Video On Demand

We’re no where near having video on demand! I’ve recently had two experiences that were really disappointing. The first experience was when I was in search of a movie. I had a friend coming over that wanted to watch Top Gun. I didn’t have it, but I figured how hard could it be to get. I have cable broadband, BitTorrent, Comcast OnDemand and there are a dozen other services on the web. So, here’s what I did. I needed the movie fast, so I went first to Comcast OnDemand thinking that would be the quickest download of the movie as the last time I used it the movie loaded almost instantaneously. However, when I went to the movie list, there was no Top Gun. In fact, there was a disappointing list in total. Next up, google… I did a quick search for “video on demand” to pull up some of the web options such as Movielink, Vongo, etc. I was on Mac Mini though, which is connected to a HD projection LCD (perfect for movies). None of these services either a.) worked with my Mac, b.) were easy to figure out what to do or c.) allowed me to just get one movie quickly and on demand. I think this is the key to these services being truly successful. I should be able to get a movie going without too much hassle. Let me start it with nothing more than entering my credit card. Don’t make me sign-up for a full account or require me to install a ton of new software. In the end, I went to the tried and true, BitTorrent. It’s slow as molasses, but I haven’t yet not found what I was looking for.
My second video on demand experience that was disappointing was purely due to a poor UI. A few friends of mine have told me that I have to watch this new HPO Series. Since I have Comcast HBO, I also have access to most of the HPO content on demand. This is a pretty good experience, but someone needs to sit on a couch and use it before it’s rolled out to the public. As I was watching the show, I had a phone call that I had to take. I put the show on pause and took the call. During the call, the pause kicked off and it went back to the main menu. At first I was really frustrated expecting that I would now have to fast forward through the show to get back to where I was. Luckily, it has saved where I was, but required me to clumsily go back through the menu to get back to the show (btw, have you noticed there’s no “back” button on these remotes!). The other issue I have with this experience is it leaves me at a screen that shows my “saved programs”. First of all I didn’t “save” them and don’t care to as I’ve already watched them. Secondly, make it easier for me to watch the next episode!
It’s slowly coming together though. We have the bandwidth, we have the technology and we have the content. The keys to getting it all to work are going to be a.) making it easy to access and b.) priced to sell.

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