It’s officially Easter and yet my extended family would not let me rest from my unofficial and unpaid job as their IT guy. Yesterday I received a series of messages from one of my aunts asking, more like demanding if you ask me, that I help her watch “The Passion of the Christ”. Since she is a woman of prayer I was inclined to try and find a legal way for her to watch the movie.
DStv misses a trick
Thankfully she is one of those people who felt obliged to upgrade to an Explora decoder, personally, I have never found the appeal of that giant box but that’s beside the point. I remember reading somewhere that DStv Box Office is now available in Zimbabwe too and so I tried to steer her towards that route. In theory, all she needed to was:
- Press some green button
- Box Office would launch and she would search for “The Passion of the Christ”
- Click rent somewhere and get a code, then I could pay for her to watch the movie
Except she couldn’t find “The Passion of the Christ” anywhere. I decided to do my own Voodoo magic and look for it myself on Box Office and searching for Easter or “The Passion of the Christ” yielded no results. That was rather disappointing. I thought maybe there were showing it on one of their channels and all I would need to do was tell her when and which channel. Searching on their TV guide provided zilch-nothing.
With us in our second year of COVID it would have been nice to have this movie showing somewhere seeing it is Easter. This is where I have to put up a disclaimer and say maybe I did not search right. The movie might be lurking somewhere in their catalogue but I couldn’t find it.
The streaming way
So I thought about streaming and actually dug up some pretty viable solutions, my cousin would just login into my Google Account and use it to rent the Passion of the Christ. The advantage with Google is that it usually has good peering and caching at ISP level so there should no buffering.
Rental prices are also on par with DStv’s Box Office with the added advantage of a more extensive library selection. However, newer movies like Wonder Woman 1984 are slightly more expensive. The passion of the Christ was going for US2.99 for the SD version. My aunt has TelOne so an SD version would be OK.
Before I committed decided to evaluate my options:
- Turns out the movie is also available on iTunes for US4.99, the extra $1 is probably the Apple tax, the price you pay for bragging that you used an Apple product to your peers. I am just kidding.
- I was also curious to see how much the movie was going for on Amazon, it was free with Ads and also available free on Amazon Prime but that would require my aunt and cousins to fiddle with SmartDNS and it’s just something that’s beyond them.
Guy with a USB stick
So I called with my solution, I had rented the movie on Google and all they needed to do was plug in my cousin’s laptop into one of the HDMI ports, login using my user name and password and wait for me to complete the 2FA process on my phone.
Imagine my annoyance at being told that, thieves had stolen copper cables a week before and TelOne was still digging a trench to replace them! So there was no internet, they were making do with WhatsApp bundles. I managed to stifle my groan and told them not to worry, I had a perfectly legal way for them to watch the movie, I would download it for them and send a guy with a USB stick.
I know a guy who does movies and is always mooching my internet who lives close to her, luckily, being the business savvy guy he is, he recognised a lot of people would want to watch a gruesome and depressing movie about Our Lord being whipped to bits so he had an HD copy available on his laptop. I asked him to drop a copy on USB with an MP4 version at my aunt’s.
That worked like a charm as my overjoyed aunt got to watch her movie. Of course, you cannot download Google Movies you have rented and save them to a USB, what she doesn’t know will not hurt her. Meanwhile, I am stuck with an SD movie that I rented for $2.99. You can buy regular BB-Que pizza with that kind of money.
The perfectionist in me would never watch an SD movie. I think I am just going to let it expire and call it even.