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Quantity vs. Quality – The P2P Download Issue

, posted: 24-Apr-2006 21:00

With the every increasing availability of broadband to people around the world, there has never been a larger choice of content to download, whether legal or illegal.  Whilst this content used to predominantly MP3’s (and other music formats), now days it is more likely to be a movie.  The problem is that downloading one is a very hit and miss affair.


Personally, I prefer to watch a movie much like the director intended, meaning I like to see all the details I can, and without having to squint, be limited to watching it on my PC, or suffering through Spanish subtitles on a Japanese language movie.


Downloading any file from a peer-to-peer (P2P) network carries risks, but the risks (excluding the obvious ones like virus’s etc) can extend to many more factors when trying to download movies or music.  Now, personally, I am not a big believer in the whole downloading thing, as I prefer the quality of a good DVD or CD to a quantity of average quality AVI files and low bit-rate MP3’s.  That is not to say I haven’t tried it, and I have even downloaded a whole DVD (4GB) burnt it to a disc, watched it, then decided the movie was crap (it was Electra).


But trying to find the files in the first place, in English, and at a suitable quality can be quiet hard; there may be 100 versions of a given movie, especially blockbuster titles released overseas, but how many are worth downloading, and how many will give you the ‘being at the movies’ experience?


Not to mention the time it can take to download.  Even on a ‘fast’ ADSL connection in New Zealand, we have high contention ratios (number of users to a connection at the telephone exchange), which can mean the transfer rates can slow to worse than a dialup connection.  The end result is that it can take days to download a multi-gigabyte file.


Now I know not everyone thinks the same way.  Some people are quite happy to watch a low-resolution version of a movie, just to be able to see it before the local release date, or without having to pay for it, even if it means sitting in front of their PC.


But I think, at the end of the day, the benefits of owning a DVD (or CD), especially when they are so cheap now days (K-Mart and The Warehouse here in New Zealand regularly discount new releases to about NZD$25 for the first week or so).  It means I own a LEGAL copy (no sleepless night worry about receiving a letter from the movie Gestapo, commonly known as the MPAA).  I can also watch it on my TV, on the comfort of my couch, and so can the rest of my family.  And I can watch it like it was intended.  Without squinting.

Other related posts:
PC Upgrades – To Wait or To Buy Now

Comment by paradoxsm, on 26-Apr-2006 01:00

I buy DVD's, never download them. I rip them straight to hard drive, make a usable copy DVD, store the original and encode it to DivX for storage on the server, it'll never get played twice but DRM, Macrovision, region crap and stupid menus and other rubbish are cut leaving only pristine quality movie on DVD-R What's really ironic is that music DVD's are the same price or almost always cheaper than music CD's!

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Tim Anderson
New Zealand

I work in IT in the software field, and I am also lucky enough to review products for a local technology magazine. I have a passion for technology in all respects, from it being an integral part of everyday life to providing fun such as games.

I try to blog about the products I review and post them here, so keep an eye out.

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