Sunday Musings – Netflix & Roku & Warner oh my

Ugh – first post of the new year and it’s already the 8th. I really have to get back to regular writing.

This is the face of the new Roku. Not content with making a media box the size of my hand, they have now reduced it to a stick that can be plugged into a TV’s HDMI port. It only works on “MHL” HDMI TV’s of which there are only a few currently but the concept is pretty neat. I am always in favor of decluttering, especially since my Xbox and Roku won’t play Blu-Rays and my Blu-Ray player won’t play Hulu or Amazon (yes I know spoiled first world problems).

Poor Warner Bros. They are having such financial problems. I’m not sure what their thought process is but instead of that four week window that Netflix and Redbox had to wait to rent out new titles from some of the major studios, Warner is now going for a 56 day blackout for not only Netflix and Redbox but Blockbuster as well. Warner is hoping this will boost DVD sales of new releases since apparently people were willing to wait the four week period and not buy.

Warner apparently doesn’t understand that it’s not the period of time that makes the difference but the paradigm shift in how movies are delivered. Fewer and fewer DVDs are purchased, particularly at the vastly inflated initial release prices. For most films, you can wait just a few months and get if for half-price (or far less if you are willing to buy used from Blockbuster). Add to that that I simply do not have the time to watch even most of the movies that are available on instant Netflix (and that I get unlimited streaming for a per month charge that is less than half of a single new release). Hrrrm tough choice – I can buy six new releases or I can watch UNLIMITED films on Netflix for a YEAR.

Warner and the other studios absolutely refuse to learn any lessons at all from what the music industry went through. Well okay they have learned a few lessons – movies are now available on home media in a mere few months instead of the previous standard of six (and before that 12). They also do some good tie-ins by putting movies on sale in the same week that their sequels are released theatrically. I especially love the free movie ticket promotions like the one currently on the Underworld Blu-Rays.