Having recently purchased the latest Batman film “The Dark Knight Rises” on DVD I was made aware by the largely unsubtle information which adorned display stand that the DVD copy came with a digitally downloadable version of the film. As this was certainly a blockbuster in the traditional sense, I was curious as to how well this system may have been incorporated, and how likely this would be to stop people acquiring their own illegal digital copies anyway after purchasing the film. I thought I would post about my experience here…
I’ve just rented a movie from Google Play Movies and thought I’d post a small review of my experiences.
Firstly, at 99p (in a sale) the rental was very good value, and with some movie rentals at £2.50, and therefore competitive with pay as you go LoveFilm there was some hope.
Or so I thought.
Rented films have to be watched within 30 days of renting – this is ok and is reasonable enough.
Once playback has been started, you have 48 hours before the rental expires. Considering they are competing with the likes of Netflix, LoveFilm and iTunes, most of which offer monthly recurring plans, this seems strange. I understand that some kind of limit has to be placed on the rental, but why not a 30 day rental (or even a 14 day rental), scrapping the expiry once playback has begun.
You can sync rented movies to your Android phone, to playback offline. This is simply a necessary feature. It does however disable the option to watch the rented film in a browser – you can’t split your 48 hours of viewing between mobile and desktop without repeatedly re-downloading the movie to your phone.
You can watch on a desktop, but only in the browser. When buffering (in a YouTube player) video playback was often stuttery. Now I know my hardware can play back 1080p YouTube content, so there is something different about this flash only player. Video played smoothly once the entire film was buffered, and was good quality, at a max. of 720p for the particular film I rented (which was released in 1976 and so would not have benefitted from any higher resolution). In addition, and although having not tried this with standard YouTube content, it is not possible to use dual monitor functionality when playing rented movies in the browser. Once the lightboxed player is full screened, other tabs cannot be opened and used whilst full screen (I was using the latest version Chrome on my mac).
Or…I hear if you somehow find yourself in posession of a verion of the film as an .avi, it plays pretty much anywhere, for as long as you want. I would never encourage the aquisition of films in such a format however, when faced with inconveniences between the content and the enjoyment of the content there is little wonder why the path of least resistance is often followed by consumers.
Not “3D” in the gimmicky sense, this demo illustrates how close to indistinguishable CGI has become. You can see from the article text that this is not some kind of rendering farm, it is created in realtime (you can see the mouse pointer manipulating the canvas) with a Radeon 5870 in an Intel Core i7-based PC.
The game was a new experience for me as, in my naiveté I was unaware that it was possible for relatively small companies to make and distribue games. As a result of the PSN Store it is financially viable it would seem, for “non-mainstream” games to be produced which allow drastically different gaming experiences than certainly I was used to.
A big thank you to my wife Kat for designing my blog banner, which you can see up to there. Having your own personal graphic designer can come in so handy sometimes!
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