The FCC made a decision today that’s sure to piss off movie theaters and please agoraphobes: It agreed to make it easier for studios to transmit hi-def movies directly into homes before they are released on DVD or Blu-ray, in an “early release window.” What this means for you: Conceivably, in the not-so-distant future, you’ll be able to watch new movies like Iron Man 2 in hi-def, via cable or satellite, from home, just weeks after they’ve arrived in theaters. What this means for movie theaters: They will probably lose money. Certainly, they think they will. Only recently the AMC chain threatened to boycott Alice in Wonderland because Disney wanted to release the movie on DVD twelve weeks after its release, as opposed to seventeen weeks after, cutting into the chain’s revenue. If studios can send movies into homes in an early release window, this pre-shortening of a theatrical run will happen as a matter of course. The president of the MPAA tried to sugarcoat this by saying, “The first, and best way to view movies will always be in movie theaters — and nothing can replace the pleasure this brings to millions and millions of people all across our country and the globe.” But of course, this experience has already been replaced for many by screens only three-inches big. So, you know, thanks, MPAA for making a possibly short-sighted move that will make it easier for us never to leave the house!
FCC grants MPAA waiver [HR]