Warner Bros Launches Streaming Service – Is it Worth it? - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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Old 04-10-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
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If you've been longing to see old classic movies and Netflix isn’t quite cutting it for you, Warner Bros has launched a new subscription OTT service called Warner Archive Instant. But is it worth it?

Warner Bros has a century-long history of TV and movie production going back all the way to the 1920s. This would lead you to believe that subscribing to its service a no-brainer. Well, not exactly. According to TDG analyst Bill Niemeyer, Warner Archive Instant doesn't provide a whole lot of content. It's been referred to as "Netflix Lite" and comes at a higher price.

Let's take a look at what Warner Archive Instant has to offer:

  • Subscription cost – $9.99/month (vs. Netflix’s $7.99/month);
  • A somewhat ‘limited’ library of streaming movies and TV shows from the WB libraries:
  • Movies – 126 (I counted) from the 1920s to the 1990s. Some are genuine ‘must watch’ classics (Dark Passage, A Bad Day at Black Rock), some are cult favorites, and some are filler from the dusty depths of the WB library (1949’s Gun Law Justice starring Jimmy Wakely – what? – who?);
  • TV – five series (yes, five – from the 1950s through 1970s). I might mention that on Netflix, TV shows get more viewing than movies;
  • Device support – PCs and Roku boxes (HD is only available on Roku); and
  • The FAQ speaks of curation but little is in evidence. Also, apparently there is no recommendation engine (maybe you don’t need one with less than 200 titles).

Although the idea is good, there are simply too many negatives with this solution. Limited content is perhaps the biggest issue. Many OTT services are chasing the same licensing agreements; even Netflix doesn't appeal to everyone due to the lack of certain material. Device support is another problem, since the market is getting flooded with different types of media players. Without seamless integration within media players and mobile devices, the audience is bound to be limited.

The Warner Bros service seems more like a beta version that was released too early to the public. You would expect a studio with so many movies and TV shows to offer access to more of its content, but that's far from the truth.

What would it take for you to subscribe the Warner Archive Instant service? What would it take to keep you as a subscriber?


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Old 04-10-2013, 07:22 PM
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TV – five series (yes, five – from the 1950s through 1970s). I might mention that on Netflix, TV shows get more viewing than movies;

One small thing missed in the article/OP is that in addition to all the "bad" is that TV "series" needs to be clarified. You don't even get full seasons, only selected episodes.
So, if you're absolutely dying to watch selected episodes from seasons 2 & 3 (but not the entire seasons, mind you) of 77 Sunset Strip (or late-80s insta-classic Disorderlies) and have nothing better to do with a ten-spot, Warner Archive is tailored precisely for you.
accompanied by a bizarre selection of TV shows, some of which are represented as "best of" sets, rather than the entire season

Source: Warner Brothers Thinks What People REALLY Want In A Streaming Service Is Something That Costs More But Offers Less
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:02 PM
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And another example of when the studios control content distribution via the internet (as they are jonesing to do with UHD content)... you pay more and get less. Way less.

Doesn't give me the warm fuzzies.

Listen up, studios! Just say "NO" to DNR and EE!!
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Old 04-10-2013, 08:47 PM
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With all the content they have available, why on earth wouldn't they offer more of it with this service? Do they honestly expect this to be hit with such limited content? I could see if they offered a larger share of their content, but this just looks half baked. My $ .02

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Old 04-10-2013, 09:38 PM
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WAI hasn't even shown up in the Roku channel store yet. I agree 100% with the comments about lack of content.Warner can do a lot better than that.They'll have too for $10/mo.Premium prices requires premium service,which the current offerings seem to lack. frown.gif
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Old 04-11-2013, 09:12 AM
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Even if the content was stellar, this is the exact scenario I want to avoid. I don't want to have a $10 subscription to each individual studio, and one to netflix and god knows what else.

I don't want 50 different friggin bills a month, that all add up to cost me much much more that traditional physical media models. Let a 3rd party vendor like netflix distribute your product. Please.
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Old 04-11-2013, 10:37 AM
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Its sticking your toe in the water to see how it feels approach.

Most of the studios have only a small portion of their content issued even on VHS or DVD.

If each of the studios could make a subscription based service to access a good portion of their archive, then being able to sign up on a monthly charge of $10 would be worth it. If it is only a very meager sample of their archive then they should not bother.

When we think of what people get charged for similar services by Cable/Satellite then making comments that some main provider like Amazon Prime or Netflix should be the only distributor is not practical because of the volume of content to search through.

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Old 04-11-2013, 06:40 PM
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I am being a bit skew from the conversation but I surely hope that whatever Warner decides to do, it become less a hit and miss affair than Netflix rentals. I have rented many classics and vintage DVD movies that were horrible. The transfers to DVD seemed as if they used interlaced material meant for TVs (video rather than source film). This included several Warner selections.

At this point - I find that even some streaming movies and cable channel showings of movies are better than many DVDs out there. I just hope that Warner has the courtesy and class to use excellent quality source material (masters etc.) and not screw the public with bad copies, or overly compressed streams.
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