With a new digital movie delivery service, Disney and Apple this week joined the burgeoning movement to cloud storage and retrieval of media stuff. Similar to the Ultraviolet platform that Disney has shunned in favor of its own solution, the Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) service lets users buy and watch movies on digital devices, in this case iPads, iPhones and iPods. It’s sort of a Disney-fied, miniature version of iTunes, and if you sign up you get Disney’s animated feature “The Incredibles” for free.
One of the appealing elements of DMA, Ultraviolet and other digital delivery platforms like Amazon Instant Video and Apple TV is a warm and comforting acquiescence to the cloud. Thanks to the pairing of mega-server arrays and fast broadband connections to them, we’re quickly becoming liberated from the do-it-yourself handiwork of the old days, when we had to manage the downloading of files to devices or personal storage systems.
This new migration skyward is apparent everywhere in personal media and in computing. From Apple’s iCloud for music to Dropbox for computer files to Amazon Instant Video for purchased movies, providers are leading us to the cloud to manage our stuff so that’s it’s ever-present and so that it’s available, as Disney’s new app attests, “anywhere.”
Except when it’s not.
A contrarian view about cloud-streamed media springs from the idea that cloud-streaming systems are only as good as the Internet connection that tethers us to them. If that connection is poor, or if no connection is available, it’s like somebody has shut the door on our prized content collections. (If you’ve ever had to explain to a toddler why “The Land Before Time” is suddenly no…