Streaming video, the latest trend in online movie piracy.

Innovation, the Internet, gadgets, and more.
Nov. 21 2007 7:29 AM

Transformers ... Now in Streaming Video!

The latest trend in online movie piracy.

(Continued from Page 1)

Streaming, on the other hand, is instant. One of the more popular streaming sites, Nabolister, has a simple search bar in the middle of the page. Type in Transformers, and you'll get a series of links. Most of these will open new pages with embedded players that resemble the YouTube interface. Click on the play button, and your movie starts rolling. Within seconds, you can tell if you're watching a high-quality video.

To test how pervasive streaming piracy has become, I searched for this year's 10 highest-grossing movies on a bunch of streaming sites. With the exception of a few low-quality and handheld-camera versions of Transformers and Knocked Up, I found every one of the 10 in a watchable format, using no more than a trio of sites and spending only a few minutes searching. At this point, it's possible to bring Transformers or The Bourne Supremacy into your living room in seconds. All you need is a Web connection and a video cable. That's the sort of thing that can really cut into DVD sales.


All that's saving the studios and the MPAA for now is that streaming piracy has a learning curve. It takes some trial and error to determine what a dead video link looks like and which video hosts offer a higher-quality picture. While the process is less user-friendly than its Napster-style predecessors, it is very similar to the BitTorrent method, with users finding their desired files via the Web rather than a centralized interface. Streaming video users also don't have to download or install any software, nor enter any dangerous, spy-infested BitTorrent networks.

The MPAA, unable to put a crimp in streaming video piracy, should take a cue from the TV networks. Remember when NBC focused on selling its shows on iTunes? Now, NBC and News Corp. have joined forces to create Hulu, where users can stream entire shows for free. Meanwhile, CBS has partnered up with the streaming video venture Joost. The networks, it seems, understand that the download model is on the way out and that streaming is the way of the future. (Hell, even the Pirate Bay itself seems to realize this, noting this summer that it was looking to branch out into the world of streaming.)

The MPAA should be paying attention. The small-screeners have smartly monetized (through advertising) the sorts of video streams that Web users are flocking to. If they wanted, the movie studios could give film buffs what the pirates can't consistently offer: a high-quality picture and a Web destination that won't get shuttered in a matter of months. Streaming is here to stay. If the MPAA is smart, it will decide it makes more sense to make money off it than to fight it.



Blacks Don’t Have a Corporal Punishment Problem

Americans do. But when blacks exhibit the same behaviors as others, it becomes part of a greater black pathology. 

I Bought the Huge iPhone. I’m Already Thinking of Returning It.

Scotland Is Just the Beginning. Expect More Political Earthquakes in Europe.

Lifetime Didn’t Think the Steubenville Rape Case Was Dramatic Enough

So they added a little self-immolation.

Two Damn Good, Very Different Movies About Soldiers Returning From War

Medical Examiner

The Most Terrifying Thing About Ebola 

The disease threatens humanity by preying on humanity.

Students Aren’t Going to College Football Games as Much Anymore, and Schools Are Getting Worried

The Good Wife Is Cynical, Thrilling, and Grown-Up. It’s Also TV’s Best Drama.

  News & Politics
Sept. 19 2014 9:15 PM Chris Christie, Better Than Ever
Sept. 19 2014 6:35 PM Pabst Blue Ribbon is Being Sold to the Russians, Was So Over Anyway
Inside Higher Ed
Sept. 19 2014 1:34 PM Empty Seats, Fewer Donors? College football isn’t attracting the audience it used to.
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 19 2014 4:58 PM Steubenville Gets the Lifetime Treatment (And a Cheerleader Erupts Into Flames)
  Slate Plus
Slate Picks
Sept. 19 2014 12:00 PM What Happened at Slate This Week? The Slatest editor tells us to read well-informed skepticism, media criticism, and more.
Brow Beat
Sept. 19 2014 4:48 PM You Should Be Listening to Sbtrkt
Future Tense
Sept. 19 2014 6:31 PM The One Big Problem With the Enormous New iPhone
  Health & Science
Medical Examiner
Sept. 19 2014 5:09 PM Did America Get Fat by Drinking Diet Soda?   A high-profile study points the finger at artificial sweeteners.
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.