…and how I could be persuaded to in the future.
A prevalent concept of the Internet these days is the ability to instantly purchase content online and then listen to/watch it immediately. However, these types of stores make up a very small percentage of the market, and while they are gaining points, it is a very slow process.
Everyone has their reasons for not using them, from not having an iPod to not having a decent computer to view the content (at this point I guess I’m talking more about movies/tv shows/video podcasts), and everything in between. Well the reason I don’t use the iTunes store (and for the sake of the argument, as I have an iPod, we’ll just draw parallels to the general concept), is that I don’t want to “own” anything that I don’t physically have a copy of. If I buy a CD, I can put it on my computer and/or iPod with ease, and (while a bit tougher) the same can be said of DVDs. However, if we go the other way, an album I buy from the iTunes store is 128 kbps (soon to be higher, but the argument is the same), and if I want to burn it, I have to burn it to a CD at 128 (meaning if I re-rip it, it will suffer greatly from the lossy encoding). And a movie or tv show online? Forget it, the DRM on those keeps me from doing anything.
And how about the fact that if I own a DVD that doesn’t mean I can download the movie? I have to purchase it again? What a joke. In order to watch a movie that I own on my computer or iPod or Apple TV, I have to rip it from the DVD (technically breaking the law, although I think this specific law is a sham and I don’t follow it) or buy it (again) online. What if, instead of jumping through these hoops, we could purchase DVD (or Blu-Ray or HD DVD), and have a data side with a version of the movie that I could put on my computer? There would be a serial number on the DVD that I would enter online (either to iTunes or to a much larger MPAA *shudder* database) that would then allow the data on the DVD to download to my computer in a DRM *shudder* encoded file. Heck, we could even still have to download the movie from the online store (this might work better, but I’m just throwing ideas out there), yet still be DRM’ed and tied to my account.
You don’t think that people would be more tempted to use these online stores if they would be able to freely use the content that they have already purchased? I really want an Apple TV, but I really DON’T want to repurchase all of my DVD content (and I sure as hell don’t have time to encode all of it at a rate of about a DVD per eight hours with Handbrake…and yes, my computer is that slow). Why all the hoops? I understand the movie and TV industry being a pain for Apple to deal with, but hasn’t anyone thought of a better way?
I understand buying a record, and then a tape, and then a CD, but the digital age is completely different. We are no longer talking about owning a physical object, but the content itself, and we should not be forced to re-purchase content because we don’t want to spend the time finding other ways of obtaining it.
Sorry, this is a quickly written ramble, and I did not edit it. Just my two cents…