MovieSwap wants to take its users’ old DVDs and create a sort of digital lending library, but in practice, it’s basically looking to create a movie streaming service that will be free for its backers. “To make such a dream come true, we worked on a collaborative and crowdsourced approach,” the project’s Kickstarter campaign page reads. “Why? Because during the last 15 years, over 25 billion DVDs were sold worldwide. Those movies are now waiting for a second life and MovieSwap is the solution.”
Of course, this service isn’t going to replace Netflix. For one thing, audio and visual quality is an issue: since the sources are DVDs, you’re looking at DVD resolution, and in this era of 4K displays, that means the service won’t look great on larger screens. Still, if you’re looking for an obscure straight-to-DVD flick that doesn’t have a chance of ending up on Netflix, MovieSwap could end up being your best bet.
Pledging a little over $10 gets backers not just free access for life to the MovieSwap streaming service, but also access to the beta. Even better, early bird pricing is still available allowing users to get in on both the streaming service and beta for just $5.
If you pledge $10 and want to send in your old DVDs, MovieSwap will send you a “DVD Collection Kit.” If you send in 50 or more DVDs, you’ll get a free HDMI SwapStick, an Android-powered streaming stick. If you’re not sending in DVDs but still want the SwapStick, pledging around $60 will get you one, plus access to the service and beta.
At the time of this writing, MovieSwap has nearly 1,500 backers, and is very close to hitting its funding goal of $38,464 (about 35,000 euros). The campaign is still in its early days too, and will come to a close next month on April 15. So unless something goes drastically wrong, the campaign will be a success. How long the service manages to stay operational, however, is another question.
MovieSwap insists that it’s legal, saying that it has “based its approach on a fully legal basis, combining two legal concepts known as ‘first sale doctrine’ and ‘fair use.’” That still doesn’t mean that Hollywood is going to be pleased with the service, and the studios will likely do everything they can to have the service shut down, or at the very least to make its day-to-day operation difficult.
Still, this will be an exciting project to watch. For more information, head over to the MovieSwap Kickstarter campaign page.