Tobold's Blog
Thursday, January 16, 2014
 
Watching video content on the iPad

I am one of those weird people who rather pay for content than to steal it. So for me it is a real concern, and not just a lame excuse for stealing, when I have to remark that due to legal and contractual aspects the availability of content is lagging behind the availability of hardware in Europe. I bought myself just after Christmas the latest version of the iPad, the "Air". It is lighter, and thus easier to hold when you watch a video on it. And it now has stereo speakers instead of mono (although I wished they were placed left and right of the screen when holding it in landscape mode, which they aren't). Thus I am on par with the rest of the world in the latest hardware.

But the content is a completely different picture. I like watching TV series, for example CSI. And somebody living in America would have no problem at all to watch CSI on his iPad: There are numerous services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO GO, or Amazon Instant Video which offer all sorts of TV series on demand streamed for a small fee directly to your iPad. And none of them works in Europe. The only service I can get here is the BBC iPlayer, which is limited to BBC programs.

The only way I can legally buy video content like CSI is on DVD. Which is nice enough if I only want to watch it on my TV screen: I pop the DVD into my DVD player and even get various language options and subtitles. Thus I have a large collection of TV series on DVD at home. But if I want to watch them on my iPad, I'm out of luck.

It isn't as if video streaming from a computer to the iPad was difficult. Any video content I have on my computer can be streamed to the iPad using various applications like AirVideo. But none of those applications work for video content that is on a DVD in the drive of my computer. I would first need to "rip" the DVD to my computer's hard drive to be able to stream it. There appears to be a DVD Player app for the Mac, but I can't find one for Windows. I don't want to "rip" my DVDs. It takes a lot of time, and if the DVD is copy-protected, I would need to use illegal software to circumvent that protection. I just want to stream it directly from a DVD drive (in my computer or as external separate device) to my iPad.

I am one of those weird people who rather pay for content than to steal it. One would assume that the companies that are in the business of creating and selling content would love customers like me. I am banging at their door, begging them to sell me content they already sell to other people, so their cost of making it available to me should be minimal. So why won't they sell this content to me? Why would they want to force me to use illegal means like fake IP or DVD cracking software just to be allowed to watch content on a mobile screen?

Comments:
Because they are bad people. Seriously.

They do not even create the content. They just sit on it and ration it, as they would ration air if they could.

Stealing their content and making it available is a crime. Well, Robin Hood was a criminal too. ;-)
 
I use PLEX mediaserver and PLEX mediaplayer. It is literally BY FAR the most used app on my iPad. You can circumvent the illegality by torrenting movies or series you have the DVD's for. In Belgium, downloading content is not illegal (uploading is). So you are covered there. Combine that with a personal rule that you won't download movies you don't own the rights for and you are not breaking your own rules.

The only alternative is ripping and transcoding, which is a LOT more work and in the case of copy protection, a gray area.

Example: my GF has the full friends DVD box. Getting that all available on the iPad would be a HUGE undertaking. I downloaded the full set instead and (after the download was finished) it literally took me 1 minute to make it available on all my screens, combined with foto art and descriptions per episode and I can watch it whether I'm at home or not.

If you want to try it for yourself, buy the PLEX app and I'll give you temp access to my media so you can see for yourself... let me know.
 
I use PLEX mediaserver and PLEX mediaplayer. It is literally BY FAR the most used app on my iPad. You can circumvent the illegality by torrenting movies or series you have the DVD's for. In Belgium, downloading content is not illegal (uploading is). So you are covered there. Combine that with a personal rule that you won't download movies you don't own the rights for and you are not breaking your own rules.

The only alternative is ripping and transcoding, which is a LOT more work and in the case of copy protection, a gray area.

Example: my GF has the full friends DVD box. Getting that all available on the iPad would be a HUGE undertaking. I downloaded the full set instead and (after the download was finished) it literally took me 1 minute to make it available on all my screens, combined with foto art and descriptions per episode and I can watch it whether I'm at home or not.

If you want to try it for yourself, buy the PLEX app and I'll give you temp access to my media so you can see for yourself... let me know.
 
As is typically the case, it most likely has something to do with lawyers and whether something will generate enough money to be worth doing.

You'd THINK that a company, being profit hungry, wouldn't leave this sort of thing on the table for illegal activity to fill the gap, but I'm sure that someone somewhere decided that the amount of money spent in development would be better spent doing something else.

Then again, there's probably some clause buried in some contract that forbids certain streaming across DVD zones unless the media company pays extra to the production company.

 
I haven't tried it myself, but VLC might do what you want. The Windows application itself is a player/media server, and there is an iOS version too.
 
I had not realized the situation was that extreme in Europe. There are no end of people who want to rent me stuff at prices that seem quite high. IMO, Amazon, Apple, and Netflix are well run, innovative companies so it has to be some combination of lawyers, politicians and rights-holders in the way. What a large market to be untapped!

Is CBS.com ip location locked? I had not really thought that using a VPN exiting in another country was illegal. IANAL and the laws and rules are complex and not consumer friendly, in my mind it is Torrent < DVD Rip < VPN. Post-Snowden there are a lot more VPNs.

Sigh, since you have to use HDMI (DRM) cables to connect to your TV I guess it is consistent (but dumb!!!) that if you need DRM cables you can't be broadcasting wireless DVDs.

FYI their was a recent question on slashdot about media servers. http://ask.slashdot.org/story/14/01/15/0339258/ask-slashdot-suggestions-for-a-simple-media-server
 
Isnt Watchever available over there?
 
No Watchever on my iTunes store, except for a Thai app that needs a subscription from a Thai mobile phone company to work.
 
So who is preventing this?

I am confident that Apple, Amazon, Netflix have the money, expertise and desire to have already made this happen.

I would have guessed the usual suspects (studio executives) would have been happy with the income from rentals. Although in a world of DVD region codes, maybe this is not true. Or as it the local politicians - what French politician wants to vote for "more American media" in an election year? Or is it the cartels - I can't believe local actors/directors/TV & movie studios are lobbying in favor of global competition?

Regardless, the end result is not good for the consumers.
 
Teut, the problem with watchever (at least in Germany, applies to all legal streaming services) is, that they are even more behind with current content than TV. Newest Breaking Bad on watchever is season 3 for example.

Tobold, a) use google to search for the Watchever app in the app store. Or b) pay for a VPN service and get a US prepaid credit card while on vacation there or from a friend then you can get Hulu etc.

I don't get at all why the content industry still uses region locks for content. Also why they don't invest in one big platform where you can get every content worldwide. No need to let apple/amazon etc get 30% just offer it yourself.
 
http://www.joystiq.com/2014/01/16/valve-wants-steamos-to-feature-music-and-video-services/

I assume the plan will be for this to not stream in Europe as well?
 
@Bryksom - the issue with region-locking is that many of these publishing companies and distributors have a presence in their non-origin countries. Offices which need to have rent paid, be staffed with people who have wages paid, ads paid for in those countries' TV and newspapers, etc, plus whatever local tariffs.

Rather than writing that off as the cost of doing business internationally, the way these companies work is trying to pass on the cost of 'servicing' a country to the consumers in that country. In addition to that, they then try to make their media competitive with the media in that region.

n countries like Australia, that means a 100% mark-up. In countries like India, that means a 50-75% mark-down. This works for retail, where customers tend not to border-hop quite so much as we do online, which can be as borderless as we want/have the savvy to enable.

But in order to keep those filthy Aussies in line and paying what they're 'supposed to' (ie: double the base price, triple or more the cheapest price) for EXACTLY THE SAME CONTENT, they then need to use technology to prevent Australians from buying Indian, to keep all these messy Internet people from getting outside these neat lines and borders they've drawn up.

To those companies the global nature of the Internet is truly inconvenient and annoying when it comes to doing business the way they always have. The idea that they might have to change or adapt is anathema to them, because there wouldn't be predictability of their income and there's a very good chance they might actually have to spend money adapting, only to make a little less.

This is why piracy annoys them so much, because it forces their hand and - idiotically - some even genuinely believe that a pirated copy is a lost sale, so all they can think about is what they're missing out on. And rather than seeing these leaks as a problem with making a boat out of paper, they run around trying to plug up the holes in their paper boat.

You can go and get on a moral high-horse about playing along with this idiotic status quo, but that doesn't exactly inspire them to change it, either. Only the fever-dreams of lost trillions of dollars can do that. And EVENTUALLY one of those fuckwits in charge will get the idea that tackling piracy by suing/jailing pirates is about as effective as fending off a swarm of piranha with a fishing spear.
 
I'm nearly 100% above board in my entertainment consumption these days. But if I miss a show and can't get caught up on it because there is a 1 week delay in posting it online I'll likely just stop watching it. If it was particularly good I might be bothered to torrent the entire season once it has finished airing to catch up without having to waste time and bandwidth on adds.

While the studios are to blame for a lot of these issues there are also individual shows who seem to be run by idiots that put additional restrictions on their show.
 
I laud your moral stance but I have to admit that if I spent that much on hardware and found some artificial barrier was preventing me from getting decent content for it I would be strongly tempted to explore alternative options. Have you thought about proxying a paid Netflix account from UK?
 
Tobold, a) use google to search for the Watchever app in the app store.

As I already said, Watchever is NOT available in the Belgian app store. Most people aren't even aware that there is in fact not ONE app store, but that each country has a national app store with a different selection. I have apps on my iPad that you couldn't download, because they are local, Belgian ones that exist only here. And Apple doesn't allow you to shop in the app store of other countries.
 
I thought that the BBC iPlayer T&C only permitted radio services when outside the UK and that TV and video are barred? (http://www.bbc.co.uk/terms/help.shtml#2)

Does UltraViolet work?
 
I thought that the BBC iPlayer T&C only permitted radio services when outside the UK and that TV and video are barred?

There are in fact TWO BBC iPlayers: One is a website which can be accessed by all sorts of platforms, and which pretty much blocks anything if you have a non-British IP address. The other is an iOS app store application which charges a subscription fee but works in more countries (albeit not everywhere, e.g. not in Russia or China, but in most European countries).
 
Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link



<< Home
Newer›  ‹Older

  Powered by Blogger   Free Page Rank Tool