Could Physical Media Extend To USB

Jesse Skeen

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I never saw Pioneer as evil, although they were set to put out DVD players with DIVX but never did.
 

jcroy

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I never saw Pioneer as evil, although they were set to put out DVD players with DIVX but never did.
Pioneer was very evil during the 2000s decade. They made some of the worst computer dvdr drives of that era. (To add insult to injury, they were not bargain bin fodder either).

Somewhat sad that Pioneer is currently one out of two manufacturers left, still making actual computer bluray-r drives. The other one left is LG. Just about everybody else has already abandoned the computer bluray-r drive market.
 

Thomas Newton

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I never saw Pioneer as evil, although they were set to put out DVD players with DIVX but never did.
If you mean DIVX as in the Circuit City / Hollywood lawyer creation, that was very evil, indeed. All DIVX brought to the table was "rent forever, own never". Even DIVX-Silver discs, which supposedly gave ownership of the movie, turned into pumpkins when the central DRM servers went down for the count.

Although I don't believe there was any technical reason requiring it, DIVX movies were almost all Pan and Scan.
 

Ed Lachmann

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People are moving past owning movies, rather it be on disc, USB, or Fortress of Solitude crystal.

Really.
YOU are "moving past owning movies", NOT me and I'd imagine plenty of others. If the USB disc is the only way to own HD product deemed "not worth the effort" to produce on disc it might be an interesting alternative, perhaps through Amazon, iTunes and others that "sell" product. They could do it cheaply with no artwork or packaging. HD versions of some of my most wanted titles exist there, titles like Freaks, the Mankiewicz Julius Caesar, The Story of Ruth, probably soon the "imperfect" HD Raintree County we see on TCM and countless others that will have HD upgrades produced by the studios for streaming service sites only. They will NEVER make it to blu-ray disc, so why not an alternative way for those us who DO own movies to have some chance at owning our beloved ones? And, for Christ's sake, why would studios even worry about protecting the integrity of physical product that "no one wants anymore", just an insignificant microscopic handful of "loons" like me?
 
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Cranston37

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YOU are "moving past owning movies", NOT me and I'd imagine plenty of others.
I can only assume your emotions on the subject got the best of you there because I personally purchase movies and I'm not sure what makes you say otherwise.

What my comment was referring to was the numbers released only a month ago showing that only 20% of home entertainment dollars now goes to purchases (digital and physical), while 80% goes to subscriptions and rentals.

Are there still people making purchases? Yep, 20% of the market. But is the market as a whole "moving past" purchasing, as in the direction things are heading, which is the only thing I said on the matter?

Absolutely.

And, for Christ's sake, why would studios even worry about protecting the integrity of physical product that "no one wants anymore", just an insignificant microscopic handful of "loons" like me?
Oh just stop. Honestly...
 
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Thomas Newton

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If the USB disc is the only way to own HD product deemed "not worth the effort" to produce on disc it might be an interesting alternative, perhaps through Amazon, iTunes and others that "sell" product. They could do it cheaply with no artwork or packaging.
Pressed optical discs, burned-on-demand optical discs, and electronic downloads would be cheaper distribution methods than pre-loaded USB flash drives. With downloads and on-demand manufacturing, there is no need to maintain an inventory of pressed discs or pre-loaded drives; no need to physically move anything in advance of an order.

More likely, the problem is that studios think that there is more money to be made by producing something like "Little Blue People 5: Chainsaw Sleepover Party at Papa's House" than by reissuing an obscure title like, say, "High Noon". ;) Even if both titles would be profitable, if they would be in competition for the same people, facilities, and/or customer dollars, that might make it harder for the classic title to get green-lighted.
 
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Ed Lachmann

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We ancients sadly remember that the pre-cambrian drives were, in fact, whirring discs inside a housing. Please excuse the dinosaurs. Want to say thank you, Thomas Newton, for your post. I feel EXACTLY the same way. Still wondering if, in the near future, a high capacity USB DRIVE might be an economical way to distribute 4K product once most of the streaming media outlets go 4K. Seems the image quality would be preserved if there were no compression on a 1:1 transfer. I might be wrong, but just a thought, Still, I'd sure buy such a product if they made it available. Still, as you noted, a burned disc would still be my ideal. Just really want to own beloved movies and would certainly pay dearly for them. Nobody will be putting out my dream titles on 4K disc anytime soon.
 

zoetmb

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Seems like a bad idea, then.

To me, I was thinking about possible higher profit margins for the sellers and the more practical aspect to it.

For example, just connecting the USB to the TV and letting it do the rest saves the hassle of a specific player such as with Blu Ray.
It's not higher profit margins for the sellers or makers because USB drives, as cheap as they are, are far more expensive than pressing a disc. And it takes longer to copy big files than it does to press a disc, which takes a few seconds (although lots of preparation before it). It would initally save users money because as you said, they wouldn't need a player. But the packaging would be terrible because it would have to be thicker than a DVD or Blu-ray package and there's not exactly a lot of room for appropriate labeling. And while packaging is less of an issue now that there are fewer physical retailers, there are still enough that they would not want to have re-do their fixtures to accommodate a completely different size package. That's why when CD's were first released in the U.S., they were packaged in 6x12" long boxes so they could fit in the same fixtures as LP's. They were eventually eliminated because of complaints over the wasted paper board and its environmental impact. There's another problem with USB drives and that's that they can introduce worms and other security flaws. That probably wouldn't happen on those produced by Disney or WB or other big companies, but I wouldn't necessarily trust independent companies, especially if the USB's are being produced overseas. I've learned to never trust the USB promotional drives that are given away at trade shows for this reason.

And as many others have pointed out, the masses have moved away from physical media and they would have no need for a USB copy of a movie. If you don't care about the ultimate in quality and especially if one is watching on a small screen, streaming is more than good enough. In 2009, DVD/Blu was an $11 billion business in North America and in 2019, it was only $3.4 billion. You can argue that the masses are wrong and that they're accepting garbage, but they have absolutely chosen. It's not that Blu-ray is going to disappear, but more and more it's going to be a niche format, much the way Laserdiscs were and even LP's were, once cassettes and 8-tracks became available. The masses almost always go for convenience over quality and streaming is more convenient than physical media. CD's were a big hit in their day because they had both quality and convenience, but even then, it took five years for CD unit sales to beat LP's and 9 years for CD's to beat cassettes (in North America). CD units peaked in 2000, 17 years after introduction. They've dropped about 96% since then.
 

JediFonger

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point 1: if you are a silent film fan (like me) you cannot stream most silent films. i dont have netflix but when i was over at a friend's house last august, i searched for 'silent films' and only found 1 package here: https://www.kinolorber.com/product/pioneers-first-women-filmmakers-blu-ray

so if i did not invest in physical packaging... i would never be able to watch silent films! and as good as criterion is, they dont have the rights to everything. for example Abel Gance's 1927's 3 disc (5+hrs) epic on Blu-Ray. that thing is amazing... but it's (far as i know) nowhere on any streaming platform.

therefore, when we say "unlimited titles" that is not quite true, even if you had all the $ in the world and you subscribed to all the stream services... not everything is available (especially silent films like myself).

point 2: a bit unrelated to the thread... but if you wanted to backup UHDs onto USB sticks... you can play the whole disc by directly using 4k TV apps to playback the content off of your TV. so that part is nifty :) FYI
 

zoetmb

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why would studios even worry about protecting the integrity of physical product that "no one wants anymore", just an insignificant microscopic handful of "loons" like me?
As the physical market gets smaller, they won't. You're an executive at a studio. Your job and bonus is based upon achieving revenue and profit targets. The streaming market is getting larger and larger. In North America, the physical video market has dropped from $11 billion in 2009 to $3.4 billion in 2019 (at list prices). Still a nice chunk of change, but also much smaller than many other businesses and heading down. The catalog doesn't mean much because this has become largely a current hit business and because just about every vintage title that's going to really sell has already been issued (I know there are some exceptions). In 2019, the top 100 titles, about 80% of which were recent titles, took 60% of the units and 50% of the revenue. I don't have numbers for the next 100 units, but my bet would be that the top 200 titles takes over 80% of the business. Which means that the majority of all the other titles issued (Amazon lists over 50,000 Blu-rays) do almost no sales whatsoever. Add to that the fact that for streaming, you don't have to invest in packaging, manufacturing or distribution, so it's far lower risk. Where would you put your resources?
 

tns49

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There are still some companies releasing their stuff on USB Flash (unless its all old stock). E.g. Busch. Not that it is very practical for the reasons others have mentioned. Busch was doing it for some of their 4k stuff before they started releasing UHD Blu-ray
 

OwenRubin

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Without an effective encryption system, this will never get off the ground.

Note that the drm encryption systems on dvd and bluray/4Kbluray have all been cracked (entirely for dvd). It took slightly longer to crack the encryption on less popular disc formats, such as dvd-audio, sacd, etc ...
This always makes me laugh, because any encryption system that has to work on millions of devices is going to get cracked. I can't think of a single DRM that has been 100% effective. Even Nagra's system has been hacked. Yet media companies will spend many millions developing something new.

Without an on-line connection for various handshake protocols, (and even then, not 100% effective) it is difficult to have a DRM system that cannot be easily cracked at some point.

But what the real answer is I have no clue anymore.
 
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JediFonger

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actually cinavia’s doing pretty good. not sure if it can (or worthwhile anymore) but it’d destroy the audio track if they did?

This always makes me laugh, because any encryption system that has to work on millions of devices is going to get cracked. I can't think of a single DRM that has been 100% effective. Even Nagra's system has been hacked. Yet media companies will spend many millions developing something new.

Without an on-line connection for various handshake protocols, (and even then, not 100% effective) it is difficult to have a DRM system that cannot be easily cracked at some point.

But what the real answer is I have no clue anymore.
 

DaveF

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In bulk, without data loading or outer packaging, USB drives are around $3/unit for 16gb, in quantities of 1000. Figure another 50 cents/each for minimal packaging.

1000 BD-25 Blu-rays are around $3.00 each, including all packaging.
I think this is key: Flash storage is 10x to 100x more expensive than optical discs. New 4k UHD releases would go from $30 disc to $50+ thumb drive. That would only further the demise of physical media.

And if I wanted to have wish fulfillment: I'd rather have them distributed on microSD cards, like Nintendo Switch games. Super tiny, take no space. One could imagine a "multi-player" that could literally holds dozens, even hundreds of them at a time, with expansion modules, for a true in-home digital library system a la Kaleidoscape.
 

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