iTunes for movies

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by flat6, May 26, 2005.

  1. flat6 macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    Why hasn't someone out there made an iTunes-like service for movies? That is, full length feature films?

    Let's see, for a movie of 2 hours in length, I'm content with a 700 MB quality file. Off of a decent server and on a broadband connection, say at 200 kb/s, a 716,800 kb file will be done in 3,584 seconds, or about 2 and half hours. That's a reasonable time to wait.

    In terms of cost, I can pop in to see a movie here for $4-8 dollars Canadian in a Toronto movie theatre; rentals are about the same. So, let's say that seeing a movie via current traditional means costs $5 US. Then taking out the costs associated with running a business and making profit (a theatre or a movie rental place), the industry is probably left with what, $2 US or something? Add in the cost of bandwith for internet delivery, and charge people $3/movie download (or per movie watching, I don't care personally... 99% of the time, I don't watch movies more than once).

    I'd gladly pay $3 dollars for a movie that I can download off of a fast, reliable server. I think that it'd be a comparable profit for movie makers, that is, a business model that will pull in the same profits in their pockets are theatres or rentals.

    And moreover, it would really cut down on piracy - MP3s are easy to obtain, but movies are an absolute pain. They're large, and anything older than a year or two is practically impossible to find. (Moreover, paying for something like Usenet access costs around $1/movie, which is close enough to my $3/movie guess to dissuade most piracy.) It's a similar story with theatres and rental places; if your movie tastes are anything out of the ordinary, you're forced to buy a $20 DVD you'll only watch once anyway. There's really a need for this type of business model. The MPAA would stifle much of the piracy it runs its silly ads against if it was only able to take advantage of technology already and stop trying to hang on to its outdated business model.

    So why isn't it here yet?
    Edit: Or better yet, why hasn't someone like Apple or a major consortium done it yet? A search on Google gives a few shady results for what may be emerging versions of this service.
  2. James Philp macrumors 65816

    James Philp

    Mar 5, 2005
    Copywrite protection.
    Movie companies are having a hard enough time stopping people distributing content ripped from DVDs.
    I can't see this happening until the next speed bump "standard" comes to homes. 2 and a half hours is too long for something to go wrong.
    Plus, you wont be able to build up much of a "library" at 700MB a go, AND movies encoded ad 700MB are pretty poor quality.
  3. Lacero macrumors 604


    Jan 20, 2005
    Movies of average length of 2 hours can be compressed to 2GB using H.264 without any noticeable loss of quality. But even with a fast internet connection, it would take hours and hours to download. And with downloads, you don't get the full DVD spec that includes extra bonus materials, subtitles, and audio streams. Until everyone owns a 25Mbit internet connection, I see movie downloads as still being a decade away from fruition.
  4. flat6 thread starter macrumors regular

    Oct 24, 2004
    Well, I guess it depends on the user. Personally, I want to see the content of the movie, and even the only-decent quality of a 700 MB rip will satisfy me. I don't care about the extra features on a DVD and what not. Nor do I care much for building up a collection, as I'll watch the movie once and then probably delete it or something.

    For continuity, you can try to download as Newsgroups have them, split off into chunks that reassemble themselves; if one is missing you can either re-download it or use a check-sum algorithm to make up for any missing parts. Continuity won't be an issue with all the brains available to a billion-dollar industry. I mean, downloading for 2 and a half hours on a P2P program is nearly flawless in its compensating algorithms, and that's made by some teen in his parents' basement...

    But good point on the broadband issue - there might not be enough users right now to make the development costs pay off immediately.

    I think this will happen fairly soon, in say 1-3 years. I'm just dissapointed it's not here yet, and that I have to wait around for this industry to realize it has to evolve.
  5. dmw007 macrumors G4


    May 26, 2005
    Working for MI-6
    Still, it would be nice to go to the iTunes store and purchase a few flicks. Guess we will have to continue waiting.
  6. GFLPraxis macrumors 604


    Mar 17, 2004
    Hours, no. A 3 MBit connection could download 2 GB in 88 minutes IIRC. I believe Comcast just bumped it to 4, though I may be wrong.
  7. ITASOR macrumors 601


    Mar 20, 2005
    No. Roadrunner is a 6mps connection, but actual, real download speeds are around 500kb/s IF it's a fast server. You're looking at 250kb/s to 350kb/s download speed off an average server. I don't know why they call it a 6mps connection, however in positive there's a reason.

    But yeah, 2GB is alot to download over broadband.

    Didn't netflix do something like this? I remember downloading the trial movies on dial-up. :eek:
  8. 12ibookg4 macrumors regular

    Dec 22, 2003
    Roadrunner offers a 6 megabit connection but your download manager will report it in kilobytes. I think the byte = 8 bits and the kB and kb notations can be confusing for some. So you should be seeing around 750 KB/s. Altough some servers can't send it that fast so it's not all Roadrunner's fault.
  9. DimaIL macrumors newbie

    May 10, 2005
    Israel, Ashdod
    I think that MPAA and movie creators aren't aware of the business potential that they can make from the Movie shop.
    but don't worry, Sony is trying to make this shop, I think that it will be successful shop...

  10. garybUK Guest


    Jun 3, 2002
    I think to satisfly the film councils or whatever it's called with copywrite it will be streamed rather than downloaded. Apple do this already with their music video's, just add a fullscreen button and bob's your uncle.

    please don't hurt me but Windows Media Centre pc's are kinda of in the perfect position to do this over the internet as people buy these to specifically plug into their TV/Projector
  11. andiwm2003 macrumors 601


    Mar 29, 2004
    Boston, MA
    the movie business is tied into long term contracts with distribution companies, who have long term contracts with tv stations/movie theatres/dvd rental companies and and and and

    i don't see them giving up there business just to provide you a $3 access to their movies. where do you think the region coding for dvd's comes from. there are tons of companies who want their share of your money. the business model is not to sell a good movie to you, it's to sell any movie 5 times over. first to theatres, then to pay tv, then to dvd, then to tv, then as a package deal with other movies to tv. later the package is sold abroad. your idea would allow them to sell the movie only once. they already hate dvds because there was no drm available when they set up the standard. so piracy already is a problem. easy downloads make it even easier to share movies.

    this whole business is even worse than the music industry. only the huge amount of piracy forced the music industry in a somewhat "consumer friendly" sytem. and even that was set up by outsiders (e.g. Apple).

    i don't see the movie industry switch to your idea anytime soon unless piracy forces them to and apple helps them.

    my 2 cents.

  12. neildmitchell macrumors 6502a


    May 21, 2005
  13. speeed001 macrumors newbie

    Jun 3, 2005
    They work great, just not for Mac

    I use Movielink and Cinemanow both. They work great, although they only work on Windows with IE and Win Media Player. I think Movielink even requires you to download a "movie manager" where CinemaNow does not. Movielink offers a student discount for registrants who register using an email addy ending in .edu. Otherwise, movies on both range in price from $1.99 to $3.99.

    I took a cross-country trip on Amtrak over Christmas, and took Gangs of New York, and a couple of other movies with me. Sweet. Not DVD quality, though. Imagine that you captured a VHS tape with a cheap capture card... about like that. Perfectly viewable.

    Another complaint - crappy selection of movies. New titles are added regularly at about the same time as you would see them in hotels or on airplanes or on pay-per-view (I think), but if you go there looking for a certain recent blockbuster, you aren't likely to find it. Some random "classics" and indie films are there, though, and I just noticed Hotel Rwanda and Ocean's Twelve are there.

    Anyway, if you have a Win machine, enjoy. Mac users are again the red-headed step children. If you ask me, it's the Mac world that's more likely to download movies...

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