Just when I think I’ve seen it all — the stupidity of old media grabs a megaphone and hits me with a resounding “Not so fast, Ron!”
Last night, I found the following message waiting for me on my DIRECTV box.
Effective April 15, 2008, DVR recordings of PPV movies will be available for up to 24 hours of unlimited viewing after purchase. Major movie studios have required that satellite and cable providers alike may no longer allow their customers to view these recordings for longer than 24 hours. During the 24 hour viewing period, you will continue to enjoy all of your DVR features such as pause and rewind.
Okay, let me get this straight. If I rent a movie via my satellite carrier and download it to my digital video recorder, I must watch it within 24 hours or it turns into a pumpkin?
I first experienced the renting of self-destructible movies with my AppleTV. At the time, I thought the AppleTV terms were bad, but in hindsight, they make DIRECTV’s look Draconian. At least with AppleTV, I have 30 days to start watching the movie — leaving me with 24 hours to finish it after that. The experience is annoying, because sometimes your schedule doesn’t allow you to watch a movie within 24 hours. Have you ever started watching a movie late at night, got sleepy, and decided to watch the rest of it the following evening? Well sorry folks. With AppleTV and DIRECTV, you can’t do that anymore.
A DVR is about time-shifting. It’s about the ability to watch programming on my time, on my schedule. To shackle recorded content with scarcity-driven time limits can only serve one purpose — to aggravate the DVR-enabled consumer.
But there’s another thing that’s bothering me. This from the DIRECTV FAQs:
Could a Pay Per View movie expire from my playlist before I get around to watching it?
Yes, the 24 hour viewing period is triggered by your purchase of the Pay Per View movie, so make sure to plan accordingly. If you are not sure you will be able to watch your selection within the 24 hour viewing period, use your “record/buy later” function available on DIRECTV Plus DVR or DIRECTV Plus HD DVR receivers.
Sure, this makes sense. Take all the convenience of the DVR, which gives me control over my schedule, and then force me to calculate when it’s best for me to order your product.
Methinks there is something else going on here. Right now, there is a price difference between renting a movie in SD or HD. When given that choice, I always pay the extra buck, and the movie studios know this. Let’s take this known behavior to the next step. By putting a 24 hour limit on our movie rentals, the industry sets a precedent. Then, when we complain, they’ll roll out a new set of upgrade choices, under the altruistic guise of “listening to our customers.” The new upgrades offer us an a-la-carte choice of SD, HD, and length of time we’d like to hold onto the content.
When will old media learn that the more restrictions that they put on their content, the less money that they’ll make in the long run?