The problem with movies

Posted: September 20, 2009 in General

I love movies, as my extensive DVD collection might seem to indicate, but things are different than they were only a few years ago. I buy few DVDs now, in fact I’ve bought only three movies on DVD this year. Unlike music (which I still purchase a lot of), I haven’t replaced DVDs with some other kind of media, I just, simply, don’t buy movies.

One might snap to the judgment that Netflix is the cause for this disinterest in purchasing DVD media, but I don’t think the blame rests squarely on the shoulders of movie rentals (after all, I’ve been renting movies in some fashion for many years).

The problem, at its highest level is convenience. One only has to look to music to see how convenient it should be. It certainly took a while to get here, but look at where we stand now.

I can purchase music either as a physical CD or downloadable format (MP3 or AAC), and throw it into a library on my computer. Any of my music can then be loaded onto any music player, or just about any device in the house, it’s just about that easy. Other than perhaps the slight pain of digitizing a CD for the first time, there isn’t much of a barrier for me to listen to my music wherever I want. Most importantly, I don’t have to worry about my music becoming obsolete (well ok, maybe some of my music SHOULD be).

I like this, and I continue to buy a fair amount of music (granted, I’m not expanding my 1000+ CD collection anymore, but I am still buying music). It’s so easy that I haven’t downloaded any music that I haven’t paid for in years.

So when it comes to movies, where is the convenience? When I buy a DVD why can’t I throw that on my iPod? Don’t even get me started in regard to online downloads, talk about restrictive use. Throw in Bluray and we have a mess that just makes me want to walk away.

This hurts everyone. I’m not buying movies and I’m not buying devices that will playback movies (i.e. Apple TV or its ilk). I’m not investing as much in the equipment to playback movies either. I may be buying a PS3 soon, and then I’ll probably buy a bluray disc or two, but even that will be reserved for those few films that I think are worthy.

The writing is on the wall, and movies will be downloadable DRM free, it is the only way that the industry will survive. Simplicity will win out in the end… I just wonder how long it will take for us to get there.

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