I agree with everything you wrote, but would also add.
Many of the official online sources for media content provide a service that is vastly inferior to the quality of downloaded content.
Take the BBC; if I miss a program (not likely as there are only about 4 shows a year I like) when it was broadcast there are a number of options to catch up:
1. iPlayer a great offering - for some.
2. Wait 6 months and buy a very expensive box set.
3. Wait 2,3,4,... months and try to remember to carry on watching the series when its repeated.
42. Find a download site and wait a while.
There are some real problems with some of the above offerings:
1. If you live outside a major city your ADSL connection may to slow to provide a decent viewing experience. This is made worse by contention if you happen to want to watch any time from 18:00 to 22:00, the only time most people who work for a living can access it.
There is also the fact that the reason you missed a program was due to being away for a few weeks or just not having the time right now, which means that the show has been taken off iPlayer or timed out before you can see it.
2, or 3 or whatever: If you are 3 episodes into a season waiting months to have another go or just try to figure out what you missed, when there are other options is not ideal. Let alone the idea of paying a significant amount of money (typically £30-50) for something you may only ever watch once of twice.
Option 42: The download - and the quality option.
- With ADSL is does not matter how long it takes to download something, and once its done you have all the time you want to catch up when it suit you, where ever you are, and on the device you choose.
- Also the quality will typically be much better that any streamed service, as the stream must have the bit rate limited to your typical download rate. Whereas the download can take hours to download without affective you eventual view experience.
- There is also the option for those with busy lives to collect a whole set ready for when they have the time, be that next month or a few hours on Sunday afternoon.
In the UK we are forced to pay the TV TAX (£145p/a) to have a TV, and many think they are getting very poor value as it is. Lots more still pay £20+pm extra for Sky/Cable on top of the TV license to actually have some TV they actually want to watch.
Considering how much some of us are already paying, is really too much to ask for a legal way to download high quality content without all the time and quality restrictions, even if you have a poor quality internet connection.
The majority would probably not save vast amounts of shows locally simply because they would run out of disk space on the laptop/PC/media-box. Plus while they are subscribing they could just download it again to watch next year if they wanted it.
Such a system would also be a good marketing tool, as the likes of Sky would know 100% what people want to watch and what they don't care much about as they would just have to count the downloads. They could even look at paying the studios directly according to downloads of the programs.
The downside would be a loss of some advertising revenue, but people like me never watch the ads anyway as I nearly always record TV so I can skip them anyway.