Pop culture from Southern California and beyond.

Customers won't buy DVDs, won't buy digital video - yet

Movie studios are between a rock and a hard place. The DVD market continues to fall, while consumers have yet to jump on board with digital purchasing.

Most movies this holiday season are going to be sold in "combo packs," where buyers get a Blu-Ray disc and a digital file they register online allowing for online cloud storage of their movies, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Most movie companies are behind a system called UltraViolet, though Disney is using their own system, Keychest.

After Netflix recently changed their pricing plans, raising the cost of getting both streaming and DVDs in the mail, many users reacted with anger. Could this be an opportunity for the movie companies to get consumers more interested in purchasing films instead of renting online? Netflix says that angry customers are going to mean a cut in profits, and they also face negotiations with various companies to maintain and expand their supply of streaming movies and other content.

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Playing with Google Music Beta

The hot new thing online recently has been cloud music players. For those not in the know, this essentially means being able to listen to music you own over the Internet.

Amazon was first out the gate with their cloud player, followed by Google, with Apple reportedly soon to come.

While in beta, Google Music is invitation only. You can apply for your own Google Music Beta invitation here.

I just got my invite to Google Music Beta today, so here are a few initial thoughts:

  • Unlike Amazon, Google is offering a nice selection of popular songs for free to get people into the service.
  • One thing that allows Google to do that is that you can't download songs once they're uploaded. However, it's playable on Android phones and tablets, and you can also select songs on your device to play back later when you're offline. It also automatically caches recently played songs.
  • It took a little futzing, but you can listen to music from Google Music Beta on your iPhone or iPad.
  • Much like Apple's iTunes, you can create automated mixes based on one song from your collection, as well as creating traditional playlists.
  • It's got a higher cap for free storage than Amazon, topping out at 20,000 songs. However, Amazon provides storage for any music bought through Amazon's MP3 store for free.
  • It's also got a built in rating system to let it know which songs you like and which you don't. Unlike iTunes' 5 star system, it's a bit simpler: thumbs up or thumbs down.
  • It's been a little buggier for me than Amazon's cloud player so far, with more frequent buffering issues.
  • However, while very similar to Amazon's cloud player, I found the Google interface a bit easier to use.

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