In some cases streaming is a valid way of watching tv/movies. I will stream the occasional movie that appears on BBC's iplayer for those of in the UK. They uprated the service quite a while ago and in the top right of the video window you have a clickable button to increase the resolution and therefore quality of the stream. The largest quality stream, when you make it full screen, is pretty much as good as a decent 700meg file for a 90min film and when you check the download size fot he file, you find it is that size! Flash streaming video is definitely high quality now and very comparable to divx
The other services we have here for ITV and CH4 are below the quality of the BBC lower quality stream so I rarely use them, except for a tv series that really interests me.
I did manage to use Hulu briefly and thought that their video quality was actually quite high.
I started this thread in 2008 and things have changed greatly since then.
Not only my own habits but the internet habits as well.
I wonder if any of the original commenters views have changed?
It's now 2015 and broadband is a way of life. Computers come with Terabytes of storage and flash video is found even on our phones. YouTube has a plethora of full length movies for free offered both by individual users and movie companies. Viewster and Hulu, Crackle and all the dish networks offer streaming movies at free or $1 rentals. Netflix online has become saturated with selections that can be played on phone, pad, computer, smart TVs and gaming systems. Just about any file cloud has movies and TV shows and file sharing sites are rampant with whole seasons and movie series available. The days of seeing a movie on cable when it is aired is just about gone with the DVR technology. Movie theaters have resorted to 3D and special experiences to gather customers.
There are communities on the web that search and link you to free movies, some which have not even hit the theaters yet. It's a worldwide phenomenon that is constantly growing and revising itself.
Copyright policy has been absorbed and scrutinized to the point that there are loop-holes that allow for viewing without piracy.
You must remember that violation of copy-right is still against the law. If you make money from the work without express permission from the copy-right holder you are in violation. If you attempt to claim copy-right material as your own creation you are again in violation. If you give your friend your DVD to watch for free it is not copy-right violation. Just like playing your radio loud in public is not. If you play a song and charge admission to hear it then it is a violation.
This brings me to the Artistic element.
A movie is a work of art, just like a painting or a song.
"Fair Use" allows you access to the materials for the above reasons. Every movie made can be viewed as a teaching element. The place where people get caught up in copy-right law is when they attempt to make money from the viewing. Even collecting ad revenue constitutes as making money from it.
The fact that you are viewing, streaming or downloading a movie is not a violation as long as YOU are not making money from it. The source of your stream having ads on it is in violation but that is not YOUR violation - it is their violation. Now, if you download a movie and make copies to disc or drive and then attempt to sell that, it IS a violation of copy-right on your part and you should go to jail and pay restitution.
One last thing on this that has me stumped:
I pay for internet access every month. $49.99 Unlimited broadband connection that is always on.
That means I have paid for every site I can view. I have paid for all viewable content including print, video and audio. There are some sites which I cannot view without paying a fee. There are some sites that are not viewable because they are on an intranet or private server. Those sites are pay or invite only and are not included in my monthly access fee. Everything else costs me $49.99 per month. So, I am actually paying to stream a YouTube video, Paying to view a Flicker photo, Paying to read a news blog, paying to listen to a Last.Fm song and paying to have access to all the content on the World Wide Web.
Every time I load a webpage, no matter its source, I am downloading its elements to my computer or device. I am also uploading my information to them. When you loaded CoolSciFi to read this comment you Downloaded it to your device. Every time you watch a video stream you download it to your device. It resides in your browser cache until it is cleared or until you save it to a folder.
It's of my opinion that EVERYONE in today's world both streams and downloads constantly. It's not a matter of right or wrong, it's just how technology works. Just remember that viewing or hearing is not a violation of copy-right. It's making money from someone else's work and trying to claim someone else's work that violates copy-right.
In the past I spent thousands of dollars on records. Then I spent thousands of dollars converting records to 8-Track. Then I spent even more money converting 8-Tracks to Cassette tapes. Only to again spend even more converting my collection to CD and DVDs. Now, I spend nothing to convert my collections to electronic format aside from the occasional 4 TB drive. My collection no longer gathers dust, is available in pristine condition at my fingertips and takes up the space of a single book. I can load selections on thumbnail drives to take with me as I travel. With my newer car stereo I can load a 4GB thumb drive with thousands of songs for a playlist in my truck that has my every favorite song on it. I can load all the Alien movies on a 8gb thumb drive and take the movies to my friends house for a weekend of Alien party. You can buy up to 2TB on thumb drives now and the future holds chance for even bigger drives.
I wonder why anyone could baulk at streaming or downloading in today's technology driven society.
I got dish and a dvr. sometimes I watch Youtube. I bit the bullet and bought dvds of my fave series (Twin Peaks, Buffy, Kolchak). I really don't watch much 'current' entertainment. I used to enjoy the cheesy movies on Syfy on Saturday nights (Piranhaconda! Snakehead Terror!).