Ramblings of a Tampa engineer
Slate It
Photo by Jakob Owens / Unsplash

I learned the news a few weeks ago that "The Office" was leaving Netflix in 2021 to a competing streaming provider. I watch The Office all the time over Netflix even though I've seen every episode multiple times. I don't watch as much as it just sits in the background while blogging or programming.

However, I started thinking about why I started paying for Netflix anyway. In the beginning a good majority of students just stole media. Most students used Limewire or some iteration of torrenting. Others used file-sharing websites to accumulate large media collections. With both burning them to DVDs to bring to houses for "movie night".

Times started changing. TVs became smart. Chromecast was invented. Computers were sold without DVD burners. It became more difficult and annoying to steal content. You could have an MP4 stolen video on your desktop, but no system you had could cast it properly. You could try 3rd party extensions, Xbox Live streaming or Windows 10 streaming. It was buggy and normally wouldn't work, or if it did - it would lag horrifically. So your options were quite limited to watching the video on a computer, with something like VLC.

Netflix was gaining steam. Application support on major game consoles and all computers, including some smart TVs. This meant that for just a small monthly fee you could watch a seemingly unlimited stash of content legally. There was still no legal solution to watch a new TV show if you missed it a day prior, but this was progress.

Source: VOX - The history of Netflix price increases in a single chart

What started to happen though is the price started going up. The abuse of adding 5-6 friends per account was ending as well. Accounts were limited to viewings at a time, including the quality of the content you could view.

While that was happening the 3 premium movie providers (HBO, Starz & SHOWTIME) began reaching into the world of streaming services. No longer were these services isolated to TV providers. Each site wanting to pull you in holding exclusive content that the others didn't.

At the same time of all of that - Vudu, Hulu and Amazon Prime were growing and with that a non-stop battle of content/rights and exclusive content.

Are you expected to pay for all the services to legally watch media? If you missed an episode of Game of Thrones, where do you watch it? If you want to catch up on an episode of Walking Dead, where do you watch it?

I for one am not going to pay for 10 different streaming providers. Do media companies want me to go back to stealing content? I just want a service like Spotify to exist. I want to potentially watch every bit of media in the world legally. Netflix was the nearest I've been to that dream, but every year splits up the empire of Netflix and the only one it hurts is the consumer.

I don't know what I'm going to do when Netflix loses The Office in 2021. I'm mad at Hulu, because you can pay for their service and still be given ads. I'm mad at the media conglomerates that seriously think the solution to the problem is to add another streaming provider.

I might have to dust off my Kodi box, wire up couch potato and scan the depths of newsgroups for content.

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