Stories
Slash Boxes
Comments

SoylentNews is people

posted by janrinok on Friday March 28 2014, @10:35AM   Printer-friendly
from the we-show-the-movies-you-don't-want-to-watch dept.

mendax writes:

A New York Times op-ed reports:

A team of web designers recently released an astonishingly innovative app for streaming movies online. The program, Popcorn Time, worked a bit like Netflix, except it had one unusual, killer feature. It was full of movies you'd want to watch. When you loaded Popcorn Time, you were presented with a menu of recent Hollywood releases: "American Hustle," "Gravity," "The Wolf of Wall Street," "12 Years A Slave," and hundreds of other acclaimed films were all right there, available for instant streaming at the click of a button.

If Popcorn Time sounds too good to be true, that's because it was. The app was illegal - a well-designed, easy-to-use interface for the movie-pirating services that have long ruled the Internet's underbelly. Shortly after the app went public, its creators faced a barrage of legal notices, and they pulled it down. But like Napster in the late 1990s, Popcorn Time offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we've all felt when settling in for a night with today's popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft's media stores: They just aren't good enough.

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.
Display Options Threshold/Breakthrough Mark All as Read Mark All as Unread
The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not responsible for them in any way.
  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by lhsi on Friday March 28 2014, @11:07AM

    by lhsi (711) on Friday March 28 2014, @11:07AM (#22452) Journal

    I think almost all of the TV watching I do is from the BBC. Their Android app did let you download shows to watch, but I got one of those Chromecasts once they were released in the UK and the iPlayer app streams pretty well with that.

    I have kids so it's not like I watch much TV anyway, so I make sure that for the rare time I do watch something it isn't rubbish.

  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by nukkel on Friday March 28 2014, @11:51AM

    by nukkel (168) on Friday March 28 2014, @11:51AM (#22463)

    No, you don't understand!

    See, we want Joe Sixpack to pay a first time in the theater, then a second time for the DVD release, then a third time for the Extended Edition BD, then a fourth for the pay-per-view streaming.

    And we really can't be bothered to offer "fringe" content which only 10% of the people will find appealing.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by WizardFusion on Friday March 28 2014, @12:00PM

      by WizardFusion (498) Subscriber Badge on Friday March 28 2014, @12:00PM (#22465) Journal

      Sadly this is true. Hopefully by sticking to this model and with other/better services available, they will go away.

    • (Score: 5, Interesting) by bucc5062 on Friday March 28 2014, @01:18PM

      by bucc5062 (699) on Friday March 28 2014, @01:18PM (#22491)

      Boston Globe had a nice article [bostonglobe.com] on this topic as well. A lot of good insight, but this talks to your point:

      Say you want to watch “Goldfinger,†the 1964 Bond classic. Last year, it was available on Netflix; this year it is not. You can download the film from Amazon’s video service, but only if you buy it outright for $9.99. You can’t even rent the thing for two bucks, as with other films.

      In another SN article was a discussion of the value of something or what will people pay. I can see why the *IAA hate this stuff, because the public is finally getting wiser to the idea that they do not need to mortgage the house just to have entertainment. I still think that a $1 a song is a bit much and even $9 is over-priced for older movies. I loved the allmp3 models for they got that millions of people will by songs at a cheap price more then less millions for more cost. The model fails since it does not compensate the original artist, but that is how the laws were set up and not the fault of artists or music sellers.

      This was one of the best lines from the article and it speaks to how powerful the internet can be today and how much power People can really have to make changes...

      "Besides, a little video piracy might prove to be a blessing, in the long run."

      It forced the music industry to change how it sold/delivered music. Now, will or can do the same for the movie/TV industry only time will tell. I may check out the popcorn time alternates....for research purposes of course.

      --
      The more things change, the more they look the same
      • (Score: 5, Interesting) by MrGuy on Friday March 28 2014, @03:56PM

        by MrGuy (1007) on Friday March 28 2014, @03:56PM (#22561)

        The MPAA after all these years has basically FINALLY succeeded in killing the industry dedicated to allowing people to rent any movie they wanted, whenever they wanted. Blockbuster's out of business, and Redbox is a pale shadow.

        The first sale doctrine locked them out of a share of Blockbuster's profits, which they resented for decades. They wanted a cut when I rented a movie to watch some weekend for $2.50, and didn't get it.

        Now, with the landscape finally opened wide up, they have the chance they wanted for so long! They can rent the movies direct to consumers themselves, and eat the whole meal of the rental price.

        So what did they do? They f*cked it up! Completely! They decided that the $2.50 that they so craved for $0.50 of isn't worth it to them anymore. Why sell them milk when you can make them buy the cow? Now you have to purchase for $10 and up if you want it! We'll make 4x as much!

        Except we won't, because now you've basically killed demand, and driven consumers to either very limited subscription streaming services (where once again you're sharing most of the cut with someone else) or to illegal means.

        Gawd, I wouldn't hire these clowns to run a banana stand.

        • (Score: 1) by arulatas on Friday March 28 2014, @04:44PM

          by arulatas (3600) on Friday March 28 2014, @04:44PM (#22584)

          And as Arrested Development taught us... "There is always money is in the banana stand"

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuHILqDIvis [youtube.com]

          --
          ----- 10 turns around
        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Dunbal on Friday March 28 2014, @11:59PM

          by Dunbal (3515) on Friday March 28 2014, @11:59PM (#22757)

          " Why sell them milk when you can make them buy the cow? Now you have to purchase for $10 and up if you want it! We'll make 4x as much!"

          Not entirely true, because neither the "cow" nor the milk are even for sale in the first place. And don't even get me started on region locking. I live in Latin America, which somehow means that even if I want to pay, I'm not allowed to stream movies because there are several checks in place to prevent me - PREVENT ME - from being a legitimate customer. First my credit card must be a US credit card. And second, my IP of course must originate in North America.

          I really have no idea why they shut themselves out of customers like this. I have a choice of course, since I do have US based credit cards and I do know how to set up a VPN, I can "pretend" to be a worthy N. American. But to be honest it is much, much simpler for me to pirate.

          So yeah, not only do you NOT get to choose the content you'd like because the selection is arbitrarily limited, but also let's lock out the rest of the world and limit ourselves to 300 million customers instead of 7+ billion. Remember, we didn't make our projected 20% increase in revenue - blame piracy!

          • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Joe Desertrat on Saturday March 29 2014, @01:09AM

            by Joe Desertrat (2454) on Saturday March 29 2014, @01:09AM (#22771)

            ...I really have no idea why they shut themselves out of customers like this. I have a choice of course, since I do have US based credit cards and I do know how to set up a VPN, I can "pretend" to be a worthy N. American. But to be honest it is much, much simpler for me to pirate.

            So yeah, not only do you NOT get to choose the content you'd like because the selection is arbitrarily limited, but also let's lock out the rest of the world and limit ourselves to 300 million customers instead of 7+ billion. Remember, we didn't make our projected 20% increase in revenue - blame piracy!

            I think the reason is they are after complete control, not immediate profits. I believe that, ironically for one of the few instances they are thinking long term instead of short term, they have it backwards. They are not only missing out on the short term profits, the long term control (and thus even potential greater profit) will likely always elude them as technology keeps developing that end runs their efforts. Unless they succeed in legally locking down the internet to their ends they will ultimately fail. Hopefully sooner than later.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @07:54PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @07:54PM (#22661)

        > It forced the music industry to change how it sold/delivered music.

        Actually, what forced the music industry to wake-up was Apple and the Ipod.

        Essentially, in the beginning there was Apple and the Ipod. And the Ipod had DRM. And the music industry wanted to use the DRM. And to use the DRM, they had to sell through iTunes and only iTunes. And so they did.

        But then, the great and powerful Apple began to extract a cut of the revenue. And for a while the industry paid the tax. But then, Amazon appeared and offered music sales. And Amazon offered a lower tax cut on the sales. But by this point, the iPod was essentially the only music player remaining in the market. And so, to increase their profits, they desperately wanted to sell through Amazon. But to do so, they had to give up on DRM.

        So, after much hand wringing, the desire for more money won out over the desire for DRM, and they started selling DRM free music.

        Piracy wasn't much of the effect here.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:04PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:04PM (#22666)

        “Goldfinger,â€

        Slashcode still doesn't do Unicode. [soylentnews.org]

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SuddenOutbreak on Friday March 28 2014, @01:49PM

      by SuddenOutbreak (3961) on Friday March 28 2014, @01:49PM (#22514)

      then a fourth for the pay-per-view streaming.

      And THIS is where they get you again. It may be on Netflix. It may be on Amazon Prime. Maybe it's only on Crunchyroll, Vudu, iTunes, or something else yet again. The Roku, for example, has a really nice interface for searching across multiple services, but you have to PAY for these extra services to see the film.

      As the articles mention, Spotify, iTunes and Google are just three of such music services that have just about everything, and differ mostly on interface and device support. They all have roughly the same music. Netflix came the closest to "Spotify for Video", but not quite good enough.

    • (Score: 1) by camaro on Friday March 28 2014, @02:14PM

      by camaro (584) on Friday March 28 2014, @02:14PM (#22520)

      And let's not forget the ISP's war on video streaming with their exorbitantly priced plans and caps.

  • (Score: 4, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @12:10PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @12:10PM (#22468)

    Is Popcorn time dead again or doesn't the writer know about the continuation on Github?
    I switched to XBMCTorrent because I wanted XBMC integration and haven't looked back. It's less slick but much more versatile.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by SpockLogic on Friday March 28 2014, @12:32PM

    by SpockLogic (2762) on Friday March 28 2014, @12:32PM (#22475)

    Until the content cartel can guarantee there will be no stalling while the stream is buffering and current releases are available at reasonable cost I will continue to download files to my media server and enjoy them for free. Offer me a better service if you want my patronage.

    Oh, get rid of all the crappy trailers, I just want to watch the movie.

    --
    Overreacting is one thing, sticking your head up your ass hoping the problem goes away is another - edIII
    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by willyg on Friday March 28 2014, @01:29PM

      by willyg (1845) on Friday March 28 2014, @01:29PM (#22501) Homepage

      THIS!!!

      People with technical savvy had already found the solution to the crappy streaming feeds and crappy selection, and the solution often contained some form of the letters tee pee bee. People found it provided what they wanted at a cost they could accept. It had the downside ( for some ) of being illegal in many locations.

      However, these technical people probably also assisted other less technically endowed people to access this solution by means of the USB data drive - in the form of spinning rust or crappy NAND memory or a bluetooth enabled data exchange. After all, almost everyone has a need for what someone else can provide, be it sex, drugs, food or even daycare, and a particular arrangement of data bits can have a value, and that arrangement can easily be a non-monetary means of exchange.

      The ship left port and sailed off a long time ago, but the content industry missed it, and still denies it even happened.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29 2014, @02:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 29 2014, @02:38AM (#22793)

        In many ways I am grateful to this vast multitude of less technical users, many of whom appear oblivious to the legally-questionable status of their online sharing. It is this very multitude that provides an ample pool of seeds on the rare occasion I do want to torrent something.

        For years I've been helping people that had trouble with their computers. Now those same people are flocking to "share" files. It's rather nice - they are helping me out for a change!

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by nukkel on Friday March 28 2014, @02:02PM

      by nukkel (168) on Friday March 28 2014, @02:02PM (#22518)

      Oh, get rid of all the crappy trailers, I just want to watch the movie.

      Even more preposterous than the trailers on DVDs is the cartel's "infotainment" trailers telling you it is wrong to "pirate" movies.

      I mean, WTF?? I just bought a DVD fair-n-square and I am rewarded for my honest purchase by having to suffer watching through a non-skippable, patronizing clip trying to impress upon me the faulty logic that "piracy" equates to stealing a purse from an old lady or smash a window to break into a car.

      Another aspect where the quality of the torrented version exceeds that of the official package ;)

      • (Score: 5, Insightful) by gallondr00nk on Friday March 28 2014, @02:56PM

        by gallondr00nk (392) on Friday March 28 2014, @02:56PM (#22535)

        Those themselves wouldn't bother me if you could simply press the menu button, but they always have the flag set that instructs the player that it can't skip them.

        I bought an album recently (Mr. Bill's IRL - well recommended) that typified just how to approach selling digital content. This artist had released tracks on his Soundcloud for two months or so up to release in full, with a link to his bandcamp stating the release date. After being able to listen to half the album beforehand, I was perfectly happy to throw £10 at it, paying a bit extra than the stated minimum of £7 simply because I felt it was worth it.

        I got a wide array of download links including MP3, FLAC, OGG etc. and an email link so I can redownload them whenever I wish. No stipulations, no hassle, and I'm not treated like I'm a criminal.

        Instead, the film industry still insists on the adversarial model. The purchaser is treated as a ne'er-do-well who will rip off their precious multi billion dollar industry as soon as look at it. I see DRM schemes as essentially saying "you've bought our content, but we still don't trust you". Very well, then why should I buy your content? Why can't I have the same courtesy from you as I get from a Glitch-hop artist on bandcamp who has a fraction of the resources you do?

        The victim card the film industry uses to justify their behaviour is nauseating.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:08PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:08PM (#22669)

          £10

          Slashcode still doesn't do Unicode. [soylentnews.org]

        • (Score: 3, Interesting) by umafuckitt on Friday March 28 2014, @08:44PM

          by umafuckitt (20) on Friday March 28 2014, @08:44PM (#22687)

          There was a really awesomely dumb trailer on the Showtime DVDs for the penultimate season of Dexter. They force you watch a minute or two of snippets from Showtime shows each time you enter any of the DVDs from the box set. You can't skip it. The real issue, however, is that one of the snippets they show you is a spoiler for what happens at the end of the season. So if you watch the trailer you've lost the surprise. Big backlash about this on Amazon comments.

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by Immerman on Friday March 28 2014, @03:08PM

        by Immerman (3985) on Friday March 28 2014, @03:08PM (#22541)

        VLC.
        Not the slickest video player by a long shot, but I can't remember the last time I watched any sort of trailer on a DVD - pop it in, up comes the navigation menu.

      • (Score: 2) by tathra on Friday March 28 2014, @03:27PM

        by tathra (3367) on Friday March 28 2014, @03:27PM (#22547)

        I just bought a DVD fair-n-square and I am rewarded for my honest purchase by having to suffer watching through a non-skippable, patronizing clip trying to impress upon me the faulty logic that "piracy" equates to stealing...

        i'm still waiting for somebody to release a 3d printer file for a vehicle, because yes, MPAA, i sure as hell would download a car if it were possible. ideally the print-a-vehicle file will be included with every movie and album torrent on tpb.

    • (Score: 1) by Teckla on Friday March 28 2014, @08:18PM

      by Teckla (3812) on Friday March 28 2014, @08:18PM (#22674)

      Until the content cartel can guarantee there will be no stalling while the stream is buffering

      I've never fully understood why my devices can't download the next movie on my queue overnight, so that it's ready the next day or evening in high quality and without any buffering issues.

      Besides the quality and buffering issues, streaming even makes rewind and fast forward an annoying experience.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by hb253 on Friday March 28 2014, @01:15PM

    by hb253 (745) on Friday March 28 2014, @01:15PM (#22489)

    Recently, in an attempt to reduce my monthly expenditures, one of the things I did was convert my Netflix account from DVD/streaming to streaming only. Now, I find I don't watch anything because what's available on streaming generally does not interest me. I don't have the energy to deal with torrents and all that, so the net effect has been less TV.

    --
    The firings and offshore outsourcing will not stop until morale improves.
    • (Score: 3) by JeanCroix on Friday March 28 2014, @01:31PM

      by JeanCroix (573) on Friday March 28 2014, @01:31PM (#22502)
      I did the exact same thing. And honestly, I've found better things to do, so I can't say I'm missing it. In the end, the content cartel's own poor services effectively weaned me from its offerings.
      • (Score: 3) by elf on Friday March 28 2014, @02:37PM

        by elf (64) on Friday March 28 2014, @02:37PM (#22530)

        I'm the opposite, I have periods of time where I am obsessed with Netflix's. I start a TV series then watch it as much as possible because I get addicted. I watch more netflix's than normal TV now.

        For me I don't go to the cinema anymore, I'm completely happy to wait and spend my money on the one medium where I can watch movies / tv as much as I like. Not everything is going to be there but enough new stuff comes on board that I always have something that interests me.

    • (Score: 1) by mwvdlee on Friday March 28 2014, @02:12PM

      by mwvdlee (169) on Friday March 28 2014, @02:12PM (#22519)

      So net total positive or negative?

    • (Score: 2, Interesting) by bigjimslade on Friday March 28 2014, @04:08PM

      by bigjimslade (212) on Friday March 28 2014, @04:08PM (#22568)

      yep, another one here. if they don't have anything streaming of interest to watch, the TV goes off. and hey look, there's that book i wanted to finish. and it's nice outside, maybe i'll go for a walk in the neighborhood.

      the end result, less TV, and less revenue for them. sounds fine to me.

      --
      Remember, Tuesday is Soylent Green Day
    • (Score: 1) by GeminiDomino on Friday March 28 2014, @04:35PM

      by GeminiDomino (661) on Friday March 28 2014, @04:35PM (#22580)

      Then why not just cancel the account?

      --
      "We've been attacked by the intelligent, educated segment of our culture"
      • (Score: 1) by hb253 on Friday March 28 2014, @04:56PM

        by hb253 (745) on Friday March 28 2014, @04:56PM (#22589)

        You read my mind - I may take that as a next step.

        --
        The firings and offshore outsourcing will not stop until morale improves.
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:18PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:18PM (#22675)

      Don't have the energy? I find the legal way more complicated than the illegal ones.

      If you want to do it legit, you have to suffer all sort of DRM, crappy web players, buffering, competing stores with exclusivity. Some sites / stores simply don't work on my smart tv or my WDTV. There is often advertisement even for payed material. It's completely ridiculous.

      With the illegal way: Click magnet link, few seconds after I can stream it to VLC or any other video player in my house. I can stop and resume the video whenever I want on the devices I want. I can keep the file for later or to watch offline.

      Pirating always work, all the time, flawlessly.

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @02:24PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @02:24PM (#22524)

    Streaming is such a pain in the ass I don't use it. Every few months for years(!) I try to stream, and it's just so inconvenient I give up. We should be able to grab a membership at a legal, not-too-evil company, browse to blah.com, rent a movie for $1 or less for 48 hours, and have it play without ANY TECHNICAL ISSUES over WiDi or HDMI to our bigscreen. I've never found such a thing in the US. I've found many claiming such abilities; I've found many people claim online "it works for me!", but I've never found such a thing. I just borrow DVDs from the local library. Maybe one day.....

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by mrclisdue on Friday March 28 2014, @04:09PM

    by mrclisdue (680) on Friday March 28 2014, @04:09PM (#22570)

    I have installed over 50 raspis, 45 of them now running raspbmc, the other 5 openelec, and that works out to about 38 of us folk who are 100% absolutely, totally satisfied with movie streaming, and live tv streaming, and live sports streaming, and, and, and...

    It's not just FTW!!!!, it's that you have access to the WHOLE WORLD.

    It's past the time to think outside of the USbox.

    cheers,

    • (Score: 2) by TK on Friday March 28 2014, @07:20PM

      by TK (2760) on Friday March 28 2014, @07:20PM (#22641)

      Is there a decent solution for Netflix on the RasPi? That's the only thing that's kept me from pulling the trigger and buying one to use as an HTPC.

      --
      The fleas have smaller fleas, upon their backs to bite them, and those fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:23PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 28 2014, @08:23PM (#22678)

        This may be a bit backwards. But buy a TV that has it built in. That is what I did. It may actually be somewhat hard to buy one these days without it...

        Plus a universal remote and poof. Netflix is a couple of clicks away. Not integrated as nicely but it works pretty good.

        Downside is you have to use that crappy ass netflix menu...

        • (Score: 2) by Dunbal on Saturday March 29 2014, @12:04AM

          by Dunbal (3515) on Saturday March 29 2014, @12:04AM (#22758)

          Still doesn't address the issue that Netflix doesn't have all that great a variety of movies.

      • (Score: 1) by mrclisdue on Friday March 28 2014, @11:14PM

        by mrclisdue (680) on Friday March 28 2014, @11:14PM (#22748)

        Sorry, I have no need for netflix, because 1channel>netflix, icefilms>netflix, mashup>netflix, axxo>netflix....

        I can watch *anything* and everything, anytime, so why would I waste a penny on Netflix?

        I do understand that you're asking if there's a decent Netflix client, but I wonder why one would need it, xbmc has everything netflix has to offer, times about six.

        cheers,