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Why Are Japanese DVDs so Expensive?


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23 replies to this topic

#1 of 24 alan halvorson

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Posted September 07 2003 - 01:04 PM

Title says it all - why are Japanese DVDs so blasted expensive? Is there any site (that can be displayed in English) that is cheaper than the rest?

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#2 of 24 Peter Kim

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Posted September 07 2003 - 02:43 PM

Try DVDAsian.com. I've had excellent service from them in all my experience. They carry Japanese dvd's, but the 'koreanized' versions. In many cases, they'll list two versions of the same dvd - one 'koreanized' (often R0/NTSC) and the other, native Japanese format (R2/PAl).

Cursory inspection of specs seem to reveal that the korean version is of higher quality. So I've ordered the korean version of japanese films...especially when there is a 3:1 price differential.

But you're right...perhaps an outgrowth of their hyperexpensive prices across the board. My wife said you should see the prices of cd's.
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#3 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 07 2003 - 04:29 PM

CDs run about $25 US

It's because when the prices on CD and home video were set, the yen was at or over 200 yen to the dollar. Nowadays the exchange rate floats around 120, so while the homeland prices haven't changed, our prices sure have.

You aren't going to find big markdowns, the best place for that is Amazon.co.jp which will have some preorder discounts on major titles. You can checkout in english on there.

#4 of 24 Roger Mathus

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Posted September 08 2003 - 09:08 AM

I have lived in Korea and Japan for the past 24 years and returned to the USA last December. I was in Japan from 1990 until the end of last year.

Yes, Japanese DVDs are expensive. (except for Warner). Disney is the most expensive for new releases at 4700 yen with Universal and Sony at 3800 yen when I last checked.

Japanese movies are generally 4700 yen or higher. I agree with the earlier post that Korean DVDs are generally of high quality. In fact, one of the larger import stores in Tokyo stocks many Korean releases.

The site DVDASIAN (Omni Video) carries Korean titles and some Japanese titles.

http://www.dvdasian.com

This is a California web store that offers excellent service. Some titles have fairly good discounts. I have found that Amazon Japan also provides good service but discounts seem restricted to pre-order and new releases.

There have been a recent number of releases of Korean SpEds of USA movies and there are some USA movies released in Japan and Korea with dts where the Region 1 release does not.

#5 of 24 Jeff Jacobson

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Posted September 08 2003 - 10:09 AM

Quote:
In many cases, they'll list two versions of the same dvd - one 'koreanized' (often R0/NTSC) and the other, native Japanese format (R2/PAl).


Every Japanese DVD I have seen is NTSC, not PAL.

#6 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 08 2003 - 11:00 AM

Japan is NTSC, the rest of Asia uses PAL for TV broadcast, but with the exception of mainland China (and even there a lot) seem to be on NTSC DVD

Quote:
There have been a recent number of releases of Korean SpEds of USA movies and there are some USA movies released in Japan and Korea with dts where the Region 1 release does not.


Most of those "DTS" versions are simple re-encodes of the DD track

#7 of 24 CraigL

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Posted September 08 2003 - 11:09 AM

Quote:
Most of those "DTS" versions are simple re-encodes of the DD track


This was brought up over at DVDtalk but i still don't understand it. How can one tell the difference? How do you know if it's a legitimate DTS track?

#8 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 08 2003 - 11:52 AM

Quote:
This was brought up over at DVDtalk but i still don't understand it. How can one tell the difference? How do you know if it's a legitimate DTS track?


A good rule of thumb would be whether or not it's being distributed by its company of origin. If it is, then there's a decent chance. DTS is very popular in Asia, which is why you see all the bootlegs with DTS on them on Ebay. Frankly any Asian country other than Japan it's quite likely just to be a re-encode, and therefore pretty much WORSE quality (DD to analog to digital to DTS) than the DD track

The only real way to tell is to contact the company that made it

#9 of 24 CraigL

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Posted September 08 2003 - 01:33 PM

I have several and would just like to know. It doesn't seem like any of them would be legit as I think all are from Korea. Would this be the case?


And also...why would the company ADMIT to re-encoding?

#10 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 08 2003 - 03:34 PM

You asked Posted Image I'm not 100% sure how to go about it to be honest, especially from this far away with the language barrier. Honestly, if you're talking Japan originated movies, most of those do not have theatrical DTS tracks since there are very few theaters equipped for DTS, even 5.1 is relatively new. IF they're Korean discs, I'd say they're almost definately re-encodes.

#11 of 24 CraigL

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Posted September 09 2003 - 02:24 AM

Quote:
Honestly, if you're talking Japan originated movies, most of those do not have theatrical DTS tracks since there are very few theaters equipped for DTS, even 5.1 is relatively new.


Nope, i was completely talking about American movies. Posted Image

Quote:
IF they're Korean discs, I'd say they're almost definately re-encodes.


This sucks. Posted Image How can they get away with this? Doesn't it have to be supported by DTS or otherwise a bootleg?

#12 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 09 2003 - 03:07 AM

Quote:
This sucks. How can they get away with this? Doesn't it have to be supported by DTS or otherwise a bootleg?


No, anyone can buy a DTS encoder. It used to be that DTS had to do all the encoding

#13 of 24 Roger Mathus

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Posted September 09 2003 - 03:09 AM

To set the recort straight both Japan and Korea are NTSC.

Regarding the DTS issue, the only titles I have seen out of Japan and Korea are releases by the studio with the rights in the country. The Korean DVD releases have been consistently very well engineered for the past three years as far as I can determine. Early DTS releases in Japan were all at full bit rate. Currently I am not sure. On another thread there is discussion about the new Japan Superbit release of Jurassic Park as to whether it is full bit rate. I have this DVD and will check it out. As Sony has the DVD distribution in Japan for Universal, it appears that they have decided to use the
Superbit treatment. Gladator has also been released in Superbit with DTS in Japan. I also have that disc.

#14 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 09 2003 - 03:14 AM

Roger, you've left Japan I see? I'll agree that the Korean discs I've seen I've been very impressed with.

#15 of 24 Peter Kim

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Posted September 09 2003 - 04:01 AM

Roger Mathus is correct (Given he lived in Japan & Korea for a dozen years each, and I only a couple, I'd say he's the original otaku Posted Image - Roger...hope this word has taken on a cool status and not the negative connotation that once stigmatized it...if not, didn't mean to offend). And I was referring to Japanese movies, movies produced in Japan.

I just purchased All About Lily Chou-Chou and Love Letter from DVDAsian.com. Love Letter is an example of what I was talking about - a Japan-made movie that has a 'koreanized' version. One costs $19.95, the other $49.95.

I've received my orders via USPS Priority w/Signature - they arrive quickly and well packaged. I'm very happy with the picture/sound quality of both.
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#16 of 24 CraigL

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Posted September 09 2003 - 07:34 AM

Well...i'm gonna throw this out there since we're discussing it. I've purchased the following movies because of their DTS track. I'm curious to know if they're just re-encoded..

Evita
K-19
Insomnia
Silence of the Lambs

Hmm...that's what i can think of right now.

#17 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 09 2003 - 09:14 AM

What company names are on them? Is it the US studio or a local distributor?

#18 of 24 CraigL

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Posted September 09 2003 - 11:34 AM

I've never seen a US company distribute a movie overseas...besides Superbit maybe.

Oh I have Crimson Tide and Ransom. I think both of those are Touchtone.

#19 of 24 Jeff Kleist

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Posted September 09 2003 - 11:53 AM

Sure they do. It's the movies that they have under distribution deals (example, T3 is under Warner in the US, Columbia everywhere else) that sometimes really go local. Titanic is Paramount in the US, Fox everywhere else.

#20 of 24 Roger Mathus

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Posted September 10 2003 - 05:30 AM

Generally the USA movies are released with the studio name that has the rights in a given country. Another example is that Sony releases Dreamworks and Universal title DVDs in Japan. In some cases, the rights are on contract to a local distributor. In these cases, the DVD bears the name of both the local distributor and the original studio. And as Jeff points out, it is not always the same studio as the USA release in other countries. I find it very interesting that Sony is using the Superbit trademark on other studio titles that they distribute in Japan.


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