Rant: Let me buy a Blu-ray WITHOUT a DVD

 

Remember back in the late ’90s when DVDs started rolling out? People were excited, confused, and angry at this fledgling new video format. The advantages were all there in plain sight:

  • Better video quality with the new-fangled ability to pause the video and see a clear un-fuzzy-fied still frame!
  • Higher fidelity audio
  • Smaller form factor with no moving parts or need to “rewind”
  • Rugged media (a plastic optical disc, aka “CD form factor”) that wouldn’t degrade with age unlike the video tape of the time

There were such huge advantages to this format, so what kept people from adopting this clearly-superior format for so long? Price, compatible hardware (everyone owned VCRs, no one had a DVD player), and available content.

When DVDs first hit the market the average consumer wasn’t exactly sure what it was. Was it a CD? Would it work in your computer CD-ROM drive? With DVD players costing hundreds of dollars and only a handful of overpriced movies available, most people were content to continue enjoying their slowly degrading tapes. By the time DVD players became cheap and common-place enough to be carried in grocery stores, the price and selection of titles available had also dropped so significantly that they could be considered impulse-items and sold alongside gum and mints next to the register.

Where am I going with this? Oh yeah, Blu-ray. The introduction and eventual adoption of Blu-ray as the HD standard had consumers asking some questions very similar to those asked when DVDs first came out. Will they work in my DVD player? Will they work in my DVD-ROM drive? Why should I buy a movie on Blu-ray when I already own it on VHS and DVD?? Do I need a new TV to even consider Blu-ray? All of these questions were being asked while a full-on format war was further confusing the issue. Blu-ray or HD-DVD? What if I buy one and it disappears like BetaMax? OH NOOOOOES!

DOOMED!!!

Cut to today. Most people understand what they need to fully enjoy the latest, fanciest movie experience. The problem now is getting people to buy. Manufacturers and movie studios are trying all kinds of marketing voodoo to convince us all that they’re our benefactors, generously bestowing upon us mind-blowingly crisp entertainment for very little gain. PFFT.

The latest “we’re going to sell you something you already own… again” offering is Blu-ray 3D. I was all over this. Being the techno-freak that I am, I once more find myself on the forefront of technological headaches. “Bring on the 3Dz”, said I. “Sounds amazing”, you say? You win a prize if you’ve been following along and predicted this:

  • Overpriced hardware
  • Overpriced content
  • Not enough content
It’s like I’m THERE!

It’s the newest ploy that’s been cooked up that has me irritated. You know how you can run down to the nearest store/bodega/guy-selling-out-of-his-van and buy a single DVD of Hollywood’s newest blockbuster? Well, with Blu-ray it doesn’t work like that these days. Sure, they’ll still sell you single a DVD, but if you want the Blu-ray version (or God help you the Blu-ray 3D version) that’s usually not an option for you.

Say what? Yeah, if you’re an early adopter that means you’ve probably already shoveled tons of cash into a new TV, Blu-ray player, and sound system. The reward? Paying a LOT for your movies. I wouldn’t feel so insulted if the movie studios didn’t make it so obvious that they were abusing me. It’s rare to find the new movie that I’m purchasing in a “just Blu-ray” option. If you look carefully you’ll see that most movies these days come as a standard DVD, or a Blu-ray/DVD/Digital Copy set.

I only want the Blu-ray (or Blu-ray 3D), but I have to spend more money because I have to buy the mega-pack that includes every video format known to man (Tron: Legacy comes on dead-sea scrolls I believe…) instead of the ONE I want. Meanwhile Mr. “I-don’t-haz-or-want-any-of-teh-bloo-rayz”  buys only the DVD and spends way less. From this perspective, the people who don’t have Blu-ray players aren’t being given an incentive to upgrade what they have, instead they’re being monetarily rewarded with less expensive movies. The people supporting the new technologies are being punished by having to pay a premium NOT for the new format, but because they have to pay for 23 copies of the same movie instead of one. Please, stop the madness. When I buy a Blu-ray 3D version of a movie I already own on Blu-ray (and maybe even DVD and VHS TOO!), I don’t also want to have an extra Blu-ray and DVD in the box to remind me that I’m being forced to re-buy products I already purchased last year.

I’ve waited for so long!!

The moral of the story (for the movie studios) is: If you bring down the price of new media and make sure there’s a lot of content, we’ll be more likely to adopt it more quickly. Stop trying to nickel-and-dime your customers.

One final thought; This same pattern is happening again with streaming media. Keep your eyes peeled and watch it unfold.

I said good day!

-LeRoy3rd

 

If you have any tech questions, drop me a note using the “About/Contact” link and I’ll do my best to get you an answer.

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2 Comments

  1. Tengu

     /  2011/04/04

    I agree with the majority of what you said. The only thing I do enjoy is getting the digital download copy so that I can carry it around on my Ipod Touch for my kid to watch while on the road, in a restaurant with slow service, etc. For now, my friends/family that don’t have blu-ray are getting the DVD version of my movies.

    • LeRoy3rd

       /  2011/04/04

      I can see that being useful, but for someone without any Apple products (am I the ONLY one?), and who refuses to download iTunes, it’s just more bloat. :-(

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