Let’s pretend I’m Joe College-Grad Consumer and I’m trying to evaluate how I should obtain my video content. I’m interested in watching shows as they come out – not later when they’re on box sets. Let’s see, I could buy my content on iTunes, Amazon Unbox, or some other such service. If I buy my content on iTunes I can watch it via iTunes or via my iPod. So if I have Linux, Haiku OS, or some other uncommon operating system I can’t watch it. Amazon does them one better and not even Mac users can watch it. If I have some other video jukebox than an iPod, I can’t watch my videos on the go. If I buy it via Amazon, I can’t even put it on my iPod. Both are riddled with DRM so if they decided to stop providing the service, I’m stuck with videos I can’t convert over to some new device. If I want to burn it to DVD to watch on my DVD player, I can’t. Oh yeah, and for some stupid reason, if I don’t live in the USA I can’t watch it until months or even years later.
Now let’s take a look at unauthorized video sources such as bit torrent. I can watch this video on any operating system from Linux to Windows to Mac to Haiku OS and any other OS with the appropriate codecs. I can put the video on anything from a Creative Video player to an iPod video. I can burn it to DVD and watch it this way. I can watch it anywhere in the world. Yet, this is free! Oh yeah, and these videos can be used for Fair Use reasons because their lack of digital restrictions management allows me to embed them into reports, projects, etc
So where did economics breaks down? Isn’t capitalism supposed to work that the more money you pay for something, the more value you get? Shouldn’t the videos I pay money for have MORE freedoms than the ones I can download? Quality used to be a problem, but now that people have HD tuner cards, I don’t even get better quality when I pay for something.
Video content producers need to get their stuff into order if they don’t want to get the point where no one will be willing to pay for their content. For me, that means videos without DRM. Don’t worry, I won’t share it with anyone. I just want to be able to watch it whenever and however I want and one whatever OS or portable player I want.