Broadband and movies: the reality
Most of the media industry seems to think that broadband is about delivering movies to couch potatoes. Some of the studios have now set up MovieLink to provide just such a service. This is what it’s like in practice. Quote:
“MovieLink boasts some 200 movies for rent. I chose Braveheart, which for some reason was much cheaper at $1.99 than most other selections, which were $3.99 to $5.45. I did get to watch the movie on my computer. But it was a struggle, and in that struggle one question kept nagging at me: Why the heck do the studios think they know how to provide me with a service like this?
MovieLink’s user interface for choosing movies is a mess. It’s modeled after the e-commerce systems pioneered by companies like Amazon.com. That means everything is presented in a hierarchy of categories: action, romance, Western, etc. There’s no method for searching actors, directors, or–oddly–even studios.
Worse, though, is the service. The data files are huge. At 952 megabytes, Braveheart took just less than five hours to download using our DSL line at home. Video-on-demand? Hardly. In the same time we could have made 20 roundtrips to our neighborhood Blockbuster. Then there’s the fact that MovieLink requires you to watch the movie within 24 hours of starting to play it or have it expire. Blockbuster lets you keep a movie for three to four days. Both, however, feature equally unfriendly help. As soon as I clicked the play button on my movie, MovieLink offered this: ‘Do you want to play Braveheart now? If you play Braveheart now, you must finish viewing it by Tuesday, 11/19/2002 2:56 p.m.'”