How Technology Has Changed How We Watch Movies

In case you have spent a majority of your time under a massive rock, chances are, you have noticed changes to the movie watching experience. In the past decade alone, it’s been amazing to see how the entertainment and technology industries have worked together – combining efforts in an attempt to overcome piracy, which is still a potent and growing threat, and adapt to the way people decide to rent and/or own films in their home.


When you look at the latter issue, the physical rental world took a pretty massive hit this past fall when Blockbuster announced it was closing its remaining 300 stores in the U.S. (along with those overseas) by the end of this month (January). Why? Because of streaming video, of course. As you probably know, there is an increasingly competitive marketplace for videos on demand. In addition to the two leading providers, Netflix and Amazon, the service is being offered through Redbox, Vudu, Hulu Plus, and iTunes.  Cable networks such as NBC and ABC, among many others, have taken note and include streaming access of recent episodes hosted on their own websites.

Courtesy of Google
Courtesy of Google

What these services have essentially done is brought our movie-watching community closer to the fully virtual world. More so, when you consider new tech like the Google Chromecast. This device essentially makes any TV into an Internet TV. All you do is plug it in, configure the device to your WiFi and you are able to stream any video from your computer, tablet or smartphone directly to your TV. As far as upcoming tech goes, Technicolor is getting ready to bring its M-GO service to the ultra-HD Samsung television sets by the end of this spring. The goal here is to allow movie lovers with 4K-resolution televisions the chance to see films (and TV series) with the most impressive quality output available.


Gone are the days when you would take trips to a video rental store and go through the experience of making sure they have a copy, possibly having to go with a different title, and trying not to buy too much candy at the counter. Instead, we’re all posting up on our couches, beds, and maybe even dinner tables to watch the latest movie on our list.


The funny thing is, you would think all of this technology would have an impact on the bottom line at the box office, right? Sort of. According to numbers reported by Variety, 2013 was a record-setting year in terms of film revenue as it reached $11 billion in the US. That being stated, ticket prices were also up during the summer months, yet overall ticket sales have steadily declined since 2002. Will the trend continue in 2014? It seems likely. It will be interesting to see how Hollywood reacts.


The future is not solely up to the movie-makers to shape. How will we, as a community, go forward in our movie viewing this year? Will we continue to embrace streaming video, or return to theaters as in decades past? I’m interested in what you, the reader, have to say about this topic. Please let me know your thoughts in the comments section.


About the Author:
Rachel Hodges is a young writer with a love of all things cinema and technology related. If she can find any story combining the two subjects, you’ll be sure to find her writing about it.

1 Comment

  1. Great article! Funny fact though, Blockbuster could have used their brand recognition to be the #1 streaming supplier right now. They did have plans waaay back when Netflix was still rather unknown (or perhaps even earlier.) The mistake that made Blockbuster bust…? They partnered with ENRON to supply their bandwidth… and we all know how that went. Haha. Again, very nice article about how we ‘receive’ movies. I’d be interested in getting your opinion/evaluation on an innovation regarding how we actually watch & ‘experience’ movies (and I’m not talking 3-D or 4K.) provides a software movie (DVD ‘beta’ release as proof of concept, w/ Blu-ray to follow and eventually streaming) player that adds amazing functionality to your movie watching experience… parental controls, in-movie keyword search, filming location info, point&click shopping for items you see during the movie, and many other features. (Disclaimer: I do work for the company, but I’m not a PR guy or advertising troll. I’d just genuinely like to see what other movie enthusiasts think of the features.) That said, I invite you to check out the ‘Player Demo’ video on the site and test out the software if you’re interested. I’d really appreciate an email with your thoughts, suggestions, critiques, etc. Thank you for your time…. and the great article.

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