Elon Musk says streaming services are a nightmare and he may be right

Streaming services got us hooked to watching our favourite movies with comfort, but over time it has become an annoyance, so much so that Elon Musk is talking about it.

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Elon Musk says streaming services are a nightmare and he may be right- BPN TODAY

  • Elon Musk said entertainment today has become a nightmare.
  • He referred to the increased hassle to managing passwords and 2FA.
  • He apparently urged people to switch to pirating again.

Elon Musk has sparked a debate on Twitter. In his latest tweet, the tech and space honcho called streaming services a nightmare for entertainment and for the right reasons. Musk showed he has a problem with the login system of streaming services and I can absolutely relate to it.

Sparing nearly no one, Musk shared the iconic “distracted boyfriend” meme on Twitter to compare Netflix, Disney+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, and Paramount+ with The Pirate Bay. The boyfriend in the meme clearly represents Musk and several other streamers who once were distracted by Netflix, turning away from The Pirate Bay. But he seems no longer interested in them, so much so that The Pirate Bay managed to distract him back. That is the perfect analogy to show how streaming services have sabotaged the ease of streaming they introduced in the first place.

The rat race

Netflix spearheaded the streaming revolution by giving customers easy access to all popular and anticipated movies and shows. But the streaming market is no longer just about Netflix. Amazon dipped its toes into the market with Prime Video in 2006. A year later, Netflix made it big. At present, there is a huge flurry of streaming services. Disney has Disney+, Warner Media owns HBO Max, and Apple has Apple TV+. Besides international services, customers also have the option to switch to local streaming services, such as HoiChoi in India.

From a market’s viewpoint, the existing diversity is good for competition and also offers customers ample choices. However, at the cost of convenience. That is exactly what Musk has underscored through the meme.

With exclusive streaming rights, each streaming platform wants to promote itself. For instance, you can find Marvel, Pixar, and Disney content exclusively on Disney+ (Disney+ Hotstar in India), while for titles like Mirzapur and Panchayat, you go to Amazon Prime Video. Unlike The Pirate Bay, you now have to search for your favourite title across these streaming services.

Managing passwords is a hassle

To be able to access streaming services, you have to manage their credentials i.e., usernames, passwords, security questions. And if you want added security to your account – which you should, you have to enable two-factor authentication (2FA) that gives you access to your account only after authentication with passcodes.

This is perhaps the biggest pain point of consuming entertainment legally – exactly the opposite of pirating. It is ridiculously difficult to manage passwords for each streaming service if you are not into password managers. On devices that support browsers such as Google Chrome, it is still easier to log in because you have the option to save login details, but when you have to log into a TV, your saved logins do not come into use. There is an entirely different process for logging into TVs, and it is cumbersome, to say the least.

I absolutely hate it when Netflix asks me to enter my email address and password manually. I am still fine with phone-based text inputs, but using the remote control to do that just takes that annoyance to the next level. Amazon Prime Video asks you to scan the QR code or go the conventional way of entering usernames and passwords manually. If you have 2FA enabled for your Amazon account, you are clearly not going to like that conventional method.

More security, more steps

Using code-generating apps, such as Google Authenticator or Authy, is also a task if you compare it with the ease with which you simply land on a pirating website and download your favourite movie. The bottom line is that despite several login methods available, there is not an easy way to get started with streaming.

Is pirating the way to go?

Musk may have admitted that he prefers pirating now and that streaming services need to sort out the mess. And this could very well be him strongly urging people to consider pirating again.

The Pirate Bay does not need you to go through so many steps just to be able to stream or download a movie. Advertisements on pirating websites are an issue only until you activate an ad-blocker in the browser. Alternatively, websites like BitTorrent offer an ad-free experience through a premium subscription. It also accepts cryptocurrency now, if that is what some people call the easiest way to pay online these days.

Websites that let you pirate movies and shows have a huge collection, irrespective of the platforms they are originally available to watch on. Just go to a website and you will find Marvel movies, Amazon Prime Video shows, Netflix Originals, and much more at a single stop. On the other hand, you need different subscriptions for different streaming services. Some of them give you access to some shows for free, but to watch locked content, you have to pay.

But this is not a battle between paid and free services. The growing subscriber base of streaming services across the world shows people are willing to pay, but that should not happen at the cost of minimised convenience.

Musk’s concern is genuine and with popularity like his, a tweet calling streaming services a nightmare can influence people to switch to pirating again. That may turn out to be a big loss for streaming services. So, unless they want their precious paying subscribers to go, they need to convert this nightmare into a beautiful dream

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