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Welcome to my blog. Here, you will find information about my novels, life in Japan, as well as author interviews, discussions on writing, and more. Feel free to browse and if you enjoy a post, please comment. Thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Digital Frustrations

I don’t usually rant on this blog but I thought I’d vent a little.
As most of my readers know, I’m an expat living in Japan. My Japanese ability sucks, but even if it didn’t, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy movies and TV like a native. Also, after a while, I just get a craving for TV shows and movies from back home. The Internet has made it possible to get content from all over the world. So why oh why are companies making digital media region-restricted?
To me, it seems companies are hurting themselves by not making their products available to everyone regardless of where they live. The iTunes Store requires that your credit card address match where you live. Since I have a Japanese credit card, I can’t shop at the US iTunes Store. Not all products are available in each country’s store. The Japanese iTunes Store carries no TV shows of any kind. All subtitled American movies are hard subbed with Japanese subtitles. That means the subs are always on, there is no way to turn them off. Ok if you’re watching on a big screen TV, not so great on an iPad.
Companies are limiting the reach of their products by region locking them. In this age of globalization, shouldn’t we be encouraging cross-cultural entertainment? If someone in Germany is interested in K-Pop, shouldn’t they be allowed to get media directly from South Korea? I think they should.
Region locking has also affected my viewing habits. I’d gladly buy a subscription to Hulu or Netflix in order to watch Arrow and Agents Of S.H.I.E.L.D. (a show I still have never seen) instead of doing torrents or waiting almost a year later for it to hit DVD rentals in Japan. Come on, they are only up to season three of Castle here! But because I can’t get those services, they are losing a customer. Yes, there is Hulu Japan, but it doesn’t carry the same content as its American counterpart.
Do we really need region locking? I don’t think so. It doesn’t seem to help in any way and is actually denying a portion of the population who live abroad that want some of the media from back home.
How about it, readers? Your thoughts and comments? 
Thanks for reading.

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