Like many people, I have a rich and complicated relationship with Netflix Streaming, wherein a large and arbitrary collection of films and TV shows are available for streaming to your computer/TV.
When you want to watch what they have and your internet connection if functioning at prime level, it's futuristic heaven. But when the intertubes are clogged, the streaming can be interrupted by an unacceptable amount of buffering (this happens about once a week), and the large and arbitrary collection of films/TV shows is hindered by the viewer's inability to access any special features (subtitles*, director's commentary).
So here comes Zediva, which apparently aims to right all the flaws of Netflix Streaming. In addition to a vast, up-to-the-minute collection of films (as opposed to Netflix Streaming's cinema rummage sale), Zediva, as the NYT reports:
"...lets you listen to the director’s commentary, turn on subtitles and change languages. It lets you enjoy your movie for two weeks instead of 24 hours, starting and stopping at will. It offers the 100 biggest movies for streaming on the very same day the DVD comes out. It sidesteps any meddling by the movie companies, HBO contracts and studio lawyers. And here’s the best news of all — are you sitting down on your favorite movie couch? The price is only $2 for one movie or $1 if you buy a 10-pack. There’s no signup fee, no monthly fee, no hardware to buy."
Zediva's magical secret?...
At its California data center, Zediva has set up hundreds of DVD players. They’re automated, jukebox-style. You’re not just renting a movie; you’re actually taking control of the player that contains the movie you want. The DVD is simply sending you the audio and video signals, as if it were connected to your home with a really, really long cable.
The problem, as MetaFilter points out:
Instead of converting movies to files on a hard drive, they're renting out actual DVDs being played in actual DVD players-remotely. That means if the movie you want is being watched by someone else, you're gonna have to wait.
Here's Zediva's "Rented Out"-packed page of New Releases.
There's gotta be some way to move beyond one-DVD-player-to-one-TV situation, but maybe not. It'd probably be easier for Netflix Streaming, et al to figure out a way to make special features available to streaming customers. Get on it, techies.
*-Non-English films on Netflix Streaming come with English subtitles. But if you're the type of person who occasionally likes to enable English-language subtitles on English-language films (because you don't want to crank the TV while your husband's asleep, or just want to showcase the dialogue), you're out of luck.