Mark Cuban, the owner of the Dallas Mavericks has some theories about the future of digital content distribution. "Well hopefully you'll be able to buy or rent a hard drive with 5, 10, 20 movies on it. And you'll use your DVR, your PC, or your Media Center PC, and just through a 1394 port or a USB 2.0 port, you'll connect the hard drive. Or we might do a deal with Netflix or Wal-Mart where every month you get a new hard drive loaded with movies, and then you ship back your old ones, just like you do now with Netflix, when you ship back your DVDs when you're finished watching them. Why not just ship back the hard drive?"
I had NetFlix for a while and there was a major problem. Spontaneity. I don't want to wait a week or two for the mail to arrive so I can watch a movie. In fact I may have lost interest by then. Cuban is obsessed with high resolution. Now I have a HDTV so I know how much better it looks than the old 480i signals that have been around for over half a century. The problem is that at some point it's good enough. At some point people trade quality for convenience.
Michael Moore admitted he wasn't bothered by the fact that people are downloading his movies. “I do well enough already and I made this film because I want the world, to change. The more people who see it the better, so I’m happy this is happening.” I'm a software guy so I know all of the tools available to get big files off the Internet. Kazza can't handle files this big very well but there is an interesting, relatively unknown tool used in conjunction with a website for this sort of thing. I downloaded a surprisingly high quality copy of Roger and Me, Moore's first documentary, in about two hours, Fahrenheit 911 is slowly making its way onto my computer as we speak. What the hell is Cuban thinking? Who's going to want to plug in an external hard drive to watch a movie?
Right now, few people have heard of BitTorrent. It's finikey and hard to use but it works very well as my flickering router lights can attest. Actually, now that I think about it, I have a biased point of view. I download documentaries, ideas with a video backdrop. I don't need 5.1 surround sound to get Noam Chomsky's critique of the Media. Lots of people want sensory immersion especially when watching Art Films and the like. Don't watch Fahrenheit 911 if you're squeamish by the way, there was just footage of a guy getting his head lopped off. Some things are better left low-def.