Friday, November 13, 2009

I've seen the future, and it's streaming

This is old news to some folks, but I just got my disc from Netflix that allows me to stream movies directly to my Playstation 3. X-Box users already have this feature (although I think that they have to pay extra to access online content - PS3 users do not) and so do some people with some particular Blu-Ray players that are available. Still, it's new to me and other PS3 users. What makes it even more exciting is that I actually got to be part of the marketing research for this, so I knew that this was coming. (They gave me six free months of Netflix for doing it! I'm such a nerd for this stuff that I probably would have done it for free!)

If you already use Netflix, you may notice that you already have a lot of videos that you can stream directly to your computer. I've tried it a couple of times just to try it out, and I've been pretty impressed with the quality of it. However, the problem is that I don't want to watch a full movie from my computer screen when I can be watching things on the 42" in the living room.

I've only watched a bit of one movie (National Lampoon's Vacation) and half of another (Firefly) which I plan on finishing later. So far, I've been pretty impressed with the quality. It got a little pixelated here and there, but it happened so quickly that if you blinked too much you'd miss it. Is it as good as watching a Blu-Ray? Not quite. However, it does look as good as a high-quality DVD, and that's not too shabby at all.

Of course, the selection is somewhat limited. You're not going to find really big hit movies, and you're not going to find really recent stuff. However, I've got quite a bit of stuff lined up on my queue so far, including a bunch of TV shows that I missed for one reason or another (mostly because I don't have premium cable - and I see even less of a reason to have it now). There are a lot of old film noir movies that I want to see along with a few documentaries and independent films. I suppose that if all you want to see are new, mainstream releases, then you're going to be pretty disappointed. Lucky for me, my tastes branch out quite a bit past that, so I actually feel spoiled for choices right now. As for the mainstream new releases, I can wait for those discs to come in the mail just like before.

All this has got me to thinking though. Will the days of having a collection - any kind of collection - go away? I've already read articles about how a lot of today's kids don't care about owning physical cds when they can just fill up their MP3 players. Also, the Kindle technology is getting better, so that will save you a lot of space, and you won't need a big book collection. Perhaps comics will go the way of the Kindle. I don't think that I'd ever want to read my comics on the computer, but if that "computer" was portable? And if it looked as good as it does on paper? That might be a different story? And of course, let's not forget the movie collection.

I was eagerly awaiting for Vertigo to come out with a new release, as the current DVD is pretty low-quality. However, now that I see that I can stream it anytime right to my TV, what's the point? Why buy any of those classic movies that I want when I can just watch them anytime - and in good quality (which will no doubt improve with firmware updates)?

The thing is, I do like having my big collections of comics and movies. Still, if I ever have to move, they border on being a burden. This new generation might not realize just how good they have it.


Matthew said...

I agree 100% We already watch all of our tv on hulu and all our movies through Netflix. The minimal hit in quality is well worth the convenience IMO. and it's just a matter of time until bandwitdh is big enough to handle streaming HD.

But I still like my books to have paper.

Lance Christian Johnson said...

I think that I will always want to have books on paper, and there are certain movies where I will want a physical copy of them.

However, Kindle might be better for light reading (like magazines) and certain works of nonfiction that I would probably just give away when I was done.