Hong Kong cinema in the age of downloading.

Discussions about Hong Kong Movies

Hong Kong cinema in the age of downloading.

Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:19 pm

A recent discussion in the Digital Scrounge thread has served to amplify thoughts I've been having in recent months on the declining fortunes of Hong Kong cinema and the increasing futility of physical digital media in the age of downloading. The industry, to many of us at least, is still producing worthwile pictures on comparatively modest budgets, just as they always have, but the delivery system has got to go.

In today's Daily News wrap-up (July 31), Dennis linked an article that probably won't surprise anyone. Hong Kong's Mei Ah Entertainment went from profits last year, to huge losses this year.
http://www.varietyasiaonline.com/content/view/6596/53/

A key paragraph in that piece:

Although Mei Ah is an investor in "Red Cliff" and recent "Empress and the Warriors" it described the film market for Hong Kong movies as "relatively stagnant." Piracy is eating into its video business. "Following the increasing popularity of copyright infringement behavior the business of sale and distribution of video discs has become difficult, it said.


We all know the film industry is "relatively" stagnant, though still capable of producing worthy films (obviously, I'll continue to argue that it's anything but creatively stagnant), and might remain that way for some time, a point currently under discussion in the "scrounge" thread.

And yet, the audience for new and old Hong Kong cinema has never been bigger thanks to piracy. A relevant (slightlly edited) Mike T quote from the other thread:

Mike Thomason wrote:Then, just as things were starting to recover, video piracy surged . . .If anyone's ever watched the interviews on the DVD of Gordon Chan's A1, Chan himself stated that, at that time, "HK movies have a bigger audience than ever -- they just aren't paying to watch the films anymore" and that's one of the most prescient statements I've ever heard made of industry. Look at You Tube, bit torrents etc etc -- there's maybe thousands of people or more that wouldn't even dream of paying to see a HK movie or importing a VCD/DVD like most of us here because they can just rip it off the 'net for free!


It's clear people want to see this stuff, and don't really want to pay. But that's true of film and TV media from every corner of the globe, and yet dozens of legitimate online downloading portals are growing by the day, and they're making a mint. Here in North America, many, many major service providers are providing film downloads at increasingly favourable prices, and many more sites have popped up to offer downloading of stuff the majors might not bother with, including Hong Kong cinema. Both major phone companies here in Canada recently launched movie rental/purchase downloading services, and even though I think their "buy it" prices are a bit high for new releases (especially with no extra features), I've no doubt that this method of "getting" movies will become the norm over the next few years. And any companies that continue to stick solely by DVDs and Blu-Rays without supplementing with online availability of their back catalogues are going to suffer. Particularly Hong Kong companies, just like Mei Ah. Get the stuff digitized and get it out there. Make it better than what YouTube and the bittorents can offer. It wouldn't be hard. And it would probably be cheaper, since only one file need be created to sit on each provider's server, rather than tens of thousands of DVDs, and all their attendant packaging, that might not sell enough to recoup replicaton costs anymore.

I think there could be a happy medium, though it probably won't be easy to achieve since the entire HK industry seems to have done little technologically to thwart the piracy epidemic from the get-go. Hong Kong distributors, particularly the ones who handle these massive back catalogues, are missing an still-early opportunity to make more of their titles available to download sites that charge for the service, even in the face of much of it being available for free from other portals in comparitively compromised versions.

Let's face it, in the coming age of downloading, there will be those who don't mind paying a reasonable (and preferably low and consistent) fee for quality. Hong Kong distribs seem to be throwing their hands up in the air as though it was too late to counter the fact that many of their films are broken into ten-minute blocks on YouTube, or available via various other streaming sites and bittorrents. Even though most illegal online versions of the films are nearly always sourced from DVDs and VCDs, thanks to the rather brilliant decision of Hong Kong distribs to forego any kind of copy protection (at the very least), the compression issues and viewing sizes are are often unbearable. In any event, there will still be a sizeable group of people in the coming years (including many of us here, no doubt) who want their downloads to look reasonably presentable on their televisions, not their computers, and who won't mind paying a fair price. Legit, copy-protected versions of these films would not discourage piracy, obviously, but it would provide a level of quality that streaming and bittorrents often do not, and the people that subsequently buy those quality versions will in turn generate income, any income, on both new and catalogue product. Plus, even at the $2 (to rent) to $5 (to own) range that appears to be the norm right now for older titles, that at least puts more money in the pockets of distributors and hopefully creators than the current models: DVD sales that are virtually dead; and rampant piracy on DVD-Rs--a product very much tied to the impending demise of the DVD--in Chinatowns around the globe that sees virtually nothing paid back to the creative talent while their films are being viewed by a record number of people. They might as well get something out of the deal. Making more of their catalogues available will probably increase the number of international viewers over time, in part because of the sheer convenience of it all. No importing. No discs to protect (and horde). And so on.

To be clear, I'm not pimping downloading as some kind of saviour to a current Hong Kong industry beset by multiple woes, but it is coming whether you like it or not, and I see no reason why these companies wouldn't at least try to get even a small slice of the pie, to at least earn a little revenue on their massive back catalogues and maybe even their new releases. It's better than the big fat "nothing" that could be staring them in the face in the near future if they stick to physical media.

And it sure would be nice to have a much bigger selection of HK cinema available online than what's out there now. Fortune Star and Celestial have already released several titles to Jaman, and the quality is fine, but they seriously need do upload more, and to more outlets. Such downloads would very likely enjoy a longer shelf-life, and spin more income, than Hong Kong DVDs will over the next few months! Imagine, Hong Kong cinema on iTunes someday! Could happen.
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Postby cal42 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:20 pm

I don't know. My personal experience is people will moan about price whatever the price is. Films are cheaper today than they've ever been and yet piracy's bigger. I used to argue with my ex about piracy - she was big on downloading - and she always used to say "if they'd charge a reasonable price for films, I'd buy them". I used to show her the same films on Play.com for about £5 (very cheap) but somehow that was still too expensive. Hell, in the bad old days of VHS and no internet, you'd pay three times that for a new title. And if you look on the likes of Yesasia, sometimes the prices are so low you have to keep adding titles just to make the purchase look worthwhile*.

I suppose it could work out nicely for a spur of the moment thing, if you read about a film and you want to see it quickly and your local neighbourhood pirate's not in town. Otherwise, I think it's just as doomed.

I have a question about downloads, if you'll forgive my ignorance. Can you stick these films on DVD or have you got to watch them on your PC? The latter would be a complete turn-off for me.

* And no, they're not paying me to say that (although a gift voucher or two wouldn't go amiss).
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Jul 31, 2008 6:47 pm

cal42 wrote:I suppose it could work out nicely for a spur of the moment thing, if you read about a film and you want to see it quickly and your local neighbourhood pirate's not in town. Otherwise, I think it's just as doomed.


But then what would replace it? It won't be physical media, that's a given. Plus I think you might be overlooking the fact that a lot of people these days, younger generations in particular, will want the ability to watch "their" film on whatever media they choose, just like they do their music: on a computer, a TV, their phone, their iPod, GPS system in the car, wherever and whenever they want. DVDs (and VCD's) have a couple of those areas covered, but downloads have the potential to cover all of them at the click of a button. I realize a lot of us who've come through every media format known to man (I'll bet at least some of us here started out with bloody Beta tapes!) will have a hard time letting go of the physical and embracing the ethereal. In the case of Hong Kong movies, where we don't really get substantial extras anyways, it should be all the easier.

But I think your "spur of the moment" is apt. I have hundreds of $1 and $2 VCDs, and hundreds more $3 - $7 DVDs I've picked up in recent years. Since the internet community is, and has been, largely consumed with talking about major new releases and major old releases, that leaves thousands of titles out there that I basically have to blind buy, literally on the spur of the moment. "Oh, that's looks interesting, and it's only a dollar. Why not? Doesn't seem like anyone else has even watched it!" A large number of these VCDs and DVDs will not be kept, probably the majority, since I don't want to be a packrat and I keep track of what I've seen as best I can. I'll be lucky if I can sell them, so most will be traded or, at best, sold even cheaper to interested parties who have nothing I want in return. While I don't mind finding a bargain, it would be much less space-consuming to find these titles at some online portal, download them for maybe $2 a pop and, if I like them, keep them backed up, or if I don't, delete them. Click click click, and more free room around the house. Even with a physical disc, I'm still out $2 if I don't keep it, and I'm unlikely to recoup even that much on a trade or resale.

You're right, people will moan about price no matter how cheap a movie already is. But they still buy, even as piracy runs rampant. I just think these Hong Kong distribs need to get in on that action to a much greater degree, no matter how long it lasts.

Your ex had a point, in a way. I too used to say that if they'd just lower the price of DVDs, I'd buy more DVDs! And guess what? As the prices have continually come down, my collection has grown to include virtually every title I've ever wanted to own or even see, and then some. But now I'm approaching the turning point where I'm actually selling off some of the "lesser lights" and OOP titles ($$$) just to streamline the collection into something more . . . final, and upgrading only its finests component to Blu-Ray (and so far, that ain't too many titles for me - gotta be really special to justify that upgrade!). I'll still buy DVDs, and Blu-Rays, since they keep dropping those prices, but at some point I'm going to be quite amenable to legal downloading of increasingly higher-quality files, moreso when I have the technology to port the films to my TV, my iPod, my brain . . .

And even when downloading is more widely accepted, there will still be those who are content to view compromised presentations via streaming sites, of save a couple of lousy bucks to download (a hopefully complete) file from a bittorent. Up to them, I guess.

We're all gonna want stuff cheaper and cheaper. But the means of delivery are in the process of changing.



I have a question about downloads, if you'll forgive my ignorance. Can you stick these films on DVD or have you got to watch them on your PC? The latter would be a complete turn-off for me.


I think a lot of people have questions like that. I certainly do. That's why I don't crazy download just yet. Despite years of piracy paving the way, legitimate downloading is still in its infancy, and there's a lot of legal details and issues of convenience that will need to be addressed. In time, standards will come into play, and I suspect the ability to move "your" file across your various devices will be one of them. In fact, here in Canada, recent (if typically controversial) new legislation was passed to protect creators against illegal downloading; basically it was a long overdue rewriting of old copyright laws for the 21st century. There was plenty of barking about the consequences for the private user; for people who download for personal use, the enforcibility of the legislation, etc., and it will continue to rage for a time, but one part of the bill "more-or-less" approved of the ability for people to legitimately download a file and then move it across a variety of devices. There will no doubt be more debates about this in the future, but the fact that it's an issue at all, and part of a major, sweeping legislation here, indicates that it's very much a part of the way things will be done in the years ahead.
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Postby cal42 » Thu Jul 31, 2008 8:42 pm

Brian Thibodeau wrote:I realize a lot of us who've come through every media format known to man (I'll bet at least some of us here started out with bloody Beta tapes!) will have a hard time letting go of the physical and embracing the ethereal. In the case of Hong Kong movies, where we don't really get substantial extras anyways, it should be all the easier.


But Goddammit I want to own stuff. I'm a man; a hunter-gatherer. It's what makes me different from the animals. What am I going to do if they take my stuff off me??

OK, I'm not completely against the idea, I have to admit. Like you say, we're going to have to get used to the idea whether we like it or not. But then again, I don't see it beating piracy. After all, it's not two year old films that are being copied so much, it's the hot new releases at the cinema, and you're not going to make those films available to download.

Unless of course we do away with cinemas altogether and release everything on home formats (whatever they will be) right from the start. Which is just crazy, and I don't think even Hong Kong will go down that route.
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Postby Masterofoneinchpunch » Thu Jul 31, 2008 9:50 pm

I find this study interesting on South Korean downloads: http://www.zeropaid.com/news/9153/Surve ... oad+Movies

There is nothing wrong with downloads if you pay :D. I still like having the hardware though (you will need hardware to move whatever format the movie will be in; well not necessarily :D but I digress). I'm a bit backwards on that aspect of having those discs (though I love those extras).

The nice aspect of digital is that it can save you a lot of room, unless you want to show off your Repo Man license plate special edition DVD and that Bubba Ho-tep Elvis cloth edition.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Thu Jul 31, 2008 11:14 pm

cal42 wrote:But Goddammit I want to own stuff. I'm a man; a hunter-gatherer. It's what makes me different from the animals. What am I going to do if they take my stuff off me??


I hear ya. I've got lots of stuff too. Pretty stuff. Shiny stuff. But in the case of the movies, the movies are the thing, as has been oft repeated around here. In which case, the method of delivery shouldn't matter, so long as the product is as good as it can be. For now, DVD and Blu-Ray top any download in that department, especially to audio/videophiles who know which kind of grain and specks of dirt to look for.

But for the majority of Hong Kong cinema (excepting newer releases of course), I doubt Blu-Ray will be much benefit. It'll probably make a lot of the older stuff look worse, considering how poorly it has often been treated up to now. :shock:

Blu-Ray is a visible step up, but not like the one from VHS to DVD. Thankfully, Blu-Ray players make regular DVDs look considerably better than a standard DVD player, which is another reason an entire library will never need to be replaced. Within my library, though, is a large number of titles (from Hong Kong and everywhere else) that I'd be content to own as downloads, or download-for-rent when I'm in the mood to see them again, provided they can be had for around $2 - $3, and provided I can move 'em around as I see fit, within reason.



But then again, I don't see it beating piracy. After all, it's not two year old films that are being copied so much, it's the hot new releases at the cinema, and you're not going to make those films available to download.


I agree with you that legal downloading certainly won't kill piracy, but it can at least retard it a little bit. Piracy killed the CD when those industries got blindsided, and yet how many people thought Apple was foolish to start iTunes and make people pay for the songs? Now look how many of those services are out there, thriving, even helping to further erode the need for physical media right alongside the pirates and filesharers. Piracy's killing the DVD as well, probably moreso than, say, DVD over-saturation, etc. I'm sure the pirates will one day figure out how to crack Blu-rays as well.

The pirate stores in the Chinese malls here are crammed with people every evening and every weekend. People still want the movies, and evidently they want them cheap, but as downloading takes hold, particularly in a format that approaches DVD quality and with faster download speeds and more people connected eventually, seeing a movie outside of the theatrical experience will be an activity requiring increasingly less input: less driving, shelf-hunting and deciding. It'll probably be done from the home computer and the file will then be rerouted to whatever device the family wants to watch it on. And it probably won't cost much more than the pirates charge right now. Eventually it'll decrease the need for people to go to these stores for a cheap fix. They'll get it at home, and then maybe the Chinese malls will be filled with a more diverse selection of shops. Or they'll be half empty. :lol:

The going rate around here seems to be about 6-8 discs for $20 (and yes, I can know this without buying them; the signs are everywhere!). That's about $3 a disc on average, and they sell one hell of a lot more than just the latest releases (kinda like your local video store), plus they include a color repro of the sleeve and a thin-pack DVD case. The discs are often de-featured so they can fit on a single DVD-R (OK, this I've actually seen first-hand). And they sell so many that some Chinese malls here have more DVD shops than any other kind! That's sad. :( I wouldn't be surprised if people toss the things in the garbage after watching them, because at $3, it suddenly becomes a truly disposable form of entertainment (how positively Hong Kong-ian), yet it generates income for someone. Just not the people it should.

A $2, $3, $4, $5 legitimate movie download (rent or own) could work the same way. At that price, it actually competes with the for-profit bootleggers, offers better quality than YouTube et. al., and it's essentially disposable, if you want it to be. You could still build a "collection", only you wouldn't have pretty covers to look at, or spine numbers to count, which would make us manly man a bit weepy, I'm sure. I think eventually, you'll see extras being made available as well, it's just a matter of time. I'm sure bittorrents are super popular, but the problem there, especially if you care about quality of presentation, is consistency (the majority can't possibly be DVD quality, can they???) and the "gamble" factor (will you even get the complete file, and if so, in what shape and from what country?). If I ever become a downloader, I won't mind paying for consistency and proper content.

Hollywood will always have enough muscle ($$$) to thwart piracy at least a little better than most other film industries, through DVDs, Blu-Rays, and ancillary markets like rental chains, rep theatres, cable, broadcast and satellite. Not to mention an increasing number of legal downloading partnerships with countless companies, at least here in North America (can't speak for the rest of you guys). Hong Kong seems to have lost that power ages ago, but they're still producing good movies and they've still got those vast and vibrant back catalogues, most of which may never be released again on DVD, if they were even released on the format in the first place instead of the cheaper VCD. Instead of bemoaning the state of DVD sales, they should start uploading more of their properties to the web, even the lesser known titles that sold nada on DVD or VCD. Again, a $3 download of a file that's perpetually available and never out-of-print, will spin income over time. Even a small amount is better than nothing.

New releases are indeed a trickier prospect, I guess, especially theatrical new releases. Again, here in the Chinese malls, vendors openly run the latest American theatrical blockbusters on TVs in front of their stores without fear, and the quality ain't half bad. I suppose the audio isn't true 5.1, and the colors are ever so slightly off, and the occasional human head can be seen popping up at the bottom of the screen. :lol: New release boots seem to run $3 to $6, depending on whether you want a DVD-r or a factory-pressed bootleg in a cardboard slipcase, and since they seem to sell both by the (literal?) boatload, it kinda tells you what price the market will really bear, at least here in the city, and what the online downloading portals really need to be charging for ownership of a file.

Don't know what it's like in the states, or Europe, but here, the downloading services (like Apple, or the brand new service offered by Bell) charge around $19.99 to own a new release, with that price dropping as the film ages, usually stopping in the $4.99 to $9.99 range. Twenty bucks is just too high in my opinion, and I'd never ever pay that for a movie-only download no matter how good it looked and sounded (and I'm told they look and sound extremely good), and yet people are indeed buying them this way! When those prices become a little more realistic--especially considering the lack of special features (for now ;) ) and the availability of much cheaper bootleg discs here in the city--the number of purchasers go up even more. As more people get the technology with which to transfer these titles to their plasmas or LCDs or tube TVs, sales might also increase.

Sure, a bunch of old Hong Kong movies offered through Apple might not draw big crowds, but offered through a site that specializes in world cinema, or Asian cinema, well, that might be a different story.
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Postby ewaffle » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:14 pm

Sure, a bunch of old Hong Kong movies offered through Apple might not draw big crowds, but offered through a site that specializes in world cinema, or Asian cinema, well, that might be a different story.


I would sign up the day it became available--assuming, of course, the prices were right. There are bags full of HK films I would like to see but which are either OOP or simply unavailable through the vendors I general use and the nearest decent Chinatown is in Chicago, although I am not sure of the availability of low priced digital product there.
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Postby cal42 » Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:57 pm

I wouldn't assume that everything will become available if downloading takes off. I'm sure there are going to be as many problems with availablility as there are with DVD.

I'd also worry about the possibility that such portals will be "zoned" so that we'd only get a few HK or Asian titles. It's like iTunes - great for western music, crap for cantopop. I assume in HK, the reverse is true. That bothers me.

I've mentioned it before on here, but I have an XBox 360 and they've recently started movie rentals. You download a film, watch it once or as many times as you like over a 24-hour period and then it goes. They also offer certain films in HD, although they're not true HD. I've found this to be quite novel, actually, and I've watched some things I wouldn't normally have seen (such as I Am Legend). The cost is about £2 for standard definition films, and about £5 for HD.

However, I have noticed the quality of the standard def films are quite poor - muffled sound, pixellated images, etc and not really worth it. Meanwhile I think the HD films are a little too expensive. Plus, the selection sucks right now, but that's neither here nor there.
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Sat Aug 02, 2008 4:28 pm

cal42 wrote:I wouldn't assume that everything will become available if downloading takes off. I'm sure there are going to be as many problems with availablility as there are with DVD.

I'd also worry about the possibility that such portals will be "zoned" so that we'd only get a few HK or Asian titles. It's like iTunes - great for western music, crap for cantopop. I assume in HK, the reverse is true. That bothers me.


Yeah, this is a problem even with a world cinema site like Jaman, where some stuff is available worldwide, more stuff is available in North America, and virtually everything, no matter where it's from is available only to U.S. customers, where the service is based. But I've noticed a few movies that were previously U.S.-only are now available to Canadian customers, so there always the possibility that these services will cross more borders as time goes on and the demand increases. Right now though, there's little to make me overly tempted. But some day . . .



I've mentioned it before on here, but I have an XBox 360 and they've recently started movie rentals. You download a film, watch it once or as many times as you like over a 24-hour period and then it goes. They also offer certain films in HD, although they're not true HD. I've found this to be quite novel, actually, and I've watched some things I wouldn't normally have seen (such as I Am Legend). The cost is about £2 for standard definition films, and about £5 for HD.

However, I have noticed the quality of the standard def films are quite poor - muffled sound, pixellated images, etc and not really worth it. Meanwhile I think the HD films are a little too expensive. Plus, the selection sucks right now, but that's neither here nor there.



The one thing about downloading that appeals to me is the abiility to see things you might otherwise have missed, films you maybe were curious about, but didn't want to pay full price to see in a theater or bother driving to the video store to rent. For me, seeing these films has meant waiting until Blockbuster lowers prices of used copies to $6.99, and then waiting until those discs are further reduced in the 4/$20 or Buy-Two-Get-One-Free sales. Or, as mentioned recently in the scrounge thread, waiting for places like Big Lots to get in a truckload of marked-down DVDs for $3 a pop. In all three cases, it's at least a bit cheaper than the cost of a rental up here, which is around $5-6 with tax, and when you watch as many movies as many of us here, every little savings helps. A lot of the titles I buy at these cheapo prices don't end up staying here. I just wanted to check them out as cheaply as possible and move them on for hopefully the same as I paid for them, or even a small profit. If anything truly surprises me, I'll keep it.

In this regard, downloading holds appeal, but obviously right now it can't match DVD and Blu-Ray, so I'm not really making any big switches just yet. And as Cal says, "zoning" issues will be a stumbling block as well, at first. On top of that, my computer has very little storage capacity left anyways thanks to it's age and my work. But once I rectify that (even the most basic computers from Apple these days offer three to five times the storage capacity of my current model, and I'm overdue for a new one), I'm sure I'll be able to look at downloading a little more seriously, especially as the quality of the product and the speed with which it can be delivered to everyone inevitably improves. Until then, I've got plenty of stuff still to watch on disc! :lol:

I think with Hong Kong cinema and downloading though, I might be able to make earlier exceptions. Let's face it, virtually anyone who's a fan of Hong Kong cinema has had to live with compromised versions of the films from day one (VHS, laser, VCD, DVD, even Blu-Ray in some instances), either in the form of incomplete prints, poorly maintained prints, lousy transfers, dirt, grain, fullscreen, poor audio, you name it. Not on everything, but certainly on a much higher percentage than one would tend to find on, say, Hollywood's DVDs of it's own product. The Hong Kong film and home video industries have not exactly been super-diligent in their handling of their own products over the years, and that really doesn't look like it's gonna change anytime soon, but we all still love this stuff to death. In this sense, I suspect most of us could live with compromised download quality so long as it meant we could finally see films we missed in the earlier formats.


ewaffle wrote:I would sign up the day it became available--assuming, of course, the prices were right. There are bags full of HK films I would like to see but which are either OOP or simply unavailable through the vendors I general use and the nearest decent Chinatown is in Chicago, although I am not sure of the availability of low priced digital product there.


I'm sure a city the size of Chicago probably has lots of bargains (legit or otherwise), but I'd imagine it's not someplace you'd want to go once a month for a fix, especially with gas prices, etc. Living three hours from Toronto for most of my life, I had to be selective about the HK titles I bought when I'd make trips here, since the trip itself even then was often expensive and the disc prices were still rather steep. By the time I moved here, though, piracy forced a lof of legit retailers to drastically mark down their older inventories of VCDs and DVDs just to move it out the door, so it's been pure luck that I got as many movies as I did in the past couple of years. And yet I'm sure I missed a lot more than I found, and a legal, affordable download service would really be a big help in continuing the scrounge for many more years. Plus, I won't be staring at mountains of physical media with almost no resale value! ;)
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Postby Brian Thibodeau » Tue Aug 05, 2008 8:54 pm

This isn't directly related to Hong Kong cinema, but it does show another potential avenue for Hong Kong cinema (and every other cinema for that matter) to be streamed to our TVs someday.

According to this press release, LG has unveiled a profile 2.0 Blu-Ray player, for release later this year, with the ability to stream movies directly from Netflix.
http://www.prnewswire.com/cgi-bin/stori ... 007&EDATE=

Netflix has a substantial number of Asian films in its library, mostly R1 DVD releases presumably. I'm guessing this will only be available in the U.S. to start, but if it catches on in any quantifiable way, perhaps it'll only be a matter of time before other online rental services, in other countries as well, see the benefits of bridging the realms of physical media and downloads via a single device.

Again, if the price was right, and something like this became available in my country--which I'm sure it will--I'd sign up fairly quickly.
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Postby mrblue » Wed Aug 13, 2008 5:34 pm

Xbox (via their online service) is also going to start offering streaming downloads from Netflix. You can already do so (which is also the case with the PS3) but with Netflix's selection, it opens up a lot more movies available.
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Postby cal42 » Wed Aug 13, 2008 7:06 pm

I'm going to look forward to that. I think it's pretty cool, but the only drawback at the moment (apart from the standard def films that aren't really worth the money in my opinion) is the lack of choice. Hopefully, that will improve, then.
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Postby KMGor » Tue Aug 19, 2008 10:31 pm

yet dozens of legitimate online downloading portals are growing by the day


A number of these have actually been dying off too (I remember an article about it on the IMDB, at least), and part of the reason many have been slashing prices is an attempt to draw in more business as they aren't turning much of a profit. I don't know what that means, but personally I'm not sure if I'll ever be willing to pay for non-permenant viewing rights to films.

VOD services can die, whereas if I take care of them, DVDs and LDs will outlive me - and even if they start to fail, I can back them up.

However, I do think there is a future in the VOD services via set-top boxes. I've actually seen a few fairly obscure movies (IFC has had a couple Shinya Tsukamoto movies on VOD on Charter), and via a few channels, even some decent newer HK movies, like Mad Detective.
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Re: Hong Kong cinema in the age of downloading.

Postby PAUL MARTINEZ » Mon Mar 30, 2009 8:17 am

Okay at the risk of being flamed. I have downloaded some asian films. Mostly some classics that i never was able to find over the years. And yes you can burn them to a dvd. Stuff Like The Thundering Sword or The Golden Lion. Late 60's and early 70's stuff. But i cannot lie I have at times downloaded new stuff as well. Sukiyaki Western Django & Mad Detecive are ones which I actually saw at a film festival and that same night D/L because i liked them so much. :oops:
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