Posts Tagged ‘movies’

Android Market Now Rents Movies

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

Google’s annual IO conference began today, and Android was a highlight of the keynote. Among the more notable new features, Google is now offering movie rentals through the Android Market. Movies range from $1.99 to $3.99, and have similar terms and expiration policies as other services. I am still looking for the $1.99 selection. There is a good mix of newer and older titles available, from “The King’s Speech” to Monty Python’s “Meaning of Life”.

Browsing through the movie selection, there are a number of features available. You can watch a preview with YouTube, get critic reviews or user reviews, tweet about the movie, read a synopsis, and find out general information about the movie. Movie ratings, length, and contract terms are available as well. Once purchased, the rental is valid for 30 days if the movie is not watched. Once playback begins, the timeline drops to 24 hours. This is comparable to the PlayStation Network and Dish Network’s pay per view options.

I think this service is poised to give both Netflix and Amazon a run for their money. The layout is clean, easy to follow, and conveniently connected to your Google account. This means you can watch on your Android phone or your computer, no matter where you are. There’s even a feature to watch the movie offline if you don’t have a consistent connection. This is done with a “pin” feature, and can take a good chunk of time on a tablet such as the Xoom. Google posts download times as 45-90 minutes for HD and 30-60 minutes for SD. Streaming is instant, so you might want to do that if your data plan isn’t unlimited.

The service is currently available only in the United States. Google suggests you download the movie before leaving the country if you want to use the service elsewhere. An Android app is available on the Xoom, and requires Flash. The app should be available for Froyo and above soon, but you can browse for movies at market.android.com/movies.

I think this feature will be getting a lot of action in my household. I’m looking forward to spending some more time with it. This weekend’s road trip should provide ample opportunity to play, so I’ll post my experiences next week.

Netflix Caving to the Studios

Friday, April 30th, 2010

Most of my posts regarding Netflix lately have been pretty positive. This one is an exception. My wife wanted to see a movie the day it was released and noticed that her option was “Save” and not “Add to Queue”. She couldn’t figure out what was going on, so she dug a little further. It turned out that the movie she wanted to see was from one of the studios Netflix caved to recently.

Netflix now has agreements with Warner Bros, Fox, and Universal. The deal says that Netflix cannot rent out a new release for 28 days after a release is first made available for sale. The idea is that people will be more likely to buy a movie if they can’t rent it. The idea is ludicrous. If I have to wait 28 days to rent a movie, one of two things might happen – 1.) I say screw it and choose to NEVER watch the movie. 2.) I choose to wait 28 days and then RENT it anyway. I am not going to buy something just because I can’t rent it for a while.

Red Box apparently has similar deals. Blockbuster sees an opportunity and is proudly broadcasting its new release selection. This earned my wife’s business, though I think Blockbuster is already dead. I just don’t see why the movie studios, along with their peers in the music industry, are so far off the mark on this issue. Technology should have been embraced, but it has been shunned. What could have brought untold profits to the movie industry has instead made them a laughing stock among business peers and their customers.

I know right now every movie I intend to buy this year on DVD (or Blu-ray). The movie industry will only influence my movie-buying decision process in one way – make a movie I want to buy. It’s that simple. Assuming I will become a customer by default is absurd. Wake up movie studios. You are a dying industry. Turns out this rant is more about the studios than Netflix, though I still think Netflix shouldn’t have caved.