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The Internet Intel Media Movies

Internet Movies Before DVD 418

Posted by samzenpus
from the watch-it-now dept.
alfrin writes "Actor Morgan Freeman and Intel are starting a company that will sell movies over the Internet before they are released to DVD. "We're going to bypass what the music industry had to come up with, and that's to get ahead of the whole piracy thing," Freeman told reporters at Sun Valley after making his presentation, which was closed to the press. Wouldn't this just make it easier to pirate movies?"
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Internet Movies Before DVD

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  • Shawshank (Score:3, Funny)

    by Ridgelift (228977) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:33PM (#12999769)
    Did anyone else hear Morgan's voice in your head when reading the quote, as if it was a line from "Shawshank Redemption" or "Million Dollar Baby"? Spooky!
    • Or, 'Wayne Enterprises sells movies online' is what actually ran through my head first.

      Need a photographic memory to remember all Morgan's roles!
    • Sorry, but I decided to read it with the voice of Sam Kinison just for yuks.

      I mean, the MPAA and RIAA are nuts, right? If only he were alive, he'd make a great spokesman.

      • by badasscat (563442)
        Sorry, but I decided to read it with the voice of Sam Kinison just for yuks.

        I mean, the MPAA and RIAA are nuts, right? If only he were alive, he'd make a great spokesman.


        Not shrill enough. I'm thinking Bobcat Goldthwait can handle RIAA duties and Gilbert Godfried can run PR for the MPAA.

        Now that's a perfect fit.
    • by Pollardito (781263) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:13AM (#13000260)
      "It was the dumbest business model of Andy Dufresne's career..."
    • by RapmasterT (787426)
      I totally did. I mentally heard it as "We're going to bypass what the music industry had to come up with mother fucker! and I hope they burn in hell!"

      Then I realized I'd read it in Samuel L. Jackson mental voice, and not Morgan Freeman. So I went back and read it again, but it wasn't as funny.

  • Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AKAImBatman (238306) * <akaimbatman@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:33PM (#12999773) Homepage Journal
    Three words: It's about time.

    Actually, the movie industry has done a reasonably good job of keeping ahead of the market forces that drive piracy. Depsite all the complaints about movies getting on the Internet early (as if the problem didn't exist with bootlegs prior to the Internet), I haven't seen any evidence that it has been a widespread issue. Your average person seems happy enough to go to the theater, buy a DVD, or sign up with Netflix.

    The ones who should really be worried is television. The DVD rehashes of shows have helped, as have PVRs like TIVO. But the general populace is starting to get pretty annoyed about being told when they can and can't watch television. If TV doesn't reinvent itself as an internet business soon, the reprocussions could be of Napster proportions!
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Universal Indicator (626874) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:39PM (#12999815)
      I am happy enough to use Netflix to pirate movies. At $50 for a month, you can get nearly 50 DVDs sent to you, if you simply copy them immediately when the mail comes and then get them back out to the post office the same day. If retail DVDs are an average of $15 x 50 discs for a month, that is $750 worth of movies in a month. 50 DVDs for the price of three :-) Is there a system like this for music?
      • by fodi (452415) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:52PM (#12999884)
        I don't really understand why us geeks like to hoard intellectual property so much. Of those 50 movies:

        1. How many do you actually watch?
        2. How many do you use to buy friends with?
        3. How many get thrown on a spindle and forgotten?

        I know people that download almost 50 movies/TV shows/games a month. When I ask them how many they actually watch/play, it's rarely 20% at most.

        I think this stems from the fact that having so much media readily available to us is still a relatively new concept. It was only 10 years ago that it took us 2 hours to download a 5 minute, low-quality movie (usually porn). I believe people are thinking "Wow !! i CAN have all these movies", not "Wow !! I want to WATCH all these movies".

        I believe that when our kids grow up, they won't have this desire to accumulate all this media, because they'll be able to watch/play all this stuff when they want it.

        Instead of paying $50/month of DVD, just to have the pleasure of burning and stock-piling them, why not hire 10 DVDs for $30 from your local video shop and buy some beers to drink while you watch.....
        • by Carbonite (183181) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:03PM (#12999939)
          I know several people that spend so much time finding movies and burning DVDs that they never have time to actually watch them. Pick a random DVD out of their collection and it's almost a sure bet that they've never seen it. It's really rather sad.
          • I am currently trying to overcome this addiction, by only downloading shit I actually want/will watch/play but... it's just not working out that way.

            I see my unused bandwidth and it just seems like such a waste :(
          • put me on that list.

            max out 2 8mb connections and spend tons of time burning the images to dvd, but really i just like keeping track of these things.

            how many good or even decent movies, or songs from 25 years ago just disappeared? how much culture is lost? looking back sure you can get a megahit album from the beatles or bob dylan, but most of the mediocre stuff that just fills the airwaves is lost. Most people would say "good riddance" but we are defined by the crap as well as the art. It will be sad if
            • size matters (Score:3, Interesting)

              also, i've noticed the more hd space i have the more i just have to keep it filled with movies, programs, crap i have stuff i downloaded, failed to sort and never got back to taking up hundreds of gigs at this point.

              my main server has 2tb online right now, the download barrier for me is very low. if i see something online and had any interest in it at some point, click, boop, its queued. unlimited bandwith coupled with near unlimited storage capacity (like 5 dvd burners around) mean you get everything, and
        • no doubt.

          I felt kinda like this back in 97 when I first got on the internet. Downloading and printing crap every spare moment... probably took me a year or so to realize that "THE INTERNET WILL STILL BE THERE IN THE MORNING!!" ha ha ha.

          I still have tons of old programs and games I'll never use. I must have about 5 or 6 gigs of windows 95 drivers still too.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:34PM (#13000093)
          I think it is becuase people, especially young people, like to have stuff. It is hard for young people to have real stuff, as real stuff costs real money, but easy to have bits.

          For instance, when i was in school there came a time when 5 1/4" floppies fell below a dollar a per disc, in bulk. At this point it became extremely reasonable to make a copy of every single program that anyone had. A floppy, though a neat little utility called disk muncher, could be spread throughout the school in a day or two. It did not matter what the program did, or if you would use it, just that you had it. Students left high school with hundreds of floppies.

          So i don't think it is because access to conent is new. I thinkmany people like to hoard, and if one takes the time to download, one might as well burn it to a $.20 CD. I agree that taking the time to rip a movie a every movie one gets to DVD might indicate additional concerns, but the concept is the same.

          Also, I think this is one of the places where piracy is a term best not used. The content owners really need to focus their defenses on the firms that utilize stolen software for administration of profit. I mean once i got some cash, and grew up, the piracy went way down.

        • by Aerog (324274) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:40PM (#13000117) Homepage
          Sadly enough, I find myself in this situation, to the point that there is a torrent or two running at all times on my machine at home. However, most of the time the download is in lieu of actually watching TV to the point that I almost watch TV shows exclusively on my computer. Lately I've also been burning DVDs of TV shows and distributing them around to friends who haven't managed to see them yet.

          I think some of it is one giant pissing contest as to who can have the most movies, sometimes it's the "I'll get around to watching it later" syndrome, and sometimes it's just to have something to watch that you've never seen before available at all times. Sort of like saying "I've only seen this Simpsons 20 times before, so maybe I'll just finish watching Cowboy Bebop instead". And sometimes, it's because we remember waiting three days to download the first half of Blade in crap Telesync before realizing that the actual movie came out the next day. Even with the slowness, being (most likely) the first people in the community to have a movie from the 'internets' was a pretty big thing back then. Maybe some people just haven't gotten over it.

          But you're right. It could get way out of hand...

          Unless we're talking about Pr0n. Then it will likely never get out of hand.
        • by silentbozo (542534) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:42PM (#13000127) Journal
          It's all about the perception of scarcity. If you dangle the threat that someday, access to commodity X will be restricted (ie, made more expensive) or taken away, it creates an incentive to hoard. Whether it be guns, alcohol, rare paintings, media, etc., if you have the reasonable belief that what you can get today for $5, you cannot get tommorrow for $5, you will get as much as you can, while you can.

          For example, there are people who archive useful websites, because sometimes, these websites change (become less useful) or disappear completely. You and I would probably not devote much time to this, because we know that we can usually rely on the Internet Archive or Google's cache to make snapshots (not always, but that's the risk we're taking). However, if it was information that had a reasonable chance of not being preserved due to external influence (ie, internal Diebold memo on how to fix elections for the highest bidder), then people would hoard it just for the sake for hoarding it, due to its potential value in scarcity. Ironically, because of that potential value, it would probably be less scarce than if it was a run of the mill technical document.

          Given the movie/music industry's more or less stated goal of converting all of their "property" into licensable forms, preferably forms that expire on you (remember Divx - not DivX;), but the DVD you could rent to view for 24, then throw away?), hoarding what you can get, while you can still get it, isn't as crazy an idea as you might think. Of course, there's always the other explanation of hoarding specific items - some people are just natural-born packrats.
          • I feel the same way - although I guess I never really thought about it.

            Hey, what if I need that program some day? What if they stop Bittorrent and all the other stuff by requiring ISP's to only allow cached web traffic? What if?

            It could happen, and in the current climate of technology things, it seems likely. In the meantime, I'm downloading everything I can get because in the future I might not be able to.

            Of course, I wouldn't bother if this shit wasn't so expensive. $25 for a movie? $60 for a game
          • I am downloading software and movies I don't intend to use in the coming 6 months, but I will likely be interested in it later - because if these P2P crackdowns actually succeed, then it won't be available anymore - so I'd rather have them stored in my pile of CD's where nothing can take them away anymore.
        • by tchueh (305012) <mit211.hotmail@com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:42PM (#13000128)
          I call it the Pokemon Phenomenon (or effect)... it's the same mentality that makes you want to "catch 'em all".

          It's a nice feeling when you have a "complete" set. Like hockey cards, coins, stamps, TV episodes (back when you had to try to record reruns to get em all). Or even reconciling your credit card bill with receipts and having everything match up...
        • I'm the same way about games.

          I used to download, burn and spindle every game that ever game out, in thoughts that "I'll want to play it some day". Now I barely play games at all, and I have 7 spindles of games from 5+ years ago that are collecting dust.

          What a useless obsession...

          - shazow
      • Re:Finally (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Oopsz (127422)
        Sure. The new subscription based napster (or real rhapsody).

        See, right now most people don't have the bandwidth for subscription based movie download services, and as very few actually want to watch movies on a 19 inch monitor, converting and burning to DVDs is non-trivial. It's somewhat like the old axiom: "Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of quarter inch tapes." For a lot (if not most) people, getting two DVDs a week by mail is much more efficient than downloading, so the subs
      • For Hollywood to get $50:month out of you, they usually have to get you to go to the theater between 5-10x. At $80B:y, that's a strict average of $13:human:year, which might be an average of once a month. Which means that if people, on average, give free copies to less than 5-10 other people (with no overlap), then Hollywood does just as well with your kind of piracy as without. Considering the much higher costs of theatrical distribution than postal DVD's, and that $80B includes all kinds of other revenue
    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

      by XMyth (266414) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:46PM (#12999858) Homepage
      I don't know. I mean...if you want to get your TV shows then you want something reliable (like ShunTV or BTEfnet were). Reliable = big = big target. They seem pretty capable of bringing down big targets (probably small ones too but they only focus on the big ones).

      I don't think many people are going drop TV as the medium in favor of something that's unreliable. I know I sure didn't tune in to the Daily Show on TV when ShunTV was around...but now, without a consistently reliable source for it I watch it on TV.

      I don't think we're going to be able to get a good distribution point for it as long as a threatening letter or a lawsuit can bring one down (which will be the case for the foreseeable future).

      JMHO

      • Re:Finally (Score:4, Informative)

        by jizmonkey (594430) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:52PM (#13000170)
        I don't think many people are going drop TV as the medium in favor of something that's unreliable. I know I sure didn't tune in to the Daily Show on TV when ShunTV was around...but now, without a consistently reliable source for it I watch it on TV.

        Comedy Central has the latest show on its website the day after it airs. They seem to leave out the less-funny segments sometimes, but they always seem to have the monologue, and sometimes the whole show if it was really great.

    • Re:Finally (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Stick_Fig (740331) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:04PM (#12999951) Homepage
      Personally, my beef with TV is that good shows are getting cancelled because the terrible ratings system focuses on the cream of the ratings crop rather than what has the most potential to grow. They're focusing on empty ratings at the cost of long-term success.

      If they could modify the formula so that the shows with potential could get as much playing time as those that are already hits, I would be all for it right now. The crap factor is just terrible on TV right now.
      • by crovira (10242) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:37PM (#13000105) Homepage
        I keep hearing the same complaint over and over.

        The interesting movies/TV shows/records/content never get made because they aren't going to be block-busters and the studio system has gotten so bloated and expensive with the hangers-on.

        We need a distribution channel (like an IMDB with iTunes-like media distribution) for movies that aren't and will never be block-busters but that are good anyway.

        The studios used to produce quite a few a month but that got too expensive. Then came the indies but the studion and distribution companies own all the distribution channels, ergo, I don't get to see any interesting films.

        The theater chains and the multiplexes can never run the movies long enough for me. By the time that I'm ready to see them, they're already gone.

        But if I could pick 'em up off the net, legally, when I want to see them, I would.
      • Re:Finally (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Digital Vomit (891734) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:44PM (#13000138) Homepage Journal
        I totally agree. Case in point: Cheers. The show ranked dead last in the first year, but because NBC had nothing else to put on TV at the time, the show continued. It became one of the greatest sitcoms ever.

        I think this shortsightedness is just a sign of the times, though. Everyone seems to be looking to mazimize short term gain at the lowest risk. Sadly, greatness is rarely born out of such a world-view.

    • by PCM2 (4486) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:16PM (#13000010) Homepage
      If TV doesn't reinvent itself as an internet business soon, the reprocussions could be of Napster proportions!
      TV already is reinventing itself! Look around you -- sales and rentals of DVDs of TV shows are booming. TV has it even easier than the movies do. If a TV studio succeeds in generating buzz around a certain show, they'll build a loyal fan base who will tune in every week whether the episode in question is good or not. Then, at the end of the season, they can sell or rent you a DVD of the whole thing -- again, negating the sub-par episodes in favor of the good ones.

      Bad movies, on the other hand, have a hard time drumming up rentals if they really bombed in the theater. ("Catwoman" is a great example. I personally thought it wasn't half as bad as people made it out to be -- but are you going to spend your money on it?)

      I've heard it from more than one Hollywood type: Movies have the glamor, but TV is where the real money is. (Though maybe that depends which side of the camera you're on.)

  • Right. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danheskett (178529) <danheskett AT gmail DOT com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:34PM (#12999777)
    Interesting definition of "get ahead" of. My impression is that movie downloading illictly on the Internet has been "no big deal" for the masses for quite some time. When my clueless barely point-and-grunt literate co-worker offered me a DVD copy of the latest Star Wars 4 days after it opened I realized it had already hit the mainstream. Sorry guys, to little, to late.
    • Re:Right. (Score:4, Funny)

      by rhesuspieces00 (804354) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:50PM (#12999880) Homepage
      You and youre buddy were either way behind or way ahead of the times if you had Starwars 4 on DVD days after release theatrical release.
    • Re:Right. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by l2718 (514756) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:58PM (#12999911)

      It is exactly this kind of illegal downloading that would go away if they offered reasonably priced legitimate copies. It's true that they will have to offer some recording capability (probably with reduced resolution) -- people feel pretty strongly about their ability to record what they see on their TV.

      However, for all the grandstanding of the media companies in the US, the real "piracy" (actually, a very bad term [gnu.org]) problem they face is in the far east. The problem is not people downloading low-resolution copies of movies (which doesn't cost them much business), but entire factories which churn out illegally copied DVDs, and people who buy the cheap fakes rather than the expensive originals.

  • by forkazoo (138186) <wrosecrans.gmail@com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:35PM (#12999781) Homepage
    I dunno. The presentation was closed. I don't know anything about the specifics. If they use hard core DRM, it's possible it wouldn't be cracked. I suppose their first move should be to hire "DVD Jon" and then send him on a permanent vacation with no net access.
  • Freeman told reporters at Sun Valley after making his presentation, which was closed to the press.

    Is this guy versatile or what?

  • by Tanmi-Daiow (802793) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:35PM (#12999783) Journal
    If they find the right price and the right movies to sell. They might create an 'itunes' effect, except in the movie genre. Most people would buy it if it was readily available and cheap.
    • True, but the bandwidth needed for compressed music is far less the badnwidth needed for video.
    • How many movies are really worth buying, though? I will be purchasing the boxed extended edition set of LOTR, because it was just so kickass. I also own Hackers (pure bullshit, but entertaining) and a couple others. My actual collection is pretty small, though. Most movies I tend to only watch once. Some movies, have replay(watch?) value, but not many. Because of this, those that I do actually feel the need to purchase, I want to have the whole box and everything for; that's really the reason for the purcha
    • by ArcticCelt (660351) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:01PM (#12999929)
      What I hopping to see is lots of cheap old good obscure not mainstream movies. Those movies are hard to find in local video stores and expensive to buy. That situation sucks. I'll be the first one to buy lots of these. But if they sell over 5$ piece I'll probably go on eMule to look for some "substitute product", for education purpose of course.

      Like for music, there is lots of material out there and each individual desire probably to own much more stuff than what is wallet can afford. In consequence even if they lower the prices, there revenue wont go down. The people who where spending 200$ each year on movie purchase will still spend it but will just get more. The people like me who weren't buying anything will maybe start to do so. I hope they will realize that they can make much more money on the volume than on the price of each movie.
      • by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:36PM (#13000098)
        ArcticCelt wrote:
        What I hopping to see is lots of cheap old good obscure not mainstream movies. Those movies are hard to find in local video stores and expensive to buy.
        You'll probably get 100 people flaming you saying that the big budget recent releases is where it will be most profitable. (slashdot users know what's profitable?)

        That is probably the case where they'll make huge amounts of money, but your point shouldn't be discounted completely. I recall reading a report about which genres of music saw the biggest spike from being made available on the iTunes store versus their sales in conventional CD outlets and the survey said that it was Polka. I thought that was a joke, but thinking about it made sense. The genre is practically dead in regular CD outlets and the simplicity of the iTunes interface makes even a grandmother able to figure things out. I bet they probably get a LOT of impulse buys from people who are fans of obscure artists or genres.

        There are a lot of things I think the iTunes music store could improve, but this ability to provide obscure music is a unique service. Let's hope a movie model like this can do something similalry worthwhile.

      • What I hopping to see is lots of cheap old good obscure not mainstream movies. Those movies are hard to find in local video stores and expensive to buy. That situation sucks.

        Absolutely on the mark. Problem is, the copyright extensions Disney keep getting will always keep a lot of good material away from the public domain. If you haven't found it yet, try here for a few interesting movies which haven't been locked away. http://www.archive.org/details/movies [archive.org] The biggest section by far is the open-source mo
  • by fodi (452415) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:35PM (#12999784)
    "before they're available on DVD" isn't quite going to cut it. Most movies are available via torrents before, or while, they're still out at the cinema. Sure, they're inferior, pirated copies, but for most people that seems to be good enough.
    • The way ahead is simultaneous release in all formats in all territories. Mark Cuban is doing just this with his 2929 Productions and HDNet Films. The first releases will be a bunch of stuff by Steven Soderbergh.
    • it will be as effective as selling music online. it wont eliminate piracy, but it will curb it because a lot of people are willing to pay a few bucks and get a high quality download the first time with spending a lot of time searching for a title or competing for bandwidth. (i am one such person.)

      getting the download out before the DVD is key, as part of the motivation for piracy is to be the first kid on the block with the latest and greatest. This shortens the time span for which that is a motivation.
    • Do you really think that's true "for most people"? I think it's the opposite -- most people would rather spend a little money (and get out of the house) or wait a while and buy/rent a movie for $15/$4 than go through the hassle of downloading a lousy copy of a movie shot by a camcorder.

      My guess is that the market for low quality, shaky-cam movies is very, very small in reality. It's not like MP3s where you're usually listening to them in environments like your car. If you're watching downloaded movies, you
      • I don't agree. Divx and xvid are amazing codecs. There are rips out there where you honestly can't tell the quality from a dvd on a 27" 7 year old tv. (trick is to use a very good video card)

        I've been screaming about this for years.. let me download a movie, in divx or xvid, without the damned drm for $5 and I'll be the first in line. btw, I'm in Canada. I'd really like to be able to do that here. I can't afford $100 to take my wife to a movie anymore, (sitters, food, gas etc) and I absolutley HATE taking

      • "My guess is that the market for low quality, shaky-cam movies is very, very small in reality."

        Except that high end bootlegs are usually of the Telecine, telesync or screener types which are better quality.
        Telecine is a true transfer from film to digital, telesync's are normally shot from the projection booth with a direct audio feed. Screeners are less common nowdays, but are ripped from DVD or VHS advance copies of the film.
        Generally speaking the quality is of course lower than a DVD or seeing the film i

    • Sure, they're inferior, pirated copies, but for most people that seems to be good enough.

      If Hollywood were capable of making films that were good enough to merit the trouble of going to a theater and paying the premium price to see it, then people wouldn't be satisfied with crappy camcorder internet bootlegs.
  • no more ???? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by i.r.id10t (595143)
    The mysterious step 2 is solved.

    Get with Apple, do a (probably relatively minor) code revision to iTunes for the selection/shopping engine and DRM (face it, its gonna have it in some fashion) and add video support, maybe do some more work to use distributed downloading like bittorrent or have multiple mirrors in network-close proximity (work with cable and satellite cos?) to users, and have at it.
    • Apple has experience with the iTunes Music Store. They know how to run digital distribution models. They would be good candidates for running a video download store.

      Apple also has the H.264 codec. According to their site [apple.com], "H.264 delivers stunning video quality at remarkably low data rates, so you see crisp, clear video in much smaller files."

      But, H.264 needs a fast processor. Now, Apple has fast enough processors, but only in their high-end lines.

      Apple moves to Intel. Intel has faster proces
    • bittorent, good at distributing identical copies.

      DRM, would work best if each user is issued a different key, and the media file encoded with said key. Otherwise it's security through obscurity, you're hoping noone figures out how to get hold of the keys and starts to distribute them.

  • by millennial (830897) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:37PM (#12999792) Journal
    If music is released on iTunes before it comes out on CD, the only ways that that music could be pirated are:
    1. burn it to a CD, then rip the CD, thus losing quality
    2. record the audio as you play it
    3. crack the encryption.

    However, with a video, #1 and #2 are out of the question. Unless, of course, you really want to hook up an S-Video/etc. out plug to a digital camera or VCR, record the playback to the camera, and transfer it back. It's just not feasible. Unless (until?) the encryption is cracked, this won't help piracy one bit.
    • "record the video as you play it"


      I could reasure you that this is NOT out of the question, I grab overlay video frames at 30fps with FRAPS routinelly, no big deal, also with loseless compression so there is about 0.1% degradation.


      Video on-demand is offered here by local Telecom at www.starzone.cz for about a year now. And is very successfull and cheap, at least the localy produced films are.
    • by patio11 (857072) on Thursday July 07, 2005 @12:43AM (#13000408)
      Somebody didn't read the darknet paper [stanford.edu]... All it takes is ONE person in the entire world who wants to see (or sell!) a movie enough to go through the trouble of setting up a system to do so, something which might be technically infeasible for Joe User but which would be trivial for someone with a modicrum of skill and equipment (and, incidentally, if you're going to make a hobby or career out of it the marginal cost in both dollars and time is close to zero -- set the system up once and it will be good forever). Then that one person puts it on $FILESHARINGNETWORK, and for the rest of the world the process is:

      1. Type movie name into search box, click enter.
      2. Download movie.
      3. Watch.

      P.S. Video capture card + Winamp plugin to capture output to DirectSound and write to disk + editing/compression software of choice = digital quality piracy.

      P.P.S. You never need to "crack" the encryption when someone gives you the cyphertext, the cypher specification, and the secret key.

  • FTA "fearful of suffering a similar fate as the music industry, which has been hit hard hit by piracy enabled by file-swapping services."

    Since when is the music industry in a real slump?

    About the movies, I wish they would do this and make it as portable/open as possible, but as we all know it will be DRM'd out the ass and completely unusable except at Uncle Bob's house on Tuesday after 5pm.

  • Great Idea (Score:3, Interesting)

    by mkop (714476) * on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:37PM (#12999796) Journal
    Now sell it for half the price of a regular DVD and I would probably buy more movies.
    • Re:Great Idea (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goMac2500 (741295)
      Or they could not and make more money? Seriously... Look at it this way. You'd have to buy more movies to more than make up for the price cut they're giving you. Otherwise, why are they going to sell it cheaper? You'd have to buy more than twice as many movies for them to make up for cutting the cost. Would you really do that? The movie companies have people who sit around all day and figure out the price points to make these companies the most money. Basic Microeconomics. Figuring out the best price point
  • What _is_ this? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by linds.r (895980) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:38PM (#12999798)
    This is really only news when a couple of big labels actually sign on.
  • There are already services that let you view movies online. If I am going to pay full price for a movie, I want the physical media that I can hold. Considering how cheap Wal-mart DVDs are, they better offer dirt cheap prices on this service if they expect to succeed.
  • Maybe he can save the movie companies from the pirates.
    Then again, probably not.
  • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:45PM (#12999847) Homepage
    The public will buy it before they steal it if:

    1. Good quality
    2. Readily available
    3. The price is right

    Most people, to this day, don't know that most DVD movies are encrypted and have the Macrovision(r) switch turned on. They just put the disc in and press play. What they care about are the three things above.

    Item #3 doesn't mean free. In fact, it can't be free because if people see a price that's too low, they will think it sucks. #2 is important because from what I have seen, people download movies mostly because they aren't available on DVD yet. When the DVDs come out, they often buy'em... (or not based on whether they liked the movie...) #1 is pretty obvious, but I think it's not as important a draw as the later two. It is significant, however, as at present, in order to make video content on the internet feasable, a sacrifice in image quality will likely have to be made even with the best consumer grade broadband. So even if they capture the stream and put it on a DVD and can even play it that way, it will not likely measure up to the quality of a production DVD which would be a motivating factor to buying the DVD... not necessarily instead of downloading and not necessarily in addition to downloading either. I don't think the two are connected drives.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:47PM (#12999866)
    kudos to freeman, the respect i already had for him just doubled....this just shows how out of touch the MPAA really is...

    if an actor almost 70(!!) can understand the importance of new technology, why can't a "consortium" of movie companies who "supposedly" have our best interests in mind embrace digital distribution?
  • With some music distribution models, I can buy individual songs I like without having to pay for the entire album. I did it with 45's, single-song tapes (with a "B" side), single CD's (with 4 re-mix versions of the same song), and of course with Internet disti models.

    What if instead of buying an entire movie, I could simply purchase by the chapter? I could take a movie like... Pirates of the Carribean, and buy only the scenes that I thought were cool or enjoyable. They could even bundle "action-packs" or "

  • Intel's Involvement? (Score:3, Informative)

    by buckhead_buddy (186384) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:52PM (#12999883)
    The article just barely touches on Intel's involvement in this project:
    Intel spokesman Bill Calder said Intel had been working for several years with Freeman, setting up "digital home" technology in his studio and doing a long-range wireless demo at the Sundance film festival.

    "It fits into our whole digital home strategy," Calder said of the investment. "One of the things we've always said is content is key."

    Other than the strategy involves a multimedia PC hooked up to a TV, Intel's only part in the rest of the article is a big Uncle Penny Bags that could have equally been filled by Nabisco, Hustler, or some other big company.

    It sounds like they intend to DRM this tech heavily, but it baffles me a bit how they intend to do this. The download format will be encrypted, but if it is decrypted for display there are a lot of ways to record that stream. What do they intend to do? Put intel chips in televisions themselves? Degrade the signal so any additional lossy compression will render it as unwatchable? Junk it up with video bugs to identify the original source? Maybe they just assume that Joe User will be able to steal 3 or 4 movies, but he'll soon give up if he fills up his hard disk and decides it's just easier to stream them all the time.

    Any speculation or additional articles on what this plan intends to implement?

  • by lheal (86013) <lheal1999@y a h o o .com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:53PM (#12999890) Journal

    for an aging actor to get into Lori McCreary's [yimg.com] pants. I can't blame him - she's easy on the eyes.

    O'course, having seen his off-camera personality, I suspect he's more into the one he has his arm around.

  • Piracy, Arrrr... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by thunderpaws (199100) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @10:55PM (#12999895)
    The only piracy that really hurts the movie and music industries is what comes from industry grade copying and packaging. Internet downloading and P2P don't really hurt. The quality is not truly there. Those who really want a copy will buy the retail or "legitimate" downloads. The recording industry has been advancing these arguments since the days of wire recording (cassette tapes were the devils own in their day). New tecnologies, new terminology in the rethoric. A great many artists know that people "sharing" creates greater exposure and ultimately promotes sales of the full featured top quality product. The movie industry has recognized this by putting so much into creating all the extras on DVD's. Mr. Freeman is a brilliant man, and further shows his love of craft and business accumin with his statements.
  • Lets just hope they use Real Player! ;)
  • by syukton (256348) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:04PM (#12999949)
    Yes, of course it will (eventually, once the DRM is cracked) make it easier to pirate movies.

    But it will also make it easier for people to legitimately buy movies.

    No irritating crying children.
    No people who smell bad.
    No waiting.
    No hassle.
    No lines.
    No fuss.

    Given the choice, I think that most people would like to compensate the actors, directors and producers of a movie. What that price point is, remains to be seen.

    If it would be computer-tethered and non-portable, I personally wouldn't shell out more than $5.00 (matinee ticket price).
  • How long has it taken the movie industry to realise what the music industry has found out?

    And how long has it taken the movie industry to realise that you can mix around the Cinema -> DVD -> TV approach to satisfy customers? I've always believed that piracy flourishes due to lack of a commercial alternative and here we have someone looking at providing the movies in the period where consumers are demanding to watch the movie and are forced to go the cinema before the run is over.

    This sort of approa
  • Ok, so a watermark is added while streaming.

    Would it not be difficult to eliminate, or even detect, such a watermark which gives a traceable signature back to the source?
  • I still remember Morgan dressed as a groovy 70s vampire on the Electric Company from when I was a kid. God I loved that show! Anyone else here remember that?
  • by TodPunk (843271) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:16PM (#13000004) Homepage

    Wouldn't this just make it easier to pirate movies?

    No, not really. You'd have less interested parties in your stolen warez. Of course, this all depends on the price. If the movies are going to be $20 a pop, then yes, it will just continue to get pirated. If they were only $5, most (read: all but the cheap) people would rather own a legit copy than a pirated DVD rip. Think about it this way:

    If you could get an entire album of music for $5 that you had full rights to (i.e. able to play it on any device you owned and able to make a backup as well), it has been proven time and time again that people are more willing to pay for something rather than steal it (which nobody can really argue, downloading albums without permission is illegal, whether moral or not).

    It should be interesting to see what price structure this thing will have, as that's about the only thing that will make it worth anyone's while. Otherwise, it will just aid piracy. As Eisner said in one of his few moments of wisdom, Price and availability are the only real combatants to piracy. The question here is whether it will be a step in the right direction, not whether it will make piracy easier. Piracy is already far from difficult.

  • by humberthumbert (104950) on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:17PM (#13000017)
    1. Pricing is sane: If the vid costs any more than 30% of the price for a brand new retail DVD, forget it.

    2. Delivery is sane: No funky P2P implementation. I'll be damned if I pay for a movie and have to use my own connection to help the publishers distribute it. Better cough up the bucks for the fat pipes, cause you're gonna need them.

    3. Timing is sane: Say, really really soon after a movie premieres? Maybe 5 working days? If not, cheap bastards like me will just score it off ***net. It's not just about the quality, it's about the timeliness too.

    4. DRM is sane: I'd better be able to shift the vid around, or view it without being connected to the mothership. Or better yet, forget DRM, because
    we'll just film it off the monitor if we can't crack the copy protection. Have you seen high quality telecines? They're free, and they look real decent. You can't compete with that.

    5. Selection is sane: Don't just limit the choice of movies to the latest corporate trash. Some of us like the weird obscure unseen shit. Donnie Darko would have been a worldwide smash if the publishers had the brains to properly promote it.

    6. Quality is sane: The vids had better not be the size of a postage stamp. And perhaps, offer the viewer the vids in a variety of formats and codecs.

  • by tavilach (715455) <.tavilach. .at. .gmail.com.> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:25PM (#13000053)
    Perhaps piracy would technically be easier with this system, but you have to remember that most people really don't like stealing. The iTunes Music Store is blossoming for this very reason. Freeman's point is a good one: If a system like the iTunes Music Store (but for movies) precedes possible rampant piracy (which is certainly growing in the movie industry), the problem will be corrected before it grows. As is the case with music at the moment, you will then start seeing a lot of people legally downloading movies, and there will be no piracy mess to clean up (as has been the case with music). I certainly believe that this system would thwart far more piracy than it would encourage.
    • You should also remember that most people know the difference between copying and stealing. That's why so many people are willing to download from P2P networks even though they wouldn't shoplift.
  • by E8086 (698978)
    Can we get a fancy signed note with a shiny gold sticker to give to our ISP when they cap/cut off our service us for breaking their unpublished usage limits? I almost feel sorry for the poor college students living in their dorms with very restricted network usage, maybe 2GB a week or 20KB/s. Going by MovieWeb's avgs of 700MB for "normal" or 1.4GB for "high quality" that's one or two a week, not enough for a slow weekend.
    These movie services may force some ISPs to upgrade their service and increase their us
  • Apple + h.264? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DamienMcKenna (181101) <damien.mc-kenna@com> on Wednesday July 06, 2005 @11:37PM (#13000104)
    Does this have anything to do with Apple's migration to Intel hardware, Intel's plans to release hardware DRM in next year's CPUs, and the new h.264 compression scheme that's in Quicktime 7 that's supposed to make visually-high-quality downloadable movies more of a reality? Sounds like an aweful coincidence if you ask me.

    Damien
  • How about finishing Rendevouz with RAMA first? /love your acting, though.

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