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Are there any cases where streaming is better than physical release? (1 Viewer)

Brian Kidd

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What I mean by the question posed in the thread title is, for a film/show where there is a comparable resolution release on both physical disc and digital streaming (i.e. Blu-ray and 1080p Digital), are there any cases where the digital release is a better version than that released on disc? As much as I use streaming for quick access to things, I don't think I've come across a situation where the digital version is clearly superior to the physical version.

With that said, do any of you have any knowledge of particular films where you'd recommend the digital version over the physical version for quality reasons? Longer version, better image quality, better sound, etc.
 
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Josh Steinberg

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The only exception is if an HD streaming version is available and only SD is available on disc.

There are a huge number of titles where this is the case.

Most new TV shows today are not getting BD releases but are available in HD via streaming. Many titles that are DVD-only are available in HD via streaming. In those cases, particularly if the DVD was non-anamorphic widescreen, the streaming version will be a huge step up.

There are some films that have different versions available on streaming than on physical. The recent digital release of "The Fate Of The Furious" includes an extended version of the film that's not available on the physical disc. (Purchasing the disc gets you access to the digital copy, so if you own the disc, you own the longer version, but only as a stream and not as an item on the disc.)
 
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Ushabye

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In my experience finding a streaming version that even equals the disc version is very rare. Most streaming versions don't include multiple audio tracks, to access the commentary, for example. Or even full uncompressed sound. I'm still making my own 'streaming editions' because of this.
 

Brian Kidd

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Most new TV shows today are not getting BD releases but are available in HD via streaming. Many titles that are DVD-only are available in HD via streaming. In those cases, particularly if the DVD was non-anamorphic widescreen, the streaming version will be a huge step up.

I know, in the case of an HD version being unavailable on disc that the streaming is preferable, but I'm talking about situations comparing physical and digital versions that are the roughly the same, i.e. Blu-ray and 1080p digital. Josh, your example of The Fate of the Furious is what I mean. In that case, an extended version is only available to stream, rather than on disc. (Yes, I know that longer does not always equal better. ;) )
 

Josh Steinberg

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Josh, your example of The Fate of the Furious is what I mean. In that case, an extended version is only available to stream, rather than on disc.

Paramount's done that with some bonus content over the past few years (most notably on Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek Beyond, making the audio commentaries iTunes exclusives), while Disney has also been experimenting with that. For the recent live action Beauty And The Beast, the commentary is a Vudu exclusive, and for first release of The Force Awakens, one deleted scene was held exclusively for Disney Movies Anywhere.

However, at least with those titles, the physical discs all came with coupons for free digital redemptions, so in my view, you were still better off buying the disc and redeeming the coupon, rather than skipping the disc altogether.

I expect we'll see more and more of this.

Ironically, when BD first came out, they were really promoting that BD-Live streaming component, and one of the hooks there was that BD-Live would be a way for studios to constantly update your purchases, so that additional bonus features could be added in the weeks, months and years after the original release of the disc. New interviews and behind the scenes footage could be added, if a sequel was ever made, promotional material for the sequel could be added to your bonus features for the original, etc., etc. It seemed like a really neat idea - which no one ever really used.
 

Brian Kidd

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Ironically, when BD first came out, they were really promoting that BD-Live streaming component, and one of the hooks there was that BD-Live would be a way for studios to constantly update your purchases, so that additional bonus features could be added in the weeks, months and years after the original release of the disc. New interviews and behind the scenes footage could be added, if a sequel was ever made, promotional material for the sequel could be added to your bonus features for the original, etc., etc. It seemed like a really neat idea - which no one ever really used.

Yeah, BD-Live seemed like a good idea at the time. Sadly, the technology wasn't ready to live up to the promise. Implementation on players was buggy, when it worked at all. Download times were interminable. Also, companies like Disney pulled crap like getting rid of the documentaries from the fantastic Fantasia Anthology DVD set and relegating them to BD-Live, where they were only available for a short time and in crappy resolution. The Dark Knight disc had what I thought was a neat use of the technology with the ability to record and download commentaries from other viewers, but I only got it to work once and, then, it was buggy.
 

Josh Steinberg

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The Dark Knight disc had what I thought was a neat use of the technology with the ability to record and download commentaries from other viewers

I never did that, but shortly after the disc came out, Christopher Nolan did a text Q&A that worked over BD-Live - you could submit questions in advance and during, and Nolan would type his responses during the film on the screen, and could even pause and control playback during. I'm not sure if anyone else used that feature after him, but it was a cool idea.
 
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Mark-P

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I think there are people who made a case that the Blu-rays for The King and I and The Sword and the Stone were inferior to the streaming versions which were older transfers. I don’t know if TK&I streaming version ever got replaced with the newer transfer or not, however Amazon still streams the older TSITS.
 

Brian Kidd

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I think there are people who made a case that the Blu-rays for The King and I and The Sword and the Stone were inferior to the streaming versions which were older transfers.

Good one. The Sword in the Stone is one I can confirm. I've seen the version that is (and still may be) available to stream and, though it was an older transfer, it also wasn't digitally scrubbed to death. I thought it looked great.
 

Mark-P

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Good one. The Sword in the Stone is one I can confirm. I've seen the version that is (and still may be) available to stream and, though it was an older transfer, it also wasn't digitally scrubbed to death. I thought it looked great.
If you own a digital copy and join Movies Anywhere it will give you access at Amazon which is definitely still the older transfer. All the other digital providers only have the newer weird-looking version.
 

turns2stone

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Top Gun on iTunes uses the newest transfer with full grain intact, no DNR! This originates from the transfer done for the 3D version. All 2D Blu-ray versions use a very scrubbed transfer.

Also, Silence of the Lambs is available for 4K streaming via VUDU. Same with The Conjuring 1/2 and the Annabelle movies.
 

RobertSiegel

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I think there are people who made a case that the Blu-rays for The King and I and The Sword and the Stone were inferior to the streaming versions which were older transfers. I don’t know if TK&I streaming version ever got replaced with the newer transfer or not, however Amazon still streams the older TSITS.

By goodness, you found one. Yes, I totally agree that The King and I's streaming is so much better than the blu-ray only because it is the previous transfer, which is really stunning, why they never used that transfer on the blu-ray is beyond me. HDnet has sown The King and I for some years now in a stunning beautiful transfer, just gorgeous, yet on blu-ray this top classic looks just terrible. One would think they would correct this, as it's always mentioned as one of the worst. They re-did Patton after their wax-looking disc,, why not The King and I?
 

Bob Walters

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What I mean by the question posed in the thread title is, for a film/show where there is a comparable resolution release on both physical disc and digital streaming (i.e. Blu-ray and 1080p Digital), are there any cases where the digital release is a better version than that released on disc? As much as I use streaming for quick access to things, I don't think I've come across a situation where the digital version is clearly superior to the physical version.

With that said, do any of you have any knowledge of particular films where you'd recommend the digital version over the physical version for quality reasons? Longer version, better image quality, better sound, etc.
 
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One interesting advantage I've found to purchasing digital copies through iTunes is that Apple periodically makes upgrades from SD to HD available free of charge for previous purchases, as the various studios allow, and will apparently be doing the same with 4K titles as they become available. Little by little, about 2/3 of my purchases have been upgraded, some dating back 10 years and even including titles downloaded using a digital download code.
 

Tino

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One interesting advantage I've found to purchasing digital copies through iTunes is that Apple periodically makes upgrades from SD to HD available free of charge for previous purchases, as the various studios allow, and will apparently be doing the same with 4K titles as they become available. Little by little, about 2/3 of my purchases have been upgraded, some dating back 10 years and even including titles downloaded using a digital download code.
Apple has been upgrading HD purchased to 4K when available free of charge for many months now.
 

Sam Posten

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And HDR. HDR is much more important than pure resolution.

To answer the OP: it is no longer a truism that disks are always your best bet. Streams are GREAT today. You guys need to stop fearing them or you are going to miss out on a lot of awesome content.
 

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