Netflix: Streaming Beats Discs, But Loses to Downtime

Netflix is now a digital video streaming company first that happens to also offer DVDs by mail, observes Forrester’s James McQuivey at Paid Content (via RWW). Netflix is starting to deliver more content by streaming than my mail.

That’s mostly good news, although it does rely on Netflix being able to stream. It was down a few minutes ago (but is back up right now). Netflix does downtime less gracefully than a certain whale-watching site I could mention: it blamed my computers, got stuck on at the license stage. It didn’t own up to having problems, and it didn’t show me a cute animal. Then again, Twitter has had more practice with downtime than has Netflix.

That suggests a couple of games. The first is to come up with a mascot for Netflix downtime. I suggest the Netflix narwhal, but will leave the artwork/implementation to others. Then there’s the Netflix version of rock-paper-scissors. Downtime beats streaming, which beats discs, which beat downtime. I hope that streaming wins…

DRM at the Home Movies

This year will, I hope, see the death of DRM. For an example of why it deserves to die, let’s go to the (home) movies, and to Seth of the EFF. The central character is Davis Freeberg, but his blog has been so busy it’s been down recently.

The trouble all started when Freeberg bought a new monitor for his Vista computer. When he decided to watch streaming movies from Netflix, Netflix documentation warned him that the recommended means of fixing a problem with DRM-restricted Netflix programming “may remove licenses to other content using Microsoft DRM” — including, in particular, restricted programming he had already purchased through Amazon Unbox…

Freeberg’s conundrum is likely the product of… (mis)features that have been added to Microsoft’s Vista operating system… Unfortunately, these kinds of (mis)features generally (1) don’t stop pirates and (2) result in compatibility headaches for paying customers.