The New York Times recently ran a post about how Netflix is again changing the way we watch movies (also here is a shorter link in a). After changing movie rentals via DVDs by mail, Netflix is taking on video downloads via streaming which monitors time watched rather than time since downloads. It’s really clever, and it should have been obvious, but this beats the streaming video options from all the other providers I have seen.
Already, you can buy movies from iTunes, for example, but the selection is tiny (250 movies), and you pay about as much as you would for a DVD. CinemaNow and MovieLink offer online movie “rentals” for about $4. But again, the selection is fairly small, at least once you subtract the mind-boggling gigabytes of B movies – more like C or D movies – like “Addicted to Murder III: Bloodlust” and “Witchcraft XI: Sisters in Blood.” The copy protection is a bit overbearing, too. You can download a movie, all right, but it self-destructs 24 hours later.
All of these services permit you to start watching a movie after only a minute or so, before it’s been fully downloaded – but you can’t fast forward (or, in some cases, even rewind) until you’ve got the whole thing on your hard drive.