Opinions on Renting v.s. buying digital

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by chuckles:), Mar 28, 2008.

  1. chuckles:) macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2006
    When looking at movies in iTunes itself rather then on :apple:tv, there is a rating and comments section on each page. If you read some of the comments, more then half of them have to do more with iTunes itself then with the movies the reviews are supposed to be for. Most people are complaining about the lack of the option to buy the movies digitally rather then rent them. This sometime leads to comments like "great movie, wish I could buy it rather then rent it", usually with a low rating. Leaving aside the fact that this makes the rating system invalid, it also proves that there is demand for the ability to buy digital movie content.

    What do you think? Would it make sense for the studios to open up their catalogues to digital sales? If they did, would you buy movies on :apple:tv, or continue to rent?
  2. GoCubsGo macrumors Nehalem


    Feb 19, 2005
    First, iTunes reviews of both music content and TV/Movie content are incredibly fruitless for the most part. For one, as you pointed out, much of the ratings have a great deal to do with the overal usablity of the store, ie: rent vs. buy. Often great songs are given low ratings if they're simply not great enough to be free in someone's opinion. Or you see poor ratings because the discovery download's genre is country and the weekly freebie is also country (this week). If you can somehow sort through all of that you get one, maybe two great ratings. A thoughtful rating that weighs in various aspects of the song/tv show/movie.

    Unfortunately iTunes and their rating system will be the sounding board for all things wrong. If the iTunes free show/song isn't quite free by a certain time on Tuesday the users let Apple know. Apple most likely doesn't bother checking the ratings and why should they? Likewise, if an artist is relying on Apple's ratings to really showcase true untapped talent then I say MySpace would rule over this; and that is saying quite a bit! Unfortunately I believe iTunes should have rating systems and ways to comment, but that also means you have to take the good with the bad.

    Now you posed a question based on an observation of the clearly failed rating system or the poor use of such system and that is whether or not studios should open their catalogs up to digital download. If I were a studio I would not make this decision based on the fact that some user posted in the rating of that movie their discontent with the lack of availably to buy. Likewise, I believe studios still believe people like to hold things in their hands. Like me, it is possible that they're not yet convinced that digital downloads are worth it. They could also believe that it could be a gamble. Provide the movie to buy in stores, produce the same number you would normally produce (however they decide that) and open up the DVD for digital download. What if they made 10,000 copies of a movie and historically speaking they sell all 10,000 copies. Now they've offered up digital downloading and they only sell 5,000 copies of the physical DVD. What do they do with the other 5,000? Obviously it is not an exact science, but it is something to consider. Right now it could be a studio is not sure what magic number is for DVD production if they open up digital downloads, they only know they better provide at least the physical copy because not everyone is on board with digital dvd download. I know I am getting there, but I am definitely not there.

    So does the constant bitching about the lack of ability to buy a DVD and only rent it on iTunes mean the studios will reconsider? Possibly, but I think the whining and crying about the lack of a purchase option is worth not losing your silk boxers over cost of over-producing a new release.
  3. Stampyhead macrumors 68020


    Sep 3, 2004
    London, UK
    I would buy the ones I want to see over and over again and rent the ones I only want to see once.
  4. BoulderBum macrumors 6502a

    Feb 3, 2008
    You actually CAN buy a lot of movies, though right now you have to do it through iTunes and not the Apple TV interface.

    That said, there was a brief (I think 48 hour) period where a button that let you buy the movie popped up on those that allowed that capability. You can still see the remnanant of some of those movies (like Disney's "Enchanted") popping up in the bottom section of similar rentals (if you click on "Enchanted", you'll simply get an error message).

    I can't help but think Apple is transitioning to a system where you can rent OR purchase movies through the Apple TV interface, and judging by the appearance and subsequent disappearance of the "Buy" buttons, it looks like they'll be able to perform the transition without a firmware update.
  5. marklight macrumors 6502

    Apr 6, 2006
    I think, and hope, that in a short time we'll be able to buy the movies digitally with two options that can be used at any given time- You can download the movie instantly onto your computer if you want, or you can just stream it at any time you want.

    This would allow you to save space on your computer which would be really nice for most people. And it would open up HD content for a lot of people, as most don't want to dl HD content right now b/c it's pretty big comparatively.
  6. chuckles:) thread starter macrumors 6502

    May 3, 2006
    But it would also mean that apple would have to pay for the bandwith to stream you a movie more then once.
  7. mallbritton macrumors 6502a

    Nov 26, 2006
    Personally I think all the video content (excluding music videos, maybe) should be available for sale or rent. I would think that this would be a no-brainer decision for the studios. Offer your movie catalogs for both sale and rent in decent quality with reasonable DRM (ie Fairplay), possibly add the ability to burn a video DVD, then sit back and rake in the cash and watch the market grow.

    But then again... no has ever accused the various studio heads of having brains to start with when it comes to the internet and the various forms of digital distribution. So for the foreseeable future, until the movie studios get people running them who understand how the internet works and the potential that is there we're going to keep seeing what we see on the iTunes Store now.

    Until the studio heads get over this control fetish they have we, the consumers, are going to continue to be treated like criminals just because we want to watch a movie how ever we want to watch a movie.

    That's my opinion.


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