No More DVD Rentals: Does Hollywood Encourage Piracy?

When was the last time you heard, or said, “Hey, lets go to the store an rent a movie?”

We all know that DVD rental stores seem to be heading the way of the dinosaur. A once vast international empire of video rental stores, like Blockbuster or the now bankrupt Hollywood Video, are now a rarity among communities in The United States. It seems that the convenience of online video streaming has changed the landscape of the film entertainment industry forever.

Another blockbuster store closing!

Convenience vs Content

Unfortunately, there are some serious drawbacks to online video rentals that have yet to be addressed. With traditional the rental system, you typically had 3 to 5 days to watch your movie. Now, if you choose to rent a movie for streaming online, you only get 24 hours to watch it and have to pay again if you don’t finish it in a day.

I remember when part of the experience of watching a DVD included special features, bonus tracks, secret menus with outtakes, and many other interactive features. Sadly, none of the DVD special features are available via any online video store. Don’t forget, if you have a slow internet connection, or if internet service is disrupted for some reason, your not going to be able to watch your video at all!

You can't watch the specil feautures online!

Possibly the biggest limitation of all is the content that’s available, or more importantly, not available, on these online streaming platforms as stated in this quote from an article by Scientific American, How Hollywood Is Encouraging Online Piracy.

“Yet, perhaps most important, there’s the availability problem. New movies aren’t available online until months after they are finished in the theaters, thanks to the “windowing” system—a long-established obligation that makes each movie available, say, first to hotels, then to pay-per-view systems, then to HBO and, only after that, to you for online rental.”

Online Piracy, Yo Ho!

There’s only one solution if you missed that new summer smash in the theater but its not available for online rental yet… Illegal video piracy! Yes, the despicable practice of watching movies for free on the internet illegally seems to be supported by the red tape imposed by Hollywood studio lawyers. The trend of online piracy has been rising ever since it became possible to “rip” DVD’s and put them on a website for everyone to enjoy as unpaid entertainment. The sad thing is that most people would choose to pay for these movies if they were given the opportunity, but because of all of the Hollywood legal so-and-so, people are forced into the seedy criminal activity of pirated media streaming.

Want it, Love it, Own it!

Either way, nothing will ever beat actually buying a DVD that you love. Remember, when you own a DVD you can watch the media and all the features as many times as you want, anytime you want. Online streaming, whether legal or illegal, means that if the website is down, your not watching, if your internet is out, fat chance, and if you want Blu-Ray quality, good luck getting your stream to play without interruption.




Tech Spotlight: Roland VR-5 – Mixer & Recorder for Live Streaming

Looking for something new to drool over? Check out the Roland VR-5, a powerhouse of audio and video technology. Connect your cameras, microphones, and  computer, and you have a single interface for professional quality live A/V streaming.

VR5 AV Mixer and Recorder for Live Streaming
VR-5 AV Mixer and Recorder for Live Streaming (Brochure Cover)

I am personally a fan of Roland Professional Audio and Video Technology and was very impressed to see the VR-5 in action at this years Government Video Expo. As usual, Roland has provided professional quality gear, in a small, durable package. What was once a room full of equipment, operators, and technicians, now is mobile, affordable, and sleek package that can be operated by a single individual with little expertise. A touch screen selects between 3 live video feeds and an additional media screen. I was happy to inquire about the unit with the representative at Roland and get my hands on this cool piece of video / audio gear. At a price tag of just over $5,000, this is quite an amazing piece of hardware.

Steps to conect and broacast audio and video
The VR-5 is Easy as 1234

So as we prepare for the new year, we at Word Wizards would like to put this cool new gadget on your radar. The technician is only as good as the tool, so if you think its time for an upgrade you might want to take a closer look. And don’t forget to send your friends at Word Wizards all of your footage for transcription, captioning, and logging next year!