Welcome to iHCPL: The Next Generation. This site was created as the next step in Harris County Public Library's iHCPL Learning 2.0 Program; a discovery learning program designed to encourage staff to explore new technologies. The original iHCPL program was adapted from The Public Library of Charlotte & Mecklenburg County's Learning 2.0 Program.

Monday, February 15, 2010

The Future of Media #80: Movies

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Watching movies at home doesn’t always mean a trip to the video store anymore! These days the Internet offers a variety of ways to watch your favorite movies without even leaving home.

The popular site Netflix allows you to choose films from their huge collection of titles—for a monthly fee they send DVDs through US Mail right to your front door! In the past year they have also added “Instant” titles that you can stream from their site and watch on your home computer. Not all titles are available for streaming, but the number is growing.

Have an xBox 360 or Playstation 3? Netflix allows you to stream movies through these gaming systems at no extra charge. Recently, Netflix also announced its plan to provide streaming movies through the Nintendo Wii! Streaming content through the Wii should be available by Spring of 2010.

Blockbuster is now offering streaming movies in addition to their storefront rentals. Fees are paid per rental. You can get DVDs delivered through the mail and download “On Demand” titles from their website. Blockbuster also offers downloads for purchase.

You may have heard of Hulu, a site that provides free access to full-length network TV shows. Hulu also has an extensive library of feature films you can watch on your computer. There are thousands of free titles. The site highlights popular films, recently added movies, and films from various genres.

Are you into foreign movies and art films? Check out Mubi.
© 2010 Jupiterimages Corporation
Mubi “is a web site making great films from prominent festivals around the world accessible to anyone through high-definition video streaming.”

You may have seen the Redbox kiosks in a fast food restaurant, in front of a pharmacy, or in the grocery store. Redbox allows you to rent movies vending machine-style with just the swipe of a credit card. Well, now you can reserve movies through Redbox online before you visit the kiosk. You just choose the movies you want, choose a pickup location, pick up your movies and enjoy. Fees are charged per night, and you can return them to any Redbox kiosk.

Movie trailers have been available online for quite some time. You can find them all over the web, but some of the better quality high definition trailers are available on specific sites. Apple Trailers, for example offers a database of movie trailers for films currently in theaters and for upcoming films. You can watch them online and they are available in HD, as well as on the iPod and iPhone. Internet Movie Database (IMDB) is a well known database of film, actor, director, and production information. IMDB offers movie trailers for many films, both current, upcoming, and from the past. There are also some full-length films to choose from. Hulu, the streaming site mentioned above, also has trailers available.

  1. Use one of the film sites above to find a free full-length film (you’ll probably have the best luck with Hulu, The Auteurs, or IMDB). Watch a little of it. Would you watch an entire film on your computer or do you still prefer watching DVDs on your TV?
  2. Find a trailer for an upcoming film. Would you use these sites to keep up on current film information?
  3. Write a blog post about the experience. Would you consider using any of the fee-based services to get the movies you want at home? If so, which one would work better for you and why?

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