My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

Jul 24

Written by: Heather L. Sidorowicz
7/24/2012 11:31 AM  RssIcon

How do you watch a movie? I actually want to know.
 
Do you wait for a disc to be mailed to you? Are you one of the rare ones left with a rental place in your town or village? Do you use Red Box? Do you watch what you already own? Or do you stream?

Hi, my name is Heather and I am a streamer. 

I don’t watch movies more than once. (Okay, if Pretty Woman or Breakfast Club is on, and I’m on the couch with the stomach flu, AND there is nothing left on my DVR, then, yes, I will re-watch a movie–albeit reluctantly.) Oh, but if a movie is not in HD, then I’m not watching it. 

I’m too cheap and disorganized to actually purchase movies, which means that there is no way I own more than 10 DVD discs. And while patience may be a virtue, I unfortunately do not possess it, so there is no way I am waiting for a disc that I added to a queue six weeks ago to come in the mail. 

Enter video streaming. My dream date. 
 
Although I’ve strayed once or twice from AppleTV, I always come back to it. It is just so easy to use. 


At the end of the day and after fulfilling a litany of bedtime requests from my kids, I’m finally able to collapse down onto the couch. I’ve conquered the day (or it has conquered me), and I am beat. I don’t want to think anymore…about work, the kids, or anything else for that matter. It is my brain-drain time. If I’m really lucky, all of this happens at or before 8 p.m. And on these rare occasions where I don’t have to get up too early the next morning, I want to watch a movie.

Now a movie for me these days is a big commitment. Let’s be honest; most movies are not great. In fact, some are downright bad. Movies are no longer a mere hour and a half either. Oh no. The movie studios have decided that a movie must now be at least 2 hours or (gasp!) longer. So, if you start a movie at 8:30, you won’t be in bed before 11. (Yes, this is past my bedtime; I like my beauty sleep.)

If all my ducks line up in a row and the stars align, it’s movie time! I grab my professionally programmed URC remote and press my AppleTV button (macros baby!). Although I’ve strayed once or twice from AppleTV, I always come back to it. It is just so easy to use. Sure it costs one dollar more per movie rental, but I am happy to pay a little more for EASY. I rarely, if ever, have buffering issues and because it now has 1080p video and 5.1 Dolby Digital surround in most cases, why wouldn’t you use AppleTV? (Go ahead and give me reasons in the comments section.)

But here’s the rub: If you “rent” the movie, then you have 30 days to watch it. But, once you start watching it, you only have 24 hours to finish it. This drives me NUTS! If I don’t get to my comfy couch until 8 p.m. on Tuesday, I surely will not get back there before 8 p.m. on Wednesday. If I start the movie and one of the kids wakes up sick, or I get a call from a long lost friend, or if someone stops over to say hi–OK, they’re really stopping over for a glass of wine–then I’m doomed. I’m out $4.99, because I’m not getting back to that movie in time. Whoever made this 24-hour rule did not have kids…or much of a life. At least give me 30 hours. Geesh!

Alas, even with the risks, in my world, streaming reigns supreme. The ability to watch a new release the day it’s available or to choose a movie from my childhood to share the memories with my kids (say, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Labyrinth, or The Never Ending Story) is clutch. It’s what I want, when I want it, and without investing thousands of dollars in equipment or late fees. 

So again, I ask you: How do you watch movies at home in 2012? Do you even watch movies at home? Inquiring minds (or at least mine) want to know.

Heather L. Sidorowicz is project manager/designer for Southtown Audio Video in Hamburg, NY. 

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8 comment(s) so far...


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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

While I have no doubt that there are tons people out there who share this exact sentiment, I wonder if there are also those who would pay an additional fee to own a cloud archived copy of their requested title? This copy could be viewed any time, could be stored locally on NAS, or it could be cached and viewed any time from any portable device they wish (tablet, phone, etc...)

By Mike H on   7/25/2012 4:19 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

How do I watch movies at home in 2012? Tried Netflix for a while but didn't see real value from the service. Now I use Redbox almost exclusively - apart from going out to the movies about once a month. Redbox is only $1.20, and I've found that returning the disc to a kiosk by 9PM the next day hasn't been an issue. The selection is sometimes a bit limited and the new titles are often 'sold out' but it's still good enough for me.

By Mark Chisholm on   7/25/2012 4:20 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

I usually put movies I think I really want to watch in high quality on my Netflix BluRay queue. I think that a BluRay disc is still the best way to watch a movie. Movies that don't have to have the full high quality and that just "might" be interesting, I wait until they finally make their way to some TV channel. I have AppleTV but am not willing to spend #4.99 to rent from them given all the restrictions. I only use AppleTV for music or to echo my iPad screen.

By Gene McCollum on   7/25/2012 7:51 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

ROKU IS WHAT I INSTALL AND ACTUALLY MAKE MONEY ON AND HAVE THE BEST FEEDBACK FROM. I DO WHOLEHOUSE A/V AND APPLE IS A PAIN IN THE ASS BECAUSE IT COSTS AND EXTRA $500.00 TO MAKE IT WORK IN A WHOLEHOUSE SYSTEM BECAUSE IT DOESN'T DO COMPONENT AND IT DOESN'T HAVE ANALOGUE AND I HAVE TO DOWN REZ COMPONENT TO COMPOSITE SO I CAN STREAM IT TO IPHONES/PADS AND TOUCHSCREENS.
WHAT CUSTOMER HAS COMPLAINED TO ME THAT NETFLIX ONLY BROADCASTS IN STEREO????? SURPRISINGLY....NONE!!!! THEY DON'T CARE!

IF THEY REALLY WANT TO CRANK UP THE HOME THEATER IT'S ONE OF TWO WAYS.
A) THEY RENT A MOVIE B) THEIR DVD PLAYER HAS VUDU [WITH THE SAME ISSUE THAT PISSES YOU OFF, THE 24 HOUR CLOCK]

AMAZON DOES THE SAME THING AND DISH NETWORK [BLOCKBUSTER] DOES THE SAME THING [THE 24 HOUR CLOCK]

TIVO NOW REPLACES THE CABLE BOX AND USES A CABLE CARD. SOME CABLE SYSTEMS MAKE YOU USE A CABLE TUNER WITH IT [TIME WARNER] OTHER PROVIDERS [COMCAST] JUST PLUG IT IN AND LET IT GO.

NETFLIX, HULU PLUS, PANDORA ETC ARE ALSO INCLUDED AND IT HAS A GREAT GUI.

By GLEN LESLIE on   7/25/2012 8:41 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

Great issue. I used to purchase movies from dish network and would record them to my DVR for the reasons you addressed. However, now they too limit you to 24 hr time frame. Ridiculous. I used to subscribe to Netflix but then they raised their rates and the movie selection was old and the "latest" are not the latest and they certainly are not the best. My local rental shop pulled a dirty trick. We don't rent movies often, but it seemed every time we did they told us we owed late fees on our previous rentals. As it typically was a couple months between rental we paid the fees but it didn't seem right. The last time I was positive the movies were not returned late. The trick was they would tell you the movies were due back on "Wednesday" but what they didn't tell you was you had to return them before they closed at 10pm. If you dropped them in the return box after 10 they were late. Even if they were there when they opened the next day. Considering most movies are barely worth watching we really felt ripped off. My son is home from college. He gets EVERYTHING free off the internet. I have never been able to justify this tactic. However, Dish dropped AMC so no BREAKING BAD. AMC offered the season opener online for free. But not episode two. My son downloaded the appropriate software and configured everything in 10 minutes, downloaded episode two in about 15 minutes and I was watching the show, when I wanted for free. I think I have found my solution.

By Dennis C on   7/25/2012 10:31 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

We also are streamers. My wife and I ditched cable TV about 6 months ago and we stream all of our TV content. We do not do any "discs in the mail". I do like Rebox though. I find it pretty easy to use. I like to watch movies and my DVD collection is not exstensive, but I got 100+ DVDs that I like to watch.I want to connect an HD off air antenna so I can re gain my local channels. The news is probably what I miss most. And we can then get the prime time shows in HD for free. Yeah Baby!

By Tony Calabrese on   7/25/2012 11:04 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

This is becoming more and more the norm for people. That is, for those who buy a TV / device that has an app, link / set up their account on their own, navigate the app, pick and watch the content. Each step sheds viewers, particularly older / non-technical people.

I am 100% on board with streaming, I ONLY buy Blu-Rays as demos for clients and to test systems. A few 5.1 music - audio discs, Master & Commander (one of the BEST discs for system demo) but otherwise, I stream.

I have a Boxee, a home PC with HDMI out, AppleTV, Sony BDP S-780 and a host of other stream-ready devices. Can I stream? Yes, is it easy for me, mostly and I'm an IT person by trade that is VERY technical, but for most people it's still scary, hard, frustrating and fraught with fail.

The problems exist in a few places. First, the UI for most APP-enabled devices is straight-up bad. Obscurely named buttons in a sea of other buttons on remotes lead to inconsistent, difficult navigation to an app that has it's own, different navigation. This loses people. The worst offenders are the TV makers, their interactive TVs have frightfully bad interfaces. Worse, because its in the TV, routing audio back out through return channel HDMI or optical out if it has it, to equipment that can handle it, then the learning curve of "press this, then that, flip that knob" to just get it to come out of the speakers is insanity for most people. I have an AV business and I automate lots of stuff for people but I still refuse to integrate the TV features for people, they ALWAYS got lost / confused and the TVs that did overlays like Yahoo! lower 1/3 and crawlers would send people into apoplexy.

Then the streaming apps, everyone has a different deal with different content owners so I might get something free on netflix, 1.99 on Amazon, 2.49 on Vudu or a mix and match of availability / non-availability with sprinkles of weird Hollywood withholding of episodes of this and that, it's a virtual moving media target. I wanted to watch Dexter season 5 but NOOOOOO, I couldn't stream it until they decided it would be available, once the new season started.

Of all the services I have to say i like VuDu because it's nearly 1080p stream that is far superior to anything out now. The navigation is not awful but not intuitive. If you're going to stream a movie on a screen larger than 40" you need to use VUDU or you're missing some excellent pixels.

Ultimately there has to me a big streaming server with everything ever because the availability or lack thereof is a huge turn off for people and the cause of most piracy. The interfaces need to improve dramatically, apple excluded but their lack of app support is a deal breaker for me. We'll see this segment grow a lot, streaming devices are exploding and as people move from physical media they'll depend on these a lot more and that will drive everything forward.

By lionel felix on   7/27/2012 2:37 PM
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Re: My Name is Heather, and I am a Streamer

I'm in the same business you're in. Ironically, I do not have time to watch movies at home or anywhere else.

By Steven Bland on   7/29/2012 4:52 PM

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