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Netflix and iTunes Rentals Aiming At Different Crowds 166

Posted by Zonk
from the i-like-the-part-where-i'm-not-paying-for-24-hours-of-use dept.
Engadget notes an article in the New York Times discussing the substantially different markets that Netflix and Apple's movie rentals are aiming for. The site views the loosening of Netflix streaming restrictions as a reaction motivated entirely by the iTunes movie rental announcement, but beyond that the two services seem to have little connection. From Engadget's observations: "After speaking with Netflix's Reed Hastings, it was found that the vast majority of its streamable content was 'older,' and considering that users of this service can never look forward to brand new releases being available, the cost (i.e. free to most mail-in subscribers) makes sense. As for Apple, it's able to focus on crowds who are looking for a more robust, generally fresher selection, but of course, you'll pay the premium each time you indulge. Furthermore, Netflix has yet to make transferring video to any display / device other than your monitor easy, and while an LG set top box is indeed on the horizon, the differences in content selection are still likely to lure separate eyes."
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Netflix and iTunes Rentals Aiming At Different Crowds

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  • by elrous0 (869638) * on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:50AM (#22080952)
    The problem with AppleTV and this revolutionary new service is that, for some time, I've already had a device that lets me rent new movies via the internet (even *gasp* HD movies) and watch them on my TV. It's called an "Xbox 360." It even comes with the bonus features of letting me play videogames and chat with my friends.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Major Blud (789630)
      I've been hoping that Netflix would release a "Watch Instantly" plug-in for the Xbox, or at least a module for Windows Media Center that my Xbox would use as an extender. Although Netflix Watch Instantly is very cool and works well, I still think they need to get more material available....but I really can't complain since it's free with my current plan.
      • Some day, a Chinese or Indian company will buy storage in monstrous quantities, convert all media available so far to digital, set up an all-you-can-watch non-DRMed service, and ask $5/month for it. It will be able to authenticate over a browser or a device. It will stream in the highest possible quality for everyone. Lack of bandwidth is a technical problem with the technical solution of "More Fiber" or "Mesh Network For Everyone", so that won't be an issue by the time someone with the money and balls to d
    • by p0tat03 (985078) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:05AM (#22081114)
      I've got a 360, and it really doesn't do it for me, the movie and messaging components that is. Movie selection is piss poor, the device is hellishly loud, and messaging is buggy and crashy. Just signing into Messenger causes my device to hang for up to a minute! Ludicrous. The movie and messaging components of Xbox 360 are merely functional, they are not easy to use.
      • by EggyToast (858951)
        It's also more expensive than an AppleTV. Maybe the social networking stuff is worth it to some people, but at least Apple TV is cross platform (via iTunes). Now they just need a linux release of iTunes.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Now they just need a linux release of iTunes.

          They should remove the AppleTV dependency (lock-in) on iTunes, and let me browse my network folder via alternate method. I know this will never happen, because most of Apple's products try to direct people to the iTunes/iTMS revenue stream.

          The AppleTV is a cool looking device, but I don't want to be dependent on iTunes, especially for $229. iTunes is a horrible music organizer.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            So hack it. I currently have an XBMC, but I'm eyeing an AppleTV for my next rev of hardware (and maybe by then XBMC will even be stable on linux which runs on Apple TV)

            http://wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/Mount_a_Remote_Drive_via_NFS [awkwardtv.org]
            http://wiki.awkwardtv.org/wiki/Mount_a_Remote_Drive_via_SMBFS [awkwardtv.org]
            • I've been checking into some of those hacks.

              But still, a used Xbox can be found for under $100, and XBMC is mature. By comparison, a used Apple TV seem to go for $175+, and most of the projects are still new. Will the latest firmware update kill the Apple TV?
              • xBox is now 6+ years old, the AppleTV is now about a year old. The AppleTV was "hacked" MUCH faster than the Xbox (given that it's more or less OS X).

                I just found an rTorrent front end. Pair that up with some hacked up version of TVShows.app and I have DVR-ish device.

                I doubt that the latest update is new firmware, I bet it's just an update to the OS X under system.

                The XBOX is also large, loud and ugly and doesn't do HD.

                And if it still sucks you can always turn the Apple TV into a full fledged OS X machine (
          • by DavidinAla (639952) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @04:55PM (#22085948)
            Just because iTunes doesn't organize music the way you want it to doesn't make it a "horrible music organizer." For me and for many people, it's an excellent music organizer and playback system. In fact, it's my only music system at home, because it was so superior to standalone stereos. What you really seem to mean is that it doesn't do what you want, so it doesn't meet your needs. That's reasonable. But don't pretend that a product is lousy just because it's not designed the way you would have designed it.
    • by Rude Turnip (49495) <valuation@gma[ ]com ['il.' in gap]> on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:19AM (#22081300)
      Right now I'm using an Xbox 360 for exactly the same purpose. However, it only "works good enough" for me because I have the patience and know-how to get the most out of my Xbox. Aside from games and a built-in (but NOISY) DVD player, Apple TV has the following things going for it over Xbox 360:

      -Your purchases get backed up to iTunes on your PC. It annoys me to no end that every other week or so I have to delete shows I've paid for because you can't back up programming to your computer.

      -Your purchases are denominated in actual currency, not "Microsoft Points." Enough said on that point.

      -Built-in video podcast browsing...once the software update hits Apple TV, of course. There is no straightforward way to watch these on Xbox 360. There is a lot of good, free, legal programming out there (Web Drifter, Diggnation, Stranger Things, NASA). With the 360, you need either the Zune software, Miro or iTunes to aggregate the podcasts. In the 2 latter cases, you then need a UPNP/DLNA server to serve the videos out to the 360.

      -Better video support. The 360 plays H.264 videos (my DVD rips) just fine...however, Windows Media Player does not catalogue them into my library. I should not have to hack my registry to force it to do so. Importantly, I should not have to rely upon 3rd party software (TVersity) to serve out such videos. The other way to do it is to download Microsoft's Zune software, which natively catalogues H.264...one hell of a way to run a company, Microsoft, no consistency across the board and every step is taken to lock me in, which results in crippled hardware.
      • Your purchases get backed up to iTunes on your PC. It annoys me to no end that every other week or so I have to delete shows I've paid for because you can't back up programming to your computer.
        Seriously!?
        Microsoft doesn't have the vision to connect the XBOX to the computer on the same network using their own software????
        Holy crap, what kind of idiots are running their divisions?
        3 Stooges on Schlitz?

        • by rmerry72 (934528)

          Seriously!? Microsoft doesn't have the vision to connect the XBOX to the computer on the same network using their own software???? Holy crap, what kind of idiots are running their divisions?

          Idiots who know their market and how to make money of it. What sort of idiots would buy suck hardware then complain it won't extend beyond the purpose it was sold for. It was sold as a standalone gaming machine that could connect to Microsft servers via XBoxLive. It was not sold to connect to your own network nor to be

          • Curiously, they do not consider it a "standalone gaming machine" that only connects to their servers.
            This page:
            http://www.xbox.com/en-US/pcsetup/alldownloads.htm [xbox.com]
            (microsoft's own) allows for connectivity to a special media center PC. What kind of hurdles did those idiots design to keep their fanboys from enjoying their software?

            And it's not so much that if I "want a PC, (I should) buy a PC", it's more of a, if I have an XBOX and PC on the same network, I would expect that they may talk to each other consider
      • Apple offers the following
        1) no subsciption fee, it's pay as you go
        2) HD movies
        3) Works with any TV not just the LG
        4) works with your music collection too
        5) But the big one is that apple could turn this into a peer to peer distribution model. The central point of distribution model works for a while but eventually it's going to saturate delivery (all those shared cable connections) and require massive server rooms. Peer to peer can work around the edges.

        People were dissapointed with mac world cause the "a
        • by jdray (645332)

          5) as good as HBO/showtime/movie on demand but with no subscription fee.

          This is a key consideration for us. Right now we have DirecTV with a premium channel (actually, we're on a trial two-for-one right now with HBO and Showtime), and we're surprised at the general lack of selection for movies. We haven't done any "on demand" (can you even do that with DirecTV?) or pay-per-view. The idea of browsing an iTunes store, finding something to watch, and watching it for a small rental fee without going to Hol

        • by elrous0 (869638) *
          The 360 offers all that too. So does the PS3 and probably Tivo too (I don't own a Tivo anymore, but I think they were going to add it). Apple may do it well, but they're hardly the pioneer they're being hyped as.
          • by goombah99 (560566)
            the PS3, Xbox are noisey, expensive, don't share with your computer, or ipod, and don't have the slick apple store.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by littleshadow (1221938)
      Apples and Oranges... I have both.

      I purchased the 360 the night it came out. In June, it was moved to the "game room" when I purchased an Elite and an HD-DVD drive. I then received an AppleTV as a gift in July (yes, life is hard). So far, I've downloaded (or rather attempted to download) two movies on the 360. The experience was frustrating to put it mildly. I honostly find downloading via P2P, converting and burning a less stressful way to go. I have purchased a few HD-DVDs but the volume of the fan
    • Wait..... a Microsoft-user up on a high horse, criticizing Apple???

      Now I've seen everything.
  • by CF4L (1072112) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:52AM (#22080976)
    Netflix did an excellent job of separating themselves from Apple. They didn't punish their current subscribers by charging them extra for this service (as Apple did for iPod touch owners with the new apps).
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by porcupine8 (816071)
      They only include it "for free" so that they don't have to give a discount to those of us who can't use the streaming service b/c we're not using Windows.
    • by adamstew (909658) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @12:07PM (#22082034)
      there is FREE software going out to all current gen iPods (including the touch) to enable the rental ability with them.

      What was not free was the additional apps (maps, stocks, weather, mail, etc.) Those are going to be included in future shipments for free, but current shipments they have to charge something because of accounting reasons...same reason they had to charge for the 802.11n in the macs that had the hardware but not the software to use the 802.11n standard.

      iPhone and Apple TV get the software updates for free because they accounted the revenue for those devices differently than they do regular iPods and macs, so they are able to add additional features for free.

      netflix didn't have to do this because netflix has no hardware (yet). They are just adding additional services to their subscription model in order to be more competitive.

      Either way, it's not apple trying to screw customers out of money for updates...if they were, they would rather you bought a new iPod touch to get the additional features, rather than a moderately priced upgrade.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by mikeboone (163222)
        Didn't they charge $2 for that 802.11n update? $20 is more like a for-profit venture than an accounting technicality. Since they're charging $20 to update iPod Touches (mine is like 3 weeks old for Pete's sake), I will be astonished if the forthcoming SDK is free or even remotely affordable for independent developers.
      • but current shipments they have to charge something because of accounting reasons...same reason they had to charge for the 802.11n in the macs that had the hardware but not the software to use the 802.11n standard.

        Riiight... because Apple is such a stickler for proper accounting. [reuters.com]

        it's a joke, laugh
  • Netflix for movies (ripped & streamed to Apple TV). iTunes for video podcasts & TV shows (which I'm more impulsive about). Although I'll probably try out some HD movies from iTunes, since I'm not ready to commit to BluRay or HDDVD at this point.
  • TV shows (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:54AM (#22080998)
    As I've said before, the Netflix service isn't too great for new movies (as this article points out), but it is wonderful for older TV shows (and some newer ones). Now that they've lifted the time limits, I'll be sitting down and watching tons of old shows. Full seasons of Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Amazing Stories (well, the first season at least), and tons and tons of BBC stuff (Doctor Who and Red Dwarf, anyone?). I saw that they recently added Dexter Season 1. Hopefully they'll be putting up Season 2 of that soon, too. Perfect timing, too, since it's the middle of Winter and there's nothing new on TV due to the writers strike.
    • by darjen (879890)

      As I've said before, the Netflix service isn't too great for new movies

      I haven't found too much of a problem with newly released DVDs. Sometimes you have to wait a day or two, but it's not that big of a deal for me. I don't even bother with Cable TV anymore because Netflix is more than good enough for entertainment.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by WinPimp2K (301497)
      "there's nothing new on TV due to the writers strike"

      Hmm.. and who is getting a residual payment from your downloads of those older shows?

      I'm uncertain about what might be better, but if the writers are going to stick with some form of deferred compensation/revenue sharing model, you would think that they might have caught on to the idea of a more comprehensive contract in the past 30 years. One with a clause that just syas, when the studio (or whoever) gets money, the writers will get their piece of the ac
      • Hmm.. and who is getting a residual payment from your downloads of those older shows?

        Ahhh, good point. Well, you've just convinced me to focus on watching the BBC stuff for the time being (which I was going to do anyways).
  • by peipas (809350) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:57AM (#22081032)
    Some of the most attractive offerings on Netflix's streaming service are television shows. There are lots of seasons and even complete series available through the service. I was able to watch the entire run of the British show "Coupling," the UK's raunchier version of Friends. They also have every Law and Order known to man, short-run series like "Dead Like Me," and even modern shows like Heroes and 3rd Rock.
    • I thought there was more episodes of law and order than there were atoms in the universe or grains of sand on the beach or something.
  • Public Libraries (Score:5, Informative)

    by PIPBoy3000 (619296) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @10:57AM (#22081040)
    I always wonder why these sort of discussions leave out public libraries. Our local library has an amazing DVD selection (much of it purchased from a failed video store). Sure, the new stuff is often hard to get (Hot Fuzz had 66 holds on it, last I checked), but there's tons of classics, Anime, and other things I missed in the theater.

    It's become a weekly tradition for me to head out to the library after Saturday breakfast and return with my booty of media. Like Santa, I open my sack and hand out books and movies to my kids and occasionally my wife (depending on whether or not she's on the naughty list).
    • by krakelohm (830589) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:09AM (#22081178)
      Having the wife on the naughty list is not a bad thing...
      • by RobBebop (947356)

        It is a shame that they don't offer "naughty list" caliber films at public libraries.

        "Okay honey, you haven't been holding up your end of the bargain, so I borrowed 'Debbie does Dallas' to give you extra motivation this week."

    • I always wonder why these sort of discussions leave out public libraries.

      Possibly because a LOT of public libraries have a piss poor selection of DVD's. Like mine.
    • The only issue I've had with libraries is getting a movie in poor shape. When it starts skipping halfway through and you can't make it to the end, that isn't much fun.

      That said, the library nearest my house has a good selection, and has a lot of TV shows too. They're the reason why I watched and loved Firefly. They've got all of Monty Python's Flying Circus. They've even got the Animaniacs and Pinky and the Brain sets if I want to relive some childhood memories.
    • by PhoenixFlare (319467) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:22AM (#22081352) Journal
      I always wonder why these sort of discussions leave out public libraries. Our local library has an amazing DVD selection (much of it purchased from a failed video store)

      Because most people's libraries weren't lucky enough to have a failed video store to acquire a collection from - Netflix's selection is so much wider than any public library (or video store, for that matter) i've ever been in or heard of, there's almost no point making a comparison.
      • >Because most people's libraries weren't lucky enough to have a failed video store to acquire a collection from
        Oh, but they will very soon. These businesses are doomed. Just in my neighborhood one closed a month ago, and another just put up going-out-of-business sale signs. That's progress!
        • Heh, good point.

          I do have many fond memories of weekly trips (including the time my young self had a couple weeks off school thanks to leg surgery and got something like 20 NES games), but at this point I haven't been inside a rental place in years.

          My wife and I have had Netflix for about 10 months now and love it, usually an average of 3-5 movies a month (on the unlimited 1-at-a-time plan), considering upgrading to 2-at-once though, the queue isn't really getting any smaller.
    • Our public library too is very good. They buy most of the new videos as soon as they come out. You can reserve the DVD on-line and they will place it in a special holding area and put a note on it with your name. They have better sevice then the video rental stores.
  • by LMacG (118321) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:07AM (#22081140) Journal
    Dogs and cats are not the same.
  • The biggest difference between the two markets is that Netflix Watch Now runs on XP/Vista(?), and Apple iTunes runs on Apple h/w. It's the Grand Canyon of all divides.
  • by Tibor the Hun (143056) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:18AM (#22081278)
    I know this is mostly regarding the streamable Netflix movies, but I'd like to point out that their Que is worth the price.
    I haven't seen anything like that on Apple's service, but I may be mistaken.

    One other thing that Netflix has over Apple, is no 30 day wait after a new release. Sure, there may be a few days wait in some cases, but it's not 30.
    (Piratebay also has no such restrictions. The movie studios probably wanted to strike a good deal with those jolly rogers. Great move studios, nothing like waiting 30 days after a region-encrusted release...)

    On the other side, Apple has a convenient way to transfer movies to my iPod touch, which is excellent.

    I'm a Netflix subscriber, and I'm pretty sure I'll stay with them, but I think Apple may get some of my money here and there too.
    • "One other thing that Netflix has over Apple, is no 30 day wait after a new release"

      Yes, it's great isn't it? In fact, not only do they not impose a 30 day wait, they don't even offer brand new releases at all...

      • Yes they do,
        He Was a Quiet Man, Suburban Girl, Already Dead, Wedding Daze and 3:10 to Yuma for example, are all available, as are many other movies that got released this Tuesday.

        If by brand new release you consider a DVD screener or a crappy telesync, then you're right. But new DVD releases they do offer.

  • by blueZ3 (744446) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:21AM (#22081328) Homepage
    I think that $3 for a movie "rental" is way too expensive, which is the very reason I dropped Blockbuster for Netflix in the first place. I don't care if it is a new release, recent T.V. episode, or whatever--three dollars is half the cost of a matinée on the big screen.

    We don't have cable or satellite T.V. and I can't see spending money on the antenna we'd need for broadcast digital--five hundred channels of nothing is still nothing. So we have Netflix. While I don't watch much, my wife watches about one episode of a T.V. series each day. Perhaps every other week we get a movie, and occasionally we'll watch episodes some old series together. So we run through maybe 10-15 DVDs worth of content each month. That type of viewing pattern would be significantly more than the $18 a month we currently pay Netflix, say around $45 if you had to get all the TV episodes as individual "rentals"

    It will be interesting to see if Apple can do to video viewing what it did to music (make the music player ubiquitous, or nearly so). The main issues I see are cost (per video) and cost (for a device to play the content).
    • "I think that $3 for a movie "rental" is way too expensive"

      "Way" too expensive!? Rest assured, Apple is not interested in you anyway.
    • I think that $3 for a movie "rental" is way too expensive,
      I watch primarily older films, and I always check DVD Price Search [dvdpricesearch.com] before making a purchase. The upshot is I pay on average $7 per film (often as part of a box set), and I can watch it any time I like. I don't understand why anyone still rents.
      • by Shag (3737)

        I don't understand why anyone still rents.

        I think Steve Jobs pretty much nailed it when he introduced the rental feature on Tuesday:

        "Now, we've never offered a rental model in music, because we don't think people want to rent their music. Every time we go out and ask them, they want to own their music, because you listen to your favorite song thousands of times in your life. But your favorite movie? Most of us watch movies once - maybe a few times - and renting is a great way to do it. It's less expensive; it doesn't take up space on our hard

    • We don't have cable or satellite T.V. and I can't see spending money on the antenna we'd need for broadcast digital--five hundred channels of nothing is still nothing.

      That makes no sense.

      1. Broadcast digital uses the same antenna that your wife is using right now to pick up analog TV.

      2. Next year you're at least going to have to buy a converter box (government subsidized, though) in order to keep doing that. But your same antenna should still work.

      3. Broadcast digital is probably the same selection of content as analog for you. In some places, there are broadcasters offering multiplexed streams, but not many, and the alternate streams are often nothing more than weather

      • by _14k4 (5085)
        Did you re-read his post? He does not watch broadcast television; I read it as any antenna he utilizes would be a _new_ antenna. Any television his wife watches (one a day) is via Netflix.

        In that case, he should stick with netflix. Hell, I am personally thinking of dumping cable, getting the cheapest high speed inter-tubes I can find and just going with that; using netflix for everything else. My wife is a Law and Order addict and I love the Simpsons. That works.

        • by nsayer (86181) *

          Did you re-read his post? He does not watch broadcast television;
          I think I read it better than you. He said his wife watches at least one episode of a series per day. Presumably she must be doing this with an analog TV set and (gasp) an antenna.

        • by nsayer (86181) *
          Oh.

          Ignore my other reply: I didn't read your post well enough. Anyway...

          Any television his wife watches (one a day) is via Netflix.
          If that's what he meant, then you're right. Although I know it can be done, it still seems non-standard to me to have one's first exposure to a particular TV show be on DVD.

          • by _14k4 (5085)
            To be honest, that's how I was exposed to shows like Northern Exposure, and other shows that were on when I was a child, but I didn't really have a chance to catch on a regular basis. (I was a kid that played outside.)
    • THREE dollars is too expensive for a movie?! This blows my mind! What, in your opinion, is a movie worth? Movie rentals at Blockbuster in the 80s were $3 and it amazes me that now, you can get movies without leaving home for the same price. We're talking about half an hour of work at minimum wage. This plan may not make sense for someone like you but if you think 3 bucks for a movie rental is "way" out of line for this service, I believe the market would disagree with you there.
      • by T-Bone-T (1048702)
        The Red Box just a 5 minute walk away is only $1/day.
      • How much is a movie rental worth?

        Lets ask the free market (even if calling it free is a joke in a market where every product is granted a government enforced monoploy):
        Blockbuster online and Netflix subscriptions put the per-disc rental cost in the $1-$2 range.
        So, that's how much a movie rental is worth.

        I might be willing to pay a little more for the convenience and low latency of an online system, but not double or more what a discs-in-the-mail subscription would cost me for the same content.

        This isn't eve
    • Three dollars is half the cost of a matinee on the big screen for one person. Have a bunch of friends over? That three dollars amortizes pretty quickly. The other factor is convenience. If you know you want to watch movie X two or three days in advance and you remember to put it at the top of your queue, yeah, Netflix is better. But, and this is where I see myself using it, if you have a spontaneous gathering over (or even if you don't) and you don't like the options you have on hand, getting a widescreen
    • We don't have cable or satellite T.V. and I can't see spending money on the antenna we'd need for broadcast digital

      Just make your own antenna. Pull one of the little tiny wires out of an ethernet cable and strip one end of it. Just shove that end in the little hole in the coax connector on the back of your TV.

      I used this setup for months at my apartment when Target wanted to charge me 30 dollars for an antenna (amazed my roomate too...."dude..there's no way thats gonna work.....holy shiat! is that anchorman in full HD!?"). The only reason i finally bought one (5 bucks at fry's) was my homemade one looked ghetto.

      If y

  • by ContractualObligatio (850987) on Thursday January 17, 2008 @11:52AM (#22081848)
    The big difference between the two is that Apple is making a genuine try at starting a business: they've revamped the Apple TV after the first attempt didn't get a great reaction, they've cut deals with all the movie studios, they let people do the obvious thing with movies, namely watch them on the TV.

    NetFlix, on the other hand, may be smart enough to realise that internet access to movies is inevitable, but only came up with some shitty "on your computer only" service, with bandwidth restrictions. It's a little experiment without serious backing. My bet is that whoever within NetFlix has responsibility for the online service has little power within the company, and is probably seen as competition to the main DVDs-by-post business. Apple's announcement probably gave that person a rare bit of clout to argue to the rest of the company that unless the NetFlix streaming service improves, it will simply become a laughing stock.

    All that said - if they deliver on easy access via the TV, their model of "classic" and hard-to-find material plus their que idea is a great one. Hope the online person now gets the respect and funding they deserve. They've got to prepare for the future where the postal service just ain't necessary for their business model.
    • by Zebra_X (13249)
      they've revamped the Apple TV after the first attempt didn't get a great reaction, they've cut deals with all the movie studios, they let people do the obvious thing with movies, namely watch them on the TV.

      yeah, for 24 from start or 30 days after which time you are SOL. There is no reason for them to expire but they do. Someone had to do extra work to make it that way.

      second, your "rentals" are no good anywhere but your TV or your iPlod.

      Finally the rentals are 720p which speaks for itself if you have a 108
      • There is no reason for them to expire

        Yes, there is. You don't have to like it, but there is. There's a clue in the word "rental" - try and figure it out if you can. See if you can come up with an argument against it that doesn't essentially assume people are too stupid to either figure out that a rented something doesn't last forever, or to make their own decisions of whether they'll get a chance to watch their movie within a month of forking out a few bucks.

        your "rentals" are no good anywhere but your

        • by snuf23 (182335)
          When you rent a physical video from a video store or from Netflix you receive a physical item that cannot be rented to other people. When you download a "rental" holding on to it for 10 years before you watch it would not tie up a physical object. In Netflix's model they really don't care if you hold on to it since you are paying a fixed monthly rate - in fact it's better if you do. This is versus Blockbuster's model where they charged late fees since the cost was per rental item and a late rental meant a d
        • by Zebra_X (13249)
          My point with the comment about expiring is that Apple had to go to the effort of creating the expiration scheme. Not only did they go to the effort of creating it - but the expiration window is very restrictive. 24 hours to watch a movie? Say what? Even block buster in 1987 had a less restrictive return policy. The other fact is that there is again, no reason for it. The file you download is virtual, its a bunch of bits - there is no physical object that is being tied up as another poster mentioned. So wha
    • by dj245 (732906)
      NetFlix, on the other hand, may be smart enough to realise that internet access to movies is inevitable, but only came up with some shitty "on your computer only" service, with bandwidth restrictions.

      Your computer monitor isn't the biggest screen you own?

      Your geek card must be returned to the issuing agency by the end of the week.
      • Your computer monitor isn't the biggest screen you own?

        Actually, it is. Laptop 1920 x 1200, TV only 720p. But this discussion isn't about me...

  • I use Netflix/snail mail to catch up on older popular movies and indie movies. The problems with Netflix/streaming are:

    1) Doesn't work on my Mac unless I boot into Windows.
    2) Doesn't display on my HDTV unless I drag out the big HDMI cable and audio cable and tether down my laptop.
    3) With only 6,000 titles, classic and indie movies are unavailable. Apparently so are recent blockbusters.

    I have Comcast On Demand but the selection is miniscule and the interface is slow and inefficient. So I'm tempted to try
    • And another question: How do video stores and now Netflix get their business cleared with the publishers? Do they just buy one disc at retail price and rent it to a hundred people? Or do they have to pay a royalty for each rental? Could a business do the same thing with music through the mail? Netunes?

      Movie rental places have to buy DVDs that are "licensed" to be rented. They pay 3 or 4 times the consumer cost of the equivalent DVD. If I remember correctly, their cost is in the neighborhood of $90 or so p
  • Closed Captioning (Score:2, Informative)

    by hansoloaf (668609)
    My concern with Netflix and iTunes rental is closed captioning.

    I contacted both and it seems the movies are not captioned and they do not know if it'll be in the near future.

    Arghhh.. back to the drawing board.
    • by mblase (200735)
      I contacted both and it seems the movies are not captioned and they do not know if it'll be in the near future.

      I am not a QuickTime expert, but I believe the current version of the player/codec supports optional subtitles. If so, Apple should have the ability to add captioning in the not-to-distant future. While it may not be trivial to do so, continued petitioning could and should bring some results.

      I myself enjoy having English subtitles on hand on my DVDs -- when there's other people in the room, or sle
  • What makes them think Apple's new release movie rentals are going to compete with Netflix's older, free, streaming service?

    Netflix is likely to lose the same business as Blockbuster, which just happens to be the services they charge for.
  • This is kinda off-topic, but is there a way to determine which titles are available for streaming from Netflix without being a member?
  • I hope that this doesn't lead to Apple getting on the DRM-protection treadmill with the Apple TV the way they have with the iPhone.

    I thought Steve Jobs was smarter than that.

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