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in Filmmaking
on Feb 21, 2008

On the heels of Toshiba’s announcement this past weekend that it will fall on its sword in the long-winded battle for hi-def DVD supremacy making Blu-ray the victor (guess I backed the wrong horse, anybody want Goodfellas on HD DVD?), David Pogue writes in the New York Times today that even though there’s more options to watch movies online, in the immediate future, DVDs are still your best choice as he gives a report card on the Internet movie boxes (Apple TV, TiVo/Amazon Unbox, Xbox 360 and Vudu).

Pogue also makes a good point about the absent-minded thinking of the companies. An excerpt:

“Finally, today’s movie-download services bear the greasy policy fingerprints of the movie studio executives — and when it comes to the new age of digital movies, these people are not, ahem, known for their vision.

For example, no matter which movie-download service you choose, you’ll find yourself facing the same confusing, ridiculous time limits for viewing. You have to start watching the movie you’ve rented within 30 days, and once you start, you have to finish it within 24 hours.

Where’s the logic? They’ve got your money, so why should they care if you start watching on the 30th day or the 31st?

Then there is the 24-hour limit. Suppose you typically do not start a movie until 7:30 p.m., after dinner and the homework have been put away. If you do not have time to finish the movie in one sitting, you cannot resume at 7:30 tomorrow night; at that point, the download will have self-destructed.

What would the studios lose by offering a 27-hour rental period? Or three days, or even a week? Nothing. In fact, they’d attract millions more customers. (At the very least, instead of just deleting itself, the movie should say: “Would you like another 24-hour period for an additional $1?”)”

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