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DRM Cellphones Media The Internet

How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM? 200

Bennett Haselton writes: "If you watch a movie or TV show (legally) on your mobile device while away from your home network, it's usually by streaming it on a data plan. This consumes an enormous amount of a scarce resource (data bundled with your cell phone provider's data plan), most of it unnecessarily, since many of those users could have downloaded the movie in advance on their home broadband connection — if it weren't for pointless DRM restrictions." Read on for the rest of Bennett's thoughts.

T-Mobile may not have great coverage — on our way to the Olympic National Park, my T-Mobile phone stopped working a long time before my friend's Verizon phone did — but I switched two weeks ago because the $80/month plan came with unlimited data, and I thought it would be convenient to watch Netflix streaming content and queued shows on Hulu from anywhere in the city. Since then I've been using data at about 10 times the rate that I did when I was capped at 2GB/month on Verizon.

But there was never any good reason that any of that data had to be downloaded over my data plan at all. I always know in advance what I'm going to be watching on Hulu, and almost always what I'm going to be watching on Netflix, which means if the apps would let me, I would rather download and queue up those movies and shows over my home broadband connection, and then watch the locally saved copies on the go. Hulu and Netflix would make at least the same profit off of me as they do now — I would still be watching Hulu's mandated advertisements before each show, and I would still be paying my monthly Netflix subscription. The difference is that I wouldn't be wasting a limited resource by downloading the content over my data plan. Even if my plan comes with unlimited data, that's not without costs, since one of the reasons I had to upgrade to unlimited data (and give up the broader Verizon coverage in the process) is that I can't download this content in advance at home. Otherwise, Verizon's sub-2GB data cap would have been fine with me.

Unfortunately, Hulu and Netflix apps both make it impossible to save their content locally, presumably due to a misguided attempt at DRM. ("DRM" is often used to refer to static content which has been encrypted in a way to make it difficult to copy; I'm using it more broadly here to include the practice of streaming content in a way which makes it difficult for users to save the content to a local file.)

(It has been pointed out, for example by Timothy Geigner on Techdirt, that data plan bandwidth may not truly be a "scarce resource" at all, and providers impose the data caps just to extract more money from users. The irony, though, is that even if the "scarcity" of cell phone plan data is not real, the streaming of content still constitutes waste of a precious resource, because users waste resources dealing with the data cap — prioritizing which content to download, or figuring out how to download the content illegally at home so they can save it as a local file. Or, they may simply decide to go without having the content on the go because they don't have enough data on their data plan — this counts as a deadweight economic loss caused by the DRM as well.)

You might think that the apps do not allow locally saved copies because the copyright owners prohibit it, but the Google Play app, for example, does allow you to download a saved copy of any content that you have rented or purchased from the Google Play store. (If you "rent" a movie or TV show episode from the Google Play store, you can still save it locally, but some predetermined time after you start watching the content, the content will "expire" and the file will be deleted.) So there is precedent for a non-fly-by-night company allowing you to save a local copy of content that you have paid for the right to access. So why not Hulu and Netflix?

I fear it may be that either the copyright holders, or the lawyers at Hulu and Netflix themselves, have been led to believe that locally saved content is easier to pirate, and neither of them want to be pegged as responsible for enabling piracy. This is fallacious for a couple of reasons: (a) If it's that easy, why hasn't it happened on a large scale with movies from Google Play, which can be saved locally? (b) Streaming content is just as easy to pirate, by, as a last resort, holding up a video camera to a screen playing the movie. (Yes, most users would not bother, but for piracy to occur, only one user in the entire world has to go to the trouble of doing this, and once it's done, an unprotected copy will be freely available on peer-to-peer networks for as long as people have any interest in the movie at all.) Which leads to: (c) Any user technically savvy enough to figure out how to pirate streamed content, is obviously going to be savvy enough to simply download the same content from p2p networks. In other words, forcing users to stream content instead of watching it from locally saved copies, gains the copyright holders and the app makers exactly nothing.

If I had to save content locally in the Hulu app before watching it, of course I'd have to watch ads before the content started playing, just as I do with the streaming version. In that scenario, if I had the time, I could probably try to find a black-market application that would watch the saved content without the ads, but like probably 90% of users, I probably wouldn't bother. And if I did want to make the effort, I'd just BitTorrent a copy of the movie or TV show instead, instead of trying to defeat copy protection on the local saved file.

I have no idea how much data plan bandwidth is used every day on content that users would have preferred downloading at home in advance, but it seems like a non-trivial percentage. Most Hulu and Netflix viewing is of movies or TV shows that you knew in advance you would want to watch, and could have saved. On the other hand, this wouldn't be true of random browsing of YouTube videos in the kind of mindset where you just watch a 60-second clip, feel mildly amused, and watch whatever comes up next in the recommendations bar to the right. Ironically, as you read these words, multiple telecommunications companies are drawing up plans to roll out billions of dollars' worth of communications infrastructure to provide more data services to more users — meanwhile, we could vastly increase the utility of the existing infrastructure with just the flick of a switch. (Well, a couple of switches -- convincing the copyright holders, and the Netflix and Hulu legal departments, that locally saved content is not illegal, as Google Play has shown, and could in fact make them more money. Hulu, after all, is making more money off of me now than the used to, since I'm watching more of their shows on the road, and viewing more of their ads.)

With a static download model, I'm sure the overwhelming majority of Hulu and Netflix users would go on paying (and Hulu would probably actually make more money, from the increased ad views). I would even start the day the same way, before even getting out of bed — by taking the phone on the bedside table, loading up a queued Hulu show, and getting the ad out of the way, then pausing just as the real show begins so that later on I can start watching it immediately. Because it just feels good to start the day with a feeling of accomplishment.

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How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?

Comments Filter:
  • P2P (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    DRM is optional. Always.

    • by jandrese ( 485 )
      P2P won't help your goal of using less bandwidth however.
      • Re:P2P (Score:5, Insightful)

        by geminidomino ( 614729 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:45PM (#46826081) Journal

        In the context of the wall of text that is the post/summary, yes it will. The argument wasn't that the bandwidth overhead of DRM is huge, it's that you can't pre-download and cache what you want to watch while on the home network and watch it on the go without chewing up your mobile data plan.

        P2P lets you do just that.

        • Re:P2P (Score:5, Informative)

          by Dynedain ( 141758 ) <slashdot2@anthon ... m ['in.' in gap]> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:19PM (#46826547) Homepage

          And the premise is wrong.

          Plenty of content stores allow you to pre-download the content (iTunes comes to mind) and watch at your leisure with or without a data connection. DRM is irrelevant.

          The poster is intentionally trying to conflate DRM with Streaming Media.

      • by Kaenneth ( 82978 )

        less costly bandwidth tho.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:17PM (#46825741)

    I don't see a penny of that money either.

    • by Kardos ( 1348077 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:52PM (#46826209)

      In theory, you see less cost for the product with the application of advertising. In practise, hahahahaha.

    • But at least it's fairly easy to avoid wasting bandwidth on that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Without DRM, the Internet providers could proxy more popular streams, quite reducing the backbone traffic.

    • Without DRM, most of the content providers will not provide legal content for you to download.

      The key problem with digital streaming media, is that there is no physicality. So the core values of supply and demand gets out of whack. As we can get a near infinite supply thus reducing the price to 0. However the cost to make such material is much more. What DRM does is set an artificial limit on supply, thus keeping the cost high.
      While it is easy to jump to this as being yet an other example how companies

      • The only problem is that the market doesn't fit the billing practices. The only solution is to change billing practices to fit the market.

        1. Be trustworthy.
        2. Charge a fee upfront to produce content.
        3. Use the collected money to produce. Publish via multicast and peer-to-peer. No DRM, no bullshit. Everyone gets to see it whether or not they paid.
        4. Only produce when enough people have paid enough for the next feature.

        If there aren't enough people paying in then it's not worth it to make.
        • Yes! I have a fixed entertainment budget, more or less, and something like this would enable me to give more of that to the music and movie industries. I sure wouldn't mind being able to encourage the production of things I like and discourage the production of things I don't by throwing money where I want it *BEFORE* the fact, taking the wind out of the sails of the "we lost money because of piracy" set (by showing that they simply didn't *make* money due to lack of interest).
      • by Sloppy ( 14984 )

        No, no, no. This is just plain incorrect.

        Copyright does what you're describing. Before anyone ever heard of DRM, we already had hundreds of years of experience with copyright doing the job. Nearly every corporate "content provider" you've heard of, built their fortune and become the big name that you recognize today, through sales or rentals of non-DRM content. (Netflix being a notable exception.)

        DRM has nothing to do with arts-patron taxes, "giving away at a loss" or content-providers' revenue. (Uhr.

        • DRM is a tool for ensuring copyright is respected.

          In this case the parent is pretty clearly arguing copyright alone is insufficient because digital distribution has made supply and demand an ineffective tools for managing copyright.

          DRM brings back the ability for publishers to use supply and demand economics by enforcing copyrights.

      • Without DRM, most of the content providers will not provide legal content for you to download.

        DRM schemes that cripple content as badly as the Hulu and Netflix are counter productive when close to 100% of the content that is available for streaming can with a minimum of effort be obtained via torrent sites without the any of the restrictions imposed by DRM. I can only see two reasons why DRM such as theirs are implemented:
        1. What I just wrote make too much sense for the MAAFIA to comprehend.
        2. The MAAFIA acknowledge what I wrote as correct but want to be able to point fingers and screaming [infant

  • by nullchar ( 446050 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:21PM (#46825787)

    Yes, downloading videos in advance over a wired or local wireless network does save you precious mobile bandwidth when you view the content later.

    But, streaming is easy. The consumer does not have to pre-decide what they want to watch if they stream. They're not sure if they want to watch a TED talk or the final Colbert Report while "roaming".

    With Google Play, I can "pin" a show on wifi and watch it later, assuming I want to watch it later. It's still DRM protected. The bandwidth savvy consumer would like to download more content and play it back at any time, but do those consumers even exist as the majority anymore?

    • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:33PM (#46825907) Homepage

      But, streaming is easy. The consumer does not have to pre-decide what they want to watch if they stream.

      And expensive if you're being charged for the download.

      Which means there is a good chance there are companies who are:

      1) getting paid when you 'purchase' it
      2) getting paid extortion fees to not throttle the bandwidth from the company that streams it
      3) getting paid by the consumer every time they watch it.

      The bandwidth savvy consumer would like to download more content and play it back at any time, but do those consumers even exist as the majority anymore?

      If they aren't, they should be. When I 'buy' a digital copy of a movie, what I want is the ability to keep it local on my device, watch it whenever I want (including times when I have no connectivity), and not have to ask their permission every time I watch it.

      That's what I have in iTunes. When I get a digital copy, it's stored offline in my computer, I can sync it to any device using iTunes, and I can play it back wherever I like.

      And, if I can't have that, I will continue to rip my large collection of actual DVDs, and play them when I want. And I will refuse to give companies any money towards a digital copy which I pay for once, stream, pay for the bandwidth of streaming, and then if I ever want to do it again have to go through the whole process.

      When streaming bandwidth is infinitely cheap, maybe. But as long as there are situations in which I want to be able to watch content completely offline -- in a plane, in a car, on the beach, at the cottage, in the doctor's office waiting room -- the notion of streaming it every time is absurd.

    • by khasim ( 1285 ) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:33PM (#46825915)

      He is complaining about getting large files (movies) sent to his viewing device (phone).

      If only there were some way to pre-download those files.

      Such as DVD's. And play them on a hand held DVD player. And DVD's do not count against your 3G data allowance for the month.

      Another useless article by Bennett Haselton.

      • Hand-held DVD players? What is this, the middle ages?

      • by CRCulver ( 715279 ) <> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:40PM (#46826013) Homepage

        Such as DVD's. And play them on a hand held DVD player. And DVD's do not count against your 3G data allowance for the month.

        In this day and age, it's seen as unnecessary and a burden to carry around a music player like an iPod or a separate point-and-shoot digital camera, because people recognize that as basically a computer in their pocket, the smartphone they already have should do it all. You really think that people want to cart around a portable DVD player too?

        • by khasim ( 1285 )

          You really think that people want to cart around a portable DVD player too?

          That wasn't the question. He's complaining about not being able to pre-download large files.

          Once you get past the "why can't I pre-download this" there isn't an issue with using your phone or tablet or whatever to watch movies.

          But if Bennett Haselton is going to focus on pre-downloading then yes, I do expect him to use a portable DVD player.

          DRM is not about pre-downloading.

          DRM is about never owning what you paid for.

        • Smart phone is not good for watching video, the screen is far too small for comfortable viewing.

          • You might think that, but you can observe people watching television shows or movies on their smartphones in any commuter transport in the developed world. Apparently it doesn't bother millions of people.
            • They're probably 20somethings with perfect eyes. Wait until they get old and start chasing kids off their lawns.

              • It's really not that bad, considering most TV shows aren't really going to suffer that much by the loss of visual detail. Besides, if you can't see that well in the first place, isn't it all just blurry blobs on a big screen TV too?

                Sorry Grandad, I'll get off your lawn now...

              • They're probably 20somethings with perfect eyes. Wait until they get old and start chasing kids off their lawns.

                Nope. Most are around 40.

      • If only there were some way to pre-download those files.

        Such as DVD's.

        Or the iTunes Digital Copy.

        I will download the video exactly once. It then lives on my computer, and I can copy it onto my iPod or iPad.

        Love or hate Apple, with iTunes they did manage to strike the balance between having some DRM, and actually having it be a usable system.

        It also comes with the added benefit you can watch it when you have no network connectivity. And, for me, being able to watch movies on a plane (or other such places)

        • by khasim ( 1285 )

          Or the iTunes Digital Copy.

          I will download the video exactly once. It then lives on my computer, and I can copy it onto my iPod or iPad.

          That is convenient but I think it is still the wrong question.

          Eventually, the first download-only (no DVD) will be released by a studio. Then a second. The studios want download-only because then they control everything. You will never own anything from them again.

          Then the studios demand further restrictions from the hardware manufacturers. Abandon old format A and include

      • Except that places aren't renting those much anymore (some still do though but the numbers are shrinking). If you buy then it's a complete waste of money for watching the movie or tv show only once.

        When I first got a dvr with my satellite it saved me money on rentals (probably a year or two before it paid for itself though) and was much easier to use than the vhs or dvd player.

    • by sjames ( 1099 )

      There's no need for them to be an actual majority. Besides that, they could show others how to do it.

    • Yes, but the consumer could give Hulu permission to save, say 2 hours of content locally, and let Hulu guess what content the user will want later (with the option for the user request specific shows). If I watch 2 episodes of Futurama on the bus to work every day it won't take long for Hulu to figure that out and grab it over Wifi when available, falling back to 4g if it's guessed wrong or I do something unexpected. I won't be perfect but the worst case would be what we have now and the best case would b

      • They are potentially using more of their bandwidth that way -- by sending streams that may not be watched. It may cost Hulu more to show you the latest episode vs and older show. Still, you could "pin" a few shows in advance which would get them more overall views as they know some users cannot always stream.

        They also cannot count the show watches nor ad views that way... I suppose they can pre-send the ads with the content to your cache, and then send your ad-watch/skip data back when you re-connect. But i

      • Yay! Just what I want! Clippy predicting what content I want to view next.
    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      You are paying for streaming. It is not necessarily the DRM. On Hulu it is the need to stream a bit, then make sure the user experience is interrupted for at the least the possibility of commercials. On Netflix, it is so that they can keep the price lower by not competing with people the people who are willing to pay for rental of purchase to keep a local copy.

      If bandwidth cost is an issue, then perhaps the solution is to rent or purchase the content. Maybe if aero is avaible in your market, this migh

    • The bandwidth savvy consumer would like to download more content and play it back at any time, but do those consumers even exist as the majority anymore?

      They do, but there's a lot of overlap between them and the "i do it this way because it's more convenient" set. If there were a simple (for the lay person) way to say "I'm gonna want to watch these at some point over the next week" and have the media transferred to your device, you'd see people doing it.

    • Streaming on demand is a waste of bandwidth compared to streaming to a file and then watching that. Netflix is archaic and clumsy compared to a real DVR. Ie, there's no way to pause and then step frame by frame through a scene (ie, to catch those easter eggs some shows put in, or see what assembly language the terminator uses).

      However one reason Netflix doesn't allow this is that they want to keep the customers as a subscriber, and they rely on a users inability to watch everything at once to limit their

  • BENNETT!!! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by AmiMoJo ( 196126 ) * <mojo@world3.nBLUEet minus berry> on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:24PM (#46825827) Homepage Journal

    Damn you Bennett, another wall of text bullshit article that is both fucking obvious and tl;dr at the same time. Please stop posting this tripe.

    • by PhilHibbs ( 4537 )

      If you don't have the ability to read, don't ask people to stop writing.

      • We're asking people to stop writing things that have already been written many times. Why this drivel gets it's own article instead of just being a comment to another more relevant article is beyond me.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:25PM (#46825831) Homepage

    Because instead of downloading it to my device and keeping it there, it insists that every time I use it it calls home to ask permission. Which means, AFAIK, I could not watch an Ultraviolet movie on a plane. It also means they get to collect information from me when I watch the movie ... which I'm sure they love, but I'm not doing. If I play a CD the producer of it doesn't get to know when or how many times, because it's none of their damned business.

    I'm also not willing to sign up with every #*%^% studio in order for the privilege of downloading a movie. Which, right now, first you sign up with Ultraviolet, and then you need to personally register your copy with the film studio. Yeah, no, not happening.

    Companies make their DRM crap onerous to use, less useful, and more expensive. The alternative is to either not consume the product at all, or to work around their DRM crap. Which, of course, through years of bribing politicians is as serious a crime as if I'd robbed a bank with a gun.

    I have a sneaking suspicion that DRM costs consumers billions of dollars every year, all to protect the profits and business model of the content companies.

    DRM has always been crap.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:26PM (#46825847)

    BH = Bennett Haselton

    Maybe I should write an article about it?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      The real problem with BH isn't bandwidth, it's brain cells. Remember how slashdot used to have lots of intelligent posts by knowledgeable people, and now it's just a bunch of blathering morons? It's not that the smart people have left slashdot, it's just that every time you read a BH post, a small part of your brain just gives up and dies. After years of this shit, we've all devolved to the intelligence level of brain damaged monkey.

  • And every time I see a card for Ultraviolet or Apple digital copies, I throw the crap in the garbage. Until the day I can go to 'insert distributor here' and download a clean copy of the original movie, I'd rather just use DVD rippers or torrents to get a digital copy of the movies I 'own'.

    • Couldn't you sell the codes for those digital copies?

    • by schnell ( 163007 )

      I would agree that Ultraviolet is execrable and worthless. But why iTunes? I find their "digital copy" element quite useful. I can download the HD version to a PC (better quality than I can get from ripping a DVD) and then sync it to an iDevice for watching on the go whenever I want. Alternatively, even if I don't download a local copy, I can also use iTunes to stream the video if I'm too lazy to go get my DVD or BluRay that I bought it with.

      Plus, as another commenter suggested, you can sell that download c

  • Wasted? (Score:5, Funny)

    by ArcadeMan ( 2766669 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @02:43PM (#46826057)

    It's not wasted, quite the opposite! It's very profitable!

    cellphone companies.

  • Wouldn't it cost Hulu/Netflix more bandwidth to allow this (and therefore more money in infrastructure)? Many users are going to download movies and never watch them, causing them lost bandwidth and possibly lost ad revenue. With a streaming model if you decide you don't like the movie, you just stop streaming. If you had downloaded the movie, the bandwidth required to give you that part of the movie you didn't watch is "wasted".

    • The servers for streaming video need to have good network connections because the buffers generally aren't very big.

      For pre-downloads they could use servers with crappier network links because they're not latency sensitive. Heck, you could do bittorrent-style peer-to-peer sharing of encrypted movies from other subscribers (maybe make it optional and give subscribers a credit for how much they upload to others).

  • by swb ( 14022 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:11PM (#46826471)

    Background downloading seems like the answer to Netflix bandwidth woes. Just background download the users streaming queue to disk at a snail's pace, like 256k or 512k. Within a month most people would have their streaming queue local and could watch anything on it without any streaming needing to take place. Maybe even throw in some downloads based on predictions of what you might add in the future or the kinds of movies you are prone to ad-hoc streaming.

    The only streaming that would need to happen would be ad-hoc choices and some of them might already be local (sort of like Tivo Suggestions).

    For most people with high speed internet, a 256k background stream would hardly be a noticeable drag on their connection and I'm sure a big part of the whole bandwidth "issue" is peak demand -- everyone trying to stream between 5 PM and Midnight. A low-speed background download would be less of a problem.

    Do content providers actually object to this, or is it just not implemented because the DRM isn't good enough? You can download most "rentals" for offline viewing.

    I suppose the biggest obstacle is how many devices don't have any local storage, enough local storage or are mobile onto networks where you would likely never want to background download a lot of content.

  • by Marrow ( 195242 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:14PM (#46826505)

    You can download TV episodes and movies to your computer or Kindle with amazon Unbox and walk away untethered and watch them. It still uses DRM to lock the content to the device, but you only have to download it once.

  • I would have read this submission, but I'm already half way through a 3000 page Novel at home and I don't need another one.

  • How Much Data Plan Bandwidth Is Wasted By DRM?
    I was at least expecting an answer to this with some details. Maybe 0.1% of total file size = drm?
    After all, this is "news for nerds", not "blogs for boredom"

    But nope, we get a blog from some guy called Bennett with no actual technical answers to his own questions.
    Rabbit on, rabbit on at the expense of this community Bennett.

    • by OneAhead ( 1495535 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:47PM (#46826851)
      Well, the point of DRM wasting bandwidth is largely valid, but given the absence of actual data, it should not merit more than one sentence. I think Bennett Haselton would get a lot more goodwill from this community if he were to, you know, START HIS OWN PRIVATE BLOG and submit his stories to /. through the normal channels. If his ramblings are worth reading, they get upvoted and make the front page; if not, he saves himself the pain of getting flamed to hell. And even if the editors were to post his stories despite being downvoted, at least it won't be as big an insult if they're links to a 3rd party blog than if they're presented as "slashdot editorials". Useless stories slipping through the editorial process are an almost-daily occurrence so most would write it down to inattention, whereas willfully posting mediocre blog posts as "editorials" is a slap in the face of the community.
  • Load up an Android VM on your PC and sent/Fipps/share the video output to your WiFi connected TV
  • Why? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seebs ( 15766 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @03:43PM (#46826781) Homepage

    Seriously, just... Why?

    Why should we read on for Bennett's "thoughts"? He's a twit. Why do you guys keep posting this garbage? Someone teach him how to use a blog, since what he's got here isn't "news", it isn't "stuff that matters", it's "some guy writing badly about things he doesn't really think through".

    • Twit? Is that a nice way of saying he is an over-entitled, piece of shit whiner with delusions of grandeur that are being fed by the likes of Slashdot editors who keep letting him use Slashdot as her personal blog? If so, it is a much nicer way of saying what I think.
  • []

    Just enough extra bandwidth to transmit the keys.
    * DRM uses up CPU, not bandwidth.
    * BH articles use up bandwidth.

    Back in the old days we could filter Jon Katz articles. Is there some way we can black hole BH articles?

  • None. (Score:3, Informative)

    by BitZtream ( 692029 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:00PM (#46826985)

    Not sure what shitty 'DRM' you're dealing with, but all the DRM crap I have I download at home and put on my device and then it just plays whenever I want it.

    If you're too stupid (yes, Bennett Haselton is fucking stupid) to not know the difference between streaming services and others, its your own fucking fault.

    For fucks sake, have you never used iTunes or anything like it? Works FINE without a network connection once the initial authorization is done and that includes pulling copies off the network share where I saved them too the first time I downloaded.

    Bennett, you're a fucking moron in every way.

  • Until they get big enough and are sued by everyone suing Aereo, [] does what you're asking for.

    Records Netflix and Hulu, adding information stating that your account was used to do the recording (so that if something shows up on P2P, you'll get implicated fairly quickly). For movies/shows my kids watch repeatedly, I've found it nicer to just save a copy on my NAS and then stream it to the TV via Plex. The kids know exactly how to do this and typically check Plex before going to Netf
  • bennet who? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ailnlv ( 1291644 ) on Wednesday April 23, 2014 @04:54PM (#46827579)

    who the f*** is bennet haselton and why does slashdot keep posting his opinion pieces?

  • Thank you for expanding on this [] comment from a few days ago, or either [] of these [] from a couple of months back.

    Also, congratulations on realising that the content companies aren't really providing a good service to us. Do as the rest of us do and stick to torrents until they do. the music industry has learned its lesson and is now selling DRM-free files, the movie industry will catch up eventually.

  • Amazon and iTunes both allow DRM-laden *DOWNLOADED* movies. No, it's not "unlimited watch for a monthly price," but it's not DRM's fault. You're picking a completely different delivery mechanism.

  • Answer: NONE. A downloaded video from iTunes will be about the same size as the file you get when you rip a dvd or bluray disc. You can pick comparable dimensions, codecs, and bitrates and you'll pretty much get the same picture and sound quality.

    Now, if certain providers won't let you download content and make you stream it over and over, that's an issue, but the amount of data used by the DRM itself is not.

  • "I have no idea how much data plan bandwidth is used every day on content that users would have preferred downloading at home in advance, but it seems like a non-trivial percentage."

    You have no idea. So why the fuck are you wasting everyone's time?

I've got a bad feeling about this.