DirecTV or not DirecTV (or Netflix is in the wings)

I received an email today from DirecTV listing the current pay per view offerings for this week and saw a movie that Michelle said she wanted to see. OK, OK it’s Mike Myers’ “The Love Guru”, call me a wuss but I’m gonna enjoy it too.

So I went to my Tivo to set it up to record and I noticed a new flag on the confirmation screen indicating that the PPV movie will expire at Noon tomorrow. Since I seldom watch a movie I’ve recorded in even the same month I recorded it much less the next day, I was somewhat perturbed.
So I went to the DirecTV website and looked this up and can see that my recording will probably last for a long time provided I don’t view it. Once I begin playing the movie, the clock starts ticking and I will have 24 hours within which to finish viewing.
There are plenty of movies that I will start to watch and then decide to finish days or weeks later. I don’t have an issue waiting to see the ending and I can remember the beginning well enough that I don’t lose anything across that gap.
What I have now is my satellite company (or, more probably, the content provider behind them) dictating how I will view my recording.
One of the reasons I use PPV is for exactly this freedom. Renting a movie from a Blockbusteresque source comes with the explicit contract that I need to return this item in a day or a week depending on popularity. But PPV has always been more ephemeral than that and the added flexibility (plus the lower cost and avoided trip to the store) have always been of great value to me.

Now that this corner has been turned I am looking to see what other resources exist to fill the need that I have. I don’t watch sports, and anything of interest in the sporting world makes its way to the Internet in good time, so that kind of content is of little value to me. I get my news from Internet based sources, either podcasts for analysis reporting (Economist, Cato and others)and various newsfeeds for more immediate content, so again little loss there. So I’m thinking I should just discontinue my DirecTV service.

I’m looking at netflix and, at $17 a month it seems eminently reasonable for fulfilling my current and future movie desires and even some of the TV series that I enjoy. I’m usually not super up-to-date on my tv viewing anyway so I’m not so sure that waiting for the DVD would be an issue.

Then there is HULU which seems to be an interesting direction in which the entertainment industry is heading. There seems to be a number of shows posted up there in their entirety. There *are* some bait-and-switch items up there which are just teasers to have you go watch the show through conventional means.

There is also Joost which has been around for a while but seems to sport a very limited and little changing selection of shows.

There are others, I understand Sony is backing another IPTV initiative to compete with Hulu, but I haven’t been able to find this yet.

For mindless entertainment, I have to admit to being a fan of “Maximum Exposure” (though with my finger on the fast forward button to skip the multiple replays) and “Wild World of Spike”. But I think YouTube and College Humor can meet those needs.

There are other avenues available, of course, for more difficult to find content. Let’s hope that the media folks figure this out and, rather than trying to snuff out those other avenues, work to make their content available at fair prices through legitimate venues so that we can all be winners. Like most people, I want to pay for my content, it’s right and it’s proper. Just treat me fairly and we will both be winners.

Posted under Movies / TV, On the Home Front, Opinions, Retail Experiences, Tech Stuff, Utils / Tools

This post was written by Marc
on October 19, 2008 at 3:59 pm

4,111 views

3 Comments so far

  1. Marc October 19, 2008 6:01 pm

    I went to Blockbuster’s site to check out their offering. I have to admit I use Blockbuster grudgingly as I recognize them as the primary player in squeezing out almost all competition and over tripling the prices of video rentals ‘way back in the early 90’s.

    I find it insulting how difficult it is to extract any useful information out of their site. This is not the first time I’ve checked out this particular option. I looked a year or so ago when I was toying with this option back then too. And even then it was incredibly difficult to find any information out about their movie mail-delivered rental plan(s). They seem to be all gloss and very little content.

    The Netflix site, by contrast, is just upfront about their plans, their costs, how things will work… pretty much every question I had was answered inside of a couple of clicks.

    Guess who’s getting my business as I type this.

  2. Dave October 20, 2008 10:08 am

    Ah yes, gettin’ screwed over by the Man! For just another small investment of say $200 plus consumables(I know you have tons of disposable income) you could purchase a DVD recorder to record the video from your DVR and watch it at your convenience.

    I know what you’re thinking. It seems like it’s getting a bit complicated just to watch a video when you want. Well, you’re right. However, sometimes it takes a little bit of effort to stay one step ahead of the man.

  3. Marc October 20, 2008 6:40 pm

    The irony is that I don’t really like DVDs all that much. The control I get with the DVR or even a *VCR* is WAY more precise and just works better.

    That suggestion sound suspiciously like what all those folks with Walmart DRMed songs are having to do to get around the fact that they won’t be supporting the technology in the near future.

    DRM blows, at every level… and not in the good way either.

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