Posted in Technology

Will streaming video services overtake physical disc sales?

Well it seems that streaming video is all I hear about these days. Between Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Vudu & many others, the competition is getting fierce. The idea of not having to have a physical disc is becoming more and more appealing to the mass audience. Just reported a day ago, Netflix is currently the largest provider of online streaming legal content, running just over 60% of the space, with Comcast coming in at a whopping 8%. Right behind that at 4% is a tie with directTV, TimeWarner and Apple. I would say Netflix has basically killed the market because of its large availability on consumer products ranging from gaming consoles to set-top boxes to HDTVs to blu-ray players. While the younger Amazon Instant Video announcement of free video streaming to Prime members, it can really only be found usable on the Roku Box, which is comical, because the Roku box was the ‘official’ netflix box before it was the major content streaming set-top box that it is now!

So the idea here is though, that no one really wants to get out to watch a movie anymore, if I can sit and watch in my pajamas after I get home from work, I would be willing to pay the price. So let’s talk about the two major ones here, in streaming, Netflix and Amazon. Amazon offers free streaming to their Prime members, which costs $79/year and Netflix offers their streaming only service for $7.99/month ($95.88/year). So right there, you can see, there is almost a $17 difference between the two, but hold the phone. Who has more content is the next question.

Remember, content is KING in this race and it seems Netflix kills this one, too. Netflix seems to be somewhere over 20,000 titles while its closest competitor, Amazon, has just over 5,000. Netflix is an ever growing library adding new partners every month it seems; as of recent, CBS. Now the only thing I can say here is that 28-day waiting period is really the only thing hindering online streaming, since the studios are trying to push DVD/Blu-ray sales back up, since they have sharply dropped in the last few years.  Now I don’t know about rental-streaming services like Apple’s iTunes and Vudu, they may have a different criteria since those offer 2.99-5.99 SD and HD rentals and purchase options. You do have to remember though, that is a per movie basis, just like if you had gone to the rental store, not an a la carte option like Amazon and Netflix has. I have no idea what their numbers are, but I can assume they are high just as well, since it is just a digital version of the Blockbuster model that we all know from years ago. (Side Note: Why won’t blockbuster just die?!) Even Blockbuster is having to switch to a digital model to try and keep what dignity they have left, but they are trying to go the way of the RedBox.

Which Redbox is a whole other competitor in itself! The idea of a $1 rental of physical disc (or $1.50 for blu-ray) to watch a movie and return it the next day is awesome! This is a sweet spot, because it beats the $2.99-5.99 price it takes to rent a digital version that you have either stream or download that has that 24 hour block on it, that you can get from iTunes, Zune Marketplace or even Amazon. I say Redbox is competitor because I hear people talking about Redbox along side of Netflix about the same amount. Especially since you can get your Redbox rental for FREE most of the time with promo code sharing! (I haven’t paid for a Redbox rental in a long time, I’m sorry Redbox..) Now I have always had the idea that Netflix needs to buy Redbox and they would be the king of all movie rentals. Just think, you could go and get your movie or just stream it, no more post office issues that they seem to be having. Now I remember Redbox was testing digital downloads way back in 2009 and as of late 2010, it seems they are adding games, too!

I do have to say this, digital distribution is the wave of the future, and if you are not ready for it, then you need to start looking for some sort of box like the Boxee Box, Popbox or some blu-ray internet enabled blu-ray player. If you are in the market for a new HDTV, make sure you get one that is internet connected! So I’ll leave you with this question and feel free to leave your answer in the comments below; What is in your home entertainment setup? What content do you watch? Do you buy movies anymore?

Posted in Apple, Technology

Netflix added video out on the iPhone

We all remember the day when Netflix was finally announced for the iOS devices. Then finally in August, we finally got the app for our iPhones and iPod Touchs!! Well apparently I completely missed another major part of this continuing story way back in the 1st week of October (10/5 to be exact). The Netflix app added video out support for their iPhones and iTouch devices. Now they did support this on the iPad previously, but was not a feature for the more mobile devices when the app first hit the market, so this is a big deal if you want to put your Netflix streaming up on a big screen! Now this feature will only work on 4th gen iPhone and the 4th gen iPod Touch, but this is a better option, and more of a reason you should upgrade if you currently own a iPhone 2G, 3G or 3GS or any earlier version of the iPod Touch.

You can download the app for your iPhone or iPod Touch on iTunes

via [iLounge] & [Engadget]

Posted in Apple, Rants, Technology

Netflix killed the DVD today

Ok, So I am totally stealing the title idea from TechCrunch, but it looks like physical media is on it’s way out the door with the news that Netflix is testing Streaming Only plans in certain areas.. It seems that Hollywood no longer wants us to hold on to their movies, and for everything to be in the cloud, so that there is no hard copies in the wild to be copied and passed around. Now this seems a little ahead of it’s time, but this idea is completely plausible. With the announcement of the MacBook Air, and there be no physical CD in the package, it seems Apple wants to get rid of the physical media as well. They don’t want to get rid of the software, as it was also announced the Mac App Store would soon be online as well. The idea there is that we will all be able to keep up with the latest via the updates there, and never have to insert another CD or DVD again. Even Windows is looking to update to a disc-less software store in the future.

The idea seems a little far fetched, but not completely crazy at this point. I was reading the newsletter that GDGT puts out and Ryan Block made a really good point, on the fact that will there be enough of the big companies to join forces with Apple and t he 70/30 split (read the story here). I agree with him and say that big companies like Adobe won’t want to join forces and take such a large chunk away from the business that they already generate on their own. The other issue is that these big companies are being ousted by smaller companies that offer open and free solutions that many consumers will easily choose over paying money for something that can be done for free.

I see the idea that Apple is trying to do and the idea that Netflix is trying to do, and somehow will gain majority rule in the near future. As the majority is usually stupid, they will follow what Apple will tell them to do. If Apple (Steve Jobs) tells you having CDs is bad, then we will all believe. We see this evident now in the fact that Steve (whoops, Apple) tells us that Flash is bad, even though a LOT of web out there is flash based, but it isn’t supported on their most popular devices. We now see evidence of this with the new Mac Book Airs shipping. Now the caveat is that we can go and install the software after we do it manually, but they aren’t going to help the cause.

I just think the major players fighting against piracy are having a secret party somewhere and are celebrating that we soon won’t be able to own a disc of any kind..


Posted in Technology

Netflix goes discless on Wii & PS3 (finally)

Being the fact that I own an XBOX 360, I have been doing this for a while now, but I am glad to finally see that others among us have finally joined the ranks and gone discless!!

If you don’t know what I am talking about, just to fill you in, Netflix has finally gone to software based solutions for the Nintendo Wii and the Playstation 3! Netflix has a streaming service that is very great for on-demand stuff. They aren’t day after releases, but they do have a LARGE library of items that you can choose from, including indie, television, documentary and movies! So now, all of the major console gaming platforms are streaming Netflix instant to our big screens! YEA!!!!!!!

If you have a Wii or a Playstation 3 and don’t have the new software, go to the Netflix site for further instructions (see the links back there??)

via @HDnation & [Engadget (PS3)] [Engadget (Wii)]