After finishing season one of Leverage on Netflix, we’ve started watching season two on TNT’s website. Netflix’s streaming video has been great, and TNT’s has been decent enough aside from dropping out of full-screen for commercials…until yesterday.

Last night, while watching “The Order 23 Job” on our MacBook, we got to the final commercial break — and TNT popped up an error saying that the content required Windows to play. The episode played fine. Previous commercials played fine. But this one? The DRM wasn’t compatible with the player on the Mac.

Yeah. The DRM for the commercial wasn’t compatible.

It wouldn’t have been so bad if TNT approached it the way Hulu does when a commercial fails to play, which is to blank the screen for the duration of the ad (typically 30 seconds) and admonish you for not watching the commercials. Unfortunately, the episode didn’t pick up again.

As near as I can tell, the player was set up to continue the episode when the ad finished, and didn’t account for the possibility that the ad might not play. To make matters worse, the scene selection thumbnails don’t work right in Safari, so we couldn’t jump straight to the final act.

Because neither of us wanted to spend a lot of time troubleshooting, we just went into another room and brought up the Windows box to finish the episode. I suspect the scene selection would have worked in Firefox on the Mac, but haven’t tested it yet. I did go back later to see where I could report the problem to TNT, but the wording in their FAQ suggests to me that they’ll just ignore any reports of Mac problems.

I don’t mind watching reasonable ads to get a free service, but if the ad breaks, it shouldn’t take the actual service down with it. You don’t kick people out of a movie theater because the previews didn’t play, and you don’t send them home part way through an event because one of the sponsors’ banners fell down.

Forklift Driver Klaus (a.k.a. Staplerfahrer Klaus)- a parody of work safety films in which a forklift driver blunders through his first day on the job, maiming fellow employees left and right. German with English subtitles. (via TV Tropes: Scare Em Straight)

And, on a more serious note, the Internet Storm Center is reporting on people finding malware pre-installed on digital picture frames, memory cards, etc. Something to watch out for with portable devices that can connect to your computer.

I love Netflix. I love their selection. I love being able to just make a list of movies I’ve been meaning to watch, and see them show up one by one. But the queue model doesn’t work so well when you want to watch a specific movie now. That’s where you need a retail store, or download-on-demand.

One of our local movie theaters is running a series of “Flashback Features”, and this coming Wednesday is Young Frankenstein. I thought, given the number of references, if would be fun to watch Son of Frankenstein before we went. No time for Netflix, and Blockbuster didn’t have it, so I decided to try a local video store.

You can find all kinds of things at local stores. Blockbuster might toss something that doesn’t pull in $X/month, or doesn’t fit their market research. Shelf space at a Blockbuster is precious. They stock lots of copies of new releases. They keep their aisles wide. And they store movies face outward, so each title takes up more space. A local video store will cram as many movies as they can onto the shelf, spine-outward, sometimes laid sideways on top of each other, and they can add more shelves until they run up against fire regulations. The space freed up by tossing an underperforming movie is nothing compared to the possibility that someday, someone might rent it. This store had videotapes that were still in the oversized boxes that went out of style in the late 1980s!

The downside, of course, is that they probably won’t have enough staff to keep this larger selection sorted. The S section at this store consisted of at least eight shelving units with four or five shelves each. I found all sorts of movies I’d forgotten about or never even heard of in the first place (there’s a Skulls III? With Glory?). If I’d been looking for a random movie to watch, it would’ve been great, but I was looking for Son of Frankenstein. By the time I gave up looking, I figured there was no point in asking a clerk whether they had it or not. Even if they did, I’d still be stuck searching through 40+ shelves.

Not that Blockbuster gets it right all the time. I noticed an anomaly in the Horror section today:

Horror shelf at Blockbuster, featuring... Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo?!?

Although given what I’ve heard about Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo, perhaps Horror is the right category for it.

In the end, I called up my parents and asked if they had a copy of Son of Frankenstein. It turns out they did, so the whole thing dropped out of the realm of commerce and into the realm of borrowing.