The Internet is not just one thing, it’s a collection of things – of numerous communications networks that all speak the same digital language


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.

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0 thoughts on “The Internet is not just one thing, it’s a collection of things – of numerous communications networks that all speak the same digital language

  1. if only there was more widespread knowledge of the fact that dvd backup is legal, i can’t beleive the ‘hoohah’ that this new idea is aiming for.
    the article you pointed out states that the prices start at 19.99 then up to 35, this means you are being charged over double for a new title dvd for universal to save you the click of a button and 10 mins wait to create your backups.

    should i be excited about that? or should i buy the dvd cheap, back it up myself (or even just play the damned thing on any of my devices) or shall i just swipe it from the web, and think “hey universal. i’d happilly pay you ten dollars for what i am doing for free right now, let me”
    its like they are not listening, christ it really is “them” now isnt it?
    as for cover art etc…unless the box is somthing special, i’m kind of getting over hard copies these days anyway, pipe it to me.

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