Amazon now directing disc buyers to digital purchases?

I'm not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits. 4 Stars

I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn’t previously seen before.

On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the “add to cart” buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says “Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead” and includes a link for the digital version as well.

I’m not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits.

The algorithm doesn’t appear to be understand the nuances of video formats – for example, the 3D listing for Justice League points to the 2D streaming version (not the same thing), and the UHD listing for Get Out points to the 1080p streaming version (also not the same thing). But will the average customer notice or care or will they just see the savings? And, in the case of Murder On The Orient Express, the digital listing also includes a rental option that is substantially cheaper than purchasing either the digital or disc versions.

Their margins must be that much higher on digital versions if Amazon is taking the chance of losing a $20 disc sale in order to get a $15 digital sale or $6 digital rental.

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Kevin Collins

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76 Comments

  1. Take a look at Coco, as I mentioned on this week's Weekly Roundup post.

    Amazon currently has the Blu-ray at full retail ($39.99) and out of stock, with this statement:

    FREE Shipping for Prime members

    Usually ships within 1 to 4 weeks.

    Why wait? Buy the Amazon Video version instead and start streaming now.

    Ships from and sold by Amazon.com exclusively for Prime members. Gift-wrap available.

    The streaming version is $19.99.

    The 4K UHD is also out of stock:

    Temporarily out of stock.

    Why wait? Buy the Amazon Video version instead and start streaming now.

    Order now and we'll deliver when available. We'll e-mail you with an estimated delivery date as soon as we have more information. Your account will only be charged when we ship the item.

    Ships from and sold by Amazon.com exclusively for Prime members. Gift-wrap available.

    Amazon Video does not offer this title in 4K UHD.

  2. Yes, I noticed it. I was trying to buy a disc of Les Miserables (1935) and found it damn near impossible because of the insistent streaming offer. I typed "Les Miserables 1935 DVD" and this is what I got, despite the fact the DVD exists for sale.

    https://smile.amazon.com/Miserables…519773249&sr=8-2&keywords=les+miserables+1935

    Irritating at this point. I can easily foresee a future where discs are either very expensive or not available at all. I'm not sure the sky is falling yet, but I may buy (or make) backup copies of my top twenty movies and top ten TV shows.

  3. Todd, your point is, of course, valid and correct. But Coco is, as we know, affected by this ridiculous dispute between Amazon and Disney, which a) explains why it's showing at such a high price and is out of stock and b) has never applied to Amazon digital purchases. That particular case seems to be more related to the feud than any desire by Amazon to push people toward digital. I would think that, since this feud has been ongoing for over a year now, more people have gotten used to not being able to purchase new Disney titles on Amazon and simply look elsewhere. I know those of us on here have. Whether the general public is aware of the feud or not (I'm guessing not), I would think most smart people would by now have at least noticed a pattern that major Disney titles are not available for pre-order and are not generally in-stock on the release date.

    Murder on the Orient Express, on the other hand, is not a Disney-owned title (yet), so Amazon pushing people toward the digital version is indeed eyebrow-raising. Thanks for pointing it out, Josh; I hadn't noticed it yet either. Just to be clear, I'm liking your post for your having reported this information to us, not because I like the idea of Amazon dissuading people from buying discs.

    The thing, of course, is that a digital purchase does not give you a physical thing to have. I buy Blu-rays from Amazon because I want to physically have the product, so a cheaper digital alternative would not sway me. I use digital services like Amazon Video and Vudu for rentals and things I can stream free on Prime. I use Vudu for digital copies as a supplement to my disc collection, but I would never use it as a replacement for a film I like enough to own. The question is how many customers will be okay accepting the digital stream without physically owning anything.

  4. Josh Steinberg

    I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn't previously seen before.

    On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the "add to cart" buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says "Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead" and includes a link for the digital version as well.

    I'm not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits.

    The algorithm doesn't appear to be understand the nuances of video formats – for example, the 3D listing for Justice League points to the 2D streaming version (not the same thing), and the UHD listing for Get Out points to the 1080p streaming version (also not the same thing). But will the average customer notice or care or will they just see the savings? And, in the case of Murder On The Orient Express, the digital listing also includes a rental option that is substantially cheaper than purchasing either the digital or disc versions.

    Their margins must be that much higher on digital versions if Amazon is taking the chance of losing a $20 disc sale in order to get a $15 digital sale or $6 digital rental.

    Hmmm. I hadn’t noticed this yet. My wife would probably be all for me going digital. She kind of hates that we have so many discs and are running/have run? out of room for them. I stubbornly refuse to stop buying them.

  5. Robert Crawford

    IMO, Amazon Video is the worse streaming service among the top three with Vudu and iTunes. I never watch anything on Amazon Video any longer.

    I’d be inclined to agree with you, but I had a mini Peter Hyams marathon on Sunday and watched Running Scared for the first time via Prime Streaming and was impressed with how it looked!

  6. BobO’Link

    I don't know what you did differently – I searched on Les Miserables (1935) and got listings with the DVD as well as streaming. If I added "DVD" to the end, I got the DVD releases with *no* streaming version offered. I tried your link and did the same searches with the same results. So that's very odd…

    Have you purchased some digital copies recently? Maybe they're taking that as implication you want them going forward and tailoring the search accordingly. If so, I find that rather bone headed, but Amazon's not known for logic in the way the do things.

    I have never purchased anything digitally and God knows I hope I never do. Not only is the quality crap, IMHO, the illusion that I "own" it is just that–an illusion.

  7. Carabimero

    I have never purchased anything digitally and God knows I hope I never do. Not only is the quality crap, IMHO, the illusion that I "own" it is just that–an illusion.

    That's not true from my POV of watching digital feeds. Several years ago, I would have agreed with you, but, not in 2018.

  8. Robert Crawford

    That's not true from my POV of watching digital feeds. Several years ago, I would have agreed with you, but, not in 2018.

    It's easy for someone who has a big fat Internet connection to think everybody has a big fat Internet connection, but it simply isn't true. In fact, it's very far from true. Still, I will put my BDs up against any streamed content. The sound and picture quality is not even close, even with a big fat Internet connection.

  9. Carabimero

    It's easy for someone who has a big fat Internet connection to think everybody has a big fat Internet connection, but it simply isn't true. In fact, it's very far from true. Still, I will put my BDs up against any streamed content. The sound and picture quality is not even close, even with a big fat Internet connection.

    It's also easy for someone to say digital streams look like "crap" because they have a poor internet connection. Furthermore, read my post again as I clearly stated from my "POV" which means I'm talking from my perspective and not yours.

    That's not true from my POV of watching digital feeds.

  10. Robert Crawford

    It's also easy for someone to say digital streams look like "crap" because they have a poor internet connection. Furthermore, read my post again as I clearly stated from my "POV" which means I'm talking from my perspective and not yours.

    Read my post again and you will see I didn't say "you," I said "someone."

  11. You should take it that what I said was sparked by your comment while not narrowly applying to you. You may have inferred I was talking about about you, but I specifically used the word "someone" to not imply it.

  12. Carabimero

    You should take it that what I said was sparked by your comment while not narrowly applying to you. You may have inferred I was talking about about you, but I specifically used the word "someone" to not imply it.

    Yeah, but, you quoted me. Anyhow, I'm moving on.

  13. Neil Middlemiss

    I’d be inclined to agree with you, but I had a mini Peter Hyams marathon on Sunday and watched Running Scared for the first time via Prime Streaming and was impressed with how it looked!

    Well, I need to amend my comment about not watching anything on Amazon. I do watch "Sahara" the Bogart film on Amazon as it's a HD stream versus SD on Vudu and iTunes. I'm sure there are some other examples too. However, generally I find Amazon is third in streaming quality in comparison to the other two.

  14. Robert Crawford

    IMO, Amazon Video is the worse streaming service among the top three with Vudu and iTunes. I never watch anything on Amazon Video any longer.

    I think it depends on the device/app you're using. Twice in the last few years, I tried Amazon Prime, and the PQ via a Sony BD player was horrible – SD, blotchy, smeary, pixelated. SQ was 2.0.

    A few weeks ago, after my wife kept asking about Prime Video, I decided to try again. Via an AppleTV, I was surprised to find that the PQ is very good, rivaling Netflix. On my wife's BR 4k TV, she gets Prime Video in 4k at no extra cost.

    Last night, I tried again via my PS4 and Sony UHD player. PQ was still unwatchable on both those devices.

    However, Prime sound is still 2.0 on all my devices (Netflix is 5.1). Either Amazon only provides 5.1 via their own devices, or Apple and Sony only allow 2.0. I did buy a 4k AppleTV a few months ago, but haven't opened it yet. I'm going to see if that allows 5.1.

  15. I find the picture quality on Amazon Prime decent via my Roku Ultra, too. I watch mostly TV shows on Amazon Prime, but do watch the occasional movie there, too, if the price is right — either free or if I have some digital credits. For most rentals via streaming, though, I usually use Vudu, and have recently started using Hulu since it's now included at no charge as part of our Sprint cellular account.. I am giving Google a try for the first time, as I was able to rent Blade Runner 2049 in HDX through them for only $0.99. I have not had time to watch it yet — hopefully by the end of the week.

    I still prefer discs to streaming for purchase to own, but have bought a few digital copies when the price has been really low.

    As for books, I've completely transitioned to ebooks. I love my Kindle Paper White — it's my 2nd Kindle device, as I previously owned one of the Kindles with a keyboard for several years. While I enjoy reading, I've never been a book collector, so this transition was easier for me than it would be with films.

  16. Robert Crawford

    Well, I need to amend my comment about not watching anything on Amazon. I do watch "Sahara" the Bogart film on Amazon as it's a HD stream versus SD on Vudu and iTunes. I'm sure there are some other examples too. However, generally I find Amazon is third in streaming quality in comparison to the other two.

    Not to derail the thread, but is Sahara worth a purchase quality-wise in your view, @Robert Crawford ?

  17. Doug Otte

    I think it depends on the device/app you're using. Twice in the last few years, I tried Amazon Prime, and the PQ via a Sony BD player was horrible – SD, blotchy, smeary, pixelated. SQ was 2.0.

    A few weeks ago, after my wife kept asking about Prime Video, I decided to try again. Via an AppleTV, I was surprised to find that the PQ is very good, rivaling Netflix. On my wife's BR 4k TV, she gets Prime Video in 4k at no extra cost.

    Last night, I tried again via my PS4 and Sony UHD player. PQ was still unwatchable on both those devices.

    However, Prime sound is still 2.0 on all my devices (Netflix is 5.1). Either Amazon only provides 5.1 via their own devices, or Apple and Sony only allow 2.0. I did buy a 4k AppleTV a few months ago, but haven't opened it yet. I'm going to see if that allows 5.1.

    Prime is 5.1 through Tivo. It’s stereo only on the AppleTV and Windows.

    Prime streaming is as good as anything else in my non-expert viewing. Shows like Man in the High Castle are gorgeous in HD. I can’t speak to 4K.

  18. Embrace streams! :3dglasses: They look better than the crap macro blocks of fios broadcast for me and Atmos sound is where it’s at. I’ll take disks where available and economical but I ain’t afraid of no streams!

  19. Amazon has been pushing digital over physical in music for quite some time. Just seems natural they would do the same for video. If you click on a music artist while in the CD/Vinyl section the Amazon engine takes you directly to the Digital Music page for that artist. That seems to be the default on an artist search now.

  20. I've found that in terms of video quality, in general, HD streams are better than DVD and UHD streams are better than regular Blu-Ray. So the quality is never as good as it is on a disc of the same resolution but usually is better than a disc of a lower resolution.

    The Amazon buy on digital instead messages are probably automated to appear in certain situations such as the disc not being in stock and not necessarily have anything to do with any feuds between companies.

  21. Sam Posten

    Embrace streams! :3dglasses: They look better than the crap macro blocks of fios broadcast for me and Atmos sound is where it’s at. I’ll take disks where available and economical but I ain’t afraid of no streams!

    I’ve been thinking anew about this. I’m a big TV watcher. And watching Mr. Robot this season, I’m realizing how compressed it is on Fios’ USA channel. And how it certainly would look much better from a streaming service!

    I may have to re-examine my cable vs streaming viewing options. :/

  22. Robert Crawford

    IMO, Amazon Video is the worse streaming service among the top three with Vudu and iTunes. I never watch anything on Amazon Video any longer.

    Everything freezes up and/or flickers for me. Netflix it ain't.

  23. The push for digital has infected video games too. Starting last fall if you searched for a popular game that was coming out soon, the only listing would be for a digital download code. Then one or two days before the release date, a disk version would magically appear. Because Prime offers a 20% discount on hard copy preorders, other retailers have been complaining to the publishers and apparently this is what they came up with. The margin on the digital is higher, so Amazon doesn't care if they lose disk sales.

  24. hard copy physical media,

    Disney is bad about that push to get you to buy the digital only copy for AoS in the states, my reply back to them is you are cordially invited to go "F" yourselves , i will purchase it from a different region if i have to!

  25. Blimpoy06

    Amazon has been pushing digital over physical in music for quite some time. Just seems natural they would do the same for video. If you click on a music artist while in the CD/Vinyl section the Amazon engine takes you directly to the Digital Music page for that artist. That seems to be the default on an artist search now.

    However, if you buy a CD version of an album, Amazon also gives you a digital version in your library, which is also available to be downloaded. They are using a high enough bit rate now that if saves me from ripping & encoding it myself. Or if I buy a CD as a gift for someone else, I get a digital copy for myself.

  26. BobO’Link

    The bit rate may now be higher but they're still MP3. If they start offering FLAC I would be more interested in their digital offerings for *some* music. My "digital library" is littered with titles I've purchased for others for which I have zero interest in ever hearing. I have no way to give the recipient of the disc "ownership" of those digital files. Another reason digital ownership fails.

    MP3 works for my purposes, as I use the files on my iPod and in the car, where a high bit rate MP3 will sound pretty much the same as lossless FLAC (plus my car cannot play FLAC anyway).

    I do agree that much of what I buy for others doesn't interest me, but there are occasionally some gift CD purchases that I like and will end up downloading for myself.

  27. Well they can direct me to the streaming version all they wan't but it ain't gonna happen.

    Just last night I was watching X-Files on my Hulu (with a good internet connection) and it stopped to buffer in the middle of the episode and never came back, forcing a complete restart of the app. I cursed under my breath wondering why this is to be the future over physical media.

  28. Josh Steinberg

    I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn't previously seen before.

    On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the "add to cart" buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says "Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead" and includes a link for the digital version as well.

    I see that too. When I rent I use Vudu whenever possible as they have 1080p available. I'm not sure if the other streaming services are Blu-ray quality.

  29. Jeff Cooper

    Well they can direct me to the streaming version all they wan't but it ain't gonna happen.

    Just last night I was watching X-Files on my Hulu (with a good internet connection) and it stopped to buffer in the middle of the episode and never came back, forcing a complete restart of the app. I cursed under my breath wondering why this is to be the future over physical media.

    Just in the last couple of weeks, I've had to reset our Apple TV twice, due to the above situation, and other various issues. After the second time, I couldn't reconnect with our Wi-Fi network, at all! Eventually, the tech guy at our isp figured out the problem was that the Apple TV would only accept their oldest security option still in use. This headache for a device that's not more than a couple years old. SHEESH! 🙄

  30. I have bought quite a few digital streaming movies when they are available in HD but there is no Blu-ray available, or likely. (Although I am occasionally pleasantly surprised, as by the recent Marx Bros. Blu-ray set – who'd a thunk?) Here's two ways to get them at reasonable prices:

    If you're a Prime member, Amazon will often offer a $1 credit on digital purchases (Kindle books, music or movies – not sure about games) if you choose "no-rush" shipping over the 2-day default. These credits are stackable, so (for example) I recently bought "The Black Cat" (1934) for $8 instead of the normal $13. Save them up, but keep your eye on those expiration dates.

    Vudu has an app for Windows called "Vudu To Go". It allows you to pop a DVD into your computer and purchase an upgraded HD copy for $5. Not sure if this is still valid, but the last time I used it they had a half-price deal if you converted 10 or more discs in one order. It's hit and miss as to which discs work (only some of my Astaire/Rogers movies would take), but I got HD copies of Freaks, Gold Diggers of 1933, Fearless Vampire Killers, Dracula A.D. 1972 and many others for 2.50 apiece.

    Also, if you're not happy with a particular streaming service, sign up for Movies Anywhere. Almost all titles you own are available across numerous services (Amazon, iTunes, Vudu) once you link your accounts, so you can use whichever one works best for you.

  31. BobO’Link

    It's called Planned Obsolescence. Apple is famous for that practice.

    Just for future reference, is ROKU the same way regarding planned obsolescence? I ask because I'd prefer to not have to be replacing such devices every 2-3 years if it can be helped.

    CHEERS! 🙂

  32. What the OP points up is another permutation of an IMO at least a little insidious effort by Amazon to guide buyers to digital offerings. "Digital" may gross less than packaged but unlike the latter it is a growth market.

    IMO there's something of a common thread going through some Amazon machinations of the past, say, two years: Putting the squeeze on smaller Marketplace sellers' ability to list DVD box sets and now "Popular Music" (as Amazon defines that term) CDs; the site search lionizing digital (and not returning search hits on discs I know exist; you can't find some BDs unless you know the ASIN or UPC or they're already on your Wish List–thank Goddess for my Lists!).

    And just last night I discovered that my 2012 Panasonic BD player (about the last model year before BD player designs got chintzy and dropping analog outs due to the "Sunset") does not support any channel subscriptions. So I can buy or rent a single Showtime show from Amazon like the new Whitney Houston docu Can I Be Me but I'm SOL with that player if I want to pay $14.99 per month and get access to all Showtime subscription content. Oh but they'll take my money and the screen even says "You Can Watch This" with a green "Watch Now" button after subscribing. Press that button and I get an error message. An hour of viewing time lost on the phone figuring that mess out.

    In the words of Aerosmith, I'd rather put in a BD and "Just Push Play"!

  33. Just out of curiosity, if you order the Amazon Video version of a Blu-ray, do you get all the content that’s on the Blu-ray, or just the feature?

  34. I purchased a digital HD copy of 'The Majestic' (my favorite film) from iTunes before the Blu-ray was released. When the Blu-ray arrived I purchased it too. A couple of days ago I decided to watch it and was feeling lazy, so I fired up the Apple TV and started the digital copy stream. During the opening credits I immediately noticed some aliasing on the lettering. I waited a few minutes to see if it would clear up (stream getting stabilized) but I also noticed that the image itself definitely looked to be in HD. By the end of the opening credits the aliasing was still happening so I got up off my lazy butt and put the disc in the Blu-ray player. No issues.

    Digital streaming most definitely isn't the be-all end-all for viewing movies. Although I've seen many streams that look absolutely terrific (including 4K HDR ones), it is not uncommon to see aliasing or digital artifacts at other times. Our internet is 175 mbps down.

    The studios and content providers can have my discs when they pry them from my cold dead hands. If the day comes when digital is the ONLY way to purchase a film, I'll likely stop collecting and just be a renter. Or, just watch the 1,300+ titles I already own.

    Our daughter is going to inherit the house and everything in it. I can't leave her a bunch of DRM-encoded digital copies.

    Mark

  35. I definitely have curbed my disc purchases over the years. I only replace my DVD's with blu ray's for favorites and Black Friday specials with great price points or substantial improvements in picture and sound. I'm also more prone to making disc purchases that have an abundance of supplements (like Criterion), something you can't get with streaming. I was a VHS, laserdisc and DVD victim, so I'm getting a little more cautious and prudent now.

  36. Drew Salzan

    I definitely have curbed my disc purchases over the years. I only replace my DVD's with blu ray's for favorites and Black Friday specials with great price points or substantial improvements in picture and sound. I'm also more prone to making disc purchases that have an abundance of supplements (like Criterion), something you can't get with streaming. I was a VHS, laserdisc and DVD victim, so I'm getting a little more cautious and prudent now.

    That's no longer true as I have plenty of titles in my digital library that has supplements. Furthermore, Filmstruck/The Criterion Channel has some Criterion titles along with its supplements to stream if you so desire.

  37. Drew Salzan

    I definitely have curbed my disc purchases over the years. I only replace my DVD's with blu ray's for favorites and Black Friday specials with great price points or substantial improvements in picture and sound. I'm also more prone to making disc purchases that have an abundance of supplements (like Criterion), something you can't get with streaming. I was a VHS, laserdisc and DVD victim, so I'm getting a little more cautious and prudent now.

    That's no longer true as I have plenty of titles in my digital library that has supplements. Furthermore, Filmstruck/The Criterion Channel has some Criterion titles along with its supplements to stream if you so desire.

  38. Drew Salzan

    I'm also more prone to making disc purchases that have an abundance of supplements

    Never mind the lack of bonus material on many digital platforms, I can't stand it when a blu-ray doesn't have the same bonus content that a DVD or lasrdisc had. I'll understand if a different company is the blu-ray distributor, but not when the same studio is releasing it.

  39. Josh Steinberg

    I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn't previously seen before.

    On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the "add to cart" buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says "Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead" and includes a link for the digital version as well.

    I'm not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits.

    The algorithm doesn't appear to be understand the nuances of video formats – for example, the 3D listing for Justice League points to the 2D streaming version (not the same thing), and the UHD listing for Get Out points to the 1080p streaming version (also not the same thing). But will the average customer notice or care or will they just see the savings? And, in the case of Murder On The Orient Express, the digital listing also includes a rental option that is substantially cheaper than purchasing either the digital or disc versions.

    Their margins must be that much higher on digital versions if Amazon is taking the chance of losing a $20 disc sale in order to get a $15 digital sale or $6 digital rental.

    I hate to say it but i;m finally on board with digital downloads. I'm still buying mostly classic TV shows on disk, but movie wise i'm buying from iTunes since I'm firmly in the Apple Ecosystem,plus i get fantastic discounts tthru codes and sales.I use an app that tracks price drops and buy when the price drops, current 4k versions of Wonder Woman, Blade Runner 2049 and the Day the earth stood still (1951) have convinced me digital downloads look great and make sense for me. Are the disks better year, but they are not enough of a difference on my 4k samsung UHD set to swing me back to Physical disk. I'm going to sell the sammy 4k player i just purchased and just go back to my Highend Blu ray player i had. My Apple TV 4k serves me fine for all my TV and Movies needs

  40. Dave Scarpa

    I hate to say it but i;m finally on board with digital downloads. I'm still buying mostly classic TV shows on disk, but movie wise i'm buying from iTunes since I'm firmly in the Apple Ecosystem,plus i get fantastic discounts tthru codes and sales.I use an app that tracks price drops and buy when the price drops, current 4k versions of Wonder Woman, Blade Runner 2049 and the Day the earth stood still (1951) have convinced me digital downloads look great and make sense for me. Are the disks better year, but they are not enough of a difference on my 4k samsung UHD set to swing me back to Physical disk. I'm going to sell the sammy 4k player i just purchased and just go back to my Highend Blu ray player i had. My Apple TV 4k serves me fine for all my TV and Movies needs

    Where do you find those discounts? And what app do you use to track prices?

  41. Dave Scarpa

    I use an IOS App called CheapCharts

    I’ll check it out too. I haven’t really purchased digital before. I’ve redeemed codes of course, but I am now considering making more digital purchases. Storage is becoming a problem and the wife is getting tired of all of my purchases. I prefer discs and will still go that way for most things, but I need to dip my toes into the digital swimming pool.

  42. Don’t honestly care if Amazon or any other retailers starts pushing the digital versions of movies and music because I am seriously not interested. And one thing is for certain currently and that is if physical media goes away then so do I! If music was to go streaming and downloading only I would only purchase used vinyl. If movies stop being released on physical media then I will just ether buy the new copies still available on websites or just concentrate on used copies. In the end it doesn’t matter if it is Amazon or someone else pushing the digital version, I am not interested. Could I end up changing my mind at some point? It is possible, hell I even purchased an 4K LG TV so anything is possible.

  43. Josh Steinberg

    I was just browsing Blu-rays on Amazon, and I noticed something I hadn't previously seen before.

    On the right hand side of the product listing page, where it lists the price and has the "add to cart" buttons, I saw a new blurb that I had never noticed before. For example, on the Murder On The Orient Express Blu-ray page, it says that you can buy that disc for $19.96. But beneath that, it now says "Save an extra $4.97 (25%) by purchasing on Amazon Video instead" and includes a link for the digital version as well.

    I'm not saying that the sky is falling, but this does appear to be a big push by Amazon towards getting people to change their habits.

    The algorithm doesn't appear to be understand the nuances of video formats – for example, the 3D listing for Justice League points to the 2D streaming version (not the same thing), and the UHD listing for Get Out points to the 1080p streaming version (also not the same thing). But will the average customer notice or care or will they just see the savings? And, in the case of Murder On The Orient Express, the digital listing also includes a rental option that is substantially cheaper than purchasing either the digital or disc versions.

    Their margins must be that much higher on digital versions if Amazon is taking the chance of losing a $20 disc sale in order to get a $15 digital sale or $6 digital rental.

  44. Dave Moritz

    Don't honestly care if Amazon or any other retailers starts pushing the digital versions of movies and music because I am seriously not interested. And one thing is for certain currently and that is if physical media goes away then so do I! If music was to go streaming and downloading only I would only purchase used vinyl. If movies stop being released on physical media then I will just ether buy the new copies still available on websites or just concentrate on used copies.

    That would work for older titles, but what for new theatrical releases? If physical media releases case to be a thing that happen for movies, you wouldn't be able to buy them without going for the digital version. For this reason, it should concern you what Amazon is doing because it may hasten the arrival of such a day.

    At the very least, this is an attempt by Amazon to normalize the idea of a digital version among its customer base and suggest to them that they should be fine without a physical version. That might work for some people, but sets a troubling precedent for me, because the end of physical media would be very sad, especially among most of us who frequent boards like HTF. But if the wider general public gets to a point where they don't need physical media anymore at all, we enthusiasts may not be enough to sustain the physical media disc business on our own.

  45. That would work for older titles, but what for new theatrical releases? If physical media releases case to be a thing that happen for movies, you wouldn't be able to buy them without going for the digital version. For this reason, it should concern you what Amazon is doing because it may hasten the arrival of such a day.

    It does concern me and it is going to honestly take movies out of some people homes that are low income that do not have internet or cable. The end of physical media for myself would mean that new movies would not be added to my library and that day would be very sad. The day that if it happens new movies could be pulled from streaming services and you would not be able to see them till they where returned. Services and studios could literally decide when and if you could see a title and if there was any legal issues you wouldn't see it till that issue was resolved. That is unless it is a title on physical media you own and could play as long as you wanted. And that doesn't even get into if a director decided to alter a movie and pull a Lucas and make the original go away on streaming and download services. So yes I am very concerned about it and I am not sure that we as enthusiasts will be enough to keep physical media going. It may end up becoming a very nitch product that can be special ordered which would most likely cause the cost of physical discs to skyrocket while the price of digital would remain low. At that point you could purchase a movie on digital for $24.95 but if say you want to special order a disc you might pay $125 or more. Right now both disc and digital are available but it does seem like they want to force everyone into digital content only. That would take away the cost of printing artwork and duplicating many discs that could end up sitting on retail shelves. To many consumers want convenience and could careless about actually owning the movie and having to put the disc in. They want the movie when they want it where they want it even if it is steering at a tiny screen in there hands. I will buy as many movies that I can till we reach that point and if and when movie sales plummet they may just bring physical media back after people realize it was a good thing after all.

  46. Dave Moritz

    It does concern me and it is going to honestly take movies out of some people homes that are low income that do not have internet or cable…

    Um, if you can't afford internet, you sure as hell shouldn't be buying movies.

  47. Worth

    Um, if you can't afford internet, you sure as hell shouldn't be buying movies.

    What about Public Libraries? Schools? Day-Cares? Community Centers? Hospitals? There are lots of places that utilize physical media in order to entertain and educate the less-fortunate. I know that I wouldn't know half as much as I've learned about film if I hadn't had access to home video as a kid in rural West Virginia.

    I'm not making any political judgments. Let's just talk about the current situation in America and our likely future. Broadband Internet service is expensive and growing more so all the time. Programs that provide subsidized Internet access to the poor are being actively targeted for defunding and elimination. Now that Net Neutrality has been ended, there is a real concern that access to the Internet is going to become unavailable to many. While I agree that, if you're really bad off, you should probably find better ways to spend your limited funds than purchasing movies, the fact is that the ubiquitous and affordable nature of physical media has meant that this hasn't been a problem since the early 1980's. Once the total shift to digital happens, however, a vital source of education and, yes, escape from the hardships of life will be cut off to those who are unable to afford it.

    It's a complicated issue, to be sure, and there isn't a simple answer. It's just important to think of the ramifications to society and culture as a whole from a coming shift like this.

  48. It may come to the point where entertainment will not be affordable to those in lower income. It is basically out of reach for a low income family to go to Disneyland or Universal Studios. Are we setting up the lower class to just struggle to pay rent and buy food? Basically work and go home and currently someone might not have internet but they can occasionally buy a movie or two from the budget bin. That to may be going away in the near future. Going to the theater has also gotten more expensive as well.

  49. Jeff Cooper

    Um, you do realize that there are places where broadband is simply not available, regardless of how much it costs?

    Fair enough. But the post I was responding to was referring to those struggling to make ends meet. If you're having trouble paying rent, it seems irresponsible to be spending money on either blu-rays or subscription streaming services.

  50. Worth

    Fair enough. But the post I was responding to was referring to those struggling to make ends meet. If you're having trouble paying rent, it seems irresponsible to be spending money on either blu-rays or subscription streaming services.

    David didn't make specific mention of low income families that are struggling to pay rent or buy food, except in a potential future scenario, in which affordable physical media options are no longer available; merely those who can't afford Internet or Cable TV. I do agree with you regarding those who are also struggling with paying for rent, though.

    CHEERS! 🙂

  51. The next thing I see becoming more prevalent is the digital versions coming out before the physical versions and maybe even streaming of some movies that are in the tail end of theatrical runs. And it wouldn't surprise me if Amazon is one of the first to push this to help get rid of physical media.

  52. Dave Moritz

    The next thing I see becoming more prevalent is the digital versions coming out before the physical versions and maybe even streaming of some movies that are in the tail end of theatrical runs. And it wouldn't surprise me if Amazon is one of the first to push this to help get rid of physical media.

    And, as Canada has been lagging behind the U.S, in terms of digital version accessibility, perhaps Amazon Canada might end up with some of their leftover physical media stockpiles?

    CHEERS! 🙂

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