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Author Topic: Movie Formats/Viewing (theaters, discs, streaming, new inventions, etc.)  (Read 684 times)
drinkanddestroy
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« on: December 04, 2016, 04:49:46 PM »

My Amazon Prime free trial expires in a couple of days; I need to decide before then which streaming service to use: Amazon Prime or Netflix. Waddaya'all say? Who has more titles? I assume they all have the new movies, so I guess my main concern is who has more classic movies? Thanks  Smiley

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I've been thinking for a while that we should have a separate thread for discussing movie-viewing formats, such as streaming vs. discs, Ultra HD 4K, new inventions that we haven't thought of yet, etc. The thread we have for Technical Discussion/Gadegets is more specifically about electronics. I thought it would be good to have a separate thread to discuss issues related movie formats/movie viewing  Smiley

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« Reply #1 on: December 04, 2016, 06:12:17 PM »

I have both and like Netflix a lot more. Its format is just a lot more clean and organized. It's much more difficult to navigate Amazon Prime / easily browse through what's available.

As far as classics go, idk, it seems like its probably about even. There's a decent amount available.

I don't typically rely on streaming services for serious movie-viewing as the selection is limited, it's best for when you just want to watch a movie, not generally good for wanting to watch specific movies - which is why I have Netflix DVD since it has pretty much everything.

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« Reply #2 on: December 04, 2016, 06:46:14 PM »

Filmstruck just got released. Maybe that can work for you.

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drinkanddestroy
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« Reply #3 on: December 04, 2016, 07:22:27 PM »

I have both and like Netflix a lot more. Its format is just a lot more clean and organized. It's much more difficult to navigate Amazon Prime / easily browse through what's available.

As far as classics go, idk, it seems like its probably about even. There's a decent amount available.

I don't typically rely on streaming services for serious movie-viewing as the selection is limited, it's best for when you just want to watch a movie, not generally good for wanting to watch specific movies - which is why I have Netflix DVD since it has pretty much everything.

Thanks!

I agree with you, I get Netflix DVD and do not use streaming at all. But now that I got a trial of Amazon Prime - which also gives me free shipping on Amazon - ; and that I got a Smart TV which has both the Netflix and Amazon app, I am debating perhaps sticking with Prime, unless Netflix is better.

I saw THE BIG COMBO on Amazon streaming; I believe it is not available on Netflix DVD. Not sure about Netflix streaming.


« Last Edit: December 11, 2016, 12:28:04 AM by drinkanddestroy » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: December 11, 2016, 12:29:21 AM »

well ... I started trying some movies on Amazon streaming, and there is something wrong. The image quality is terrible. Looks all fuzzy - like it's a standard definition film (or worse) being shown on an HDTV. Awful. I canceled my Prime subscription. Not sure if the issue is with the TV's Smart Hub or with Amazon.

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« Reply #5 on: December 11, 2016, 07:37:57 AM »

well ... I started trying some movies on Amazon streaming, and there is something wrong. The image quality is terrible. Looks all fuzzy - like it's a standard definition film (or worse) being shown on an HDTV. Awful. I canceled my Prime subscription. Not sure if the issue is with the TV's Smart Hub or with Amazon.
Probably your internet connection? My amazon prime is fine. That being said, streaming usually never compares to Blu-Ray (or sometimes DVD) quality.

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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2016, 03:49:04 PM »

https://www.google.com/amp/www.wsj.com/amp/articles/a-new-holiday-tradition-watching-cable-tv-1482447971?client=safari


A New Holiday Tradition: Watching Cable TV - WSJ

By John Anderson

Friday Dec. 23, 2016

What are the holidays really about? Food. Family. And television. Could Easter and/or Passover ever be the same without ABC’s annual slog through “The Ten Commandments”? Would people even know it was Thanksgiving without a parade and a dog show on NBC? The new year doesn’t officially start until the ball drop is certified by Anderson Cooper. And for all the hubbub about carols and dreidels and latkes and Santa, what the December holidays mean for many is a nostalgia bath on basic cable.

Holidays are about looking back; the nature of media culture is to look forward. But the downside of upscale TV and its attendant luxuries—binge-able programming, DVRs, Netflix , Hulu, HBO, etc.—is that there’s very little anticipation about anything, other than live TV. The Oscars. The Super Bowl. A presidential debate. Christopher Walken playing Captain Hook. Everything else, viewers can see when they want. Availability breeds contempt. To actually sit down and get involved in an old movie, or some other rerun, requires the kind of concentration and expenditure of time that very few people can afford, especially at this time of year.

But certain programs can be watched only at this time of year. And that, of course, includes any and all of the 24 hours devoted, once again, to “A Christmas Story” (TBS and TNT, beginning 8 p.m. Saturday), an odd tradition, but less offensive than Black Friday. If you’re wrapping presents, or burning a ham, it’s nice to have Ralphie (the perpetually wide-eyed Peter Billingsley ) in the background, scheming about the Red Ryder Carbine-Action 200-Shot Range Model Air Rifle he wants for Christmas (“with a compass in the stock and this thing which tells time”). And making Hanukkah in circa 1940 Indiana even more miserable for at least one of his friends. (“Three blocks away, Schwartz was getting his,” Ralphie recalls, having scapegoated his buddy after that F bomb he dropped in front of his father.)



Another tradition worth getting into is the Turner Classic Movies “Thin Man” marathon (8 p.m. Friday). Unlike a lot of ’30s-’40s chestnuts, these six films, all inspired by the one Dashiell Hammett novel and starring William Powell and Myrna Loy, hold up splendidly; the wit is sharp, the dialogue still sparkles. The first film takes place around Christmas time, so there’s a bona-fide holiday hook, but the real connection is romantic: Nick and Nora Charles may banter, but they never bicker, and the pickled sleuths are among the more effervescent couples on film. The first installment (the best) starts at 8, the last at 5:15 a.m., so TCM is basically inviting viewers to set the DVR.

Two holiday classics with a twist—the 1951 “A Christmas Carol” (a.k.a “Scrooge”) with the delightfully demented Alastair Sim, and “Scrooged” (1988) with an equally askew Bill Murray —are a bit elusive this year. The Sim film aired on TCM Thursday night at 11:30 (but, psssst, it can be found on YouTube in its entirety…) and “Scrooged” is on at 9:55 p.m. Saturday and Sunday on Freeform, which used to be the Family Channel, Fox Family and ABC Family, but seems to be available through most cable providers.

What would the season be without “It’s a Wonderful Life”? Less depressing, some might say—Frank Capra’s postwar classic (8 p.m., Saturday, NBC), like many of the director’s films, paints a despairing portrait of an America populated by characters who are redeemed only through some sort of blind chance or, in this case, divine intervention. (See also Capra’s “Meet John Doe,” 8:15 a.m. Saturday, or 3:30 a.m. Monday, TCM.) The ending, as many know, is deliriously happy, and because of that—and the fact that the copyright lapsed back in the ’70s—the film became a ubiquitous holiday staple for two decades. Now in the possession of NBC, it airs only a couple of times a year. It’s a masterwork, regardless of interpretation.

And over at AMC? It’s a two-night Clint Eastwood-John Wayne extravaganza! To quote the song: Do they know it’s Christmas? Ah well, it’s better than 48 hours of “The Walking Dead.”

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« Reply #7 on: January 18, 2017, 10:42:49 PM »

Netflix's Shrinking DVD Service Faces Uncertain Future

http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_NETFLIX_DVDS_DEMISE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2017-01-18-19-50-29


As the article says, there are around 90,000 titles available on disc and only 4,600 on streaming. Streaming is good for people who just want to watch the latest movies, or TV shows, or Netflix's original series, or don't care much what they watch. But for the serious classic-movie fan, the DVD service is far better. I hope that it will always be available. I am emcouraged by the fact that it is highly profitable; hopefully, they will keep it around.


Here is the full article

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Netflix's Shrinking DVD service faces uncertain future
By Michael Liedtke

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Originally cast in a starring role, Netflix's original DVD-by-mail service has been reduced to a bit player - one that may eventually get killed off as the company focuses on its booming video streaming service.

Netflix's fourth-quarter earnings report released Wednesday provided the latest glimpse at the DVD service's descent into oblivion as the streaming service hogs the spotlight.

The DVD service shed 159,000 subscribers during the final three months of last year to end December with 4.1 million customers. That's an 11-year low for a format that gave Netflix its initial shot at stardom, allowing it out-innovate and outmaneuver Blockbuster Video, then the king of home-video rentals.

Now, though, the DVD service operates mostly as an afterthought that caters to a shrinking audience of die-hards who prefer to watch movies and TV shows on discs instead of streaming or downloading them onto a mobile gadget.

STREAMING GETS TOP BILLING

Meanwhile, Netflix's streaming service has been reshaping the world of entertainment, attracting converts to the convenience of streaming video at any time on any device with a high-speed internet connection.

The streaming service now boasts nearly 94 million subscribers in 190 countries, after adding another 1.9 million in the U.S. and 5.1 million in its overseas markets during the final three months of last year. RBC Capital Markets analyst Mark Mahaney predicts Netflix will have 160 million streaming subscribers by 2020. The company is coming off its biggest quarter of customer growth yet.

DVD subscribers may be fleeing, but the service boasts a library of more than 90,000 titles, including recent films that usually aren't available to stream for nine to 18 months after they leave theaters - or sometimes at all, at least on Netflix.

The streaming service had about 4,600 titles as of late last year, down from roughly 6,500 in July 2015, according to the research firm Ampere Analysis. Netflix has trimmed its selection of outside streaming titles as it has ramped up its own production of television series and films, which can only be viewed on its streaming service.

Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, though, insists he wants to expand the streaming catalog to include more of the videos that are only available on DVD now.

"We have a long way to go when you think about all the movies and TV shows that we don't have," he told analysts Wednesday.

CASH-COW DISCS

Even though the DVD service has lost nearly 10 million subscribers over the past 5 1/2 years, Netflix keeps it around because it remains tremendously profitable.

The company makes an operating profit of roughly 50 percent on DVD subscriptions, after covering the expense of buying discs and postage to and from its distribution centers. The DVD service doesn't even have a marketing budget; by comparison, Netflix spent almost $1 billion last year promoting its streaming service.

The DVD profits have helped subsidize Netflix's streaming expansion outside the U.S., a push that has accumulated losses of nearly $1.5 billion during the past five years. The DVD service has made $1.9 billion during the same period, enabling Netflix to remain profitable and helping its stock price rise by 13-fold since the end of 2011. The shares gained 8 percent to $144 in extended trading as investors cheered the rapid growth of the streaming service.

"We've never discussed shutting down DVDs since there are still lots of folks who subscribe, often to both streaming and DVD by mail," Netflix spokeswoman Anne Marie Squeo said.

END OF THE SHOW

Eventually, though, most analysts believe it will no longer make sense to keep mailing out DVDs in Netflix's familiar red envelopes as more people conclude the service is no longer worth the money.

Some cancellations no doubt stem from the inconvenience of having to wait for a DVD to come through the mail. Other DVD subscribers have periodically expressed frustration with weekslong waits to receive a popular film after it becomes available on disc.

Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter believes Netflix's DVD service might linger for another five to eight years, based on its current pace of decline, before the company shuts it down. He believes the moment of reckoning could come when there are only about 1 million DVD subscribers remaining.

At that point, Pachter says, Netflix is likely to start closing most of the warehouses that store and distribute DVDs to different parts of the U.S.

"As they consolidate those warehouses, the turnaround time is going to be slower," he says. "Then, it's not going to take two days for the next DVD to arrive, it's going to be more like six days. Then people will be upset and quit."


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« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2017, 04:03:10 AM »

They should have EVERY DVD in print available like a National Library.

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« Reply #9 on: September 13, 2017, 05:25:05 PM »

http://www.mercurynews.com/2017/09/04/can-moviepass-save-theaters-the-ceo-crunched-the-numbers-and-says-yes/

Can MoviePass save theaters? The CEO crunched the numbers and says yes
By Seung Lee
(The Mercury News) -
Vegging out on the couch watching movies streamed from services like Netflix, Amazon, or Hulu is the great American pastime. But one startup is going against the grain to get people out of their homes and into the theaters.

Can MoviePass’ amazing deal save traditional theaters?

Earlier this month, New York-based MoviePass slashed its prices and launched a program allowing subscribers to watch one movie a day in its partnered theaters for less than $10 a month. The response was instantaneous: On the first day, heavy traffic crashed the website. By the second day, more than 150,000 people had signed up.

But not everyone thinks the Netflix-like subscription model can work for movie theaters. U.S. box office attendance has declined over the past seven years, and with Amazon, Netflix and Disney all fighting for on-demand supremacy, movie theaters face even greater competition for content and viewers.

“It’s a nonsensical business,” said research analyst Michael Pachter at Wedbush Securities. “The only way they can make money is if consumers pay for it and then not use it.”

The average U.S. box office ticket price in the first quarter of 2017 was $8.84 so if a subscriber used a pass twice in the same month, MoviePass would be in the red.

Even MoviePass’ partners expressed doubts about the company’s plan. Its largest partner, AMC Theaters, publicly rebuked the new low-cost subscription as “unsustainable” and said it will consider legal action to stop it.

“In AMC’s view, that price level is unsustainable and only sets up consumers for ultimate disappointment down the road if or when the product can no longer be fulfilled,” AMC said in a press release.

But MoviePass CEO Mitch Lowe, a former Netflix executive, says his business plan works and that he has the research to back him.

Before its unveiling, MoviePass ran through market research tests to find the sweet price point at which movie-goers would subscribe and be encouraged to go to the theaters.

At $9.95 a month, Lowe discovered 80 percent of subjects became “very interested” in subscribing and using the pass. So far, the studies match reality: In the first two days after the plan was announced, more than 150,000 people subscribed — surpassing the goal MoviePass hoped to meet in 15 months. Millennials made up 75 percent of new subscribers.

While MoviePass wants more people to head to the theaters, it is banking on movie aficionados remaining a minority and that most subscribers will use the pass less than once a month on average.

“It’s like an all-you-can-eat buffet,” said Lowe. “The average user goes once a month or slightly less. Most people may not go for a few months after seeing several movies in one month.”

Krithic Annalamai, a sales representative who lives in Walnut Creek, may be Lowe’s prime target demographic. A regular Netflix watcher who goes to the theaters once every two to three months, Annalamai said the deal was too good to pass up.

“I’m eager to check it out,” Annalamai said. “Why not give this a try? I might cancel it in a few months. But if the experience was good, then I think I can see myself paying like $15 a month.”

Due to the high volume of new subscribers, MoviePass has struggled to keep up its customer service. New subscribers will have to wait until early September to get their MoviePass debit card, which will allow them to purchase tickets under their plan.

Some customers, like Reece Webb, have experienced a “complete lack of customer support” since signing up. Webb already has filed a fraud dispute with American Express and a complaint with the Better Business Bureau to get his money back from MoviePass.

“I want MoviePass to work. I truly hope they get their act together,” said Webb, a senior solutions architect in San Francisco. “The real test will be how they respond to all of these issues. An apology would be nice, too.”

While the buffet model may work to MoviePass’ advantage in the short term, the bigger question is its long-term plan, said Mike Goodman, director of digital media strategies at Strategy Analytics.

“Longevity is key to this model,” said Goodman. “Now the question becomes: Is Moviepass a business in its current shape or a placeholder for something different? If we are going to down the path of the placeholder, what becomes the next interesting thing they can do?”

Unlike Netflix or HBO, Lowe has no plans to produce original content for subscribers. Lowe wants to invest in and partner with independent movie studios and theaters, and hopes to one day share revenues from theater concessions and help sell merchandise, like movie soundtracks, on the MoviePass app.

“People think we want to cannibalize the studios and theaters,” said Lowe. “We are going to put our money where our mouth is and invest tens of millions of dollars with filmmakers. We want (them) to make more money and create a better movie-going experience for customers.”

But Lowe and MoviePass may have their eyes set on something beyond the theater. MoviePass hopes to use the data from its subscriber base to help studios make better movies and help restaurants and stores around theaters to better cater to movie-goers before and after showtimes.

On the day MoviePass announced its $9.95 plan, Helios and Matheson, a New York City-based data analytics firm, bought a majority stake in the company at about $5 million.

While it is an “interesting theory,” MoviePass’ business model is too uncertain for the long term, said UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television lecturer Tom Nunan. He worried that it will not be able to retain its new subscriber base beyond the next few months.

“I’m rooting for MoviePass,” said Nunan. “There’s something broken with the theater-going experience. (MoviePass) can really disrupt their business model. But if I was on the board, I would advise, let’s walk before we run. They are moving too quickly.”

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