Let’s state the obvious first:
The world is changing rapidly. Watching films online, or whatever you want to call it – VOD, legal downloading or online video rental – is going to be the main distribution method for films in the future. But this time the competition is not about shelf space, since a much bigger competitor has appeared to benchmark the results: Pirate Bay.
Pirate Bay is offering films for free, with the highest quality and with the best selection available. Its business is being labeled as being “illegal”, but really – it’s just the way things work today. If a video-on-demand service wishes to become the next Google – or YouTube, or Spotify – of film distribution, they need to start offering a better service than Pirate Bay, and adjust their business model to the world of today, not the one that existed in the 80s.
The Zombies wanted to take a look at what’s going on right now on that front – what are the services and what kind of competition they put up against Pirate Bay and other torrent sites? We did our best to dig out all of the publicly available VOD services in Finland, tried to watch a film via the platform, and scribed down the experiences.
Join the Zombies for the desperate voyage into the world of Video On Demand.
Googling and asking around the Twitter about VOD services, we came up with the following list. Note, that we ruled out all of the services that require you to be a customer of some specific third entity, like an operator (Elisa, Sonera, Welho etc.), because they are not even trying to do things right, and either die a slow and painful death, or become public eventually.
Here’s the list. Hope we aren’t missing anything:
DOING THE REVIEW
Here’s how I expect a good service to work:
Go in, pick a film, pay for it and watch.
There’s even a better way to do it:
Pay a monthly fee for a service, watch as much as you want from an ever-growing selection.
But that isn’t happening, at least not here in Finland, and not just yet. I heard Netflix is coming, and I’m really looking forward to it.
When working on the review, we tried to act as normal consumers – and that’s what we are. We don’t have any fancy equipment, and we suck at computers. Here’s our setup:
* An old-ass Philips TV-set, one of the big and clunky ones.
* A S-VHS-cable from my laptop to SCART (so the quality sucks, but it’s not the reason of the services, but we judge the quality by how it looks on our computer screens…)
* An HP laptop (Compaq nw8440) with Windows XP operating system.
* Firefox as our main browser, and Explorer if absolutely necessary.
* A decent sound setup (5.1 surround)
* 10mb Net connection.
So that’s how we roll. Come back tomorrow for the results, and day after that for some conclusions.