Saturday, November 18, 2000

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Watching movies online

It is common knowledge that programs such as Napster, iTunes and Spotify have revolutionised the way most of us listen to and keep our music collections. Napster remains a household name, and is perhaps directly responsible for the lack of physical music collections in homes around the country.

Technological developments that have made hard drives get bigger, memory capacity on home computers more expansive, and broadband speeds faster have meant that there is little of now need for the humble CD for all but the most determined music aficionado or technophobes.

But can we imagine the same happening for films? In future will all films be watched online or stored digitally?

Probably the biggest stumbling block is the fact that the average file size for a film is much greater than that of a song. On average, a song file might be about 1 or 2 MBs, while a film can be as large as 1.5 or 2 GBs. Clearly there are storage issue: a film library is going to take up far more virtual space and be more of an effort to replace than our music libraries were in the last decade.

Nevertheless, broadband speeds are much faster than they were, and perhaps it is streaming services such as Spotify, rather than download programs that are setting the model for how we will come to watch films.

It is far more practical to watch movies online rather than downloading and storing huge files. Indeed, have already begun to offer streaming movies in two ways. Most importantly, a flat fee allows for access to a huge library of films and TV shows, eradicating the need to own and store anything in your own home.

With the entire country connected to the Internet, watching films online is surely the future of watching films. Quick and easy, it removes any need to keep anything yourself and offers a much wider selection than you may ever collect yourself.

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