Currently in public beta, the MPAA’s WhereToWatch.com hopes to provide consumers with a way to find places to legally stream for free, or purchase digitally, any film or TV show they can think of. Understandably, the MPAA has been cracking down on illegal downloads and streaming sites as digital formats have exploded in popularity, but this is finally a step in the right direction of combating piracy by actually providing a better alternative than grabbing a torrent off of The Pirate Bay or some other torrent site.
“Our industry is delivering more content via more platforms today than anyone could have even imagined just a few years ago. Over the top video on desktop, mobile, connected TVs – we are constantly innovating to meet consumers wherever they want to be. WhereToWatch.com is another great step toward facilitating a terrific viewing experience for everyone who loves TV shows and movies.”
This of course does not meet many consumers lofty expecations of paying one monthly fee and having access to everything, but seeing as that pipe dream will likely never come true, this type of service may be the closest we get.
Many similar sites that provide streaming locations, legal or otherwise, have been around for ages. CanIStreamIt, Watchily, GoWatchIt, and more are already well established legal alternatives that arguably provide a lot more information a lot quicker than WhereToWatch.
After playing around with the site for a little while, it’s certainly useful – if a bit clunky. The design is extremely minimalist to the point where it takes away from the usability. Like a bad attempt at Android’s material design, elements on the page fly around and get in the way of the information you need, and search boxes are placed at odd locations on the page making access to the drop-down results get blocked or go off the page occasionally.
WhereToWatch does provide a number of streaming locations, but its library isn’t nearly large enough yet. Searching for “Django Unchained,” for example, it only gave me the biggest names as results – Netflix, iTunes, Xbox, Amazon, Vudu, etc – but left out some smaller ones and even Google Play. Heck, they didn’t even include Sony’s own streaming service on the PlayStation 4. Clearly there are still some partners that need to sign on.
Keep in mind that WhereToWatch is in public beta while the other sites are far more established, but that doesn’t change the fact that there is not much of a reason to use the site as it is now. And, of course, credit to the MPAA and its members on actually taking a step in the direction of helping consumers instead of just suing their pants off when they pirate a movie.
It’ll be interesting to see if the association actually takes this services seriously and continues to improve it, or if WhereToWatch is just as a way to say “look we did something, leave us alone” and be done with it.Source: PR Newswire
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