Premium Movie Channels with Less Good Movies?

Discussion in 'Now Playing - TV Show Talk' started by marksman, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. marksman

    marksman ID-10-T

    Mar 4, 2002


    For most of my adult life I had all the movie channels I could have on Satellite / Cable. Besides original programming, it was always actually a good value to get movies some months after they were in theaters. You could count on most of the top movies filtering through 6-9 months after the theaterical realease.

    Several years ago I stopped subscribing to them all and from time-to-time I will subscribe to one on a deal. Right now I have Showtime and Starz, because I want to watch Dexter on Demand and Nurse Jackie etc. I have been checking out the movie inventory on both Showtime and Starz and it is really poor. Looking through HBO, it is not much better.

    A huge percentage of the movies I see now are movies I never heard of and probably had very limited theatrical releases. Sure a movie or two that was popular might show up, but I swear years ago you could count on several or more premium new movies every week on the premium channels.

    Between On-Demand, DVD, Streaming Deals and Deals with Basic Cable Channels, it seems like the pickings on the premium channels is very poor. I used to be able to justify the expense because I would see pretty much all the movies I wanted to see, albeit delayed by 6 months or so, so it was worthwhile.

    Now it does not seem like a lot of movies ever show up there and if they do they have very limited windows. I used to get the premium movie channels for the movies and the original shows were bonus. Now the only reason I see to get them is for the original programming, but it is hard to justify the cost of these channels if they have 1 or 2 shows with 4 episodes a month you want to see.

    So I guess my question is, is it just me or have others noticed the quality of movie selection on the premium channels to have dropped significantly in the last 5+ years?
  2. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Well-Known Member

    May 10, 1999
    The only reason to subscribe to premium channels IMO is if you are a huge fan of their original programming and you just have to see it immediately. Netflix killed them as a reasonable movie solution for over a decade IMO; Netflix is cheaper, best selection and you get the new releases sooner (even w/ the recent month delay after DVD release). And you can get the original programming too, basically you wait the 6-9 months for the DVD release of the original programming instead of waiting for the movies.

    Plus for the movies you don't have to deal with them being chopped to 16:9, and usually get DVD bonus features.
  3. SorenTodd

    SorenTodd New Member

    May 26, 2009
    This new (ridiculous) channel called EPIX has leached movies away from the others. Now instead of just Showtime, Starz, and HBO, you have 4 players in the game.
  4. VegasVic

    VegasVic Craps Player

    Nov 21, 2002
    The Craps Table
    I hope I'm not hijacking this thread too much. I've been thinking about getting Netflix (streaming). So basically any movie that's on any of the premium channels is available on Netflix? In HD? Is the HD quality good (assuming the Internet connection is good). And original programming such as Dexter or Boardwalk Empire is available around the same time the DVD of the latest season is released? And when a movie is released on DVD is it also available via streaming at the same time? Sorry for the questions and if there is another thread with this info just let me know. I currently have DirecTV with a bunch of movie channels and I'm thinking of cutting back to save some cash and going with Netflix and I'm wondering if it's a reasonable idea.
  5. mattack

    mattack Well-Known Member

    Apr 9, 2001


    *Fewer*, not less.
  6. KungFuCow

    KungFuCow Thread Killer

    May 6, 2004
    Netflix's streaming is poor selection wise and thats probably being kind to it. Dont expect much newer than a year movie wise. They do seem to do "okay" on TV shows but even then, only certain series's. I'd drop it if it cost more than it does. I probably dont even watch it once a month, thats how little content there is there if you dont like Family Guy and South Park.

    (Which I do happen to like but have all that content on my own "on demand" file server)
  7. Ilovetorecord2

    Ilovetorecord2 New Member

    Mar 21, 2000
    South San...
    I agree. It really sucks to have to pay for a one or two shows. Right now on Showtime I have Shameless, United States of Tara and California.

    I might have to give this some thought also as HBO has nothing of a series that I record. So the two I normally have HBO and Show run about $25 a month. That is a lot of money for something I don't watch that often like the regular channels.
  8. Stephen Tu

    Stephen Tu Well-Known Member

    May 10, 1999
    Generally, no. Although Netflix advertises streaming heavily, and the streaming is popular, it is *not* at all the way to get new movies & new series. You should get the plan with a DVD rental, then you get everything when the DVD comes out or sometimes 30-days later (some studios hold back DVDs from Netflix hoping to increase sell-through).

    No HBO via streaming. Showtime, only 1st 2 seasons Dexter, one season Californication, most seasons of Weeds, L-Word. Showtime is holding back even some of these from streaming starting middle this year as they are pushing their own streaming service for subscribers. For premium channels, generally you need to rent the DVDs.

    The streaming is good for old movies, old network TV series, foreign/independent movies. Not good for new release movies, premium channel content. But the DVD service covers all those well (though one has to wait for the DVD to come out), so in combination it's a very good deal, there's stuff to watch while you wait for your next DVD to arrive. I would never get the streaming-only plan since one DVD out is only $2 more, $3 more for Blu-ray.

    HD quality is decent but not as good as Blu-ray, when available. 5.1 sound only available now on PS3 and only for a few titles. Hopefully they will move to 5.1 for more platforms, more titles, and more titles with 1080p for those with fast internet.

    I still think of Netflix as primarily a disc-by-mail service, with the streaming as a nice free bonus that I didn't have when I started many years ago. 5 years from now maybe this will flip-flop but not now.
  9. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Garden obsessed

    Aug 1, 2004
    My back yard
    I'm just this close to cutting out my premium movie channels on DirecTv, which I think I pay something like $50 a month for.
    I have noticed the lack of newer titles lately. Used to be you could count on something showing up about a year after its release and that is no longer the case. I rarely use these channels except for their original programming and I am pondering how much they are worth to me.

    Netflix streaming is only ok, but I have Amazon Prime already and find that I use that more often.
    I figure I can even rent a few movies a month from Amazon and still come out ahead.

    It's a bit difficult for me to let go of DirecTv as I always subscribed to everything with the reasoning that I was "afraid I'll miss something."
    It just feels as if for the past year or so there is less to miss and I'm up to $160 a month now.
    That's an absurd amount of money for TV.
  10. VegasVic

    VegasVic Craps Player

    Nov 21, 2002
    The Craps Table
    I appreciate the info. So it looks like Netflix streaming is a supplement but not a primary choice for movies. Sounds like I'll get the disc option along with the streaming. Now I just need to figure out the best way to do the stream. I'm in the market for a new BD player and I think some have Netflix built in. Also thinking of Roku but I don't know enough about that.
  11. kilcher

    kilcher New Member

    Mar 6, 2002
    The movie selection isn't great, that's for sure.

    We've had HBO for a few years now and I can probably count the number of movies we've watched on 2 hands. If there's something we really want to see we rent it. We keep HBO because of the original programming, I would imagine that's why most people keep them and the premium channels know that.
  12. Johnny Dancing

    Johnny Dancing Closet Rebel

    Sep 3, 2000
    I dumped all movie channels a few months back. I had every single movie channel and each month I would scroll through the movies scanning the next two weeks and maybe find two or three that I wanted to record. I found I mostly kept the movie channels for their original programming:

    Larry David
    Big Love

    So I was paying a lot of money for four programs. Which are available via other avenues anyway. I found I haven't missed the movie channels since I canceled them and am saving $35 - $40 per month.

    Also, AMC seems to be kicking *ss with original programming now - Mad Men, Breaking Bad, and an English remake of "The Killing" which starts next week.

    Netflix streaming has a large library of movies but don't expect top notch HD quality or many newer releases. Since I have a very high end home theater a bad transfer or low quality stream can be really distracting.

    I mostly use Netflix streaming for old TV series or old movies I would not waste a rental on - I just started with the Pilot of X-files last night (I forgot how good that show was- too bad it came before HDTV), on a tip we started on the "The Riches" series last week, and I am in the middle of Veronica Mars.

    As far as movies, I tend to use it for older movies I always wanted to see or want see again like Less Than Zero, Time Bandits, Dumb and Dumber. I did watch the Swedish version of "Let Me In" - "Let the Right One In" to compare to the U.S. remake.

    However, if I really want to watch a movie in all it's glory it would be via Blu Ray disc. As an example, "Black Snake Moan" available via streaming which has an amazing sound track that I wouldn't want to experience in low quality stereo.
  13. Mr Flippant

    Mr Flippant Regular User

    Jan 2, 2009
    My own opinion is that if you are patient, then Netflix 1 DVD for $10 a month is a great deal. You have a huge library of DVDs and while not nearly as complete the streaming content is certainly a convenient addition with decent entertainment value.

    However if you have to have the latest releases as soon as possible, eh, not so good.

    At least for me the premium channels are not worth it as I can even get their content on Neflix a year otr 2 later. I do not think it will be long when the AMC, FX and even TNT cable channels have series as compelling as what is on the premium channels, actually I think in some cases they already do.
  14. jamesbobo

    jamesbobo with a grain of salt

    Jun 18, 2000
    I never heard of this channel so I looked it up. According to wikipedia, Paramount, Lionsgate and MGM all had contracts with Showtime. When those expired Showtime wouldn't pay what those studios were asking for so they decided to start their own service. At first it was available on Fios, then Dish and DirectTV. The larger cable companies such as Comcast (mine) and Time Warner do not carry it.
    This hurts Showtime as far as major film releases go more than it does HBO/Cinemax and Starz. It also answers my question of why some movies that I've been waiting to see haven't been available. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button for example.
    This doesn't mean that films being shown on EPIX will never be shown on Showtime or other premium channels. It will just take longer than usual to get there.
  15. Cearbhaill

    Cearbhaill Garden obsessed

    Aug 1, 2004
    My back yard
    Funny, that was one I was waiting for as well.

    And my DirecTv does not carry EPIX.
  16. scooterboy

    scooterboy Coney Island Small

    Mar 27, 2001
    Maybe he meant the movies are "less good". :)

    If so, of course he meant "less gooder". :p
  17. Graymalkin

    Graymalkin Grumpy Poster

    Mar 20, 2001
    I'm just about to drop the last premium channel I have (Starz) because Netflix pretty much gives me everything I need.
  18. marksman

    marksman ID-10-T

    Mar 4, 2002
    The only reason I can justify getting Showtime right now is I can finish watching Dexter, which I did not finish last time I had Showtime, watch all of Episodes and Shameless and then catch Nurse Jackie. Fortunately on DirecTV Showtime's on Demand is really good, especially for their original programming, as they carry all episodes in HD. Otherwise it has become hard for me to carry the channels for one or two series at a time.

    I know that is what they want, but on DirecTV each channel is like $13 a month without a special deal, and that is a lot for like 2 series that you might get 8 episodes a month out of...

    I know HBO has OnDemand now too on DirecTV but I don't know how good it is compared to Showtime.. Plus the HBO shows I care about are fewer than Showtime these days. I guess I will just keep up my strategy of picking Showtime up every few months for a few months on special and catch the shows I want.

    I have been going through the next two weeks on the Starz/Showtime Channels looking for movies and there is very little there.

    As for Netflix I had 3 at a time for a long time, but canceled that a few months ago simply because we were not using the streaming very much and some cases we would not change out movies for two months. We do use Redbox once in a while.

    Maybe the real problem is a much smaller percentage of movies these days appeal to me and that is why I am not really finding anything from any movie outlet that is worthwhile. A month ago or so we saw 3-4 redbox movies in a week like Inception, Social Network and a couple of others, and those were most of the ones I had wanted to see from the Spring/Summer... I didn't think about Epix but that makes sense, although I don't know where that channel is... I think so many channels and so many studios holding on to their old libraries for their own channels and outlets now, and movies are so spread out over so many places that there is little value there.

    I think the movie studios are going to have to figure this out, because for me as a consumer having a wide selection is of value to me. Having to utilize 15 different resources/channels to get all the movies I want is just a no go.
  19. SteveInNC

    SteveInNC Active Member

    Jun 23, 2005
    RTP, NC
    I'm going through this exact debate now. I've been a DTV/USSB subscriber since July 94, a few months before they officially started advertising the service ($900 for one of the old RCA non-HD receivers, self-installed - I really hated the cable company :) ). Like you, I subscribe to almost all of the premiums "just in case" something worthwhile will come up. That seems to happen less and less often these days. I've also noticed that the breadth of programming is much slimmer - they seem to repeat a much smaller set of movies more often. I'm in the fortunate position that I can afford the cost, but I find that I just don't really want to anymore.

    Services like SHO and HBO would be well-served by digging up more back-catalog movies, which in theory shouldn't cost as much to broadcast, and show fewer repeats of relatively-recent movies.

    Anecdote: about ten years ago, I had a near-strike lightning event that took out my TV (among other electronics). It was a couple of weeks before insurance got around to settling the claim. It was amazing how much stuff I got done around the house when I didn't have the TV-crutch to fall back on as a time-waster. Coupled with the lack of entertainment value offered by the premiums lately, I'm beginning to think that less DTV might be a good idea regardless.
  20. cheesesteak

    cheesesteak Meh. TCF Club

    Jul 24, 2003
    15 mins...
    I think I watch more movies on TCM and AMC than on HBO. I keep HBO only because of its original programming. Now it looks like I'm going to subscribe to Starz also just for Torchwood.

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