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Blu-ray/HD-DVD vs Downloading HD Movies..


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#1 of 38 Damian Howard

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:23 AM

In all the news in the past few days about Paramount going HD-DVD exclusive and dragging this war for another 18 months or so, i'ved heard lots of things that "downloading movies" will be the winner. Or that Hollywood with Hi-Def has a last chance with pre-packaged optical media.

Now i'm not sure about you guys but I for one will not go downloading for several reasons.

- Size of downloads - if downloading is to become serious then they have to be very high quality (around 20+gigs). Now this poses a problem or 2, not only will it take a while to get the file (less for some more for others Posted Image ) but ISP's who have Download caps or Download thottles when a certain amount has been downloaded will be under pressure in terms of reducing costs / there servers being hammered.

- Collectibilty - too me there's nothing like having a Shelf of 2 (or 10) full of DVD's you can peruse at your leisure. Downloading takes this collectibity away and makes it just another "digital" 0/1 on your Hard Drive.

- Cost - Although cost of these would be lower due to no packaging required, less overheads etc - will the hidden costs of Downloading 100's of gigs for a few movies be leveled from your ISP's?

- Quality - Higher compression? To reduce file sizes will higher compression be used? Thereby reduced quality and the whole point of HD?

Anyway if these 2 HD Optical continue to fight it out (if you can call 2 optical discs a "fight") then in my opinion DVD will continue to dominate - downloading HD movies unlike downloading music albums are vastly larger in size. And not sure if it's same in the USA but here in the UK downloading HD movies WILL NOT take off as speeds and the heavy usage caps prevent even more than a few to be downloaded (or should say once they appear (if))

Just my 2 cents not sure if this is the right forum to post this in so move if required..
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#2 of 38 Clinton McClure

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:31 AM

I don't support downloads for the above mentioned reasons plus the cost of local storage space (read: hdd) would eat me alive.

#3 of 38 Ronald Epstein

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:52 AM

Damian,

You said a mouthful.

As much as Hollywood is pushing for downloadable fare,
most of us will not be supporting it for the reasons you mentioned.

One studio exec told me that they could cater to the download
community by providing just the film. Collectors could buy the
disk for the film and supplements.

I suppose both formats could coexist, but quite frankly, I haven't
given much thought to it.

Ronald J Epstein
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#4 of 38 Damian Howard

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Posted August 22 2007 - 10:56 AM

Been a lurker here for ages so thought i'd finally speak. This reminds me of the early DivX / DVD session. But I guess i answered my own concerns in my original post Posted Image
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#5 of 38 Douglas Monce

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:06 AM

I think downloads may replace the rental market, and that may not be such a bad thing. But I don't think it will ever replace the feeling that people want to own the product.

You are right on the money with collectibity. Look at the Blade Runner briefcase set with all its extra goodies.

Doug
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#6 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:07 AM

Looking forward to the sob stories when hard drives go kaput (and they will, just a matter of time), taking down a sizable collection of downloads (and who wants to re-download 20-40GB of files per film?). No thanks.
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#7 of 38 Douglas Monce

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:09 AM

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick Sun
Looking forward to the sob stories when hard drives go kaput, taking down a sizable collection of downloads (and who wants to re-download 20-40GB of files per film?). No thanks.


Good point. And how do you chose which movie you want to delete when you run out of hard drive space and want to add another movie to your collection.

Doug
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#8 of 38 Jim_K

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:12 AM

Even without the pay-per-view model (something smells like DIVX) I'll never go the download route.

Here's a prime example:

I had all 6 of the Star Wars films recorded in glorious High Def from HBO HD and stored on my HD DVR unit. One day my DVR Hard drive crashed (as hard drives tend to do), and there goes the Star Wars films on HD.

Now imagine having a whole movie collection that you paid for via download at the mercy of your hard drive, not to mention viruses, etc. Nooooooooooooooo thanks.

[EDIT]

Patrick Sun already made this point I see.
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#9 of 38 TravisR

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Posted August 22 2007 - 11:22 AM

Fortunately, the points that you make about downloading are why it will take a long time to have that dark day come.

#10 of 38 BrettGallman

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Posted August 22 2007 - 12:47 PM

If the quality of the ITunes movement proves to be a harbinger of things to come, count me out. The thing is, most people won't even realize they'd be getting a compromised product, quality-wise, just as they don't when it comes to downloading music. As long as it's quick and convenient, the general populace won't care.
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#11 of 38 Averry

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Posted August 22 2007 - 12:52 PM

Quote:
Originally Posted by BrettGallman
If the quality of the ITunes movement proves to be a harbinger of things to come, count me out. The thing is, most people won't even realize they'd be getting a compromised product, quality-wise, just as they don't when it comes to downloading music. As long as it's quick and convenient, the general populace won't care.


The only thing I'm into more, if not equally, is collecting music.


I refuse to download CD's (as many of you do) and I always buy them to support my favorite bands (many of which are barely making enough to make a living doing what they're doine).

I have 10 times the amount of CD's that I do movies.
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#12 of 38 Zack Gibbs

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Posted August 22 2007 - 01:44 PM

I think the only real hurdle in Online HD is how far behind the US is in bandwidth. If not for that issue, I think the technology is there to make all the doubters happily turn to the Internet for their movies without worry.
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#13 of 38 Patrick Sun

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:06 PM

It's not just about bandwidth, but storage, and the "longevity" of storage. For high-def films that require copious amounts of hard drive space, it's simply not a practical solution to delivering films in high-def, except for the rental model (like 24-48 hours to view after being downloaded and then the film gets deleted off the hard drive). That doesn't interest me, but I'm sure others might feel differently.
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#14 of 38 PerryD

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:19 PM

If anyone here has messed around with Ondemand, I believe that service has real possibilities. Imagine a future where instead of choosing, say, from the current 50 movies, there are closer to 500, or even 5000. And instead of mostly Standard Def and a few low bitrate HD, they up the bandwidth to all high bitrate HD.

I think this would be a situation where physical media becomes less important. If the price was reasonable (free with cable service?, $10/month unlimited?, $2 to $3 per movie?), I can see myself not bothering owning all but the most desired movies.

#15 of 38 LarryH

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:32 PM

If the choice comes between only getting a movie via some DRM-restricted download and not seeing the movie at all, I guess I'll just have to live without it.

I've never downloaded music and I never expect to. Of course, my most recent music purchase (last week) was for four SACD's.

#16 of 38 BrettGallman

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Posted August 22 2007 - 02:55 PM

For me, it's not a matter of utilitarian concerns. Even if there were some way for an On Demand service to provide the same amount of PQ and AQ as physical media, I'd still prefer the latter. I like owning a physical copy and being able to see it on my shelf. For me, it's a matter of collecting.
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#17 of 38 Brandon Conway

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Posted August 22 2007 - 03:19 PM

Here's the best "pro" download argument I've ever read. It comes from a friend on another forum.

"If you told me 15 years ago that grade-schoolers would be using cell-phones to send each other typed messages, I'd have called you ****ing crazy. If you had told me they'd also be surfing something called "the internet" and downloading whole music albums onto said personal phones (back before PCs even had more than a dozen gigs of RAM - if that - to their name and still used floppy drives), I'd have called the men in white coats myself.

15 years ago, not many people knew what a hard-drive was, let alone thought of using them in videogame consoles. Now my XBOX 360's HDD makes my first PCs look like a joke, and I can download 200 in HD RIGHT NOW for all of 5.3 GB and own it forever. Now Apple's put unheard-of storage and music playback ability into a cell-phone that gets the "same" internet as my laptop (speaking of things no one had 10 years ago) - how long before they think of the iTV? They already offer movies on their iPods anyway. How long before ANYONE thinks of putting a hard-drive in a television set? Or just builds a better TiVo in corporating an HDD, especially with digital cable and HD broadcasts becoming more and more prevalent.

And why wouldn't people have rooms of HDDs containing their movie collections? I packed up a half-dozen boxes of DVDs when I moved to my new appartment, and they take up five shelves of space in my living room. We can already see designs where hard-drives are removable, like the 360, and why wouldn't those work with TV sets that are sold with or an optional add-on that can be switched out? People did it with memory cards for 10 years. They've had no problems changing disks over the last 10 years of DVD usage, only this means you have to change something out much less often. And it would be less **** to have to move around. People like that. You don't think CDs beat out vinyl because they sound better do you?

That's not even mentioning the money it would save studios on manufacturing and distribution, or the money they could make on a micro-transaction-esque handling of extras and director's cuts for released films. It would also mean a better deal for the consumer; not everyone wants to pay the $25 for the Collector's Edition of the film - some folks just want to slap down $10 and get the movie. And don't forget additional consumer benefits, like not having to buy a $1000 HD player to go along with your $2000 HDTV. And a DVD tray would just be one less thing a console manufacturer would have to pay for if everything was handled through the internet and a hard-drive. I mean, those folks do still like money right?

And so many people say "well more people would need to get broadband," but the increase in recent years in the rate of adoption for high-speed internet has been HUGE. Ask yourself, who the hell was even online 15 years ago? How many of the folks online 5 years ago had broadband connections compared to those who do now? Not EVERYONE is online, but if you look at the amount of shopping that was done online last holiday season vs. 5 years ago, you'll see we're getting closer every year. Things change FAST when it comes to this particular area of technology. With different companies trying to sell you on DSL vs. Cable vs. the Matrix, it's getting easier and cheaper to get broadband no matter where you look. Apartment complexes have started offering high-speed internet rolled into the rent bill, and free Wifi is available at places like StarBucks and Burger King nationwide. Who says you have to do all this at home when you could bring your laptop to lunch and get a Whopper and the new James Bond at the same time? It may take a while, but then again, the telephone wasn't in every house in the country the day after it was put up for sale. And its successor (the cell) took a lot less time to penetrate the population.

So it all depends on what you mean by "soon." This whole digital distribution thing is already available for games (Steam, Virtual Console, XBLArcade, etc.) and movies, and already made it huge in music (well, hugest anyway). And things just keep happening faster every time we hit a new decade. Three decades ago, there wasn't mass-market film storage/playback format at all. Since then we've seen VHS, BetaMax, laser-disk, DVD, and now HD-DVD and BluRay - half of those in the last decade alone (that's not even counting game storage). The quest for the most consumer-friendly and high-quality media storage has been something of a grail quest since the 80's, which is why the HD format war started in the first place. Do you really think it'll take more than 15-20 years for digital distribution to be the most profitable and most consumer-friendly way to get the media to the buyers?

Maybe if the advancement of technology, the adoption of high-speed internet, and the further integration of digital distribution already available slows down. But I doubt that - really, in 1997, who'd have figured that DVD would have overtaken an established format like VHS in less than half a decade after VHS had been king since the 80's? Personally, with crap like the most recent exclusivity coup in the format war, I'm willing to take the gamble and wait it out. Until this sorry excuse for a pissing contest is resolved OR another method of getting HD becomes available, I'll just stick to DVD.

And I'm betting it won't be long before the latter."

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#18 of 38 Matt Leigh

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Posted August 22 2007 - 05:58 PM

I simply don't see it happening in the short term. Someone has to make a device dedicated to that task or combo'd with the abilities of a cable HD-PVR. The 360 or PS3 is not that device as I doubt you could convince many above 40 that they are serious multimedia machines. My best guess is that MS will not be first to market with such a device, it'll be a partnership with PVR manufacturers, cable companies, and movie studios.

The current stumbing blocks are download speed and HDD space. Beyond that movie studios are too happy with the last decade of physical disc revenue to give it up on something unproven. If they can have a repeat of DVD with BR or HD-DVD they are more than happy to support those formats. In the short term DDs are small supplements to income not a driving revenue stream.

#19 of 38 Paul Arnette

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Posted August 23 2007 - 01:05 AM

Quote:
I think downloads may replace the rental market, and that may not be such a bad thing. But I don't think it will ever replace the feeling that people want to own the product.

This adequately sums up my position on this issue as well.

For me personally, I could see using downloads in place of rentals, but only if the quality was comparable to HDM (i.e. not 720p vs. 1080p, not overly compressed, etc.). If not, I would continue renting disc-based media from places like Blockbuster Online and Netflix for as long as they offered the service.
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#20 of 38 Chris Bardon

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Posted August 23 2007 - 01:17 AM

My main problem with the digital route is that I like the idea of owning a movie that I can watch whenever I want. Any of the download services are likely to be PPV only, which just rubs me the wrong way. If I could get a full HD version of a film without DRM that I could access using a decent interface, I'd be willing to go that way, but somehow I don't see that happening. Yes, hard drives are getting cheaper, but it'd still mean setting up a server with a few terrabytes to hold all the content, which with a proper RAID array can get pricey.
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