't fuck it up again.
Why can't we do that with the entertainment 'industry'?
An example:
"I just bought this Adam Sandler CD, with him in makeup on it. It's NOT FUNNY. It's not what I ordered. I paid for somthing of value, not a CD spoon-feeding me all Sandler's old tired skits to me!"

It would be awesome if this could be applied to cable services.
All channels would simultaneously drop all images of the Hilton-Trash-Slut for fear of lost profits due to her whole existence being a worthless waste of space and time.

Whither Redbox? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 9 years ago | (#13764535)

OOoooor pay $1.06 for a rental from Redbox, rip it to the file server, and watch it whenever you want. Most movies I rent I only want to watch once anyway.

Yawn (1)

siefkencp (921228) | about 9 years ago | (#13764541)

The reality of PPV is that its a product based buisness and not a service based one.

Look at Netflix, one of the fastest growing entertainment companies with an ingenious model. They are doing so much buisness that they no longer have to pay indivdual media licensing fees. They instead can pay ussage fees on thier movies, consider the next logical move. Video on demand through highspeed connections at a monthly service rate. You get a quantified number of movies to watch a month and all at 1 monthly rate and not some insane 3 dollars a movie, as of now I rent 9-12 movies a month for my standard 20 bucks through the mail. If they offered ondemand service I would double my ussage and be willing to pay 40. PPV and other product based consumebles are phasing out and service oriented ones are moving in.

Want another example?
Windows -- Redhat ... Would you rather license windows or subscribe to RH?

Napster - Buying Cd's ... Not that Napsters taking off these days but the concept is there.

Im sure you can think of hundreds more.


Re:Yawn (1)

Quiet_Desperation (858215) | about 9 years ago | (#13764713)

I was walking to the mailbox two weeks ago to drop in some Netflix envelopes, and a random guy on the street saw them and said, "Isn't that the best thing in the world?" That's the third time it happened this year. I think everyone on my street is on Netflix.

and what's the bets... (1)

advocate_one (662832) | about 9 years ago | (#13764723)

the hardcopy will just be a copy of what was transmitted, adverts and all...
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