A Conversation with Universal Studios Home Entertainment

Adam Gregorich

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Agreed. It was actually frustrating. We talked about a lot of great upcoming content, I waited for the official release that they said they would be coming out and I was very disapointed with what they released, compared to what I know they have available. I am leaning hard on them to officially provide additional titles in the next few days or allow me to unofficially disclose specific titles that you have asked about.
 

TheBat

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can you ask them about other arnold S movies like twins and stuff?
thanks,

Jacob
 

Josh Steinberg

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FWIW... I haven't bought into a Hi-Def format yet because I don't have the money to invest in something that still seems very much up in the air to me. Until this is settled, I'm not biting. For me, content is key, much more important than any other factor. And that means that if I buy into only one of the two formats, I'm automatically screwed to a certain degree. If I buy HD-DVD, I'm getting a bunch of titles from some studios, but missing some from others; same for Blu-Ray. I find that to be completely unacceptable, and until that's resolved, I'm not buying anything.

With that in mind, combo discs are absolutely useless to me. It would be one thing if there was one hi-def format; then a combo disc might be attractive, the key word there being "might". If there was a guarantee that the combo disc I bought now would be good on my DVD player today, and compatible with whatever HD equipment I buy in two, three, four, five years, that might be an incentive. But there's no such guarantee that the winner will be HD-DVD. Also, the discs are priced higher than regular DVDs... and there's no way I'm spending anything extra on a disc that may or may not be useful to me in the future.

Even though it's not a Universal title, the "Superman Returns" combo is a perfect example of why something that potentially might be of interest to me ultimately wasn't. I loved the film, and it's definitely the kind of movie that would be among the first I'd want for a new format. But the 2 disc standard DVD release of the film had some great special features I was really interested in. They're on the combo, sure, but only on the HD-DVD side. So even if I bought the combo disc, I wouldn't have access to the material that made me want to own the title in the first place! So essentially, I'd be paying twice as much for something that would essentially be a bare-bones release that may or may not be of value to me in the future.

No thanks.

Even though I'm not in the HD market yet, I feel that my opinion as an SD owner should be worth something to these studios. The only way I'd buy one of their combos was if it carried the same price as the the regular DVD, AND the same features as the regular DVD playable on SD players. I'm completely against discontinuing standard DVDs and only putting out combo discs for us SD owners. If they do that, I'll rent the discs but I won't buy.

IF I was an HD consumer, I can't see why I'd want to pay extra for a combo. Let's say I did keep a regular DVD player in the house...it still wouldn't be worth paying extra for an HD disc just so I could possibly watch it on a regular player.

On top of all of that, I'm extremely wary of anything that's a duel or combo format thingy. The music industry tried this with their horrible DualDisc releases which gave me nothing but trouble and had the added bonus of costing more. Much like it seems with these HD combo discs, one side had what I wanted, and one side was basically useless. And I'm sorry, but I just don't trust these combo things. Maybe they work fine right now...but are they going to start falling apart in a couple years?

I really wish the studios would have put their effort into coming up with ONE HD format and making that as good as it could possibly be, and as cheap as possible. All of these combo things that seem to be designed to make me more likely to purchase HD are having the opposite effect on me.

Surely I can't be alone in this.
 

Rolando

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No, no, no, no, no, NO!

90% combo discs? no way. no sale no how.

Why in the world would I pay extra to buy something I already have? and if I don't have it then I DON"T WANT IT!

Seriously, I have hundreds of SD-DVDs that I am looking forward to upgrade, why would I want to buy them again? Make no mistake, that is what it is.

If I have an HD-DVD player and am buying the HD-DVD I DO NOT want the SD-DVD. don't tell me it's so I can play it in the car. I am sure less than 10% of the people buying these are going "youpi now I can bring this in th car or the other room with a regular player". And in my case I likely already have the SD version so I don't need a send.

and I HATE flippers. They are ugly (and yes I know we watch the movie no the disc but you know what, sometimes I do just sit there and admire good disc and cover art) and inconvenient. They get dirty on one side or the other. for sure. we need a safe side. anyone ever rent a flipper of anything? at least one side is scratched and dirty.

I have one single combo disc, American Werewolf in london. I just really wanted it and did not have the SD version anymore. I loved watching the movie but I realized now that I have the HD version that other side is totaly useless to me. I hate paying for things I don't use.

And make no mistake YOU ARE PAYING FOR IT. Even if they keep the combo disc price at the price of the non-combo it just means it could have been even cheaper if it was not a combo. It COSTS more to make a combo disc and guess who that cost gets passed on to. YOU AND ME.

So no way for me. I am very disappointed and I will be paying the price I know by depriving myself of HD discs. It was hard to pass on Land Of The Dead and other Combos but I know now I can do it. It might take years but I will wait for the non-combo double-dip. I know it's coming.

I might be a minority on this but I am standing my ground. Mummy and Hulk HD: YOUPI! But I will not re-buy American Pie, Conan, scarface etc in SD even if it is stuck on the other side of an HD disc.

IF they can do 2 discs, one SD one HD then I might be persuaded (if at the same price) so I can actually store them separately maybe. But no combo.

I think best thing would be separate release SD, HD and and mail in rebate if you buy both.

DEATH TO THE COMBO/FLIPPER DISC!
 

DaViD Boulet

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Agreed. While I'm not opposed to the idea of a DVD/HD combo disc in principle, the practice that necessitates dual-sided discs for full-capacity replication really bothers me. I HATE double-sided disc software!
 

ppltd

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Just how do you pay more if they keep the price the same. If all they released were Combo disks, it would mean they would have less packaging cost, les material costs. It could be cheaper in the long run. By the way, I also do not much like disks with product on both sides, but I will buy them if it is a movie I want.
 

Jesse Blacklow

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Drop a definite cash cow with 99+% of the market to take a chance on discs that cost the consumer 2-3 times as much? What kind of idiot businesspeople do you think work at Universal?
 

ppltd

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It could be as simple as changing the marketing approach. Market them as SD like they normally do, with the added bonus of HD on the flip side instead of the other way around. If the price keeps constant with current SD releases, it should have little negative impact on their SD sales. I am certainly not recommending that they do this, but I see little downside for Universal to do so.

For new releases, they certainly would not cost consumers 2 to 3 times as much. There should be little or no difference in their pricing structure. Combos are already coming out at 29.95 MSRP from Universal, about the same retail as SD disks.
 

Yumbo

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Sorry, just realised top of the thread has the interview. If they can make a buffable hybrid single sided disc, reasonably priced at $30 maximum for catalog, and $35 for new stuff, the war is over.
 

JohnPhi

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but they won't price hd content the same as sd, no studio will, not until market forces allow for it
 

Adam Tyner

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These hybrid discs were announced pretty early on, although nothing ever came of them. If I remember correctly, a small percentage of traditional DVD players couldn't handle these single-sided hybrid discs, and even 2-3% of DVD players is an impossibly huge number.

There would be one layer for DVD and one for HD DVD, and that's a pretty big compromise to make for both formats.
 

Jesse Blacklow

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That wouldn't end the war. It's not as simple as throwing together some hybrids and pricing stuff between $30-$35, or else this would have been done months ago.
 

Rolando

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I too might be more lenient towards a single sided hybrid. However still opposed to it on principle to pay more for something I don't want. But might crack and get a few titles I really want and don't have the SD. However this would be one or 2 titles but better than the 0 flipper combos I will buy from now on.

No big loss for them I guess, I am sure my 1 or 2 HD-DVD a week purchase won't affect them much. This is the HTF after all and even the more mild mannered collector here has THOUSANDS of SD-DVDs and I am sure is headed that way in HD as well.
 

Dave H

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I agree - I'd like to know about Twins, K. Cop, and the Conan movies on HD.
 

Jason Seaver

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It might not end the "war" right away, but it would be a great mid/long-term plan. Think about it - if Universal were to go to all combo discs, without a separate SD-DVD release, then they're putting HD-DVDs into a whole bunch more hands. Sure, this hypothetical consumer don't use them right away, but then when they decide to upgrade to HDTV in a few months or a year and have to decide between HD-DVD and Blu-ray, they have built-in incentive to choose HD-DVD.

Of course, this plan would require combo discs that only cost a little more than standard DVD to manufacture and sell for roughly the same price (and by "roughly", I mean at most a 10% premium). It also assumes that Universal, or any non-affiliated studio, has any real interest in settling things, which I don't know is necessarily the case.
 

DaViD Boulet

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problem with going all-combo disc:

It's one thing for an educated consumer to opt to buy a combo disc because they *want* the HD DVD/DVD combo capability. They know what they're getting and that's why they get it.

But can you imagine if all the walmart shoppers suddenly ended up with combo discs when only intending to buy little Johnny his favorite movie on DVD? When those consumers get home they won't read the insert... they'll just load those discs into their DVD players. 50% of the time they'll play. the other 50% of the time they'll get upset that it's not working. Universal will be deluged with a wave of consumer complaints.

Not a problem with combo discs... just a problem with Joe-average consumers who aren't even clued in to the fact that there's an HD format war at play.
 

Dave Mack

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Just a reminder,
BRAZIL by Universal will NOT be the preferred director's cut.

:0
 

ppltd

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Currently, yes. But that is not the fault of Combo disks, which are currently priced the same as many non-combos. Simply supply and demand. If all they produce is a Combo, no SD or HD only disks, sales would push the price down. Doubt any of this will happen though. It is way to early in the life of HD content.
 

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