Posts Tagged: DVD

Mar 10



If you should encounter a DVD with the word “RENTAL” imprinted on the bottom from either Redbox or Netflix, beware. These special discs have had all the special features gutted. They also contain ten to fifteen minutes of movie trailers which cannot be skipped. So far this only affects titles from Warner Bros.

Now I don’t really care about the special features being removed. I never watch them anyway. I do resent being forced to sit through over ten minutes of previews, however.

So why is Warner Bros. doing this you ask? Because they’re being petty and vindictive. Because of low-cost DVD rental sources like Netflix and Redbox, they’re making less and less money.

Warner Bros recently made deals with both Redbox and Netflix to delay new releases for 28 days. After 28 days Warner Bros. provides Redbox and Netflix with crappy rental copies. This is done in an effort to get more people to actually buy the movie instead of renting it. But in this day and age, it simply isn’t worth buying movies unless you intend to watch them over and over again.

By the way, according to a video on CNET, you can skip the “unskippable” movie trailers on most DVD players by pressing STOP, STOP and then PLAY. Unfortunately, that trick doesn’t work on my PS3.

Jan 10

Teetering on the Brink of Obsolescence


The year was 2000. We had just entered the new millennium and I was the proud owner of a shiny new HP Pavilion computer sporting a 533mhz processor and 64mb of ram. This computer had something extra special though. It had a DVD drive!

I remember combing through the tiny selection of DVDs at Shopko. Eventually I found a copy of U2: Rattle and Hum. This was my first DVD; it was $25.

It was hard to get DVDs at the time. I asked the guy at Family Video if they carried DVDs yet and he quite rudely informed me that “no, we don’t!” The stores had a very poor selection, and since I was only 16, I didn’t have a bank account yet and buying online wasn’t a viable option.

Still, I was the first person in my family to use the DVD format, and at the time it was amazing and incredible. But what few people outside the realm of geekdom realize, is that the DVD format is now teetering on the brink of obsolescence.

Between 2006 and 2008 we had the “high definition optical disc format war.” In this war, HD DVD (principally backed by Toshiba), and Blu-ray Disc (principally backed by Sony) fought it out, while most people just sat back and watched. The movies were expensive, the players were expensive, and most people didn’t want to risk so much money on a format that may not even be around in a few years. Sales for either product were mostly relegated to “gotta have it” early adopters. Eventually Sony won the format war by bribing Fox and Warner Bros. with hundreds of millions of dollars.

Blu-ray is now the sole high definition optical format. As HDTVs penetrate an increasing amount of households, more and more consumers will also want to enjoy their movies in brilliant high definition. Sales of blu-ray players will likely rise in response to that demand. But blu-ray isn’t the future. In fact, the days of the blu-ray format are likely going to be much shorter than Sony and its backers would like.

The real future is HD video on demand delivered over the Internet. 10 years from now, we won’t need to buy or rent a disc at all to watch a movie. Instead we’ll have set top boxes which connect to the Internet (Such a the Roku player), or TV’s which support online movie streaming.

Netflix already supports instant movie streaming to the Roku player, Playstation3, Xbox 360, certain Sony TVs, and various other consumer electronic devices. We’re seeing the first stirrings of a fundamental shift in how we rent and watch movies.

This shift could make “owning” movies completely unnecessary. After all, if we can “rent” any movie we want instantly and have it streamed to our televisions, why would we ever buy a movie? That notion has got to be scaring the movie studios!