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AVRevForum.com 05-27-2008 02:03 PM

Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experience
 
Cinemanow offers a variety of services now available through Windows Media Center. It appears there is no support for Apple users. Sorry. Also, most all downloads are listed at 1200 and 1500 kbps for about a total of a 1.5 GB download. This correlates to less than one quarter the resolution of a purchased DVD. Don't even bother comparing the resolution with the bitrate and resolution of Blu-ray discs. Not to mention, the sound format of even new releases is stereo.

The convenience of movie downloads, or lack of convenience if you consider the download process and need for a Windows Vista PC, is taking the home theater experience in the wrong direction. Most of us can hardly watch standard defintion tv after experiencing HD channels. And most of us can't watch an SD DVD anymore without longing for 1080p Blu-ray quality. Distributors, and consumers, need to realize paying $19.95 for a movie download that only works through Internet Explorer or Firefox on a PC, has less than one quarter the resolution, and only has a stereo soundtrack, is not a good value at all. Do yourself a favor and spend the few extra bucks to get the Blu-ray or DVD disc in your hands.

Not all is lost when it comes to downloads. For example, VideoGiants offers HD video downloads at 11Mbps, superior to that of SD DVD. However, if you are deadset on movie downloads with low resolutions that will display nice pixelated content on your HDTV, here are the latest options...

CinemaNow Windows Media Center Options:

• Download-to-own: Hollywood movies, popular TV shows, and music videos are available for purchase, providing an unlimited viewing period on up to 3 devices. Download-to-own movies are priced from $9.99 to $19.99; TV shows and music videos are priced at $1.99. Download-to-Own movies are available day-and-date of retail DVD release.

• Pay-Per-View: Hollywood movies are available for purchase, providing customers a 24 hour window to watch the video. As with all CinemaNow downloads, customers can start watching in minutes or download the file and watch it anytime, anywhere. Pay-Per-View movies are priced between $2.99 and $3.99. Select Pay-Per-View titles are available day-and-date of retail DVD release.

• Burn-to-DVD: Enables customers to legally download a DVD, play it back on their PC, and burn a copy to a blank DVD disc. The disc can then be played in virtually any DVD player with full remote control navigation and access to all of the special features. Burn-to-DVD movies are priced from $8.99 to $14.99.

In addition to CinemaNow, Windows Media Center delivers a variety of TV and video content to millions of consumers:

• TV ˆ Consumers can watch both live and recorded TV in Windows Media Center. A variety of TV options are supported, including broadcast over-the-air NTSC and ATSC, analog digital cable and satellite, all with a no-charge Program Guide.

• Internet TV Betaˆ Internet TV Beta is a U.S. offering within Windows Media Center that allows consumers to choose from more than 100 hours of TV entertainment, music concerts, movie trailers, news, and sports content, and you don‚t even need a TV Tuner to watch it. Consumers can watch Internet TV Beta full-screen on their Windows Media Center PC or use Extenders for Windows Media Center to watch it on their TV.

• Online Media ˆ Online Media gives users access to a variety of digital media, including sports news and statistics from Fox Sports, XM Radio, HSN Vision, and Showtime TV. Online Media also provides the ability to browse through top stories from NPR, Reuters and other news outlets, allowing users to quickly catch up on the day‚s top stories. There are also several Windows Media Center add-ons available from the providers, which allow you to watch NetFlix, YouTube videos or check the weather, to mention just a few of the services available from Online Media services partners.

• Movies ˆ In addition to CinemaNow, Windows Media Center provides access to Starz Entertainment‚s VONGO and MovieLink, which are additional premium movie and TV downloading services. Digital home movies can also be easily accessed through Windows Media Center and watched on a television via an Extender for Windows Media Center.

deacongreg 05-28-2008 12:31 PM

Re: Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experien
 
This is really absurd. I mean, I`m trying to be calm here, but why even bother to come out with downloads this poor. The industry must really believe that most people don`t care what they watch, or hear. I don`t believe that the non audiophile/videophile general public is like that.

tigeraudio2007 05-29-2008 10:07 AM

Re: Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experien
 
I totally agree. We have all this technology and yet we are reverting back into our shell. While it was the mp3 technology that regressed music, Apple perpetuated it with mp3 hardware. I'm not saying I don't like my iPod. It is great for on the go listening. But when people make it their "premium" music system, that is just absurd.

Now, the same is happening to video. iPod video took resolutions down to something like 320x240 for on the go viewing. Fine. But then distributors think they can get away with releasing it mainstream. I am truly afraid that Media Center PCs are going to destroy home theater video/audio viewing if this is the resolution that they are going to be offering. I have always been a fan of having media. It gives me a comfort unlike store the files on a hard drive that is guaranteed to crash. The larger the hard drive the shorter the lifespan. Buy to burn to DVD, now that is just a joke. So you're telling my to buy this crappy resolution movie, with a stereo soundtrack for 19.95 and then burn it to a DVD. How does that make any sense whatsoever? You can go buy the full res movie for far less than that. And you don't have to wait and download 1.5GB! Come on people. Let's wake up and lead the revolution to bring back premium home theater viewing.

prerich 05-29-2008 10:59 AM

Re: Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experien
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by deacongreg (Post 15195)
This is really absurd. I mean, I`m trying to be calm here, but why even bother to come out with downloads this poor. The industry must really believe that most people don`t care what they watch, or hear. I don`t believe that the non audiophile/videophile general public is like that.

+1 Deacon!!!! Amen!

seanthebrit 05-29-2008 09:30 PM

Re: Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experien
 
I fully agree to all said so far.

That said, there's hope. Currently, VUDU is on the market on a per-movie charge. Granted, it's HD offerings are -almost- Blu-ray quality, and it's SD ones are as good as DVD, without a PC required. The drawback isn't the fault of the machine/service; it's the lawyers/industry that won't let the legally purchased movie be transferred across media [disk-drive to disc, etc].

Most recently (this week) is the Netflix $99 offering, which is 'HD-enabled' but at a flat monthly charge (for now). Also is the drawback that it does not include new releases, unlike VUDU, and it needs the PC to queue up the movie you want to watch. VUDU eliminates this, but there's the price premium for that.

However, here's where it's going. FIOS.

Once fiber-to-the-door is mass market (~2 years?), we'll have Blu-ray quality on-demand with flat charges.....no 'bargains' I'm sure the content-providers will prevent(!) to get their $$$$, but easy-access movies without extra boxes and remote controls and separate bills.

Goodbye VUDU, Netflix and PC downloads?

Discuss!

hodedofome 05-30-2008 07:05 AM

Re: Low-Res Movie Download Services - Destroyers of the Home Theater Viewing Experien
 
Netflix isn't there on quality but they have arrived at the perfect model. All the movies I want ready to go for $9 a month, and there's like over 6k of them. It's good for old movies, documentaries and tv shows that aren't going to look all that great on dvd anyways. I'm not going to watch a movie on it but it's nice to have. Plus I can watch it on my laptop in a hotel room. I have Netflix streaming through my 360 into my living room and works/looks great on the media center interface. It's not quite dvd quality but better than I thought it would be. Well, I'll put it this way: it looks similar to watching a dvd on a non-upconverting dvd player vs watching it on my upconverting xbox 360.

I'm watching this on a 720P Samsung Plasma btw.


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