Short answer: No. The reason: Costs almost 80% the price for a single movie than what a subscription for unlimited content in the US costs for a month. We’re been ripped off in Austraila.
So, yes, I was so bored that I thought that I’d give out a legal option for getting a movie to my TV screen direct from the Internet. $5.99AUD for a single movie, why did I not stop and think? In the US, you can get a subscription to Netflix for $7.99USD, which at the current exchange rate is something along the lines of $7.55AUD. So, can someone explain why it is so expensive over here?
I was more or less curious to see how well it performed. I’m on maximum speed ADSL1, so in theory I get a max of 8 megabits, but in reality it’s about 6 megabits. Still, not complaining considering it’s the best connection I can get (no ADSL2+ ports available.) The results? Yep, it worked, without any problems. It didn’t seem well integrated though. You need to download a program to download the movie (and of course infect your computer with heaps of DRM,) but you just double clicked on it and it opened in Windows Media Player, even if it hadn’t finished downloading (so let it download for a minute or 2 to give it a good buffer, but then you should be good to go.)
I’m torn between a nice integrated experience, and not downloading more junk onto my PC. On one hand, it’d be really good if there was a single program that handled everything, from streaming to playing the movie. The main reason is that it’d have better streaming capabilities. Whilst my connection stayed up the whole time, what if something happened and the download stopped? How would WMP handle the lack of content to be played? Not only that, WMP didn’t support subtitles. It didn’t feel like I was truly streaming it (even though I effectively was,) pseudo-streaming maybe, because I was really downloading it, but it happened that I could play as it was downloading, providing the part I wanted to play was already downloaded. So you will miss things such as subtitles, proper buffer handling, and the ability to skip forward (to parts that say haven’t already been downloaded.) The download and then play model would have worked well a couple of years ago, but most connections these days should be able to handle true streaming. Whilst it’s nice thinking that I don’t have to download more junk onto my PC, I’m already having to download the downloader. Why not make it an integrated media player (providing it’s actually good.)
So whilst the service worked fine, even if it’d be better if it were more integrated, the price is way too high. The other night I got out Scott Pilgrim for $3 from a physical store, and that was for a week. Bigpond movies doesn’t actually have that same movie, but the lowest I’ve seen there is $4.99 (and it’s $5.99 for new releases.) Not to mention it’s only truly rented for 48 hours. Bigpond really needs to lower the prices (maybe $2 a movie?) and/or introduce a Netflix like unlimited service for a comparable price (no more than $10 a month.) They need to, because I can’t imagine using a service like that when it’s more expensive than going to my local video store and getting out a DVD.