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Movie studios to launch own cloud service as Apple readies iCloud

post #1 of 77
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In a move to encourage customers to buy movies rather than rent or stream, studios are planning to launch cloud-based services to compete with digital media rental outlets, like Apple's iCloud-enhanced iTunes.

Citing a steady decline in physical disc sales, which are far more profitable than digital rentals, studios this month plan to begin allowing their DVD and Blu-ray customer access to what they call "digital lockers." These cloud-based repositories will let customers stream or download a digital copy of their physical purchases on a wide variety of devices.

In order to access media from UltraViolet, users must create an account, or "digital locker," that serves as a hub for all their purchased media. Passcodes that come with the physical discs allow access to those movies online, from remote servers.

The move is meant to encourage movie ownership, reports Reuters. In recent years, buying physical movies discs has become less attractive in light of instant streaming services that continue to grow their catalog of flicks available to most internet-connected devices.

"We are in a preservation game," said James McQuivey, media technology analyst at Forrester Research. "We are trying to preserve an eroding base of DVD and Blu-ray spend."

Sony, Warner Bros. and Universal will each rely on UltraViolet, a new digital rights authentication and cloud-based licensing system that allows users to stream or download a digital copy of the movie they purchased on disc, from the studios' remote servers. The service will support set-top boxes, computers, game consoles, Blu-ray players, internet TVs, smartphones and tablets.



Meanwhile, Walt Disney, the only major studio not backing UltraViolet, will launch in the coming months a similar proprietary service, called Disney Studio All Access. Apple is another notable industry holdout, and refuses to use the Ultraviolet DRM, as they rely on proprietary formats.

Cloud storage "gives the benefit of ownership without the issues of long download time, storage constraints and the lack of interoperability," said Lori MacPherson, executive vice president of global product management at Walt Disney Studios. "It will be a game-changer for digital ownership."

Hollywood's push towards cloud-based initiatives comes as industry heavyweight Apple plans to launch its own cloud service, conveniently named iCloud. iCloud will not launch with the ability to stream movies purchased through iTunes, as licensing agreements have yet to be secured. However, Apple CFO Peter Oppenheimer did hint during a June conference call that the company is preparing neat stuff for its movie store without going into details.

When iCloud rolls out on Oct. 12, it will allow iOS, Mac and PC users to access stored data, sync documents and stream music, on any supported device. Naturally Apple hopes to expand the service to include movie streams, but must acquire the cooperation of Hollywood to do so.

Warner Bros. will start offering DVD and Blu-ray discs with UltraViolet support this month, while Sony and Universal will follow in early December. Other studios, like Paramount and 20th Century Fox, are also backing the UltraViolet standard but they have yet to announce any titles that support the new format.

Disneys Studio All Access service has no official roll-out date, but is reported to become available in the next few months.
post #2 of 77
Now that Jobs has unfortunately passed away, is there any connection left between Apple and Disney? I'm surprised they wouldn't just jump on with iCloud.
post #3 of 77
The sad thing is that it wasn't that long ago that the studios were fighting your right to rip a DVD to your hard disk for backup.
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post #4 of 77
Good luck with that.
post #5 of 77
iOS already supports this: I saw UltraViolet playback support was just added to the free iPhone/iPad Crackle app.

I dont often want to buy a disc, but if I do, being able to stream it to a free app is certainly a nice added feature!
post #6 of 77
Are these guys insane? Who is gonna set up a separate account for each studio or a grouping of studios? Just think of this ridiculous process: buy a dvd, go to their site, create an account, agree to a bunch of terms, watch your movie.

Compare that to buy a dvd, stick it in you mac, watch a movie.

Compare that to one click on your apple tv, watch a movie.

The studios are trying to protect something not worth protecting. DVD and physical media are dead. It is dead for music and it will be dead for movie soon. Partner with Apple, Amazon and Netflix and they are set for life to milk those companies as they do all the heavy lifting of distribution.

These movie studios need new CEOs. Perhaps an MBA should include a few technology courses.
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post #7 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In recent years, buying physical movies discs has become less attractive in light of instant streaming services that continue to grow their catalog of flicks available to most internet-connected devices.

"We are in a preservation game," said James McQuivey, media technology analyst at Forrester Research. "We are trying to preserve an eroding base of DVD and Blu-ray spend."

I could swear I keep hearing that Blu-ray is the totally awesome wave of the future and iTunes Store movie quality is unwatchable.
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post #8 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Are these guys insane? Who is gonna set up a separate account for each studio or a grouping of studios? Just think of this ridiculous process: buy a dvd, go to their site, create an account, agree to a bunch of terms, watch your movie.

Compare that to buy a dvd, stick it in you mac, watch a movie.

Compare that to one click on your apple tv, watch a movie.

The studios are trying to protect something not worth protecting. DVD and physical media are dead. It is dead for music and it will be dead for movie soon. Partner with Apple, Amazon and Netflix and they are set for life to milk those companies as they do all the heavy lifting of distribution.

These movie studios need new CEOs. Perhaps an MBA should include a few technology courses.

It's going to be a mess. The music industry is constantly warning others that they regret giving so much power to Apple. But that made things so easy for consumers. There are advantages to monopoly
post #9 of 77
I miss Steve.

Why are all other CEOs such lumps of crap?

They've all been taught this business-school Stalinism that makes loving them impossible. In fact, it makes them act like mental defectives.

DRM. They're going to build a cloud. (Call the Sony boys for that, they've had a lot of experience.) Either nobody will use it, because they'll charge the same for their movies as for Blu-Ray, or some 14-year-old Norwegian kid will come out with the crack, and then they'll be back to the old Pirate Bay suing days. And the outright disrespect they show for their audience will be plain.

The want you to "own" their files? Really? If you "own" it, you can copy it. Loan it to a friend. Watch it over and over again. Oh, that means it has to be good. Get busy there, boys.

Please. Release the files early, at the same time as release. Find the price point that's low enough so people won't pirate it. I'd suggest $5. Then you're getting better value, a brand-new release, that you can keep. Movie fans will go to the big screen to make out in the balcony. Others will stay at home. NO DRM!

You'll make a bundle. You'll make people happy. Movie's greatest decade was when we were going through the depression. Now we're heading for another bad ten years. People will be grateful for beautiful movies -- none of those freakin' ads, okay? -- and piracy will go way, way down.
post #10 of 77
This will probably work as well as DIVX.

post #11 of 77
Uhuh. I have heard this before. Its the nature of the beast. We will see how pretty it is when Apple unleashes its iCloud.
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post #12 of 77
I hope they realize there is 192 more countries in the world, instead of killing themselves in the USA.
I am so tired of hunting down torrent. Give me something good, easy to access and you will get my money.
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post #13 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The sad thing is that it wasn't that long ago that the studios were fighting your right to rip a DVD to your hard disk for backup.

+1

I'm curious about what 8 levels of DRM they will impose on this.
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post #14 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift View Post

Why are all other CEOs such lumps of crap?

You nailed it. They're all business school, profit- and shareholder-value maximizers. They don't think about what the consumer wants. Studios, and music labels before them, all start from the point of how can we sell OUR STUFF for the MOST MONEY. It's the single/album/VHS/cassette/DVD/Blu-Ray/digital re-packaging of the same stuff to sell consumers what they already bought several times over in a new format. Frankly, I think that when I bough Billy Joel's "Glass Houses" on 8-track, I should have been covered for at least the cassette "upgrade." Then they look at what Apple has done, and say, well we can sell our stuff that way. Apple, on the other hand, starts by looking at the user and asking what do they want (and often adding but don't know they want it) and what are the most convenient, desirable ways to give it to them. As I've read several times in recent days, people at Apple were charged with making products that they would want to use. The rest build something that meets their sales and marketing goals and then hope we'll want to use it. Look at Netflix. They barely said the word Qwikster and the thing is dead before arrival. At least I'll give Netflix a fist-bump for paying attention to the 27,000 commenters on their blog on the subject. They're still paying for being moronic though.
post #15 of 77
Nah, the problem is that these moronic CEOs are paying big bucks for market research firms to tell them they need to make exactly what the competition is making, only cheaper. Got Acer into trouble, HP into trouble, RIM into trouble, etc. These guys are too chicken to make a bold move and make something truly new.

Apple doesn't do that. They don't use market research firms or focus groups. They build new things and people say, "Hey, I want that and I can't get it anywhere else."
post #16 of 77
Just pure desperation. Physical media is insanely overpriced, and thus a profit machine....when people buy them.

But people aren't buying them. Can't remember the last time I went to a store and "bought a movie".
The concept is so ancient, it's hard to believe anyone still does. I understand the niche markets and people without bandwidth, but GONE are the days when a movie would come out on VHS or DVD and people would preorder it to ensure they got a copy on release day. LMAO. I think I preordered Titantic on dual-VHS from Toys R Us back in 1997.

New releases used to sell millions upon millions of copies.

But we've found a better way. I don't need to own a movie, or store it, physically or digitally...I just click "Watch"
post #17 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by beakernx01 View Post

You nailed it. They're all business school, profit- and shareholder-value maximizers. They don't think about what the consumer wants.

Please stop, with these silly, proforma swipes.

Anyone thinks just a little bit about it (regardless of whether they went to business school or not) should be able to understand that you can't be a profit- or shareholder value- maximizing business without keeping in mind and serving the consumer's wants front and center.

Surely you've heard of a company called Apple, for instance?
post #18 of 77
I feel that 16:9 is not an optimal format for movies. In the future, I expect to see 2.40:1 Monitors and TV's being available.

I also think that if movie companies are going to be selling permanent copies of their movies through download, then it needs to be at the highest quality level possible. If somebody is going to pay good money to own a movie and to download it, then it needs to be many, many GBs and at least Blu-Ray quality.
post #19 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I could swear I keep hearing that Blu-ray is the totally awesome wave of the future and iTunes Store movie quality is unwatchable.

I have never brought a video from itunes, and the way they are going, I never will.
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post #20 of 77
wow... I already think most movies out there these days are garbage. The only way I'd watch anything is when I'm bored and I don't have to sacrifice much (aka... I can rent rather than buy, especially if I haven't seen a movie/show before). If studios think that clamping down on renting is going to make me buy then they are sorely mistaken. I'll just end up caring even less about the junk they produce and I will not even give them the chance to hook me with a TV show or the occasional good movie that I would otherwise stumble upon through renting. These people are really missing the boat b/c of their greed.
post #21 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Are these guys insane? Who is gonna set up a separate account for each studio or a grouping of studios? Just think of this ridiculous process: buy a dvd, go to their site, create an account, agree to a bunch of terms, watch your movie.

Compare that to buy a dvd, stick it in you mac, watch a movie.

Compare that to one click on your apple tv, watch a movie.

The studios are trying to protect something not worth protecting. DVD and physical media are dead. It is dead for music and it will be dead for movie soon. Partner with Apple, Amazon and Netflix and they are set for life to milk those companies as they do all the heavy lifting of distribution.

These movie studios need new CEOs. Perhaps an MBA should include a few technology courses.

They just aren't satisfied with being a production house. That's all they are and all they will ever be.
post #22 of 77
Only did 5 minutes internet research, but hey, it's more than most journalists do these days.

http://bit.ly/flp58Y

So sure, Sony Pictures' profits nosedived but they still made $58,000,000 dollars...

Their sales were $1,800,000,000...

And they still made crap movies or remakes. I think they should start looking for savings at home before trying to manufacture a system that will make it harder for the consumer to give them any money at all.

To be fair, I also feel that services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu etc do de-value content with the aim of building a database of users whose viewing and purchasing habits can be sold to advertisers.

That's what I like about iTunes movie service. You pay a fair price. But you get shafted by the studios restricting the content available.

It is still not possible to rent Blade Runner on iTunes in Australia*. You have to buy it for AUD$17.99 (Currently US$17.91) compared to the US iTunes store where I can buy it for US$9.99 or rent it for US$2.99

I really would like to know what they actually think is the cause of content piracy...

*First World Problems
post #23 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmoeser View Post

Only did 5 minutes internet research, but hey, it's more than most journalists do these days.

http://bit.ly/flp58Y

So sure, Sony Pictures' profits nosedived but they still made $58,000,000 dollars...

Their sales were $1,800,000,000...

And they still made crap movies or remakes. I think they should start looking for savings at home before trying to manufacture a system that will make it harder for the consumer to give them any money at all.

To be fair, I also feel that services like Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu etc do de-value content with the aim of building a database of users whose viewing and purchasing habits can be sold to advertisers.

That's what I like about iTunes movie service. You pay a fair price. But you get shafted by the studios restricting the content available.

It is still not possible to rent Blade Runner on iTunes in Australia*. You have to buy it for AUD$17.99 (Currently US$17.91) compared to the US iTunes store where I can buy it for US$9.99 or rent it for US$2.99

I really would like to know what they actually think is the cause of content piracy...

*First World Problems


I'm not so sure Netflix devalues content, but rather brings actual value into check. If access to/personal copy of *movie_name* was worth more, it would still sell at that price.
post #24 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The sad thing is that it wasn't that long ago that the studios were fighting your right to rip a DVD to your hard disk for backup.

You know if they would allow me to put the iTunes rental price towards purchase I would definitely buy a lot more movies. Talk about an industry that just doesn't get it's customers.
post #25 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I'm not so sure Netflix devalues content, but rather brings actual value into check. If access to/personal copy of *movie_name* was worth more, it would still sell at that price.

You don't think that a very low monthly membership fee to enable you to watch as many movies as they have (and you have bandwidth for) devalues the content?

Even at one movie a day that's 50c or so that the movie is valued at.

(Not taking in to consideration the actual quality of the movie here. Some may in fact be worth less)
post #26 of 77
So they want me to go to a web site to stream a movie I already own. If they do it at full quality the viewer had better have a super fast internet connection.

This is just a stupid idea somebody dreamt up to create an internet job for himself and friends. At least it will employ some people for a while.
post #27 of 77
The bottom line is: Who the fuck wants to pay a premium to own a movie they are going to watch once? It makes no sense.

But having said that, if I open a 'film club' account with 25 of my best Internet buddies (whoever they may be), would we all be allowed to watch the movies we buy legally? Just hypothetically speaking?
post #28 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Apple ][ View Post

I feel that 16:9 is not an optimal format for movies. In the future, I expect to see 2.40:1 Monitors and TV's being available.

Oh god no. That means PC monitors and laptops will start sporting 2.4:1 aspects, then Android tablets. Just because they can get LCD panels in that aspect cheaply. It will look completely stupid in portrait mode. I can't stand using these wide and short screens for real work on a computer. 4:3 (portrait and landscape) is pretty close to ideal for real work.

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post #29 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

In a move to encourage customers to buy movies rather than rent or stream, studios are planning to launch cloud-based services to compete with digital media rental outlets, like Apple's iCloud-enhanced iTunes.

Citing a steady decline in physical disc sales, which are far more profitable than digital rentals



WOW, this is a corporate idiocy in its purest form. American corporations must be run by morons

People are moving away from disks because streaming is much more convenient, because they don't need to keep stacks of disks at home. So why offer them in the first place?

And how come disks are more profitable? They have to produce them, ship, give a wholesale cut to retails.
Instead of paying all that cost related to disk production and retail, they could simply provide movies online and pass saving to consumers. Is this a such a hard concept?
post #30 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

I'm not so sure Netflix devalues content, but rather brings actual value into check. If access to/personal copy of *movie_name* was worth more, it would still sell at that price.

Google devalues content. If it were up to them, they'd ask people to upload pirated movies onto Google servers, so they can stream it free and make money off the advertising. If it were up to them. (And all their fanboys would love them for giving away "free" content).

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post #31 of 77
While I agree with the comments about the general incompetence of the studios, just to play devil's advocate...

Quote:
Originally Posted by sheff View Post

Compare that to buy a dvd, stick it in you mac, watch a movie.

Compare that to one click on your apple tv, watch a movie.

Compare that to wanting to watch your movie on a non-Apple device.

There are a lot of non-Apple set-top boxes and connected blu-ray players and TVs. There are more non-Apple smartphones than there are iPhones. One of the reasons Amazon's digital book sales does better than Apple's iBooks is their cross-platform compatibility. (Personally, I will never buy from iBooks because my reader choices are extremely limited by Apple.)

Don't get me wrong, I'm sure the studios are going to screw this up, too. But I do think there is an opportunity for someone reasonably competent to offer a competitive alternative to Apple's walled garden ecosystem. The problem with the studios is that they will shot themselves in the foot by being over-protective of their disc sales or by putting in some incredibly stupid and short-sighted terms and conditions which will scare people away from making any long-term commitment to their alternative offering.

They will also fail to demonstrate for their own part a long-term commitment to their initiative. They will give up in about 12 months after not getting the instant success they think they deserve (they don't). So rather than work on improving their product, they will throw in the towel, grumble some more about how Apple is destroying the entertainment industry, and then a year later they will have forgotten the lessons they learned and will invest millions in their latest scheme and repeat the whole process again.
post #32 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

Please stop, with these silly, proforma swipes.

Anyone thinks just a little bit about it (regardless of whether they went to business school or not) should be able to understand that you can't be a profit- or shareholder value- maximizing business without keeping in mind and serving the consumer's wants front and center.

Surely you've heard of a company called Apple, for instance?

It may be bit more complicated than that. I could try and explain, but just take a look at the protests going on in just about every American city...
post #33 of 77
There is so much fail in this thread that I can't even be bothered to correct everyone.


So the idea at least of UltraViolet is this. When you purchase movie it's added to your family UltraViolet account (up to 6 members).

You then have perpetual rights to that movie throughout all members of the UltraViolet group.

So for example, you purchase a Blu-ray from Best Buy and add that to your UltraViolet account. Your kids can then stream that movie from your Samsung/Panasonic/Sony/LG smart TV or you can watch it on your iPhone/iPad using and UltraViolet app.

Another example would be buying a bunch of digital movies on your Xbox. In 5 years time when your Xbox is dead the UltraViolet rights move with you, they aren't locked into your Xbox account.

Of course we are still a long way off this kind of seamless interactivity but like I said, that is at least the idea of UltraViolet.
post #34 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by AjbDtc826 View Post

Now that Jobs has unfortunately passed away, is there any connection left between Apple and Disney? I'm surprised they wouldn't just jump on with iCloud.


Disney won't just jump on with Apple because like the others they want the higher profit of selling a physical disk.

Apple's lack of a jump to Ultraviolet has nothing to do with the DRM and simply that they don't think folks should have to be forced to buy a disk to get the digital version
post #35 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Suddenly Newton View Post

Oh god no. That means PC monitors and laptops will start sporting 2.4:1 aspects, then Android tablets. Just because they can get LCD panels in that aspect cheaply. It will look completely stupid in portrait mode. I can't stand using these wide and short screens for real work on a computer. 4:3 (portrait and landscape) is pretty close to ideal for real work.

For tablets and regular computer work, you're absolutely right, 2.4:1 would be horrible. I wouldn't want one. For the main TV or monitor on the wall (home cinema), then it would be perfect for movies, real movies.

Even 16:9 is horrible for tablets, and that's exactly what most Android tablets use! It's terrible for anything other than watching a movie on. For anything else, like surfing or reading, it's terrible.

I don't watch many movies at all on my iPad, but old Twilight Zone episodes on Netflix are 4:3 and they look great on the iPad, plus the aspect ratio fits the iPad perfectly.
post #36 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by paxman View Post

The bottom line is: Who the fuck wants to pay a premium to own a movie they are going to watch once? It makes no sense.

But having said that, if I open a 'film club' account with 25 of my best Internet buddies (whoever they may be), would we all be allowed to watch the movies we buy legally? Just hypothetically speaking?

It depends on when and where you view it. Read the licensing agreement on your home videos sometime. You are allowed to use it for "private home viewing of films." So-called public performances (such as a showing outside of your home) or letting others rent your copy is forbidden. You must obtain different licensing for that.

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post #37 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Disney won't just jump on with Apple because like the others they want the higher profit of selling a physical disk.

Apple's lack of a jump to Ultraviolet has nothing to do with the DRM and simply that they don't think folks should have to be forced to buy a disk to get the digital version

Exactly. Apple's vision the future of media distribution as entirely digital. Ultraviolet is, what? An attempt to get people to buy discs? Please, anything short of raising rental prices to ridiculous levels or outright banning video rentals will not stop people from choosing the lower-cost option for viewing a film.

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post #38 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by charlituna View Post

Disney won't just jump on with Apple because like the others they want the higher profit of selling a physical disk.

Apple's lack of a jump to Ultraviolet has nothing to do with the DRM and simply that they don't think folks should have to be forced to buy a disk to get the digital version

Seriously? What the hell does a physical disk have to do with anything?

Nowhere do UltraViolet say they are tied to a physical disk. If anything UltraViolet is the exact opposite. i.e. an admission from the studios that they need to move from physical disk ownership to digital ownership.

Directly from the UltraViolet website...

Disc, stream or download
Purchasing UltraViolet content gives you flexibility to watch the way you want :
  • Stream to any internet-connected device, including cable/satellite set-top boxes
  • Download for offline viewing, including full HD copies
  • Get a disc included even when you buy online - either download or streaming

Choose how to buy
UltraViolet is wherever you like to shop for movies or TV shows, (in-store, in-app or online) and however you like to buy them (disc, stream, file). Just look for the UltraViolet logo

Choose your brand
You can watch the titles in your UltraViolet Digital Library on devices from multiple brands:
  • Stream to ANY internet-connected device, including cable/satellite set-top boxes
  • Download copies to any UltraViolet-logo app or device that can store and play video files
post #39 of 77
Does ANYONE care about quality anymore????????

Streaming comes no where close to the quality of DVD or Blu-ray.... The high quality audio on Blu-ray is worth the price of a disc by itself... If I go to the trouble to buy a movie, I will make my own digital copy to play on my other devices, where quality doesn't matter as much... With more and more providers limiting bandwidth, streaming movies is going to end up costing you money..

If it is a quality movie, which is rare these days, I WANT to buy a high quality Blu-ray... Streaming may be OK for older content, or old TV shows on Netflix, but I hope it never replaces movies you can buy on disc..
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post #40 of 77
Quote:
Originally Posted by Swift View Post

I miss Steve.

Why are all other CEOs such lumps of crap?

They've all been taught this business-school Stalinism that makes loving them impossible. In fact, it makes them act like mental defectives.

DRM. They're going to build a cloud. (Call the Sony boys for that, they've had a lot of experience.) Either nobody will use it, because they'll charge the same for their movies as for Blu-Ray, or some 14-year-old Norwegian kid will come out with the crack, and then they'll be back to the old Pirate Bay suing days. And the outright disrespect they show for their audience will be plain.

The want you to "own" their files? Really? If you "own" it, you can copy it. Loan it to a friend. Watch it over and over again. Oh, that means it has to be good. Get busy there, boys.

Please. Release the files early, at the same time as release. Find the price point that's low enough so people won't pirate it. I'd suggest $5. Then you're getting better value, a brand-new release, that you can keep. Movie fans will go to the big screen to make out in the balcony. Others will stay at home. NO DRM!

You'll make a bundle. You'll make people happy. Movie's greatest decade was when we were going through the depression. Now we're heading for another bad ten years. People will be grateful for beautiful movies -- none of those freakin' ads, okay? -- and piracy will go way, way down.

Why is it bad that Ultraviolet has DRM, but Apples videos having DRM isn't?
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