Posts Tagged ‘computer

21
Nov
08

Will Digital Kill the Video Disc?

As I walk into my garage where I can pop the 8-track into my quadraphonic stereo and mellow out to the Mamas and Papas, I say to myself, “I love the digital age.”

 

No, wait.

 

Skip forward to the cassette and then to the CD to the MP3 player, or maybe from the VHS to the DVD to the digital download. Thanks to leaps in technology, and in no small part to the Internet, we can now download movies or watch them streaming from a site online. While the music counterpart was quick to ban against MP3 technology, and then eventually let it in, the Hollywood system has been cautious, nay leery, of digital technology.

 

Why this is no one can say for sure. Part of it could be the fight between the RIAA and peer-to-peer sites over copyright infringement, which has led to the creation of bit torrent sites for downloading. Part of it could be that downloading hurts any current contracts with DVD distribution companies. And part of it could be mankind’s caution with technology. No one of these reasons is greater than the others.

 

With the proliferation of the peer-to-peer and bit torrent sites, Hollywood was more than compelled to begin offering movies for downloading. Sites such as CinemaNow, Movielink, and Vongo have sprung up offering users up to 4,000 video/movie titles as well as hundreds of TV show episodes. iTunes has also joined the market, extending their interests from just music to TV, movies, and music videos.

 

Back to the question: will digital downloading kill DVD/Blu-ray discs?

 

“Yes” because:

         Society has become “instant gratification,” and with faster Internet ability and movies being able to be compressed to the size of 1gb, they will become easier to download. And when someone’s finished with the movie and no longer wants to keep it on their harddrive, they can just delete it.

         Downloading will kill the “need” for packaging. Like the example above, there will be no need to deal with scratched discs or misplaced ones, or creating shelf space to house your collection when you can keep it on a computer.

         Downloading will put the current video retailers (Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, Hollywood Video) out of business by offering “what’s new” to users online instead of making users wait in line at a checkout or brave “weather elements” as they stand outside a video cube.

 

“No” because:

         Currently, we do not have the electronic infrastructure for it. This means that if EVERY person in the U.S. logged on to download a movie, the Internet would HALT. While this is a worst-case scenario, it brings out the point that in order to offer more movies to more people, networks have to be changed/ rearranged, and we’re not currently seeing that happening.

         It would be nearly impossible (at least from the current standpoint) to offer the more than 21,000 films that have been made online. Each week several movies are available on disc, with only a fraction available online. We would first have to offer everything current before tackling the insurmountable-looking back catalog.

         Believe it or not, some people want the ability to hold a video in their hands, packaging and all. They don’t care about shelf space or depreciating value; it’s the ability to look for it (like a book) and pop it into the DVD player when they want, instead of having to navigate through a computer that they don’t like having.

         There is no clear platform for downloaded movies. Some of the services use a browser, while others use the application created by the company.

         Digital rights management. The above mentioned download sites have their “special” ways of displaying the movie you downloaded. Eventually, movie downloading and watching will have to go cross-platform, which means the above companies will have to agree on one format to use in order to show the films. That will also make the movies “easier” to pirate and transport.

         With all the viruses running around, as well as “inclement weather,” what happens when your computer DIES? The motherboard fries, the harddrive locks up, etc. If your collection isn’t burned onto disc, you’re in trouble…

 

In closing, my belief is that digital downloading, while it is an interesting addition to movie watching, has a ways to go before it will get to the point it needs to be. That and with the fact that computers aren’t 100% reliable, I do not believe that video discs are leaving all that soon.

 

For more info on movie site downloading, check out the following link:

http://www.bigpicturebigsound.com/movie-download-websites-903.shtml

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15
Jul
08

Top Five Hacking Movies

Another fun day here at the Film Guys Online / Chasfilm Productions Office of Cinematic Research. Since last week we tackled evil computers, this week we profile the other side of computer “evil”: hackers.

 

TOP FIVE COMPUTER HACKER MOVIES

 

Please note that this is just a list. Feel free to throw in comments on your faves, or the ones I may have overlooked.

 

5. Hackers (1995) – Why not begin with a movie simply called “Hackers?” Johnny Lee Miller is Dade Murphy, a kid caught hacking, sentenced to not being able to touch a computer until his 18th birthday. With newfound friends Kate Libby (Angelina Jolie) and Emmanuel Goldstein (Matthew Lillard) they come upon a plot to unleash a computer virus orchestrated by Eugene Belford (Fisher Stevens). They must evade the Secret Service and stop Belford from releasing the deadly virus. Overall, not too bad of a movie.

 

4. Sneakers (1992) – Robert Redford is Martin Bishop, a man with a hidden past who is now working as a “security specialist.” With help from his team of Dan Akyroyd, Sidney Poitier, River Phoenix, and David Straithairn, they recover a black box that has the possibility of decrypting every known code to man. On their trail are NSA agents led by James Earl Jones. With a top-notch cast, this “heist meets hacking” movie is worth checking out. (Watch for the scene where the guy sits on an actual Cray supercomputer.)

 

3. Enemy of the State (1998) – Will Smith is Robert Dean, a lawyer who accidentally receives evidence of a political assassination. On the run, he’s unmercifully being tracked by Thomas Reynolds (Jon Voight) and his team of NSA agents that include Jack Black and Jamie Kennedy. His survival comes from teaming up with Bill (Gene Hackman), a guy who lives “off-the-radar” by being paranoid enough to cover his tracks. Mixing action, adventure, spying, espionage, paranoia, conspiracies, and computer hacking, Tony Scott delivers in this thriller. (Note: The film was “inspired” by the Hackman movie, “The Conversation.”)

 

2. Tron (1982) – A hacker (Jeff Bridges) is sucked into a video game world where the computer’s Master Control Program rules. He must fight to survive the sadistic games created by the MCP so he can get back to “reality” and stop the MCP from taking over the real world. Along the way he aids Tron (Bruce Boxleitner), a security program whose goal it is to stop the games and vanquish the MCP. Although a little dated for now, “Tron” was ahead of its time for computer graphics in 1982. And c’mon, the Light Cycles were cool.

 

1. WarGames (1983) – I can’t even begin to calculate how many times I’ve watched this movie. If you haven’t seen it, “WarGames,” is about David Lightman (Matthew Broderick), a kid who hacks into computers for fun (and to change the occasional bad grade). When he finds a “back door” into a military computer, he activates a program called Joshua which begins simulating World War III. Taking Jennifer Mack (Ally Sheedy) along for the ride he hunts down Joshua’s creator, reclusive scientist Stephen Falken (John Wood) in order to stop nuclear war with the Russians. Fun movie. Watch for Michael Madsen in the opening scene. Directed by John Badham, who also directed “Saturday Night Fever.”

11
Jul
08

Welcome to the Machine

“Welcome my son… welcome, to the Machine…” – Pink Floyd

 

This week at the Film Guys Online / Chasfilm Productions Office of Cinematic Research, we bow down to our Electronic Overlord, the Computer. Whether it’s PC or Mac, these business machines mean business. Let’s take a look at the

 

TOP 5 COMPUTERS TO FEAR

 

5. HAL 9000 (“2001: A Space Odyssey,” “2010”) – Short for Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer, HAL could take you to the deepest depths of outer space and then have you sucked out the airlock. It’s all part of its master plan…

 

4. Colossus (“Colossus: The Forbin Project”) – I blame Forbin. Here a guy creates a supercomputer and it links to a Russian supercomputer called Guardian. And the supercomputers take over the world. Good job there, Forbie.

 

 

 

3. Master Control Program (“Tron”) – What can a computer bent on world-domination in the real world and sadistic slaughter of programs within the video game realm do if you piss it off? Suck you into the world it controls. Good luck, and don’t crash your Light Cycle into the wall. End of line.

 

2. Skynet (“Terminator,” “Terminator 2,” “Terminator 3”) – For those who don’t know the mythos, August 29, 1997 a computer called Skynet “woke up” and nuked civilization. What people were left went underground and the machines began taking over, finally creating a Terminator to destroy mankind and take out the leader, John Connor.

 

1. The Matrix (“The Matrix,” “Matrix Reloaded,” “Matrix Revolutions”) The most evil computer of all has already enslaved mankind, turning humans into “batteries” to continually power it. Neo, the One, is wakened from the world he was plugged into and must find a way for humanity to strike back.