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Ologhai Jones

Buying T V Shows And Films For Download

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I don't know very much about video formats, but I'm aware that, between them, my PVR and DVD/Blu-ray player can handle a bunch of different ones (when I plug a USB device into them with stuff on).

I would like to be able to buy TV shows for download in some fairly common video format to stick on a USB hard-disk (or similar device) to play using either the PVR or the DVD player. Essentially, I want to be able to do what some people do illegally by downloading via torrent sites, but I'm willing to do it legitimately by paying for the content.

I know there's Netflix and Amazon's thing, but I think they're streaming only, yes? Is there a service where I can buy the digital version of a episodes/seasons of a TV show but download them in some generic-ish format?

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I don't know very much about video formats, but I'm aware that, between them, my PVR and DVD/Blu-ray player can handle a bunch of different ones (when I plug a USB device into them with stuff on).

I would like to be able to buy TV shows for download in some fairly common video format to stick on a USB hard-disk (or similar device) to play using either the PVR or the DVD player. Essentially, I want to be able to do what some people do illegally by downloading via torrent sites, but I'm willing to do it legitimately by paying for the content.

I know there's Netflix and Amazon's thing, but I think they're streaming only, yes? Is there a service where I can buy the digital version of a episodes/seasons of a TV show but download them in some generic-ish format?

iTunes, but really depends on what TV shows you want.

This is a good comment on the subject

Why do you NEED to own that TV show or movie. Are you really going to watch it 10 times? Are you a 12 year old girl obsessed with Disney princesses?

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BBC iPlayer have a download option.

Firstly, this is for BBC programmes only (I would imagine), so no good if I want to watch a season of... ooh, anything other than BBC TV.

Also, don't they just offer most of what they've broadcast in the last month for 30 days and then it's gone... and doesn't the downloaded file expire after a while too?

As I hinted in my OP, if someone decides they want to watch... let's say West Wing from the beginning again (without having to fill their house with boxsets), is there a legitimate alternative to downloading it from a torrent site or similar?

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iTunes, but really depends on what TV shows you want.

This is a good comment on the subject

Using iTunes, can I download the content and what format(s)? Am I likely to be able to stick it on a USB device and play it on my PVR and/or DVD player?

On the subject of 'owning', I suppose it's about control... as well as being old fashioned. I like the idea of 'owning' (and having control of) what I've bought. In the old(er) days, if I wanted to buy a DVD boxset and watch it ten years later (irrespective of whether the company I bought it off are still in business along with countless other things can could change), then that's my business. I'm old fashioned enough to want that as an option for the digital content I can buy.

I would imagine that DivX/AVI (getting fuzzy here--as I said, don't know much about video formats) will be playable for quite a while yet (even if only for backward compatibility), and I'd like it in that (or similarly 'standard') format to be able to play it for as long as possible.

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Can't think of a place off the top of my head where you can do this legally and have access to the same library as you'd get on torrents or usenet.

I guess you could buy the physical media and then rip it to data format yourself (store on HDD, bluray, usb stick or whatever you want). Not sure of the legalities re ripping and DRM even if you 'own' the physical copy. Depending on the reason why you don't want to go the torrent route though it's unlikely that anyone would care that you'd done it. If space is an issue then you could sell the copy (almost certainly illegal) or just put it in the bin or give it to charity (probably still illegal).

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Can't think of a place off the top of my head where you can do this legally and have access to the same library as you'd get on torrents or usenet.

I guess you could buy the physical media and then rip it to data format yourself (store on HDD, bluray, usb stick or whatever you want). Not sure of the legalities re ripping and DRM even if you 'own' the physical copy. Depending on the reason why you don't want to go the torrent route though it's unlikely that anyone would care that you'd done it. If space is an issue then you could sell the copy (almost certainly illegal) or just put it in the bin or give it to charity (probably still illegal).

My knowledge of copyright law is sketchy, but I've heard it said that buying a DVD boxset and ripping it to your hard-disk for personal use isn't illegal as long as you retain the DVD boxset... and I don't want to have to own all the physical boxsets.

Having looked into this a little more, it kind of looks like Amazon will allow a customer to buy (again using West Wing as an example) season 1 of West Wing via their Instant Video service, but without subscribing--just buy it as if you were buying the physical boxset. Then (perhaps), it appears in your 'Video Library'... and maybe the it's downloadable. I don't know what format it would be in, though (even assuming my other guesses are correct about being able to download it at all).

I suppose I'd just like someone to say: yeah, you can download a digital version from Amazon onto your PC (and then onto a USB hard-disk) for playing on most modern PVRs and/or DVD/Blu-ray players... before I spend the dosh only to discover it doesn't work like that. ;)

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cnet article:

http://www.cnet.com/news/keep-your-blu-rays-and-dvds-hollywood-ive-gone-digital/

First useful comment I stumbled across:

So for now, I use Amazon unbox to purchase and store my digital copies. Yes, you have to download and install the software. But, the upside is that you can choose which format to save your digital copy. I simply save in the Windows Media format and can watch them using the Amazon unbox software or Windows Media along with other compatible programs. I have also been able to copy the digital files to my newer computers, using an external drive by simply clicking and dragging.

Again, no idea on the legality (or ongoing support/updates) of whatever Amazon unbox is.

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You can rip content from youtube, if you so wish.. I thought with the iplayer download thing, that you had to download a client?

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If you subscribe to someone like Netflix, or whatever Amazon calls its service this week, that series you want to watch is available for you for all your subscription.

Streaming rather than downloading is now the way forward. I tend to wait until a series has all the episodes out and then I do a massive sit down and viewing of the entire series in one or two goes. I can't be arsed with tuning in each week.

If you want the latest things however then you need to investigate a raspberry pi media centre - they cost about £40 on Amazon. Have a google and see what they can do. You will be surprised.

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Streaming rather than downloading is now the way forward. I tend to wait until a series has all the episodes out and then I do a massive sit down and viewing of the entire series in one or two goes. I can't be arsed with tuning in each week.

Indeed...as its easy to control access & licensing..Even if you bought a triple play blu ray, one of those is a non downloadable copy that is stored inside a "digital vault".

Even if they made it possible to physically download a copy, it would be covered in DRM, so you couldn't do anything with it.

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cnet article:

http://www.cnet.com/news/keep-your-blu-rays-and-dvds-hollywood-ive-gone-digital/

First useful comment I stumbled across:

So for now, I use Amazon unbox to purchase and store my digital copies. Yes, you have to download and install the software. But, the upside is that you can choose which format to save your digital copy. I simply save in the Windows Media format and can watch them using the Amazon unbox software or Windows Media along with other compatible programs. I have also been able to copy the digital files to my newer computers, using an external drive by simply clicking and dragging.

Again, no idea on the legality (or ongoing support/updates) of whatever Amazon unbox is.

I've been reading a bit and, from what I gather, Amazon stopped using/supporting Unbox last year. There appears to be quite a lot of people unhappy with Amazon--people assume they're buying digital content for keeps much like they would be if they bought the DVD boxset, but it seems that it's only for streaming to compatible devices, and if Amazon loses the rights/licence to stream a particular series, say, then you can no longer watch it (despite assuming that you 'owned' it). From what I can gather, it's the same with iTunes... unless anyone knows better?

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You can rip content from youtube, if you so wish.. I thought with the iplayer download thing, that you had to download a client?

Are we talking about the same thing? Are you saying that if I want to buy the first season of West Wing to download and play using my PC, PVR or DVD/Blu-ray player, I can do that via YouTube? Or didn't you read what I wanted to do? :P

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If you subscribe to someone like Netflix, or whatever Amazon calls its service this week, that series you want to watch is available for you for all your subscription.

Streaming rather than downloading is now the way forward. I tend to wait until a series has all the episodes out and then I do a massive sit down and viewing of the entire series in one or two goes. I can't be arsed with tuning in each week.

If you want the latest things however then you need to investigate a raspberry pi media centre - they cost about £40 on Amazon. Have a google and see what they can do. You will be surprised.

I agree that streaming is coming along and it's something I would consider at some point (but probably not before we've got through the queue of DVD boxsets we've still to watch), but there's still the thing about the impermanence of the streaming model.

For example: I love Firefly (the series). I rewatch it from time to time. Idealy, I'd always like that option. I own the series on DVD, so no problem... but if I ever decided that I didn't want to physically own any more boxsets (having my entire collection on a hard-disk is much more space-saving and practical), there's currently no equivalent to 'owning' the DVD... other than illegally downloading the torrent.

I am a person who is willing to spend money to own digital content (and I'm pretty sure I can't be the only one)... given reasonable reassurance that the seller won't take what I thought I owned away from me later. At present, whoever it is that's deciding what rights the purchasers have bestowed on them are pushing more potential purchasers down the illegality road by not giving them what they really want, namely some sense that, for the long-term, they'll be able to watch what they 'own' without worrying about it being automatically deleted from their video library (as I've read both Amazon and iTunes have done) and without needing an internet connection all the time.

Edited to add: on the subject of the Raspberry Pi media player: how is that an improvement over the media player that my PVR and/or DVD/Blu-ray player represents? Either way, I need to get the content somehow that I can use some form of media player to play. Wouldn't getting another media player just provide me with an extra way to play the media without giving me the media to play (which is the problem I think I'm trying to solve)?

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Generally speaking this is very difficult. They don't sell readily downloadable/transferable films because they reckon everyone would just upload them to the internet/sell them to their friends etc.

So they all provide films in specific formats. ..so you can only watch them using the programs they provide etc.

By behaving this way, they are reducing the value of what they're trying to sell. They're making the legal approach positively inferior to the illegal way (apart from breaking the law).

If The Powers That Be want people to buy stuff, they should at least make it as good (or better) as the illegal alternative.

Some people won't ever buy stuff that they can get for free, but many will if the deal seems reasonable.

A subscription for a streaming service of whatever is available with one month's notice to leave (i.e., Netflix) seems fair enough. But sometimes I want to 'own' something to be able to watch even when that thing is no longer available for streaming--for whatever reason.

Actually, while I'm waffling on and on... I can sort of think of a reason.

Netflix is fine, but it doesn't have everything. Amazon's Whateve-It's-Called-This-Week is fine, but it doesn't have everything either. Does that mean I should have to subscribe to both? (Presumably, there are other subscription services, so... a person who wants access to anything and everything could have quite a monthly bill.)

If I were to decide that subscribing to both/all is overkill and go with Netflix then (I believe) West Wing isn't available through them... so what do I do? It would be nice to do the equivalent of buying the boxset... but without having to give the actual, physical boxset the house-room. However, then we're back to streaming on an Amazon-compatible device, and what I've bought can be removed... etc...

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If The Powers That Be want people to buy stuff, they should at least make it as good (or better) as the illegal alternative.

Do they though? I think ultimately they want to move away from that paradigm completely and onto a pay for access by subscription model, so that the IP continues to generate revenue more or less permanently.

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By behaving this way, they are reducing the value of what they're trying to sell. They're making the legal approach positively inferior to the illegal way (apart from breaking the law).

If The Powers That Be want people to buy stuff, they should at least make it as good (or better) as the illegal alternative.

Some people won't ever buy stuff that they can get for free, but many will if the deal seems reasonable.

A subscription for a streaming service of whatever is available with one month's notice to leave (i.e., Netflix) seems fair enough. But sometimes I want to 'own' something to be able to watch even when that thing is no longer available for streaming--for whatever reason.

Actually, while I'm waffling on and on... I can sort of think of a reason.

Netflix is fine, but it doesn't have everything. Amazon's Whateve-It's-Called-This-Week is fine, but it doesn't have everything either. Does that mean I should have to subscribe to both? (Presumably, there are other subscription services, so... a person who wants access to anything and everything could have quite a monthly bill.)

If I were to decide that subscribing to both/all is overkill and go with Netflix then (I believe) West Wing isn't available through them... so what do I do? It would be nice to do the equivalent of buying the boxset... but without having to give the actual, physical boxset the house-room. However, then we're back to streaming on an Amazon-compatible device, and what I've bought can be removed... etc...

I'm subscribed to Netflix, Amazon Prime & Now TV (Sky Movies), and in total, it costs me around 15 quid a month...about the price of newly released blu ray..

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Do they though? I think ultimately they want to move away from that paradigm completely and onto a pay for access by subscription model, so that the IP continues to generate revenue more or less permanently.

If there was a subscription/streaming service that made anything and everything available, I'd chuck away all my physical media and sign up for it.

But I don't want to sign up for two (or more) subscription/streaming services and for there still to be loads of stuff I can't get.

This is where the digital equivalent of a library of physical DVDs comes in--the ability to 'own' without having to give it house-room.

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Are we talking about the same thing? Are you saying that if I want to buy the first season of West Wing to download and play using my PC, PVR or DVD/Blu-ray player, I can do that via YouTube? Or didn't you read what I wanted to do? :P

A lot of content is sneaked on to Youtube/Vimeo/DailyMotion, etc...You can get youtube rippers, which allow you get the content off the site, but thats probably the only other way you're going to get downloadable content on to a stick without using torrents...

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A lot of content is sneaked on to Youtube...You can get youtube rippers, which allow you get the content off the site, but thats probably the only other way you're going to get downloadable content on to a stick without using torrents...

It wasn't torrents per se but illegality generally I am trying to find an alternative to. :D

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To be honest this is the model of the future... £15 a month for all of that or £10 a month for a BBC license...bearing in mind I player /4oD etc are readily available. No brainer really.

Been having a look at the Now TV boxes lately for £20 and tempted. You can buy them with a Sky Entertainment or Movies package from about £5.99 a month.

P

You can buy 2-3 month Sky Movies vouchers on ebay for around 10-15 quid each, rather than the 10 quid a month you pay sky..

Cheapest one at the mo... http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/2-Month-NOW-TV-SKY-MOVIES-/221685255238?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_3&hash=item339d788c46

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As far as I can tell it's an utter minefield due to DRM etc. Yes, you can get some services which will allow you to download a file, even transfer it to another computer. But guaranteeing that the particular device you want to play it back on it supports the particular DRM doohickey that comes with your service? Near impossible unless you stick to one ecosystem like Apple or rip stuff from DVDs/internet.

Add in the shift to streaming, and I'll be surprised if this is ever sorted. Personally, I go with streaming for disposable pap I might only watch once and physical for valued/hard to find stuff. There's nothing downloadable that can beat a blu-ray anyhow.

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I have an Amazon/LoveFilm subscription and get physical DVDs through the post. They get ripped at full fidelity and I watch them off the computer. The only issue is storage space, but disks are cheap, and having a few TB is not exactly expensive. Technically this is almost certainly copyright infringement, but until the silly gits build a system that will allow me to watch stuff offline (which is the only time I watch films), it is not exactly hurting on anyone - they are getting money via subscription.

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When HDMI is eventually compromised you'll probably just be able to record whatever you're watching as you stream it like people did with audio tapes.

In the mean time just copying your DVDs is probably the only option as everyone else has said. Not sure how easy this is with blurays though.. more of a faff I imagine (or are bluray rippers widely available now?).

Recording streams would probably be as illegal as taping audio from the radio when you were a kid. Ripping content you already own I think is allowed though.

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