You are currently reading another aviationally written post, but this time, I am sitting on an Austrian Airlines plane, not BMI! Wow! Clear skies, a sleeping father, an annoying man with a pillow and the prospect of starting my GCSE course in a week’s time, are a few things going through my mind. To be honest, I had not planned to write a part two of the previous post, and I don’t want to really waste time explaining the whole HTML tag title thing, so just read the original post, where all is revealed.
The last post of this topic concentrated mainly on mobile phone networks and such. Today, I want to elaborate on that a bit, plus bring in another industry, namely, TV and film.
Let’s start off with an issue dear to our heart and not in anyway related to Apple, which the next part will be. I live in the UK, but from the stories and articles I read, I too have developed a hatred for AT&T, an American mobile carrier. There are several reasons why I hate them, including the fact that their customer service is apparently complete dog-excrements and their coverage is terrible for what they expect you to pay, but the real thing that ticked me off was their recent “streamlining” of their texting plans.
Back in January, they had 3 plans: $5 (500 texts), $10 (1000 texts) and $20 (unlimited). They cut out the $5 option. Ok, no biggie. Now, just a few weeks ago, they cut out the $10! What does that mean? It means all or nothing. You can either pay a ridiculous amount of money for single texts or pay an even more ridiculous price for a plan. Please, do not believe the crap that the spokespeople feed you; they are not “streamlining” pricing plans, but playing a game. SMSs were always a rip off, for example, the average fir a text in the US is 20¢, but it only costs the carrier 0.5¢ to send one. They make close to 100% profit from SMS! Billions and billions of dollars are made from SMS, worldwide. As technology evolves, there will be more and more free texting services available for free, like the FB messages app, BBM or iMessage. The carriers loose money from these services. Is it just a coincidence that AT&T did this just after the launch of the FB messages app and just before the launch of iOS 5? No! Of course not!
I believe that the carriers will soon become just mobile Internet providers, while the call and text conglomerate crumbles. Services like Google Voice, FaceTime and Skype are pouching for this, but if that happens, guess what the carrier does? It caps its Internet allowance, just like we are seeing happening now. Remember the good old days of unlimited (well, kind of)? All or nothing.
Now, let’s move on to TV and film. Don’t we all like to sit down and watch our favorite show after school or work, or invite friends over to watch a film on your 55″ 3D TV and 5.1 surround sound system? Well, I don’t have a 55″ 3D TV and a 5.1 surround sound system, but I still like watching films! The annoying thing is actually getting the film. DVDs are ok, but old, Blu-ray is expensive, so downloading is the best option, especially since everyone owns a computer (the whole DRM thing is another issue altogether). A whole new issue arises when the studios and networks don’t play ball.
The Apple TV cannot store large amounts of video; it’s designed for streaming, so as part of iCloud, Apple introduced streaming of your already purchased shows. Cool feature, right? Then, if they can do that, why can’t I stream it to my computer through iTunes? Why? Because the networks say so. That’s the sad truth, unfortunately. They ignore the fact that I have purchased the show, so I have the right to watch it how, where, and when I want, right?
Here is another fun fact. I have about 100GB of movies on my computer. Don’t ask how or why I have so much; it’s also a mystery to me too! But the point is, I want to delete some of the films I never watch, yet still have the option to download and stream them whenever I want. That’s not too much to ask for. I want access to my films, whether they are stored locally or not. Well, the studios don’t want that either, that means that movie streaming is not coming anytime soon to Apple TV. The big reason for this is something called the HBO window. HBO is an American TV network, which have dedicated movie channels. They pay billions to three out of the six movie studios for this HBO window. That means that during the period between release and DVD release, they have exclusive showing rights, meaning that no service may offer the movie for download and/or streaming during this 12-month window. So even if I buy a movie before the HBO window starts, I will be unable to download/stream it even though I have paid for it! See the problem?
This is wrong. There is absolutely no excuse the studios can make that justifies this, except for “we want more money at the expense of our consumer”. If this stops, then we will be able to have our films available anywhere at any time, as it should really be.
One quick extra thought. You know that at the end of every TV series, they decide whether it should be renewed or cancelled. They judge the popularity of TV shows through the amount of viewers that tune in every time it airs, and not the numbers of Hulu or any other online service, as they get less money from advertising. Again, this is wrong, as a show might be hugely popular, but nobody tunes in as it at an inconvenient time. This happened with my favorite show, which was cancelled after only one series.
Look what Fox did: being twats, they made the wait time between the TV slot and Hulu availability 8 days, instead of 1 day. The result? Piracy if fox shows have shot up! So now, instead of making money from Hulu adverts, albeit less than TV ads, they make no money from pirated shows! HA! I love the Internet.
Networks should make a democratic system of voting for your favorite show, instead of a dictatorship, where they decide what we watch. Networks, studios, carriers, cable providers and every other industry need to start embracing new technologies and stop fighting it. We live in a consumerist world, so shouldn’t the cooperation’s start following the consumer and giving him what he wants? Start embracing the consumer, and you will reap the rewards. Look at Apple; now look at Sony. What a contrast.
To finish off: