Last paper of this semester’s final examinations is tomorrow and I have no idea how to start studying for it. I have the entire C++ syllabus in my head since four years ago and it’s just a matter of whether I can shit out some algorithm for the examination questions tomorrow. I have a high tendency to discard my efficient thought process under exam pressure, and that isn’t very good.
In any case, after viewing episode 5 of Macross Frontier, the first thing that came to my mind was, “Woah, so Bollywood flicks do work even when converted to Japanese.” I mean, it really tugs at my heart when Ranka starts singing, and I can sort of understand why Indians love to dance in their movies. The intended surreality is captivating when done right. So under the influence of episode 5 and tjhan, I thought maybe I should give Macross Zero a try. Which happened to be streaming on Crunchyroll.
Crunchyroll, one of the pioneering online streaming services for anime and other unimportant shows. It was a service that I never bothered using when it first appeared and I had a strict high-quality demand for viewing anime. I could never understand why anyone would willingly put themselves through a pixelated nightmare whereby one couldn’t differentiate boobs and butt from eggs and stools. Well, times have changed and services like Veoh have appeared, providing almost unrestricted(VeohTV, pfffft) online streaming of high quality anime comparable to the very first Anime-One Naruto fansubs I watched 7 years ago via Kazaa downloads. It was also only recently when I found out that crappy Crunchyroll now has quality selection providing acceptable streaming images, albeit suffering heavily from audio compression in contrast with Veoh.
There we have it, quality videos, streaming online with close to nil waiting for downloading, available whenever, where ever and anytime as long as we have internet broadband connection. Perhaps the term “broadband” is redundant now that it’s pretty much made default. I couldn’t help but wonder at how long can companies dealing in DVDs survive just by issuing Cease and Desist letters to online streaming sites.
They have tried and failed to clamp down on fansubs. Solid State Society still managed to proliferate online through various unknown sources, under all that clamp down hoo-haa. There are FTP and HTTP sites sprouting everywhere. Even if they do manage to cease distribution within the United States, there’s still China as a copyright obliterating den. To quote my Chinese college calculus tutor, “I doubt China has any ounce of respect for intellectual property.” China even has this XunLei service that acts like some mighty copyright raping penis cannon that allows super high speed downloads.
Before companies could even come up with a decent method to curb such practices, high-quality, high-speed streaming services appeared! Seriously, there are tonnes of episodes on my 500GB HDD that I never, EVER touch and end up deleting all of them during disk space freeing. Streaming has indeed become my best solution to watch anime nowadays. Code Geass RAWs appear on Chinese streaming sites instantaneously; I don’t have to risk copyright laws and I get my fix of hi-res anime with decent audio. HDD space will no longer be wasted and I have stopped downloading ANY anime ever since last December because I get to view them online anytime I want to. I do not equate myself to the entire anime viewing community but I would not doubt the imminent trend ahead. Anime viewers WILL outgrow constant burning of episodes to discs that they will never ever touch again. They WILL outgrow the waiting times for downloads. Online streaming WILL eventually become the ultimate solution to media distribution.
If anime viewers are too lazy to even bother to infringe on copyright laws to get their anime fix, what incentive is there left for them to even purchase the official release? I sought to seek the answer using myself as a subject, and I realise that the only original anime I actually purchase are either classics (Evangelion) or really gorgeous deluxe box sets with promised, high-rated reviews (Kara no Kyoukai). I tried purchasing the cheap original local DVDs but ended up never touching them. The entire set is now collecting dust in my cabinet, nicely wrapped up.
Thus, this brings me to a certain concern: How are anime companies going to efficiently distribute their anime in the future?
I personally foresee that in the future, physical distribution of anime will no longer be sufficient. Along with each DVD or BD sold, an online streaming copy is to be issued too. With high speed internet nowadays, it just isn’t efficient and convenient enough for the customers to tear open their DVD package and pop the disc into whatever player of concern. The internet itself functions perfectly fine as a multimedia player which offers numerous videos and music in exchange of a few clicks. That is the current future of media distribution, whereby physical means are just a bonus which will eventually cease to exist. Deluxe box sets will be a thing of the past, with deluxe online memberships taking its place. What was a physical media battle between the law and pirates on the streets will be taken online, evolving strictly into a DRM vs DRM-free digital battle.
Perhaps one might argue that the internet users just aren’t tech savvy enough to purchase views online. Indeed, but things will change with transition. Your neighbourhood video stores will evolve into kiosks selling online passes and video ownership will no longer feel as personal as before. Perhaps just once in a while, companies may present a vintage-styled Blu-Ray boxset release to appease those yearning for a more personal collection.
We are presently in the midst of the transition. The physical media copyright battles have almost ceased to exist. The world is currently in a state of physical media vs digital media distro war. It wouldn’t be long before the digital war breaks out, leaving behind the legends of transitions from physical to digital to be written into media history textbooks, along with the third world countries.
I guess I have rambled too much. Back to studying. Somewhat.