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Technologies that don't know they're dead: DVDs

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Technologies that don't know they're dead: DVDs

Old 07-29-08, 07:18 PM
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Technologies that don't know they're dead: DVDs

It's mostly supposed to be funny, but they make some good points:

After ten years we're finally seeing dropping dvd sales. Considering movies can already be downloaded onto set-top boxes on a pay-per-view basis, and can be downloaded over the internet on a pay-nothing-per-view basis, it's a wonder it took this long. Any economists reading may recognize that combination of risk factors and symptoms the same way doctors recognize coughing, shortness of breath and a constellation of funny-shapes on a chest X-ray.

Companies like Sony would like to think the dip is due to people getting all excited about Bluray, but while Bluray sales have inched along, movie downloads have doubled.

Meanwhile Netflix has made a deal with Microsoft so that anyone who owns an XBox 360 can get a subscription to download Netflix movies, physical media be damned.

Why are they still around?
Box sets of TV shows have inexplicably injected huge profits into DVD over the last few years. Even though the shows are free to watch in rerun form and, if you're not happy with that, rips are available four nanoseconds before a show finishes airing. But loyal fans hold out for the official box set. If you're new to this human thing called "capitalism", corporations interpret "loyalty" the way a prisoner might interpret "dropping the soap".

For example, The Sopranos box set planned for later this year will cost four hundred dollars. This officially makes the studio better at criminal extortion than the characters on the DVDs. Unless they include a special "real ending" as an extra, we're guessing it won't be worth it.

The big question at this point is if Bluray ever takes off, since it's offering something that can't be downloaded (or not easily anyway--an HD movie takes an entire day to download on most connections). So until our internet connections improve, sellers of movies on disc will have to depend on the market segment willing to pay to see every speck of dust on Batman's suit.
Of course, this doesn't take into account all of us OCD weirdos who like to have collections.
Old 07-29-08, 07:27 PM
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Bull. Currently having on dial-up internet, I can see myself trying to download a movie.

I'll keep my DVDs as long as possible.
Old 07-29-08, 07:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Flicker
Bull. Currently having on dial-up internet, I can see myself trying to download a movie.

I'll keep my DVDs as long as possible.
Not to mention, you only download the movie, right? You don't get the commentary track, special features, etc?
Old 07-29-08, 07:32 PM
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I feel the same way about downloading film/tv media as I do about music media - it's not something I would ever PAY money for. The many reasons include:

1) Unless Internet connections to the home improve by orders of magnitude, I'll never be able to get the quality off a download as I can from DVD or Hi-Def media.
2) Compatibility and DRM. Most media distribution companies are going to make sure that I can't use my downloaded media when and where I want. My tvpc runs linux with mythtv and running any new media there would require someone who knows how to program for it and probably reverse engineer a DRM scam.
3) I want to buy what I love, not rent. I rent what I want to check out that I'm unsure of, but I want to OWN what I know I love and want to keep. The video downloads are a scam to prevent me from truly owning my media - it's not bad for the rental market, but stinks for the 'to-buy' crowd.
4) OCD collections: I've FINALLY found the DVD shelves for my tiny condo that can contain my thousand plus dvd collection and I'm loving it. I can finally satisfy my leanings to organize, organize, organize. Now I just need to find some friends to invite in for a good movie. A row of hard drives or burned DVD-Rs just doesn't have the same impact

I think (nay, I hope) that DVD is far from dead. I'm still on the fence about whether Hi-Def will replace DVD in the years to come, but I definitely don't want Internet downloads to completely replace hard media. I think it'll become a competitive force in rental markets and for people who are less caring about the quality of their media, who don't care about extras, commentaries, etc...but I don't think it'll replace DVDs completely - much the same way that CD sales are down but not out.

Michael
Old 07-29-08, 07:37 PM
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I guess the fact that people have been collecting for ten years now has nothing to do with sales leveling off.

I used to be an avid collector, buying several titles a week and more during big sales. The simple fact is, I have most of what I want right now, and I'm down to picking up an odd title a time or two each month.

No big mystery.
Old 07-29-08, 07:43 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
I guess the fact that people have been collecting for ten years now has nothing to do with sales leveling off.

I used to be an avid collector, buying several titles a week and more during big sales. The simple fact is, I have most of what I want right now, and I'm down to picking up an odd title a time or two each month.

No big mystery.

Same here. Money's a little tighter with a new addition to the house anyways, and there's just not a whole lot more I need. Hell, I still don't have the main reason I got into DVD in the first place: (anamorphic) DVDs of the original edition Star Wars trilogy.

I have no intention of going to download only. Even with a decent DSL connection in the house, we still find it easier to stop by a Redbox for rentals.
Old 07-29-08, 07:45 PM
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Read that whole Cracked article and its really good. I think the old farts like myself that want to own physical media will keep DVD alive, but I think downloads will grow especially in the rental area.
Old 07-29-08, 08:14 PM
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Old 07-29-08, 09:35 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
I guess the fact that people have been collecting for ten years now has nothing to do with sales leveling off.
Bingo!

Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
I used to be an avid collector, buying several titles a week and more during big sales. The simple fact is, I have most of what I want right now, and I'm down to picking up an odd title a time or two each month.
I'll second that... with some caveats. I was never one to buy a lot of titles at once, but over time I have acquired most of the films I ever wanted.

Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
No big mystery.
Especially since this is nothing new in economics.

It is doubtful there is any industry or market, regardless of what is being sold, that does not reach a plateau. Sooner or later every market matures, and becomes saturated or reaches a point where growth cannot continue at past geometric rates.

Which is not to say that profits are no longer possible, just that they will significantly decline until commodity economics causes them to plateau at the lowest level that can still sustain a business/industry.

To the entertainment industry... welcome to the real world.
Old 07-29-08, 10:23 PM
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I wonder if the decline in sales is why it seems so many older shows have gotten abandoned on DVD compared to 2-3 years ago when there were good releases on a weekly basis
Old 07-29-08, 10:49 PM
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Oh yeah - the lack of top-tier titles getting releases these day, and the fact that everyone's bought most of what they want, as opposed to 4-5 years ago, is a HUGE reason why sales are slipping. But this doesn't make the article any less accurate.
Old 07-30-08, 08:46 AM
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Leaving behind physical media is inevitable, but nowhere near as close as the author of that article seems to think. My guess is the overlap between DVD buyers and avid downloaders is fairly small. That seems couterintuitive since both involve technology, but DVDs are long past early-adopter status and movie downloading is only now peeking over the very edge of the mainstream plateau. I think the increase in downloading is mostly unrelated to the slowdown in DVD sales and represents a newer generation adopting a new way of watching TV/movies. Those of us who collect DVDs will continue to do so for quite some time to come. We still haven't trained the industry to stop putting out fullscreen pan-and-scans, so we're far from the end of the DVD era.
Old 07-30-08, 09:11 AM
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Originally Posted by meshershark
Leaving behind physical media is inevitable, but nowhere near as close as the author of that article seems to think. My guess is the overlap between DVD buyers and avid downloaders is fairly small. That seems couterintuitive since both involve technology, but DVDs are long past early-adopter status and movie downloading is only now peeking over the very edge of the mainstream plateau. I think the increase in downloading is mostly unrelated to the slowdown in DVD sales and represents a newer generation adopting a new way of watching TV/movies. Those of us who collect DVDs will continue to do so for quite some time to come. We still haven't trained the industry to stop putting out fullscreen pan-and-scans, so we're far from the end of the DVD era.
I personally feel that if they want all of us to start downloading, speeds of the internet would need to increase, prices would need to go down, DRM would need to go and the quality has to be top notch. If the industry lack one of those (sans the internet speed, which they can't control), people are not going to be interested. And I also agree we are still a ways off.
Old 07-30-08, 09:35 AM
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I would never download something and watch it on the internet unless its episodes of Late Night W/ conan O Brian or Ebert and Roeper. I dont know how people can watch movies on their computer.
Old 07-30-08, 09:57 AM
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Originally Posted by meshershark
Leaving behind physical media is inevitable, but nowhere near as close as the author of that article seems to think. My guess is the overlap between DVD buyers and avid downloaders is fairly small. That seems couterintuitive since both involve technology, but DVDs are long past early-adopter status and movie downloading is only now peeking over the very edge of the mainstream plateau. I think the increase in downloading is mostly unrelated to the slowdown in DVD sales and represents a newer generation adopting a new way of watching TV/movies. Those of us who collect DVDs will continue to do so for quite some time to come. We still haven't trained the industry to stop putting out fullscreen pan-and-scans, so we're far from the end of the DVD era.
I do not believe that "leaving behind physical media" is inevitable. Unless property owners and their representatives stop acting stupid and loosen things up, there will always be a need for physical media. There's no indication that the studios and such will cease their ways.

People are more mobile. We want access to our media in numerous ways... on our phone, portable player, home system, PC, etc. People are NOT going to pay multiple times for the same content.

I only bought a dozen or so titles on Blu-ray because I wanted to experience hidef on my PS3 and HDTV. But I will not make a habit of buying Blu-ray because I can only watch those titles in one place... my living room. With DVD, I can watch the content on my PC, my smartphone, my Zune, my PSP, my iPod, and any other device I have capable of playing video.

Why would I want to be locked in to medialess downloads? Especially when download purchases are the same (or more expensive) than physical media.
Old 07-30-08, 10:52 AM
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I don't like watching movies on my computer or ipod, so I can safely say I will never download a single film. I know I'm not alone and that's the reason why DVD will be around for a long time. I like owning physical media that I control, not Apple, Netflix or my computer should it decide to take a shit.
Old 07-30-08, 11:45 AM
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I find the point about Netflix and 360 funny. Isn't that just going to let users view the INSTANT WATCH titles?
Old 07-30-08, 12:48 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
I guess the fact that people have been collecting for ten years now has nothing to do with sales leveling off.
Yes, but the people who have been collecting for 10 years aren't the entire market. If the younger generation decides they would rather download and there isn't any fresh blood coming in, then it is a dying technology.

Last edited by majorjoe23; 07-30-08 at 01:05 PM.
Old 07-30-08, 12:51 PM
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Originally Posted by chris_sc77
I dont know how people can watch movies on their computer.
My computer is hooked up to my projector and audio system. I get 125" of HD in 6.1 surround sound. Yeah, it's a drag.

TV and PC will be one machine in the homes of the not-too-distant future.
Old 07-30-08, 01:18 PM
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My TV and PC have been a 2-way street since 1999. Able to watch downloads on the TV, able to watch any TV stuff on the desktop. If they're in the same room I could never see being satisfied any other way. And I'm so un-techforward I'm still only vaguely considering HDTV.

I don't rent anymore, and won't watch ads under any circumstances. As with music, I download or free-stream unseen films or TV, and now only buy what I already know I want.
Old 07-30-08, 01:49 PM
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A decline in the purchase of luxury products during a time when the economy isn't doing great?

Shocking.
Old 07-30-08, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by BuckNaked2k
I guess the fact that people have been collecting for ten years now has nothing to do with sales leveling off.
Bingo.

I can't speak for younger generations, but at 24 years old - I've been collecting DVDs since 1999, and I've pretty much got everything I want. The only thing I have to look forward to is new releases (for the most part). I think I've been somewhat lured into checking out blu-ray simply because it's something new and shiny.

I feel that's a mistake on my part, and I'm resisting that urge - since DVD continues to look very good to my eyes (better, indeed, on my HD set than it ever did on my old CRT).

I used to buy stuff every week. Now I don't have anything on the horizon till September (L.A. Confidential SE & Godfather Remastered).
Old 07-30-08, 02:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Numanoid
My computer is hooked up to my projector and audio system. I get 125" of HD in 6.1 surround sound. Yeah, it's a drag.

TV and PC will be one machine in the homes of the not-too-distant future.
I think that people who say this aren't taking the user experience into account. Yes, you can connect a PC to a television, but that doesn't mean that doing "PC things" will be comfortable in the usual living room environment. You can't easily use a keyboard or mouse on a couch, and unless you have a projector (which is never going to go mainstream), the text can be hard to read from a typical seating distance, at least at a font size that allows enough information to be on the screen at once. There is no way that I'm going to use the PS3's web browser unless my computer just breaks down. So, I still think there will be a place for a computer on a desk or table, separate from the living room media display.

As for the article, it's another ho hum "don't you want downloads, silly?" piece that tries to prematurely say that physical media is dead, perhaps so that if it does happen, they can say they were right after all.

As usual, those who want the movies to look like actual films instead of compressed video crap are dismissed as obsessives who care about "seeing every speck of dust on Batman's suit."
Old 07-30-08, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Mister Peepers
A decline in the purchase of luxury products during a time when the economy isn't doing great?

Shocking.
This.
Old 07-30-08, 04:58 PM
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Aragorn84...

"Younger generations"? I'm almost twice as old as you!
But you've got a point as far as being on the right side of the Gaussian curve. I really have purchased the bulk of my collection already - Blu-rays, Criterions, and TV shows are my major purchases nowadays, but even those have trickled off.

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