Dear Universal Pictures…

I've got a question. Why is it that in my efforts to legitimately purchase and watch your movies means I have to wait over 4 months?

Unlike many — or lets be honest, almost all — of my friends and peers I choose not to obtain movies or music illegally. All my music is purchased via iTunes (or streamed on Spotify) and for movies its either the cinema or waiting for it to be available for rental or purchase on the Apple TV. 

Heres my problem. If I don't happen to catch a movie at a cinema the wait before I can rent or purchase the movie is infuriatingly comical. Heres an example.

A Million Ways to Die in the West poster. Licensed under Fair use via  Wikipedia .

A Million Ways to Die in the West poster. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Originally released in theatres in Australia on the 29th of May. At the time I did not make it in to see the movie at the cinema and instead was just going to wait until I could rent it. How long could that be?

After forgetting about it in the proceeding months I was reminded after watching TED on TV one night — "I haven't seen that Seth MacFarlane movie yet." I then checked to see if A Million Ways To Die In The West was available to rent on iTunes (via Apple TV). Nope. Purchase? Nope. Hell, was it still in cinemas? Nope. Local movie rental store? Closed down months ago.

So as a law abiding movie watcher I could not in any way, shape or form pay to watch this movie at that time.

Confused I checked the dates on when it will be released. I found, after some digging, that the physical release for purchase would be on the 27th of August. Cool, at the time I thought "I can wait a little longer" as movies on iTunes usually release for purchase and rent at the same time.

Nope. I was dumfounded to find on the night of the 27th when I was ready to watch a movie that was 3 months past theatrical release that I could not rent it. Instead I had to purchase it. But that wasn't all. The rental date is set for the 27th of September. That will make it a 4 month wait.

Why? I want to do the right thing. I even put up with the ridiculous waiting to a point where in the end I forget the movie ever existed. Why am I and the others that want to do the right thing treated like absolute shit? It would take me less than an hour to download a torrent of this movie. Sometimes I feel like giving up on the motivation to put up with this shit and just do what everyone else does.

Heres a timeline for absolute clarity:

  • Movie released on the 29th of May at cinemas
  • No longer available in local cinemas in late July
  • Available for purchase only on the 27th of August
  • Available for rent on the 27th of September


I don't expect, yet, to be able to watch it at the same time as theatrical release. Cinemas are trying to hold onto their business model, with support from the industry, and are making us pay for it. In time hopefully this will change but it will unfortunately be a while.

Is it so much to ask to have at most a 1-2 month wait after theatrical release. Enough time for the rush of movie goers to watch it in cinemas with the popcorn, 3D and what not.

If the aim of the game is to stop people from torrenting movies then why not, I don't know, make it available for them to purchase it in the way they want to watch it? Hint, people are torrenting movies to watch on computers and networked TV's.

Universal Pictures…

A simple request. Wake the fuck up. People who want to pay for your product can't and you treat us like shit. You scream and yell about piracy, lobby the Government to make laws and treat everyone as a criminal. And yet, you don't even make what you sell available to those who want to purchase it. What the fuck kind of business is that?

I'll probably be able to watch the movie on my plane trip to the US next week because, fuck, I don't know why but some movies are available on planes before people can buy them.

A vision for Apple TV's à la carte future — Verge Forums

A fantastic set of mockups by the Verge member. A great look at the potential of Apple TV's future.

My visions are similar but a bit different:

  • No Apple TV display. The same black box we have now. 1080p, HDMI, WiFi, Optical Audio. Maybe Bluetooth 4?
  • Different apps, if any apps at all. If you want to use Instagram then use your iPhone. No need to double up. I can only foresee consumption apps being used on a TV.
  • Streaming TV channels. Spot on representation in the mocks. Resolution is automatically determined from the HTTP Live Streaming spec with multi-bitrate streaming by the capabilities of your connection.
  • "Watch it later" instead of "Record TV show". No need to record anything, just iCloud it.
  • AirPlay source selection like the current AppleTV. No need to select anything. Just hit the button on your iOS/Mac and boom. <3 Bonjour.
  • Siri. Again, great representation in the mocks. Could become the remote all together, just speak.
  • iPad, iPhone as a remote. The grid interface could be shown on a portable device where it can be touched to make selections and navigation easier.

Great potential.

Apple's 'next big thing' may be iDevice TV remote, not standalone HDTV

Don't we already have this? and AirPlay for everything else.

“With iCloud, we don’t see any reason why Apple wouldn’t eventually allow an iPad to be an interface for the TV – to perform basic computing tasks with a virtual keyboard like checking emails and calendars, surfing websites, editing your PhotoStream and even chat with iMessage,” the analyst notes.

Ok, sure you could check email on your TV. Alternatively you can just use the iPad or iPhone, used as a remote to the TV, to do that already with an interface optimised for that screen size. I know this because thats what I do already.

The article goes on to mention "NFC", "fingerprint scanning" and a business acronym I had to Google. All buzzwords in the Apple rumour circlejerk arena.

What TV will we see from Apple? My guess is the same ol' Apple TV box but with on-demand access to TV shows with a short release window. Nothing more.