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Starz thru real network download to PC

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Posted by: ZeoTiVo

a preview of how TiVo internet content may work ?

a service that is running now http://www.starz.com/
for 12.95 a month
their selection of movies is behind new releases in Blockbuster even right now so it was not very tempting from thjat aspect.


Your Ticket to Hit Movies!
Get the same great movies you see on the STARZ! movie channel through your broadband connection, with STARZ! Ticket on Real Movies:
Access over 100 movies for one low monthly fee -- 25 new titles added weekly
Download movies on up to three computers -- take them on the go with your laptop
No additional viewing or late fees ever again


they require a 600K connection, say playback in is full screen theater mode (whatever that means) could not find at their web site what is downloaded (mpeg4 or 2 or whatever) also no real info on how soon you watch a movie after you select it etc..



Posted by: terminus303

I can't believe Starz picked Realmedia format... No way i am trying it now..but if Tivo uses a more reasonable format (avi, mpg etc.) then I'm on board.



Posted by: rsnaider

My connection reports back at 389K so I guess I am out.



Posted by: jmace57

Am I missing something here? If it is the same movies you can get on Starz, why not just SUBSCRIBE to Starz for $10 per month?

Jim



Posted by: ZeoTiVo

quote:
Originally posted by jmace57
Am I missing something here? If it is the same movies you can get on Starz, why not just SUBSCRIBE to Starz for $10 per month?

Jim



Yes, I predict this Starz downlaod service to sputter along like the other services. Without current movies the service is kind of worthless. You end up paying 12:95 and maybe find 3 movies a month you had not seen yet but had an interest in. LOTR, return of the King is not there and they are selling the DVD in stores already.

I hope TiVo's internet content has as current a list as BlaockBuster or Hollywood video etc.. HINT



Posted by: kitsap

I recently signed up for the Real service in anticipation of Big Brother 5 (which will begin streaming in a few weeks). Since I'm already signed up for that, the Starz add-on is only another $8/month. I might give it a try ... at least until TivoToGo materializes. It sounds like it might be good for making movies available on a laptop.



Posted by: schweda

Actually, the service is quite cool. I've had it for a couple days now, and I really like it. Here's a mini-review:

Installation of the Real Player was amazingly painless. I remember several years ago where they forced you to install all kinds of stuff -- and it pretty much took over everything on your computer. Well, that's no longer the case. No "trick" checkboxes, no annoying pop-up messages (they can be turned off easily), and completely painless.

That, actually, was quite a shock.

What's weird is that they appear to be detecting your *upload* bandwidth -- which is really weird considering there's no streaming going on with the movies. The only streaming involved is with the Starz live feed (you can either download the movies -- each around 700 megs -- or watch the Starz live feed.)

The movie selection is interesting: it's obviously limited -- around 100 titles or so -- but there's a lot of variety. I was actually surprised with the variety -- kids stuff, drama, comedy, even a couple documentaries. It's stuff that's on Starz currently -- and some stuff that's not.

Anyway, you can download as many movies as you want to your harddrive. It's very painless, actually. I'm on Speakeasy 6.0/768, so the download took about 15 mins per flick.

Quality? Well, the movies are in Real's video format, and the only complaint I have is that if you watch in "theater" mode, you can detect *slight* pixelation during high-movement scenes. But it's very watchable. And with the some audio tweaks -- very listenable. I've got a 6.1 setup on my box, and the sound was great. No complaints. Is it DD51? No, but it's easy enough to set up faux-DD51 to make it sound close enough. I figure it's okay with me since I'm watchin the flick on my computer -- on a 19" screen -- so not everything is gonna be tip-top.

You can also watch the live Starz feed.

I figured I'd give it a try during the 14-day free period. I'll probably keep on for a couple months to see if anything changes, but I'm actually pretty pleased with the set-up. It's how it should be done, actually: a subscription model with unlimited viewing and no annoying "$3.99" charges (like CinemaNow).

It's a beginning -- but it's impressive. I think Jobs is right that people want to buy their music -- hence, 99 cent downloads -- but I think Real/Starz is on the right track with the idea that people want to rent their movies -- and the unlimited subscription is hard to beat. Does it have everybody's favorite movies? No, probably not. I mean, it doesn't have "New This Week" stuff -- so no Kill Bill or no Lotr3 -- but, cripes, I suspect this proof-of-concept stuff and people need to understand that. If you absolutely need Tuesday's new releases, then, no, this isn't the place to go. But HBO doesn't even have the current stuff -- it's gonna make its way through PayPerView and whatever else before it lands on HBO and Showtime and then maybe Starz. (Starz channel doesn't have the newest stuff either, so I'm not sure why folks are complaining about that aspect.)

A couple other notes:

- Uses Helix DRM. Google around for info, but this is Real's own DRM. You can watch the film as many times as you want -- even though, apparently, you get "3 licenses" to view during a 24 hour period. But if you're connected to the internet, it'll go out and fetch additional licenses -- so I'm not sure I understand what the whole "3 license" thing is all about. Bottom-line is that you can download the film and then watch it whenever you want -- as many times as you want -- until it expires. (Expiration appears to be on a rotating schedule -- new films appear each week and the old films gradually expire.)

- RealPlayer 10 (finally!) seems to be a normal piece of software. It's no longer bloated -- and it's no longer a pain in the neck to install. Very simple, very straightforward.

- 12.95 a month for 100 or so films, plus the live Starz feed.

Overall: 4 stars out of 5. (I'd give it five stars if the quality of the video was slightly improved.)



Posted by: shady

Nice review - thanks

quote:
Originally posted by schweda
Starz channel doesn't have the newest stuff either, so I'm not sure why folks are complaining about that aspect


It's because people aren't looking to replace a Starz subscription, they are looking for an alternative to a netflix subscription or popping down to the local Blockbusters



Posted by: schweda

quote:
Originally posted by shady
Nice review - thanks



It's because people aren't looking to replace a Starz subscription, they are looking for an alternative to a netflix subscription or popping down to the local Blockbusters



If that's the case, folks will have to wait until Netflix gets in gear with their flavor of VOD. Or Blockbuster gets it in gear and rolls out their VOD. I'm betting, however, that if you wait for Netflix (who I'm guessing will pair with Tivo) or for Blockbuster -- you'll have to wait until Q4 04 or Q1 05. (And the DRM on zero-day video will probably be much more restrictive that what Real/Starz is offering. The DRM here is very reasonable -- especially since you can download the film, activate it automagically, and apparently watch on an unconnected laptop. That's pretty reasonable, IMHO -- sorta like Apple's DRM on iTunes -- it's there, but it's by and large pretty painless.)

I suspect Netflix is already preparing their VOD -- and that's why we're seeing the new Netflix "not-for-retail" DVDs.




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