This weekend I was out at a friend's cabin and we decided that we wanted to watch Spy Game. (A great film even if you are not into the CIA genre, and if you are, no doubt you have already seen it.) The cabin has DSL, which I tested out at 9.5 mbps, a big screen TV with Apple TV installed. We had 4 iPads, and as many laptops and smart phones -- safe to say that if a movie was available, we should have been able to watch it.
Here is what we experienced:
Attempt 1 (Failed): Rent the movie on iTunes and watch on Apple TV. Turns out we could not remember the password of the account at Apple and we did not want to mess up the install by changing the user.
Attempt 2 (Failed): Rent the movie on iTunes on one of our iPads and then put it up on the TV using the Apple TV. We had been putting up you tube videos all afternoon from iPads -- so it should have been a piece of cake. Turns out that we would have to download the 4.3 GB file entirely before the movie could be watched. Every so often the DSL would hiccup and the download would start over. By this time everyone gave up and went to bed, but I kept trying to download it overnight. The closest I got was 2.5 GB.
Attempt 3 (Worked): The next day we started in on the project again. Maybe we could rent the movie on Amazon Instant Video on the web. Then launch the AIV app on an iPad and connect that iPad to the Apple TV. Hey, presto -- the move streamed. It only stopped once during the 2 hour movie when the DSL burped, but started right back up again.
After all of that fun, we were cleaning up the cabin and someone looked at the DVD library and what do you know.... Spy Game had been sitting there in its DVD box all the while!
Setting aside for a moment the fact that we could have watched the movie without a computer or an internet connection, Amazon won the day this time because:
- They had the movie in their library (but so did Apple)
- They were cheaper at $2.99 (but that was not a big part of our criteria -- in fact we also paid Apple $4.99 for our failed attempt)
- But Mostly Amazon won because they had more pathways to success. In this case we rode over Apple TV, at home we have a TV with an Amazon app built in and that works well, and in other circumstances we have used Chromecast to put a browser window with the Amazon stream on the TV.
More and more we look first to Amazon for video.