Count me down as someone that completely doesn’t get or think there will be a big consumer rush to watch movies on cel phones. This isn’t to say someone could make an “all in one” media device that could pull off such a trick. I think with current cel phones the screens are so tiny that watching a movie on one isn’t very cozy or compelling. A trailer plays fine but sitting down and trying to watch a movie on one just doesn’t work.
One of two things I think need to happen to make this work.
One. Cel phones include a portable screen that can display the movie. Something that at least has the viewing screen size of a portable DVD player. The idea would be as cel phones become more and more merged with being an “all in one” media device that instead of trying to cram everything into one object there would be several parts that could be connected or detached from each other. No one wants to carry a giant or too large to comfortably carry media device of any kind, so having something that features several connectible/detachable parts seems more ideal.
Two. Micro-laptop media devices. This would be like a Blackberry on steroids. It would be roughly the size of a small portable DVD player and feature a keyboard, video cam, wi-fi, Internet browser, e-mail, media player for music and movies and a map application (among others).
In summation I just don’t see with such a small viewing area being offered on current cel phones and media devices a viable consumer need to purchase and watch movies on them. Until the viewing area can be put on mobile devices in larger fashion I don’t think there will ever be a craze beyond some initial overblown hype.
I also think in the future as hard drive space grows by gigs and gigs, alongside huge increases in memory, that we will eventually see something like iTunes but for all media where we can catalog and store any media we have. In this regard we can import movies that we store on our computers but have available for our large screen hi-def televisions and we can additionally port over to a cel phone/media device. As such I think the purchase model for a digital media item will be to buy one copy that a consumer can use in multiple ways. I don’t think digital items should be sold in each variance. Home video purchases at some point will be something downloaded and not something we buy shrink wrapped online or a store. PDF’s will shore up liner notes and cover art. This just makes sense the way hard drive space is becoming larger and easier to buy.
I can additionally see monthly subscriptions to have access to various DVD distributors catalogs (any entity with a film catalog). Any downloaded items would be set to only work on a given users system if fully purchased. Obviously something needs to be done so they can’t just be downloaded and then someone else throws them up on some file sharing site. The options would be two – you could purchase an individual film for good or you could rent it. The rent option would then have a file you could download but that expires on a certain date. The problem as it stands now is having sufficient technology that would prevent hackers from just pilfering through an entire catalog and cracking it. Just imagine if to some degree this could work? You could subscribe to Criterion or Nikkatsu for $20 bucks a month (or something along those lines) and have access to their film library. Purchase or rent movies as you need.
Call me crazy I know… but that’s my two cents.