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Download-to-own Films Coming Soon

CowboyNeal posted more than 8 years ago | from the no-reason-to-leave-the-house dept.

335

riflemann writes "CNN is reporting that Universal Pictures will soon launch a service whereby films can be downloaded legally to own, i.e. non time-limited digital downloads. Currently most legally downloaded movies are time limited. Buyers will also receive a DVD version in the post. Is the movie industry finally listening? And how will they define 'own?'"

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1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985357)

1st

Re:1st (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985482)

2rd

Re:3rd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985628)

testicles. that is all.

Re:3rd (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985720)

Cockfart.

Poop!

O RLY?!

wait, what? (4, Funny)

gcnaddict (841664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985363)

Universal Pictures is doing this?

...and the MPAA hasn't responded yet? It's taking the MPAA this long to respond to a dangerous "piracy" issue?

Re:wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985457)

The MPAA is waiting to see what kind of root-kit Sony Pictures puts into their downloadable films before passing judgement...

wait, what?-Served with distinction. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985561)

"...and the MPAA hasn't responded yet? It's taking the MPAA this long to respond to a dangerous "piracy" issue?"

I know you're trying for a funny, but the MPAA is the representive organization for the movie industry. They aren't the movie industry itself.

Re:wait, what? (4, Interesting)

Ruff_ilb (769396) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985614)

That's because the MPAA is fine with it, I'm sure; by "own," they mean watch only in their special DRMed format on valid Windows XP/Vista PC's only - no copying allowed.

So when... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985640)

should we expect to see download-to-own software?

40$ for Kong? (5, Insightful)

mrpotato (97715) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985367)

That's way to expensive. These guys still don't get it. Designed to fail.

Re:40$ for Kong? (5, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985397)

Yes, but in the process of failing they appear progressive, with the intent of deflecting criticism.

"You see, Mr. Congressman? We tried the newfangled approach and it just doesn't work, you can't sell things on the Intarweb, so we're going back to our old-fashioned screw-the-consumer oligopoly. We know we can make money with that."

Re:40$ for Kong? (3, Insightful)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985531)

Ah no, they had to anticipate the new tier AT&T / Verizon surcharges into consideration when setting their pricing. I'm sure 'ma bell is going to want her cut of this too .. can't be making money off their network with 'cheap servers' like Google does, that would be simply unacceptable.

It is bad enough the average parent can't afford to take a family of 3 - 4 to see a movie. Now they've gone and done this. Nimrods.

What next, do I have to go buy my nachos at a cinema before I can watch the movie at home? Screw DRM, and screw them for gouging. Just wait till all of the torrent networks start forwarding traffic directly to them to let them know just what they think of the idea. You thought the slashdot effect baked a CPU .. heh. Ever try to reach an abuse contact in China?

Bad move on that thar MS network guys. Bad Move.

Jackasses.

Off my soapbox.

Re:40$ for Kong? (2, Informative)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985563)

Ah no, they had to anticipate the new tier AT&T / Verizon surcharges into consideration when setting their pricing. I'm sure 'ma bell is going to want her cut of this too ..

Aren't AT&T/Verizon == Ma Bell?

Re:40$ for Kong? (1)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985588)

>> Aren't AT&T/Verizon == Ma Bell?

Yes. Yet another example of me too annoyed to be typing. I was grouping them together as 'ma bell'.

Re:40$ for Kong? (5, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985631)

Man can I borrow your soapbox ? Looks like yours has a big built-in amplifier :)

Torrent networks don't "attack" things.. while it might be possible to add someone's IP to the list of tracked peers and generate bogus SYN traffic, it wouldn't accomplish much as Bittorrent clients are designed to initiate a connection less than once every 5 minutes to any given host or tracker.

Rewinding to the main topic, the only way to communicate to these media conglomerates isn't whining on /. or threatening to pirate their movies. We are dealing with business.. big business. The only language businesses speak is the language of money. Don't buy their stuff.. any of their stuff! Stop buying DVD movies, stop going to the cinemas, tell little Nicky he can shove his Harry Potter up his ass. Now I'm not saying this will hurt the company, but their bean counters will notice and those bean counters are the ones in power. They won't listen to our voice, but they will listen to our dollars.

The day common people understand the democratic power of money, is the day democracy will start working for everyone.

Re:40$ for Kong? (0, Flamebait)

tinkertim (918832) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985727)

>> Torrent networks don't "attack" things..

The ones running on compromised web servers do. Try taking one down and dealing with the resulting denial of service attack. They are slapper and r0nin variants and are becoming increasingly popular. Most hosts don't use egress filtering because so many users need so many varied ports open.

The resulting attack comes from literally tens of thousands, to hundreds of thousands of IP addresses. r0nin is used to remotely direct and trigger them.

>> it wouldn't accomplish much as Bittorrent clients are designed to initiate a connection less than once every 5 minutes to any given host or tracker.

Its the trackers I was referring to. The networks are dying and more 'trojan' trackers are being crafted and deployed to help keep warez networks alive.

>> tell little Nicky he can shove his Harry Potter up his ass.

How little could Nicky be then? Nimbus 2000 and all? OUCH ... the wand alone is hard enough to think about ..

>> Stop buying DVD movies, stop going to the cinemas

That isn't likely to happen, however many have stopped going to the cinemas just due to the prices. What you are then doing is simply alienating your children from their peers who have parents who make sure they see what they want. Film companies count on that. I don't think you are a parent or your comments would have been different. Have a kid , its a whole new reality.

>> They won't listen to our voice, but they will listen to our dollars.

Show me a way to organize an effective boycott of one of the largest entertainment producers, keeping that 'kid' factor in mind and I'm all for it. Your solution is great in theory however impractical but does indrectly demonstrate the larger issue:

People are just too lazy to do anything about it.

>> Man can I borrow your soapbox ? Looks like yours has a big built-in amplifier :)

You just did :) Fender fuzzy tube. Turn on distortion and start screaming in-a-gadda-da-vida .. its fun, entertaining, and doesn't cost $40 :)

Re:40$ for Kong? (1)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985438)

Actually based on Amazon.co.uk that price is in line for what they pay for a movie in the UK.

Loaners (2, Insightful)

mfh (56) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985480)

I agree. I rent movies all the time and when I do, usually a few other people watch them with me. I also lend them out when I'm done with them. I might keep a film -- if it's genre inspiring (like Devil's Rejects, for example).

Typically a factory-direct model like this is CHEAPER than going through the middle man. Why would we pay MORE for it?

Re:40$ for Kong? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985491)

The cost of living comparisons are not directly related to currency conversion. Many consumer items are the same number here and there. So, think of 20 GBP as 20 USD despite the actual 'value'. Also, that number includes %17 taxes whereas here you add the sales tax on after. So, it is too much, but not nearly as bad as it sounds.

Re:40$ for Kong? (0)

MikeFM (12491) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985525)

If they really wanted to succeed they'd supply the option of having all the original uncut footage available to the consumers to make their own edits and pass around. Let customers pass around an edit control file - which buys the source materials as needed and edits them together as desired. Certain types of customers would love that sort of thing and if they compiled together custom shows using elements of more than one existing show then every customer that wanted to see the new movie would need to buy a license to each of the films involved. It could be huge especially with things popular among young people.

Re:40$ for Kong? (1)

hunterx11 (778171) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985641)

You do realize that big budget pictures shoot far more film than they use? You'd better hope HVD is coming soon for this sort of this.

Re:40$ for Kong? (5, Insightful)

mix4pix (963253) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985713)

"Certain types of customers would love that sort of thing." Yeah, the ones with RAID arrays in their living rooms and time to watch hours and hours of un-color-corrected, noisy, botched takes. Hint: that footage didn't make it into the movie for a reason. While "providing all the original uncut footage" might be a wet dream for some fans, it would be horrible PR for the actors and director, and a total invasion of their privacy, not to mention COMPLETELY discounting the work of the editors, sound editors, visual effects guys, and music guys. The ONLY purpose of something like this would be to give the public an appreciation of what goes into making a film . . . something you seem to be lacking in as well.

Security Measures? (4, Insightful)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985374)

"Security measures will make it impossible to e-mail the film to somebody else."

What else will they prevent us from doing?

Re:Security Measures? (1)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985419)

Do these security measures prevent customers from dropping the movies into their shared directories and letting others access them via P2P? Or do they prevent the customer from ripping the actual DVD to an mpeg or whatever and emailing it to anyone?

And why would someone want to send a huge movie via email anyway when there are more effivient ways to share?

Re:Security Measures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985439)

Ah, effiviency... what a wonderful thing. Where would we be without it?

Re:Security Measures? (0)

Scarletdown (886459) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985473)

Yeah yeah, whatever. Error was caught a half a second too late. BFD.

Re:Security Measures? (4, Insightful)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985522)

What else will they prevent us from doing?

Well, given how quickly every protection scheme that has come down the pike so far has been cracked, I'd have to say ... not much.

Re:Security Measures? (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985548)

"Well, given how quickly every protection scheme that has come down the pike so far has been cracked, I'd have to say ... not much."

The latest Windows Media Player 9 DRM has been out for a while and not been cracked.

Re:Security Measures? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985573)

Uhhh... I downloaded a WMP-9 video (via bittorrent) and watched it on Linux yesterday.

Re:Security Measures? (1)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985575)

With DRM?

Re:Security Measures? (3, Interesting)

skaet (841938) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985593)

This raises the question of what formats will the movie be offered in? Sure we might get a PC version but I'm certainly not going to use it if it requires a proprietary player - and how long would it take for a crack that lets us copy the file from someone else and watch it? What if they come contained in a self-playing executable (such as Bink Video).

The files would also have to be within a reasonable size, the current 700MB standard would be perfect so I could burn it to a CD for later playback. Will the files be available for re-download in the event of a hard drive failure or format? This sounds like a great step forward in the right direction - provided they do it right. Finally someone has listened to the consumer... Well, they could have chosen a better movie than King Kong as the first film available...

Re:Security Measures? (4, Insightful)

Amouth (879122) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985624)

I think the file size alone will prevent "e-mail" ing the film to anyone..

if i got a full length movie sent via e-mail to me and the mail server accepted it i would first fix the mail server then beat the person who sent it to me

Re:Security Measures? (1)

Firehed (942385) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985627)

Will it prevent it any more than it prevents me from emailing my .m4p FairPlay iTunes tracks to a friend? If so, I'd like to know how. Other than the fact that mail servers, ISPs and everyone else involved in the process of sending an email will come knocking with a shotgun if you try to send an entire movie via email. Prevent the recipient from playing the file, certainly, but I think they'd require a complete rewrite of the email system to prevent the file itself from being sent.

Re:Security Measures? (3, Insightful)

Doppler00 (534739) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985660)

What it essentially means is that these movies are not "download to own". They are probably only functional as long as your PC's generated key is properly validated against their servers. Once this mechanism no longer functions, you will not be able to watch the movies. Download to own this isn't.

Re:Security Measures? (3, Interesting)

Khyber (864651) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985672)

Well, if I can't email directly, I can Email them a link to the file [yousendit.com] which is stored on a separate server and let them get it from there anonymously. Actually, I can input a fake email address with this service and just paste the link that's generated to SEVEN other people.

I've said it before, I'll say it again. There's ALWAYS a way around some security measure, and as usual, it's been around for some time now. Anything in the DMCA covering pre-existing services that only now happen to circumvent distribution/content-protection?

zones (3, Interesting)

noelo (661375) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985376)

I wonder will they enforce region encoding on these DVDs or will they be zone free....

formats (1)

largenumber (870199) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985401)

I'm wondering what format the digital copies will be using... and which DRM they've crippled them with.

Re:formats (1)

snark42 (816532) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985425)

Some sort of Windows Media DRM I'm sure, just not time crippled as it currently is [lovefilm.com] .

In the post? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985377)

Jeez, where are you from?

Own (5, Interesting)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985383)

How will they define own?

Ownership agreement:

You will not make backup copies of your files.
You will not have your files on more than one computer.
You may not share the files under any circumstance.
You may not playback the movie to more than 5 people.

Re:Own (1)

binarybum (468664) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985511)

Where did you get this from?

OR

if you are making this up, how the hell did it get modded up so high?

Re:Own (2, Funny)

Eightyford (893696) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985555)

Where did you get this from?
OR
if you are making this up, how the hell did it get modded up so high?


The latter, and I have no idea. ;)

Re:Own (2, Insightful)

zcat_NZ (267672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985703)

You will not make backup copies of your files.
You will not have your files on more than one computer.
You may not share the files under any circumstance.

Standard DRM stuff. Wouldn't surprise me in the least.

You may not playback the movie to more than 5 people.

The usual wording is more like "For home viewing only. This film may not be rented or shown in public, clubs, schools, churches, prisons, etc" .. You have four friends over for poker, that's a club. Don't even think about letting them watch a movie with you! They make it pretty clear that they'd really like to fine you for letting anyone who isn't immediate family watch it with you, if only they could catch you at it. And somewhere an MPAA lawyer is working on a version that forbids viewing by families with more than four children too.

Re:Own (5, Funny)

ErikTheRed (162431) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985513)

How will they define own?
See: Pwn3d

Re:Own (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985515)

So they define own just like owning the DVD!
You own the container but not the contents.

Re:Own (1)

NilObject (522433) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985589)

So if you have 5 friends, someone's going to have to sit outside!

Still too much (5, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985387)

$35? It won't take off until it goes below $20.

Re:Still too much (1)

rebelcool (247749) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985484)

new dvd releases on amazon.co.uk arent much less. If that price includes the shipping of the DVD, the price for that + the data delivery overhead is reasonable.

Re:Still too much (1)

ImaNihilist (889325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985494)

$35 does seem a bit high, but it depends. I mean, if it was $30 and I got BOTH and unrestrticed DRM file, AND a DVD copy in the mail...I might consider it. They've taken the effort out of having to rip it yourself, and give it to you instantly. For $10, that's kind of worth it to me. I highly doubt that it won't have DRM, but if it didn't, I think it could be a really nice service. You order a movie, and not only do you get a DVD copy of it, but a digital copy that you can put and share with all your devices.

Sounds good to me (3, Insightful)

MBCook (132727) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985390)

This sounds like a fine system to me. But there is always a catch. So...
  • The downloads will not be full resolution
  • This will only work on Windows
  • The DRM (which we all know is there) will be over the top (must use their player with no other open applications)
  • The compression will be bad
  • It will be in a hard to use format (i.e., can't put on your iPod or transcode it for that purpose)
  • etc.

I predict at least two of those, probably 3. The second on the list (Windows only) is almost a certainty. Good luck to them, this sounds very good, but my experience tells me there are some major catches in there that we can't see yet.

Re:Sounds good to me (2, Informative)

eMartin (210973) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985409)

"It will be in a hard to use format"

The article says they will give you a copy for use with portables.

Welcome to 1998 MPAA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985396)

the first hacked released of Microsoft's MPEG-4 Version 2 video codec (Divx 3.11) came out in 1998. I would bet most slashdotters have downloaded at least one divx since then.

Re:Welcome to 1998 MPAA! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985519)

Not "DivX"... "DivX ;-)". There's a difference.

More expensive than normal DVD's. (5, Insightful)

O'Laochdha (962474) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985400)

Let's face it, most downloaders aren't in it for the convenience. Whether it's an ideological beef with the MPAA, lack of funds, or just plain stinginess, most people don't want to pay for these movies. This might catch on among people who don't feel like going out to the store or waiting for it to come via online stores, but it's not going to curb illegal downloading.

Re:More expensive than normal DVD's. (3, Interesting)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985540)

Let's face it, most downloaders aren't in it for the convenience.

Which brings up an interesting point, how big of a problem are illegal downloads of movies. Personally I don't download them, netflix is way more efficient and I can watch on my TV which has a bigger screen, better sound and a nicer chair than my computer. This is nice for people that want to download, but I don't see the masses downloading movies to their computer on a regular basis like they do music. Music downloads are a totally different animal. You can have thousands of songs, put them on shuffle and put them in the background (just like xmms is doing fo me right now). Movies aren't as versatile that way. If I'm going to watch a movie, I'm going to sit down and pay attention to it. There's no point for me having many thousands of movie titles.

Re:More expensive than normal DVD's. (4, Informative)

kwark (512736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985646)

"I can watch on my TV which has a bigger screen, better sound and a nicer chair than my computer."

In what century are you living? Modern dvd-players/recorders play MPEG-4 content, for about 50EUR you can get one with all necessary outputs for you surround system. Movies can be downloaded in different qualities:
- 700Mb: 2channel mp3 with good enough picture quality
-1400Mb: multichannel ac3 with good enough picture quality
-4500Mb: stripped/recompressed DVD images in a good quality
>7000Mb: untouched versions of originals

"thousands of audio file.... Movies aren't as versatile that way. If I'm going to watch a movie, I'm going to sit down and pay attention to it. There's no point for me having many thousands of movie titles."

You might have noticed that diskspace is dirt cheap these days. The same for DVDs on a 50cent DVD one can fit 6 movies. But if you have for example an modded xbox hookup up to your TV and a network disk it's almost the same as your music files example. With ease one can have a TB of movie data at your disposal, all you have to do is sit down and pick something.

Re:More expensive than normal DVD's. (1)

kwark (512736) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985562)

I can't agree more. This kind of service could only work if they provide access to the movies BEFORE they are available on DVD. But from TFA:
"Films will be available to download the same day the DVD is released."

If I really wanted a DVD on launch date I'd go to a good store and pre order it. But if you want it that bad you'll propably can get it a couple of weeks early at your favorite tracker/p2p

Re:More expensive than normal DVD's. (5, Funny)

temojen (678985) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985587)

Let's face it, most downloaders aren't in it for the convenience.
BitTorrent is much more convenient that learning Japanese and moving to Japan just to watch cartoons...

Re:More expensive than normal DVD's. (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985643)


BitTorrent is much more convenient that learning Japanese and moving to Japan just to watch cartoons...

Yep, BitTorrent was more convenient for us than taking a boat to Kong Island just to watch that big ape.

Has potential, for sure... (4, Insightful)

DerGeist (956018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985404)

This is definitely something that could be very powerful -- like iTunes, except you get the CD in the mail as well. My guess for the "ownership" part of the movie would be it only works on the computer you downloaded it to initially and is, of course, bogged down with DRM that requires you to authenticate each time you use the media.

This service could really be huge if they implemented something vaguely similar to FairPlay in the sense that you can put it on a few other computers, and instead of putting it on your iPod, you could have a 30 day "timeout" -- if you don't connect to the internet in 30 days and reauthenticate your DRM'ed movie, you can't play it. This way it'll still work if you go on vacation or whatnot.

The big issue here is we're talking about a movie -- a multi-million dollar venue, corporations don't lightly toss around the idea of letting you put a $500 million production on five other computers for nothing. Hopefully this is a step in the right direction and not just some kind of sick ploy, like if they load it with horrible DRM that eats your soul and then afterwards (when the service rightfully bombs) they just say "eh, there's no market for this kind of service" and never try again. Anyway here's hoping.

Re:Has potential, for sure... (1)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985472)

I agree this is a step in the right direction, I can't wait to see more of this.

Myself, I would like to see BSG available like this via some sort of subscription, ie I pay lets say $50-60, and I can download the episodes each week as it's released, and at the DVD release points, they send me the boxed set.

Big adult studios also trying this out (1)

reginalynn (963250) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985579)

Vivid is doing something similar -- I just got a note from one of their PR people -- I believe they're starting with 20 adult features, which you can purchase, download, and burn to DVD ... when I know more I'll blog it at Wired (http://blog.wired.com/sex/ [wired.com] ) and let y'all know.

Restricted Access (2, Interesting)

ClamIAm (926466) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985430)

For the past couple of years, I've been increasingly restricting the funds I contribute to the media cartels' war chests. Until they stop the lawsuit shenanigans and begin distributing media in DRM-free, non-patented formats, I will continue to do so. Besides, indie music and films are much better, so it's not like I've been missing much.

Re:Restricted Access (1)

MaXiMiUS (923393) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985448)

Could'ya tell me of some indie films? I listen to IndieBandRadio.com, but I've never seen an indie movie before.

Re:Restricted Access (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985518)

IFN (Independent Film Network) has them on 24/7 (starchoice channel 634, i think, dunno about any other services.)

Re:Restricted Access (4, Interesting)

robertjw (728654) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985520)

You've never seen an Independent movie? I bet you just didn't know it. Some of the best movies ever made are indies. There's a list of the top 50 at imdb which includes titles like [imdb.com]
  • The Terminator
  • Apocalypse Now
  • The Usual Suspects
  • Psycho
  • Pulp Fiction


It's kind of sad (from the aspect that Hollywood makes lots of crap), but many oscar winners and oscar nominees start out as indie films. There are many more that never make the mainstream distribution channels and are only shown in 'art houses'. Just keep in mind, indie doesn't mean good either. Many of the best written movies are indies, but many of the worst movies I've seen are also independent.

Re:Restricted Access (1)

Witchblade (9771) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985649)

Besides, indie music and films are much better, so it's not like I've been missing much.

No, it's really not. The vast majority of it is much, much worse. But there's a lot more of it, so the odds are good if you look hard enough you will find something that is better - or at least something that you like more.

(Very long essay on current and classical ways of paying for entertainment and art deleted. It's been said more concisely, and probably better, by way too many others.)

Er, right. In summary, everyone should be able to enjoy whatever they happen to like, the performers and creators need to be compensated, and any system where anyone in the chain makes more than an artist is hopelessly corrupt and can only be sustained for any length of time by tyranny.

$35 each, sign me up! (3, Insightful)

sakusha (441986) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985435)

This is so obscenely overpriced at $35 per movie, hell, you could buy 2 or 3 DVDs for that price. Do the studios not realize that they are driving customers away by price-gouging? This is the same crap we heard from the music companies when vinyl records were going up to $9 and CDs came out, they were supposed to be cheaper than LPs because they were cheaper to manufacture. But music CDs are still way more than $9 (even accounting for inflation).
The media companies look at every new format as an opportunity to raise prices, even when the cost of manufacturing and distribution drops significantly.

Re:$35 each, sign me up! (1)

PPGMD (679725) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985454)

That price is for the UK, and is in line for what they would expect to pay based on a short trip to Amazon.co.uk. War of the Worlds for example is running about $5 more then the download price of Kong.

Though it's more then the Amazon.co.uk price for Kong.

Re:$35 each, sign me up! (1)

Albanach (527650) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985556)

The prices are way more than are available elsewhere online. Play.com offers King Kong for 15 quid ($26 US), and Pride & Prejudice and War of the Worlds are both 13 quid ($22.50 US). And that gets you a downloaded copy that only plays on Windows and which you can't burn to DVD - but apparently can keep forever, and a second copy somewhat strangely through the post.

If they were to say you can download a copy - even if they provided their own app to burn to DVD - and that's it for, say, 10 quid then this might fly. TO me it looks like they're going to say "well we offered movies for permenant download and the consumers weren't interested, so our moves to sell time limited copies are cleary what vindicated as what the consumer wants."

Re:$35 each, sign me up! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985584)

Not entirely true. When vinyl records cost $9 I was renting a fairly nice house in a decent neighborhood in LA for around $850 a month. Right now you can't hardly rent a one bedroom apartment in a bad neighborhood for that. What happened was the cost for major releases never went down and eventually the price matched inflation. The problem is vinyl was expensive but CD are now dirt cheap so manufacturing costs are neglible. Just look at all the free CDs flying around. Sounds like this service is overpriced though. I have to wonder if there is a solution? The poster even seemed unhappy because the use may be limited. By that I'm assuming the hope would be that it could be freely distributed from there. Is there a price that everyone would be happy to pay that would still allow for the current budgets of films? You have to look at it this way if a film cost a $1 as many have suggested even if 50% of the people in this country bought a copy it still wouldn't pay the hard costs on some effects films. Yes there are other markets but when you factor in distribution costs and such they'd have to be selling a 100 million to 300 million downloads to repay production costs of an average film. That's assuming everyone paid and didn't do free downloads. That's a lot of copies of a studio film. Theaters won't survive so there needs to be a new system but if people won't pay enough to recoup costs then the system will fail. Lucas was predicting a radical drop in the average cost of production. If he's right it'll drop below what it was in 70s when you adjust for inflation. If that happens most films released won't be much better than home movies. Look at what's happened to low budget horror films if you don't believe me. Go to a blockbuster and rent ten horror films you never heard of from the new releases. The bulk of them will wind up being no budget home movies that were shot on video. That's the future of indepepndent film. And if Lucas is right the studio films won't be much better. Think films are bad now? Look out. They are about to get a lot worse.

Re:$35 each, sign me up! (1)

eonlabs (921625) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985693)

I vote $15 To $20 USD for DVDs, $5 To $12 for CDs.
Anyone else want to make a statement?
Who knows, maybe someone non-technical actually reads these posts.

Their FAQ is funny (5, Funny)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985445)


Heh, from their FAQ [lovefilm.com] :
Broadband internet connection recommended.

+9000, Duh

Re:Their FAQ is funny (1)

biocute (936687) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985462)

I remember the day people downloaded Linux ISOs (sometimes 2 or 3 CDs) with 56K, actually I think many people still do.

Re:Their FAQ is funny (1)

grub (11606) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985478)


I did oodles of Slackware install floppies in the early 90s but no ISOs. The largest single thing I did get via modem was Doom II for the Mac from usenet. I was just blown away when it worked.

Re:Their FAQ is funny (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985501)

oddly enough i downloaded more when i was on dialup than i do on broadband (well except for the porn, i download tons of that now)

i used to ::cough::pirate::cough:: tons of stuff.. i remember downloading windows 98 over the course of like 2 weeks..

my anal-orgy (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985460)

"And how will they define 'own?'"

I OWN a car, I can lend it to anyone I please and I can drive it on all public roads in my country. Yes there are limitations, I can only accomodate as many people as the law allows. But if I am not allowed to lend it to anyone i like, I dont own it. So no, this does not actually satisfy my definition of OWN

No thanks (3, Insightful)

mark-t (151149) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985486)

My bandwidth is too valuable to waste on stuff I can just go and buy at a video store for about the same price (and considering I could be back from the video store in about 10 minutes, I'd have the movie a lot faster getting it myself too).

Re:No thanks (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985612)

I could be back from the video store in about 10 minutes

The prime market for Netflix and download services is middle class and suburban. Bandwith is cheap, postage is cheap.

Instant gratification isn't worth a weekend run into town.

First movie (3, Funny)

ltwally (313043) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985504)

"King Kong" will be the first film available as part of the new service.
Great... so they chose the one movie that no one pirated. I can see the headlines now, "LEGAL MOVIE DOWNLOADS OFFERED, YET PEOPLE STILL CHOOSE PIRACY!!"

Seriously, I hope they pay me to download this crap... I know it sure isn't worth my money, or even watching for free, for that matter

Re:First movie (1)

Xenius (626318) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985610)

"Universal's research showed that 12- to 18-year-olds in particular are [b]keen[/b] to watch films on their laptops or portable devices." Obviously they used 72-80 year olds to conduct the study. Seriously! The first thing I thought was "Commander Keen, where?".

furballs (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985516)

my cat's fur is getting all matted. What should I do? It is impossible to brush it and she wont stay still for me to cut it

Re:furballs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985590)

Have you tried one of those comb-like brushes? The type of brush I am referring to has solid metal teeth, not like a normal pet brush. The teeth on the brush are much farther apart than a comb and even though the brush is not that fine, it does a remarkably good job at getting old fur out.

The catch (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985532)

"Security measures will make it impossible to e-mail the film to somebody else."

MAC encoded, special playback sw? Won't beat a capture card though.

Interesting, but... (1)

AutopsyReport (856852) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985576)

A little over five years ago the idea of offering download-to-own movies struck me after reading an article on illegal downloading and the complaints about movie theatres. While it may not have been an innovative idea or a stretch to fathom (I thought it was unique), I genuinely thought the system could work. You sign up and download a movie at full resolution. And it's yours to keep, no restrictions other than the obvious. And you would pay around the neighbourhood of $10. That's roughly double the cost of a rental, about the same as a theatre ticket, but less than half the cost of purchasing the DVD. Plus its out of the convenience of your own home. And if you've got a home theatre setup, even better.

I had estimated the system would work more on volume than on individual sales. Five years later, at $35 a piece, it just makes me wonder why useless minds were put behind this great idea.

they aren't really selling a download (1)

thisislee (908426) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985596)

They're selling a download/streaming/DVD version for a fair price for all three combined. But you're still only getting one movie. gee thanks.

Nothing to see here (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14985620)

Where has everyone been? The porn business has been doing this for ages, once again proving that pornographers are miles ahead of everyone and on the cutting edge of technology!

No emailing? (0)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985651)

"Security measures will make it impossible to e-mail the film to somebody else."

Let me say: Ha! Ahhh hahahahahahahahahahaha!

Dumb movie company guys: NEVER say 'impossible' to the geek crowd - they take that as a blatant challege.

Mod first sentence as Funny.

Re:No emailing? (4, Funny)

patio11 (857072) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985674)

Their security feature was making it multiple gigabytes, which neatly stops most people from mailing it. Now, P2P networking, on the other hand, still working on that one. But email is definately out as a pirate method. So is hand-transcribing to papyrus, and nailing to the back of a squirrel.

Re:No emailing? (1)

KlomDark (6370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985683)

The poor squirrel, won't someone please think about the squirrel? Just like the poor squirrel from Ice Age. Poor poor squirrel.

Betting On (2, Insightful)

u16084 (832406) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985653)

For that Price... They are betting on "impulse" buyers. And everyone is right, it is setup to fail. Movies are not the sort of thing "You JUST MUST HAVE NOW". (Not for $35) If you consider thet latest articles on /. - The Taxation (extortion) that is proposed on bandwidth hungry sites. Shipping Costs etc etc. Yes, someone is going to comment on that the DVD/Movie industry is over priced and they could afford it. But which studio is going to come forward as say "Welp, the consumer was right, we were ripping everyone off, the new and improved price is $...." While the rest of the pack growls and attacks. (other studios) Price Structures are very difficult to change. Especially when it seems to be "a standard"

To throw some oil into the water so to speak, in order to download A MOVIE... Youre talking about 2-3 hours for high quality... (your really think they'll use a fancy codec (xvid etc etc?) Thats 2 hours too long as your nearest blockbuster/walmart,bestbuy is 30 min away at the most, and you can take your family out for ice cream :)

Theres ALOT at stake here. They have a HUGE piracy issue at hands, the wood they are throwing onto the fire better be wet.

And no, I didn rtfa.

You can own from movielink for $8.99 (1)

bigtrike (904535) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985658)

They have a limited selection and it's not full resolution, but the quality is actually pretty good. But it's pretty cheap. "Rentals" are even cheaper and the limitations on watching them is fairly reasonable.

May as well wait for the mail (2, Insightful)

necro81 (917438) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985665)

At the speed of my connection (at home, not at work, and (alas) no longer at college), it'll be faster for me to wait for them to mail me the disc. On the other hand, at the price point they're offering, I may as well just buy the disc online and splurge on the second-day shipping.

Your feeble marketing skills are no match for the power of the Postal Service! You will pay the price for your lack of vision!

I'm serious about that lack of vision thing. I give them kudos for at least trying, but trying in a way that is bound to fail isn't innovation - it is just plain stupid.

On Apple and iTunes...music and film (4, Insightful)

Y-Crate (540566) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985666)

Apple is widely rumored to be in negotiations with the studios to add feature films to the iTunes Store, but the major hangup seems to be that the studios are insisting on a $9.99 a month subscription to keep a constant flow of cash coming their way, with an extra $13 or so on top of the monthly fee to keep movies after the term of the subscription ends. Jobs is having none of this, insisting on a $9.99 per movie fee with no monthly charge. You pay $10 and it's yours forever, and you don't have to keep spending money every month to maintain access to your files. The iTunes Music Store has had an enormous amount of success with this compared to the subscription models offered by other services, and it is more compatible with the existing customer mentality that when you pay for a film, it becomes part of your collection forever.

The service proposed in the article is a perfect example of what we would get if the music industry got their way with iTunes music pricing. The labels are insisting they be allowed to charge more for newer, and more popular music (driving the prices of digital content closer to that of physical media) while offering "lower" prices for older content (Steve Jobs is resisting the increases). The Universal movie service will charge you $35 for new releases, and offer an "incredible" 50% discount on older films, which brings the price for the back catalog down to what you would pay for a physical DVD.

Economics dictates that they can charge whatever the market will bear, but I think the past few years has proven that the market simply will not bear what the conglomerates are demanding. They have this fantasy that if online stores offer the same products that they aren't selling enough of in brick-and-mortar stores at the same, or a higher price than the brick-and-mortar stores, that sales will increase.

The prevalence of file sharing had a lot to do with the convenience, but it was also much more a direct rebellion against the pricing schemes that the cartels had shoved down our throats for decades. iTunes killed two birds with one stone and took away the incredible premium they were demanding in retail stores, and adopted the convenience of the file sharing networks. Sales rebounded, and now they feel as if their original methodology was somehow correct and they can begin maximizing their profits by demanding more money for less product.

They are unable to accept the notion that they have been wrong all of these years, and are terrified that Apple is increasingly making them irrelevant in the marketplace. They are not producing any physical product, the overhead and media itself is being paid for out of Apple's tiny cut (they've only recently passed break-even on the store) and they are collecting a lionshare of the proceeds for doing nothing but allowing Apple to reproduce the content they did not make. It's a zero-risk, zero-investment game with high returns for them and them alone. With fewer bands (even established ones) getting any attention from the marketing departments at major labels, the day is coming when they will be cut out of the arrangement altogether and bands upload their music on their own (as they can do right now when they lack a big-label contract prohibiting such things). If you're not getting any airplay, the only thing you need is GarageBand, a tour promoter and an iTunes merchant account. The 90% take the labels claim on each sale, and the indentured servitude they put bands in for the ridiculous expenses they charge to each group just isn't getting anyone but a few main artists any kind of return.

The film studios are well-aware of the trap the music labels walked into, and want to ensure that any movie service has no room in it for the individual copyright holder and is arranged so if the movie studios are the only source for content, they get a monthly cut and there is no ability for individuals to upload their own films, as there is no way for them to tap into the monthly revenue stream going back to Hollywood.

Bandwidth (1)

od05 (915556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985669)

With all of that bandwidth, waiting, compression, DRM, & $40 price tag I'd rather flip on the on-demand people and rent a movie.

iTunes beat them to it (1)

mblase (200735) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985680)

This week, as more of an experiment than anything else, the iTunes Music Store began selling [macnewsworld.com] a downloadable version of the entire made-for-Disney-Channel movie "High School Musical" for $9.99 at iPod-video quality.

Granted, the movie is still being shown on Disney Channel now and then, but it's a bit of a big deal in that this is being offered a couple of months ahead of the DVD release, and for about half the price.

old business model trying desperately to survive (1)

Susceptor (559115) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985684)

the big media companies of today are like lumbering dinos. They don't realise that they are on the edge of extiction, and are trying to do things the old way instead of evolving. The simple truth of the matter is that while content is expensive to produce, the cost of producing each additional copy of the finished product is almost nill. When it comes to files and downloads, it is at absolute zero. The problem is, the big media companies still think that they can control consumer behavior by producing a standard that the consumer must conform to in order to use a product. problem is, thats not the case anymore. maybe just as importantly, ordinary consumers are starting to realise that the cost of an extra copy really is nill, and they don't want to pay again and again for the same content just because they want to use it on another piece of hardware. If media companies want to survive and make money in the new world of digital downlaods, they are going to have to do more than simply restrct user use. Doig so only breeds rebellion in the comsumer base. They are in effect going against the flow of consumer demand, which is to make their stuff run on all their hardware. ironaically enough even as hardware manufacturers are making their stuff ever more compatable with each other, the content providers are actively engaged in fighting the comsumers ability to use their honsestly purchased content on all of their hardware. As we have seen in many other fields 9auto makers anyone) when producers start fighting consumer prefrence, they inevitably lose. if traditional media companies want to survive, they will have to drop their prices and allow people to copy and use their content on many devices. Who knows, maybe if content was fully integrated consumers would buy more of their content. it is a fact that there are many consumers who refuse to adopt technology because they feel that they are being taken for a rise by the content providers. And can you blame such people? when a company kills old standards just to sell more of the same it can only lead to consumer withdrawl. Sony and its PS, PS2 (and soon PS3) has proven at least with games, that when you allow backward compatability, you gorw your market and encourage people to buy content because consumers feel more confident that they will be able to enjoy that content for many years to come. if media companies did likewise for movies and music they may be surprised to learn that their sales will actually (gasp) increase, resulting in higher profits that will offset whatever hit they take by lowering prices. more importantly, lower prices also boost consumption, so lower prices will encourage more people to buy content, which will only further amplify content use and thereby help media companies make their profit. Big media companies can make a valid, perfectly working business model that can and will make them rich in the new digital world, but only if they pull their heads out of the sand and commit to the new technology and new methods of content distribution.

Re:old business model trying desperately to surviv (1)

vonsneerderhooten (254776) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985710)

You'd be reluctant to give up something that worked so good for so long, too.

SpaceChannel.TV is doing this too (2, Interesting)

RockyPersaud (937868) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985689)

SpaceChannel.TV will be doing this too. We're rolling out next week a download site (specific to the Space Entertainment, Space Sports, and Science Fiction market) where our programs may be purchased to own. AND -- 6 to 12 months later you'll be able to RESELL your copy through our site. Videos will be encrypted, and you'll have to be online for just a few seconds for our custom video player to grab the decryption key -- after a few seconds you can go offline and continue watching the video.

We're not delivering DVDs, but perhaps we could in the future.

Another thing we're working on: videos are purchased through a credit exchange system. You can purchase credits directly, or watch ads to be given credits by our system. We collect revenue from advertisers whose ads you watch, and pass on the value to you. In the first six months, that value is passed on at par!

--
Rocky Persaud
President, IPX Entertainment
http://spacechannel.tv/ [spacechannel.tv]
--

too expensive (2, Interesting)

beautiful leper (892064) | more than 8 years ago | (#14985708)

By the laws of supply and demand I feel they are asking for way too much. They are assuming the cost of overhead as if they had to send on trucks jewel cases and cds with printed media. But I guess wasting forty minutes downloading on painfuly slow lines is somehow worth 18 dollors.

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