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Blu-ray &DVD &Video Rental Steven Kippel on 11 Jan 2012

Bad news: Netflix burdened with longer DVD window

Bad news: Netflix burdened with longer DVD window

As if Netflix hasn’t had enough bad news recently, they’re now telling us Warner Bros. has extended the rental window from 28-days to 56-days. This means, instead of waiting a month to rent a new DVD or Blu-ray Disc, you now have to wait almost two months.

Warner Bros., along with many other Hollywood studios, had instituted a 28-day sales-only window for newly released DVDs and Blu-ray Discs in order to encourage disc-sales. Clearly the 28-day window was an homage to Danny Boyle, because sales of movies have not been bolstered by such a stupid plan.

It’s not clear why Netflix is entitled to such a long window as brick-and-mortar renters like Blockbuster (if they’re still into that sort of thing), and Redbox now get the titles a month earlier. Not that this was any different than before, because Netflix usually had long-waiting times for newly released movies anyway due to their demand. From reading the press release, it seems like they might be doing this to give UltraViolet and the Warner-owned Flixster an advantage over Netflix.

Read the press release after the break.
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Blu-ray &DVD &Entertainment &Online Video Steven Kippel on 19 Oct 2011

UltraViolet has arrived

UltraViolet has arrived

The most promising content ownership solution from the owners of properties has finally arrived. On October 11, Warner Home Video released Horrible Bosses on Blu-ray Disc and DVD with UltraViolet enabled. Warner is committed to including UltraViolet on all upcoming releases, including Green Lantern, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 2, and Shameless: The Complete First Season.

Sony has also announced the upcoming releases of The Smurfs and Friends With Benefits will be UltraViolet enabled.

Every major studio except Disney is on board with the technology, and there is massive support on the hardware manufacturer side as well. The Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) group of companies is hoping to challenge the streaming or renting concept we’ve all embraced for one of true content ownership.

Best Buy and Walmart are both interested in selling UltraViolet hardware.

How it works

UltraViolet logos will be located on compatible Blu-ray Discs and DVDs, and inside there will be a redemption code. The user will set up an account at UVVU.com and enter the codes. The content will then be available for use on up to ten devices (PCs, HDTVs, BD players, mobile devices, etc). Up to six people may be registered on each account with access to the content.

Eventually, UltraViolet content will be available for purchase as digital-only, but this may be burned to disc by the end user.

The caveat

Until UltraViolet-enabled hardware becomes available, owners of Horrible Bosses (and other future Warner Bros. UltraViolet content) will only be able to watch the digital copy at Flixster.com. Hardware support should follow in early 2012.

Blu-ray &DVD &Online Video &Video Rental Wes Novack on 25 Sep 2011

My Netflix account is now on hold

On September 19th, I put my Netflix account in an “on hold” status. This is the day that the new Netflix price increases were set to kick in for my account.

With my account in an on hold status, I won’t receive any Netflix service, but more importantly, they won’t receive any of my money, as all billing is halted.

So why did I do it and why am I writing about it? This move is just my little way of protesting their price increases, their poor “justifications” and their anti-customer behaviors. After all, the strongest consumer voice is the wallet.

Interestingly enough, the same day that I put my account on hold, Netflix announced that they were spinning off their DVD & Blu-ray Disc rentals into an entirely separate service dubbed Qwikster.

When I heard that Qwikster would require completely separate billing and queue management, I actually wasn’t that shocked. Netflix has been making dumb decisions and pissing off customers for quite some time now. By now I just expect them to do things that aren’t customer friendly.

I haven’t yet decided on whether I will be fully cancelling my Netflix account or removing the hold to reactivate service. At this point I’m still thinking about it and waiting to see what else the company will (or won’t) do.

In related news, I didn’t receive an email from Netflix regarding the Qwikster spin-off and I didn’t receive the “apology” email from CEO Reed Hastings, maybe because my account is on hold? If so, WTF?

According to rumors online, Netflix could lose up to 1/3 of their subscribers due to the recent fiascos. Is your service with Netflix or Qwikster still active or are you cutting them off?

Blu-ray &DVD &Entertainment &Online Video Steven Kippel on 21 Apr 2011

DirecTV launches premium video on demand service

DirecTV launches premium video on demand service

DIRECTVLaunching today, DirecTV’s premium video on demand service will provide the Adam Sandler movie Just Go With It for home rental less than 70 days after the film’s premier, and before any DVD or Blu-ray Disc release.

The price for such early access will be steep, at $29.99 for a 48-hour time frame. This is high, but may be competitive compared with taking a whole family to the cinemaplex at $10.50 per head.

This is the first time any major studio has allowed a movie to be released for home viewing this soon after playing in theaters. Just Go With It will be followed by Hall Pass, The Adjustment Bureau, and Cedar Rapids. Release dates for those films have not been announced, but may be as soon as 60 days after their theater release debut.

In 2006, under the direction of Mark Cuban, Magnolia Pictures released the Steven Soderbergh film Bubble simultaneously to theaters, cable/satellite and DVD as a pilot to test how such a release would work. A few months later, The Road to Guantanamo was similarly released by Roadside Attractions to theaters, cable and with internet download.

Blu-ray &DVD &Entertainment &Online Video &Video Rental Steven Kippel on 09 Jan 2011

UltraViolet gets Hollywood support

UltraViolet gets Hollywood support

UV logo

All it took was a near-collapse of the movie industry, and the bankruptcies of Hollywood mainstays like MGM, but the major studios look to be catching up to the 21st Century. Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem announced multiple industry partners at CES 2011 to include all of the major Hollywood studios except for lone wolf Disney.

“The most highly skilled users are already downloading content, making copies and watching on any device they want,” said Mitch Singer, the chief technology officer of Sony Pictures, who has been the key executive behind Ultraviolet. “We’re trying to build a business model for everyone around that behavior.”

UltraViolet is a cross-industry cooperation to provide digital rights ownership by consumers in a simple way. It was developed due to the frustrating way every manufacturer seemed to have their own digital rights management (DRM) which didn’t play well with others.

Each consumer will have a “rights locker” that will receive the DRM information at purchase or rental. The content will be streamed or downloaded from the provider in accordance with the rights stored int he locker. The digital content may be transfered between devices or shared without obtaining additional rights.

Digital content providers signed up so far include Best Buy, Comcast, Microsoft, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba. The content can be shared with up to six friends or family members, and can be transfered or streamed to up to twelve devices. They may also be copied to DVD or flash media for back up.

The studios and distributors retain the right to decide where and how to sel their content with UltraViolet technology, but the retailers will set the prices. Digital copies of movies and TV shows may be purchased or rented with computers, Internet-connected televisions, and with Blu-ray Discs. The estimated cost will be $11 or $12.

The coalition has been hard at work obtaining partnerships with phone, tablet, HDTV, Blu-ray player, video game console and computer manufacturers. Software will need to be implemented on any device to support UltraViolet DRM technology.

The CES 2011 announcement was for content availability from the major motion picture studios. Hardware and retail availability will come later this year. The studios wanted to provide the content now so there are no hurdles to getting the hardware and retail market up and running.

There were hints that UV technology would allow for ripping of DVDs for storage on local hard drives, and possibly in the cloud, with an UltraViolet license. UV-branded Blu-ray and DVD discs would come with a digital “copy-in-the-cloud” for streaming ro downloading. The stored content would be subject to the same terms as downloaded or steamed content.

Notably absent from this major consortium are Disney and Apple. (Apple CEO Steve Jobs is the largest share-holder of Disney.) These companies always went their own way, but they do it incredibly successfully so time will tell if they come to support UltraViolet in the future. Disney has been developing their own system for cloud-based rights management called Keychest. Just like they ad their own layer of encryption on DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, Disney will certainly try to do their own thing here.

Unless Apple joins the group, iPhones, iPods and iPads – and maybe even OS X – won’t have access to the UV ecosystem. The die hard Apple fans will justify why they rent movies from iTunes while the rest of the world enjoys lifetime ownership of their collection.

Blu-ray &DVD &Entertainment &Online Video &Video Rental Wes Novack on 24 Sep 2010

Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Blockbuster files for Chapter 11 bankruptcy

The news we had all been waiting for has finally come: Blockbuster, Inc. has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Most of the company’s services will remain available throughout the process, which will last a few months. But as part of its reorganization, the company plans to shut down as many as 800 of its 3,400 stores in the United States. It also plans to move more toward a kiosk- and digital-based approach to delivering its content.

If you’ve been in a Blockbuster store any time during the past couple of years, you could see this coming. Gone are the days of perusing shelves and seeing if there was an extra DVD behind a movie title at your favorite video store. There has been a colossal shift in the industry, with mail and kiosks taking over much of the market.

blockbuster-bankruptcy

It’s somewhat surprising that the kiosk-based approach that Redbox uses is still going strong. The convenience of stand-alone machines – usually found in front of pharmacies and supermarkets – coupled with the low prices make them successful, but you still have to drive somewhere.

Netflix is king of the home video market right now, but for how long? Many times I have grown impatient at the two-day turnaround time because I really needed to see the next three episodes of “Dexter.” Eventually this model will give way to on-demand, digital delivery of media. Netflix is already offering part of its inventory online, and Amazon and some cable providers are doing the same. Once set-top boxes such as Boxee and Apple TV become more common, we’ll see the scales tipped – again.

This was a guest post. About the author: James Mowery is a computer geek that writes about technology and related topics.

Blu-ray &DVD &Video Rental Steven Kippel on 09 Jun 2010

Redbox adding Blu-ray rentals

Redbox adding Blu-ray rentals

Redbox logoEven with the limited space within a rental machine, Redbox is making room for Blu-ray Discs to appear within the next few months.

Along with a new agreement from Universal Studios and 20th Century Fox, to include new movies 28 days after street date, is a partnership to provide Blu-ray Disc versions of popular movies. Rentals will incur a $1.50 rate per day.

Redbox rental kiosks account for 23% of the rental market, with 40 million DVDs renter per month. Owners of Blu-ray players hold 16.9% of Redbox customers.

Source: Home Media Magazine

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