Monday, September 18, 2006

Why do we buy movies?

Serious question. I know people with huge DVD collections. I don't know anyone with a good reason to have a huge DVD collection. What's the point? How many times do we really rewatch a movie within the lifetime of a given media technology? Yeah, I've touched on this before with the HD DVD vs. Blu Ray post. It still bugs me. The new iTunes and Amazon Unbox movie purchase options made me want to ask the question again. I installed iTunes 7 just to try it. I bought Grosse Point Blank. It looks ok, I guess. Not quite DVD quality, but good for the bitrate. And it plays reasonably well on the laptop I use, though there is some tearing of the image when there are fast horizontal image transitions, and it does stall and stutter if there's any other I/O going on, which is not true of WMP/DiVX/normal Quicktime media. It looks better than the last movies I rented from Movielink or CinemaNow. I'd be satisfied with the quality if it was for a cheap 24-hour rental, but there's no way I'll buy another movie that way. DVD prices for less-than-DVD quality, flexibility or ubiquity. The only upside I see is that with electronic delivery of purchased movies is the better than average chance that you'll lose all those idle, wasted purchases in a hard disk crash, which will at least save you the trouble of unloading all those unwatched DVDs you might have bought at your next garage sale. Seriously, why buy these things?

Subscription model music and 24-hour rental movies, electronically delivered - that's the future. Well, it's the future that I'll buy into at least. Urge or Yahoo Music, with Movielink or CinemaNow movie rentals, until better, cheaper options come along. Oh, and while we're on the subject - Movielink and CinemaNow listen up! Give me better quality and selections before someone else steals your thunder. Take a page from the music guys - electronic delivery frees you up to take advantage of the Long Tail(tm). Take advantage of that. I want access to EVERY MOVIE EVER MADE, in high quality, as rentals. Not your currently lame selection of late-model also-rans in almost-HQ. Get serious or move over for someone better.