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Region problem and why I don't want downloads to replace packaged media

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
Hope this isn't against any forum rules, but I feel the need to let this out. If I posted this in the wrong place, my apologies, please move it.

The main reason I don't want video downloads to replace packaged media is the region issue. It's less of an issue to Americans, who typically get good treatment, but living in the UK, I'm used to importing US Blu-ray Discs when there's a better deal.

For example "Cars" and "Ratatouille" appeared on BD here much later than in the US and in the UK, both of those films have had minor voice parts overdubbed with British celebrities, meaning they're not the original film and I'm not interested in them when I can buy the US version. Video downloads and their tied-to-region nature would likely mean I'd be a lot more reluctant to buy these films and I'd look to some other method of getting the real thing.

It works the other way around too - sometimes the US gets the shoddier treatment (the older edited version of "Eyes Wide Shut" with the silhouettes replacing the orgy scene). Would you actually want to be locked out of getting the real deal?

There's also Xbox Live's HD download service. I can hardly watch anything on it because whenever I try, I get a message telling me "This content is not available in your area".

I'm cool with downloads replacing video rental stores - nothing lost in my case, and a lot of convenience gained. But replacing real packaged discs - no thanks. If the studios ever want me to embrace that idea (we'll be ice skating in hell first), they're going to have to sort out this region nonsense and treat the whole world equally.
post #2 of 7
I'm with you. Here in Canada we get DVD and Blu-Ray releases day and date with the U.S., but we only get a fraction of the legal downloads and even cable channels that the U.S. gets. So, while Americans can choose from multiple legal ways to see a video (DVD, specialty cable channel, download service), we often have only one (DVD)!
post #3 of 7
Wow, are you serious? I didn't even know Canadians had that only option. Yeah you're right, but I doubt they're going to do something about it soon.
post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Even worse are the web-browser based video sites. My friends in the US often send me links from sites like AOL Video - I don't even bother clicking them anymore. All I usually see is "We are sorry. This content is not available in your region".

They need to sort it out - it is an advert for piracy in itself!
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyris View Post

"We are sorry. This content is not available in your region".

Same thing happens every time I try to download video from Amazon unbox, and exactly the same with Amazon mp3. It's already 2008 and I can't legally download a 3-minute stereo track because of "geographic restrictions". So far, nothing makes me hope that HD video downloads will soon be distributed worldwide. This is a message to media companies: Offer worldwide downloads if you want to stop piracy!
post #6 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by lyris View Post

Even worse are the web-browser based video sites. My friends in the US often send me links from sites like AOL Video - I don't even bother clicking them anymore. All I usually see is "We are sorry. This content is not available in your region".

They need to sort it out - it is an advert for piracy in itself!

It has been said that the Internet treats censorship as an error, and attempts to route around it.

Many people will probably take that message as a sign from Hollywood they should seek other Internet sources.

- Tom
post #7 of 7
...and hopefully Hollywood will take this message and move forward with more unified rights management.

It'll take quite a while to untangle the web of different regional rights though, paticularly for movies. That's inexorably tied to how films get financed today. Maybe that can figure out a carve-out for download services, at least for new content.

The problem is that that most markets don't have enough aggragate demand to bother with authoring across many services. One DVD can get sold in many countries. But one VOD asset may get encoded and published a half-dozen times per country to handle the different services. So a title that's economical given the size of the USA market isn't for the Canadian.

However, since this both annoys consumers and keeps the content companies from making some additional income, there will be pressure to start resolving it. Figuring out how to deal with local affiliates and production companies in order for networks to be able to directly publish TV shows electronically once looked insurmountable to. But they pushed new contracts through, insisted on partial or complete ownership in their content, and now it's actually working okay.

I'm glad not to be an owner of a local network affiliate, though...
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