Originally Posted by Nebiroth
I agree with an earlier poster: what is really driving this is a massive push from the content providers. Whilst they were always happy with the revenues from "home video" (i.e., that sold on permanent physical media, such as VHS, DVD and BluRay) they were never happy with the result.
With a physical copy, once you have bought it, it is yours to do with as you wish. You can watch it as often as you like, on any player you like - and you can even resell it if you don't want it any more. With DVD and BluRay, the international market became very important.
DVD was always designed as a single-world market: the idea was, you would be able to buy a disc from anywhere and play it on any player, anywhere in the world. Region coding was really a late addition, which is why it is so weak and easy to defeat, because the content providers wanted to protect things like cinema revenues: they were afraid that the viewers would start to break their monopoly of control. So for example, a movie fan here in England would not need to wait for the six months between a Star Wars movie to go to cinemas in the US and England: they could instead buy the movie on DVD and import it.
This gives insight into just how control
is always on the agenda.
With streaming (and downloading, although slightly less so), the world actually takes a step backward towards the state we had before: it is, essentially, subscription television.
You never actually own the content; it is, instead, only available at the whim of the content provider. They can pull it any time they like. You like that old 1960's TV show? Wanna watch an episode? Whoops: your streaming service only had time-limited rights, which have no lapsed, or not enough people were watching, so they pulled it. So you're out of luck; unless someone else carries it. It's like being back decades where you watched a show and if you liked it, you waited to see if the broadcaster repeated it.
And, thanks to "geolocking" there will be no more importing shows that got a release in another terrtory, but not your own. Most streaming services analyse things like IP addresses, to make sure you're in a "permitted area". Lots of them also insist that your billing address is inside the domestic area too.
There are lots of shows on Amazon.com's streaming service: living in England, I can't watch them, because they're geolocked. There are ways around this, but they're complicated and expensive.
So welcome to the world of streaming: the world where content providers have absolute control, and where you pay every time you want to watch that favourite episode of Star Trek..at least, until the rights lapse and it's no longer there.
They like it because control is firmly back with them and it does away with all the costs of producing, transporting etc associated with physical media. It's a win-win: for them.
I like owning something on DVD. I don't like the idea of being a suppliant to a digital deity. Moreover, I'm not mobile-obssessed (in fact I find it incomprehensible why anyone would ever want to watch a movie made in glorious high-definition crushed down a narrow internet tube to be squinted at on a tiny screen)
I've no objection to the concept of home servers, where you place your content on a centralised store - you get all the convenience of easy, instant access on all your own devices. But that's not what streaming services is all about. And the push is most definitely towards streaming, not downloading. Downloading is exactly the same as buying a DVD - but without owning a shiny disc. The concept of ownership is the same (although dowload services tend to be geolocked too)