I have always been a HUGE consumer of media. Even before Netflix, there was nothing better for me than spending a whole weekend vegging out and binge watching my favorite TV Shows.
It must have been around 2002 when I started buying and collecting DVDs. I remember my first DVD was The 13th Warrior of all things. From movie DVDs, it was a natural progression to Television show sets.
At the time, there weren’t a lot of them. HBO led the pack with Sopranos, and they also led the pack with price. Over $100 for a DVD set and nobody had problems paying it. There was no other way to get the content.
But I remember buying the first couple of seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the first season of Stargate SG-1. After that, it was all downhill.
Every Tuesday I was in line at Best Buy picking up a new movie or TV Box set. Especially at the beginning, the releases were FAR behind the actual airing of the shows. I waited SOOOOOO long for Season 4 of Stargate SG-1 to be released, because happened to randomly catch Window of Opportunity one afternoon, and I was aching to rewatch it.
After 7 or 8 years of this, I had amassed a legal DVD collection of over 450 movies and 200 or more seasons of television shows. The natural progression was to go digital.
Around the time Get Him to the Greek was released on DVD, I decided it was time to start going digital. The reason for this was simple. All that media took up a veritable BUTTLOAD of space. I had shelves full of DVDs, walls lined with cases, and I was still tripping over even more DVDs.
So I went on Amazon and paid full DVD price for a copy of “Get Him to the Greek”. A few months later, I wanted to watch the movie. I logged onto Amazon, found it in my library, and saw this message:
Due to licensing restrictions, videos can become temporarily unavailable for viewing or downloading. The video will automatically be made available again once that restriction ends.
Availability of videos for purchase, re-download, or access from a backup copy is determined by the owners of the content. On very rare occasions, a video you previously purchased may become unavailable.
Rare occasions my ass. Literally a full half of the two dozen or so items in my library were unavailable. Essentially HBO or someone had exclusive rights to stream Universal Studios content, so Amazon was forced to deny me access to the media I had purchased.
I was in shock. Absolute shock. Here I had paid full price for a movie and I couldn’t access it. Did Amazon give me refunds? Sure, on most of it. But that wasn’t the point. That was when I realized that I was the #1Fan of movie studios everywhere, but they didn’t give a crap about me. Heck, 100 of people like me and a DVD publisher could stay in business for a year.
The point was clear: I DID NOT OWN MY MEDIA.
To be honest, I had been growing more and more disillusioned with the movie studios for a long time. You may not remember the DVD release of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, but I do. It was two discs of epic awesomeness. I must have spent 5 or 10 hours just exploring the DVD menus, games, easter eggs, and other features on those two discs. And how much did it cost? $19.99
Fast forward a few years to the release of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. No extras and you were lucky to get a Director’s commentary. And it was MORE expensive. By the time Goblet of Fire rolled around you were lucky if there was a piece of paper with a picture on it in the case.
The seventeen releases/re-releases of Avatar? More greed. A movie where the $50 special edition with 5 discs was released in October, but the regular single disc “movie-only” edition wasn’t released until a full month later in November. Even more greed.
I’d had it. Enter the Media Server to Rule them All