2006-03-08

Music, TV, iTunes and DRM

Kevin Marks: "Live TV is dead."

Indeed. I cancelled my TiVo subscription a while ago, and attempted to cancel TV service too. However, the Comcast lady convinced me to keep the basic channels for something like $16/month. The reason? My Comcast broadband would drop from 6 meg to 4 meg, and apparently there's no way to only pay for 6 meg. Ridiculous.

Netflix has more than enough TV for me:
The only flaw so far has been the delay waiting for new seasons to show up on DVD. Fortunately Apple's solved it for us though - $2 downloads for new episodes the day after they air on TV, and soon a subscription service. Now if they'd just expose my iTMS purchases somewhere on the web for re-download, so I don't have to keep these big honking files around...

Regarding DRM: I don't mind DRM on downloadable TV shows, because I only watch them once and have no need to share them. Music (and movies someday most likely) is completely different - I listen to music over and over (on various devices), and also share it on our work network via Rendezvous. DRM'd music won't share, and can hit foolish authorization walls.

I'd still rather buy mp3s online than buy cds though. Therefore I've stopped buying music from the iTMS until the jhymn folks crack v6's DRM (though there are hacky workarounds). Alternatives download stores:

2 comments:

  1. I think what Kevin and you are both overlooking is the enormous market for sports broadcasting. These are programs that lose much of their appeal as soon as they've taken place--if you know the score, only a minority of people will go ahead and watch the game on tape anyway. The live experience is much of the point, and if you hope to download it later to watch for the first time, you're taking the big risk that you won't find out the score between now and then. Personal experience suggests this is a mighty big risk, a gamble one often loses.

    Likewise, shows like American Idol that depend on semi-live viewer interaction are poor fits for the downloadable TV revolution. And many reality "game shows," while technically not "live," such as Survivor, are a blend of these two genres: the winning castaway or whomever is announced in a big media event at the end of the season, and if you're a fan of such a show there's little chance you won't find out who won. That takes away a lot of the motivation to Netflix "Survior Season 47: Lost on Pluto" a little while later when it becomes available.

    Personally, I could probably survive perfectly content on a diet of Netflixed Curb, Firfly, Battlestar Galacta, Six Feet Under, and FarScape. But I think it's fair to point out that American Idol (and clones), reality "game shows," and sports make up a huge portion of the American television viewing diet--they are in fact far more representative of American viewing trends than our particular shared tastes. This may lead some commentators to erroneously predict that certain technologies are dead, because they happen to fall outside the main demographic that is being served in the first place by live and live-ish TV.

    Jeff

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  2. I think tricycle is making a false dichotomy between live and downloading. The TiVo 'pause live TC' idea applies here.
    The distinction I am making is between a communication interaction, where you need sub-second latency, and a one-way one, where you don't.
    If you have ever heard a baseball game though a 10 second radio delay, you are already in my camp.
    Netflix is an extreme example, but it points up that movies do not fall anywhere close to the low-latency domain.
    I ma not a sports an, but I am sure you would conceed that an American Footlball or Baseball game (let alone Cricket) would be improved by being able to fast-forward the gaps in the action, and to replay the key moments.

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