film

No DVD Playback In Windows 8 ?

Windows 8 will no longer include DVD playback capabilities by default and this function will only be included in Windows 8 Pro and in upgrades to computers that are equipped with DVD drives.

Microsoft believes that most of their customers do not use their computers to view DVDs and that DVD playback will not be necessary because most individuals who view films on their computers now download or steam this content from online sources.

Computers that are equipped with DVD or Blu-ray drives will likely include third party software so most consumers will be unaffected by this issue.

Rogers Video Ends Renting Services

Rogers Video stores across Canada will no longer rent DVDs or Blu-ray discs tomorrow.

Starting this week this chain will offload their film stock at reduced prices leaving Canadian consumers with very limited options in regards to renting films.

Cable and satellite subscribers will continue being able to rent films on their digital boxes and Canadians with access to high speed connections have access to online film rental services like Cineplex, Cinemanow, iTunes, Netflix and Youtube. But it appears the mail services and kiosks are now the only viable options for people who do not have access to cable, satellite and high speed internet services.

Unfortunately the kiosk services offered by Zip and Best Buy are limited to major cities at the moment, though they will probably expand in response to the demand. And the cable, satellite and high speed internet options remain expensive.

The current rental fee for recent high definition releases on my digital cable service is $7.99. And if I were to rent these films online in 720p I would use an average of about 4 gigabytes worth of usage per film towards my usage limit.

I am hoping that the digital cable rental fee will be reduced in response to public demand. But at the moment I am also testing out The Movie Network and Moviepix as a cheaper alternative, though releases on The Movie Network still appear to be subjected to a considerable delay.

As it stands I appear to prefer Moviepix for the channel’s selection of classic films and will likely subscribe to this service until Bell’s Fibe TV service is introduced to my neighbourhood.

I will probably dabble in online film rentals, within strict limitations, and use Zip.ca‘s services as my main source for newer releases.

As previously reported on this blog, Zip will be expanding their kiosks. And I believe theater companies like Cineplex, Empire and AMC will eventually offer kiosk services in their locations in respond to the demand left by Roger Video‘s departure.

I am also hoping for a national expansion of the Best Buy branded kiosks to Best Buy and Mac’s locations through-out Canada.

Zip Delays Online Streaming

It appears there is a strong market in regards to film rentals in Canada. So much so that it appears that Zip.ca might be prioritizing their kiosks over online streaming.

In an article in the Ottawa Business Journal printed on March 13th, Rob Hall, the founder of Zip.ca, stated that he had delayed his company’s plans to offer rentals via streaming beyond this year, favouring the further expansion of kiosks.

Zip.ca‘s red coloured kiosks are currently expanding through Metro/Food Basic grocery stores in Ontario and offer rentals at $1 per older release per day and $2 per new release per day.

The kiosks were test marketed in the Ottawa area and Nova Scotia, the latter in Sobeys grocery stores, with great success. And sales remain strong with former Blockbuster Canada customers and people who use their internet sparingly.

In Canada it is still rather expensive to stream films online because of internet usage capping so many Canadians will continue to rent DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for years to come.

High Definition films in 720p are generally over 3 gigabytes in size while standard definition films are over 1.5 gigabytes in size. And many Canadians have had their internet usage capped dramatically recently.

Having rented from them in the past, I’m hoping to have one of their kiosks in my neighbourhood soon.

CinemaNow Opens Canadian Site

CinemaNow had opened a Canadian site, enabling Canadians who use Windows or internet connected devices to rent or purchase films online.

Film rentals are generally $4.99 and purchases vary in price.

Shaw Discusses Video Service

It appears that Shaw customer will not be able to rent films online from this company’s Movie Club service without it counting against their monthly allotment of data unless they rent this content via their set top box.

The video on demand service, which is currently available in Standard Definition, costs $12 per month and a high definition service will be made available shortly, for $5 more per month according to this press release.

Netflix users have been complaining that the cable companies are imposing limitations on this popular service, giving their own movie rental services a competitive advantage by removing or reducing their own service’s impact to their customer’s allocated monthly transfers.

Online Retailer Adapts To Usage Based Billing

Netflix Canada has decided to offer additional options to their customers in response to the usage based billing issues.

Canadian subcribers will now be able to access additional options when it comes to the quality of the videos they stream from Netflix in order to reduce their consumption of bandwidth.

According to Netflix, they will now offer three levels of video quality to their Canadian customers :

  1. Good – Max. 625 kbps Video/64 kbps Audio, which translates to about 9 gigabites of data for 30 hours of content.
  2. Better – Max. 1300 kbps Video/192 kpbs Audio, which translates to about 20 gigabites of data for 30 hours of content.
  3. Best – Max. 4800 kbps (1080p HD video) and 384 kbps (5.1 audio), which translates to about 67 gigabites of data for 30 hours of HD content.

On the Best setting transfers will fluctuate depending on if the content is in HD and/or whether there is congestion. This means 30 hours of non-HD content on the Best setting will translate to about 31 gigabites of data.

It should be noted that American and Canadian television episodes from before 2009 are not likely going to be available in HD, so people who enjoy watching this content can use the Best setting. And several films on Netflix are not available in HD as well, including many by Paramount, who have just signed onto the service in Canada.