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When did DVD companies start ripping off the consumer and what were those 1st DVDs? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum
 
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View Full Version : When did DVD companies start ripping off the consumer and what were those 1st DVDs?


toddly6666
10-22-09, 01:08 PM
Does anybody remember the year when DVD companies started to rip off the consumer? And what DVDs were those?


- Extras that spread across two disks that could traditionally fit on one DVD (i.e., G.I. Joe)
- DVD companies that removed their usual DTS audio (i.e., Universal)
- Extras getting held back so that they would be added to future editions
- video was not remastered to perfection so that DVD companies could release versions with progressively better video quality

Wasn't there a time period when a DVD was reasonably priced ($20), had tons of extras, had great video off the bat, and had many audio options?

gglass4269
10-22-09, 01:37 PM
Wasn't there a time period when a DVD was reasonably priced ($20), had tons of extras, had great video off the bat, and had many audio options?


I remember that time.... =) lol like it was 50 years ago or something. I think the biggest "rip off" nowadays is the farce that is the digital copy. Id like to find out the actual % of people who buy the dvd, then use the digital copy.... Probably less then 10%

brayzie
10-22-09, 01:47 PM
I was tempted to buy a dvd with a "digital copy" of The Dark Knight. My computer didn't have internet and my disk drive could read cd/dvds but skipped when playing them. So I thought, "hmmm, maybe I'll buy this for the digital copy and download it to my computer and THEN watch!"

But you need the internet to get the digital copy. If I had internet back then I could just watch a movie or show on Hulu or FOX.

I have no interest in digital copies and I won't buy a bare bones only dvd. What was the point of upgrading from VHS if I'm just getting the movie only?

Disc-Flipper
10-22-09, 01:54 PM
I remember The Crow 2-disc and The Others 2-disc in those fatty cases having a disc of pale extras which could probably have been squeezed into the first disc. I was dismayed at the bonus 4th disc in the Scream boxset. My first digital copy was in the Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix release.

Gizmo
10-22-09, 01:56 PM
When did DVD come out?

mdnitoil
10-22-09, 01:57 PM
I was tempted to buy a dvd with a "digital copy" of The Dark Knight. My computer didn't have internet and my disk drive could read cd/dvds but skipped when playing them. So I thought, "hmmm, maybe I'll buy this for the digital copy and download it to my computer and THEN watch!"

But you need the internet to get the digital copy. If I had internet back then I could just watch a movie or show on Hulu or FOX.

I have no interest in digital copies and I won't buy a bare bones only dvd. What was the point of upgrading from VHS if I'm just getting the movie only?

Significantly better picture and audio without the media decay inherent in tape?

Back on topic. Not sure when the slide began but it certainly became blatant once digital copies became a chargable extra. And no, I don't have any use for them either. Ironically, if I already own the disc I can make my own digital copy pretty damn easily. Some feature.

Eddie W
10-22-09, 02:29 PM
If I remember correctly, Armageddon (Criterion) was one of the 1st 2 disc sets & had a pretty flimsy 2nd disc.

It was pretty early on that studios realized that bullet points on the back of the box increased the perceived value of the disc & sold more copies.

I don't think any of these examples constitute a rip off though. All they really have to include is the movie and a DD soundtrack. I'm always surprised how 'extras' quickly became a requirement.

milo bloom
10-22-09, 02:57 PM
Ironically, if I already own the disc I can make my own digital copy pretty damn easily. Some feature.


No you can't.

A. I've tried, it's not that easy.

B. It's damned illegal.


The people that digital copies are aimed at do not know how to "easily" make their own from the DVD. I do agree that it's a bit of a farce that they sell it as an extra, but if they were to start including instructions on how to rip your DVD to a digital device "just this once", folks would figure out how to do it with every disc.

orangerunner
10-22-09, 03:06 PM
I don't think we were ripped off in the early days of DVD.

In the first few years the technology was still progressing. We didn't have anamorphic transfers or dual-layer discs which allowed for the extras without having to compress the film and degrading the quality.

The early transfers were rather grainy but still on par with the Laserdisc at the time.

I think the constant reissues of movies like T2 and Army of Darkness left a bad taste.

Re-issues of films that were originally filmed using 2 channel mono audio, then redone with 5.1 surround.

As of late it's certainly digital copies, bare-bones-only releases or a loaded version that is the same price as the Blu-ray.

Numanoid
10-22-09, 04:31 PM
One man's rip-off is another man's savvy marketing.

biglou114
10-22-09, 04:46 PM
For me the glory days were 2003-2005, at that time it seemed that all DVDs were 2 Disc standard at, what is now, a one disc price. The instant I started feeling that I was being cheated was when the companies stop issuing chapter index pages. I also feel that in the beginning Commentaries were pretty standard on releases, and they suddenly stopped being so; I still consider it to the basic feature that all DVDs should have.

milo bloom
10-22-09, 05:07 PM
I don't think we were ripped off in the early days of DVD.

In the first few years the technology was still progressing. We didn't have anamorphic transfers or dual-layer discs which allowed for the extras without having to compress the film and degrading the quality.


I have to say something here, anamorphic transfers were certainly available as some of the first DVDs had them. The problem was they weren't required in the spec (they should been obligated for anything wider than 1.66:1), so studios either went on the cheap re-using old laserdisc transfers, thinking no one would really care, or they knew the widescreen HD revolution would come and they would be able to cash in down the road with 16x9 re-issues.

And the dual-layer technology was also in the spec, but this actually had problems on the physical manufacturing side at first. They knew how to, and could do 16x9 from day one.


I should also add something to refute this whole topic a bit, we're now getting to a point where big boxsets with tons of features are available, TV show season sets are cheap and plentiful, studios are getting into some of the obscure stuff a little more. There's positives and negatives, but something like the massive availability of cheap anime is a good one for me and the missus.

Gizmo
10-22-09, 05:46 PM
I don't think we were ripped off in the early days of DVD.

How many DVDs came out where the LaserDiscs had more features?

orangerunner
10-22-09, 06:08 PM
How many DVDs came out where the LaserDiscs had more features?

Most of the run-of-the-mill CLV $34.95 Laser disc releases didn't have much more than the trailer with, maybe, an audio commentary.

Most of the Laser Discs with the many extras were $69.95 and up.

Again, compression was an issue with the early DVDs as to how much info you could fit on there. Double-discs would have been too expensive at the time as they wanted to keep them around the $29.95 price point.

As it became much cheaper to replicate double discs, dual-layer and flippers, we saw more content in the package.

Gizmo
10-22-09, 06:38 PM
But studios still double-dipped us later on when those LD features were able to be put on the DVD. Space is the likely reason, but still a double-dip none the less.

Leechboy
10-22-09, 06:40 PM
I remember back in the old days every dvd had "Interactive Menus!" listed on the case. Are there any other kind of menus?

Regulus
10-22-09, 08:07 PM
Here's a little "Dirty Trick" I saw on two occaisions.

Putting a "Collectable" in the DVD Case with the disk!

I saw it done with Volume 3 of Speed Racer(A Die-Cast Miniature of Speed's Mach 5 Race Car), and with the Disney/Pixar Movie Cars (Die-Cast Miniatures of Lightning McQueen and three other Charactures from the Movie).

Any Collector worth their salt knows a Collectable retains its value if it is left in the package unopened. Therefore, if you were a collector and wanted to see the Programming, you had to buy TWO of them, one to watch and the other to put away. Naturally, the Studio makes more MONEY by doing this!:lol:

WMAangel
10-22-09, 08:14 PM
When did DVD come out?

:lol:
My thoughts exactly.....and 1997 is the correct answer to this question....

yoshimi
10-22-09, 08:43 PM
One that pops into my mind is $150 for a season of The X-files on dvd. Although there wasn't some government mandate that you had to buy them.

cinemaphile
10-22-09, 09:00 PM
I remember back in the old days every dvd had "Interactive Menus!" listed on the case. Are there any other kind of menus?

Hell, in the early days, they listed "scene selection" as a special feature

cbearnm
10-22-09, 10:05 PM
OR

you could wait 2 - 4 months and pick up most any DVD at a lower price, typically under $10. Of course, by then, the Special Edition is slated for release. And a couple months later, the Ultimate Edition is sure to follow.

Considering how quickly films come out on DVD (compared to VHS) even with this delay, you would still be getting the movie fairly quickly. I remember the days when a new release VHS tape was 12-18 months after the theatrical release and if you shopped around could even get them under $100.

We have really become spoiled with the 'instant' gratification. But then, there was a time that movies would play in a theater for more than 3 weeks. Now, we have to catch it in the first couple of weeks or else we 'suffer' for 3 or 4 months for the DVD.

I know I'll pick up Inglourious Basterds when it's released, then gripe when the special editions are announced. But in general, I have conditioned myself to wait for new releases. With the backlog of unwatched movies that I have to work through, it's become pretty easy to do.

UAIOE
10-23-09, 02:16 AM
I'd probably have to say at some point within th past few years. Prices have gone up and special features have been reduced.

Now I have to deal with the indignity of paying for a "digital copy", which is pretty much just a shiny drink coaster to me, just so I can get extras I might actually want.



And I'd say the "good old days" were circa 1999-2005.

brayzie
10-23-09, 02:19 AM
VHS tapes were once $100!?

I don't mind waiting at all for the DVD. To me when I see, say THE SPIRIT on dvd, I'm thinking, "damn, already?"

Didn't Mel Gibson say he wasn't going to do a Special Edition for a movie about Jesus?

Silverscreenvid
10-23-09, 04:50 AM
Does anybody remember the year when DVD companies started to rip off the consumer? And what DVDs were those?


-- Extras getting held back so that they would be added to future editions

Wasn't there a time period when a DVD was reasonably priced ($20), had tons of extras, had great video off the bat, and had many audio options?


It takes time and money to produce documentaries, featurettes, and commentaries. Unless the demand is there, it makes no sense for anyone to cut into their profit needlessly to produce "special editions" of ordinary movies that have little appeal.

jjcool
10-23-09, 09:43 AM
I'd probably have to say at some point within th past few years. Prices have gone up and special features have been reduced.

Now I have to deal with the indignity of paying for a "digital copy", which is pretty much just a shiny drink coaster to me, just so I can get extras I might actually want.



And I'd say the "good old days" were circa 1999-2005.

Agreed on all points. It seems that dvd prices were high, then dropped, and now they are creepign up again. Discs that were getting tons of features and were reasonably priced are now featureless and more expensive.

The digital copies are indded useless. But if people will pay for something that one can easily do on any disc on their own, what can we do. They are uselss to me, but sometiems one has to put up with them.

milo bloom
10-23-09, 11:11 AM
It takes time and money to produce documentaries, featurettes, and commentaries. Unless the demand is there, it makes no sense for anyone to cut into their profit needlessly to produce "special editions" of ordinary movies that have little appeal.

A lot of the comments are about previously produced features from LD or even VHS (where's From Star Wars to Jedi, from the old blue/hologram box of the Star Wars trilogy? A very nice 65 minute making of the original trilogy that hasn't seen the light of day on DVD).



The digital copies are indded useless. But if people will pay for something that one can easily do on any disc on their own, what can we do. .

People keep saying this like it's easy as ripping a CD into iTunes, and believe me it's not. I have no intention of "stealing" DVDs, but I'd pay good money for the ability to legally and easily rip my DVDs into iTunes or some-such.

Plus, it's illegal.

bsmith
10-23-09, 11:32 AM
People keep saying this like it's easy as ripping a CD into iTunes, and believe me it's not. I have no intention of "stealing" DVDs, but I'd pay good money for the ability to legally and easily rip my DVDs into iTunes or some-such.

Plus, it's illegal.

I'm sure most of these people are talking about ripping DVD's using non-legal means, and believe me it is easy to do (at least for those saying it).

Personally, I don't think making copies of DVD's one already owns for convenience sake is really a big deal. Some do it to put on a server. Others because they want to remove the menus and advertisements to simplify playback for kids, or to protect them from kid abuse. While yet still not legal it is far from abusing the system. Especially, if one would never purchase multiple copies anyway.

UAIOE
10-23-09, 01:17 PM
People keep saying this like it's easy as ripping a CD into iTunes, and believe me it's not. I have no intention of "stealing" DVDs, but I'd pay good money for the ability to legally and easily rip my DVDs into iTunes or some-such.

Plus, it's illegal.

I'm not going to dive into the legality of copying a DVD one owns or not.

My issue is really with having to pay for the digital copy (actually, the disc itself) when I have zero use for the thing.

RKillgore
10-23-09, 04:43 PM
Does anybody remember the year when DVD companies started to rip off the consumer? And what DVDs were those?


- Extras that spread across two disks that could traditionally fit on one DVD (i.e., G.I. Joe)
- DVD companies that removed their usual DTS audio (i.e., Universal)
- Extras getting held back so that they would be added to future editions
- video was not remastered to perfection so that DVD companies could release versions with progressively better video quality

Wasn't there a time period when a DVD was reasonably priced ($20), had tons of extras, had great video off the bat, and had many audio options?

Other rip-offs:
- Releasing widescreen presentations in fullscreen only
- Music replacement
- Syndicated cuts for TV series

Lutz
10-23-09, 05:32 PM
Isn't the whole point of the digital copy to counter illegal digital copies? So the studio can think that they are offering that alternative?

And while I do believe the Lord of the Rings DVDs were sincerely released for the fans and with good intentions from the makers I think they also proved to the studios there was a market that could be gauged in this fashion (though this point in time also marks the approx time of market saturation for popular titles).

Numanoid
10-24-09, 11:21 AM
Hell, in the early days, they listed "scene selection" as a special featureThat would actually be a special feature for some David Lynch movies.

Drexl
10-24-09, 01:11 PM
It was a great set, especially for the time, but I remember thinking the $50 MSRP on A Bug's Life CE in 1999 was high. Granted, it was one of the first two-disc sets. What sucked though, was that you had to buy that if you just wanted the movie with an anamorphic transfer.

wm lopez
10-24-09, 04:12 PM
HALLOWEEN H2O is my all-time rip-off.
The price.

dantes
11-02-09, 08:21 AM
Well back in 98-99, I remember a good old time when all the DVDs had inserts, some of which had really cool essays or director comments. Of course some with 1-2 pages of chapter list and at least the reprint of the DVD cover. It was really good looking compared to the black empty cases.

And with the see-through transparent cases the cover print was always two sided, so when you opened the case, it wasn't the white side of the paper you see but some pictures from the movie or the chapter listing with some artwork. Well it was not that important maybe, but it was looking more crafted, not fabricated.

And I remember the Vista Series. Beautiful. Tombstone, Sixth Sense, Unbreakable really handsome sets. And the 20th Century Fox series Fight Club, Master and Commander Collector's Editions, perfect to me.

Also there was New Line Platinum Series, especially Seven. Seven had a cool packaging with perfect set of extras.

They started the rip-off when WB left the snapper packaging due to consumer request. I believe snappers were more characteristic than any other DVD packaging. But majority of the consumers had a real dislike against those snappers. So when WB started to put every re-issue in an Amaray without inserts the degradation started. It eventually affected the extras of the DVDs, I guess they thought why bother when no one cares about extras or aesthetics. Then the next step: there went DTS and masterwork digital restoration.

Drexl
11-02-09, 11:24 AM
1999-2004 was like the Golden Age of DVD. I want to say it started in 2000 because that was when all the studios went (mostly) to anamorphic transfers and we started seeing a decent number of 2-disc versions, but I may give it to 1999 because many people felt The Matrix was a big deal.

2005 was when most of the big titles had been released, so double-dipping became prominent. 2005 was also the year they started separating the special editions from the single-disc editions, which essentially drove up the prices we had to pay for SEs. Before then, we would get nice SEs for around $15 on release day, but then the single-disc version got the discount and the SE was over $20.

DRG
11-02-09, 11:40 AM
I think one of the biggest ripoffs started once studios started reissuing titles to promote new theatrical releases. It was then we started seeing some of the most pointless double/triple/quadruple dips. A sequel is coming? New version! A remake is coming? New version! These promo re-releases started coming in new packaging that was often a step down in 'class' from the previous edition. Sometimes cool special features from the old release were dropped in favor of some press kit promo junk for the new film. The superior older release goes out of print to make way for the promo cash-in version.

jeffbase34
11-02-09, 12:01 PM
Back when extra features became a big selling point for dvds, studios would count commentaries as part of the number of hours of bonus features. So if a film like Lord of the Rings had 4 commentary tracks, that would equal to 16 hours of bonus features.

I always found that misleading. I think the Alien Quadrilogy set claimed to offer 50 hours in bonus features which I find hard to believe.

JuryDuty
11-02-09, 01:31 PM
Yeah, but in the true "good ol' days" of DVD, none of us paid retail. I got into DVD because I stumbled across this forum and found that all these places online like CDNow and Reel.com were offering DVDs with $15 off $15 coupons--or better. And they were one PER ORDER. So many of us built up early DVD collections in the hundreds at ridiculous prices.

I actually kept a spreadsheet in those days and was averaging $3.48 or something per DVD--shipped--and these were all new, great titles. Of course, nowadays, DVDs aren't so special anymore and if you just wait a few months you can get about anything for that price (especially if you go used). But back then, we sure enjoyed beating the system...

Of course, since we got such good deals, if a new "better edition" came along, we'd all put our old ones on ebay, sell them for 500% profit over what we paid and buy the new ones with the proceeds. So those extras didn't burn us so much. :P

toddly6666
11-02-09, 01:32 PM
Does anyone think that Blu Ray will evolve the same way as DVD? There are already a couple Blu Ray titles that have at least two Blu Ray releases...

WMAangel
11-02-09, 06:44 PM
Does anyone think that Blu Ray will evolve the same way as DVD? There are already a couple Blu Ray titles that have at least two Blu Ray releases...

I don't see any reason why it won't...although I think the overall number of double dips will be lower, as some titles are being released on BD right away with completely definitive editions (mostly catalog titles).....I mean, how could they really improve the Matrix box set, or Close Encounters, or the Godfather trilogy, or the James Bonds (other than recent new release QOS), etc.?

Drexl
11-02-09, 07:07 PM
Oh they'll dip again, all right. We saw SEs that changed the extras, took some away, or just repackaged existing versions. A lot of us didn't think the LOTR EE's could get any better, but that didn't stop them from dipping again on them.

However, the sell-through market will be affected by VOD/streaming in the coming years. That could lead to fewer double dips.

whotony
11-02-09, 07:25 PM
Hell, in the early days, they listed "scene selection" as a special feature

The first release of Flash Gordon didn't have any menu just a chapter list.
That would actually be a special feature for some David Lynch movies.

Did The Straight Story have anything other then "play"

I don't see any reason why it won't...although I think the overall number of double dips will be lower, as some titles are being released on BD right away with completely definitive editions (mostly catalog titles).....I mean, how could they really improve the Matrix box set, or Close Encounters, or the Godfather trilogy, or the James Bonds (other than recent new release QOS), etc.?

They don't have to improve they just have to change something like the cover art or add a blurb about a new movie or include movie money.

tanman
11-03-09, 04:38 AM
I think it started whenever they started releasing both a 1 disc and 2 disc special edition of a new release. Remember when they only used to have the 2 disc edition for the 1 disc price?

That and taking inserts out.

WMAangel
11-03-09, 06:43 PM
They don't have to improve they just have to change something like the cover art or add a blurb about a new movie or include movie money.

Then I guess it all depends on your own definition of double dipping....to me, it is only a double dip if the disc contents are different, be it special features, a new remastered transfer, or a different type of audio track....a change in packaging with the exact same disc inside is something I just consider to be "reissuing", and is never something I would repurchase a title for....

SanityRemoved
11-03-09, 07:12 PM
I'm not sure there was a eureka date but there have been substantial negative happenings in the past few years. Sony decides everyone must pay because of the failings of Betamax(it was the better system, Sony failed in proving it and their inflexibility with the old RCA) and jacks up licensing fees for Blu-ray. Loss of DTS, there is probably some big backstory on this one involving lots of money. I'm sure someone did a survey at some time on inserts and they mostly vanished. Digital Copies, seriously if I wanted to watch movies on a computer(which I don't) why would I waste my time buying a dvd. I know that sounds like I'm supporting piracy but I buy dvds because I believe that I'm getting the best quality and want to view a movie as best I can. Digital copies is the most insane move yet. Movie studios, try having some pride in your product.

Dick
11-04-09, 05:18 PM
OR

We have really become spoiled with the 'instant' gratification. But then, there was a time that movies would play in a theater for more than 3 weeks. Now, we have to catch it in the first couple of weeks or else we 'suffer' for 3 or 4 months for the DVD.

I'm showing my age here, but when I was growing up, movies stayed in theaters only 3 (Sun-Tues) or 4 (Wed-Sat) days, only occasionally "held over" for seven days, and if you didn't catch them then, you either had to hope for a re-issue, Saturday matinee showing, or eventual t.v. broadcast. No video. You were out of luck.

orangerunner
11-04-09, 06:21 PM
I'm showing my age here, but when I was growing up, movies stayed in theaters only 3 (Sun-Tues) or 4 (Wed-Sat) days, only occasionally "held over" for seven days, and if you didn't catch them then, you either had to hope for a re-issue, Saturday matinee showing, or eventual t.v. broadcast. No video. You were out of luck.

My earliest memories of movies in the theatres was the early eighties. I recall movies playing in very few theatres and playing for much longer periods of time.

For instance, in 1981 in Vancouver, Canada, Raiders of the Lost Ark played in two theatres, one screen each, for about a year straight with lines around the block for months.

The movie finally hit video in late 1983, I think.

No film seemed to play in more than three different theatres. Back then, a multi-plex meant it had three screens!

Nowadays the latest Indiana Jones played on 40 screens in Vancouver and was gone in a month and a half.

The Bus
11-05-09, 09:55 AM
Wasn't there a time period when a DVD was reasonably priced ($20), had tons of extras, had great video off the bat, and had many audio options?

I still remember seeing Universal Soldier for $50 at Best Buy.

toddly6666
11-05-09, 10:02 AM
I still remember seeing Universal Soldier for $50 at Best Buy.

Was that the first year of dvds?