streaming sucks (which is why you need my help)

Farhad Manjoo at The New York Times explains why a recent app that was actually useful for fans of streaming movies has disappeared:

A team of web designers recently released an astonishingly innovative app for streaming movies online. The program, Popcorn Time, worked a bit like Netflix, except it had one unusual, killer feature. It was full of movies you’d want to watch.

When you loaded Popcorn Time, you were presented with a menu of recent Hollywood releases: “American Hustle,” “Gravity,” “The Wolf of Wall Street,” “12 Years A Slave” and hundreds of other acclaimed films were all right there, available for instant streaming at the click of a button.

If Popcorn Time sounds too good to be true, that’s because it was. The app was illegal — a well-designed, easy-to-use interface for the movie-pirating services that have long ruled the Internet’s underbelly. Shortly after the app went public, its creators faced a barrage of legal notices, and they pulled it down.

But like Napster in the late 1990s, Popcorn Time offered a glimpse of what seemed like the future, a model for how painless it should be to stream movies and TV shows online. The app also highlighted something we’ve all felt when settling in for a night with today’s popular streaming services, whether Netflix, Amazon, iTunes, Hulu, or Google or Microsoft’s media stores: They just aren’t good enough.

Manjoo then goes on to explain such mysteries as why Netflix never has new movies to stream and other conundrums. (It’s all about rights and licensing and everyone jealously hanging on to their exclusive ability to do something with a movie for as long as possible.) Apparently, this situation isn’t going to change anytime soon.

But there are good movies on Netflix and Amazon Instant Video. You just need someone like me to point them out to you…

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John Powell
Sun, Mar 30, 2014 7:28am

You better believe because things are changing don’t forget that we had Block Buster and Nexfilx kiil them off and someday soon someone will kill off Nexfilx. No one to big to fall and many of us on the internet and off want free TV and Movies and will not pay every month to people like Nexfilx, why? have they put up their prices.again. I am waiting of one good company that going to launch soon with free TV and Free Movies.

MaryAnn Johanson
reply to  John Powell
Sun, Mar 30, 2014 9:39am

You’re never going to get free movies. Don’t all those creative people deserve to be paid for their work? How do you think a company would be able to offer free movies? And even if the selection on Netflix isn’t as good as it could be, it’s still an enormous bargain. What do you think would be a fair price to pay for Netflix?

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  John Powell
Sun, Mar 30, 2014 10:52pm

“Accept certain inalienable truths. Prices will rise, politicians will philander, you, too, will get old. And when you do, you’ll fantasize that when you were young, prices were reasonable, politicians were noble, and children respected their elders”

Sun, Mar 30, 2014 3:07pm

One release date, everywhere. One price, everywhere. Every version, everywhere. Download to keep, not to rent as long as the corporate overlords want to let you have it or you don’t buy a new computer. That’s what internet film piracy has offered the world for more than ten years. Free? Yeah, free is nice, but convenient is where you can segment out the people who’d like to pay (if only the thing were available and they weren’t being ripped off) from the hardcore freeloaders.

Dr. Rocketscience
Dr. Rocketscience
reply to  RogerBW
Sun, Mar 30, 2014 10:48pm

One release date, everywhere. One price, everywhere.

Until the world is governed by one government, that issues one currency, (something most pirates, being Internet Libertarians, fear more than having to pay for stuff) this isn’t a thing that is likely to happen. It’s not impossible, and may happen sporadically, it just requires careful coordination by too many entities who literally don’t speak the same language to work systematically.

Also, once again, convenience is a piss-poor excuse for criminal activity. You can do better, especially if you want to segment yourself from “hardcore freeloaders”.

Luuk van Riel
Luuk van Riel
reply to  Dr. Rocketscience
Mon, Oct 20, 2014 11:58am

Dude believe me. Most pirates of movies will easily sell if a service like Netflix was to suddenly receive all movies from all productions and would offer it at a decent price. It’s easy and reliable but just lacks content. If I want to watch a movie I don’t want to go and scout six different services.
Piracy fives it to me by typing in the name.

Sun, Dec 27, 2015 9:45pm

I prefer owning a movie on Blu-Ray to have backups of classics. Especially the Disney Vault Movies. Super hard to get when they leave after a decade!