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Movielink Test Run

04.28.2006


-- www.movielink.com --

The Movielink announcement last month about releasing VOD movies for purchase left me with a lot of unanswered questions. First, who the hell would pay for this? Why would you spend $20 for KING KONG on your computer when you could go to Wal-Mart and buy the DVD for $14 and watch it on your computer, TV, portable DVD player, etc. Whatís the appeal of owning an electronic-only version of a film when you can own an actual transferable copy of a film. All the major studios, minus Disney for the time being, have bought into the service so it must be something someone thinks is a good idea. I couldnít wrap my head around so I figured what better way to figure out the benefits than to give it a go myself. So on Tuesday night, I set out to legally download my first movie from the web courtesy of Movielink. And as luck would have it, I kept a running diary.

7:25 Ė Letís get this party started! I fire up the laptop and head on over to movielink.com. Iím quickly enticed by their current ďdealĒ offering up a download of BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN for $19.99 (on sale from $29.99). Iím so there. Not that I have much choice. This isnít like browsing at Netflix. I entered in a number of titles in their search and came up empty three straight times.

7:26 Ė I donít get very far without realizing I need to need to register with Movielink. I supply the usual Ė name, address, credit card Ė before Iím granted an account and allowed to proceed. Before I do, I notice that Movielink is only available to users in the United States. So JoBlo and Arrow up in Montreal are assed out (as is the rest of the free world).

7:28 Ė After adding BROKEBACK to my shopping cart and completing my purchase, Iím told I need to download an application titled ďMovielink Manager,Ē that will essentially manage the download of the file from their server to mine. Easy enough, right?

7:34 Ė My first contact with Movielink tech support. My download was scheduled to begin immediately after the Movielink Manager installed but never did. I tried again and still no luck. My pop-up blocker is disabled, my firewall is set properly but still nothing. I reach out to a live chat with a Movielink employee.

7:38 Ė After a short wait, Iím greeted by Ed whoís accompanied by his Captain Jack Sparrow avatar. I explain my problem though not before Ed asks what movie title Iím trying to download and I have to sheepishly admit BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN.

7:41 Ė Captain Ed reviews my account and diagnoses the problem and tells me how to fix it. Keeping in theme with BROKEBACK, I donít ask what the problem was and he doesnít tell.

7:43 Ė After following Edís orders (basically taking a backdoor, excuse the pun, into my account and manually starting the download), BROKEBACK finally starts downloading on my machine.

7:43 Ė Wait a sec. Iím told my Windows Media software isn't quite up to date and that if I donít update I wonít be able to play Movielink files. Fantastic. Download is now on hold while Iím told Iíll need another 5-10 minutes for software updates to install.

7:51 Ė Windows Media Player is now updated and Iím prompted to restart my computer. As you might expect, Movielink recommends saving any other documents before restarting. However the dialog box is not letting me click anywhere outside its parameters leaving my only option to restart my computer and lose all my data (including my running diary).

7:53 Ė Thank God for old fashioned pen and paper. I rewrite my notes as my laptop restarts.

7:56 Ė Iím up and running again and now I get a new dialog box. I click through some ďnextĒ and ďOKĒ buttons where Iím AGAIN prompted to restart my computer. Iím officially getting pissed.

8:01 Ė My computer restarts, again, the Movielink Manager opens and lo and behold, BROKEBACK actually begins downloading. The fancy little meter informs me I have1 hour and 45 minutes to go before Iím in gay cowboy heaven.

8:04 - Only 2 hours and 50 minutes to go!

8:07 - Only 3 hours and 29 minutes to go!

8:25 - Only 4 hours and 13 minutes to go!

9:25 Ė OnlyÖ never mind. You can see where this is going. I can see where this is going and itís going nowhere fast. Iím trying to kill time suffering through ďScrubsĒ with my wife but Iím still nowhere near a BROKEBACK night. I decide to call it quits, leave the laptop on and head to bed.

7:25am Ė After a refreshing night of sleep, I check the laptop and find that BROKEBACK finally finished downloading earlier this morning at 12:41am. Thatís 4 hours and 40 minutes after downloading began on a Verizon DSL connection. Iím hoping those with a cable modem or T1 line have better luck. The WMV file takes up about 1.5GB but is clearer than I thought. Pretty much on par with DVD quality with maybe a bit more grain. Better than I wouldíve expected.

Though Iím reminded frequently by Movielink and their Terms of Agreement that the WMV file can only be viewed on this or three other computers, I give my best shot to try and convert the file to iPodís .m4v format or to burn onto a viewable DVD. (The file can be burned to a DVD as data but not for playback in a DVD player.) Neither worked. I didnít spend all day and night on it but it seems that the few programs I have on my machine that might be able to find away around this, werenít able to do so. Not to say that someone wonít eventually find one, but so far I didnít have any luck. Which is good cause if I had luck, Iíd probably have the MPAA and FBI knocking on my door.

The Movielink download went pretty much as I had expected. Glitches in technology, took a while to download and rather inconvenient. Iíve had the file since Wednesday morning and still no plans to watch it. After all, itís hard to convince my wife to gather round the ole laptop for a movie. Perhaps one day when Iím traveling, itíll come in handy but otherwise, I donít see myself sitting in my chair and staring at my laptop. Of course I could hook up my laptop to my TV and, through Windows Media Edition, watch the movie on my TV, but at that point, I couldíve bought the DVD, watched it and spent at least two days questioning my manhood.

If youíre someone whoís constantly on the go but somehow finds himself with enough time to connect to the internet via a high-speed modem for at least 3 hours and with a laptop small enough to be portable and an allergy to DVDsÖhey, this is probably right up your alley. Me, Iíll stick to buying my movies on DVD and leave my computer to what it was meant for: porn, porn, porn.

Source: JoBlo.com

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