Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access

Streaming: Movies, Media, and Instant Access

Wheeler Winston Dixon

Language: English

Pages: 184

ISBN: 0813142199

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


Film stocks are vanishing, but the iconic images of the silver screen remain―albeit in new, sleeker formats. Today, viewers can instantly stream movies on televisions, computers, and smartphones. Gone are the days when films could only be seen in theaters or rented at video stores: movies are now accessible at the click of a button, and there are no reels, tapes, or discs to store. Any film or show worth keeping may be collected in the virtual cloud and accessed at will through services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Instant.

The movies have changed, and we are changing with them. The ways we communicate, receive information, travel, and socialize have all been revolutionized. In Streaming, Wheeler Winston Dixon reveals the positive and negative consequences of the transition to digital formatting and distribution, exploring the ways in which digital cinema has altered contemporary filmmaking and our culture. Many industry professionals and audience members feel that the new format fundamentally alters the art, while others laud the liberation of the moving image from the "imperfect" medium of film, asserting that it is both inevitable and desirable. Dixon argues that the change is neither good nor bad; it's simply a fact.

Hollywood has embraced digital production and distribution because it is easier, faster, and cheaper, but the displacement of older technology will not come without controversy. This groundbreaking book illuminates the challenges of preserving media in the digital age and explores what stands to be lost, from the rich hues of traditional film stocks to the classic movies that are not profitable enough to offer in streaming formats. Dixon also investigates the financial challenges of the new distribution model, the incorporation of new content such as webisodes, and the issue of ownership in an age when companies have the power to pull purchased items from consumer devices at their own discretion.

Streaming
touches on every aspect of the shift to digital production and distribution. It explains not only how the new technology is affecting movies, music, books, and games, but also how instant access is permanently changing the habits of viewers and influencing our culture.

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Louis Story, Night of the Living Dead, the 1954 version of The Fast and the Furious, The Inspector General, His Girl Friday, The Jungle Book (the Korda version, of course), The Lost World (1925 version), Ida Lupino’s The Hitch-Hiker, The Big Combo, and F. W. Murnau’s Nosferatu (1922), as well as the deeply idiosyncratic films of German auteur Lutz Mommartz. And if that’s not enough, the Internet Archive also has a remarkable collection of more than 11,365 classic television programs, commercials,

takes effect now for new customers and in January [2012] for existing customers. (Edwards and Rabil) But of course, the backlash was immediate and pronounced, and the plan was soon abandoned. There’s another major question lurking here: what about all the classic films that aren’t available as streaming video? In essence, they will cease to exist. Netflix is banking on the fact that most people have no real knowledge of film history, so they’ll content themselves with streaming only the most recent

operation in the United States (Mui). By 2008, Redbox kiosks had rented out more than 100 million DVDs (“Redbox Surpasses”); in 2009 that figure ballooned to more than 400 million rentals (Tribbey). As of May 6, 2010, the company had 25,000 kiosks in place, and the number is still growing. These kiosks average roughly fifty transactions a day, and DVDs are rented (and returned) approximately fifteen times before being consigned to the scrap heap (Mui). Rentals are cheap at $1 a day. Most customers

more mediated by technology, it need not overwhelm us. As Sherry Turkle, a psychologist and professor at MIT, recently noted: Texting and e-mail and posting let us present the self we want to be. This means we can edit. And if we wish to, we can delete. Or retouch: the voice, the flesh, the face, the 91 Streaming body. Not too much, not too little—just right. Human relationships are rich; they’re messy and demanding. We have learned the habit of cleaning them up with technology. And the move

time-lapse and stop-motion video; Carcassonne, a strategy game for iPad; and Angry Birds Space, the popular game that appeals to adults and children” (Eaton), continue to proliferate, it’s clear that the culture of both news and entertainment has joined the streaming parade—along with its related ad content. What were once print ads are now iPad advertisements; the era of print, like that of celluloid film, VHS tapes, CDs, DVDs, and other physical formats, has passed. It’s all streaming, all the

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