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For Those Who Still Think Physical Media Has No Place in the 21st century...

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Nick*Z, Nov 16, 2019.

  1. Message #201 of 647 Jan 19, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2020
    DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    That, exactly.

    I was talking with a coworker who was complaining about Apple and co shoving streaming down everyone's throats. I pointed out that it's the opposite: streaming content has started from smaller players, and the mass market -- huge numbers of non-technophile people -- actively chose streaming over discs. (And Apple per se was late to the game, reacting to the shifting market damaging their digital sales).

    People are choosing streaming over physical media because they prefer it, for whatever reasons.

    Probably, in part, because physical media sucks. Blu-ray in particular was designed first to protect the content; the user's experience was obviously an afterthought. As such, blu-ray is pretty user hostile. Endless forced trailers. That sometimes download in real time making it both slower and lower quality. Bloated javascript code running the disc that took years before players weren't painfully slow to load discs. Still the tedium of FBI warnings telling people who bought discs they really should buy discs on penalty of prosecution. Unending artificial price premiums on the media. And you don't own the media, you merely license it (legally) -- up until the disc gets scratched and it won't play and then you own it because a licensor would merit a free new copy of the licensed content.

    And that's without even getting to the $$$ advantages of streaming over $30+ discs.

    So yeah. Streaming. I get it. The blood of physical media's demise is from the studios slitting their own throats over making expensive, user-hostile formats.

    (But, I still buy somewhat because it's at present higher quality, all the special features, and I can rip to a media center. But streaming is the future.)
     
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  2. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    DVD would have been like this too, if the css encryption system was not completely cracked entirely.

    When css was cracked entirely in 1999, all the other junk was easily nullified in one fell swoop.

    https://www.afterdawn.com/glossary/term.cfm/puo
     
  3. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    And that’s why it was so great about laserdisc: it never had any of that garbage to begin with.
     
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  4. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    And maybe UHD is more user friendly than BD. I don’t have a player so don’t know. But it appears to be too late, against the simplicity of streaming and its cost and selection benefits.

    Physical media isn’t truly dead — not just yet. As many point out, 25+ Mbps home service isn’t universal. My BIL lives just outside of Indy, surrounded by Comcast. But he can only get 3Mbps. So he keeps buying discs, and just bought into 4K. There’s a lot of people with money to spend on movies but who can’t get streaming-quality internet service.
     
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  5. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    In the case of the Star Trek and Stargate Universe bluray sets, I watched through all 4 sets at the time when I first purchased them.

    Since then, I have only watched through the Stargate Universe bluray set another 3 times. I haven't watched through the StarTrek ones a third time (yet).
     
  6. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    Streaming is actually becoming an environmental concern due to the massive energy soaking, heat producing, server farms that are required to sustain the services. The streaming industry may eventually die if they cannot do something about the ridiculous amounts of energy required for air conditioning and servers.
     
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  7. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Set up servers in Siberia or Antarctica ?


    :banana:
     
  8. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    That is actually what they are doing. Not so much as Siberia or Antarctica, but they actually have located server farms in perceived cooler climate areas because cooling loads are reduced. Canada is one of them. However, it will not be a sustainable solution if streaming demand keeps increasing. if the energy sucking load of streaming servers cannot be managed or solved, discs may make a comeback in the future.
     
  9. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    I would be somewhat skeptical of it happening in this exact manner. It sounds too much like the wishful thinking fantasies of a hardcore disc collector. ;)
     
  10. Edwin-S

    Edwin-S Lead Actor
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    :laugh: Not me. My purchasing of discs has fallen precipitously. For example, I see zero reason to purchase any of Disney's overpriced product with the advent of their streaming service. However, who knows what the future holds if streaming cannot manage its energy requirements and the cost of internet service keeps going up.
     
  11. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    It might not even be discs. It could be something else.

    For example as a hypothetical scenario, it could be an app on a cellphone or usb flash drive which one downloads an encrypted movie file to from an offline kiosk at wallyworld or target.
     
  12. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Same story with the original redbook audio cd disc format.
     
  13. Edwin-S

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    Possible, but I doubt any kiosk with downloadable content would be offline. Using an online server to update the available content files would be just too tempting to do cost-wise which sort of makes kiosks pointless when content could be downloaded directly to a cell phone app from a company's server.
     
  14. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    "Meanwhile, who's going to buy a DVD of a show you can already stream in HD or purchase in HD from iTunes?"

    That's a real conundrum for me, because for practical (and political) reasons I'd choose the DVD, but quality-wise the itunes would be better though not quite as good as a Blu-Ray. In most cases, I'll just choose neither.

    The first Blu-Rays were pretty bad with loading time, but that hasn't seemed to be much of an issue lately. It seems only advanced features require loading, and then the discs load only when you actually access those features. The forced warnings and trailers are user-hostile; Paramount still forces you to play their opening logo (which is separate from the movie, but you'll usually see it again there) before you can do anything which is ridiculous. Still, there's nothing I hate more than streaming kicking you out of the movie early or suggesting you skip the intros (the option to do that is fine, but I usually watch them anyways and I don't want to see that silly "Skip Intro" prompt appear.) Ironically they will probably also force more trailers and ads before you can start a show in the future.
     
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  15. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Can you elaborate more on these "practical / political" reasons ? (ie. Without going into current realworld politics).
     
  16. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
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    Intro skip and credit skip can be helpful when bingeing a series. I’ve not seen skip intro for a (streaming) movie. Credit end on movies isn’t awesome and should at least be an option to disable. But I don’t think most people care. (I’m mixed , but I did sit through full credits today rewatching Kung Fu Panda 2 & 3.)

    This is why, right now, I like having an HTPC. All the benefits of discs. All the benefits of streaming. (The cost is my time ripping and managing content.)
     
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  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I don’t think most people care about the credits - and certainly not the point of building an HTPC to get out of them. HTPC is wonderful for enthusiasts but I don’t see the average consumer adopting it. It presents some of the same obstacles present in physical media that streaming solved for them - I don’t think the average consumer wants to buy physical content and have to digitize it, and I don’t think they want the added hassle of buying and maintaining hard drives and computer server software, and then still being responsible for storing the discs and the drives. The average consumer likes that they can press a button on their remote and find something to watch instantly, usually at a flat rate subscription price. HTPC brings back physical media hassles, storage hassles, and a la carte pricing, all things that the average consumer left behind (maybe even years ago) by switching to a subscription.

    What concerns me about HTPC is how easy it makes it to organize and access pirated content. Does anyone have statistics on whether more Plex/Emby/whatever users are using their own legal backups of discs they own and still possess, or whether most users are using the system for pirated content, or selling their discs after ripping them?
     
  18. Edwin-S

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    I have talked with people that use PCs for content and, frankly, the few I have talked to download content off the web. They certainly were not ripping their own discs. "Free" is a big temptation to a lot of people. Personally, I wouldn't do it, because of concern with getting a load of malware along with the supposedly "free" content.
     
  19. Jesse Skeen

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    But discs also let you do that, yet they don't prompt you to skip anything if you actually want to watch the entire thing straight through. Believe it or not I often watch some series one episode per day, and even watching multiples it doesn't feel complete if the end credits are cut off (many shows have different music playing over the end) and skipping the intro just feels rushed. Sometimes I actually like to hear the theme music repeatedly, that's why I have an awesome sound system! When I first saw that "Skip Intro" pop up on "Stranger Things" I immediately said "No, just no."

    Practically, it's still easiest for me to play a disc. It's just the way I've always done it for decades. While connection problems are increasingly rare they do still happen where I am and I have to reboot the router to get it working. Politically, I own the discs and barring any defects can watch them at any time- they can't be pulled offline or have any content change, and nobody can insert any onscreen prompts telling me to skip parts (but yes, it is pretty annoying when you have to sit through a warning screen or whatever- but being forced to choose one or the other I'll still take that.) Overall discs are still a much better value- I've seen TV seasons for sale on Vudu for about what a disc would cost; I just don't see as much value in that. I did buy a Showtime series for $5 on sale which wasn't available on disc at all, which was a decent deal.

    Another shortcoming of streaming that nobody seems to notice is the frame rate on video-based material is usually wrong. Every old videotaped sitcom I've seen online is at a jerky frame rate when it should look like a live broadcast, and does on discs (except in cases like "Laugh-In" where they screwed it up.) It's possible now to do high frame rate via streaming but I've never seen it used when sampling shows online. I flip through the Xumo channels on my LG TV once per week and a lot of the news channels look awful with the lower frame rate.
     
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  20. Keith Cobby

    Keith Cobby Cinematographer

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    I have fast broadband and stream Prime and Netflix with no problems, in fact we often stream 3 or 4 devices at the same time. I had intended to buy Phantom Thread which i would have watched and added to my library but watched it on Netflix and didn't enjoy it enough to buy the disc. Streaming has changed the behaviour of this disc fan and disc sales have slipped by one. My young son streams a film that he owns on disc because it is more convenient. I wouldn't watch a film on phone or tablet but want to see it on the biggest screen possible. The world has changed and discs will eventually die. Friends of mine own discs (none have 4k) but none are collectors.
     

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