writing, meet wall

Well, this sucks for HD-DVD:

Netflix has just announced its intention to only stock Blu-ray titles in the future. Netflix justified its decision by pointing out the fact that most Hollywood studios seem to be converging solely around the Sony-backed format — a fact that’s all too familiar to Toshiba and friends. With both Blockbuster and now the ‘Flix having eschewed HD DVD for BD, it’s gonna get harder and harder to even find a place to rent those former discs in the first place, let alone one that has a decent selection.

I think that this is pretty serious a blow, since renting movies is the way most people watch them instead of purchasing them outright. Though it should be noted that downloading a movie instead of renting a physical disc is a business plan waiting in the wings. I don’t think it will happen soon enough to blunt the impact of Netflix’s decision, though, and anyway even if download becomes prevalent that doesnt help Blu-ray or HD-DVD much. They are both fighting to see who gets obsoleted last.

HD-DVD players are very, very cheap at Amazon.

I give up

I tried to use the Netflix live-movie streaming service to watch Ghost in the Shell:Stand Alone Complex and was rewarded for it with this:

netflix denied

that was after I was told that Firefox was incompatible, then asked by Internet Explorer to download three things and install two others, and after jumpin through all those hoops, got various “you do not have permissions to access this content” dialog boxes. The coup de grace was the message aboveApple is headed down the same bogus road:

Sources say Apple plans to charge $3.99 a pop for 24-hour rentals. Since Apple may agree to pay closer to the $17 wholesale price paid by other retailers, it’s unclear whether iTunes might boost the price or take a small loss to help drive sales of Apple TV boxes and video iPod players.

Apple’s movie download service is going to crash and burn, and leave a bigger smoking crater than Circuit City’s ill-fated DivX did a few years back. Four bucks for 24 hour rentals?

The first company to let you click one button and download a movie – no frills, no subtitles, no disc extras, just the movie – directly to your DVD burner and stick that in your home theater DVD player is going to mint money, for themselves and for the movie studios. And yeah I’d pay five bucks a pop for that, and I’d ditch Netflix too.

Unfortunately it only took the music companies 20 years or so to figure out that DRM was Dumb Retail Marketing. Maybe we have to wait another 20 years for the movie studios to figure that out. By which time the whole concept of physical media will be obsolete anyway.