Streaming films

MajorFubar

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Sorry this is technically nothing to do with computer-based music, but I couldn't see a forum for computer-based films…

Is there a (legal!!) online service which streams recent DVD/BD releases for £not very much? I see iTunes does it, but their catalogue of recent releases is not exactly huge and £3.49 a pop isn't imo particularly cheap.

I would also prefer if the service took PayPal: I'm incredibly backward at disclosing my bank/credit card details online these days after someone hacked my iTunes account in January and bought nearly £1,000 worth of vouchers. Good old iTunes never ever batted an eyelid, even though this was somewhat at odds with my usual purchasing-profile of maybe one or two 99p tracks a month. Luckily it rang alarm bells with my bank.

Thanks!
 

MajorFubar

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So what's the reason for the lack of quality? I can't see any reason why a decent subscription service shouldn't at least stream as well as BBC iPlayer, which is not too bad at all, particularly from BBC HD.
 

Lee H

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Bandwith primarily. To get a full HD image and sountrack would take more bandwith than is available domestically in the UK.
 

MajorFubar

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Point taken about the technical imitations, but it should be able to equal iPlayer?

iPlayer HD quality would be good enough for me for most films that I'd watch once then never again.

The films that I have bought 'for keeps' and which I enjoy watching over and over again I can probably count on two hands.
 

bay24

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The amount of films on the streaming side of love film is not that great so I would check what they have before signing up. They do have a huge number of films for regular rental though so if you watch a lot of films and you can get to a post box frequently it is a no brainer.
 

AnotherJoe

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Lovefilms quality is about the same as SKy's anytime or BBC Iplayer. But to get the most out of Lovefilm u will want to have discs posted to u as well.

I'd go as far as to say renting Blu-rays is the best value way of watching movies.
 

MajorFubar

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Just looked at Love Film.

What a waste of time! For £6 a month they will rent me 3 films on disc yet I can only stream two hours worth! What freakin' use is that?! Two hours won't even stream one complete film in some instances.

I must be expecting too much from a delivery-method which is still in its infancy. Shame because the technology is already there to stream 'reasonable' quality video and sound to most people's homes over the 'net, as shown by YouTube HD and iPlayer HD.
 

professorhat

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MajorFubar said:
Just looked at Love Film.

What a waste of time! For £6 a month they will rent me 3 films on disc yet I can only stream two hours worth! What freakin' use is that?! Two hours won't even stream one complete film in some instances.

But for £9.99 a month, you can get their unlimited package which gives you unlimited discs a month (1 disc at a time) + unlimited streaming. Surely this would make more sense?
 

MajorFubar

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Not sure...I really can't say how much I'd use it...guess I'm just testing the water to see what's out there and what my options are...but a scheme which allows you to stream only 2 hours per month seems neither use nor ornament, unless I'm missing some fundamental purpose.
 

SonofSun

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Unfortunately these big companies don't want us to download/stream films, as mentioned previously, Lovefilm charge less to actually post the films to you than they do to download/stream.

Bittorrent is probably the best way to go, if only the rental companies would advance into the 21st century, they are just sticking their heads in the ground with these old business models.
 

professorhat

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MajorFubar said:
Not sure...I really can't say how much I'd use it...guess I'm just testing the water to see what's out there and what my options are...but a scheme which allows you to stream only 2 hours per month seems neither use nor ornament, unless I'm missing some fundamental purpose.

Well don't forget you also get 3 rental discs a month with that as well - traditionally that's what Lovefilm was all about, streaming is just a new addition to this.

Given that most places are charging £3.50 per SD film (and more for HD), £9.99 for a whole month's worth of streaming + unlimited rental of discs seems like a pretty good offer to me. Why not apply for the 30 day free trial and see if you like it?
 

MajorFubar

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SonofSun said:
if only the rental companies would advance into the 21st century, they are just sticking their heads in the ground with these old business models.
yeah and on the other hand the movie studios and copyright holders are up in arms that the 'net is awash with sites offering illegal downloading. Well duh, does that not say something to them? Seems like if you want a film *now* and not tomorrow, your legal options are a bit limited, so is it any wonder some people download illegally?

I suspect your average film torrenter (or whatever) is no master criminal distributing illegal downloads by the shedload; more than likely just some regular guy who decides he wants to watch a film tonight without having to either find time to join and visit a rental-store or wait for the damn thing to arrive by snail mail...
 

Ryan92

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I subscribed to LoveFilm's free trial a while ago, I mainly rent games, obviously via post. And stream movies. Under the influence I could stream most films including new releases no problem. I found the "watch now" selection to be pretty poor, so I'm still back on illegal streaming, which is pretty much impossible to trace as long as you have a decent source. I still kept my subscription as on the games by post side is excellent. Saved me well over £60 already in what have been described as "buy games" buy my friends. On the blu ray side, selection is good, but realistically you are looking around 3 days between discs by post as long as you are clever with posting times and the like. I'm currently allowed 2 out at a time, making it cheaper than any blockbuster alternative, though there is of course the drawback of having to wait for the film. Not ideal. So film producers . . Someone who has subscribed to one of the best rental services going is still forced to head down the illegal route . . Unfortunate . .
 

The_Lhc

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MajorFubar said:
I suspect your average film torrenter (or whatever) is no master criminal distributing illegal downloads by the shedload; more than likely just some regular guy who decides he wants to watch a film tonight without having to either find time to join and visit a rental-store or wait for the damn thing to arrive by snail mail...

No I work with one of these "average" guys, it's not a question of waiting, it's a question of not paying, he can get all the films he wants for free and doesn't see any reason why he should pay for them, which is slightly odd, given the utter s**** he'll continually shell out for on eBay, all of which is completely useless.
 

Lee H

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Ryan92 said:
I subscribed to LoveFilm's free trial a while ago, I mainly rent games, obviously via post. And stream movies. Under the influence I could stream most films including new releases no problem. I found the "watch now" selection to be pretty poor, so I'm still back on illegal streaming, which is pretty much impossible to trace as long as you have a decent source. I still kept my subscription as on the games by post side is excellent. Saved me well over £60 already in what have been described as "buy games" buy my friends. On the blu ray side, selection is good, but realistically you are looking around 3 days between discs by post as long as you are clever with posting times and the like. I'm currently allowed 2 out at a time, making it cheaper than any blockbuster alternative, though there is of course the drawback of having to wait for the film. Not ideal. So film producers . . Someone who has subscribed to one of the best rental services going is still forced to head down the illegal route . . Unfortunate . .

A quite astonishing admission of piracy and theft on a public forum.

It's not necessarily the lack of desire to provide a quality streaming solution that's holding the industry back, but more one of servers and bandwidth. Assume a required speed of around 30mbps to stream full HD. Now think of the maximum number of concurrent users you may have at any one time. Before you know you need a server farm the size of a small village and all the associated costs that go with it. The movie industry is leaking revenue from the theft admitted to here so is hesitant to invest.
 

professorhat

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Indeed - why should you have to be able to watch a film instantly all of a sudden, just because, on a whim, you've suddenly decided you would like to? You never could in the past, so I really don't understand this new "Now there's an internet, I have a god given right to see what I want now, therefore I'm justified in downloading it illegally" mentality. Is it really a great hardship to wait a couple of days for it to arrive in the post? Or even (god forbid) leave the house, stroll / drive down to your local Blockbuster and rent it from there?

I use Lovefilm with the basic 2 discs per month option - I just have a list of films I'd like to see in my rental list. After I've watched one, I post it back and another one arrives within a few days - it's usually a nice surprise to see what I've got. At some point within the next couple of weeks, I'll watch it and the process is repeated. I've never had the thought "My god, I must see such and such a film now, therefore I'll download it illegally" - it's ridiculous!
 

professorhat

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SonofSun said:
Unfortunately these big companies don't want us to download/stream films, as mentioned previously, Lovefilm charge less to actually post the films to you than they do to download/stream.

No they don't, they include the streaming process as part of the postal service packages. It's an added extra - you used to only get the postal service.

As pointed out in this article, "physical media (and downloads) takes less energy to make/transport than music/movie streaming". Movie streaming is not cheap, even though it might seem like it's just something which should be really simple to you. When you consider the cost of hosting in several data centres, the servers required to stream, the vast amount of storage required for all the films, the staff to keep this running, the resiliency which needs to be built in to prevent an outage (and thus lots of people whining about bad service), the cost of resilient network links to the internet (believe me, these are not cheap, especially not in the region you would require for streaming) - the cost of all this is astronomical and has to be paid for by the consumer.
 

The_Lhc

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professorhat said:
Or even (god forbid) leave the house, stroll / drive down to your local Blockbuster and rent it from there?

I was going to say that (although I was going to suggest going to the cinema) but then I thought what if they're severely disabled (as I know at least one member of the forum is) and can't actually leave the house, I'd have felt really bad about that. Well, I don't know about really bad, I might have shrugged and gone "huh" but that's just me... Still, look at me being all considerate and that!
 

Clare Newsome

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Going back to the OP.... Sony's Qriocity service offers HD movie streaming. You'll need a Sony product that supports it, however (though you could buy a compatible Blu-ray player - for example - for under £100, or the SMP-N100 media streamer for a little more), plus it's pretty bandwidth intensive, as you'd expect....
 

professorhat

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The_Lhc said:
professorhat said:
Or even (god forbid) leave the house, stroll / drive down to your local Blockbuster and rent it from there?

I was going to say that (although I was going to suggest going to the cinema) but then I thought what if they're severely disabled (as I know at least one member of the forum is) and can't actually leave the house, I'd have felt really bad about that. Well, I don't know about really bad, I might have shrugged and gone "huh" but that's just me...

Mmm, okay. It's still worth pointing out the services now available for people who are house bound e.g. freeview with a large number of channels compared to the four classic analogue channels (including Film 4), or satellite / cable services with dedicated and on demand movie channels, or postal rental (e.g. Lovefilm) and purchase (e.g. Amazon) services, as well as internet streaming amongst others. Compared to a few years back when your choice was (a) go out and rent / buy something, (b) go out to the cinema or (c) hope something was on one of the four analogue channels, we are ridiculously spoilt for choice, so for someone to say they're "forced" to download a film illegally is frankly laughable. I know you agree on this, just making the point loud and clear I guess.

The_Lhc said:
Still, look at me being all considerate and that!

Careful - you've got a rep to protect :)
 

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