Growing pains of on-demand media

No one loses or wins in the battle of Netflix & Amazon on-demand streaming videos, says Betsy Shiffman from Wired Magazine. But judging by the reader comments, the Losers R US: the generation X/Y users.

We’re still so early in this on-demand content game that the technology is very poor and the usability is far from ideal. Sure, we’re doing it to spare our kids from this painful transition. Thanks to the persistent curiosity of our guinea-pig mind we are patiently trying out anything you throw at us in a shiny box (virtual or real) until you — content providers — get it right. Even with the economy failing, game sales are up 52% and overall electronics sales continue to show growth. You can thank us by lowering your prices and making better tech toys — that is better usability, energy efficient and visually pleasant with less cables.

The Pew Center’s 2007 online video report (this includes youtube videos) that young adults (18-21) typically consume more online video that all the older generations combined. However, our parents, the baby-boomers or pre-boomers will likely to continue to pay for the “feed-me” model of cable TV and radio (see AdAge article: The changing face of the U.S. consumer). So maybe very few are trying out Netflix, Amazon, etc. but without us, you have no bed to test on.

I have used pretty much every media choice out there (in August I will try out the Netflix Roku) which has lead me to trip over my already low-expectation-bar a few times:

  • Netflix: yeah, great selection but it takes too long to arrive and online streaming doesn’t have enough choices (not to mention it doesn’t support macs). I should also mention that “The Queue” has replaced the remote control as a source of family disputes.
  • iTunes: Few choices that are masked with annoying categorizations. Every time I have to pay $1.99 I cringe and wish for something else.
  • Online Streaming: better called “*!^#)*^!# buffering again!!” Worse offender: comedycentral.com and commercials that hang up the streaming.
  • Cable & DVRs: so many channels and never anything good is on, so I have to pay for a bunch of content I don’t care for, then pay (more) to record the few that I actually want.
  • Amazon Unbox: No macs and extremely complicated set up to get it working.
Advertisements