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.