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Why no "Blu-Ray on demand"?


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12 replies to this topic

#1 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted December 14 2011 - 10:39 PM

Several of the major studios have their own MOD (Movies On Demand) program that offer up smaller titles that had very little chance at getting a "proper" mainstream DVD release, giving fans the opportunity to buy their favorites in an official capacity and likely the best those movies have even been seen in (in terms of PQ, etc.) For example the cheesy B-movie "Body Slam" (starring Roddy Piper and Dirk Benedict) about a sleazeball music producer getting involved in the world of professional wrestling. The movie was/is a true guilty pleasure but I never once seriously thought it would ever get an official DVD release until MGM started their MOD program. Financially it makes perfect sense - the only copies that get made are when someone actually orders it. These releases simply don't face the same problems as other "mainstream" titles (stocking issues, etc etc etc.) The studios get to make some money off these titles that otherwise would just be collecting dust in a vault somewhere and the small number of fans FINALLY get a decent version to own. So.....why just DVD? Why not Blu-Ray? We're constantly hearing word about how catalog titles just aren't doing THAT well on the format which would be why we haven't seen a deluge of favorites on BD so if the DVD MOD programs have been a success thus far with studios, why couldn't they apply the same thought towards Blu-Ray on demand? Say for example, "Fright Night" (1985.) Sony had already created an HD version for use (broadcast HD movie channels have shown it earlier this year) and that would have been a great example of a catalog title primed for a BD MOD program. Are there technological issues that would prevent this from happening right now? If not then I'm at a loss as to why the studios wouldn't jump on it. (For clarification, "Fright Night" was used merely as an example and because it's a title fresh in my memory. Not to stir up further controversy.)

#2 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted December 14 2011 - 11:21 PM

I would assume that movies that have already gotten the HD treatment (but no BD release yet) would be first in line but then how would you decide what DOES get a new HD master? Perhaps put out a list of possibilities and the highest vote getters win next in line? I don't expect "Body Slam" to ever get the HD treatment but.....I can dream.

#3 of 13 OFFLINE   Scott Shanks

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Posted December 15 2011 - 01:57 AM

Two words, "Band Width." :)
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#4 of 13 OFFLINE   Worth

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Posted December 15 2011 - 02:08 AM

Not sure what bandwidth would have do with anything, as MOD titles are burned and mailed, not downloaded. I think there are two real issues. One, there's simply not enough demand. It's cheaper and easier for Sony to licence out a title like Fright Night than it is to set up the apparatus needed to create MOD discs. Two, BD-R media doesn't play nice with many existing models of blu-ray players. DVD-R is much more widely compatible, but even then, you hear about specific discs not working in particular players. And given that studios are charging $20 for MOD DVD-Rs, you can bet they'd charge $30-40 for comparable blu-rays.
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#5 of 13 ONLINE   DSmith1984

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Posted December 15 2011 - 04:08 AM

Give it time. I mean we were what 10 years or so into DVD's life cycle before MOD was developed. Give the studios time to get their major and popular stuff out and then perhaps Blu-Ray MOD will be brought into the picture. I personally think MOD will be the last method of releasing movies/shows on physical media because there will always be stalwarts who want their physical media(myself included in that) and I think there will be just enough that studios will at least try to cater to that group for a little while anyway. I've seen a lot of people saying streaming/digital downloads will be the norm within the next 5 or 10 years max and I disagree. I think there's no doubt that it will eventually happen, but I really don't see it happening for at least 20 to 25 years. Quite honestly, while I think MOD will be the last method of releasing physical, I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere between Blu-Ray's demise and going to all download/streaming, the studios don't try to release movies on SDHC cards. There are already cards out there that have more memory than a DL Blu-Ray does.

#6 of 13 OFFLINE   TonyD

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Posted December 15 2011 - 12:29 PM

Two words, "Band Width." :)

Not sure what bandwidth would have do with anything, as MOD titles are burned and mailed, not downloaded. .

My first thought was how would they do blu-ray on demand, probably same as Scott was thinking, then I read the topic. Maybe the title should say MOD or made on demand.
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#7 of 13 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted December 15 2011 - 05:07 PM

A much larger percentage of Blu-ray players have problems playing BD-Rs than DVD players that have problems playing DVD-Rs. I'd estimate the BD players that can't play BD-Rs at about 10-15%.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932


#8 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted December 15 2011 - 05:55 PM

Not sure what bandwidth would have do with anything, as MOD titles are burned and mailed, not downloaded. I think there are two real issues. One, there's simply not enough demand. It's cheaper and easier for Sony to licence out a title like Fright Night than it is to set up the apparatus needed to create MOD discs. Two, BD-R media doesn't play nice with many existing models of blu-ray players. DVD-R is much more widely compatible, but even then, you hear about specific discs not working in particular players. And given that studios are charging $20 for MOD DVD-Rs, you can bet they'd charge $30-40 for comparable blu-rays.

I've never even tried to play a BD-R disc before so I wouldn't know much about it. Would creating BD-Rs on demand be that much more difficult than DVD-R on demand? Good point about price difference.

#9 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted December 15 2011 - 05:57 PM

Give it time. I mean we were what 10 years or so into DVD's life cycle before MOD was developed. Give the studios time to get their major and popular stuff out and then perhaps Blu-Ray MOD will be brought into the picture. I personally think MOD will be the last method of releasing movies/shows on physical media because there will always be stalwarts who want their physical media(myself included in that) and I think there will be just enough that studios will at least try to cater to that group for a little while anyway. I've seen a lot of people saying streaming/digital downloads will be the norm within the next 5 or 10 years max and I disagree. I think there's no doubt that it will eventually happen, but I really don't see it happening for at least 20 to 25 years. Quite honestly, while I think MOD will be the last method of releasing physical, I wouldn't be surprised if somewhere between Blu-Ray's demise and going to all download/streaming, the studios don't try to release movies on SDHC cards. There are already cards out there that have more memory than a DL Blu-Ray does.

I just have a hard time believing it will only be streaming/downloading. There are SO many issues with that idea that being able to resolve most, if not all, will be nearly impossible.

#10 of 13 OFFLINE   Michael Allred

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Posted December 15 2011 - 05:58 PM

A much larger percentage of Blu-ray players have problems playing BD-Rs than DVD players that have problems playing DVD-Rs. I'd estimate the BD players that can't play BD-Rs at about 10-15%.

Well why is that exactly? Couldn't there be a firmware upgrade that fixes such an issue?

#11 of 13 ONLINE   DSmith1984

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Posted December 16 2011 - 01:50 AM

I just have a hard time believing it will only be streaming/downloading. There are SO many issues with that idea that being able to resolve most, if not all, will be nearly impossible.

That's part of why I say it will take so long. I mean, VHS has essentially been "dead" for almost 10 years now yet you can still buy blank VHS tapes and a good percentage of DVD players are still DVD/VHS combo players. Is it still true that VHS is the preferred consumer format for recording or has DVD finally surpassed it in that area?

#12 of 13 OFFLINE   MLamarre

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Posted December 16 2011 - 04:33 AM

If I had to guess: -The BD-R technology is not at a level in this point of time to be able to make this a reality -It would cost the studios a lot more money. They would probably have to buy new equipment to be able to do this, or develop it if it doesn't exist, and raw materials (discs) are more expensive than DVDs -A very small percentage of films have HD masters and those that don't would require one. I highly doubt many of the films they are releasing in their DVD MOD programs have HD masters. They would either have to make new HD masters (way too costly given the obscurity of the films; they already have doubts about remastering much more popular films for BD release) or burn their DVD transfers onto a BD disc (in that case, what's the point?)

#13 of 13 OFFLINE   Brandon Conway

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Posted December 16 2011 - 06:37 AM



Originally Posted by Michael Allred 


Well why is that exactly? Couldn't there be a firmware upgrade that fixes such an issue?



It's just too recent in the technology. A lot of early DVD players couldn't play DVD-Rs, either, but now that we've had years and years of capable models it's not as big of an issue anymore.


Firmware upgrades can't help in this matter, as this is a hardware issue mainly. Also, some of it only has to do with the AACS encryption on a BD-R. While studios could just leave that off, I doubt they'd take the risk, especially with HD releases.


"And now the reprimand, from an American critic. He reproaches me for using film as a sacred & lasting medium, like a painting or a book. He does not believe that filmmaking is an inferior art, but he believes, and quite rightly, that a reel goes quickly, that the public are looking above all for relaxation, that film is fragile and that it is pretentious to express the power of one's soul by such ephemeral and delicate means, that Charlie Chaplin's or Buster Keaton's first films can only be seen on very rare and badly spoiled prints. I add that the cinema is making daily progress and that eventually films that we consider marvelous today will soon be forgotten because of new dimensions & colour. This is true. But for 4 weeks this film [The Blood of a Poet] has been shown to audiences that have been so attentive, so eager & so warm, that I wonder after all there is not an anonymous public who are looking for more than relaxation in the cinema." - Jean Cocteau, 1932