Hey there, it’s me your resident Offsprung movie blogger. I know it’s been a while since I’ve written a post. Sadly, I haven’t seen a movie since Avatar
and that came out over two months ago. (Okay, my kid did make me take him to see The Squeakquel
, but I’m not counting that as anything other than the opportunity to sit in a dark room and let my mind wander for an hour and a half). Now those of you who are parents, especially anyone with a kid under 1 year old, are not feeling very sorry for my lack of moviegoing. Getting out to the theater is difficult and expensive. While I’m sure you like movies, going a few months without probably isn’t sending you into withdrawal like a heroin addict in rehab as it does me. Yet I’m sure there are movies you want to see that end up slipping through the cracks.
Don’t worry, technology is here to help.
It was recently announced
that Netflix will soon provide streaming movies and TV through the Nintendo Wii. Playstation 3 and XBox 360 already have Netflix streaming capabilities. If you’re a Netflix member, you will have free access to the thousands of movies instantly. This is not only a boon to Netflix, but it signals the beginning of a huge shift in the way that we will be watching entertainment.
It’s not a great leap to imagine a world where all movies, TV shows and cartoons are in stock and instantly available. We already have that with music. It is truly becoming an on-demand world.
This is a far cry from how it was when I was growing up and at the mercy of the TV schedule. Far too often, the promise of sugar-coated cereal and endless cartoons rousted me from bed too early, before the cartoons started. With nothing else to do, my sister and I created an "exciting" game called “commercial hunt”, where we would flip around the dial passing televangelists and test patterns looking for ads until the 4 available networks started showing cartoons. Renting movies wasn’t any easier. We were at the mercy of the limited selection of our local video store. Forget about getting any new releases, which were never in stock. We had to be okay with digging into the older stuff in and hope that there was something good on the shelves.
Thankfully, I can now stack those memories on the pile next to an Atari 2600, a typewriter, a pager, cassette tapes, fax machines, VCRs and other vestiges of technology’s past.
Streaming isn’t full HD quality yet so it hasn’t fully caught on, but it is expected to soon. And this shift in home video viewing habits is also changing the way movies are being released. Disney just announced
that the upcoming Tim Burton take on Alice in Wonderland
will arrive on DVD only 13 weeks after it’s March 5 theatrical release—a month shorter than the 17 weeks that is in the current industry standard. Studios are going to be watching the performance of this movie very carefully to see if they can get away with shrinking the time between a movie hitting the big screen and your flat screen.
While I don’t believe that people will ever completely stop going to movie theaters—there is something about the communal social experience of watching a movie with an audience of 100-200 people that cannot be replaced—as our TVs get bigger and high-def-ier and streaming technology becomes the norm, it’s going to be easier to catch the big pop culture events at home. Eventually some big budget movies may bypass the theaters altogether, forever erasing the stigma of the “made-for-video” movie. All of this is good news for us parents who can’t make it out as often as we’d like.
Who knows? Pretty soon, the next big movie blockbuster premiere may be in your own living room. Which begs the question, will you have to get dressed up and walk the red carpet before you watch it?