24 hours is not enough to watch a digital movie rental

Okay, I touched on this in my Mac­world cov­er­age, but it deserves its own post.

We have a TiVo Series 3 that con­nects to the Inter­net. I can see us own­ing an Apple TV at some point in the future. We are mem­bers of Net­flix. All three of these allow for some form of dig­i­tal movie rentals. The TiVo uses Ama­zon’s Unbox ser­vice. Apple TV uses iTunes. And Net­flix uses… well, you can only watch their movies on a PC, so screw ’em.

The oth­er two have a pret­ty con­sis­tent pol­i­cy. Order a rental and you have thir­ty days to start watch­ing it before it is erased. Once you start to watch it, you have 24 hours to fin­ish it, watch it again, etc., before it is erased. And there­in lies the prob­lem.

My wife and I love the idea of dig­i­tal rentals. No movie store, lit­tle delay, prices are okay (if a lit­tle expen­sive). But we can only watch movies at night, after the boys are in bed. That means we start about 8:30 pm or so. And we have small boys. Small boys who wear us out. It is not impos­si­ble that we might be too tired to fin­ish watch­ing our movie. If we fail to fin­ish our movie, we must fin­ish it before 8:30 the next night, or we are out of luck. Our 24 hour win­dow will be closed.

That does­n’t work for us. I’m sur­prised that it would work for any­one with a reg­u­lar job, kids, or a life. Which does­n’t say much about the exec­u­tives at TiVo or Apple (you hearin’ me, Steve?). 24 hours does not work. It is a num­ber made up in a board­room.

The solu­tion is sim­ple. Make the watch­ing win­dow 36 hours. No big deal. I’d even accept 30 hours. Hell, I would grate­ful­ly take 26 hours. But please make it more then 24. Thank you.