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vrDrew
Nov 29, 2011, 12:23 PM
A Practical Discussion Part I

This past Thanksgiving, I visited a local Best Buy store for their "Black Friday" midnight sale along with an acquaintance. My friend ended up buying a half dozen or so DVD movies, and it so happened that a few days later we ended up watching one of his purchases: Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Night_at_the_Museum:_Battle_of_the_Smithsonian).

As it turned out the movie was, shall we say, disappointing. Somewhat leaden dialog, a preposterous plot, and hammy acting by otherwise accomplished actors. The special-effects were good - but not good enough to overcome the sad reality that neither of us expect to ever watch it again.

As I looked around my friend's living room, with its array of bookshelves, media armoires and coffee tables laden with dust-covered DVD jewel cases, I pondered some on the question as to why we actually want to "own" a copy of a movie. And, if we decide that we do, then what is the best way to do so?

First, let me state my opinion that there are very few movies that are actually worth watching more than once or twice: Gone with the Wind. Godfather I & II. Animal House. The Wizard of Oz. Lawrence of Arabia. Doctor Zhivago. Star Wars Episodes I & II. Your list may differ - but I suspect very few people could legitimately name more than say a couple of dozen movies that really are worthy of watching more than once per decade.

We live in an age of great technological change. With my own eyes I have seen the progression from Super8 and 16mm reel projectors, through Betamaxes, VHS, LaserDisc, DVD and Blu-Ray, and now digital downloads from Apple, Amazon and Netflix. I could, had I wanted to, have purchased a copy of The Sting or Jaws on no less than seven different formats.

Think now of the logistical considerations of owning a movie in physical form. I've helped more than one friend move their movie collections through changes of address and through divorce. Each of which entailed dozens of cardboard boxes, and wrenching emotional decisions as to rights of ownership and primacy of custody. I know several people who have spent thousands of dollars buying shelving and drawer units simply to store their media collections.

And for what? I ask myself. Because a physical copy of a movie is a depreciating asset. A DVD copy of Fast Times at Richmont High is never going to be worth as much as the day it was bought. And its value rapidly approaches zero as soon as a High-Defintion version, with directors commentary, becomes available on Blu-Ray. Which is all but inevitably going to be supplanted by some as-yet un-named format. Bottom line: Owning Movies is a losing game.

Many of us in this forum spend untold hours, and considerable financial resources, ripping and encoding their DVD collections to store them on our home media server or NAS devices. A seemingly worthwhile goal.

But look closer at this task. While storing your movies on inexpensive hard drives at least temporarily removes the physical storage space issue (Or at least transfers the load from the living room to the attic or basement. How many of us actually dispose of the source DVD?) it certainly doesn't remove any of the other burdens of ownership. We still have to archive our collections, buying still more hard-drives and NAS to do so. And paying for the electricity to keep their discs spinning and their LEDs glowing.

Does it not seem, as we absorb and consider the full implications of iOS 5 and the advent of iCloud, that the days of owning a physical copy of a movie or TV are coming to an end? And that, even for those of us who buy only a digital download copy of a favorite movie or TV show, that its probably better to let it live only on the Cloud?

To be continued...



adbe
Nov 29, 2011, 12:29 PM
Short answer: four year old girls.

I own about half of the Disney library, and most of Pixar to boot. I'm happy to have spent the money.

mstrze
Nov 29, 2011, 12:49 PM
Well, before 1976 or thereabouts, only the super-rich could afford to 'own' a movie. It would have been on the actual reels and have to be played in a literal home theater which would included a an actual projector and a screen.

I would say that videotape made it reasonable for people to start collecting movies, and the cost of physical, ownable, high-quality movies from the studios dropped from 70-90 bucks a pop to under $20 right around the time Beverly Hills Cop was released on VHS/Beta back in 1984 or so. It came out at $14.99 and sold amazingly well and the home ownership of movies took off as every studio slashed their prices in turn. Columbia House and other 'movie' clubs only made it cheaper to own (6 movies for a buck?!?!). DVD releases in the late 90s made it even more enticing, owning a perfect, non-degradable, random-access copy....then Blu Ray and digital downloads..etc.

Why do people do it? Humans are generally hoarders at heart. We have a strong desire to own things and show off to friends and peers just how much we own. Heck, Apple knows this. It's part of the reasons why the original iTunes model of song ownership was so much more successful than those services that would allow you access to hundreds of thousands of songs for a monthly fee. Once you stopped paying, the songs were no longer accessible to you.

We need to own these items to feel a sense of pride and accomplishment. There's no way around it. I have gotten to a point in my life where that is no longer a major goal, so I have been tossing/selling anything without sentimental value. Home movies, or actual shows (theater and TV) that I have appeared on, I keep...other stuff can be rented or streamed of found on YouTube.

I share your opinion OP...I think...thought I haven't read your 'continued portion. ;)

MovieCutter
Nov 29, 2011, 01:42 PM
First, let me state my opinion that there are very few movies that are actually worth watching more than once or twice: [I]Gone with the Wind. Godfather I & II. Animal House. The Wizard of Oz. Lawrence of Arabia. Doctor Zhivago. Star Wars Episodes I & II. Your list may differ - but I suspect very few people could legitimately name more than say a couple of dozen movies that really are worthy of watching more than once per decade.

Your argument is now invalid...:cool:

That being said, I own over 800 movies and 50 TV series. I consider myself a digital hoarder. Buy-rip-store. And yes, it is because I enjoy showing off my collection. I have a large home theater with a huge projection screen, and my friends and I LOVE scrolling through the movie posters on Plex.

Darth.Titan
Nov 29, 2011, 02:07 PM
I imagine the OP actually meant Episodes IV and V. They probably don't consider the prequels worth mentioning.

handsome pete
Nov 29, 2011, 02:25 PM
Your argument is now invalid...:cool:

That being said, I own over 800 movies and 50 TV series. I consider myself a digital hoarder. Buy-rip-store. And yes, it is because I enjoy showing off my collection. I have a large home theater with a huge projection screen, and my friends and I LOVE scrolling through the movie posters on Plex.

I'm hoping he meant "A New Hope" and "Empire."

That said, the only way I think the cloud infrastructure could really work as a permanent solution is that whatever content you store on it has some sort of guarantee to go with it. Think FDIC where it comes to banking.

The problem with all of these cloud services is what kind of assurance do you have that your content will be protected should the service ever cease to exist or changes its business model?

Aside from that, you're completely at the mercy of your internet provider as well as the cloud provider.

The allure of having a physical copy is that you don't have to worry about any of this. You just need to make sure you have power to run your equipment.

So while I certainly see the demise of physical media, I think it will be an extremely slow death. And it won't truly be gone until some of these issues are addressed.

Alrescha
Nov 29, 2011, 03:13 PM
[I]Does it not seem, as we absorb and consider the full implications of iOS 5 and the advent of iCloud, that the days of owning a physical copy of a movie or TV are coming to an end? And that, even for those of us who buy only a digital download copy of a favorite movie or TV show, that its probably better to let it live only on the Cloud?

The problem for me, and possibly others, is that currently one cannot depend on the cloud to allow you to watch a movie when you want to watch it.

I'm not talking about streaming/buffering delays, I'm talking about the ever-changing landscape of what is available on iTunes/Netflix/Amazon/etc. You simply cannot invite some folks over for dinner and a movie and know that your choice of movie will be available. All the services are at the whim of the content providers who withdraw movies from circulation for their own reasons.

What makes this even more frustrating is that many of the movies you might want to buy (to avoid the above problem) are only available to rent - or you can buy the SD version online for more than it would cost to buy the DVD, delivered. Adding salt to the wound is the rental prices are 2x to 4x what it costs to rent locally. The day my little shopping center down the street gets a RedBox is the day my online rental spending drops to $0.

The online marketplace has come a long way. It has a long way to go.

A.

idunn
Nov 29, 2011, 05:13 PM
An interesting proposition. Although in the end surely a personal decision seeing a wide variety of individual needs and preferences.

Ideally having everything in the cloud would be, well, ideal. Services such as Hulu, or Amazon Video on Demand, where one can own something sans commercials, can work quite well. But the reality of that becomes abruptly obvious as soon as one loses the internet connection for some reason. Or, for that matter, does not have sufficient broadband to stream in HD, etc. It also amply highlights what remains a possibility with Amazon or any other provider, that in some act of God or otherwise possibly disappear. So if relying upon that, one should ultimately be as prepared to see their entire online library disappear in a nanosecond. Not likely, maybe, but one is playing the odds nevertheless. Or, more likely, the company may decide to change their business model into something you no longer like, but to the extent one has purchased content they do not wish to lose, beholden.

Some of these vast personal media libraries are surely little more than collecting.* But it is still interesting how much more pleasant a digital menu and instant access is than the proposition of going to all the trouble of finding a disc and slipping it into a slot (theoretically being nothing). But there you are. So aside from collecting, it would make sense that one would wish to digitize their media, despite the pain of doing so. In a metaphysical sense I'll allow that with some of these movies one may actually spend more time transcoding them then ever in a lifetime actually watching.

Thus back to the issue of personal taste. Some people are never going to care, with others at opposite end of the spectrum digitizing everything in sight just on principal. Somewhere between those who never care to watch any movie more than once, and the four year-old who might literally wear out a single DVD, are the rest of us.

Each will have their favorites, and nice to think it will always be easily at hand.


* Not to mention 1080p resolution being surpassed in future.

slothrob
Nov 30, 2011, 05:35 AM
So aside from collecting, it would make sense that one would wish to digitize their media, despite the pain of doing so. In a metaphysical sense I'll allow that with some of these movies one may actually spend more time transcoding them then ever in a lifetime actually watching.
I'm a bit of a collector/hoarder by nature and genetics, but I try to be selective by collecting only things that I know I'll (at least want to) watch every year or so or things that I have an deep affection for but I may never have another chance to see again. I also look for and buy things, when I see them for a reasonable price, that I think me and my wife or daughter might enjoy watching together, since it can be hard to find anything worthwhile when you actually find the time to watch.

That being beside the point, my actual time contribution to transcoding is 5, maybe 10 minutes. Meanwhile, the transcoding process (and serving iTunes) allows me to get use out of my expensive computer investment when it would normally just be sitting around collecting dust.

vrDrew
Nov 30, 2011, 09:00 AM
Part II Why we shouldn't own movies

The period from 1968 through 1973 was a true Golden Age of American Cinema. Movies like Bonnie & Clyde; 2001 A Space Odyssey; Patton; Midnight Cowboy; Chinatown and dozens more, marked a unique period in film history. A time when young, film-school educated directors like Robert Altman and Francis Ford Coppola redefined character, dialog, pacing, and plot. Yet one person who almost certainly didn't get to see any of these gems - despite having immense personal resources, and having a personal history in the film business - was Howard Hughes. According to most accounts, he spent his last years endlessly watching a looped copy of Ice Station Zebra - a somewhat dull, stupid, and plodding Cold War rehash of an Alistair MacLean novel. Lesson: Sometimes simply having a movie isn't a very good reason to watch it.

OK: I'm not going to suggest that having your own movie collection is going to turn you into a drug-addled hermit, bagging your own urine and growing out your fingernails. But I do think its worth thinking about the limiting effects of owning a copy of a movie.

When I think back over the past year, and the absolute best movies I seen, they almost all were films I'd never heard about. Two movies about French gangster Jacques Mesrine (Mesrine: Killer Instinct and Public Enemy #1). Sophie Scholl The Final Days. Water Drops on Burning Rocks. All foreign movies (subtitled) - but also all movies I would never have picked out of a DVD bin at Best Buy.

The reason, of course, is Netflix. Because Netflix a) is streaming and b) lets you watch a movie at essentially zero marginal cost - it encourages experimentation. Sure, I've found a couple dozen movies I loved. But I also have given up on a couple after the first few minutes. No loss.

I've also rented a few movies through iTunes. Black Swan (with Natalie Portman) and The Mechanic, with Jason Statham stand out in my mind. One pretty good, the other a little disappointing. Both were movies I hadn't seen in theaters, but my girlfriend and I made a "date night" out of seeing a first-run movie. I'm glad I watched them, and I don't begrudge the $5 I paid to rent them. But I wouldn't want to watch either of them again.

I compare my experience to that of my Mom, with her shelves full of VHS and DVD boxes. Come Christmas, I'm certain she's going to drag Zulu or Gone With Wind out, saying as she does "You know you like this film."

True. But I've seen them both before.

Each year Hollywood alone puts out 500 or so mainstream movies. Europe and Asia (especially India) release literally thousands more. Maybe most of them aren't much good. But certainly some of them are absolutely fantastic. The thing is, you'll never get the chance to find out if you keep stocking your shelves, and loading up your DVD players and NAS drives, with copies of Porky's II The Next Day and Lord of the Rings: Return of the King.

Having a movie collection is a bit like owning a vacation home or a week at a resort timeshare. Nice enough - but after a while you begin to feel obligated to spend your vacations there, and you never get the chance to go someplace new. Life is short. Too short to keep watching the same movie over and over.

Don't be Howard Hughes. Or Howard the Duck (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_the_Duck_(film)).

PS: Thanks to everyone who commented in this thread, you've brought up some interesting points of view, things I hadn't completely considered. I mean in no way to mock, disparage, or belittle anyone who has a movie collection (large or small.) My intention is only to encourage thought and discussion on the topic of enjoying video entertainment on our a/v systems in general, and AppleTV in particular. Peace.

ravenvii
Nov 30, 2011, 10:16 AM
I agree; that's why I went from a (modest) collection of DVDs consisting of approximately two mid-sized shelves to not owning one DVD.

I now own no movies at all. If I want to watch a movie, I put it on my Netflix queue. Simple.

damir00
Nov 30, 2011, 11:00 AM
It's a good question, really. Went through a "collecting" phase on movies - got to a couple of Terabytes worth - and then decided it just wasn't worth the bother. Have added maybe 2 movies in the past 6 months to the (digital) library.

Netflix and $5 HD rentals and the occassional $10 discount BluRay purchase are, frankly, good enough.

There is something different about music...I'm not giving up my tunage...but movies/tv shows? Not that big a deal...at least for me...

winterlocked
Nov 30, 2011, 11:13 AM
What a great thread. Oddly, I find that if I have a movie saved on my appletv, I'm actually less likely to watch it.

I found that every time an old James bond movie was on tv on a lazy Sunday, id plop down and watch it, so I bought and ripped the collection, thinking "every sunday is going to be amazing now!"

...But I never watch them. However, if one's showing on tv when im flipping around, I'll still stop and watch it there.

I think there's something about the sponenaeity or surprise. Like hearing a song you like On the radio and turning it up, even though "blaze of glory" has also been living on your iPod for five years and you never listen to it there.

bocomo
Nov 30, 2011, 11:29 AM
Very interesting thread

While i don't agree with everything the op said, i do find myself watching "guilty pleasure" movies when they pop up on tv (road house, cocktail, james bond films)

I might even want to add a prequel to the topic:

Merely abandoning the packaging and shelving of a movie collection; putting all of my discs into storage pages and albums. They take up less space and sre easier to transport. The thing i miss though is the browsing at somebody's movie shelves when you visit - tells you a bit about the person

All in all, there are movies that i like to own that may not be available for streaming or come on tv, so i'll still be buying them

duncanapple
Nov 30, 2011, 12:12 PM
A good discussion that I will just add my $.02 to.

I want to own my music because its something I plan to listen to over and over again - not once. Therefore if I decide to "rent" or "subscribe" to my own library collection vs purchase, I am always at the whim of the person selling it not to raise prices, go out of business, etc. For this reason alone I am also unlikely to (willingly) move to the cloud. Besides worrying about all of the above issues you also have to deal with internet service reliability/availability, bandwidth restrictions (which are coming, the writing is on the wall), and in general the cost associated with keeping all of these services going. I have no problem with companies making a profit but I do my best to insulate myself from having to give them any more money that I have to. Trusting music/movie subscriptions, clouds, and (maybe worst of all) internet service providers takes everything one step further from being under your control.

On the flip side, since I personally agree with the OP about the questionable value in owning a movie (not many will ever be re-watched even once, let alone the 12+ times it would require to outpace a red box rental or 3 times to outpace a digital download rental) I don't mind renting those. If the economics ever change where all of a sudden redbox raises the price 10x, digital download rentals go through the roof, and DVD purchase prices plummet (this last one unlikely) I can make the decision on a case by case basis each time I want to watch a movie to buy or rent. My prior consumption pattern doesn't matter because each movie will be the first and last time I watch it. I wont regret not buying "the hangover" because the rental price has shot up - I wont ever be watching it again. Likewise when some unknown movie of the future comes out, I may buy or I may rent. Depends on whats cheaper really.


Lastly, on an unrelated note, I wish the entire movie industry would give up a little of the greed. Renting a movie online is convenient for me, sure. But being 5x more expensive than a redbox is absurd. You have to remember its far cheaper and more convenient for them too - true they have servers to keep going but that's less work than maintaining kiosks, stores, additional employees, etc. I understand the open market and supply and demand so its obv up to them. But it seems like if they would come down to the $3 mark or so, they would more than double their business. Just a hunch.

edit: one small exception is if you have kids - I will prob buy a few movies here and there when we have them just because they have an uncanny ability to watch the same thing 100x without so much as a peep lol. In that case you obv far exceed the value of purchasing it (in any format lol)

ftaok
Nov 30, 2011, 01:29 PM
While i don't agree with everything the op said, i do find myself watching "guilty pleasure" movies when they pop up on tv (road house, cocktail, james bond films)No one needs to feel guilty for watching Roadhouse. It's a great movie. It's got everything that most guys watch movies for. Violence, T&A, Gore, Plot, Drama, and Sam Elliot.

edit: one small exception is if you have kids - I will prob buy a few movies here and there when we have them just because they have an uncanny ability to watch the same thing 100x without so much as a peep lol. In that case you obv far exceed the value of purchasing it (in any format lol)This is, by far, the main reason I own any movies. Kids can watch the same episode or movie 100 times over. I can practically recite any line from Surf's Up ... but I've not actually watched it. Last summer, it was playing behind me in the minivan just about every weekend.

DustinT
Nov 30, 2011, 01:45 PM
Excellent thread and one that mirrors my thinking. I've purchased less than a dozen movies in the last 5 years, mainly because I've only found about a dozen that are worth buying. Now, I watch pretty much everything from Hollywood and a small handful of foreign films that interest me. I just don't think enough of them to buy them.

I'll add this to the conversation however, Amazon has a stunning used marketplace. As an example, you can purchase the 3 disk LOTR trilogy on bluray for $26.00 including shipping at the time I write this (check the attached screenshot for details). Now, if one can be bothered to go online and order it from Amazon, wait for delivery, rip a copy to your local storage and RESALE it on Amazon, your total cost for legally acquiring 3 movies in bluray format could easily be about $5 assuming you can sell it for what you paid for it.

This is an interesting way to build one's digital library legally with a minimum of cost. Well, that does depend on already owning suitable storage and being able to handle the capital requirements of the Amazon purchase and resale proposition. Based on the quality of the posts in this thread, I hope its a safe assumption that most of use already have the storage and a spare credit card to handle this transaction.

Alrescha
Nov 30, 2011, 02:04 PM
Now, if one can be bothered to go online and order it from Amazon, wait for delivery, rip a copy to your local storage and RESALE it on Amazon, your total cost for legally acquiring 3 movies in bluray format could easily be about $5 assuming you can sell it for what you paid for it.

You have a funny idea of what "legal" means.

A.

ender land
Nov 30, 2011, 02:59 PM
You have a funny idea of what "legal" means.

A.


As well as "metaphysics" :)

kiranmk2
Nov 30, 2011, 05:40 PM
I like owning my media, but I'm fed up with having to store it. I've already ripped most of my 2-300 disc collection which is taking up less than half a 2 TB NAS. The problem is I'm pretty anal so I'm yet to rip my DTS discs as there is yet to be a solution for DTS-in-mp4 (although it can now be done, virtually nothing supports it yet). I can barely hear a difference, but I've got the DTS tracks so I damn well want to keep them! Likewise, with extras: Most extras are a big waste of time - give me the teaser, trailer and a good making-of/commentary track. ITunes extras gives me hope that I will one day have a single .ite file with the film and extras. I know that most extras I will watch once and think - "what a waste of time" and I rarely have time to listen to commentary tracks this time, but it still just seems lazy not to include these things with digital copies - especially with the uncompetitive prices and risk of iTunes going belly up (however unlikely). I understand why the DRM is there, but it still pisses me off. Likewise, if iTunes started selling ALAC albums (i.e. ALAC is only available if you buy a complete album) I'd never buy a CD again.

ranoi
Nov 30, 2011, 08:50 PM
Technically you never really "own" the content anyways.


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MovieCutter
Nov 30, 2011, 09:50 PM
Someone's writing a Film Studies mid-term...

NMF
Nov 30, 2011, 10:53 PM
Yeah, "owning" movies has always been silly. I never watch a movie more than once.

Omne666
Dec 1, 2011, 08:09 AM
Yeah, "owning" movies has always been silly. I never watch a movie more than once.

Thats a shame! I love re-watching particularly good movies and picking up the more subtle things i missed initially. Of course, were not talking several times a week, but several times a year easily.

As for collecting...hell yeah! I'm a magpie for digital media, and haven't bought physical media in over 2 years now. Love buying from iTunes. If the wife or kids buy a CD or DVD/Blu-ray....its ripped almost immediately.

reebzor
Dec 1, 2011, 10:23 AM
The essential aspect that this thread lacks is: illegal acquisition.

Face it, it is part of the "Movie Ownership" world and excluding it does not make sense. The fact of the matter is a lot of people acquire their movies and tv shows through less than legal means, i.e. zero cost. Zero cost should not be confused with the negligible cost that is netflix.

It is a lot easier to hoard media if you are not paying a dime for it. The only thing it ends up costing is a relatively tiny amount of harddrive space, and you could care less if you ever even watch the movie.

OneMike
Dec 1, 2011, 11:24 AM
It's all about the movie.

I haven't purchased many movies I haven't seen before. Therefore, 9/10 the movie I'm buying I'm already looking at for the 2nd time at least.

Also with kids. They can watch the same movie a million times.

vrDrew
Dec 1, 2011, 11:49 AM
Part III But if you do.....

The last time I moved house, about five years ago, I came across a box full of Syquest EZ 135 cartridges. Which immediately brought back a flood of memories. Unfortunately, they weren't the digital memories stored on the cartridges (mainly old spreadsheets, a couple of complete backups for a long-discarded computer system, and the sort of pitiful 320x240 photos I snapped with my Apple QuickTake 100) - it was the memory of the anger and frustration I'd felt when both the Syquest drive and my Mac Performa had failed in the space of a couple of weeks back in 1999.

Its a cautionary tale. And one anyone investing a lot of time, money, or sentiment in building a home-based movie collection ought to keep in mind. There are three lessons here:

1) Hardware fails. A consumer-grade NAS has a MTBF ("Mean time Between Failure") rating of 500,000 hours, or about fifty-seven years. So you should be able to count on watching your rip of Saving Private Ryan on June 6, 2044, right? Not so fast. Those MTBF ratings are the average - and certainly not a guarantee. Plus, there are all the other things that can go wrong: fires, theft, floods, earthquakes, tornados.

2) Formats become obsolete. This is the biggest threat. I don't need to remind most readers of the list of obsolete media formats. If not, I've got a stack of 8-Track cassettes and LaserDisc movies you can have real cheap. The MP4 format didn't exist fifteen years ago when I was busy backing up my files to my Syquest cassettes. Want to take a bet we'll be using a completely different format come 2020?

3) Even if you can access the Media, is it really worth it? When I was a kid, I thought the battle sequences in Patton were awesome. Nowadays, I look at them and laugh at the (Spanish Army) M60 tanks pretending to Pz.Kpfw. IVs. Over time our expectations for effects, costumes, dialog and sound change. Our tastes change too. Seinfeld, for instance, was once part of my Thursday night ritual. Nowadays, it seems sorta "Meh."

I used the term "Metaphysics" in this thread because I wanted to think about the fundamental nature of a movie collection's existence. If you've got a copy of The Towering Inferno on a LaserDisc or Beta cassette, and no hardware to play it, does it really exist? I'd argue that the answer to that question is: No it doesn't. You've got a plastic shell and some magnetic tape, an archeological artifact, but thats about it.

There is a coda to my story about the Syquest cassettes. On one of them was a folder containing some scans of photos I'd taken of my brother and I at the 1997 Packers/Patriots SuperBowl in New Orleans. Literally irreplaceable images of a once-in-lifetime event. The physical color snapshots themselves have now faded into a yellowish haze, and obviously the Syquest gifs were long gone. But back in 2000, I was an early-adopter of a new service from (then Internet high-flier) Yahoo! I uploaded the images from one of the 3.5" diskettes (another obsolete format) I'd salvaged from my dying Performa to Yahoo! Photos.

The photos lived on, unblemished by the passage of years. They were moved to Flickr when Yahoo acquired that company. And they are still up there today, accessible to my brother and his family, including a daughter who literally didn't exist when they were taken, and who wonders why the young fellow with all the hair looks a bit like her Dad.

The Cloud is the future my friends, especially if you want to hold on to the past.

idunn
Dec 2, 2011, 02:16 AM
With the advent of 4K on the horizon I can see where in time a lot of libraries in BlueRay might begin to seem kind of dated. Particularly for the aficionado, although compared to what some once put up with in adjusting rabbit ears to get a decent enough picture to see when their favorite movie finally aired on network television (with commercials), 1080p at your leisure seems spectacular. We may be at the point of diminishing returns in some of this. An audio buff I know insists on nothing but the finest, and can apparently hear the difference, but a lot of people are fairly content with the compressed quality of music from iTunes.

So part of this equation really does come down to personal preference. In whether one will only watch a movie once, or really will watch favorites intermittently throughout the years. Knowing that in advance, and one's preferences, would well inform which options one would be happiest with.

In this life there may be nothing permanent, but with digital media there is at least the argument to be made that if carefully stored, with redundancy, that a fair chance of preserving it. A far better chance than with film stock or even DVDs. Perhaps the best solution, if really serious, would be to separate one's eggs with backup both at home and also in the cloud. Apple seems to be heading in the direction where this could be feasible and easy. But in reading threads such as this one could be excused in thinking that ripping media and otherwise compiling libraries is an everyday matter of course, until considering the broader world in which they live where many have little more expertise or desire than how to buy and view a DVD, and maybe BlueRay. Streaming is probably only beginning to enter the greater consciousness as a real possibility, when most may consider all options confined to what cable has to offer.

So while the cloud might be the future, not yet fully here. As an ideal it is great, with anything and everything one might want at the touch of a button without any of the expense and difficulties of personal ownership and storage. That that isn't a fully formed reality yet doesn't mean it will not be.

However the saying 'a bird in hand' is apt here. What technology provides it can take away as easily, which applies not only to hardware but services as well. If you have some media truly treasured in hand and carefully stored then likely as long as the concept of forever will matter to you. The same cannot be exactly said for corporate providers with their shifting allegiances and business models. Presumably their interest will align with customers in wishing to preserve their access to desired media. Although even now there seems a contradiction between companies such as Apple who are keen on cloud services, as opposed to many ISPs who are short-sighted enough to prefer a parsimonious distribution of data throughput to their customers. Beyond that, in the realm of movies and Hollywood there are many films you are not seeing as never made as they might be, because what was supposedly merely an advisory rating policy now means the upper end of expression is tailored for no more than an 'R' rating, just so it may be shown at all and commercially viable. There is nothing to say that in future shifting morals in society will look unfavorably upon certain media you once assumed would always be freely available. If maybe small, there is a risk with what you do not absolutely personally control.

All of which may be academic to those who only wish to consume the latest offering and be done with it, moving on to the next. In light of old age youth and its desire for novelty can be refreshing. If tempered at times in knowing that some things are classics for a reason.

Scarpad
Dec 2, 2011, 07:10 AM
It's an Old Debate. When DVD came about in 1997 or so, I bought everything, I ended up with a Library of about 1200 disks. The reality of which you speak hit me shortly thereafter and I did not repeat it with Blu ray, I buy only movies Now I know I'll watch more than once. The Star Wars, James Bonds etc.. and I've stoppe buying movies when they are first released I wait now until I can get them for $10 or less, that is my paying price for movies and that happens usually after a couple of months of release.

I still buy too many TV on DVD releases, and most wind up transferred to Apple TV format for easier viewing, and viewing on my Ipad, Ipod's etc. But what you are saying is happenning there too. Why should I rip Seven Seasons of Every Trek Series when they are on Netflix? More and More of that will happen.

wmealer
Dec 2, 2011, 08:38 AM
GREAT thread ... Never thought a discussion essentially about movies could spur such thoughtful and eloquent prose. Does my thread started more than 3 years ago make me a prophet? Ever since writing this, I haven't looked back, and only drop in on this forum every so often. "Free at last!" :)

http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=481301

WhatAmI
Dec 2, 2011, 01:47 PM
vrDrew gets my thread of the year award - magnificent read and very true

Cougarcat
Dec 2, 2011, 02:57 PM
The only movies that I buy are Blu-Ray, and only the ones that I really love (and even then, only if they approach movie ticket price, the exception being box sets.)

The problem I have with Netflix is that the streaming selection is poor and it's not Blu-Ray. $7.99 for a poor selection wasn't worth it; $9.99 for streaming plus a DVD was just right. But then they killed that plan, so I unsubscribed. I have prime, so I live with their (admittedly poor) streaming selection. Which I am fine with because I spend more of my entertainment time playing games anyway.

Maybe in 20 years when we have enough bandwidth to stream at Blu-Ray-quality, owning movies will seem less desirable. But for me, I think it will always be a combination--the best quality for the few movies I love and bought cheap (streaming will always be behind physical media in this regard, I think, at least for a very long time), and streaming for everything else.

handsome pete
Dec 2, 2011, 03:10 PM
3) Even if you can access the Media, is it really worth it? When I was a kid, I thought the battle sequences in Patton were awesome. Nowadays, I look at them and laugh at the (Spanish Army) M60 tanks pretending to Pz.Kpfw. IVs. Over time our expectations for effects, costumes, dialog and sound change. Our tastes change too. Seinfeld, for instance, was once part of my Thursday night ritual. Nowadays, it seems sorta "Meh."


I think this is a little narrow minded. You're practically dismissing all of the old classics because their effects don't match up to what can be achieved with current technology. You don't think that there are thousands of films from the past 100 years or so that still are still relevant and watchable even though technologically inferior?


I agree that the cloud is very much a part of the future. But I stress the word "part." You still need to address the issue of needing a constant and reliable network connection at all times to completely build your media library on the cloud. Also, with the cloud, you're completely left at the mercy of the content providers.

vrDrew
Dec 2, 2011, 05:40 PM
I think this is a little narrow minded. You're practically dismissing all of the old classics because their effects don't match up to what can be achieved with current technology..

I wasn't really planning on doing a Part IV, but you bring up a couple of points I'd like to address, as well as give some background.

First, I'd like to say categorically that I'm a big believer in older movies. I think everyone who loves cinema owes it to himself to watch The Battleship Potemkin and Monsieur Hulot's Holiday; My Darling Clementine and Citizen Kane; His Girl Friday and Rebel without A Cause. (And in fact I think on-demand cloud-based services will actually enable people to watch movies like this much easier. Good luck finding these classics at a Red Box or your local Best Buy.)

The point I was trying to make is the reality that some movies don't seem to hold up well over time. A movie that seems beloved by critics and the public one year, a decade or so later can seem dull and dated. When was the last time you felt a burning desire to see Kramer Vs. Kramer or The Color Purple? If you'd paid a lot of money to acquire these when they first became available (on VHS in those cases) - thirty years later you'd have a hard time explaining to your kids what the big deal was about. Some movies go on to become timeless classics. A lot don't.

Secondly, I make these observations after about a year of of watching Netflix and iTunes content via my AppleTV. This is the future for watching "back catalog" movies. I'm also making this assessment after experiencing the first week's of Apple's other big foray: iCloud. I've been blown away not only at how smoothly and seamlessly Apple's servers have handled literally tens of gigabytes of my material - as well as that of probably millions of other iTunes subscribers.

I cannot say with certainty that either Netflix or Apple will necessarily be the dominant players in their respective industries. Netflix especially seems to have made some mis-steps of late. But make no mistake, someone will find a way to make a massive volume of film and television content available for streaming over the Internet.

People speak with pride about having a DVD or ripped collection of 1100 or so movies. Netflix collection of streaming content alone is more than ten times that. Apple has roughly the same amount. (There is some crossover, which must be a tough sell for Apple.) Apple's main appeal is offering new content, usually available within six months of release. I understand, and can live with, the pricing model in both cases.

The question of availability of a reliable internet connection, and moreover one that can deliver a sufficiently robust data stream, is a valid one. All I can say is that in the year or so I've been streaming movies, I've had very few problems. I can say that, in that same time, I've encountered numerous DVD's that arrived cracked in the mail. And I can recall many instances when Blockbuster didn't have the DVD we wanted to rent. No system can guarantee 100% uptime.

On a larger scale, however, I am convinced that the economic realities are such that the vast majority of the population of the US, Europe, and urban Asia will continue to see the level of Internet infrastructure investment necessary to make Cloud-access to this type of entertainment not only possible - but in fact the norm. Once you've built the pipe, the costs of maintenance are minor compared to the rents you can collect on it.

Lastly, as much as a fan of cloud-based entertainment as I've become, I also never see the role of either broadcast or cable/satellite going away completely. There will continue to be a large enough audience for live TV, as well as the broad-appeal fare such as American Idol or Sunday afternoon football.

Thanks again to everyone who read my thoughts on this topic. Thanks especially to those of you who commented. Best wishes, and happy movie watching!

ethan86
Dec 4, 2011, 02:57 PM
What a great thread. Oddly, I find that if I have a movie saved on my appletv, I'm actually less likely to watch it.

That's how I am with my Playstation. If I rip a movie and put it on my PS3, I usually forget I have it and never watch it, whereas if it's on DVD I'm constantly reminded of it because my DVDs are sitting out by my TV.

As for collecting...hell yeah! I'm a magpie for digital media, and haven't bought physical media in over 2 years now. Love buying from iTunes. If the wife or kids buy a CD or DVD/Blu-ray....its ripped almost immediately.

What do you use to encode your movies once you rip them? Handbrake? I've been reluctant to digitally convert a lot of my movies because I'm really anal about picture and audio quality and I want to encode my movies with the best of both (stuff that I rent and rip I don't really care about since I usually delete the rip after I watch it).

It's an Old Debate. When DVD came about in 1997 or so, I bought everything, I ended up with a Library of about 1200 disks. The reality of which you speak hit me shortly thereafter and I did not repeat it with Blu ray, I buy only movies Now I know I'll watch more than once. The Star Wars, James Bonds etc.. and I've stoppe buying movies when they are first released I wait now until I can get them for $10 or less, that is my paying price for movies and that happens usually after a couple of months of release.

I was the same way in 2000/2001 when I first started collecting DVDs. I was buying stuff I liked, loved, remotely liked. Really anything I had a remote interest in I bought, which led to me accumulating a lot of titles that, a few years later, I ended up dumping. I did not allow this to happen with Blu-Ray, which I began collecting in Jan. 2008 when I bought my PS3. I've been much more selective with Blu-Ray, but have still bought titles that I've dumped later on, although this number is far less than the number of DVDs I've dumped over the years (3-4 Blu-Rays since 2008 compared to 200+ DVDs that I've dumped between 2000 and now). Ironically, the amount of movies I own hasn't seen much fluctuation in the last two years or so. The number has stayed around 850, so I must be buying enough to off set any change from the ones I've been getting rid of.