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Old January 26th, 2006, 09:11 PM   #1
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Paid online Content Delivery system

Alright, I here taking a break from some design work and I'm thinking about online delivery of video.

Every once in a while I crunch some numbers on network and internet delivery of video. Now that video on the go is getting popular and on demand video is starting to get realized has anyone ever ventured into the possibility of Indie release streaming.

I'm thinking that you take the same methodology as, well paid content websites.

From here on is pretty hypothetical and how I envision and indie could distribute a movie online. This idea is intended for limited release movies or low end movies.

Say their is a movie you want to watch, say you got a nice 2mbit internet connection, and your computer is of a half decent speed. WMV9 (VC-1) and h.264 have proven to be nicer than divx for compression or xvid or whatever so assume these are being used.

For a limited time an Indie film maker rents a webserver with a really some really really fast bandwidth. They setup a website with their movie info, trailer, wallpapers and all the fixings and then the day arrives that the movie is going to be available.

Their is a members only area and in order to get in you sign up and pay a one time fee. This can be paid in advance of the movie's release like a pre-order or after it is released online.

You goto the website, sign up and pay your fee via good old credit card or possibly one of the many online payment methods. You login and you can now stream the movie to your computer. I say stream and mean that a streaming server is running the file. Something like how Quicktime can buffer really well but disable saving. When you save you save only a link type setup.

So if you have a 1 mbit/s movie with 256kbit/s audio you can start watching right away and you can watch as many times you want until the person takes down the area. This would be done so they movie maker doesn't have to pay for hugh amounts of bandwidth when the number of customers could be limited after a few weeks.

Now some people probably won't like the idea that they paid money for watching and suddenly it isn't avaiable. Up to the movie maker but having a possibilty of ipod or psp download would be good. Yes permanent but lower res and bitrate. At the end though you can pay an addition fee and have a dvd shipped to you. It wouldn't cost as much as the DVD alone because you already paid for watching rights. So say you paid 7 dollar watching rights and you now want to convert to a DVD order. The DVD retails for $25. Since you paid for watching rights you only have to pay an additional $15 + ship to have the dvd then.

I dunno, its just an idea. I'm no movie maker but I think this might work for some indie distribution. Maybe a company could be setup that would run all the servers and have a number of movies serving all the time.

Like I say, limited time up because of bandwidth cost. Piracy prevention through streaming. Someone may figure out how to capture the stream but considering Apple has no intention of releasing movies if your not a huge movie maker and currently goggles video service seems to be fairly low quality imho this could be a neat way to share your movies and make some money if your an indie movie maker and for people like me who want to watch smaller budget movies that don't make it to theaters a good way to see them.

What do people think?
Keith Wakeham is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 27th, 2006, 12:59 AM   #2
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Location: Carlsbad CA
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i think about online delivery of video all the time.

the porn industry is the business model to look at for that, they have it down to a science... it's even evolved to the point of selling video by the minute; you pay for a block and use whatever portion you want.

with good digital rights management, you can let the client download the movie from a website, or even thru bittorrent... but it won't play until it checks in with the license server, and then it'll only play for a predetermined length of time, just on the computer that it was licensed on.

the logistics are there, i think the big issue would be marketing it.
Dan Euritt is offline   Reply With Quote
Old January 27th, 2006, 08:48 AM   #3
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The only problem I'm seeing is the whole DRM issue. Thinking streaming would eliminate it as a problem since it can't be saved.

The only DRM solution that seems to be fairly easy to gain access to is WMV and I am not personally a big fan of it. Windows media player is one of the worse pieces of software I've personally seen. Its slow, its big, and it doesn't allow much control but must be used for DRM'd WMV playback.

I wish their was an easier way to do DRM with quicktime. Maybe their is, but I haven't seen it.

Oh well, just thinking aloud.
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Old January 27th, 2006, 10:57 PM   #4
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windows media has the best drm, and the best media server, by a long shot... but the player does indeed have it's drawbacks... i have been "streaming" wmv in an embedded player window, so that the end user doesn't actually load the entire player... unfortunately it requires activex, which means no firefox, and it's really difficult to make it look purty... although the latter can be handled with a clickable flash layer on top of the embedded player, which is a lot better to look at, yet still with all of the advantages of the windows media server... i think that some portions of mtv do it that way, you can't even tell that it's a windows media video file that's playing.

both the windows media server and wmv 9/10 players have been around for years, which makes a big difference... the penalty to rent a windows 2003 server is only $20-25 a month over a linux box, which is dirt cheap considering how sophisticated the media server software is... when you start doing volume, you have to look really hard at the flexability of the media server.
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