Thursday, August 6, 2015

Netflix is coming to town

Going to the movies is almost always, by definition, an enjoyable experience. Why go otherwise? But Japan brings a small complication to the process; what to do with the question of language. Japan does have a movie industry, however these movies tend to be in Japanese. And, as a result, and without subtitles, is something of a challenge for non-native speakers. However, this is nothing in comparison enjoying a western movie.

English language movies are addressed in one of three ways. Very occasionally they will be shown in the original format but, as this attracts a somewhat limited audience, watching them can be a lonely experience. The alternatives are subtitles or dubbing, both of which have their own limitations. Dubbing invariably mis-mixes voice with character and subtitles are a running distraction; try watching Avatar with 3D writing floating in front of the screen.

And now Netflix is coming to Japan, hopefully having resolved the problems belying iTunes and Amazon, namely a total lack of content. Not everything available on iTunes USA or even UK is available in Japan. As with Kindle, vested interests and international licensing agreements seem to continuously undermine what should be a consumer based service. Movies are there to be watched, books are there to be read. Here's hoping Netflix brings television to the audience. After all, it is 2015. And, as Joey once remarked, "without a TV, what do you point your furniture at?".


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