Digital movies in the cloud?

Digital movies in the cloud?

I’m looking for opinions on this topic. I have been discussing it around the office, but I want to open the dialog with the larger community.

Would you use a service that allows you to own the content but it is stored on a remote server for you to stream at will?

In the office, three of us use Blu-ray primarily, one uses DVD, and another uses Time Warner Cable’s video-on-demand (VOD) service. We were talking about the future of video delivery. I’ve heard a lot of people on-line talk about waiting for a service as described above, and the VOD user said the same thing.

It seems like people appreciate the idea of downloading content at will, but they also want ownership of this content. They don’t want to rent it out, but they’re also concerned about what kind of hard drive space they would need. These are all real concerns.

Movie in the cloudPersonally, I like the idea of digital download, but I like the idea of high-quality content even more. A Blu-ray Disc could have over 40GB of audio/video content, and our broadband infrastructure in the USA is not up to the task currently. Netflix only offers 4:3 aspect video and stereo audio. Xbox Live high-def video might have 720p vertical resolution, but it’s compressed to a file size smaller than a 480i video on a standard DVD. Hulu looks fine on my laptop for casual viewing, but on a 50″ screen or larger the quality is worse than standard cable broadcasts.

Time Warner and Comcast are fighting to make VOD service the goto for rentals, and they high-def quality is better than other digital delivery services. But they also tend to broadcast 2.35:1 aspect films in open-matte format, and the audio is low-quality Dolby Digital.

Coming around to the opening question, if our broadband was robust enough to handle high-def, high-quality audio and video to every home in America, I don’t know if I would necessarily want to own the content on a remote server. I would rather have unlimited access to all movies and TV shows on a subscription basis much like Rhapsody offers for audio now.

What do you think?

About Steven Kippel

Steven Kippel has worked as a systems designer for a leading high-end audio/video custom integrator in Southern California since 2003. He is responsible for researching new technologies and integrating them into existing systems and new construction projects. He has designed several high-profile systems for discriminating clients on the cutting-edge of technology. When he is not hard at work, Steven is spending time with his wife, playing with his band or promoting concerts and bands in the Inland Empire. His favorite bands include The Cure, U2, Eisley, Living Sacrifice and DragonForce.

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2 Comments on “Digital movies in the cloud?”

  1. Even if the necessary technology and bandwidth was available for owning virtual content in cloud storage, I would still prefer to own a physical product. The only thing that would convince me otherwise would be a significantly lower price on “virtual” owned cloud content.

    Content stored online, whether owned or not has many limitations and possible issues. Local network issues at your home, network issues at the providers end, storage issues, etc, etc, etc…

    Andy Marken also just wrote up a piece on cloud storage. Check it out here:

  2. I agree that I wouldn’t want sensitive data on a remote server. Of course I think a lot of people who complain about that don’t really have sensitive information anyway, they just don’t like people poking through what they do have.

    The only thing I have that might need to be secure is my finances, taxes and that sort of thing. That’s in a file cabinet.

    But with an owned video file, you wouldn’t need to have that saved on a server somewhere duplicating data, the provider can simply flag your user as an owner of that data for use on their server.

    But in that case, I’d prefer a subscription based system.

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