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Disney acquires own streaming facilities, will pull Netflix content (thewaltdisneycompany.com)
730 points by anigbrowl on Aug 8, 2017 | hide | past | favorite | 764 comments

Maybe when I am 60, 70 or 80 the film industry will get their shi* together and finally agree on a solution that has long been found in the music business.

For a truly complete platform, I would FOR SURE pay more than the 10$ a month for Netflix. 20, maybe 30! But then I want it ALL. All films they have in storage.

I mean, it is 2017 and there are a lot of films I can't find on Netflix, Amazon Prime or, when I am in spending mood, on Apple TV. Why? I mean how silly would you want to be as studios? There is no big DVD business anymore, BlueRay never totally took off. People have a net connection and multiple streaming devices at home, thats it. Thats the big asset they could build on! Instead they let their libraries die the death of the unseen film.

Still, many keep shuffeling around harddrives with terabytes of pirated films. And why shouldn't they, as long as there is no substantial offer?

So I decided for me (and the cloud guy I am), that with my 3 services I have, I am ok. If a film is not there, I don't care. I surely won't order a DVD of some old film somewhere and I surely will not subscribe to another service. If Disneys pulls their films from Netflix: thanks Netflix for their growing self produced content that often has a quality not seen before.

In 1999, Qwest had a 30-second commercial that seemed incredibly futuristic at the time, talking about a hotel where "every room has every movie ever made in every language anytime day or night" and it seemed impossibly futuristic.

Not 20 years later, the technology for this is already well-established; the only thing stopping it is that the owners of the films don't want to make them available this way.


Gee -- I wonder why the Qwest CEO went to prison...


Wtf they actually sent him to jail for refusing to give customer data to the NSA. No wonder we hardly see any resistance nowadays.

He went to jail for fraud and insider trading

On fairly flimsy evidence that looks suspiciously like parallel construction.

Nacchio was no saint, but it seems pretty clear that he was targeted after failing to be cooperative.

Like Capone went to jail for tax evasion.


There is popcorntime.io

You'll actually have to go to .sh among the contenders (this is what I would suggest) as .io is not up anymore and besides .me was the original one.

It's linked on the official/original github repo[0]. But the official official[1] repo doesn't link anything. Just that original developers are supporting .sh as official and have apparently moved to it.

There's also ...ce.ch but that's community edition as the last two chars suggest.

[0] https://github.com/popcorn-official

[1] https://github.com/popcorn-time

PS. I have put info to the best of my knowledge :)

I don't have it at work, but there's a Chrome extension that allows you to stream directly from a torrent, say, from The Pirate Bay.

...a solution that has long been found in the music business.

Perhaps you're fortunate that everything you want to listen to is on your preferred music streaming service, but what they offer is far from everything in the music industry's catalogue. Ask any classical music fan what they think of streaming services and you'll hear a tirade against the woeful offerings that streaming services make available.

This is why I love Google Play Music, you can basically upload any kind of personally-acquired (legally or not) music to the service and it will seamlessly and transparently integrate with the platform itself and let you stream them wherever and whenever like any other.

They are stricter than Spotify with regional licenses unfortunately. I listen to a lot of Japanese artists that are on Spotify but not on GPM in Europe (but are there in Japan), I simply imported their albums and ripped them and uploaded them on the service and now they behave exactly the same. Not ideal, but still. For like 90% of the rest of the library (anecdotal experience at least) it's the same as Spotify, which is pretty great.

DISCLAIMER: I work at Google, but I've been using GPM long before that. These are my opinions and not those of my employer, yadda yadda.

I love Google Play Music for exactly this reason: I have 20k songs uploaded and counting. No other service is offering anything close. Sadly the team seems to have recently scaled back on the "Your library" features in favor of radio (where they can insert ads), neutering the Instant Mix feature, removing the ability to make a "Feeling Lucky" mix of my uploaded music, and re-jiggering the interface to push Radio harder.

The thing is, the paid tier of GPM is really only for on-demand streaming of the music catalogue and removing ads in the radio. As an upload-only user, I really see no reason to pay money for a service that I am fully enjoying for free. If Google were to add back (and continue developing) the removed My Library features and decide to make a payment tier for use-cases like mine, I'd happily subscribe. Their focus on "your library anywhere, with extra features" is something that really stands out. I'd hate to see GPM turn into just another stream-what's-licensed service.

> I love Google Play Music for exactly this reason: I have 20k songs uploaded and counting. No other service is offering anything close.

Actually Apple Music offers exactly this. There might be other reasons you'd prefer not to use it, which is fine, but in terms of offering they're actually quite similar.

Except Apple will actually allow you to upload more songs than Google Music, up to 100,000.

It's still silly to upload all the music I have that they don't when they probably do already store it for someone else. Just checksum my files to ~prove that I have it. I'm sure no one cares enough about it to generate hash collisions for MP3s. Do they really store unique copies of every mp3 for ever user? That seems insanely inefficient, and yet I wouldn't be surprised if their contracts with the music industry stipulated that they couldn't share files between users.

Yep, that would be incredibly ineffecient, so they use a smarter approach - https://support.apple.com/en-us/HT205919#existing

I actually wasn't aware, thanks. I've been on GPM for years, but it might be time to get a refreshed view of the competition as well.

I was on Google Play Music from the beginning, and only left when they cancelled my early access plan without asking me and refused to reinstate it. Apple Music has leapfrogged them in every way, and Google Music has only regressed since launch, especially in terms of UX.

I did really like Google Play Music, and allowing the local library sync as a free draw was a really smart move. But the sour taste they left in my mouth by killing my discount plan and ruining the UX meant I looked at other options. Signed up for Apple Music day one and it has improved leaps and bounds since then.

It's very clearly a huge priority for Apple, and they aren't resting on it.

I keep hearing that there may be problems with Apple Music, such as replacing local files. Having quite a lot of content which is ripped from vinyl I'm hesitant to try it. Have you had any difficulties with it?

I've never had it replace local files. I would say you should back up your music collection like anything else in case something happens, but as long as the files are there locally I see no reason why it would replace them.

Maybe it wants to "move" everything to your local library and messes it up / puts it into some idiotic inaccessible format like Photos. Then you can "export" them as "raw" which takes hours and will crash / just stop a bit of the way in. I've had bad luck with the photos app with just ~10k photos. I still miss Aperture.

Thanks. Backups are, of course, essential, but it would be a bit of a pain trying to identify and clean up any substitutions.

If GPM had a Linux client, I would consider switching to it.


works on linux and there's also an unofficial API


I make playlists almost daily for work and I use the API to manage them, dedupe, delete old ones, and what not. Super convenient.

But the web UX has gone to crap. There was an update a few months ago that really killed its performance and broke the playlist sorting. They need to eat some of their dogfood.

Sure, but Spotify has a Linux client, so I'd rather they get my money.

My complaint is that I can't use GPM family with a custom domain, boo.

I used to use Google Play Music, and it was very nice. But for anyone who has a reaaaaalllly big library I might suggest something like Ampache (http://ampache.org/).

It's totally open source, has a relatively decent web player, allows you to stream your music anywhere, allows you to create accounts for others to have access to your music, can connect with Plex/subsonic to work with other devices/clients. I use DSub on my phone, and can sync music offline (like GPlay Music). Only downsides really is that it requires a web server and the initial import can take some time if your library is very large.

There are many great options for those with large personal digital libraries.

Describe yourself:

"I'll never let go of my Squeezebox and/or enjoy living in the past and/or need it to run on Windows" https://github.com/Logitech/slimserver

"I'm a sysadmin with a Roku SoundBridge" https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firefly_Media_Server is another, specifically for Roku Soundbridge and iTunes streaming protocols.

"I'm running FreeNAS and just want to use a plugin" Subsonic is another http://www.subsonic.org/pages/index.jsp . Can also do Shoutcast streaming.

"I know what RMAF stands for and/or like messing with SBCs and/or spending $10k on audio equipment" http://www.runeaudio.com

"I run Arch with a tiling wm" Lastly are the mpd family of servers and clients. These are for the hardcore nerds who love recompiling ffmpeg from source. Servers: https://www.musicpd.org // https://www.mopidy.com

Clients: https://www.musicpd.org/clients/ // https://docs.mopidy.com/en/latest/clients/mpd/ // http://www.runeaudio.com/clients/

This looks cool. I've been using Plex for the same features but performance has gotten sluggish on the VM it runs on.

thanks for sharing this, looks awesome!

Amazon does the same thing. Although their "free" storage tier is a bit anemic, and they want an extra couple bucks a month for a generous tier (since they're a couple bucks cheaper with a Prime membership, that would basically take you back to square one). However, their differentiator is that everybody gets unlimited storage for content purchased from Amazon.

I keep hearing about how nimble and agile Spotify is, and how their tech stack and team structure lets them add features quickly. I wonder why they haven't offered upload storage yet, and whether that's coming?

I bought a Synology NAS, and it does this beautifully, with no privacy issues, or risks of music execs pulling my library.

Apple Music is the same. The first time you add it will apply their (shit) deduping, but if you delete and add your files again it will consider your version the "real" ones and upload them to the cloud

I use Google Play Books for exactly this same reason. Yeah, I can buy books from anyone, but there are plenty of things that are either out of copyright that I want to read (so, Project Gutenberg), or I own a physical copy and want digital (and don't want to pay again for simply the format change), or similar, and having everything in one place easily makes it so Google Play Books is the only place I will buy DRMed ebooks.

This feature should be talked about more. I love being able to supplement the service's catalog with music I own.

I love stuff from Japan as well, and from what I’ve seen, there’s a lot of Japanese music on the US Apple Music, and it’s also fairly easy to create a Japanese iTunes account to get a free 3 month trial of the JP Apple Music store.

Note: Groove Music does the same thing. You can upload anything you want to your OneDrive account and it will be seamless in the app. No Groove payment required at all.

Deezer also supports MP3 uploads. Works well, but their playlist-centric interface makes impossible navigate through your MP3 library by artist or album.

You don't need "everything" but you need enough. If you subscribe to e.g Spotify you initially get surprised by some things not being in their library. However the library is so large and the use of a single service so convenient that most people can simply accept what's there. After the initial disappointment, any further disappointment is nearly zero so long as you keep all your discovery of new music within Spotify - because you'll never discover what isn't there.

Classical is a bit special, but hopefully efforts like the internet archive can help bring at least a lot of the royalty free music to streaming.

I'd be perfectly happy with a streaming service aggregating the current top 10 services for tv/movies, and I assume 90% of customers would. It seems reasonable to make a product that caters to "most" rather the all customers, just like Spotify.

No. I am a huge music nerd. It's my life's passion. I need everything. If it is not everything, it's not enough.

In the past, technically savvy music nerds like me had options. LPs and CDs as a distribution format offered true permanence. Vinyl when cared for properly usually outlives the owner. CDs can be ripped and archived with perfect 1:1 accuracy.

These formats don't disappear from my record shelves at the whim of an executive or a change to a silly end user license agreement. They're mine forever, for me to cherish and learn from for as long as I want.

Until the music industry offers this type of solution for the digital music ecosystem, they will not be adequately serving music's most dedicated and passionate patrons.

Bandcamp is the only service that comes close to delivering the proper solution. But they are so uncompromising in their ideals that the 'industry' will not work with them. It's too bad, because they and DistroKid are the only two online music industry services I have ever seen that are genuinely interested in furthering the lives of their users.

Not totally similar but I also think that BeatPort is pretty great, especially if you're a DJ.

> In the past

LPs and CDs still exist.

Forgive my bluntness, but this is a disingenuous comment. LPs and CDs may still exist, but they are obviously not a supported distribution format by the music industry anymore - with the country of Japan being the only glaring exception.

Your examples aren't wrong. Spotify is "good enough" for most people.

"so long as you keep all your discovery of new music within Spotify - because you'll never discover what isn't there."

This is exactly the reason we have arguments about the importance of net neutrality - which your underlying point is arguing directly against. Not sure if that was intentional or not - but the music industry is a really bad measuring stick of success in this area.

To contrast to Spotify - I'm sure Disney would be fine with it if everyone watched what they were hosting on their network exclusively and ignored the content on other platforms.

On a side note: Isn't this basically what Disney Life is already? Did I miss something?

I'm on one hand very much a proponent of net neutrality but I'm also lazy and was hoping competition would result in the best user experience and not silos.

I wasn't trying to make an argument either way on what's good/bad with Spotify (or any service large enough to be used as an only provider) but my feeling of missing out on something is something I try to avoid more than actually missing out on something (if that makes any sense). A kind of loss aversion I suppose. Bryter to have less and not know, than have more and see what you are missing.

Well, in that case, whatever you do, don't use SoulSeek and browse the libraries of others: http://www.slsknet.org/news/

I understand that you like to discover new music. But for me it's the other way around, I like to discover old stuff. Basically, things that I should I've listened at 30 years ago. Moreover, in that old stuff, it's always things that I've missed at that time, so most of the time, it's very niche stuff (old EBM tracks, obscure new wave bands, etc.); if it was not niche, then I wouldn't have missed it. So for me, the current services are not broad enough... Because I'm interested in the 1% that didn't make it... YouTube remains, for me, the best option (because many people upload things without looking at rights issues and because old-and-niche music is not worth protecting)

Torrent sites are also serving this need, but the barriers to entry are high. There's not many (or any) distribution channels for some of this stuff today. If you're looking for some old screamo that was only released in small numbers on vinyl, good luck finding it. That's an extreme example, but really we're talking about preserving art here. Some art has millions of prints, some was one-time performance art. The music industry will only sell you a very small % of what has been created.

FWIW, I have the same issue trying to find new experimental EDM. I find indieshuffle provides a much better selection of more out-there songs, at the cost of having a much less mature interface.

Grooveshark was a lot better than Spotify, both in functionality and in offering, but alas...

Youtube is probably the most complete but (1) I don't want to waste bandwidth on downloading the video every time I try to listen to music and (2) it's missing the discovery component that dedicated music services have.

As a solution to (1) you can use youtube-dl https://rg3.github.io/youtube-dl/

It supports downloading only the audio.

But why would you download a (probably illegal) rip that is poor quality, when the act of downloading and keeping the rip is probably illegal in itself (not exactly sure about that) from a platform that is notoriously unsuitable for music when you could just download high-quality release from a music tracker specially optimised for this use case?

I mean, if you are ok with doing something (probably) illegal, why not get the best experience out of it?

In my case, because I know youtube and youtube-dl, and I haven't noticed the sound quality being bad, and I don't even know what a music tracker is.

I agree with your sentiments, but to play devil's advocate grabbing music from youtube protects you from DMCA notices from your ISP, is always available (no having to wait for seeds/peers on more obscure music), and is much safer (for an average person) where content on public trackers has some risk of containing malware/virus/etc.

Because I only listen to vaporwave that was pulled from SoundCloud.

Open source command line clients for specific streaming services inherit the catalog issues, but FYI:

Pandora - https://github.com/PromyLOPh/pianobar

Spotify - https://github.com/plietar/librespot

You could also use Atraci which streams off YouTube:


Haven't seen this one before. That's an interesting idea. I might try this out.

I believe it downloads the whole video, then extract the sound. At least you're downloading only once, but one of the points of streaming music is not keeping the music on your disk at all.

Plus, it's pretty illegal if I'm not mistaken!

Plus, sound quality on youtube isn't very good

From what I understand, the audio and video are simply different streams that you can selectively download from the youtube servers. So it is entirely possible to only download the audio, I've done it many times with youtube-dl.

Thanks for mentioning it, I love that tool (even got this on my phone in a Debian subsystem). Still, it's not suitable as a replacement for Spotify: the discovery element is too useful :/

I was going to make some comment about the corollary being that I don't care that old, B-rate, black-and-white films wouldn't be on the service, but then I remembered that there are some surprising gaps in the Google Play library. Don Henley and Bob Seeger are notably absent. As a child of the 80's, I find this sad, and I think most everyone would be disappointed to find that Hotel California is not available on the service. Thank goodness they finally added Zep.

Until pretty recently, Bob Seger's music wasn't available on any streaming outlet. Now some of it's available on Spotify and Apple Music, but not enough. Still can't listen to "Turn the Page".

I know that spotify/Apple Music are lacking in certain areas, however pretty much all "mainstream" music from the last 40(?) years is available on both platforms. Comparing that to Netflix, where searching for "top tv shows of the 1990's" will give you a list, of which less than 30% are available on netflix here. Worse still, they're available in other countries.

Have a look at idagio.com it is a hand curated streaming service for classical music. I got the early bird offer for 5€ a month which is incredible! Especially because they have lossless quality streaming!


Pity. This is a good demonstration though of the value lost to dysfunctional copyright laws.

Problem with streaming services like Spotify is also that, while you're paying and therefore fulfilling the legal aspect of copyright, my favourite artists see a negligible amount of that money, it's a shit deal for them, and if I look at it in honest I don't particularly feel a lot better about it vs pirating mp3s and buying the occasional album.

...and jazz. I'd pay €50/month without blinking for the entire ECM catalog for example.

For music lovers torrents exist for casual listeners streaming services are a better fit because you do not have to know what you want.

Classical music fans are more music lovers than casual stream listeners

The fact is that Disney is extremely savvy and knows how to produce content that sells with a nearly 100% success rate. They are simply a marketing and merchandising machine.

They use the vault the way diamond miners do- to restrict supply of extremely coveted goods so that they can charge premium prices for them. It's good business and it keeps things that are decades old in constant demand so they can charge higher prices for them.

Unfortunately for you and me that means that if we want access we have to pay more. While it may certainly be true that you don't place enough value on Disney products to pay a premium, there are lots of people who will and there are probably still going to be times that you want access to it and consider signing up. That's what they want- if they commoditized their content and you were able to get access to everything they own for $30 a month, that wouldn't serve their purposes at all. Companies like Netflix dream of having one franchise that's as successful as the countless ones that Disney has. Why on Earth would they just have a fire sale for all of their content when they can restrict supply and extract the most profit from it?

Because Disney aren't just competing with Netflix and co; they're also competing with usenet services, torrents, Kodi streams and other illegal services. And because Disney keep fucking their own consumers about it's left a void where the illegal services have not only been able to raise the bar in terms of user experience, but also in terms of available content and video quality.

In any other industry market forces would be in effect forcing business to either compete or go under. But because copyright laws give content owners a monopoly it means the only effective competition is illegal services. And the daft thing is they're literally better in every way. Which is why I know so many people who normally follow the letter of the law and who happily pay for expensive cable / satellite / Netflix / whatever subscriptions who also have absolutely no qualms in downloading or streaming movies illegally. These are customers who want to pay for services but end up pirating because there isn't any service available to them.

It's completely bonkers. It shouldn't be like this but it is entirely the fault of the content industry. They created the void by monopolising their content and then failing to provide any practical services. And they created the demand by targeting their advertising at kids, by making it illegal to backup old formats like DVDs, and such like.

So to answer your question, sure they can try to extract the most profit from it but customers are already angry, fed up and aware of better albeit illegal services so all Disney are going to do is drive more people to piracy. If they really wanted to extract more profit then they would trying to onboard more users instead of making their content harder to get hold of. It really feels like the whole FRAND patents situation where Disney are happy to become a critical part of pre-teen culture but don't want to licence their intellectual property in any reasonable way. And while I can happily make the decision not to watch any Disney movies again (I like Marvel but I can live without it), trying to explain that to my 3 and 6 year old is going to be much harder.

So the only alternative to paying for something you don't own is to steal it and pretend that you're somehow justified because you don't agree with the way the law is written?

In any other industry market forces would be in effect forcing business to either compete or go under.

Could you expound on this a bit? Disney owns the rights to distribute the products that it has spent billions of dollars to create and you take issue with that? What is the alternative- if you write a best-selling novel, or create a film or a song that people want, the government should force you to distribute it in such a way that guarantees that anybody who wants it can have it? We're talking about movies, not health care. I don't really see how you can make a cogent case that you have a right to access the content on your terms.

I am a music composer and audio engineer. My music is pretty niche. If someone were to ask me if I'd rather that they buy my music or 'steal' it from a torrent site that offers a 100% pure FLAC rip, I'd tell them the latter. Because the torrent site is the only one which has respect for my hard work, and has the users who are passionate and thankful for my work being available to them.

Services like Spotify are not designed to facilitate 30 minute long experimental electroacoustic violin compositions. I am much more likely to gain a dedicated fan (someone who will pay to see my concerts in their city) from a torrent site which is content-agnostic and facilitates true fandom for the less conventional music offerings out there.

I mean no offense, but you aren't Disney. Disney has been actively developing, innovating, and acquiring a huge library of content with proven demand for nearly a century. Clearly their priority is selling and licensing content. It sounds like your priority is getting your music in the hands of people who appreciate it in the best format possible. That's very respectable, but that's not how most companies operate.

> So the only alternative to paying for something you don't own is to steal it and pretend that you're somehow justified because you don't agree with the way the law is written?

Well laws are meant to be interpreted rather than followed verbatim. But that genuinely wasn't the point of my post and I'm certainly not advocating piracy. That doesn't mean I have to agree with how the movie industry is run either.

My point was that Disney should be upping their game to make their content more accessible rather than making it harder and using their monopoly via intellectual property laws to force their market position. That just seems really disingenuous with the point of intellectual property - like how Apple and Samsung went to war.

Copyright law wasn't intended to last the period of time it does. In fact copyright law was first conceived to allow publishers to make money from publishing but then the information was always intended to go into the public domain. Granted we are talking about 300ish years of history (IIRC) and times change but given the profits Disney are raking in you can hardly argue that they haven't recouped their production costs. However I'm not trying to argue against capitalism here either. My real issue with Disney is that they have been one of the biggest campaigners of extending copyright law, and also one of the biggest abusers of the public domain with a multitude of stories adapted and then trademarked (Jungle Book, Little Mermaid, Cinderella, etc). They make billions from "stealing" public domain stories and yet people like yourself complain if someone suggests pirating Disney's work as an alternative (I'm not by the way, but you assumed I had) and that seems somewhat unfair in the general sense when Disney have intentionally priced themselves out of reach for many parents. As an aside: I think the fact that Disney often targets younger audiences really helps them here as well because it makes it harder for parents to boycott their services.

This is why I say I'd rather see them working with existing providers instead of running their services in their own silo forcing people to pay for yet another subscription service just to access Disney content. You're right they have no legal nor economic obligation to do so; but I think respecting your customers wishes should count for something given that in any other industry customers could vote with their feet and easily switch services.

Part of what makes Disney Disney is that their content is extremely guarded and restricted. This makes the perceived value higher.

Let's take straight-to-DVD movies for example. Anytime a movie is released straight-to-DVD, that immediately signals to the market that it's a lower-budget, lesser-quality movie. Yet that's a far more effective way to get it the widest possible distribution than screening it in select theaters for a $14 admission fee.

This is essentially what Disney does. Disney has earned a brand that distinguishes its movies from any other movie producer out there. When Disney makes a movie, people want to see it, because Disney has a certain standard of quality. That's not to say that I think every movie Disney makes is gold, just that every movie that Disney makes is perceived as gold by the public. The reason for that is that Disney guards its IP perhaps more stringently than any company. They don't make all of their movies available to everyone and they don't have buffet-style streaming ala Netflix. Anytime a potential competitor arises, they buy them. They now own Marvel and the Star Wars franchise, as well as Pixar and probably several others that I'm forgetting.

I'd argue that if Disney did stream all of their movies online for a flat rate to any and all who will add it to their lineup for an affordable rate (YouTube TV, Directv Now, Sling, Hulu, etc.) they would instantly lose a huge part of what makes their brand so powerful.

They actually did this in the 80's- they had their own channel that you had to get a separate cable box for to stream it into your home.

Yeah, that's an interesting point. Thank you

Disney probably took that into account, and decided that the demographic buying DisneyOnDemand (or whatever they call this) isn't going to overlap much with the demographic visiting yohoho.warez.se

I'm not so convinced that true though. As I said in my post, I know plenty of people who have Sky / Virgin Media as well as Amazon Prime and/or Netflix subscriptions but who do also pirate content when they can't find what that want on the aforementioned.

There are only so many video subscription services a person is willing to pay for.

Maybe Disney have a compelling enough catalogue to convince people to switch away from an existing streaming service (which is what I think they're banking on), but I'm not so convinced that will happen at scale either.

"DisneyOnDemand" is probably a better name than "TakeTheMickey".

Disney was important in our time but kids growing up on netflix may never see disney content the same way.

Maybe their traditional animated movies but Disney have expanded out quite a bit in recent year.

The Pixar movies are loved by my kids and while they're still a bit young for the Marvel stuff the eldest is already a big superhero fan (particularly Spiderman) so I can see him really enjoying Disney's Marvel universe when he is older. And lets not forget how seminal Star Wars is even with the younger generation.

So I'm not so sure I'm ready to write Disney off with regards to the Netflix generation.

Disney is still crazy important. They own pretty much everyone's childhoods now between Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars. You can't say with a straight face that these properties aren't important anymore. If anything, Marvel and Star Wars have become even bigger since Disney's taken ownership.

Exactly, a DVD of a new movie doesn't cost $12.99 because that's the price of the disk

This and I want as much content as possible in 4K/HDR, I’m really sick of the second tier streaming services being limited to highly compressed 1080p.

If a service came along that truly had the TV and films I wanted with a preference for 4K content, I’d happily pay $40-$60AUD a month for it.

Right now I subscribe to:

  - Netflix
  - Stan
  - Apple Music
  - Usenet related services
  - Audible
  - Plex Premium
  - Getflix content unblocking services
And in recent times:

  - Pandora (cancelled as they’re leaving Aus)
  - Amazon Prime video (cancelled as they have hardly any content and a terrible interface)
  - Spotify (cancelled as I prefer Apple Music)
  - Last.FM streaming (cancelled when the service went EOL)
  - Several private trackers (avoid BT now)
There’s a lot of opportunity for consolidation there, I realise I’m probably not in the majority but I WANT to pay and I WANT media creators and artists to take my money.

Curious. Why do you prefer Apple Music? Has something changed recently? I had both for a while but found the UI, playlist building capacity, the generated playlists, and the ability to share music on Spotify to be superior so I dropped Apple.

Howdy, I have been running both macOS and iOS betas on my personal devices and both iTunes and Music have had a significant UX overhaul on macOS 10.13 and iOS 11, they’re not perfect - but it’s a good step forward.

A bit high level but here’s my list of pros:

- I’ve found a lot less missing tracks / albums, especially for more underground / lesser known artists I had real problems with this on Spotify.

- Significantly less bandwidth usage compared to Spotify.

- Unified interface to my music library (1.2TB~) and streaming / downloadable music on both the desktop and phone.

- The ability to have my own music uploaded as part of my library and available on all desktops/laptops and my phone.

- Apple Music data is unmetered on my mobile provider (I average around 8GB/mo of mobile music streaming on my phone)

- The Music app on my phone is /really/ good at figuring out what music/playlists/albums to sync (prefetch if you will) onto my phone, I set the data limit (to 128GB) and it just figures it out nicely, often when I go to listen to a new album from an artist I follow / like - its already there for me (note: I believe this is opt-in functionality)

What I don’t like about Apple Music / think needs to improve:

- Playlists, They’re not as nice or as fast to manage as on Spotify but at least tracks don’t go missing randomly.

- Artist/Album workflow performance, at times it still feels very ‘webframe’ (if that makes sense?) when browsing artists and their albums, the UI latency really annoys me and I liken it to the feeling that JavaScript ‘apps’ give you.

Sorry, your lists are impossible to read on mobile for those in anyway impatient, requiring lots of horizontal scrolling

Sorry - HN doesn’t support standard markdown (un)ordered list style syntax, I’ve reformatted them for you without the pre block

It sounds as though the spotify IOS client is somewhat behind on features compared to android. That, or its not obvious enough how to access some of these features, because many of these are available on android such as : changing stream quality for bandwidth, and downloading music on phone, using own music on phone (admittedly a bit of a hassle, you have to put it on a playlist on pc then sync download that playlist on mobile)

> using own music on phone (admittedly a bit of a hassle, you have to put it on a playlist on pc then sync download that playlist on mobile)

This really isn't the same thing at all. With Apple Music or Google Play Music, your own library and cloud tracks are seamlessly integrated and can be streamed and accessed from anywhere and any device.

A kludgy solution where you can use Spotify like a 90s MP3 player really doesn't cut it. If Apple, Google and Deezer can offer local library support, Spotify has no excuse. It's a huge gap, and makes Spotify unusable for many people or only supplementary.

I don't expect a streaming service to have everything in history all the time, just have as much as possible, and let me fill in the gaps.

Apple Music is rapidly evolving. They're putting a lot of effort into it.

OS integration is a big one for me, Apple Music is just so seamless. Personally I hate the Spotify UI, search is among the worst, and just like Google Music I find it has way too much Karaoke bullshit cluttering up results when it doesn't have the song you want.

That plus Spotify having no way to upload your own local files makes it a complete non-starter for me. Apple Music is getting way better on the radio & playlist front. The New Music Mix knows me surprisingly well.

I'd give it another shot if you haven't tried in the last 6 months to a year.

The "Radio" channels that have been curated by an actual human are nice.

Also the recommended playlists (built from my likes and listen counts) seem somehow better on Apple Music than on Spotify.

Consider for a moment that 4k resolution is not easy to obtain from film - you need to shoot the whole thing digitally to really get the right product.

I also don't much care for how 4k looks - or the bandwidth needed to transport it around.

Really? I was under the impression that a good quality 35mm film can resolve to as much as 8K without much trouble. Why would extracting 4K out of it be a problem?

It's only about 6K best case scenario and usually a little under 4K in practical resolution. Of course some of the major 6K or 8K cameras on the market are only a little better than half that in practical resolution. There's also a lot more to final image quality than just raw pixels or grain, it's just a small piece of the puzzle and why a 3.2K camera may look substantially better than a 6K alternative.

> Consider for a moment that 4k resolution is not easy to obtain from film

Why's it not easy? You just do a 4k scan of the film don't you?

Indeed and there's many methods for this that are being used to restore many old films from archive. Modern film cameras used by major networks record at 4K-6K (full open). Beyond that even if the cameras on set are recording at 3.2K or 2K pro-res etc... it doesn't mean that the post-production and up-scaling upon rendering doesn't benefit from a final output of 4K. Finally - we must think to the future and not hold back technology to the lowest common denominator.

VFX are substantially more expensive to complete at higher resolutions. Even in major films released at 4K, fx are frequently lower resolutions because of time and budget constraints. Going back and rescanning older films that have lots of cgi usually results in very ugly vfx scenes.

And again, resolution is just a small component of the final image quality. There is a major 3.2(ish)K camera on the market that has substantially better IQ than 4 and 6K alternatives. And another 6K camera that has substantially better IQ than 8K options.

As for upscaling, we're probably better off leaving that for the end user as better upscaling algos are created and deployed all the time and baking it in from the studio locks us into what will soon be old methodology.

>limited to highly compressed 1080p.

It's worse than that. Netflix is limited to 720p in Chrome and Firefox.

The only way I found to actually get 1080p for all content on Netflix on a PC was to use the Windows 10 Netflix app. In any browser, some of the content would be 720p or 480p otherwise. Edge gave 1080p sometimes, but Firefox and Chrome maxed out at 720p in all cases where I looked at it (Ctrl+alt+shift+D to see the actual resolution).

And then there is 4k, which is limited to certain intel chipsets.

That can’t be right, I’m fairly certain I tried 4K streams on my work / home iMacs (5K) and on my MBP (3.5K)

Their "System Requirements" doc says 4K is only available on Windows, and only with Edge:


It is possible that doc isn't kept up to date though. :)

I don't want to advance anything (don't have time to find the source), but I think Apple have something special built in Safari/Webkit for Netflix. That relate to decoding, quality and battery combustion while streaming.

Safari & Edge support a more advanced version of HTTP Live Streaming (it's the same tech Apple uses for their event live-streams) plus the DRM scheme Netflix uses.

I'd pay more than £40 for it; right now I pay £12/month for a TV licence (basically a BBC subscription fee), £20/month to sky, and £7.50/month to Netflix. I've also paid £7.99/month for Amazon for a few months to try out prime video, but never found it worthwhile. That's just for TV/movie content. I don't want to manage 4/5/6 subscriptions.

Doesn't that pretty much become Sky Movies?

Not quite. In an ideal world, I want Spotify for movies (every mainstream movie in the last 40 years pretty much on demand in HQ and reliable access) and I'm willing to pay for it, like I do with Spotify. (I'd be willing to pay Spotify lots more but they don't have a bonus plan to pay more).

I'm basically you, but for music.

The same way you like your video content to be high quality and have devices that allow you to enjoy such quality, I want to do the same for music. I have a high quality sound system and I want to listen to lossless music.

And subscription services are not even an option. Neither are the popular music selling services (iTunes / Google Play Music / Amazon). Luckily, I listen to a lot of electronic music, so I can pay ~$0.5 dollars more per song to get lossless quality on Beatport[0] and Juno[1]. My free estimate is that I was able to chase down ~30% of my music collection in lossless formats[2].

(0) https://www.beatport.com/

(1) Warning: website stuck in the 90s, both security-wise and design-wise http://www.junodownload.com/

(2) About a third of those are pirated because I couldn't find a way to purchase lossless versions.

> I want as much content as possible in 4K/HDR

Not just 4K/HDR, but high bitrate as well. It's pretty ridiculous that an 1080p BluRay looks better than ANY 4k stream today (NetFlix, youtube, etc) because it's much less compressed.

BluRay's are about 40-50Mbps. I want the same quality for 1080p, and higher for 4k!

Dirty secret of video: The resolution matters a lot less than people tend to claim. Pixels are not created equal. I can easily give you a "24K" video stream with the same bitrate as your current 720p stream. It may choke your video card dealing with it and you may have nothing that can display it, but I can give it to you, easily. It just won't look any better than the 720p stream and will probably look worse (due to the compression algorithm blocks now being too small to work properly).

I've seen "1080p" streams that were of lower quality than a DVD release, to say nothing of the BluRay you mention, which are better than DVDs both in encoding quality and bitrate, making them actually quite a bit better than DVD.

Bitrate matters a lot more. Only once your bitrate has saturated a given resolution is it really worth moving up to the next resolution.

I actually like "4K" streams because to even pretend to be 4K, they have to bump the bitrate up. Prior to me getting a 4K TV, I played some 4K streams to my 1080P display, and they were of a visibly higher quality than the 1080P streams. You're not "supposed" to do that test; it really breaks the 4K illusion. (You can do this with youtube-dl by forcing it to grab the 4K stream and then playing it on something with enough hardware acceleration to still play it at 1080P. You can't just go to YouTube with a 1080P display because it'll feed you the 1080P version of the stream even if the video name has "4K" in it.)

(Another place you can see this is cameras, especially cell phone cameras. Take your cell phone outside into broad daylight and take a well-focused photo of pretty much anything. Take the photo in to your computer and zoom in until every pixel of the photo is three or four pixels on your monitor. Can you find sharp color changes between those pixels, or does it look like your camera snuck an impressionist Instragram filter into your picture when you weren't looking? A lot of us have high end phones that may be able to pass this test, though as the megapixel count keeps jumping even that may be dubious, but even mid-range phones can't. That said, they may still be taking very, very good photos, especially considering all the headwinds a phone camera faces optically. It's just that they're very good 4MP photos rather than 12MP photos.)

(I'd love some sort of JPEG processor that analyzes a photo for its real information/high-frequency content, and then downsizes the JPG to accurately reflect its real information content. You can get big savings on both digital camera photos and videos by doing this, integer multiples of the file size with no visible differences when examined side-by-side, but it's quite tedious by hand. Perhaps the promise of BIG SAVINGS would encourage a DropBox or some photo startup employee to have a look at this?)

> Dirty secret of video: The resolution matters a lot less than people tend to claim.

Precisely. Video compression is about reducing redundancies. A perfect lossless video compressor would essentially take a bitmap format and turn it into a vector format. Vector formats have no inherent resolution.

Now real life compressors are neither lossless, nor perfect, but it's easy to see that the better they better they become, they more and more become resolution-independent, in a way.

Compression performance depends on the ratio between the information entropy of the input and output signal, which only loosely correlate with resolution.

> Another place you can see this is cameras, especially cell phone cameras.

Yeah, you can also see this with medium format camera backs. They will produce better images at a given target resolution than a full frame sensor at the same target resolution. Most people don't expect an old medium-format back that "only" has 30Mpix to be any better than a current full frame sensor of the same resolution, but blow images at 100% and the medium format simply has more detail.

Interesting info, thanks very much.

I want to know what sort of cameras can consistently capture the kinds of photos I see online where everything is just refreshingly sharp and properly lit. I know user skill is a big part of that but for a while I've wondered what sort of hardware to optimize for to get shots that are not amazing but just properly well-focused.

I also want to do a similar thing to your "JPEG irreducible complexity" test: I want to, given a series of photos, find the one with the least artifacts. This is mostly for JPG as well, but for photos that can rank stuff that's gone through the Twitter/etc can opener (and been decoded and reencoded umpteen times in the process), so it's possible that doing purely codec-level analysis may or may not rank accurately.

For me I think movies mean less than they used to. We are spoiled with the amount of entertainment constantly being released to us nowadays. I will not go buy a movie or see a movie at the theater anymore - no matter what it is. It could be the most anticipated film in a half a decade and I'll still wait for it to be conveniently streamed to me. Maybe I'm getting old, but I feel like people don't create movie libraries anymore unless they're pirates. We don't have 1 specific night a week where we get everyone together for a special movie. We watch movies and shows all the time and that makes them less special/valuable. I don't think I'm articulating this well.

Disney thinks I'll tack on another streaming service to watch Mulan or Captain America: Civil War - but they're wrong...

It is a well known phenomenon that abundance decreases the amount of "specialness" we feel for things.

It is true for music, comics, really anything that used to take effort to find and acquire.

It is like a psychological corollary to supply and demand, and also why luxury goods lose their magic when they move down market.

The science on this (choice overload) is actually rather ambiguous.

[pdf] http://www.scheibehenne.de/ScheibehenneGreifenederTodd2010.p...

> I will not go buy a movie or see a movie at the theater anymore - no matter what it is. It could be the most anticipated film in a half a decade and I'll still wait for it to be conveniently streamed to me.

I feel much the same way, but I'll add one thing: I find I spend too much time passively consuming, to the point I am trying to bring back a 1 specific night a week to watch something I think will be edifying and entertaining.

> Disney thinks I'll tack on another streaming service to watch Mulan or Captain America: Civil War - but they're wrong...

How long have you been single for, if you don't mind me asking?

It's not for you dude, it's for the kids.

I will probably subscribe for that reason. Disney knows this about parents. They are one of the few companies that could put together their own offering

If I had a dollar for every time I tried to stream a movie legally and couldn't find it anywhere but on torrent sites...

You'd happily give away those dollars to the content owners, if they'd just let you stream it legally.

It also needs to be easier to buy it than steal it

and not have unskippable adverts or lectures on piracy

for a lot of things, stealing is both easier and better

Ha! Yes, the piracy ad is awesome...

Instead of buying ad space on torrent sites (let's say), they lecture people who have actually bought the DVD. And, those who download the movie illegally can skip that, only those who actually have the DVD watch it.

Absolutely retarded.

> and not have unskippable adverts

The other day, I pirated a disney movie that I already own on DVD, because who the hell has the time to sit through 20 unskippable previews, and then an excessively animated DVD menu, and then go through a badly paginated list of scenes to try and find where you left off- but the streaming pirate site just let me click to the exact point I left off, within seconds.

Careful of this mindset.

So the thought process is: "I want this" "I am not allowed this" "I should be allowed this" "I will take it anyway"

This is seductive, easy, and the wrong way to go for most things.

I understand the frustration. I have felt the same way many, many times. I suspect that if people who illegally downloaded movies posted money to the studios who created the content directly, then this problem would disappear pretty much overnight.

> illegally downloaded movies posted money to the studios who created the content directly, then this problem would disappear pretty much overnight

So if you cannot get something legally easily, you should support that practice and suddenly you'll get it more easily in future? This in a post about an article where Disney is making it more difficult to get content legally? Really?

>This is seductive, easy, and the wrong way to go for most things.

Perhaps that's why people don't think that for other things, but constrain that argument to digital distribution.

Note that the other way (accept whatever meagre or exorbitant distribution deals the content owner wants or stay without content) also has big issues, especially if one believes movies, music, books, etc are essential to culture.

I'm discussing the product and service, no interest in moral or legal judgements.

Took a while to find an example of someone treating availability of other people's work on their own terms as a human right but here we are.

Just trying to look at things from the perspective of an average idiot who doesn't think too hard beyond "want X now"

It needs to be easy as possible to let this person buy things

Maybe you have some insight

Pirating != stealing.

Yeah yeah

Frankenstein is the maker, not the monster

Linux is just the kernel


...yes, these are all true statements and you should use correct descriptions of you want to be understood.

- calling pirates thieves is a leap that will undermine your argument by assuming harm that's not shown - have any serious discussion about Frankenstein's morality while confusing him with his monster and no one will understand you - I write this from a Linux device, but because it is an Android/Linux device is has a completely different experience than a GNU/Linux system, and you can have that experience on GNU/kFreeBSD or GNU/NT just as well.

Semantics matter. Words make a difference. Please don't miscommunicate just because misunderstanding helps your side in an argument.

What do you think my side is and of what argument

It's a shorthand which I'm sure everyone else understood. Sorry if you were confused.

Speaking implicitly doesn't do well these days, it seems.

You may want to look up the dictionary definition of stealing. Besides, it's still harmful to others and therefore wrong.

> it's still harmful to others and therefore wrong.

If everything that was harmful to others would be seen as wrong we would live in a completely different world. Interestingly, people only make this connection for very few topics.

Sounds like a better world to me.

Anyway, it seems I hit a nerve. I used to be one of those piracy is not stealing people, back when I pirated content. Now that I pay for content I can look back at that person and understand that cognitive dissonance between my notion of myself as a good person and the fact that I was pirating content led me to consider piracy a good thing, or at the least not a bad thing.

Because really, what is being said with the semantics argument "piracy != stealing"? It is about how harmful piracy is, whether it really is as bad as stealing, and fundamentally whether or not we should have copyright at all. If we should have copyright, then we must have legal tools to enforce it, and piracy must be illegal and wrong. If we shouldn't have copyright, then piracy is a form of freedom fighting and should be encouraged.

My opinion on the matter is that we should have copyright, but that it should be more limited in duration, with stronger fair use exceptions (like the right to decrypt for the purpose of backup and archival). I don't care for the semantics argument. Call it piracy or call it stealing, it does not change what is being done: taking things without permission.

I'm not saying that pirating is good. I'm just saying that pirating does not mean "taking things without permission" aka stealing. It's copying things without permission.

P.S. when i was young and poor i used to wear an eye patch, these days i'm paying for stuff.

The word existed before digital content. By your own logic; corporate protectionism is also harmful to others, so that is wrong too?

>The word existed before digital content.

So? Words get revised when society/technology/etc changes.

Besides copyright existed before digital content too.

> Words get revised

In this case, society adopted the word "piracy" to represent the new semantic, whereas the recording industry chose "stealing" so as to conflate the issue. The word war is not a neutral process.

> copyright existed before digital content too

And it's application in modern times is increasingly contrived and outdated. Since when was it decided that mandatory "remastering" was a reasonable condition to repay for a media all over again? Why would I have to pay additional fees just to use a different medium (mobile phone vs laptop, for example).

>In this case, society adopted the word "piracy" to represent the new semantic, whereas the recording industry chose "stealing" so as to conflate the issue. The word war is not a neutral process.

No, but it's also not as clearcut as "society uses piracy / recording industry chose stealing". If anything, the recording industry refers to piracy all the time.

>And it's application in modern times is increasingly contrived and outdated.

From a consumer standpoint? Because it's meant to protect creators, not consumers.

>Why would I have to pay additional fees just to use a different medium (mobile phone vs laptop, for example).

Because the seller sets the price. People can pay it or not use the product. It happens with everything else.

Yes, but "piracy" seems to have stuck. "Stealing" I'd consider non-neutral.

> Because the seller sets the price

But I already paid. The seller is also asking to control the medium. That does not happen with everything else. In fact, there has been a creep toward control in the hands of distributers (e.g. Amazon deleting recalled ebooks off the devices they sold to you).

This isn't just a case "seller has product, seller sets price". The landscape of available products is being purposefully manipulated to expand the number of different products that exist e.g I'd consider a digital movie file to be one 'product', independent to whatever medium I choose to play it on; But the movie industry might advocate for a separate 'product' per medium.

At that point it's not even related to the original "artist"/creator or their compensation - I'm now dealing with middlemen actively lobbying to create new forms of compensation, and restricting the ways in which I can access certain services without them. In the example I gave above, "remastering" is an excuse to charge for the same product on a different medium. There might be compensatory charges on top of DVDs that go to offset piracy, but there will never be compensation for consumers who already bought a film on a different format (VHS, for example) - the advantage only ever goes one way, so I don't care what narratives industry lawyers care to craft - piracy provides a necessary pressure to prevent consumers being taken advantage of even more.

>But I already paid.

The sellers set what is being sold too.

They can set it to be e.g. "I sell the ability to see just 1 minute of my 10 hour movie, only in black and white, with mono sound for $1000, only once" if they so wish.

>I'd consider a digital movie file to be one 'product', independent to whatever medium I choose to play it on; But the movie industry might advocate for a separate 'product' per medium.

So, isn't that to their discretion?

The question is rather: why are buyers so desperate for those things in the first place.

They could have boycotted the whole thing.

But buy buying and/or pirating them despite such terms (e.g. only in DVD), they show there's value to what the sellers are trying to sell.

(Note: not entirely my personal preferences on the subject, playing the devil's advocate)

> They can set it to be

Who decides? Politicians romanced by industry lobbyists? Why should the government/public bear the costs for legislating such things?

> So, isn't that to their discretion?

Now you are switching from "what is right" to "what is legal". The law is dictated by society, based on common morality.

> they show there's value to what the sellers are trying to sell.

And that value exists under a mandatory layer of DRM. And sometimes enforced by industry-sponsored legislation. Your assumption of value (or the power to boycott) ignore the monopolisation of media formats - When all computers contain a "DRM-chip" then "all I have to do" is boycott it? And what if they are mandatory by law - just oppose it? The general public is susceptible to targeted divide-and-conquer tactics, which doesn't result in a true representation or expression of public opinion at the mercy of industry motives.

> They could have boycotted the whole thing.

They did - they pirated. They didn't just boycott the technology, but the law as well - that shows that the public do not value those laws, and the laws were erected in contradiction to the will of the people. No?

>Now you are switching from "what is right" to "what is legal". The law is dictated by society, based on common morality.

No, I keep using both moral/legal.

It's their thing, so they get to set their rules for giving access to it.

What's immoral about "I created Star Wars 555 but only allow you to see it if you pay $10,000. Oh, and you only get to see it once for the price while I play the kazoo".

That's their proposition. The buyer can simply decline.

>* They didn't just boycott the technology, but the law as well - that shows that the public do not value those laws, and the laws were erected in contradiction to the will of the people. No?*

Only as much as DIU shows that the people don't value driving laws.

We can still say that pirating doesn't show that they don't value those laws, as much as that they found an easy way to bypass them and not get caught.

> It's their thing, so they get to set their rules for giving access to it.

The government isn't "their thing". They need to negotiate with the rest of society if they want anyone else to enforce those rules.

> What's immoral about "I created Star Wars

You are ignoring a lot of what I wrote about monopolising middle-men, or the role/interest of government in actively enforcing these "propositions".

Do you also not believe in "resale" laws?

> Only as much as DIU shows

Yes, I don't believe this either, I think these kinds of argument are specious. And people acting under under DUIs are a) under the influence, not at their full rational capacity b) a minority, most people support DUI laws.

If I steal your car, you lose your car.

If I pirate your film, you may or may not have lost out on a sale. Probably I wasn't willing to pay for your awful SpywareDataHarvesting as a Service content platform so it's debatable whether or not you truly lost anything.

I lost control over my work. How about that? Even if I haven't lost the original, who exactly gave you the permission to watch my work?

Do you also sneak into live shows without paying the cover charge? After all a live band doesn't lose money when you sneak into the theater either. And you can argue that you might have never opted to pay the ticket in the first place if you couldn't sneak. So, as long as there's enough room for other people and you're not causing them lost tickets, it's ok too?

>Even if I haven't lost the original, who exactly gave you the permission to watch my work?

What if I watch it for free at my friend's house? Do I need your permission?

If you live in the US, the act of buying a movie and watching it immediately (without trailers or adverts) is about as simple as you can get. iTunes, Xbox Store, YouTube/Google Play, etc. all offer what are essentially one-click purchases and/or rentals, and the most you get is an interstitial menu defaulted to "play" (with other options for special features and jump to chapter).

Except those are actually long-term rentals.

What if Google or Apple or Microsoft, for whatever reason, decide to pull the plus on their service?

Now you paid for nothing and don't own whichever movie you "bought" anymore.


What about this scenario -- you decided to BUY the movie via Blu-Ray or DVD, but then they force you to go through and see the previews before letting you watch the movie you bought. And not letting you skip the previews. These companies don't have a clue.

I agree.

Torrents are more convenient, and better quality.

> thanks Netflix for their growing self produced content that often has a quality not seen before


There are some good shows on Netflix, but they are in the minority, in my opinion. Tastes vary, of course. But a lot of their original programming is not so original, it just feels like filler content to increase the perceived value of the platform. For every good original show they make like House of Cards, there are at least 5x as many that are uneventful or boring.

But that's not unusual. Network television is the same way.

I find them better than TV, pound for pound. For example, _Backstrom_ is a shitty House clone in many senses, but is a much better detective show than _Elementary_.

They have more feedback data and often great "production values" (i.e. they spent the extra money to make it nice). It doesn't always pay off (how stupid was _Marseille_, with Gerard Depardieu at his best acting chops in years and a political story that melts into family drama in three episodes flat?).

But having 100 Netflix shows and a random assortment of failed indie movies is not better than having 10 Netflix shows and a decent film catalog. Netflix pretty much snuck up on the less attentive of us by giving us more shows (hey, I basically stayed for Bojack Horseman) and taking away feature-length studio-produced movies.

I mean, who has the time to watch a full-length movie most days.

So I kind of feel cheated, but not enough to leave yet.

Uh, Backstrom was a broadcast (Fox) series cancelled after a single season. It's not a Netflix original, so it's alleged superiority to successful broadcast series like Elementary is not, even granting for the sake of argument that it is superior, an indication of the superiority of Netflix's shows.

Oh god. I'll see if HN lets me delete my comment.

I'm really bad with my facts this week.

> Network television is the same way.

And the movie business. And the music business. And the book-publishing business. In any creative industry, there are hundreds or thousands of mediocre-to-terrible attempts for any hit. It's the nature of the beast. Shaving that ratio by orders of magnitude is black magic, or even just luck. This is why successful outliers are so handsomely paid - not because they do something well, but because they dramatically decrease the risk of producing stuff that won't sell enough.

The saying that goes "90% of everything is crap" emerged before Netflix was even a concept.

Sure, but we were specifically discussing Netflix and TV and the use of the word "often."

Sure, it's not as convenient as instant streaming, but the Netflix DVD shipping catalog is unparalleled. Every old movie you can think of plus new releases as soon as they release on DVD. Well worth what I pay since I'm patient enough to wait a couple days for the disk. Plus, if you pay a little extra for the blu-ray service the quality is way better than streaming "HD".

I got the urge to watch Total Recall, the original version. (Please don't judge me!) Is it available on Netflix where I am? Nope. HBO? No. Amazon Prime video? No! Now, Amazon does offer a digital rental - for 8 bucks!

I never thought I'd say this, but I'm starting to miss video rental shops.

Try your local library! Free rental plus a large catalog is pretty hard to beat.

Good idea, I'm embarrassed I didn't think of that... Only problem is, I just remembered I no longer have an optical drive!

It seems I have to install their software on my computer to see what the price is. I'm being curmudgeonly here, I know, but I'm not keen on installing iTunes, my previous experiences with that and other software on Windows were not that great.

While it is a bit of time invested initially it can be very handy to keep a Windows VM around for this purpose. Make sure to keep a baseline snapshot after patching. This way you can install questionable software with full confidence it won't impact your main system. You can simply revert to the baseline snapshot at any time to uninstall the software.

I've completely given up on trying to stream movies

I also completely refuse to buy physical media too, so the end result is that I basically never watch movies at home any more unless I go to the effort of torrenting it

https://fmovies.is/ u just need a good ad-blocker as with all these streaming sites, sometimes they get malicious ads

Try Chromecast. It costs almost nothing and it's absolutely awesome.

I love my Chromecast, but isn't this discussion about accessing content?

If the content owners don't let you access their content (or they make it a burden to access it by requiring a subscription for another service) it doesn't matter if you have a device that can output an HDMI signal.

This is slightly off-topic, but the Chromecast Ultra, with the Ethernet connection, is an absolute beast.

I'm lucky enough to have Ethernet in my whole flat (two drops in every room), and a gigabit internet connection. When I launch a 4K HDR video on YouTube, it literally takes less than two seconds to start playing. In comparison, the YouTube app on the TV takes 5-10 seconds to start playing. The TV is hardwired as well. Please note that the Chromecast only has a 100Mbit ethernet port, same as a RPi, or most smart TVs.

I thought the original Chromecast was great. But even if you have a great wifi setup, get the Ethernet power plug. It will change your Chromecast. You don't need the Chromecast Ultra to use the Ethernet feature, just a second generation Chromecast (the round one)

Why cant I watch old TV shows? 3's company? Facts of Life? The Peoples Court? It doesnt make much sense to me.

Because there aren't enough people like you who would to pay for it to cover the costs of even a lawyer reviewing the contracts to see who owns the rights (and the answer will be not a single party, actors/music/artwork etc rights involved in all will be incredibly complex), never mind actually pay anyone involved.

There are lots of things I would like someone to make at a reasonable price too (roll on my line of all existing Transformers with chrome finishes, car paint, clear windows and chrome tire rims!). But I have to accept that there's not enough of me that the costs of that sort of thing come down to $10, and buy a limited subset of more expensive items instead.

If that's the case that stuff needs to enter the public domain.

We need better legislation around orphaned works; those whose ownership is too complex to resolve should be treated the same as those whose ownership is completely lost. In both cases, ownership can't be reasonably determined.

Yes, this is the real issue. If copyright was reasonable - say 40-50 years - then a lot of this stuff would naturally enter the public domain and then could be shown on any streaming service.

Instead we have the current copyright system because a minuscule amount of old content is still profitable and large companies lobby to protect it.

offtopic, but i get a tv station that broadcasts, afaict, nothing but Roseanne, Night Court, and Empty Nest. Roseanne was just as good as I remember... until it wasn't.

Even a 10 cents per movie pricing strategy would generate millions of dollars for older movies. I just don't get why they don't just try this strategy..

There was this idea that if you had all movies available the long tail (obscure, old etc movies) would still be watched by at least some people, but in practice most people just stick to what's new/mainstream/known, so that it's not worth the extra hassle to maintain a long tail library.

Tons of tracks on online music stores for example are never streamed or only a handful of times.

(Of course the limited stuff e.g. Netflix has, is by no means not even the 10% of possible content).

But even if so, can those few not sufficiently monetize things to warrant the storage and delivery costs? I mean, yeah, old movies once had their original film melted down, but for the past 80 years they've at least thrown it into a vault or similar. Physical storage is orders of magnitudes more expensive than digital; even just dropping these things into an S3 bucket and serving them as needed for .10 cents would cost less than what they used to do, -and- would allow them to actually make money from it (albeit very little).

If you don't want -any- of that, then why not release it for free and allow things like the internet archive to store it and deliver it for you? It's worth the money to store it -in case- you want to do something with it, but not worth the money to actually do something with it, even though that costs no more and has a return on investment?

Film studios are constrained by labyrinthine contracts between studios, distributors, actors, and unions. In cases where contracts are missing, any of the above parties can sue.

Even more confusingly rights for IP might have been transferred and sold many times leading to questions about who actually owns a film or franchise.

Distribution rights, production rights are separate. Actors may have been promised a cut of any of the above.

So if you track down 40 years worth of contracts, you can safely add a movie to your streaming service.

Add to that 100 years of studio mergers, consolidation, etc. It is a mess.

I am sure many companies would like to stream more, but simply can't.

That doesn't explain why a 20 year old movie will pop up on a streaming service for a few months then be unavailable again. Clearly they can sort these issues out. The content companies are stuck in a model of artificial scarcity.

For myself, when I get the itch to watch an old movie and I can't immediately find it on the Netflix or Amazon prime video I don't go try to find some other streaming service or pay for a one time viewing. I'll just find something else to watch that is available. So when they could have had one more view for old content they wouldn't otherwise make money on, thereby increasing the value of their catalog, instead they get nothing at all.

Well the other side of the equation is what the new distributors (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) are willing to pay to stream a given property. If a property keeps jumping from service to service and in and out of availability I would guess it has more to do with a mismatch between the perceived value of the property and what the streaming services are willing to pay for it.

Artificial scarcity is a thing I can't argue with you there, Disney has been doing it for years with drip-style "anniversary" releases of their properties on media. I would fully expect them to do the same with their streaming content.

See for example the original Point Break.


I don't even care about flat rate, charge me a couple dollars (and more if it was just out in the cinema, I don't want to go to a room full of stranger to watch a movie) per movie/show but. I'm even OK to have to use 3 different providers, but not being able to watch a movie because there is no agreement for the country I'm in is ridiculous.

>I don't want to go to a room full of stranger to watch a movie

Sharing a cultural artifact with others outside a small social bubble is one of the great enjoyments of going to the cinema.

I've rarely "shared" it with other people in any meaningful way.

I almost always hear other people talk or see them using their phones though, unless the cinema is pretty much empty.

Ah! Sounds like a great idea, a cinema followed by some cocktail party for people to talk about the movie. I'd go to that sort of event.

What you describe has also been going on for nearly a century, at least in Europe: movie (and ordinary) theaters with a foyer (anteroom?) were people drink, smoke (in the past, but also now in some countries) and socialize before the movie starts and during the intermission (a short 10-15 minute break splitting the movie in two parts customary in some countries so you can piss in peace, have a drink or a smoke back in the day, and restock on popcorn without missing anything).

And that's for regular movie screenings -- there are also all kinds of organized screenings, where people get to talk and discuss the movie afterwards, especially for art films and such.

But already being in an audience while the movie plays, and being aware of people's reactions etc. is a shared experience (and it had been alluded as such by tons of filmmakers).

Maybe when I am 60, 70 or 80 the software industry will get their shi* together and finally agree on a solution that has long been found in the music business.

For a truly complete platform, I would FOR SURE pay more than the 10$ a month for Applix. 20, maybe 30! But then I want it ALL. All software they have in storage.

> a solution that has long been found in the music business.

A lot of people have commented that the music solution is not ideal in a number of ways from the 'demand' side, but I don't think anybody has mentioned how the music business is broken from the 'supply' side.

It is next to impossible to make a living from music for the vast majority of musicians and producers out there. The obvious argument is that if you cant sell, your quality isn't good enough but that's actually not true in my opinion. Distribution is severely unbalanced - and if the movie industry continued in this direction, all we will ever see is Spiderman remakes.

If there were a single service that had all the content, and no one else had content, you would be pirating because the cost could go to the 100s.

The competition of content is what makes the services cheap and pumps out new quality content on different platforms. At the same time it allows for the efficent satisfaction of the demand: those that care little pay little, those that care a lot pay a lot. With a single bundle, you either get all or you get nothing.

There are many arguments to believe this is more efficient. The music industry, also, its ridden with tremendous problems, I would not model my business after them if I had the choice.

> Maybe when I am 60, 70 or 80 the film industry will get their shi* together and finally agree on a solution that has long been found in the music business.

Except that the music business continues to shrink each year.

The only reason there was a slight pause in this is because suddenly vinyl sales, of all things, took off.

Somehow I don't think you are going to find many takers in the video industry for following any music model.

> Except that the music business continues to shrink each year.

What do you base this on? I googled a bit "music industry revenue" and only the opposite came up.


Then you didn't look very far.


Almost a straight line from 1999 with 26.6 billion to 14.97 billion in 2014.

Quoting your source:

> Total revenues for 2016 were US$15.7 billion.

Quoting here: http://www.ifpi.org/facts-and-stats.php

> This growth, however, should be viewed in the context of the industry losing nearly 40% of its revenues in the preceding 15 years.

The situation is effectively also disrespectful towards the creators of movies and the whole art form. Who would happy about a movie being buried in the archives? A movie has to be watched to effectively exist.

"solution that has long been found in the music business"

Which is what?

I think incredible how much money they are not making by each movie that is not available on some stream platform.

i don't need it all, i'd be happy with as much selection of my local video store that, somehow, only closed a couple years ago.

> [Streaming is] the big asset [movie studios] could build on!

The movie studios likely don't see it this way. Tickets and merchandising are still the two main pillars of the industry. Home viewing is still the bottom end of the market [1]. The embrace of streaming represents a loss of revenue, not a gain of consumer good will [6].

Physical media (DVD/BluRay) are much more lucrative. Studios have an incentive to keep selling a pennies-worth of plastic for $20. Streaming represents a major loss of revenue and the studios will stall and delay until consumer demand forces them to change.

People still buy millions of BluRay movies each year [2]. Now the studios are trying to compete directly with Netflix, rather than embrace the changing consumer landscape. This is largely a continuation of Blockbuster's long, slow demise [3].

In order to feed the lucrative parts of the distribution chain (movie tickets, merch, physical media), Hollywood is increasingly churning out "big" movies. This has spawned a new phenomenon called "super hero fatigue" [5]. Many are predicting the demise of blockbusters altogether in the near future [4].

But don't expect studios to change until it's proven that they can't make money the old way.

[1] http://www.investopedia.com/articles/investing/093015/how-ex...

[2] http://www.denofgeek.com/us/movies/blu-ray/263154/falling-dv...

[3] https://www.fool.com/investing/general/2013/11/06/3-bonehead...

[4] http://www.cracked.com/blog/why-blockbuster-movie-bubble-wil...

[5] http://www.rollingstone.com/movies/news/10-signs-that-you-ha...

[6] http://www.latimes.com/business/hollywood/la-fi-ct-home-vide...

> Maybe when I am 60, 70 or 80 the film industry will get their shi* together and finally agree on a solution that has long been found in the music business.

You mean DRM free video MP4 files like the DRM free audio MP3 files on Amazon.com, iTunes and elsewhere? Yes, that would be a starting point.

If every studio thinks I'm going to pay them $10+ a month to stream their content, they are going to be very mistaken.

I can't imagine that a lot of people want to spend the collective hundreds of dollars to sign up for all the streaming services. It's almost asking to drive people to torrents.

Now, if Disney does something like $30/year or something really affordable - sure. I might do that on a whim. I guess it's all about volume vs. price.

Netflix, however, I'll keep paying for gladly because of the library size. For the streaming price, it is well worth the value.

Agreed. I only pay for netflix and HBO (and amazon, but that's a bonus for paying for prime). HBO doesn't feel like "extra" because it's always been an optional add-on that costs more.

First all the "major" studios will split and start charing $10/month. Then adds will start creeping back in. Before you know it everyone will be paying for an ad-hoc cable subscription.

I think a better option would be to do what Amazon is doing for HBO - offer a small portion of the studio (in this case Disney) included with the platform (Netflix) with the option to pay additional fees for the entire catalog.

The biggest deterrent, for me at least, is not the price but the need to switch platforms. I'm already annoyed when I have to go from Netflix to Amazon to find a movie/show I want to see but can't remember where it is. No chance I'll add a third, forth, or fifth platform to the mix.

Long term, we'll probably wind up with a couple of major marketplaces that provide a UI that ties together content bundles that you've purchased from different distributors (who will actually serve up their catalogs).

It's a bit depressing how similar that sounds to how cable networks work. Or platform specific app stores.

> Long term, we'll probably wind up with a couple of major marketplaces that provide a UI that ties together content bundles that you've purchased from different distributors (who will actually serve up their catalogs).

If you actually had something like that, it could know that you watched Cosmos on Netflix and then suggest physics lecture videos from Open Courseware. It could suggest YouTube videos alongside Hollywood movies.

Which is exactly what the studios don't want, because they want you watching only their content. That is the real reason they're so obsessed with DRM -- they want creating that to be prohibited by law, because it would allow a free market for content curation instead of allowing the major studios to control it.

It's the same reason they don't like Netflix. Netflix is producing their own content and is happy to accept content from small players. It's not a fully open market but it's still too much like real competition.

But fragmentation isn't going to save them. People aren't going to subscribe to a dozen separate streaming services each with their own incompatible interface.

Hopefully they'll realize that sooner rather than later and decide that it's better to have open interfaces and protocols than let someone else (i.e. Netflix) have market power.

I think your comments about the power are largely spot on - and bigger players can make a move for their own streaming services, but smaller ones will need to band together (not necessarily via an all-in-one subscription service like Netflix, but via some sort of content platform/store/whatever).

That said, I think that the curation aspect is something that studios aren't overly concerned about - they just hate that a direct competitor is stealing their profit and making their own content. If Netflix wasn't being as aggressive (or wasn't being so damn profitable; or wasn't negotiating prices with the studios), I don't think that the content creators would be trying to run away so quickly.

I hope that open protocols win out, that's the best solution here for everyone (and would be the ideal "major marketplace" in my parent comment). That said, it may just wind up being an organisation owned by a consortium/cartel of studios (or even some other third party) that's contractually obligated to "fairness".

"there are “only two ways to make money in business: One is to bundle; the other is unbundle.” - Jim Barksdale


"We don't want the consumer to make better choices, we want them to make our choices, they need to conform to our marketing plans"

https://www.justwatch.com/ by HN user endymi0n; Show HN (2015) https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=9005641

"largest streaming search engine in the world [...] with around 12 million unique visits per month" - https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=14842083


http://www.canistream.it/ by former HN user SeyelentEco

Has anyone had luck with canistream.it? I've never once had success with it and tried at least half a dozen times over months.

Just now I did a search for "all the presidents men." Top hit was "All The King's Men" but the right movie did show up second. It says "Not available for streaming, rental, or purchase. Click below to set reminders."

So I hopped around and did a few quick searches:

streaming on Netflix (i think) https://www.netflix.com/watch/243547

streaming on amazon (with Cinemax) http://a.co/605SHmD

for rent or sale on iTunes https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/all-the-presidents-men/id5...

for rent or sale on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZAGNFnI7mZ4

The page also says it's not for sale on DVD or Blu-Ray (showing an Amazon logo): http://a.co/aoa6bG8


Click "Watch the Movie" and it will show you several ways you can watch it (including all you've listed above and more).

canistream.it seems to have better SEO because I've never heard of gowatchit.com and I swear I've googled some variant of "where movies are streaming" multiple times.

Roku and AppleTV seem to do a decent job of aggregating this information, but that UI isn't always handy and I'm usually more flexible about my viewing options than just those devices.

Agreed. I've probably tried using that site about 5-6 times over the past year, and it has never told me anything was streaming. Never. And yes, about half of the things I checked were indeed streaming upon further review.

Here's a streaming search I like, that lets you sort by RT/Metacritic score.

https://www.cinesift.com/ by reddit user yombato (not sure of their hn alias)

justwatch doesn't do anything but aggregate affiliate links.

That's like saying Google "just" aggregates indexed websites. I use justwatch on a weekly basis to find out whether a movie is on any of the services I use (instead of checking all three of them individually), and browse new releases on each service.

Sure. But OP was responding to the below excerpt. At least from the way I've interpreted the request, they are looking for a single interface to watch their content from multiple providers. justwatch does not do this.

px1999 1 hour ago [-]

Long term, we'll probably wind up with a couple of major marketplaces that provide a UI that ties together content bundles that you've purchased from different distributors (who will actually serve up their catalogs).

Well, not really. Most content providers don't even have affiliate programms.

More referring to all the overpriced pay to own links.

Long term, it'll be the DRM free copies that are preserved for future generations to enjoy the historical context of.

Yes -- just like how the copies of 8-bit computer games that we can run today on emulators are generally the cracked copies rather than the copy-protected (old-school DRM) originals.

DVD's and Blu-Rays are pretty much archival quality, and the minimal copy protection is easily circumvented, at least for the next decade or two https://superuser.com/questions/251369/what-is-the-lifespan-...

FireTV and AppleTV already do this some degree. On FireTV when you search for a movie/show it will give you options where to play it based on which apps you have installed (netflix, hulu, or via amazon/prime)

The Apple TV's "TV app" is great for this... but for some reason, it only functions in the US. I get that it has a "live cable" Single-Sign-On component that cable providers need to sign up with–but all I want from it is the unified interface for searching/browsing and watch-tracking of content within streaming services!

I'd wager that's because (aside from Apple generally being US-based) international distribution rights are an even bigger minefield than US distribution rights.

It's alright but clearly dependent on the content providers and platform operators to be honest and accurate. Recently I tried to watch the new season of Archer. My Fire TV told me that show is available on Netflix and Hulu but didn't seem to know which seasons. I opened Netflix first and found they had old seasons but not the latest. I switched to Hulu and the thumbnail for the show mentioned Archer Dreamland, the latest season. I opened that up and found that the latest season was not available and Hulu had the same offering as Netflix.

FXX themselves do not seem interested in my money and require that I have cable so I continue not consuming their content.

The Roku does this as well, without giving preferential treatment to any particular vendor.

The big Media companies want it to work like cable because they think their "premium content" will get people to pay more.

In reality, they are likely to trigger a backlash that increases piracy instead.

I don't know why all these people behind these decisions don't just look at Gabe Newell and his simple statement - "Piracy is a service problem."

Steam is a rampant success. You'd think people would catch on. Have the content, make it easy to access, make it easy to pay, and people will give you money hand over fist.

The only way the Steam model would work for media is if content owners would agree that if someone on the platform purchased a digital copy of something that the ownership couldn't be rescinded.

Nobody will purchase, for instance, all the seasons of M.A.S.H. if they know that there is a risk that the rights owners will pull their content off of the platform in a few years and the person loses the ability to watch what they paid for.

The platform should also have the ability to "import" previously purchased rights. If someone buys a TV show on iTunes, they should be able to import that purchase into the platform so they can consolidate all of their purchases into a single platform.

Lastly, the other thing that made Steam a huge success is the sales. Daily sales of some content, quarterly sales of large swaths of content, etc. That would have to occur for a media platform to have the same kind of success.

I'm an unabashed pirate because it's easy... but if I could use a platform like this that didn't have a recurring monthly cost I would use it.

If Pixar put their upcoming movie available for pre-purchase (like Steam Greenlight) at 40% off, I would likely pre-purchase it. If Disney wanted to drum up interest in their new Duck Tales reboot by putting the original series up for sale for $20, I would be all over that. A TV series in its 4th season with struggling ratings could put up a flash sale of previous seasons in order to get new viewers to binge watch before the new season starts. A TV series could also sell a season pass BEFORE the new season starts for an infusion of cash and release the episodes on the regular schedule.

A steam-like platform could work wonders for media consumption, but it'll be hard to get companies to do it.

Steam took off because it was required for an awesome video game that Valve released. Eventually Steam was more valuable than the game.

That's the only way something like this happen for media. A small studio with a hot property could build the platform for their own offerings but invite other media owners to participate. Adult Swim or SyFy or FX could probably pull it off.

Stream uses DRM, has famously bad customer service, geofilters content and uses differential pricing, keeps content it produces itself exclusively to the platform and withholds it from others, bars some content based on arbitrary criteria, maintains a singular store that doesn't play especially nice with third party indexing tools etc etc etc.

Even Valve doesn't believe in Gabe's statement, and never did. Dozens of media companies have much larger market caps than Valve's estimated value.

The statement conforms to the prejudices of a lot of Hacker News, but there is significant evidence that it's not empirically true.

So DRM, geofiltering, and differential pricing are all requested by publishers and distributors. If you want something more equitable then try GoG, but as you'll notice that not all new or big games are on that platform.

As for third party indexing tools, I read that to mean scraping the site for various reasons. Which I can understand they might not want due to the extra load it generates.

I said make it easy, steam did make it easy. It is easy to use steam to buy and play games. Maybe it's not easy to use steam to buy a game, and then play it without steam... but then that wouldn't fit into my argument.

It's hard to convince someone of something when their income depends on them believing the opposite.

Steam was successful because it combined advantages for producers and consumers with minimal changes to the business model. The old business model is people buy games that come on a CD or DVD in a small cardboard box for $30-50; the new business model is people buy games that finish downloading in a few hours for $30-50. Not really much of a change in revenue stream.

Cable TV, however, relies on splitting up the channels people want into different packages, that each come with lots of channels they don't want. They also need to overcharge you so they can afford to cut the prices for the "package deal" (TV/Phone/Internet bundles). What people want instead is more à la carte options, with a discount from package deals because they're asking for fewer channels.

So moving to a service that would cut piracy would still hurt financially. Another advantage of piracy is that they can blame their financial troubles on "filthy criminals" and use that to extract some benefits from compliant government allies. Offering a less profitable service that reduces piracy robs them of that as well.

Steam does more than that. It combines social elements (What are my friends playing now? Do they want to join me? What games do they recommend?) and lower price points as well (Summer Sale etc). I know lots of people that stopped pirating games because Steam was reliable (pirated games rarely are), took away the pain (mostly) of patching games and because if you are willing to wait, games are actually pretty cheap.

And you're forgetting download speeds. When steam started being successful it would take me a full day to download a game, while in steam I could get it in a couple hours maximum.

Maybe that's not true anymore. But I'm sure contributed to steam's success.

I think there's another point that is very important: Steam was the original cloud.

Back in the day where GMail was heralded as being amazing, and offering 1GB of storage for your mails, Steam came out and said "don't worry about how to install Half-Life/CS, or which patch to apply, I'm automating all of it."

"You don't need to worry about your CDs any more. I'll give you the content, for free, anytime you change PCs."

"Just log in with your Steam account on the cybercafé computer. All the games you own are already installed."

Steam was made mandatory to install the new version of CS (was it the 1.6 release?). That was Valve's best move ever (even though I hated it back in the day).

Save files and settings were sucked into the cloud as well (sometimes). Great for little games I like to play on multiple computers.

For me, it's not about the price (within reason). If it's reliable, easy, and centralised, along with an (albeit weak) guarantee that I will have content access if steam goes belly up, I'm in.

That's only partly true. There are countries where average wage is $300/month. They are NOT going to buy legal software and media for $40/thing no matter how easy it is.

Brazil checking in. People still pay for steam games despite the cost. It is often cheaper than the currency-converted USD price, and otherwise you don't have multiplayer. Piracy is down by orders of magnitude from 10 years ago.

There are always exceptions, I don't think this invalidates the parent comment in any way.

In general, this is usually solved by pricing things differently in different markets.

well said

Good point komali2.

My steam library is full of games I'll never play, never would have bothered to pirate. Why? because steam sales.

I'm sure the same could be achieved for Hollywood. Not only could they make sure people are paying for the content they watch, they could have saps like me paying for content they never watch.

I view many of these streaming services as one-time purchases.

I'll look to see if something I want to watch is on Netflix. If I find something looks interesting, great! I'll sign up for one month of the service and then cancel it immediately.

I also do this for football season. I signed up for Sling TV + Red Zone and paid for a few months. When football season was over, I canceled it.

I do the same, but I think that's harder with a family. Right now my wife and I don't have time to watch much, so we usually pick a single show together and watch it start to finish, but if we both had our own watching habits or kids I don't know what we'd do. I dont imagine anyone else would have the patience to start/stop service no matter how easy it is (I can't even get them to turn off the lights when they leave the room).

Or to summarize, every studio thinks they're better than their competitors. And thus deserving of a larger portion of streaming revenue than their competitors.

People will definitely turn to piracy if it becomes too difficult/fragmented to watch the content they want to watch.

As a result, for these services to be successful, we'll probably see some renewed fighting against piracy and some work toward increasing regulation on the internet. Unfortunately, the political climate is probably pretty good in the US right now for Disney and other big content creators to start pushing for these.

Or just not watch. It's just TV. If it's too hard I'll go and do something else and not even miss it. That doesn't help the content creators long term if I'm no longer even interested in their product.

Tbh, mindless entertainment where I shut my brain off is critical to staying chill for me.

I briefly worked for a company that wanted to do this (Fanhattan/FanTV). It was more an aggregator than a marketplace, but similar concept. But that was back in 2011, so they were a bit ahead of their time (and also seemed allergic to actually shipping things, but that's unrelated, I suppose).

That's not how cable works, they bundle content you don't want with the tiny amount you do. What you are describing allows me to make much finer grained choices about my content.

I'm suggesting that if you add eg "Miramax" to your library by paying their subscription you gain access to their back catalogue. I may only want one or two movies from them, but thanks to the bundling I have access to way more. Or Disney might divide subscriptions up by its studios or labels. I don't see them offering individual shows in a subscription, as that has limited appeal (has been done already and doesn't _really_ require its own platform)

Overall, it's not so different from cable channels, except that it's on-demand.

instantwatcher.com for Netflix + Amazon

You mean Netflix and Amazon Prime Video...

I probably described it poorly, but both of those services are $/month for access to a full catalog that Netflix/Amazon manages and curates.

That's not really a marketplace, which would have individual vendors selling their own subscription bundles.

Officially there is no such service, but unofficially you can do a lot of stuff :-)

You pay $12 to Netflix and you can watch it officially on 4 devices, which means it's $3 for any of your 4 friends, but you can "oversell" it actually more if you've some friends in different timezones. Many services work this way just fine. Streamwarez(tm) is here for a long time already.

| The biggest deterrent, for me at least, is not the price but the need to switch platforms. I'm already annoyed when I have to go from Netflix to Amazon to find a movie/show I want to see but can't remember where it is. No chance I'll add a third, forth, or fifth platform to the mix.

That's my biggest pain point as well. I already have to switch between Netflix / Hulu / Amazon to figure out who has the content I want. I've always been a huge Stargate fan; Netflix and Amazon used to have it, now only Hulu has it. Amazon is the only one that has the latest episodes for shows that I like, (although I have to pay extra, I'm willing to bite the bullet for my favorite show).

IMO, one of the biggest design goals of Apple TV is precisely exposing content on a provider-agnostic interface, to avoid this pain. As services get more and more fragmented, Apple could become more and more competitive in that space.

Using Prime and Netflix with the FireTV Stick, if I search for a movie in Amazon's interface and Netflix has it, Amazon will tell me so and provide a button to click directly to that movie in the Netflix app. Same with the Showtime app (not sure about Hulu as I don't subscribe to it currently)

Unfortunately, Amazon is a large part of the problem too.

People who want to watch Japanese cartoons get to pay for yet another streaming service, and for years there was a split where we had to pay for both Crunchyroll and Funimation. We finally saw light at the end of the tunnel with the advent of a partnership to share content. Only it turned out to be an Amazon freight train in the form of Anime Strike, which not only requires a $99/yr Prime account, but an additional $5/mo surcharge.

And now once again, we have a service cannibalizing half the important shows each season. And I'm just ... out. Amazon is not getting more money from me. I'm not supporting this balkanization of media content. And I will likely drop Crunchyroll because it doesn't have half of what I want to watch anymore.

These companies are never going to learn. I am happy to pay for content, but I'm not going to sign up for one streaming service per show I want to watch. Like most people, I simply can't afford that.

I buy DVDs. My data cap is too low to stream, and I can't get a higher one. (I've tried.) Netflix and whoever licensing shows for streaming only really pisses me off because then there's no way for me to watch those shows.

You can't download over wifi somewhere?

Some people (lots) have caps even on wifi/ethernet connections.

> These companies are never going to learn

They're not trying to learn, they already know. If you continue to think they are optimizing for your happiness you're the one who'll never learn.

Well we've gotten the bifurcation we have because thats what people have always wanted.

An ad-hoc cable subscription. Few people really wanted all the channels they were getting and would gladly have paid less to get only what they wanted.

Another thing we might see here though has happened to me a lot with music because of Spotify.

If you music isn't on Spotify or Soundclound... I'm just going to listen to it less. Its too much trouble to go download/buy from so many different sources.

I can't be bothered to spend the time anymore.

To me, that indicates that your favorite must-have content is available on Spotify.

If more of your favorite artists were not available on streaming services you'd probably be ok with spending the time.

> I'm already annoyed when I have to go from Netflix to Amazon to find a movie/show I want to see but can't remember where it is.

This problem was solved for me by Roku search on my roku device. It still is something I'd rather not need to do, but the search interface is just as good as the dedicated ones for amazon or netflix and shows you the results across all services.

yup. same for me. Having a search that centralizes all subscriptions you currently have really makes it easy to access that content. I remember the Wii U was supposed to have something similar, it never worked for me. The roku search on the other hand, works just fine. Even the voice search is not that bad.

>> Before you know it everyone will be paying for an ad-hoc cable subscription.

Still better than a cable subscription. That's my biggest beef. I want 2 channels and I can't get them for less than $150 a month. So they get nothing and neither do I.

...and for those who are paying $150, $130 of it goes to lawyers and people trying to get laws passed to allow them to sabotage any real competition before it even becomes a problem. facepalm

If we move fully into that model, how long do you think it will be before they realize merging with smaller networks to start hiking prices is more lucrative than letting people pick and choose?

That model is clearly not working currently.

> kill competition, then raise the prices

Do I really have to go over econ 101 with you? The past distro channels look to "not work" while there's a better alternative; once the latter have a monopoly - oh fuck it, just sit back and pay attention.

>I think a better option would be to do what Amazon is doing for HBO - offer a small portion of the studio (in this case Disney) included with the platform (Netflix) with the option to pay additional fees for the entire catalog.

Just a heads up - HBO is pulling their shows from Amazon in mid-2018[1]. They essentially view it as competition with HBO Now.


My Mi Box (Android TV) lets me search accross apps so I just usually search for movies and shows that way unless I know it's already on Netflix. The weird part for me is Disney coulda just made themselves exclusive to Hulu instead. Just means I wont be watching any Disney movies or shows ever again since I won't bother paying for just Disney or even having regular cable (no more Disney channel for me). Sadly for others it may mean torrenting because the convenience is taken away for the sake of profit.

With HBO I simply do one month subs when a season will complete during it so I can get the whole season in. Once a site passes the $10 mark I quickly lose interest and then I start determining how I can maximize my sub time.

Now what will be interesting is seeing which studios cannot float their own streaming service and combine either with another studio or group of them under an all inclusive banner. I figure we will go nearly full circle and end up with an aggregator like cable was but this time without too much junk.

my beef with some of these "premium" sites is they think that ever after they get $15 from me that I have to watch THEIR ads. Really? I paid for the shows, not 30 to 60 seconds of your ads.

I will never pay for YouTube Red. When an unskippable ad starts playing, I just look away. Most of the time, I realize that I'm wasting time watching idiotic YouTube content, and I quit the app. In this, they're actually lessening my addiction to their platform in that they're giving me a break to consider if I should keep watching or not.

> When an unskippable ad starts playing, I just look away.

Does uBlock Origin block YouTube ads?

I'm asking because it's been years since I saw/was forced to watch a video ad on YouTube. Sure, there are occasionally the banner ads at specific times in the videos, but no video ads.

So either the channels I watch have somehow opte out of video ads, or uBlock is taking care of them?

Or maybe this is a geographic thing and YouTube in Germany doesn't show video ads?

Anyway, if you have Android and want to watch on mobile, I highly recommend NewPipe (F-Droid). Lets you: watch, listen, download, repeat YouTube videos and I've never seen an ad in it. Really awesome app!

It does block YT video ads, not banners

I have an Apple TV and I have to switch from it to the TV to get Amazon because Apple and Amazon won't play nice together.

You soon won't have to do that any longer: https://www.theverge.com/2017/6/5/15732608/amazon-prime-vide...

You just made my day :)

Like if each music label decided to create their own online music-store/streaming-service.

I guess greed?


If you use an Amazon Fire, you can use Alexa to find titles whether they're on Prime, Netflix, or Hulu, at least, and probably others. Unfortunately the Nextflix integration is problematic if you're not in the US, because it still uses the US catalog.

Yep -- Comcast was getting up to $200 a month. You want Netflix + Disney + HBO + Prime + Hulu + Discovery + BBC iplayer + ...

$150/month on top of your cable bill. And let's bundle it.

Actually, I'd love to be able to pay BBC even $20/month for iplayer access in the USA.

> The biggest deterrent, for me at least, is not the price but the need to switch platforms.

Agree, especially when most doesn't work nearly as well as Netflix. I prefer to use the TV app and the horrible user experience I had with HBO (for instance) made me quickly stop using it.

For a streaming company user engagement should be taken very seriously, but it seems that most studio-turn-streaming-company miss this. They think content is everything because that's what a studio is about. But content doesn't matter if I can't stream it easily and many studios are so over-protective of their content that they forget about usability.

> HBO doesn't feel like "extra" because it's always been an optional add-on that costs more.

Disney Channel used to be a premium, ad-free channel.

And they didn't have enough subscribers to justify that model. I wonder what they think has changed.

Maybe on demand Disney movies are valuable enough to enough parents to justify this?

I bet star wars changed this.

Marvel and Star Wars both.

Plus Pixar and ABC (with Shonda Rhimes' shows) and every movie and show they've ever released since they stopped being a premium channel. Disney has managed to get a lock on a lot of very hot property.

I'm fairly certain that it's still ad-free.

what about Roku? I thought they have a central search where you can enter a movie or show name and then it shows you the results from your connected services like HBO, AmazonVideo, Netflix etc.

> Then adds will start creeping back in.

When this happens, I will drop that service, full stop. I don't pay to be advertised to.

If all major studios pull their content from Netflix, then it will not have the large library size anymore.

Also Disney is currently in a strong position for this right now. They released ~10 movies in 2016 and had the 4 highest grossing films of 2016. This, of course, assumes that Marvel and Lucasfilm properties are put on the Disney streaming service (I would expect that Touchstone label will not be included in this, as it's always been distinctly branded).

Either way, $10 per month is a bit steep up until the point that they stop selling discs; right now it's not much more than $10 per month to buy every single new release on bluray, and it's less than $10 per month to buy them on dvd, if you shop around.

The thing that scares me is that this puts them in a position where they could stop selling media altogether, and it's no longer possible to pay a flat fee to watch a movie any time you want. At that point the only competition with the streaming service would be piracy.

Netflix already doesn't have that big of a library, and it's been steadily shrinking. But if it comes down to it, i'm willing to pay for $10/mo to netflix purely for their original content. I'd also pay for HBO Now if they would let me (I'm in canada). I don't think there's any other company putting out enough quality first-party content that i'd be willing to pay a monthly fee for their service. maybe a couple bucks here and there for a one-off movie rental, but if i have to think about money before i watch something - even a completely insignificant amount - i'm probably going to find other options.

And as you say, there's always piracy to fill the gaps in any streaming catalogue.

In 2004, my cable budget was $160/mo in a bundle. Now it is $100/mo for a half-gigabit internet connection.

I'd have to sign up for 6 different services in order to add up to my previous budget. So far... its' not come to that point, but if it does I'll be happy to cut out some services.

After all do I really need Netflix? I don't watch if for months at a time, and only keep it out of laziness. I'll happily cut it and swap in Disney for that time period of budget constraints become an issue.

> After all do I really need Netflix? I don't watch if for months at a time, and only keep it out of laziness.

I put my elderly mother on my netflix account with her own profile and she couldn't be happier. I saved her a bunch of money that she'd otherwise be spending on cable and as a bonus she's not watching 24hr news that's making her afraid all day. For something that I occasionally will use but she always uses, $10/mo is _cheap_.

Now if I could only nudge her towards some of the Korean soap operas that they have now...

I'm reading your comment in Buster Bluth's voice and it is great.

Lol, I guess I'm glad you find it amusing?

In all honesty though, it keeps her from calling me constantly every day. Netflix is great for my sanity.

Is your username not a reference to his arm?

It is not.

I just read that in a Ron Howard voice.

I just read that in a Morgan Freeman voice.

Heh. My elderly father watches 100x more Netflix than I do. It makes him happy, particularly for the price. I'm glad he enjoys it, even if I also wish I could nudge him towards a wider variety of shows.

Korean soaps are great for old people! My mom (Caucasian middle american) also now likes running man.

>I'd have to sign up for 6 different services in order to add up to my previous budget.

that's a good point. but for comparison, in 2004 my cable budget was zero because i was in high school and living with my parents. In college we shared hard drives full of movies around the dorms, and ever since i've lived on my own my tv/movie budget has been some combination of netflix and piracy that added up to less than $10/month. The ship may have sailed on people being willing to spend $60-100 per month on TV.

In 2017, I paid for 100/40 VDSL 30€/month and for all TV channels I could ever need 5€/month (Satellite dish and HD+ decoder card).

I'm currently paying 2€/month for Amazon Prime for Students, and I'm not willing to pay more than 10€/month overall for access to streaming platforms (as long as I'm a student, after that maybe 20-30€ overall). That simple. In my family we have Amazon Prime and Netflix, if stuff isn't on there it gets pirated, no discussion.

More broadly, Netflix has had 3 distinct business models in its lifetime: disk rental, streaming other peoples' content, and now, streaming its own first-party content.

http://www.cravetv.ca/ has a bunch of HBO.

Never seen a pay/subscription site with an anti-adblocker. It wouldn't load until I let it connect to facebook, twitter, scorecardresearch and load a 1st party tracking script included in two tracker lists (Fanboy's and another). It was so tenacious it piqued my curiosity.

Really hard to fathom the thinking behind that. At first I thought it must be a pirate site that depended on ad revenue, but nope it's $8 / month.

MotorTrend on demand have the same, but is only a white overlay over the whole page. So it is enough to set the overlay to display none to get the site to work without allowing a bunch of tracking scripts

Relative to every other steaming service they have a huge library, I'm not sure what you mean.

relative to their immediate competitors, yes they have a fairly big library. but in absolute terms, the chances that a random movie i want to watch is available on netflix is already pretty low. losing the disney catalogue isn't going to significantly change that.

my favourite movie piracy website claims to have 32 times as many movies as US netflix does.

Movies no, but they do have a decent percentage of TV shows.

> The only competition with the streaming service would be piracy.

Piracy is the only thing that will lead to a consumer friendly streaming option. If it weren't for music piracy, a service like Spotify might not exist. For video, Bit Torrent was popular for years.

Now people are flocking to things like Kodi, which can be installed on a Firestick [3] and, with add-ons, can stream anything for free [1]. In order to fight piracy, the studios will need to make it more convenient for consumers to pay [2].

[1] http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/gadgets-and-tech/new...

[2] http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/liz-bales/online-piracy-netf...

[3] https://kodifiretvstick.com/best-kodi-addons/

We know what will happen, though: studios will spend $ on content and $ on their streaming service, and $$$ trying to stifle competition and consumer rights. If they had instead spent $$$ on content and $$ on their service, people would pirate much much less, but somehow they don't see that or can't / won't run the real numbers.

>"If all major studios pull their content from Netflix, then it will not have the large library size anymore."

I think think that happened when they parted ways with Starz.

And look at Starz now! (TIL Starz has their own app to pay for and download their content)

Dividing content by movie studio cuts against the grain. In most cases a single studio produces an arbitrary subset of the stuff I might want to watch. This is unlike, say, ESPN, where I can add it to my cable subscription if I like watching sports. ESPN is a semantically coherent unit of content. Disney isn't.

If the Disney move represents a trend, it's going to be particularly frustrating for end users, as there will be no legal solution for watching what we want to watch when we want to watch it, unless we subscribe to all services. Guess how many users will do that, and how many will just click the magnet link.

> If all major studios pull their content from Netflix, then it will not have the large library size anymore.

Exactly! It is obvious that Netflix and Amazon are pivoting to be more like HBO and Showtime. Apparently, as they reach out to a global audience they need to rely on original content to avoid costly licensing disputes [1].

[1] https://www.wired.com/2016/12/amazon-netflix-look-shows-key-...

Ya, this isn't really about Disney content. It is whether you want to be able to stream Star Wars, and get access to exclusive Star Wars content. Marvel too. But Star Wars.

star wars is 2 hours of content a year. maybe you can stretch that to 60 if you push out a bunch of 'star wars universe' content. and you can just pay $15 to see that in a theatre

netflix added 600 hours of content in 2016 and will surely dwarf that in 2017 and beyond

disney is in a for a rude awakening if they think they can go it alone in this marketplace

Netflix may have added 600 hours but have you plumbed what Netflix adds? Most of the content is crap. Content is not a numbers game it is a hits game.

"Star Wars is worth more than harry potter and james bond combined."[1]

Just the first 6 episodes of Star Wars is 17 hours of footage. This does not include special features, cartoons and other offshoots in this franchise.

Access to this on a whim, along with immediate access to exclusive preview-type content every year prior to the theatrical release is seriously valuable on its own.

I'd venture many people are HBO Go subscribers simply for Game of Thrones right now. And that more than enough do not bother to unsubscribe in the off season.

I think people on HN underestimate how people value content. They don't realize people pay huge sums for complete garbage cable content plans already. A commercial free experience of Disney content, particularly Star Wars / Marvel powered with exclusives priced the same as HBO or Netflix would probably do great.

[1] http://fortune.com/2015/12/24/star-wars-value-worth/

Content is hits+depth. You do the 30 day trial to watch star wars, then stay on because you find other stuff you like. Unless you're going to watch a different star wars movie every week[1], you can just rent or buy the star wars movies for cheap.

1: By 2019 there should be about a dozen feature-length star wars movies, counting the 3 2-hour television specials, so you're right that just star wars movies is not that great.

Truly, I think you're underestimating what people will pay for to get exclusive content in their core interest. Star Wars film releases are rapidly becoming an annual, family tradition for movie goers.

When you can drip out production updates and use electronic marketing channels to hype them or include fan AMA type stuff, there is big potential here to keep people around.

But to your point, if you take Star Wars out of the picture, you still get the entire Disney film collection. Just about every middle class family in America in the 90s had some portion of the Disney VHS collection on their shelves.

I don't see this desire for easy access to familiar, high quality, family-friendly content going away. I see it increasing.

Don't forget Pixar.

Star Wars is already the movies, plus two animated series (Clone Wars and Rebels). You can look at the Marvel strategy to see where it could go, with multiple movies a year plus multiple tv/streaming series (Agents of Shield, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Legion, Defenders, Gifted, Inhumans, Punisher, Runaways). If all that Marvel content moves to Disney streaming, plus new Star Wars content, plus their kids TV shows, plus Pixar, ABC, and ESPN, then you have a package that is really strong.

Atleast 50% of the marvel content on your list are Netflix Owned Orginals, they can not pulled to Disney's new service. This would be Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Defenders, Punisher. It is highly unlikely Netflix would be stupid enough not to have those locked down.

Agents of Shield I believe a ABC owned production, and would be governed under what ever terms Netflix and ABC have, Same with Inhumans I would image but it is a newer property so it might have to stings attached it to

Movies, yes those will likely be pulled. I can see the Non-Netflix Originals being pulled.. maybe.

Based on both an article from the announcement time [1] and the wiki page [2] the Defenders are jointly produced by Marvel TV and ABC Studios, merely distributed by Netflix. If that is true[3], then Disney (which owns Marvel and ABC) owns the rights to them, and once the current contract expires Netflix will no longer be able to distribute (stream) any of the Defenders series.

That would apply to Agents of Shield as well, which is also part of the Disney family.

[1]:http://deadline.com/2013/11/disney-netflix-marvel-series-629... [2]: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jessica_Jones_(TV_series) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luke_Cage_(TV_series) [3]: You would need a lawyer to examine contract language to be 100% sure, but Disney has armies of really good lawyers and understands the importance of IP better than anyone else on the planet, so it is extremely plausible.

Even if Netflix retains streaming rights to some of the existing episodes they co-produced, Disney owns the properties and future seasons will show up on Disney's streaming service.

>Agents of Shield I believe a ABC owned production

and ABC is owned by Disney.

Where will they get the money to bootstrap such a large production pipeline?

Did you perhaps reply to the wrong post? I cannot make sense of your reply.

Both Netflix and Disney already produce a lot of content, so they don't have to bootstrap a pipeline anymore.

The various incarnations of the Disney Channel currently have 33 ongoing series and 6 upcoming series. There are hundreds of completed series. Their back-catalog will probably be smaller than netflix in 2019, but they have more new content than you would think.

Disney isn't just movies. It's ABC content. It's their Disney Channel content.

> If all major studios pull their content from Netflix, then it will not have the large library size anymore.

It already is a bit like that if you leave the cushy confines of the USA, where the rights to even stream some of their own Originals (e.g. Orange is the New Black, Arrested Development, Lilyhammer) have not been secured and thus us poor souls must resort to pirating or waiting, potentially for years.

To quote Netflix[0]:

> Depending on the region, Netflix may not get the licensing rights for an original series for many years.

[0] https://help.netflix.com/en/node/4976#why-are-some-netflix-o...

Another thing I bet they'll do is arbitrarily pull movies from the streaming service for a period of time so people will flock to the service when they announce its return in a 2 minute commercial you can only see in the theater before their latest movies. They are the kings of artificial scarcity.

thats why Netflix is going insane on original spending, they have no long term plans to keep other content

Yes, and with every pullout they are more like a dumb pipe full of sewage content.

I mean no offense, but I found amusement in this post. It used to be that people hated cable bundles so much that they would say they would rather pay $10/month a channel for the few they watch rather than the $80/month for a bundle of hundreds of channels with only a few worth watching.

Now that we have that, are we living the dream? No, we want it for a tenth of the cost.

I don't think it's about paying that high a cost, I think it's about having to chase it all over the place. I'd pay double or maybe triple for Netflix, as long as it meant I could get most or all of the streaming content I wanted in one place. This is one reason why Steam is so popular.

So then your issue isn't the cost, and if someone came with an app that would "merge" all service into a single app where you can stream for all of them from a single place, you'd be happy?

I don't think that's what others are complaining about though. Price was definitely the issue of the top commenter as they mention 10$/month and 30$/year. But it makes no sense because back in the cable days, people paid 50-100$ if not more for packages. Now, even with all 4 big services, you're still only at 40$, and imo, having an ondemand service where you can stream anything you want at any time (not only that, but with most of them, with multiple people watching in parallel) is a far superior service.

I think people are just getting more entitled for content that has had billions of dollars poured into it. 10$ a month is nothing. It's literally two coffee. If you watch one episode per week and don't even share your account, you're already getting value out of it.

>10$ a month is nothing. It's literally two coffee.

This is, has been, and always will be a ridiculous argument. $10/mo is nothing, it's the price of two coffees. But I need four services, so it's $40/mo, which is eight coffees. So now to afford the same content that was 1/4 of the price last month, I need to give up drinking coffee on Monday and Tuesday, every week.

"It's the price of a cup of coffee" is a terrible argument because I don't want to give up drinking coffee just to watch Disney movies. I want to drink my coffee and watch my movies like I did last month before Disney decided they needed to make more money.

The issue is that it's still a damn bundle. Except now it's several.

What I want is to pay for access to the things that I want, which happen to be spread across more and more bundles the way things are going.

What they want is for me to only consume things from their bundle, to ensure that I'm a permanent customer.

You can still for relatively cheap buy shows on Amazon or Google play. Unless you watch a ton of TV it's still cheaper and you actually own it. Works for many shows except Netflix or HBO originals. For these I just only subscribed every few months, watch what I want and then unsubscribe.

Just use iTunes then to rent TVs and movies ?

Where do you pay $5 for coffee? I think you are getting ripped off.

Used to work in a café. It's not the coffee people are paying for, it's all the milk and sugar added on top. Unless you go to Philz*. Sometimes you're also paying for quality, but even then that only comes out to about a dollar premium, but a latte is literally just a crapton of steamed milk poured over some coffee, plus whatever syrups and other crap (chocolate and maybe whipped cream if you want a mocha) thrown in.

Then it's the labor and time you're paying for because a pour-over takes 4 minutes per cup if you do it right, and each employee can only do so many of those at one station. 4 minutes of an employee's time at minimum wage in San Francisco is almost a dollar, about 93.33¢ give or take, and that's assuming the employee is being paid minimum wage and not more.

Plus the costs of running the cafe! Plenty of HNers know how crazy Bay Area rent is. Business rent is just as much of a rip. It's $6 for a 12oz mocha because they have to pay a ton for space, taxes, labor, supplies, equipment, power, water, etc.

Actually I would say $6 for a 12oz mocha is (presently) still a rip-off. It might not just be you that's getting ripped off though, I talked to some guys who opened up a Boba joint and they were getting taken for a ride on their lease for a space they were subleasing from another restaurant, which was the main reason they went out of business. From the amount they quoted, they were probably paying the entire restaurant's lease, which is to say, some small business owners are unable to successfully negotiate a good lease.

Okay, but then you're not talking about a coffee any more. I typically pay ~$1.50 for a coffee, and it takes only a few seconds of labor (often just giving me a cup so I can fill it myself).

Edit: Missed the pour over part, yes if you want to pay and wait for that. I'm not convinced that there's any discernable difference from a regular drip coffee that would stand up to a blind taste test (cf wine tasting).

I agree, but when people are talking about coffee in general, it is important to know what they are actually referring to, in this case, coffee-based drinks. I am unaware of any establishment that would actually charge $4 for a self-serve drip coffee.

the economics of bundling is fairly straightforward.

you pay $80 a month for let's say 100 channels. most people think they are paying $0.80 per channel. the cable providers know you don't want around 90 of those channels, but they're giving them to you anyway. what consumers are actually paying is $70 for their most watched channel, $5 for their 2nd most watched channel, $3 for the 3rd, $2 for their 4th, and every other channel is given to them free by the cable provider.

if cable companies were to allow consumers to pick and choose, they'd more transparently charge it like this. you could pick just 5 channels you reduce all the crap that they're giving you, and you'd probably still pay the same amount.

As far as pricing goes, steam has the benefit of games being much less excludable than media. If you want a racing game or shooter and can'tafford the biggest titles, there're always other alternatices that're cheaper. This keeps the biggest titles' pricing in check or at least anchor them around value marks people tend to like (40 or etc)

Media by contrast is very steep. Either you're at the top of your genre or you're not worth it for those looking for the former. If you want an epic fantasy story GoT still beats out other shows cropping up around the same theme (even if you think the latter have better story or so on, that's not what drives dollars). If you want space operas you're not going to settle for less than Star Wars.

These "staples" and their exclusivity create a high value proposition greedy execs can't ignore, and one that they don't worry as much will give their competition an opening.

Maybe because people have a little bit more pricing data than they used to and know what $10 of programming is worth.

Your $80/mo cable bundle is split something like: $12 taxes, $43 ESPN, $9 Viacom and the rest split by everyone else. $10 buys a lot.

Very true, but I'd rather spend $40 on the shows I like than $80 on the shows I like plus a crapton of garbage.

If the producers get more money out of the deal, I have no problem with that. I'd rather they be the ones getting the money.

As it is now, I buy my stuff ala carte. I do subscribe to netflix, but I've pretty much seen what I want there. Every once in a while they get someting new I want to see, but not often enough for it to be my go-to for entertainment.

So I pay per show rather than channel. My wife and I consistently pay less than cable and just get the shows we want to see.

I wasn't sure it would work out that way, but a month or so ago I asked my wife how the cost was working out (she does the finances), and it's less than cable. I can't remember how much at the moment, but less than half I think.

Personally, the part I don't like about paying multiple providers isn't the paying multiple part. It's not having a single interface to get to them.

Is 10$ a lot?

First, consider the experience then and the experience now. Before, only a single person could watch pre-scheduled content (unless you have an extra device to record). Now, multiple people can watch any show they want in parallel.

And your way of splitting the money is silly. At the end of the day, you were paying 80$ but were only interested in a very small portion of the content. Now you're getting that same content you cared about, but for a far smaller cost.

The idea being conveyed here is that unless you're a sports buff or reality tv buff, the content that you consume probably costs <$2/mo of your cable bill. And that might be from a few networks.

Now you're paying $10/mo for each network.

Source for the $43 claim? I thought it was closer to $6 a month.

Slight hyperbole. Figures you'll find are on average as the deals are negotiated individually with each cable company.

Most are actually paying $20-25. At the cable company that I worked for, the regional incumbent provider for an area that served golf resorts and the surrounding community, I think it was roughly $36.

Cable channels are also funded by ads, though.

Originally they weren’t. That was the whole idea of cable, fund by subscription. Didn’t work out.

Comcast in my area was charging me around $130 a month for HD cable with a primary box and a secondary box with a DVR. I could subscribe to 13 premium channels @10$ a month before I started paying the same amount. I don't have 13 channels I like. I could buy 6 entire seasons @$20 a piece and that lasts longer than a month.

ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, PBS, all free with an antenna I just ordered.

Would I like the same thing I had with Comcast @13$ a month? Sure, but that's not realistic. At least not yet. Cable in the US is a huge ripoff because they cornered the market through lobbying and deals with local municipalities. It's time for them to get their "come-upins." Next is internet service.

It's "comeuppance": https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/comeuppance

And yes, next is internet service. But the unfortunate side-effect of the cable monopolies is that they're currently the best positioned with infrastructure to reach homes with high-bandwidth connections over the same lines which previously served cable TV. I don't want to see these same companies becoming ISPs and continue shoveling the same crap in the future.

We asked for a la carte TV pricing. I think this is what it looks like. I'll probably pay for a few channels and forget the rest.

How is this "a la carte"? I don't care about channels; I'd be willing to pay a couple bucks to watch some specific movie or TV show, but "you have to sign up for a monthly subscription to some corporation's arbitrary bundle of media offerings in order to get access to the one or two things you actually want to see" is pretty much the opposite of "a la carte TV".

It's a la carte because for decades you had to buy bundles of schlock from your cable company to get the one thing you wanted (typically ESPN).

Presumably you want finer-grained a la carte, like individual shows and movies. You can get that today via iTunes but it is insanely expensive, and it doesn't really make economic sense because not enough consumers watch little enough TV for that to make sense, therefore the price remains high and companies offering it are not doing well.

Right now the market forces are pushing everyone to try to be either Netflix (streaming service become producer) or HBO (producer becoming streaming service). As the technologies commoditize this trend will continue, and consumers will just have to deal with the abominable UX that this balkanization of services creates. It'd be nice if someone could wrap a nice UX around this, whether it be a la carte or whatever, but I don't see that market forces would allow that, and least not until the balkanization gets a lot worse and rights holders get an incentive to play nice with aggregators.

When you say "market forces", it is important to understand we are operating within the confines of the completely arbitrary market dictated by copyright law. The natural market for "intellectual goods" like music, movies, and TV is very weak (which is why copyright was created in the first place).

Cable companies and centralized distributors are the natural conclusion of our copyright mechanisms. Online video has already been coalescing on Netflix and Amazon as the next-gen cable cos instead of Comcast and AT&T.

If we don't want to be stuck with the same thing over and over again, we need to change the way that we've constructed the artificial market for intellectual goods, so that subscription bundles a la cable is no longer the only feasible economic model.

I like this approach, not shying away from reexamining the fundamental problem. What do you define as a "weak market"?

Seeing as that's the problem, affording agents in the space more or better control to try and strengthen the market could be an approach - so I want to understand where/what the current weaknesses are.

Yes, I understand that. I spent a decade of my life building a startup in this space. If you have an angle on how to change copyright law then I'm all ears.

If that's what your looking for, it seems like you can get it from dozens of places like iTunes, Google Play, Amazon Video, etc.

The problem tends to be the pricing. The per-episode and seasonal purchase rates often seem higher than going and buying a DVD, probably due to the store taking a cut. The streaming services, or even cable TV, are much cheaper if you make a lot of use of them.

The hope always seems to be to operate like a gym, where there are people paying but almost never showing up.

To me, a debate about pricing is totally separate from the arguments about the availability of options to buy content. You can

1) Buy individual episodes

2) Buy individual season

3) Buy individual channels (FX, HBO, with ESPN and Disney coming soon and more and more networks offering this option)

4) Buy bundles of content (cable, Netflix, Hulu, etc.)

Availability windows also seem to be designed to match consumers demands, you'll pay more to get copies of episodes right away vs waiting a season or two to buy them.

Again, I think it's fair to find the prices to be greater than what each individual is willing to pay, but I don't think the actual options are lacking in the same way they were 3 years ago.

If they were separate arguments, then album sales wouldn't have dropped after iTunes started selling $0.99 a song. CD Singles have been around forever but everyone paid the extra couple dollars to get the rest of the album even though in many cases very little effort was made producing the rest of the album.

To clarify, I don't mean that the delivery options won't have an impact on price. People often seem to frame the arguments around videos services as them not providing the unit of content they want (like marssaxman above), when more often than not they do. The real complaint is usually just what your saying, they don't offer it at the desired price, despite a ton of unbundling from the old model. That's a fair critique to make, although I'm hopeful the market is able to sort it out

And the store content also come 6 months to a year or more after the original air time.

Not sure where you’re getting that idea - pretty much every TV show available on iTunes is available the day it airs or the day after.

That may be true for traditional TV. Game of Thrones is currently airing season 7. Unless you subscribe to HBO you can only get season 6. Season 5 of House of Cards was released in May and still only available through Netflix.

Sadly, cable bundling is what allowed small channels like AMC and TNT to develop programming and reach an audience that wouldn't have been possible otherwise.

That's all going to consolidate into the hands of a couple of major producers (Disney, HBO, Amazon, Netflix, maybe Hulu) and that's about it.

I mean, not to belabaor the point, but when you also include:

NBC/Universal/Comcast Viacom Fox Sony Time Warner BBC

Plus some other deep pockets who are slowly getting in the game (Verizon, AT&T, Apple)

I think there'll be enough competition even among the oligopolies to make it palatable for consumers.

A la carte TV pricing was always a stupid idea. What people really wanted was cheaper pricing, which is of course not going to happen.

Or pay for a channel for a month or two, then drop it.

Pretty much what I would do. Netflix has such a large catalog, that I don't bother cancelling during periods when I'm not even using the service. If the content I'm interested in is spread through various services, I'll simply sign up, watch what I wanted to watch, then cancel. One month's subscription is enough for me to catch up on a season's worth of some series I like.

This however creates the incentive for providers to start enforcing long term contracts for the regular price, or a much higher price for a monthly plan, in which case DVDs will be relevant again for me.

That's what I do with HBO right now. Only thing I'm interested in is Silicon Valley and Game of Thrones. Once GoT is done for the season, my account will get closed just like I did last year.

It's not quite a la carte. We've gone from 1 provider, with bundles to N providers. I don't mind paying for each content provider. What I personally mind is the content being spread across a bunch of different sites.

I don't want to have an HBO account, and a Disney account, and a Hulu account, and a Netflix account, and an Amazon account, etc etc. I wish they'd play nicely and let one provider bill me, and take care of restricting my access to their HBO portion of their library unless I pay an addition $X/month.

I would pay $20 a month if it had every disney movie ever, and every new release after a certain time period. I imagine there are a lot of parents that would as well.

Yes. I think a lot of people commenting here are mid-20s adults without children who devour Disney content. I'd gladly pay a monthly subscription for access to all Disney content. Currently Netflix is already missing so many Disney titles that you already need to use something besides Netflix to watch Disney content, so this isn't actually adding a new service for core Disney viewers.

Disney already artificially creates scarcity with the physical supply of their movies; I doubt they would provide the entire catalog online when I can neither buy some physically nor watch it on Disney Movies Anywhere.


As a parent, I would do this too. Imagine if they includes Studio Ghibli movies.

There's a certain standard for Disney movie that makes it easier for you to watch or recommend young kids to watch, comparing to Netflix that you might have to weed out content a bit. Sort of similar to Whole Foods vs Safeway. This doesn't imply which one is better than the other, just that it's easier to set expectations for something with more niche.

How long would it take you to break even with installing Plex, buying the worthwhile Disney movies on DVD, and ripping them at $20/mo? 2 years? They have the same problem with ESPN. I want 15-30 minutes a day of MLB scores and highlights and don't want to pay $30/mo for it, even if it includes a channel for every college sport, the ESPPies, and original programming.

Well ripping DVDs was made illegal (again) in the UK in 2015; so perhaps if Disney managed to do that in enough jurisdictions they'd increase their market.

For real, btw.

iTunes creators should basically be imprisoned in the UK for contributory copyright infringement.

I strongly suspect this sort of crazy, luddite, anachronistic attitude to magnify when the Tory's get their "sovereignty" back and don't have Europe to check their anti-democratic attitudes.

I don't know, but I've seen 250+gb torrents with disney content, although I'd never dare to partake.

225 gig of that is windows malware.

anyone using microsoft or apple operating systems deserves to be infected anyway. maybe that's a bit harsh.

Thanks to the Disney Vault, you can't even buy most of the movies if you want to. I wouldn't expect that to change much.

Which is why the internet in its current form is such a wonderful thing that needs to be protected as part of the common heritage of mankind. It's the closest thing we'll ever get to a living memory.

In a capitalist system piracy is seen as "illegal", but in a culture with better ways to support and fund their arts it'd be the pinnacle of immutability and access. Instead of wasting all this energy figuring out how to charge through the nose for huge undertakings after they are created to recoup costs and make future efforts seem lucrative and a "worthwhile investment" we could just create and fund what we want to see and have it be accessible to everyone (almost like a public good? Definitely an artifact of a nation's culture and works) and go along with information flow rather than stifle it.

Or maybe capitalism will grind on, and in 200 years Disney will still be kicking their Mickey copyright can down the road and rebranding their 'vault' the Disney Time Machine, making the biggest lens through cultural history toy glasses with mouse ears on them. shudders

If it also included every episode of all of their Disney Jr. shows, then it would be a no brainer.

It being Disney we are talking about, you know they'll put some movies in the "vault" for a few years.

Offline playback would be the killer feature for parents for long road trips and flights. Won't need to buy Bluray + digital copy of Disney movies if you can even find them for older releases like "Little Mermaid".

That's 12 blu-rays a year. Do your kids really watch THAT much Disney? You could buy every new Disney movie each year and have extra slots to fill out the backlog for that price, plus de-facto ownership of the data.

The size of Disney's catalogue may be underestimated by some. Having instant access to all their movies[1] and television shows[2] has quite a bit of value, and would consist of hundreds upon hundreds of blu-rays. I am not one who would sign up, but certainly if I had children I would much rather have streaming access to all of this than stacks of discs.

[1]https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Walt_Disney_Pictures_f... [2] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Disney_television_seri...

Are children into live-action Disney films? That seems to be the vast majority of their catalog, not animations.

Define "children". Do 10 year olds like Pirate of the Caribbean? Yes. Do 12 year olds like Hook? Also yes.

I am assuming a catalog "filled" with live action Disney films would mostly have those one-off concept movies they created for their channel than pages upon pages of movies standing peer to Pirates of the Carribean.

Still interesting enough to kids but let's not pretend like it's not padding; those movies were often very formulaic, "relatable kid with a weird life or circumstances goes on a journey" - not really worth the price tag for a subscription.

Bambi is still a good movie for the 5 year olds of today too.

I counted approximately 400 feature films excluding Lucas, Mavel.

I would never want to own the physical discs (minimalism), but if the price is right this will still be better than buying the individual movies on Vudu for some people.

Im guessing you don’t have kids? Disney Jr, Disney Channel, and Disney XD put out more content than you could possibly imagine - some of it very good, and most of the rest at least tolerable.

Disney movies are a very small portion of their catalog, although to someone in a household without kids I can see how it would appear that marvel and Star Wars were all Disney did.

Kids handling Blu-Ray disk and constantly swapping them out would easily triple the blu-ray disk cost and also probably add on the cost of atleast one new blu-ray player a year.

Disney movies for the kids, Marvel/Star Wars for me...

That sums up a large % of the Netflix viewing in my house.

Put movies and Disney TV live and I'm in

I'd pay $5/movie to just own them

Disney movies are $20/movie mostly.

I feel similarly. The success of HBO Now has been a challenge because it holds out the hope that if you are "good enough" you too can get $10 - $15 a month per subscriber. This is easily 10x the revenue share from a cable bundle deal according to NAB publications.

But does anyone think I'll pay $10 per month per 'network' for entertainment? It would rapidly cost more than cable or satellite.

What I find curious is how difficult it appears to be to sell advertising on streaming channels. If you've streamed one of the 'minor' brands like SyFy or Discovery you can see a 2 minute commercial break with three identical 30 second commercials back to back.

It is hard to imagine that the people who put these things together are so clueless in terms of how their product is perceived.

>The success of HBO Now has been a challenge because it holds out the hope that if you are "good enough" you too can get $10 - $15 a month per subscriber.

it'll be interesting to see how this changes when the Game of Thrones ends.

HBO is in an interesting place. I actually did sign up just to watch Game of Thrones, and also to finally watch Westworld and maybe they're betting that they have enough for people to watch to actually continue their subscriptions. I mean, I decided to keep the service for about 3 or 4 months including the 2 that it'll take for Game of Thrones to finish up, but there's not denying that HBO actually does have quite a catalog.

That said, after 4 months, I doubt there will be much to interest me anymore, and even if there were, I could always just watch it next year when the next season of Game of Thrones comes out.

That said, if they offered $60/year, I would probably keep it around for a few years rather than paying between $20-$40 once a year.

I totally agree. It's clear that the people in charge are concerned only with their bottom line and margins.

I think most people are. While they are at work.

> If every studio thinks I'm going to pay them $10+ a month to stream their content, they are going to be very mistaken.

I agree. But taking a step back, Disney is probably the one company that can justify this the most by owning so many properties:

the traditional Disney stuff, Star Wars/Lucasfilm, the Marvel movies, Pixar, The Muppets, Touchstone, ESPN, ABC, A&E, Lifetime, History channel. They even have a 30% stake in Hulu.

"Netflix, however, I'll keep paying for gladly because of the library size. For the streaming price, it is well worth the value."

Well sure, assuming you only want to watch content created by Netflix itself. That's the direction it's going with Netflix.

Will be interesting to see where the Netflix content based on Disney properties goes from here.

If anyone can do it, Disney can. They have an absurd amount of high-quality content. In addition to their own branded content, they own Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm.

$10/month for every Disney cartoon movie alone would immediately get millions of families to sign up. That's easily worth not fiddling with disks.

But that's only if the catalog actually has that content. If they do the digital equivalent of the Disney DVD vault then yes screw that.

Agreed. For around £8/month I would probably get Disney's streaming service but only if it actually has all of Disney's content available to watch. If they do something stupid like only 5 Disney classics at a time then sorry but they can fuck off.

Disney Owns:

Marvel Disney Animation Pixar Touchstone Pictures ABC ESPN LucasArts

If they have a whole streaming platform with all the content from each of these, no way its $30/year, more like $30/month.

$30/month? Even with Disney's entire lineup, no way it's worth that much.

Given that online movie rentals are ~$2, that's watching a full length movie every other day. There's a limit to how much TV you can watch.

(And if your goal is to binge watch, it's competing with Netflix at $10/month -- which even with it's limited library is a great value.)

You’re stuck on movies, but Disney has many thousands of hours of TV co tent over hundreds of shows.

There is a lot more to it than the monthly rate. There are also those terms of service.

To give you an example of what I mean: Netflix lets me subscribe and unsubscribe at whim. If they looked at my profile, they would also understand that changing that would result im my abandoing them altogether. I watch a low volume for a while, my viewing drops off for a while, then I unsubscribe for a while. Keeping track of the terms that allow me to do this is easy because it is one company. Now imagine that there were multiple companies that I subscribed to. Keeping track of those terms of service would change from an inconvenience to a pain. Seeming as most of them are traditional media companies, I also have far less trust in them. Adding 'activation fees', 'deactivation fees', and 'annual contracts' is in their blood. My apologies for the paranoia, but I have dealt with unilaterally changing agreements before.

My response to them would be: thanks but no thanks. Their services/content are not important enough for me to deal with the headache of entering into an agreement with each studio.

This. And I also don't want to switch between various different and poorly designed UI's to navigate from the content of one provider to that of another. This problem needs to be solved, fast. We were promised a steaming tv revolution but I enjoy flipping channels and keeping track of broadcast times more than switching apps.

Netflix's streaming library size has become absurdly small for people like me who:

- Want to stream movies (not TV) - Want general movies as opposed to Netflix content

Earlier this year, Netflix' DVD division released their Top 10 most popular movie rentals. Only one of the 10 was available on Netflix streaming.

Well, the top 10 thing makes sense - why get the DVD if you can just stream. I think there's sampling bias there.

I do however agree that their streaming movie collection is bad.

I should have clarified: there's no sampling bias. These are incredibly popular movies. Here are some movies not on Netflix streaming that I've wanted to watch this year: Gladiator. Star Wars IV. Shawshank Redemption. The Wizard of Oz. When Harry Met Sally. The Princess Bride. All Star Trek movies. Goodfellas. Lord of the Rings. Gone with the Wind. All Godfather movies. Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Airplane. American Graffiti. The Usual Suspects. All Jim Carrey movies except a bad one (the Grinch) and one I've never heard of (the Number 23). Toy Story. There's Something About Mary. All Austin Powers movies.

The last time I tried searching for a good movie to watch on Netflix streaming, I gave up after 10 minutes. I'd think of one movie after another after another. Nothing was there. All it could suggest was "related titles," as if that's what I would want.

>If every studio thinks I'm going to pay them $10+ a month to stream their content, they are going to be very mistaken

One of the biggest misconceptions about the post-tv-cable world is that people actually thought they could cut their TV bill from $50-$100/mo to $10/mo.

With Netflix my bill has gone up to $10/mo. I doubt I'll pay any more.

I'm not even sure i could watch $50/month of streaming content. I can barely keep up with HBO and Netflix pumping out content on a weekly basis.

I could see a family buying a plethora of bundles, but I strongly suspect it will continue to be cheaper than the equivalent cable package.

I can't speak at all for sports; i imagine that alone could be hundreds a month to watch a local game.

>I could see a family buying a plethora of bundles, but I strongly suspect it will continue to be cheaper than the equivalent cable package.

You may be right but I just don't think the industry can go from taking in $50-100/mo to $10/mo - they will figure out a way. And people didn't mind paying that amount. What people disliked was the forced bundles and less flexibility compared to what pirating gave you.

>I can't speak at all for sports; i imagine that alone could be hundreds a month to watch a local game.

NBA is about $200/season - which isn't bad given that's for every game. When local telecoms that bought rights for local games wise up it won't even be that much.

I thought NBA access gave you everything BUT your local team?

Every studio... nah. But they don't care about being available to everyone, just the people that would choose them above another studio in the family budget.

You'll end up with people who subscribe to Amazon + Disney, or Amazon + Netflix, and some who do HBO + Disney + Hulu.

Studios want to compete with one another directly for customers, not go through some middleman.

Is it less convenient, sure, but customers (like me) used to go out to video stores and physically purchase DVDs, so its obvious what we're willing to accept a whole lot more inconvenience than what Netflix offers.

Isn't it so sad that the rich capitalists response to greater convenience is "well now we have breathing room to make things much worse, they sucked in comparison before, let's see if we can make it as horrible as that again".

Replacing technological limitations with unnecessary, arbitrary financial limitations doesn't seem like progress.

Still, at least they're helping to inch us closer to a popular 'uprising' against Disney's perversion of copyright legislation.

That only holds if the content providers decide to continue providing Netflix with an attractive catalog. Netflix is the streaming equivalent of Comcast, it's not an attractive model to me. I would much rather I subscribed to the content separately from the display of that content. My Fire TV or Apple TV or whatever device should just show any content that I subscribe to (with all the benefits of a unified library) and I will pay the creators directly for access.

Most people pay north of $100/mo for cable TV [1]. Depending on your bundle you may pay as high as $150 (anecdotal from friends who have Comcast). If you pay $50/mo for your internet connection you could afford 5 or so $10/mo services on the same budget.

Arguably, right now Comcast Xfinity has the most/best streamable content if you pay for HBO. This will likely change soon; this has been a long time coming. Cord-cutting is increasingly popular [2] and the studios are adapting.

Disney is gambling that they own enough content to make your top 5 list of streaming subscriptions.

[1] http://fortune.com/2016/09/23/average-cable-tv-bill/

[2] https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20170531/05304937480/rate-...

It is worth noting though that those figures are American, but Netflix and the Disney decision are global. The US is a bit of an outlier in terms of both the cost and popularity of cable TV. For example in Australia, a country very similar to the US in terms of pop culture and entertainment, only around 25% of homes have cable TV and the most popular package is US$39. In the US the cost can be looked at as '5 services to replace cable TV' but in most countries it does instead look like broadcast-TV content being moved behind new paywalls, with increasing costs to watch the same shows.

High-quality public television tends to make cable and satellite TV less attractive. SkyTV has been far less popular in its primary markets than DirecTV has been in the US.

In the US, Comcast and Verizon are more analogous to the BBC in England -- TV is less expensive (as an individual monthly cost) when it is publicly funded.

Interestingly, the BBC is investing heavily to compete with Netflix [1]. If you live in an area that the BBC serves, you will likely need fewer streaming services to get the content you want.

[1] https://www.cnbc.com/2017/07/04/uk-broadcaster-bbc-invests-4...

I've been wanting to build a PC to host my home media, and I wonder if there would be a market for a device like this:

I'd like to have a small computer where I can insert a DVD and press one button and walk away (and latter remove the disk), and then the movie is available to stream from my small media computer to my home network. It could look up the right metadata online, or you might pay a very small amount for a service that maintains accurate metadata.

For as much as I watch TV I could probably buy the few shows I'm interested in on DVD for cheaper than what I pay for Netflix. Until I get a media server like I described though, it's just more convenient to pay for Netflix.

I suspect that no such products exist because copying the DVDs would almost certainly get the creators of the device sued into oblivion.

You could also just buy* seasons on Amazon/iTunes/Google/whatever of only the shows you want and stream them to the store app on whatever devices you have. If you're only interested in a few shows a year than that gets you potentially price-competitive with Netflix+whatever else, and you don't have to worry about when Netflix loses the rights.

* the common complaint here is DRM, long-term-ownership compared to DVD, but the flip side is much better resolution than DVD and if the competition is streaming services, it puts you in much more control than that.

My problem is where to buy them to ensure 1) that I can access them for a long time, and 2) that I can access them on any device I need to. If the iPhone starts sucking and I switch to Android, can I watch my iTunes purchases there or did I just lose all that money? Can I shop the Google Play video store and stream on my iPad? Will Microsoft pull another PlaysForSure and invalidate all of my purchases at some random point?

Right now I'm buying from Amazon because even though they have the worst UI, they're the most vendor-neutral.

You pretty much need something other then a PC due to DRM. For example google movies will not give you 5.1 audio or 1080p on a PC but will on the Chromecast. An xbox one S will play most things, but not google content. Functionality may be restricted by country.

DVDs are only 480p, you really need something higher quality on a new TV. I have noticed that HBO streaming looks better to me then cable.

Check out MakeMKV. That + Plex will be your solution.

> If every studio thinks I'm going to pay them $10+ a month to stream their content, they are going to be very mistaken.


That is what Media companies like Disney want. People always blamed the Cable companies for it but in reality it was the big Media companies pushing Cable and Cable not caring. :\

> Netflix, however, I'll keep paying for gladly because of the library size. For the streaming price, it is well worth the value.

To a point yes. However, the balkanizing of streaming services is growing at an alarming rate.

Think about it from Disney'd point of view. Netlfix is becoming a content creator. They're becoming "a Disney" type of company.

Disney has no choice but to stream direct. That is they way all video content is all going.

I can't imagine it was anything other than Disney looking at the numbers and saying "we're generating this revenue for the streaming companies, but only taking this much in profit; if we run or own distribution we can overcharge more, give shorter rentals, block content when we want to push things in other distribution channels .. and the only cost will be more money for the customer paying for redundant distribution means, more money from the customer to pay for our increased profit, and more inconvenience".

I imagine at that point the meeting chairman said "fuck the customers, show me the money" whilst chugging a glass of bolli and sucking on a fat cigar.

... But I may be getting a little imaginative there.

There are endless free programming, math, and other educational videos on YouTube. It just requires a small change in one's perspective on what is "entertainment". :)

in the end "cord cutting" is going to be paying the same price as before for cable, but only getting internet, plus paying ala-carte licensing fees that are higher than what the content companies previously charge on cable because now they are selling to individuals instead of a collective.

already cable companies and fios price internet so that you pay only a little more for a full cable package. even if you drop cable you still have to pay extra to subsidize it.

Isn’t this kind of what we all wanted? Split up the monolithic cable package?

The idea of getting almost everything we could ever want through one $10 a month subscription with Netflix is almost too good to be true, I would expect in the long term the average person will end up paying about the same as they used to with a cable bill, ideally spread among multiple providers.

The funny thing is, I don't think executives think this way. One example is Bezos where he says he imagines theres enough demand that people will subscribe to netflix and prime and hulu and hbo and ...


I'd drop 90% of the crap Amazon is shoveling under the Prime umbrella if I got 2 day shipping at a lower rate and didn't have to subsidize all their media ventures.

When they inevitably raise rates again I might actually have to reconsider if it's worth the cost any longer

Disney is the one studio with the brand recognition, loyalty, wide customer base across a variety of demographics, worldwide range, wide variety of content (including sports), and essential franchises to have a shot at pulling this off.

I keep the Netflix DVD service, which lets me watch whatever I want (with a year lag).

I think Netflix have been very smart for producing their own original content for the past few years. While losing Disney and maybe others is a blow, it doesn't leave a void in their library for quality content.

Fortunately there is enough competition in the space that maybe the prices for each channel will go down. I've already switched to watching free content on youtube for my primary source of video entertainment.

Netflix's library is pretty weak at this point unless you really like their own productions. It's mostly lionsgate which any studio can add to their service for next to nothing.

Agreed and for "cord cutters", subscribing to each of the different content providers a la carte will eventually just recreate the exorbitant monthly price points of regular cable.

If they're smart they'll include their TV channel content. Obviously the Disney brands, but also ESPN. That would put them in a VERY strong position.

I've heard a friend complain about having to subscribe to Amazon Prime, Apple Music and some other service because each had their own "exclusive artist"...

And yet, you can't play apple music on a fire stick, and you can't play amazon music on an apple tv....

It just all sucks for the consumer.

They all need to figure out how to interoperate. It's not just all the services it's all the devices that can only connect to 3 out of the 5 services

Ha nah. They have their eyes on something much larger than a measly $10/month. Disney/Netflix/Amazon etc. are gonna partner with the carriers.

I for damn sure won't be subscribed to more than 1 at the same time. I would alternate every month. It makes no sense to be subscribed to all the things.

Are you married and have kids? That changes the dynamics. Streaming Disney will be great for kids.

> I can't imagine that a lot of people want to spend the collective hundreds of dollars to sign up for all the streaming services.

Don't you like to have many options to choose from? You don't "have to" sign up for all of them, it's your choice.

> It's almost asking to drive people to torrents.

I am a Netflix subscriber but there are a couple of shows that I watch and are on competing streaming services, however I didn't want to subscribe to all of them. So I rented them on Google Play and/or iTunes.

I know it sounds incredible but there are ways to consume content without breaking the law.

How many other studios can redefine copyright law though?

Maybe they'll have Disney exclusive content and a variety of non-exclusive content licensed from others. Like the current Netflix model.

I could see everyone getting away with $5 as long as they have the same "no-hassle, cancel anytime" policy.

Remember when á la carte tv was the dream?

We assumed it wouldn't be ~$10 a channel.

Ya, but each channel only showed a limited selection, on their own schedule, with commercials.

Compare that with the amount of binge watching that you can do with a $10 Netflix subscription.

Things are infinitely better online than what I was getting with my cable subscription.

It already was, though. HBO, Cinemak, Starz were all in that range.

But it wasn't because it was ~120 channels for ~$120/m.

Did that dream still involve channels? They only make sense as an economic bundle.

The complete Disney library is probably bigger than the current Netflix library.

This isn't for you, this is for parents looking for a cheap babysitter.

Right, I read the title as Disney would pull Netflix content to their own service and was wondering for a moment there.

Anyway, can confirm, I won't be signing to Disney as Netflix still has quite a bit more good content than I can watch.

Netflix is the only game in town that gets my monthly sub.

We need Aereo for streaming services....

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