Last week, the LA Times reported that several major studios began offering downloadable versions of their movies on the day of DVD release. The details left me stunned: Windows only, DRM movies at roughly twice the DVD price. You can’t even burn ‘em to disc. Let’s go through the stupidity point by point.
- Release the Video on Opening Day. Lots of us have grown up. We’ve got kids, mortgages and pets. Babysitting costs? Crippling. We’re not going out to the movie theater even if you gave us free popcorn. We hate the icky seats, the crowding, the germ-laden air and so forth. So let us buy the movie on the same day it hits theaters. We’ll even pay theater prices and maybe a small premium. This nonsense of delaying the DVD/video release doesn’t pack the theaters more, it just ticks off the people who have to wait.
- Skip the DRM limits. It’s called steganography, people. I can’t believe this technology hasn’t caught up with video. For heaven’s sake, just embed a single-user license code somewhere into the video itself. If someone peers-to-peers it, look up the code and prosecute the guilty party. The code doesn’t have to permeate the entire video, just a few secret scenes will do it. Add this to the storefront fulfillment software and bob’s your uncle.
- Price it right. If you make us wait and won’t give us a pressed disc, at least give us a price break for crying out loud. Downloads should cost less not more than a DVD. You’re getting lower-quality and no package. We know how to rip, guys. Make it worth our while to buy digital.
- Let us Convert. When I buy a movie, I want to be able to play it on the device of my choice, including my TV. Playback only on a PC? They guy or gal who came up with the PC-only limit is, frankly, an idiot. I can imagine him or her saying “Let’s sell movies, charge double the price of a DVD and…best of all!…prevent the customer from using the TV for playback.” Genius!
- Skip time limits. Actually, this is one thing they got right. When people download a video, don’t make it auto destruct. Just let people play it whenever they like, however they like. This isn’t Blockbusters or Netflix. There are no shiny little discs to return so someone else can watch. Just sell the movie, we’ll watch it when we get around to it.
- Make it Universal. What kind of idiot thinks: “Digital Media. Let’s go only with Windows?” Macs do digital media. Linux does digital media. Why Windows only? *knock* *knock* Anybody home?
CinemaNow: “You must use Internet Explorer Version 6 or higher on a PC running Windows 2000 or later in order to use the CinemaNow service.”
Movielink: “Sorry, but as of May 2, 2005, Movielink no longer supports Windows 98 and ME operating systems. Movielink also does not support Mac or Linux. In order to enjoy the Movielink service, you must use Windows 2000 or XP,
which support certain technologies we utilize for downloading movies.”