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 Thanks To Pirate Community Amazon's Try To Degrade Its Streaming Service Is Public

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TémanyitásTárgy: Thanks To Pirate Community Amazon's Try To Degrade Its Streaming Service Is Public   4/25/2018, 18:34

It's Thanks To The Pirate Community That Amazon's Attempt To Degrade Its Streaming Service Is Now PUBLIC

It's said that there is no honor among thieves, but it should be obvious that such a blanket axiom is bound to be at least partially bullshit. Still, this mantra gets applied to the pirating community by its enemies, with those that rip and/or view pirated content labeled as ungrateful kid-slobs, simply looking for any content they can gobble up without any payment whatsoever. Any value or benefit derived from this community is denied or ignored, with the spotlight being only on the inflated injury this same community inflicts on unimaginably wealthy companies and studios.

Again, it should be obvious that this is all bound to be bullshit.

In fact, we've discussed the potential benefits to be found within these communities often in the past. Pirate communities can be viewed as a sort of market study companies get for free, serve as a spotlight on under-served potential customers, and not to mention that this community often buys more content then does their non-pirating cousins. None of this is to excuse copyright infringement, of course, but rather serves to remind us that the world is not black and white, and is instead muddled, complicated, and mushy.

Much like Amazon's streaming service the past few weeks, actually. A fact we only really know about due to this same pirating community doing the investigative work for free.

This week there’s been a sustained chorus of disapproval over the quality of pirate video releases sourced from Amazon Prime. The anger is usually directed at piracy groups who fail to capture content in the correct manner but according to a number of observers, the problem is actually at Amazon’s end.

Discussions on Reddit, for example, report that episodes in a single TV series have been declining in filesize and bitrate, from 1.56 GB in 720p at a 3073 kb/s video bitrate for episode 1, down to 907 MB in 720p at just 1514 kb/s video bitrate for episode 10. Numerous theories as to why this may be the case are being floated around, including that Amazon is trying to save on bandwidth expenses. While this is a possibility, the company hasn’t made any announcements to that end.

Reports suggest the drop in quality is no small thing. Further investigation has shown that the streaming quality via Amazon Prime has had something like a 50% drop. Given how clear it is that the quality of legitimate services has a direct impact on the public's willingness to engage in piracy, we can only speculate on why Amazon thought that downgrading its streaming quality was a good idea. What doesn't seem to be in question, however, is that it did so on purpose.

With Amazon distancing itself from the issues, piracy groups have already begun to dig in the knife. Release group DEFLATE has been particularly critical.

“Amazon, in their infinite wisdom, have decided to start fucking with the quality of their encodes. They’re now reaching Netflix’s subpar 1080p.H264 levels, and their H265 encodes aren’t even close to what Netflix produces,” the group said in a file attached to S02E07 of The Good Fight released on Sunday. “Netflix is able to produce drastic visual improvements with their H265 encodes compared to H264 across every original. In comparison, Amazon can’t decide whether H265 or H264 is going to produce better results, and as a result we suffer for it.”

An expert in video encoding that TorrentFreak spoke with took things further into the technical realm, but the upshot is that the stream quality has been cut in half in a way that looks to be an attempt to serve videos at reduced bandwidth. We still can only guess, because Amazon isn't talking. Unlike the pirate community, however.

With the situation failing to improve during the week, by the time piracy group DEFLATE released S03E14 of Supergirl on Tuesday their original criticism had transformed into flat-out insults.

“These are only being done in H265 because Amazon have shit the bed, and it’s a choice between a turd sandwich and a giant douche,” they wrote, offering these images as illustrative of the problem and these indicating what should be achievable.

With DEFLATE advising customers to start complaining to Amazon, the memes have already begun, with unfavorable references to now-defunct group YIFY (which was often chastized for its low quality rips) and even a spin on one of the most well known anti-piracy campaigns.

As of the past few days, it seems that Amazon has made changes on its end, restoring the original quality of Prime's streams. The company is still refusing to provide any kind of explanation as to why any of this happened to begin with, but it seems quite clear that without the pirating community calling them out, Amazon's customer service claims that all issues were at the end-user and not with the stream itself would have been accepted for much longer, if not indefinitely. Without the pirate hobbyists, they would have gotten away with it.
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