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There are a multitude of ways to watch movies in this day and age. Movie theaters are still an option — although maybe not for much longer Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Cinema Is Dying: How Movie Theaters Can Ensure Their Survival Movie theaters need to offer more than just a way of watching the latest films. They need to stop competing on "convenience" and start focusing on "experience." Here's how. Read More — and there are also Blu-rays, DVDs, Netflix, Hulu, iTunes, and (the ever-present) option of piracy. So how do you watch movies? And why?

Scurvy-Ridden Landlubbers!

To answer this week’s question please scroll down the page until you see the Poll staring back at you. But first, we need to look at the results from last week, when we asked, “Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content?

Out of a total of 274 votes, 36.1% chose All Day, Every Day, 23.4% chose Only When Absolutely Necessary, 14.2% chose Once a Week, 13.5% chose I Never Pirate!, 7.3% chose Once a Month, 2.2% chose Once a Year, and 3.3% chose Other.

These results make it clear that most MakeUseOf readers pirate copyrighted content, and many of those who do, do so on a daily basis. Which is rather disconcerting. It does, however, suggest that media companies’ efforts to dissuade people from pirating Why The Campaign Against Piracy Is A Farce [Opinion] Why The Campaign Against Piracy Is A Farce [Opinion] DMCA, SOPA, MegaUpload shut down, piracy becoming a religion in Sweden - not a week goes by without some shutdown, anti-piracy laws or shocking statistics about torrents - and I have to ask myself, is... Read More are failing, so perhaps a change of strategy is in order.

pirate-copyrighted-content-poll-results

Comment Of The Week

We received a lot of great comments, including those from Ray Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Online piracy is still a big deal. For the people who do it, for the companies trying to stop it, and for the authorities expected to police the Internet. Are you part of the problem? Read More , John Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Online piracy is still a big deal. For the people who do it, for the companies trying to stop it, and for the authorities expected to police the Internet. Are you part of the problem? Read More , and our own Matthew Hughes Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Online piracy is still a big deal. For the people who do it, for the companies trying to stop it, and for the authorities expected to police the Internet. Are you part of the problem? Read More . Comment Of The Week goes to BadJasper, who earns our admiration and affection for this comment Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Be Honest, How Often Do You Pirate Copyrighted Content? [MakeUseOf Poll] Online piracy is still a big deal. For the people who do it, for the companies trying to stop it, and for the authorities expected to police the Internet. Are you part of the problem? Read More :

Yes, I have pirated. But, I have a legit reason for doing so and the publishers of the software have been paid for their software in the end. I have two prime examples…

1) I am a Software Engineer. I am also self taught. I could never afford the software to learn how to program so, I got pirated copies. I learned what I needed to know to get a career and once I started making money, I purchased the full versions. I now pay for an MSDN account and all my development software is full and legit. I have now purchased 6 figures worth of software over the last 30 years. These days it is much easier to learn how to develop with free resources that are available but, in the 80’s, that was not the case. The publisher may have lost a few hundred dollars many years ago but, have made thousands off me since.

2) Games! Games are expensive. Price does not determine a good game though. My example: A few years back, Star Wars – Empire at War came out. I got a 1 level demo in my PC-Gamer mag and I played it. However, one level is not a very good assessment of how good a game is. I went ahead and grabbed a pirated copy. I played it for a few days and decided that I liked it. I therefore went and purchased the full version (49.95) and the Expansion (Another 29.95) then removed the pirated copy. In all actuality, the publisher lost no money from me using the prated copy because I was able to fully assess the game and then bought it with the expansion. If I didn’t like the game then, I would have removed it anyway because why keep a game you don’t like and wouldn’t be willing to purchase?

So, I guess you could say I am a “White-Hat” pirate. I will purchase the software if it is good but, I won’t blindly drop down 100’s of dollars on something that could turn out to be a POS. I think if everyone was like that, the software companies would make their money but, they would be forced to put out quality software in the first place because, they can hype it all they want but, if it’s crap, people won’t buy it because they already know what it is like.

We chose this comment because the notion of a “white-hat pirate” is both original and extremely interesting. We’re not convinced this method of pirating depending on a number of different factors makes it OK, but it’s certainly one way of justifying the illicit activity.

How Do You Watch Movies?

There are now more ways to watch movies than ever before. While once the exclusive domain of cinemas, films are now available on a variety of different formats.

You can watch movies on TV, or on Blu-ray or DVD. You can buy, rent, or stream legit copies online (unless it’s Star Wars). Or you can download less-legal versions from dodgy websites everybody now knows about.

We simply want to know which method you primarily use. And why you choose that method over all of the others available.

Please vote in the Poll above, and then explain in the comments section below why you voted that way.

What criteria do you use when deciding how to watch particular films? Are you more likely to see particular genres of movies in theaters? Are your decisions based on cost, convenience, or something else?

The more information you can provide with your comment, the more accurate our conclusions can be based on the results. In other words, voting in the Poll tells us something, but adding detail in the comments section below tells us a whole lot more.

The best Comment of the Week will win our everlasting admiration and affection. At least until we all meet back here again this time next week when we’ll have a new question awaiting your input.

Image Credits: Nimish Gogri via Flickr

  1. The Geeky Boss
    April 28, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Okay, here's my two cents worth.
    I watch the latest releases at the cinema.
    I then buy the DVD/Blu-Ray when it comes out - or on sale (mostly).
    Then 'archive' it to my hard drive to watch when I want to see it again.
    The movie producers get their money from me twice.
    BUT, and this is a HUGE caveat - where I live the cinema shows little in the way of documentary or art house and none blockbuster films, and in that case - I have access to the worlds biggest video library... The Internet!

  2. Leah
    April 27, 2015 at 10:39 pm

    ...with my eyes open?

  3. BrendaP
    April 27, 2015 at 7:59 pm

    I mostly watch movies on either Netflix or Amazon or some free channel I find. I'll occasionally go to the theater when it's a big action flick or graphic where seeing it on a big screen would be a big deal - or when my husband can't wait for it to come out on Netflix. The exception is when I get free screening tickets and go make it an event with friends. I generally prefer watching in the comfort of my home on my big screen TV - better for the pocketbook and the waistline.

  4. Mike G
    April 27, 2015 at 7:35 pm

    Occasionally, my wife will want to physically go to a theater and watch a movie. We’re in our mid-sixties so this satisfies my wife’s previous pleasant experiences at the movies. She has no interest in technological advances. We’ve used various models of TIVO for about fifteen years and we purchase fiber optic cable and many premium movie channels. We never sit down and watch live TV. We sit down to hundreds of programs that we've programmed TiVo to find and record with no regard on our part for when or what channel it plays on. So far, neither of use wants to sit down and ask ourselves what we should watch and then start searching any streaming services to find that available program. Although I don’t watch DVD’s of any kind, I do receive pirated programs and movies on a 128GB flash drive from a friend.

  5. R A Myers
    April 27, 2015 at 3:25 pm

    Responding for on line movies only.

    I'm a newbie to watching movies online. I proceed as if the movies on YouTube are legal copies. Since some of Basil Rathbone's Sherlock Holmes movies are older than I am, the copyright probably ran out.

    Now to learn how to convert and download them to a micro SD card so we can watch them when we like.

  6. Bob
    April 27, 2015 at 1:58 pm

    I'm with James. I make a point of going to the theaters for the immersive experience of the movies. But at home, I also use Netflix, Amazon, pirated streaming, and even DVDs.

    As for the prior comment, I'm not rich, don't always have a LOT of time, and I do know how to pirate, I just prefer to pirate music over movies :-) I really do enjoy the big experience in the theater that I don't get at home and I usually bring my dinner or something to eat so I don't have to buy from the concessions.

  7. James
    April 27, 2015 at 8:31 am

    For me the cinemas are for watching those big blockbusters, where the large screen and immersive sound system add so much more to the film, than just watching it at home. For films I don't see in the cinema, I have Netflix and Amazon Prime, but they don't always have everything you'd want to watch be it films from last year that they haven't put on or films from decades ago that you want to catch up on so, for those films I have a Raspberry Pi which, so in my mind I'm a 'white-hat' pirate, as I pay for both cinema, streaming services, the DVD or Blu Ray of a really great film but also use the Pi to watch those films that non of the streaming services have.

  8. Imaduddin Sawal
    April 27, 2015 at 8:30 am

    People who go to cinemas for watching movies are :
    (i) rich
    (ii) have a lot of time
    (iii) Don't know how to pirate (probably)

    I mean like if I can get the top movies ( Avengers 2 is up, ironically ) most of the time even before the movie releases in our country, then why the hell should I waste so much of my money as well as time to watch the movie in the cinema. I mean like so much time is wasted.

    Plus, if you want to have a social get together, just invite your friends at your home.

    A great thing about this is also, that you get to have cheap popcorn not like those high-priced selling at the cinemas, huh.

    P.S. Can you please point me out to some of the best articles MUO has written on writing, especially for teens ? Thanks.

  9. Kevin
    April 26, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    Popcorn Time!

  10. Simon Lee
    April 26, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    The only way I watch movies is at a theater. Of course, it is a lot less convenient and it costs more with the ticket and transportation, but the theater is the only place where I can sit back behind a giant screen with emersive speakers (unless you have a home theater that is nearly as good as a movie theater, invite me over). I do not have to worry about cleaning up popcorn, and it gives me a reason to go out with my friends, or just go outside, for that matter. The best feeling is when you have just finished the movie and have a conversation about it as you walk out of the theater. After all, if movie theaters are not as good as the other methods of watching a movie, it would not cost more and force you to transport yourself to the theater. For this reason, I prefer going to a movie theater, knowing that when I walk out the door, I watched a movie with the best quality and experience possible.

  11. Jamieg
    April 26, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Mostly Redbox bluray with some occasional HDX Vudu.

  12. Susan
    April 26, 2015 at 2:27 pm

    I watch movies primarily on TV. I mostly record them on my PVR and watch them at my leisure. I do have some DVDs which I purchased, of movies that I want to keep to watch again and again. I don't use Netflix although I do have wireless and the only thing I watch online is YouTube or like that. I think the last time I was in a theater was when I saw ET. I am not adverse to watching a pirated copy of a movie if someone hands it to me. I dunno, maybe I'm a tightwad!

  13. likefunbuntot
    April 26, 2015 at 2:22 pm

    When I obtain a Blu Ray, it gets fed into a PC that copies the disc. A set of scripts runs and I'm left with a 6000 or 10,000kpbs MKV that includes at least two English language soundtracks and any subtitles that happen to be present.

    So I don't exactly watch Blu Rays but that's the starting point for any movie content I do watch. Having the MKV means not having to watch obligatory commercials or waiting for disc access. I feel my way is better.

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