The future is here and it is disappointing

Let’s be clear on one thing here: we have the technology. We have the technology for me to be able to view any piece of digital video ever made, instantly, wherever I want, whenever I want. And another thing: I have absolutely no objection to paying for viewing said digital video; but I do object to so-called content providers taking the piss.
Case in point: LoveFilm vs Netflix
I’ve been meaning to try out both LoveFilm and Netflix for a while. I got doorstepped by a very cold lass from LoveFilm last week, and I took pity on her and said yes to her three months for the price of one trial. Then, for the sake of comparison, tonight I also signed up for the Netflix trial. So far so good – let see how they compare.
Netflix outdoes LoveFilm for sheer creepiness. Once I log in on the PC, it automatically logs me on the PS3. I’m assuming it just uses my IP address to identify me, but it’s creepy as hell.
In terms of content, they both suck in slightly different ways. LoveFilm doesn’t have films which I would expect it to have (but Netflix does), Neflix doesn’t have some TV shows that LoveFilm does. Neither of them has one of the shows I really want to see – or rather, Netflix does, but only in the US.
Perhaps the most ridiculous way in which they both fail is technically. The LoveFilm app on the PS3 crashes any time the network connection slows down. Netflix refuses to work on Linux (but will allegedly work on a Chromebook). Netflix doesn’t seem to have an easily identifiable way to queue things to watch in future. LoveFilm has a vaguely useful Watchlist functionality on the PC interface… which does not seem to be available in the PS3 app. I don’t even. WHAT?
Case in point: The National Hockey League
If you happen to live in the UK and want to watch NHL games now that the lockout is over, you’re screwed. There’s some sort of obscure, paid-for channel on Sky which screens about 10 as far as I can tell random games a week, but that’s about it. The NHL does have its own online streaming service which, however, only works in North America for games which your local TV network won’t show. Now, as much as I do get the value of TV deals to sports organisations like the NHL, making it difficult for your fans to access your product seems somewhat counterproductive to me.
Dear Netflix, LoveFilm, NHL and co.: give me just one good reason not to go to the PirateBay!
And here of course every content provider screams, “We can’t compete with free! We must shut all these naughty file sharing websites down, block them and censor them, we must disconnect file sharers from the Internet!”
Well, I’ve got news for you guys: You’re not competing with free. You’re competing with a service which meets my requirements. I have no problem paying for the things I want to watch, or the music that I want to listen to, or the books I want to read. I do it all the time. But if I’m giving you money, I expect a service that doesn’t take the piss; that doesn’t make it deliberately difficult for me to access the content I want to view; that actually works.
Try harder, chaps.

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