Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Does the FCC's new direct-streaming agreement signal the end of movie theaters?

In what the Motion Picture Association of America has termed “an important victory for consumers”—and what some others have termed “the end of movie theaters”—the FCC has just approved a request from the MPAA to transmit first-run high-definition films directly to your home over cable or satellite providers. Specifically, the request had to do with using “selectable output control,” a method of protecting content that disables all non-secure, analog outputs during broadcast, making it difficult to illegally copy distributed material before it can be officially released on DVD or Blu-ray—and while that’s all well and good, it also establishes a business model whereby anyone who doesn’t feel like going to a movie theater and paying $9-and-up just to sit among the yakking, texting, Twittering hordes and see a first-run movie, well, now they won’t have to.

While the MPAA issued the standard, “nothing can replace the pleasure of seeing a movie in the theater” assurances, not everyone sees this as a good decision—beginning with Nikki Finke at Deadline, who believes it once again demonstrates that “Big Media doesn’t want to share its profits with anyone else,” and could eventually “put the struggling cinema chains virtually out of business.”


What do you guys think? A typically hyperbolic reaction, or harsh reality? If you didn’t have to go to a movie theater to see a first-run film, would you do it anyway just for the “pleasure”?