Thursday, August 25, 2005

My Movies

I've been using AnyDVD to back up DVDs to hard disk for a few weeks now and experimenting to see what you can do with them. I cannot help but conclude that the film industry will be disrupted just as profoundly as the music industry has been by consumer digital technology.

I've established, for example, I can put a movie on a drive on one computer then watch it (using WinDVD) on another over an 802.11g wireless network.

I have found a free MCE (Microsoft Media Center Edition) add-on application called My Movies that can be used to catalogue and view online DVDs that have been ripped to hard disk.

A DVD takes up about 4GB of hard drive space. You can get a 250GB portable USB 2 hard drive that can hold over 60 movies for a little over eighty quid or �1.33 per movie. Given the difficulty I often have in simply laying my hands on one of my four year old son's DVDs I would gladly pay �1.33 per movie for the convenience of access that you get with "My Movies", and that cost is bound to reduce as the market penetration of 500GB drives increases.

I can see that in the medium term I will just get into the habit of ripping any DVD I buy, just as I do with CDs, and then putting it back in the case never to be opened again.

Am I a criminal? Gia put it best on her blog a while back:
don't start calling ME a 'pirate' in the way the Film Industry does because I copy films to my harddrive for my son to watch on the train... Last time I was in Blockbusters their TV channel-thingy started talking about how "Video Pirates" were "involved in drug and human trafficking"... ????... Really? Me? Almost everyone I know who regularly copies DVDs? We are all involved in drug or human trafficking?? Piss off!
Also, look at my last post. I regularly pay top dollar - without complaint - for Folio editions of books that are out of copyright when I could download the text gratis from Project Guttenberg. What does that mean?

My best guess is that it means that if providers can package their content is a sufficiently compelling and attractive way money will gush in, but if they can't they will end up throwing the baby away with the bath water.

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