BoingBoing are reporting on a new download service that will allow the legal downloading of Hollywood movies. The caveat is that not only can they only be played in Windows, but they cost twice the price of buying a DVD, and burnt copies can only be played on a PC. Somehow they justify calling them DVDs despite this.
I’m not a fan of digital distribution since I like having DVDs/games/CDs on my shelf which I can browse through but I see it as an inevitability, and I sincerely hope that they start to show the consumers some respect if they expect people to buy into this. iTunes has the right idea by making downloading a matter of clicking a button and bundling in fairly permissive DRM (if we must have DRM that’s the kind to have) while making the price reasonable, but nobody will pay double the price of the physical media for such a crippled copy.
The assertion that people will pay that for the convenience is just laughable as well. I hear people saying that they use iTunes to get new albums for the convenience, even though it’s usually cheaper than actually going to the shop and buying it. Double the price isn’t the cost of convenience – it’s extortionate. Not to mention that, like the comment on BoingBoing says, the files are going to be big (you need at least 700MB for a passable quality movie) and it’s never going to be more convenient to sit and download for a couple of hours than it is to go five minutes away and buy the shiny new DVD…for half the price.