Building notes, projects, and occasional rants

Movie Stores

I'm a big fan of the iTunes Music Store. My main reason is that I hate waste, and I'm not a big fan of owning the jewel case in which CDs are sold. In the last few years, for every CD I bought, I just rip it into iTunes, and store the jewel case with the CD somewhere.

So iTMS is a big plus for me: I can just purchase the music I want, download it and be done with it. Its simple and it works.

But if you think ahead, with movies and TV Series, the story changes a bit. With iTMS, you download a 3 to 4 Mb file. With a movie or episode, you are talking about 300Mb minimum. It wont be possible to use the same model of download-to-own as with Music, unless laptops start coming with Terabyte-sized disk drives.

I have a lot of DVDs, and it would take between 2 and 3Tb of storage to keep all of them in digital format on my laptop. A single season of a normal 22 shows TV series is around 8Gb in size.

So I do hope that when the online movie stores show up for real, they have other business models available. In fact, I hope to see something like this:

  • You can buy the rights to see a specific show or season of shows or movie online;
  • The right is perpetual, so you buy it to own;
  • The price includes X number of downloads of said movie/episode;
  • The price might include N number of streams;
  • You can pay a recurring fee to have more streams available to you;
  • You can watch any film/episode you own and have downloaded as many times you want;
  • You can stream any film/episode you own up to the number of streams you still have in credit.

With this model, you still buy-to-own your stuff, you still can download to own your stuff, but you have another option, to stream your content. No need to have a monster disk at home.

Streaming a movie is becoming perfectly possible nowadays. Here in Portugal, the basic ADSL package is moving to 4Mb at €22, and you can have 20Mb for €35 in selected COs. Streaming a 300Mb episode costs you between 1.5 and 2.5Mb so you should be fine doing it live also.

I don't know. We see a lot of buzz about an Apple Movie store, deals between Warner Brothers and Bittorrent to distribute content, but I haven't seen anybody with a good solution for the storage problem that a online movie store creates on the clients.

Seagate and Western Digital are probably very happy now.