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Hollywood Backs Swedish Movie Streaming Site 156

Posted by samzenpus
from the take-a-peek dept.
paulraps writes "Forget Spotify and Skype: the latest strangely-named-but-hey-it's-free service from Sweden offers users streamed on-demand movies free of charge, has deals with two major Hollywood studios, and is called Voddler. Since its launch two weeks ago, the service has signed up a quarter of a million users and has almost the same number queuing for an invitation. After signing deals with Disney and Paramount, the company provides access to thousands of films, which are shown uninterrupted after a barrage of ads. The target is the file-sharing generation: 'Our customers can be sure that Voddler is totally legal, secure, and that there are no risks of computer viruses infecting their machines from downloaded files,' says executive vice president Zoran Slavic."
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Hollywood Backs Swedish Movie Streaming Site

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  • The "free" movies from Comcast on-demand suck and I would imagine those costs are somehow worked into your Comcast bill. I can't imagine free movies would be that great if they are only ad supported. Hollywood wouldn't give the rights to any movie actually worth seeing unless you pay the expensive royalties.

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      I can't imagine free movies would be that great if they are only ad supported.

      TV was entirely free, supported by ads, for half a century. Are you saying that Gone With the Wind, Casablanca, Wizard of Oz, Rebel Without a Cause, The Day the Earth Stood Still,, etc. are "not that great"? I saw all of them on ad-supported TV years before cable TV even existed.

      It worked in the past, why couldn't it work in the future?

    • by RAMMS+EIN (578166)

      ``I can't imagine free movies would be that great if they are only ad supported. Hollywood wouldn't give the rights to any movie actually worth seeing unless you pay the expensive royalties.''

      Isn't that how ... all movies get on TV?

    • by TBoon (1381891)

      Hollywood wouldn't give the rights to any movie actually worth seeing unless you pay the expensive royalties.

      Hollywood owns rights for movies worth seeing??

  • by Xerfas (1625945) * on Thursday November 12, 2009 @06:46AM (#30070846) Journal
    I have been using voddler as a beta tester for a few weeks now and it works quite ok after the last client upgrade. The first mac client was crap, nothing happened when I tried to login and it went fullscreen mode when started plus the program froze so I had to shut down the computer with forced shut down. After the latest client version I was logged in when I started the program, Voddler client is built on XBMC Media Center and you can only use the keyboard to navigate which can be quite annoying when navigating.
    Browsing the few movies they have at the moment is fairly easy (only about 500 movies or so). First I get a commercial and then the movie plays nicely on just 10-12Mbit adsl line. I have heard that there was commercial breaks in the movies, but I haven't seen any commercial in a movie so far, just the commercial just before the movie starts which can be 10 minutes long or so.
    For a beta I think it's a nice product which works quite well for me. Especially since the last update on the client which allows you to go into windowed mode which I forgot to mention further up in my text.
    I believe that Voddler can be great once the new movies pop in and the beta goes into full product. The client has only crashed on me once and when I started it up again and found my movie I was looking at I could start where it ended.
    • by TubeSteak (669689)

      I have been using voddler as a beta tester for a few weeks now and it works quite ok after the last client upgrade.

      Be sure to let us know when the client gets hacked and the streaming movies can be saved to your HD.

      • by xtracto (837672)

        authentic question:

        Why would you like to save to disk a movie you are already streaming?

        If you want to download the movie to see later,see it in another place or whatnot just use bittorrent. That is faster! and equally "right".

        • by zmollusc (763634)

          Authentic answers:

          because my ISP might traffic shape the crap out of my connection when i go over some arbitary limit and I might get interrupted by a phone call or the cat being sick on the sofa so it would be an advantage to have a cache of the movie.

          because using bittorrent may be construed as supporting terrorism/CP by some stupid/evil/corrupt organisation I cannot afford to argue against in court.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Xerfas (1625945) *
        It was hacked a while ago so you could do just that plus it removed the commercials. But it was noticed quite fast, because it disrupted the service so they had to close down for 2-3 days to fix it and thus released a new client which you needed to download and install so you could continue watching movies.
        That hole is plugged, but there could be more which hasn't been discovered yet.
      • by Jugalator (259273)

        Be sure to let us know when the client gets hacked and the streaming movies can be saved to your HD.

        It's easier and faster by going to The Pirate Bay. That also doesn't require registration.

        • by Nadaka (224565)

          Actually no.

          Pirate bay has poor organization, finding exactly what you want can be difficult.

          You can not start watching a film from a torrent in 10 minutes.

          You can not (more than likely) finish downloading a film from a torrent in the length of that film + 10 minutes.

          However, that 10 minutes of advertising needs to pay for bandwidth+licensing, could be a very slim profit margin, especially if they don't use a live video peer to peer solution.

    • by Skapare (16644)

      It requires their own client? Wow, that was brave of you. Does the Linux version come in both 32 bit and 64 bit versions? If I would have to run THEIR client, I'd want to do so ONLY on a SAFE computer (that rules out all of Windows and I don't have a Mac).

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Xerfas (1625945) *
        Yes, it does require their own version of XBMC client. Here are the technical requirements:

        Technical requirements for Voddler.

        > A computer with a minimum of 1000 megahertz (MHz) or higher, memory 512 MB and 13 GB available space on your hard drive.
        > Operating system of Windows Vista or Windows XP. In time for the official release, Voddler will also be available on Mac.
        > Internet connection of a minimum of 2,5Mbit.
        > UPnP enabled router or an open Internet connection
        > 3G mobile broadband is NOT supported at this stage.
        > Voddler recommends an ATI/AMD, Intel, or NVIDIA graphics controller that supports OpenGL 2.0 to fully experience the slick Voddler graphical interface. Please also make sure you have the latest graphics device drivers installed on your system.
        > ATI Radeon R420 (X800) or newer supported, ATI Radeon R700 (HD 4000) or newer recommended.
        > Intel GMA 950 (945G) or newer supported, Intel GMA X4500HD (G45) or newer recommended.
        > NVIDIA GeForce 6-Series and newer supported, GeForce 8-Series and newer recommended.

        They haven't updated the FAQ or requirements about support of Mac yet. Linux is not supported, not sure if it runs in Wine though.
        What scares me is that you need to have UPnP fully opened for all incoming calls in your router/firewall.

        • by TubeSteak (669689)

          > A computer with a minimum of 1000 megahertz (MHz) or higher, memory 512 MB and 13 GB available space on your hard drive.

          13GB? Why?
          The XMBC client is 100MB.
          I thought they were streaming video, not caching it on your HD.

          • by Xerfas (1625945) *
            I'm not 100% on this information, because the team behind voddler doesn't answer many questions. Anyways, seems like the 13GB is for cache for other voddler users. Meaning it's filesharing if that is really true, but probably only bits and pieces. Just so that Voddler doesn't have to have everything on their own servers. The server client is always running using bandwidth, memory and cpu time. Not a lot, but still more then I wanted it to so I closed it down and only start it when I want to see a movie. Is
      • by TheKidWho (705796)

        ONLY on a SAFE computer? My god MAN, get off the internet NOW!

    • I believe that [Command-Option-Esc] will get you a "kill task" dialog most of the time, even when a program has taken the Mac hostage in full-screen.

      • by Xerfas (1625945) *
        That is correct, but in my case it did not work. I don't know if it was because it was trying to connect at the same time as it froze that made it so [Command-Option-Esc] didn't work. I could be completely wrong, but I have noticed that programs which connect to the net and freeze up while doing so on a Mac can be hard to kill at times. Firefox with lots of plugins does this from time to time so that a kill -p pid in terminal wont work. Could just be my imagination though. And it has only happened once so f
        • That's an interesting point, the one about network connections taking their toll; one sure way to make my Mac unresponsive is to pull the plug while I'm trying to browse a network share!

    • Well forget it then.

    • by kalirion (728907)

      then the movie plays nicely on just 10-12Mbit adsl line.

      I've been watching Hulu on 768kb...

    • Hi there movie industry,

      When launching a new movie streaming service, don't bother unless you start with..say..100,000 movies. 500 movies is laughable, risible, ridiculous.

      Just saying, Technology has advanced, no reason why all movies in existence can't be hosted in HD in h.264 format on the cloud by the studios, and provided to partners such as vodswede.

      That's assuming you actually want to compete with unauthorized copies. Maybe this is just to tell judges there are legal alternatives or something. It just

  • by sakdoctor (1087155) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @06:48AM (#30070852) Homepage

    uninterrupted barrage of ads

    Why, oh why do they insist on this selling point of "no risks of computer viruses".
    I'm always concerned that "legitimate" sources will contain a dodgy driver or a rootkit. No such concerns with the latest aXXo rip.

    • by Krneki (1192201)
      They need to create a false sense of security. Like every other organization / state.
  • by dltaylor (7510) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @07:09AM (#30070944)

    One of the reasons I stopped going to theaters to watch movies was that after I paid to get in, I was sitting through commercials (not just trailers, but commercials). I decided that I might as well stay home and wait for the movies on non-premium cable.

    • by Krneki (1192201)

      One of the reasons I stopped going to theaters to watch movies was that after I paid to get in, I was sitting through commercials (not just trailers, but commercials). I decided that I might as well stay home and wait for the movies on non-premium cable.

      Same here. The funny thing is they blame piracy for their own failure.

      • by sopssa (1498795) *

        Well thats probably the case if you go to movies to only watch a movie. I never do just that, but it's nice to sometimes go out with a girlfriend and on the way or after go eat at a restaurant too. In that case the ads dont really bother that much. But if I just want to watch a movie, yeah I rather do it home from my more comfortable bed naked drinking beer.

        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by Krneki (1192201)

          Well thats probably the case if you go to movies to only watch a movie. I never do just that, but it's nice to sometimes go out with a girlfriend and on the way or after go eat at a restaurant too. In that case the ads dont really bother that much. But if I just want to watch a movie, yeah I rather do it home from my more comfortable bed naked drinking beer.

          I don't know what do you do with you girlfriend, but watching adds together is not on my list.

        • Before I was married, I did that a couple of times. Then I realized that the purpose of a date was to interact with the woman I was with. Movie theaters are very bad venues for interacting with a woman. If you talk to her everyone else considers you rude (and she may as well). The seats are designed so that it is very hard to snuggle (or do any more intimate physical interaction).
          I discovered there are many better options to take a woman for a date. They are frequently less expensive and, as a bonus, most
          • by sopssa (1498795) *

            Thats really true if you have just gone out a few times or going out the first time, but with an established relationship it works out better. When it's just about hanging out together.

            But I agree, for firsts dates it is the worst place there could be. Better to do something you either get to know each other at or something physical (jokes aside, wall climbing is quite fun)

    • I work on a 5 minute per released week system:

      First week: 20 minutes late
      Second week: 15 minutes late
      Third week: 10 minutes late

      If it's been out longer than 3 weeks, I can wait for the DVD ( which I can skip the You wouldn't steal a policeman's helmet! [youtube.com] adverts and trailers through VLC )
    • I still think one of the reasons Blu Ray won in the end is because HD required the movie start when you loaded the DvD. My Disney produced Blu Ray discs are loaded with nearly a dozen ads and such before the movie selection screen pops.

      Its a constant pushing of "Next Chapter" after loading many Blu Ray titles. If they going to stream them over the net for free after a barrage of ads the least they could do is reduce the price of Blu Ray discs. Fortunately I haven't had a problem with skipping the ads, bu

      • At least you can hit Next Chapter and skip the ads. When I load a Sesame Street DVD in for my kids to watch, I'm forced to see the same "supporting Sesame Street supports kids around the world" commercial read by Whoppi Goldberg. Next Chapter is locked so you can't skip it (though I think some of the newer DVDs might have fixed this). So my kids (unaccustomed to ads thanks to DVRs) want to know why they can't just get right to the movie.

        • My DVD player has a "fast play" button which works in those cases. You still have to watch the advertisement but it zips by twice as fast.

          • I've tried that button on my DVD player but I can't fast forward or next chapter past the Sesame Street ad.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by MartinSchou (1360093)

      One of the reasons I stopped going to theaters to watch movies was that after I paid to get in, I was sitting through commercials

      As far as I can tell, the only thing you're paying to use Voddler is the bandwith and the time to watch the adverts.

      Why is it bad to have your movies paid by watching ads? Yes, on paid cable and theatres ads are fucking annoying as I've already paid for admission. Here, the ads ARE my payment of admission.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Jason Levine (196982)

      One of the reasons I stopped going to theaters to watch movies was that after I paid to get in, I was sitting through commercials (not just trailers, but commercials).

      I'm not going to excuse the ads, I hate them too, but you do realize that most (if not all) of the money that you paid to get into the movie went right back to the movie studios? Why do you think that popcorn and a soda cost to much at the movies? They need to pay their employees and run the entire facility on popcorn sales. When those didn

    • by mcgrew (92797) *

      Having commercials before a movie is an annoyance, but the movie itself is uninterrupted, while non-premium cable's movies are not only interrupted by commercials, but "edited for content" as well.

      I won't watch a movie that's rated higher than PG-13 on TV, because they butcher them. There was a movie a couple of weeks ago Tami wanted me to watch about a woman in rehab (made me think of Amy), saying it was hilarious. We watched it and she said "I remember it being funnier than that." I mentioned the inevitab

  • but without DRM and in common formats. streaming wastes bandwidth each time you want to watch the movie. there is probably a way to rip but with the MPAA involved you can be guaranteed 'the man' is putting in some sort of DRM to try and stop that
  • "Our customers can be sure that Voddler is totally legal, secure, and that there are no risks of computer viruses infecting their machines from downloaded files"

    Finally! The amount of times I've had viruses from video-files have been... Erm... Ohwait.
    What video files containing viruses -are- they talking about?,br>
    With software they might at least have a point, but I've never seen a video file with a virus.
  • They probably have the look alikes and the wannabee movies. Like a Swedish Steven Seagal that kicks arse and gets all the Swedish chicks...and he runs outta chicks...

  • by antiaktiv (848995) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @08:25AM (#30071186)
    I was very excited about Voddler (I'm a Spotify premium subscriber, and a big movie buff, so it was just what I'd been waiting for), until I read about how the mac client works.
    When installed it takes root access (in beta? how can that be safe?), and the server part never shuts down. That's right, when you're not watching a movie, you're still uploading. When you're out and about with your laptop and on a 3G tether, just checking your email and paying for data transfer, you're still uploading. When you have some real uploading to do (for work or whatever), the only way to turn off the Voddler sharing is to uninstall the server part, and then the client and player stops working.

    No thanks.
    • by Skapare (16644)

      That's what you get when you let some company, even one that claims to be free, safe, and secure, take over your computer. You've already been 0wn3d! Some of us have safe computers, safely configured, based on safe operating systems we compile ourselves, using safe compilers. The music and movie industries already know we won't be 0wn3d and so they've already counted us out of their target market (although they still lie to the government and pretend as though they tried to actually have us as part of th

    • by dr_d_19 (206418) on Thursday November 12, 2009 @09:04AM (#30071378)

      That's already fixed. Doesn't run as root and you now have the option of turning the P2P stuff off and on as you wish.

      Voddler on Mac [voddler.com]

    • by Misagon (1135)

      Remember the Mac version is still in Alpha!

      The root access-stuff was a bug in the installer. It wasn't supposed to run as root, and it didn't have to. That has been fixed in the latest alpha-release for Mac.

      Yes, Voddler is based on file-sharing tech quite similiar to Bittorrent and Spotify. (except that Bittorrent doesnt' stream) Read the FAQ!
      The developers have said that the uplink rate will be throttled in an upcoming release. I say it again: It is in Alpha!

  • Hey, maybe Hollywood is finally starting to get it? We'll see how badly they try to screw the customers in the long term, but this is at least a step in the right direction.

  • I like the option to get all my ads up front and then watch a show uninterrupted. Hulu has this feature with some of its teevee offerings. I generally mute the stupid thing for the couple minutes that the ads are running, run to the kitchen grab something to eat, or switch windows and do work there, then when the time's over, I'll watch my show. Essentially the whole thing is ad free at that point. Of course advertisers probably hate me for suggesting we all ignore them.
  • Is it a Swedish site that streams movies, or a site that streams Swedish movies?
  • I read that as "Bollywood Hacks Swedish Movie Streaming Site". Had this image of some programmer replacing documentaries about meatballs with clips of Aishwarya Rai dacing on a hilltop.

  • Yeah right... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted @ s l a s h d ot.org> on Thursday November 12, 2009 @12:40PM (#30074098)

    ...that argument works, because your customers can't tell data formats (like MKV or AVI) from executable files.

    Unfortunately, I say FUCK streaming! I'm not falling for that "you actually don't own shit" strategy!

    Either I own the unencrypted file on my hard drive, of you can just right GTFO.

  • The target is the file-sharing generation

    Okay, I'm listening.

    'Our customers can be sure that Voddler is totally legal, secure ...

    Sounds good.

    ... and that there are no risks of computer viruses infecting their machines from downloaded files,'

    Say, what? If your target is "file-sharing generation", then don't spout bullshit that is obvious to the majority of it!

  • What exactly does Skype have to do with Sweden?

We can predict everything, except the future.

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