Here’s a story from my own life. Recently, I was looking to rewatch all eight Fast and the Furious movies. The franchise is simple fun and doesn’t really require the same kind of investment as something like the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It’s just nine movies that kind of tie together. I’ve always watched them separately, but I wanted to rewatch the whole set to see the link that they have to each other.
There was only one problem.
Come on, get it together
You can’t watch all the movies on the same streaming service. A few months ago, you could, but they are spread all over the map. HBO has the first three, Hulu has a few, FX has one, and there are some that you just can’t get without renting.
I’ve complained about this problem before. It can be nearly impossible to find all the movies in a franchise on the same app. In the case of the Furious movies, it should be simple. These films are from Universal. Comcast owns Universal. Comcast owns Peacock. So why are all eight of the older films not on Peacock?
They’re not. I looked.
My innovative solution
I found every single one of the eight movies that are out of theatrical release in the same place. It just wasn’t the place I expected. Some quick searches on DIRECTV showed that I could get all the movies I wanted by recording them to my DVR. AMC had a few, FX had one, and there were other places I found them as well. All I had to do was set up recordings and wait.
Yes, some of these channels have commercials. But remember, with DIRECTV’s DVRs, you can skip commercials. It’s not like those apps where you have to sit through the same commercial over and over again and it interrupts the action.
It took about four days for me to record all eight movies. There’s plenty of room on the DVR. That certainly wasn’t a problem. I had the whole set and could watch them in order anytime I want.
Who knows when streaming will get its act together
The world of streaming has really only been around for about half a decade. Yes, Netflix and Hulu have been putting stuff out into the webosphere since about 2006-2007. But really you have to wait until about 2014 until the average person had internet fast enough to stream in HD.
Traditional pay television dates back 35 years and they’ve had plenty of time to figure out how to do it. Most pay-TV systems have had an interactive guide and universal search for about 20 years. DVRs have been part of the deal for about 15 years.
Streaming has a long way to go before it gets the level of polish that pay-TV has. Depending on your streaming box, you may have a decent universal search capability, but every streaming app acts differently. Obviously there’s also a problem with the way programs are distributed, and that’s huge if you’re looking for something specific.
Good thing DIRECTV has it going on
It’s all too easy to dismiss DIRECTV and other traditional pay-TV outlets as yesterday’s news. It’s easy to look to streaming for your on-demand needs. One day, streaming providers may actually figure out what they’re doing. I think when you look at Disney, there’s a good model for aggregating all the content in one place. All of the MCU stuff is there. You don’t have to search for it. Other apps should look at that model and follow it.
Until Peacock and those other guys figure it all out, the best option is to stay with DIRECTV. I prove it to myself again and again… that’s where you’ll find what you want.