In a dazzling demonstration that technological history can repeat itself, the American Film Institute has begun to make full length films available at its web site. The first showing is of Charles Chaplin's The Rink
, made in 1916. VDO live video and audio streaming technology (discussed in the April 12, 1996 Scout Report
) is used to play the movie. It is viewed most clearly in a small window of your monitor, and performance is affected by such variables as network congestion and the speed of your connection. But it is a movie, just as early kinetoscope offerings were also "movies." Perhaps in three or four years this technology will mature, and we will really be able to watch movies over the net. Still, what AFI is doing is historic and a valuable experiment that should be recognized as such. The site also contains background information on Chaplin, as well as selected links to other Chaplin sites.