I Just Don't Get Watching Movies On A Computer... - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 04:09 PM - Thread Starter
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Begin Rant/

I know it's the thing kids do these days: watch movies on their computer, or even iPod or whatever. But even among a number of my more techy friends and acquaintances my age (45) a number watch movies on their computer, often downloaded and all that.

First, on one level, it disturbs me because I like to pay for any music I download (via itunes...I know...some people don't like Apple either but at least artists get paid).

When it comes to music, I was a musician and so was my father, my brother and many of my friends are musicians. I resolutely think musicians should get paid for their music. (Especially seeing how they struggle).

As far as movies: same thing. I'm in the film business myself and people downloading pirated movies, watching them when those movies are in the theaters or before they are on DVD is, to my mind, unethical and has ramifications for my livelihood. (Even if I weren't in the business I'd feel it was wrong).

Ok, that's me on my self-righteous box.

But the other side of the coin is just...what the hell is with watching movies on computers anyway? Take one of my extended family members who watches movies downloaded that way. To paraphrase the scene: I ask him if he saw The Dark Knight. He'd seen it on his computer of course. What did he think of the movie? He shrugged his shoulders. "It was ok I guess." (And he did critique it as well).

He didn't really get much of the spectacle out of it of course "I'm sure it probably looked better in the theaters...but I haven't watched a movie in a movie theater for years."

(Side note: I went to Christmas Shop for some DVDs his gifts, a list of movies in hand that he said he would like. Of course, not one of the movies on the list actually existed as a DVD yet: either the movie was still in the theater, or wasn't due out on DVD for months. But when you operate in a world where you view movies independently of when a studio actually releases them for viewing, of course you get out of touch with the process of actually paying for movies).

I just can not relate to this at all: it's sort of like devaluing everything you watch. Never seeing anything as it was meant to be seen. Deflating the spectacle of any spectacular movie. Never getting sucked into a movie as you do with a big picture with the lights out. It's a weird thing to me when someone cares enough about movies to bother searching them out, downloading them, watching them...but not enough to care whether the movie is presented in a compelling fashion whatsoever. I mean, I knew people who were hyped about the fact they saw the last Lord of The Rings movie WHILE it was in the theater, on their computer. How can you care so much about seeing a movie...but not actually give a damn that you've reduced the viewing experience to the crappiest level possible? Wouldn't the movie have been much better on the Big Screen in surround sound like it was meant to be seen? What is the point of being excited enough to search out early copies of the movie...but not actually wish to get the full experience out of watching it? "I can't wait to see that hugely expensive new Lord Of The Rings movie, can you? So let's make sure we watch the crappiest image of the film possible on a tiny screen!" It strikes me as a strange false-economy of priorities.

I just can't wrap my head around this way of operating. And as both someone in the business and as a long time film devotee, it's just so sad to me to see so many people going this route, with films seen in such substandard "just to see them." It seems to do such a disservice to the efforts that go into film-making, when you have an audience that cares so little for the result.

/End Rant
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post #2 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 04:34 PM
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I hear you bro. However, it comes down to different strokes for different folks. Food lovers could say the exact same about me. Eating is work for me. I don't like groceries shopping, cooking, chewing, or cleaning. I wish I had a hatch where I could pour food in and be done a minute. Fine dining is the biggest waste of money to me, behind gambling and smoking.
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post #3 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bing View Post

I hear you bro. However, it comes down to different strokes for different folks. Food lovers could say the exact same about me. Eating is work for me. I don't like groceries shopping, cooking, chewing, or cleaning. I wish I had a hatch where I could pour food in and be done a minute. Fine dining is the biggest waste of money to me, behind gambling and smoking.

LOL. You're right, different strokes: There are few ways I'd rather spend my money than fine dining!
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post #4 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 06:18 PM
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Kind of a touchy subject to bring into these forums......altho watching a 720P movie on a 22" LCD with Sennheiser HD555's isnt as bad as you might think.

Well, thats what I've heard anyways.
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post #5 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 06:34 PM
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Well, some people take their DVDs to work and watch them on their 28" monitor when there is nothing else to do, or at least that's what I've heard.

I guess it beats being bored.

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post #6 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 06:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Well, ok, we can strike the "ethical" bit off the discussion (just getting it off my chest).

But sticking with the aesthetic issue: Watching movies on a computer. I just couldn't even sit through a whole movie that way.
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post #7 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 07:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Well, ok, we can strike the "ethical" bit off the discussion (just getting it off my chest).

But sticking with the aesthetic issue: Watching movies on a computer. I just couldn't even sit through a whole movie that way.

I've watched a movie on my iPhone while waiting at the doctor's office, beats just sitting there. If it's really good I'll check it in my theater later.

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post #8 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 07:32 PM
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I'd never watch movies on a computer as a preference but I did have to do that on 2 separate occasions. One of the guns on my CRT RPTV went out, and I took it in for repairs under warranty. It took the shop 3 weeks to get it done. Meanwhile I had to watch TV and movies on a 17" monitor which I had hooked up to an old DVDO iScan Plus. The second occasion was before that when my Pioneer combo disc player's tray wouldn't open and I also took that in for repairs under warranty. To watch DVDs I used a computer that my niece's dad brought over to my house. For sound I used headphones. It's not the same as watching it on my system and much of the movies' impacts are lessened watching them in that fashion. At least it wasn't like some videos on YouTube where one might as well be watching movies in EP recorded VHS in mono that's been played hundreds of times before.

I get the portability/ease of access/entertainment factors but some movies, especially those with a grand scope like LOTR I feel should be watched on as large a screen as possible with a top notch sound system as was intended.

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post #9 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 09:22 PM
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I travel a lot and watch movies on my computer all the time: airports, airplanes, taxis, hotels...boring meetings and conferences Please note those are all legal (either DVDs I own/rented or Netflix or Hulu streaming...I'm not touching the legal issue of your post.

In fact, I just watched a movie on my phone tonight while my kid was at karate practice (they were in a different room than usual tongiht where I couldn't watch). Sure I could've sat there staring at the wall for an hour, but I figured I'd rather watch something....anything.

If someone would rather watch a movie on their iPod than just sit on the bus staring at the homeless guy, why should I care? Doesn't bother me how he wants to watch the movie. Same if someone wants to play a DVD on their minivan's 8" screen to keep the kid happy during a trip. Same as if someone would rather watch a movie on their laptop during a 3 hour layover than just sit in the terminal people-watching. Who cares? You might as well look down on people who have iPods (because we all know mp3s aren't the best quality, but iPods sure are more convenient than carrying around a suitcase full of CDs and a Sony Walkman)

That being said, I don't know anyone who would sit at home, look at their TV/surround sound setup, then decide they'd rather turn that off and snuggle up on the couch and watch the movie on their iPod instead. It's mostly about convenience and portability, but given the chance, I would think nearly everyone will choose the best experience (I'm discounting pirates of course, who put "free" above "quality" but that's a different issue than what I'm discussing)

It's just that you can't lug around your plasma/LCD/projector with you everywhere. Well I suppose you could take your projector and a battery pack and project it on the back of the fat lady on the bus...but then you'd have to deal with her husband who would undoubtedly be upset about you using his wife as a movie screen.
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post #10 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 10:18 PM
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I don't see anything wrong with it as long as you own the movie..
if your watching a movie while on the go or at work that's fine as well.
I don't understand were you'd watch a film on the PC at home when you've got a TV with player just In the other room
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post #11 of 42 Old 12-22-2008, 11:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

How can you care so much about seeing a movie...but not actually give a damn that you've reduced the viewing experience to the crappiest level possible?

For some people (not me), it's not about watching the movie, it's about being able to talk about what all your friends are talking about.
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post #12 of 42 Old 12-23-2008, 12:01 AM
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I watch movies and tv shows on my PC more than I do with my TV.
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post #13 of 42 Old 12-23-2008, 07:05 AM
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I think there is an assumption going on. The vast majority of people don’t have home theaters, and most don’t have 42”+ HDTV screens for viewing. According to DisplaySearch, a market research company, the average television size in North America was 29 inches in the first quarter of 2006 and was expected to expand to nearly 35 inches during the first quarter of 2008. Also, the majority of people don’t sit at the suggested viewing distance for various reasons. I’d bet 90% don’t even know about SMPTE. If we take an average TV size of 36”, someone watching at 10’ isn’t anymore immersed than someone watching on a 20” computer monitor. At least when you watch on a 20” monitor, you’re sitting at the appropriate distance. I’ve never watched a movie on my 17” LCD monitor, but I have seen trailers, and they can look fantastic.

Not forgetting I was young at a point in time in my life, I can understand why watching on a computer isn’t a bad thing, and sometimes the only way to watch. I only watch in my entertainment room on my 50” plasma, but that’s because I’m older, wiser, and more importantly, wealthier; three things not always associated with youth.
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post #14 of 42 Old 12-23-2008, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Aliens View Post

Not forgetting I was young at a point in time in my life, I can understand why watching on a computer isn't a bad thing, and sometimes the only way to watch. I only watch in my entertainment room on my 50 plasma, but that's because I'm older, wiser, and more importantly, wealthier; three things not always associated with youth.

In the spirit of the OP, I'm sure sure other people with their 150" screens and $75,000+ home theaters can't understand how you can suffer through watching movies on a lowly 50" plasma.

What I got from the OP (and I apologize because I know it wasn't the intent, but this was my first impression of the post) was that he was looking down on anyone who would suffer through a movie on anything but the finest equipment.
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post #15 of 42 Old 12-23-2008, 08:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mproper View Post


What I got from the OP (and I apologize because I know it wasn't the intent, but this was my first impression of the post) was that he was looking down on anyone who would suffer through a movie on anything but the finest equipment.

No, but my OP was something of a mish-mash of various issues though.
I was generally talking about the "download movies and watch them on the computer" approach. And the (to me) strange sense of priorities that occur within that approach. For instance those who want to see a movie on their computer while it's in the theaters. You get people bragging they watched Lord Of The Rings without having to go to the theater and what they watched was some guy's sneaked in camcorder of the movie, uploaded for others to see. I can't put together the idea of having such a desire to see the movie as to seek it out on line and find a version of it...while having apparently no desire to actually see the movie look any good or experience it in the way that would give you the best experience of the movie (e.g. on the big movie screen). I can't see through this way of thinking. As I put it, to me it's like "I can't wait to see Lord Of The Rings...and in the crappiest presentation possible!"

Related to that is not just the "camcorder" versions of movies but searching out and downloading movies in general to watch on the computer. As I pointed out, this isn't simply an issue of impoverished teens doing it: quite a number of folks I know do this, including many who could clearly afford to own a decent display at home or rent/buy the movie. (The fellow I referenced in the OP is in fact very well off).

Yet they will download movies, typically in less than DVD quality, and watch them on the computer. As I said: I'm not saying people ought not have the choice to watch a movie on a computer. I'm just expressing my own perspective. How I can't penetrate that mind-set. Where you care enough about movies to actually want to see them, search them out, download them and sit all the way through watching them on a computer screen....but somehow don't care about movies enough to want to experience the film any better than that.

And, as I said, while many people may be happy doing so, it does pain me somewhat that so much effort that goes into movies in hopes the audience will experience the image in an immersive, quality experience, is so diminished by this type of viewing experience.

Still, aside from the computer and ipod-watching crowd, I know that film-makers are cheered these days by the rise of Home Theater and the growing prevalence of good displays in the home and surround sound, where they feel their work is being seen in closer to the quality they would hope it is experienced.
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post #16 of 42 Old 12-23-2008, 10:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post


I just can't wrap my head around this way of operating. And as both someone in the business and as a long time film devotee, it's just so sad to me to see so many people going this route, with films seen in such substandard "just to see them." It seems to do such a disservice to the efforts that go into film-making, when you have an audience that cares so little for the result.

/End Rant

Same boat here except my 20ish niece gives me a different perspective. She lives in a world where a big TV, several grand in equipment and stacks of vapor media (in her opinion) is taboo. Considering the amount of BS movies and music produced these days, she has a point. I don't agree with everything she likes (facebook? yuk) but in some respects, she's way ahead of me at her age.

Now, if she evolves to the music/film business and requires a big house with a 30,000 theater rig, I might have to visit for a screening or 2
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post #17 of 42 Old 12-24-2008, 09:22 AM
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I agree with the OP ideas of seeing a poor rendition of a film. I always prefer the initial viewing to be on my HT rig, in surround without distractions. That said, I also carry my ipod with movies on it, although they are usually movies that are driven more by the storytelling, or dialogue than by the big screen spectacle. The South Park movie, or the Big Lebowski is every bit the movie on the small screen due to the brilliant writing, acting, directing, etc. The Dark Knight would not have had near the impact on the 2" screen and I am sure that I would not have given it such a good review under those circumstances.
Both have their place, but my opinion is that the small screens are really only good for repeat viewings, not the first time to see a flick. I also like having a movie playing in a window on my screen when working on other things on the PC, but the movie is just acting as filler, its not my main activity at the time.
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post #18 of 42 Old 12-24-2008, 10:45 AM - Thread Starter
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Well, I have to admit being a gadget-guy that I've always found the idea of a "wrist TV" cool. And now we are sort of at that stage of personal, portable TVs with iPods and the like. So, yeah, I do like the cool factor.

But...still....
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post #19 of 42 Old 12-24-2008, 11:24 AM
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Gaming is a lean forward activity.
Movies are a lean back activity.

Nuff said!
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post #20 of 42 Old 12-24-2008, 01:20 PM
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wth, I lean back in my chair

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post #21 of 42 Old 12-24-2008, 10:04 PM
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BTW, A 20" computer monitor 2.5' in front of your face is larger than a 44" widescreen TV 8' away from you. I have a LazyBoy and a bedside table I can roll right in front of me, and I have watched DVD's many times on the computer. I also have a 96" screen for the projector which we pull down over the TV which we watch 13' from the screen. It all depends on what I/we feel like at the time. I certainly wouldn't be upset over someone else's decision to watch anything on any size screen. I don't think the size of the screen would subtract from the movie's quality or the impact it may have as much as the movie itself. If one can get immersed into the story, the visuals are secondary anyway... much like the older B&W "films" shot in 4.3 which are rather lousy quality-wise. For me this has never been an issue, so long as the movie itself is good. One thing I so agree with, however, is the ipod. 2" is just too small for me... probably the eyesight.

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post #22 of 42 Old 12-25-2008, 07:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yosh70 View Post

wth, I lean back in my chair


Forget about watching the movie on the PC... having that big-a$$ computer box on my desk like that would just annoy the holy crap outta me!

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post #23 of 42 Old 12-25-2008, 03:14 PM
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Well for me watching movies on a computer (assuming it is like a 17" monitor sitting at a desk) or worse a two inch screen on an iPod is just a joke. Watching films is an experience that, IMO, is meant to be savored and engrossing. I can get this even with 80 year old films in my theater. This type of engaging expereience is lost on a little screen.


I do get it with those who travel a lot and need to burn time but I don't go to the doctor all that much and a couple of articles in a magaizine is the most needed in the waiting room when I do.

The pirating thing is simply wrong so that is pretty much open and shut as far as I'm concerned.

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post #24 of 42 Old 12-25-2008, 06:01 PM
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I couldn't imagine watching a movie on a screen as small as an Ipod, then I put my digital copy of Rambo on my pod...I had already seen and experienced it on my big screen, so it became a nice filler/distraction at work on my breaks and lunch and riding the bus...which I do often. It's still interesting and fun on a small screen & with a good pair of headphones it's just another way to watch a movie. I've added Hell Boy 2 with more to come, and now I've got my movies and music (uncompressed wav. files)wherever I go..pretty cool!.
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post #25 of 42 Old 12-28-2008, 12:01 PM
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I don't think I'd ever watch a movie for the first time on a portable, but it's a decent option when on the go and listening to a commentary track. We don't travel too often, but when we do the laptop always has a couple movies I've already seen (and which I own) ready to go. And now I can add my Sansa to the mix when the video is a low priority (MST3k shows, etc.).
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post #26 of 42 Old 12-28-2008, 06:32 PM
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I have a 21" widescreen monitor on my computer, but i still wouldnt want to watch a movie with good special effects on it. Plus its not as comfy in my computer room as it is on my couch.

However, porn movies are fine on it...................................

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post #27 of 42 Old 12-28-2008, 07:52 PM
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I watch ALL my DVD/BD/HD DVD movies on a computer....

However, they are all stored lossless on Hard Drives, and hooked up to my 61" 1080p Sammy

As much as I love my little Home Theater setup, I still very much enjoy going to the theater, and these days I thoroughly enjoy the independent-film theater showings.

I do agree that I would not want to watch on a small monitor, or a portable device, as well as a poor quality download (although I do watch Netflix Watch Instanty from time to time).
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post #28 of 42 Old 12-29-2008, 07:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flyersfan View Post

I don't think I'd ever watch a movie for the first time on a portable, but it's a decent option when on the go and listening to a commentary track

I feel the same. Like the OP stated, I want to get sucked into a movie. I always watch a movie for the first time on my big screen. I guess I'm getting spoiled, but its great to watch a movie on a large screen at home with glorious surround sound. I can't watch a movie for the first time on a computer or Ipod. Its just not the same. Subsequent viewing are fine on a small screen, but first showings gotta be the best I can make them.
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post #29 of 42 Old 12-29-2008, 10:26 AM
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I have taken a vow to never watch a movie on a PC. I know other folks who have taken the vow also. Cut my arm off, feed me rank smelling fish, tell me the sky if about to fall but I'll never flinch.
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post #30 of 42 Old 12-31-2008, 08:06 PM
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Once, when a DVD wouldn't play on my DVD player (I had an older one at the time), I ended up watching the DVD ("Thank You for Smoking") on my laptop. It wasn't too bad an experience. This Christmas, I received the WALL-E 3-Disc Special Edition, with the 3rd DVD being a digital copy that I can throw onto my iPod (Touch). For my first viewing, though, I did watch WALL-E on my modest TV/regular DVD player. Now of course, I'm regretting not catching it in the theater.

Rick Umali / www.rickumali.com/
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