RANT : HD Video Tax

I can often be called an early adopter of new technology and was thrilled to give up my DVDs and VHS tapes for the simplicity of purchasing my content on streaming media services such as Google Play Movies or Amazon Instant Video. You simply cannot beat the selection offered by these services and you don’t ever need run into issues with the movie being sold out or scratched DVDs. Unlike services such as Netflix, Amazon Instant Videos and Google Play Movies allows you to take content offline for use in situations where you do not have access to a high speed connection. It is almost a Utopian solution except for one glaring problem… the Upcharge for HD content. 

Videos on these streaming media sites normally cost around $12.00 to purchase and whole seasons of TV Shows normally run around $25.00.  Unfortunately if you want to watch the content in anything greater then 720p, you are going to need to cough up a few extra bucks to bring the Videos to $18.00 and the TV Series to around $35.00. This extra cost adds up quick.

We live in a time where High Definition TVs (1080p) are both affordable and the standard. The cost of a 1080p screen 10 years ago made them so expensive that they were a premium, this is no longer the case as you can buy a decent 32 inch 1080p screen on Amazon for less then $200.00. Most mid-range mobile phones are also shipping with 1080p displays and several sub $200 tablets are also shipping with HD screens. I would even argue that 1080p displays are the norm rather than the exception.

Lets look at a few examples:

Google Play Movies Amazon Instant Video
Video Name SD HD SD HD
USA Networks Suits (Per Episode) $1.99 $2.99 $1.99   $2.99
USA Networks Suits (Per Season) $24.99 $34.99 $24.99  $34.99
Lucy 2014 $9.99 $12.99 $9.99 $14.99
 American Sniper 2015 $14.99 $19.99 $14.99 $19.99

I do understand that HD contend does inherently have a slightly increased cost to the video provider in the way of extra storage and bandwidth however as both of these things cost a few fractions of a cent, I still cannot see how it justifies this additional cost. These “HD Taxes” need to go!

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