i read this weeks news about universal offering legal movie downloads with excitement only for it to rapidly turn to bemused annoyance. from the bbc news site:
“Fans will pay £19.99 for a DVD of their chosen film plus two digital copies to keep indefinitely – one for their home computer and one for a portable device…However users will not be able to burn copies of the films to DVD themselves and the files will be compatible only with PCs and Windows software.That means they cannot be viewed on Apple iPods or Macs.”
now, mac/pc issues aside (allthough it’s a pretty big aside for us apple users) why on earth would i be excited to pay £19.99 for a ‘download’ that has to come with a hard copy when – if i wanted a hard copy – i can allready just go to hmv or amazon and get a retail dvd for the same price (if not almost certainly cheaper) and use dvdbackup or some such programme to make a copy for another machine? why can’t they grasp that for many users the whole point of legal downloads will be the option to have a no-frills digital-only purchase?
to my mind the ideal download service (and i realise i am speaking purely from a consumer point of view, not a technical one) will offer:
1) the option to ‘rent’ a download. this sort of this has been done before with music. several legal music sites have had (the rather dubious) service of a monthly subscription which if you stop paying causes your music files to stop playing.
2) the option to buy a no-frills, no packaging digital copy to keep. which CAN be backed up in the same way a retail dvd can.
3) as above but with sleeve artwork
4) a hard copy with sleeve artwork and the ability to back up.
obviously these would increase incrimentaly in price with the last option being around the price of a regular dvd.
at least that’s how it is in my dream world….
edit: as i sidenote i just went to the universal website and noticed the advert for ‘on demand pay-per view’ i dully clicked to get more info only to have around ten quicktime pop-ups open onto my screen along with around five ‘this url is not valid’ messages – and no pay per view info. i’m not sure if this is mac incompatability or just rubbishness but it gave me the fear and i exited the site pretty quickly.