Static: Streaming wish list for 2014

George Lang: There are a few things still missing from our streaming diets. Here is a 2014 wish list.
BY GEORGE LANG glang@opubco.com Published: December 30, 2013
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With the close of a landmark year in streaming media, tech-savvy entertainment consumers now have access to more of everything — more TV series, movies and music are now available instantly than most people could imagine just a few years ago. These days, it's hard not to feel a little spoiled when it comes to viewing and listening options.

But there are a few things still missing from our streaming diets. Here is a 2014 wish list.

James Bond. A few weeks ago, 2012's “Skyfall” arrived on both Amazon Prime and Netflix, but its streaming debut came just a few months after the rest of the titles tragically disappeared from Netflix, part of the service's periodic loss-and-acquisition cycle in which licenses run out and titles suddenly evaporate. “Skyfall” is great and stands as a first-rate example of how to do Bond in the 21st century, but fans of 007 crave full access to everything going back to “Dr. No.” Its return is inevitable — never say never again — but there is no firm date.

The Beatles. Now that Led Zeppelin is on Spotify, the Holy Grail of streaming music is the Beatles catalog, and considering that it's only been four years since the Fab Four made it to iTunes, this might take awhile. The absence of Beatles songs at these services is the result of extreme demand, high expense and legal complexity, and that paucity extends beyond 1970. So far, Paul McCartney has most of his solo and Wings catalog available, but John Lennon and George Harrison are entirely absent, along with any Ringo Starr recordings that actually matter. It's likely that both Spotify and Rdio have acquisition teams whose sole purpose is getting the Beatles before the other guy.

Playlists. Once the streaming services bulk up a little more, imagine being able to create your own evening programming. Most people want to just free-wheel it during this time of visual plenty, but what if you could create the perfect 1975 CBS Saturday night, or assemble a 1995 NBC “Must-See TV” evening? The idea of streaming video playlists is either a sign of total laziness or a mixtape-making impulse, but now that Netflix has built most of its interfaces to automatically begin streaming the next episodes in television series, building playlists seems to be the logical next step. Of course, this can only happen once some important chunks of television history make it into the major services, such as ...

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