I have just gotten irritated because the clip I wanted to show Graham of a movie wasn’t immediately searchable on my DVD player’s YouTube function. Really think about that for a minute. For one thing, this is a movie I own. On DVD. I could get up and go into the other room and get the movie and cue up the scene. If I’m right about where the movie is, the whole process would only take a couple of minutes, and while it’s not a lot of exercise, I could use even that. But instead, I’d rather grouse that it’s not instantly available to me without my having to get out of bed.
What a world we live in. It’s astounding, isn’t it? We have more access to movies than ever before. Thousands of them, available for free or for a small fee—or illegally, of course, but still. More entertainment options than ever before, and what do we do? Complain about what isn’t there.
Oh, don’t get me wrong; I absolutely agree that there’s no reason the studios shouldn’t make their catalogs more accessible. I don’t understand why more studios aren’t doing the Warner Archives thing, and if Disney had a streaming service, it would pretty well be coining money. This is all true. The fact is, it is easier to make things accessible than ever before, so there’s less reason not to. While we do have to own specialized equipment, we all do. We don’t think about it that way, but pretty much everything we use to watch movies is extremely fancy equipment.
Still, we aren’t actually guaranteed the ability to access any clip we want at any time. It’s not magic. And as I said, I own the movie—itself easier than any other time in history—and don’t even have to roll through the whole movie the way I did when I owned it on VHS. That’s pretty amazing to think about. Yet there’s still a sense that we deserve to have things legally accessible to us right away. For free. Or at least for no more than what we’re already paying for Netflix or Hulu or Amazon Prime already. I’m going to have to sort out how I’m going to access Twin Peaks when it’s available, and I know there are plenty of my friends who won’t be paying for it.
We and the studios and TV stations and so forth are all trying to figure this out together. That’s probably at least part of why we can’t get as much streaming as we want to. Everyone is trying to figure out how it works. How to make money from it—after all, it’s still a business. And the money they make from it presumably goes at least in part to providing us with more content in the great Circle of Viewership. That’s great! Still doesn’t mean I could find the clip I wanted, though.