1. Sign-up to become a member, and most of the ads you see will disappear. It only takes 30 seconds to sign up, so join the discussion today!
    Dismiss Notice

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. Sam Favate

    Sam Favate Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2004
    Messages:
    9,067
    Likes Received:
    4,311
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Sam Favate
    Jesse Skeen and timk1041 like this.
  2. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    22,457
    Likes Received:
    3,821
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Catfisch Cinema
    Real Name:
    Dave
    Sure. It's about what annoyances you personally accept or reject most. I've watched seasons on disc, on TiVo (with and without ad-skip), and on streaming (with and without ads). All are fine, none are perfect. I'll take the skip intro graphic over the relatively higher hassle of discs. If it's a new release show, I'll typically prefer TiVo (esp. with ad skip) over streaming, because that's even more responsive. But sometimes a secondary channel is even more compressed than a streaming source, so I have to consider whether to watch a show I'm recording instead by streaming. Folks gonna pick their preferred approach.

    Watching my 10 year old nieces navigate my dad's (their grandfather) new Roku to bring up Disney+ to watch specific episodes selected from four seasons of "Jessie", it's clear that streaming is the future. These young girls will never say "it's still easiest to play a disc". I'm not sure they even know how to play a DVD or Blu-ray, but they're champs with creating profiles in a streaming service and finding the content they care about at home and away. They understand that streaming is streaming, and if grandpa gets a Roku, they can watch their shows at his house now too. :)

    As I tell a coworker, in good humor but seriously, when he's ranting about streaming music services: You're getting old. We who grew up with physical media I estimate are more prone to stay with it longer, hang on to it, to be the ones keep the product alive. It what we know and are most comfortable with.

    But also: talking with coworkers in their 30s and younger, broadly speaking they don't do physical media. Cable subs are decreasing for them too. It's streaming. Offering to lend them the Blu-ray Discs for a show that they're interested in is met with blank eyes as they slowly back away from the crazy old man. :)

    Physical media might be here to stay, but it's not a growth industry.
     
    Josh Steinberg and Worth like this.
  3. Worth

    Worth Producer

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2009
    Messages:
    3,366
    Likes Received:
    2,399
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Real Name:
    Nick Dobbs
    Yes, and expect disc prices to start rising. As fewer and fewer people stick with discs, distributors are going to have to increase prices to remain profitable. It's heading back to the days of laserdisc.
     
    Stephen_J_H and Josh Steinberg like this.
  4. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2005
    Messages:
    6,902
    Likes Received:
    3,700
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    And it is ironic that digital is much easier to steal and distribute than a clunky disc any day of the week.

    Where are the FBI warnings on easy as pie digital platforms? It really seems like physical collectors are dealt an unfair hand.
     
    MatthewA and Jesse Skeen like this.
  5. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,838
    Likes Received:
    639
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    Just wait til the content they care about goes off the streaming services for one reason or another. And if it was never issued on disc, they'll likely just not get to see it again, ever.

    I haven't found that to be the case personally (and I know this is a largely verboten topic here so I won't say too much about it) but I have found places to see "stolen" Netflix content online for free- the quality isn't as good, but at least it's free of the annoyances inserted by the current Netflix interface. They may be stealing the content but at least people get properly credited there! And speaking of stealing, that's one reason studios should be eager to get rid of regular DVDs, Blu-Rays aren't as easy or cheap to crack and I wouldn't even be able to try with a 4K disc.

    I liked the linked article- even disregarding the annoyances from some streaming services you have to subscribe to more of them to get exclusive content, and overall it's cheaper for me in the long run to pay just for the specific shows or movies that I want be it on disc or digital. I wish services like Vudu had a cheaper way to get current shows, like subscribing to them but not "owning" them forever- maybe just get access to the past few weeks' episodes, which would let you see them faster than waiting for a season set on disc to come out a few months later if at all.
     
    Suzanne.S and MatthewA like this.
  6. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    5,061
    Likes Received:
    1,933
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    jr
    Then it will be like it was back when my grandparents were young. Once something was gone from the theaters, you generally never saw it again until tv became a widespread reality in the 1950s.
     
  7. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    17,740
    Likes Received:
    21,610
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I think there are specific reasons beyond streaming’s pricing and convenience advantages for why that is. The economy has changed, and the goals and opportunities for people in their 30s and younger have changed from what was available to previous generations.

    In a previous generation, the “standard” was that most people would find stable work at a long term employer and then be able to set down roots in a specific place, perhaps buying a house, which encourages the collecting of physical items of any sort.

    In today’s so-called “gig economy,” a lot of younger people aren’t finding opportunities for permanent, full time work with a single employer. They’re working for a fixed period and hoping to get a contract renewed after that, or juggling several jobs to make ends meet, or doing work for companies that treat them as independent contractors with no benefits rather than as employees. Under those conditions, it’s much harder to lay down roots. It’s hard to even consider buying a house if you don’t know where the next paycheck comes from, or if you’re doing fine now but have no job security to back it up. A lot of younger people are living at home longer and/or renting out rooms and/or choosing apartments with shorter lease periods. There are a lot of people that need to stay nimble and flexible to stay afloat, and having a large collection of physical objects of any kind becomes a hindrance to that.

    My last peer who collected physical media just gave it up. He met someone he wanted to share his life with and got an apartment with her in a place they had both always wanted to live, and that simply wasn’t going to be possible with a collection of thousands of discs. I’m in a similar boat myself where I’ve ripped a large percentage of my collection to a home theater PC in part because my collection was growing larger than my ability to afford housing in my city large enough to hold it. But we were the outliers; most people aren’t even trying to cram this stuff and carry it with them.

    I remember way back around 2013 when the Blu-rays of Star Trek The Next Generation were coming out and I had a coworker a little younger than me who was a big fan of the show, and I was telling me that he had to buy these. He asked me why. I said because he was such a fan of the show, that the discs looked and sounded amazing, surely he’d like to have them. And he said that he didn’t need to buy them, he had all the episodes already. I asked what he meant, and he said that they were all on Netflix, and all on Amazon Prime, that they were adding the remastered versions as they were being released on disc. He could already watch them whenever he wanted at no cost, and why should he spend extra money for something he already had? At the time, I argued that he didn’t have them, as if streaming wasn’t real or didn’t count somehow. In hindsight, it’s my position that didn’t age well. I was actually trying to argue with a guy that streaming didn’t count. Meanwhile, flash forward a few years and its me that looks silly. At least one disc in every single season set of that show I own has gone bad. My ownership of a physical object did not grant me unlimited access. And it’s still streaming on those same services working just fine.

    I see echos of that conversation rippling across HTF and among physical media collectors across the internet. Some of the biggest collectors are making argument after argument that streaming isn’t real, doesn’t work and doesn’t count and in dismay that no one else is recognizing that, while the people who have moved on to include streaming in their arsenal of tools are starting to get frustrated that collectors are telling them that they’re not watching the movie that they have on right in front of their eyes.

    From my perspective, I’m having a hard time understanding why so many collectors refuse to see that streaming does meet the needs of most average consumers. Acknowledging that doesn’t make disc collecting any less valid as a hobby. Recognizing someone else had a good reason to make a different choice for themselves doesn’t mean that your choice was a bad one for you.

    To bring it back to the thread title: it’s not that physical media has no place in the 21st century. It’s that physical media is returning to its original position as a niche market for hobbyists rather than a mass produced consumer product for the general public.
     
    BobO'Link and Worth like this.
  8. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    5,486
    Likes Received:
    1,727
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Hawthorne, NV
    Real Name:
    Todd Erwin
    I'd like to add MGM and STX to that list. To have Universal distribute for both studios and only offer ATV (formerly iTunes) codes is confusing for the average consumer.
     
    Sam Posten and Josh Steinberg like this.
  9. Message #229 of 647 Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    22,457
    Likes Received:
    3,821
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Catfisch Cinema
    Real Name:
    Dave
    Not to my understanding. Discs are easy to copy by enthusiasts. Streaming is hard and not readily done by enthusiasts. Both are equally easy to pirate once someone has illicitly posted it online.

    Sure. And just wait until discs die of bit rot or are scratched or otherwise stop playing for one reason or another. <shrug>

    I think the handwringing over streaming services removing content is much ado about nothing. And at present obviously not happening. There’s no money in it.

    Content may change services as contracts settle out. But that’s a matter of canceling one service and subscribing to a different one. Tedious perhaps. But people haven’t lost The Office or Friends, it’s just in different places. And this will presumably stabilize in the coming years as companies stabilize and become entrenched.
     
    Josh Steinberg likes this.
  10. DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    22,457
    Likes Received:
    3,821
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Catfisch Cinema
    Real Name:
    Dave
    That’s an interesting speculation. Could be, could be. <strokes chin thoughtfully>
     
    Josh Steinberg likes this.
  11. Todd Erwin

    Todd Erwin Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Apr 16, 2008
    Messages:
    5,486
    Likes Received:
    1,727
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Hawthorne, NV
    Real Name:
    Todd Erwin
    They're already staying fairly high compared to years prior. New Blu-ray releases that would typically sell for $20 or less the first week are routinely selling for $23-25, with 4K Blu-rays selling for $30 when they used to debut at $20-25.
     
    Bryan^H and Josh Steinberg like this.
  12. Message #232 of 647 Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    DaveF

    DaveF Moderator
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2001
    Messages:
    22,457
    Likes Received:
    3,821
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Catfisch Cinema
    Real Name:
    Dave
    I’m not disagreeing on the profound impact the Great Recession made to the millennials in general.

    But anecdotally, I’m talking with young professionals with stable, long-term careers and aren’t in a “gig” job. And they’re moving away from physical media too. Now, they do have jobs with relocations every two to eight years, and that might motivate against accumulating discs and cds.

    As you say, even setting aside jobs and career issues, streaming has appeal per se to people. Your STTNG anecdote is spot on. It’s all there online and it’s basically free.
     
    Josh Steinberg likes this.
  13. WillG

    WillG Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Jan 30, 2003
    Messages:
    6,854
    Likes Received:
    832
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    MatthewA likes this.
  14. Message #234 of 647 Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

    Joined:
    Apr 19, 2000
    Messages:
    8,749
    Likes Received:
    2,387
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Location:
    Salinas, CA
    Real Name:
    Matthew
    Yeah, your favorites, maybe. That's no comfort to anyone whose favorite show stalled at season 1 or 2 and is only available on streaming with some of the episodes missing a few minutes. That is, if they are even on streaming at all.

    Here's a link for non-NYT subscribers.

    Though to be honest, at this point, it's hard to sympathize with anyone who didn't know these shows were available. A simple Internet search could have told you so.
     
  15. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    5,061
    Likes Received:
    1,933
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    jr
    Even worse are shows which didn't release any seasons on dvd in america, but is/was availabe on reruns + streaming.

    For example, such as Cold Case which had tons of music over its seven seasons.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cold_Case
     
    MatthewA likes this.
  16. Message #236 of 647 Jan 20, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2020
    jcroy

    jcroy Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    5,061
    Likes Received:
    1,933
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    jr
    One current tv show which I strongly suspect will never see the light of day on dvd / bluray is Stumptown.

    It has tons of music so far. The previews before the pilot had "Heartbreaker" by Pat Benatar.


    It appears to be owned by ABC and will most likely live on Disney's streaming services.
     
  17. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

    Joined:
    Nov 28, 2011
    Messages:
    5,061
    Likes Received:
    1,933
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    jr
    I kinda wonder if the first generation which widely eschewed cd/dvd discs, is the demographic which was the first to embrace easy p2p file sharing programs back when they were in high school. Programs like Kazaa, Morpheus, Limewire, etc ... back in the early->mid 2000s.

    The only such discs these folks might have had, was stuff like NSync, Backstreet Boys, Spice Girls, Britney Spears, etc ... Basically cds which were given to them by well-intentioned but misguided parents.
     
  18. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 1999
    Messages:
    4,838
    Likes Received:
    639
    Trophy Points:
    4,110
    For now it is- and no subscription is really "free" and the prices will inevitably go up. I'm not a big Star Trek fan but if I were I would've bought the discs anyways, not only to get them in the best possible quality but also to truly have my own copies, which it seems "the kids these days" don't care about. I have a lot of my all-time favorite shows on disc to watch whenever I want, and if I were depending on streaming for them instead I'd already have paid a lot more for that than what I paid for the discs. I have a huge collection but I still gather I've paid less for them over 20 years than I would have for 20 years of cable TV, which I gave up on LONG ago.

    Streaming has its place (as long as it's free from the annoyances I've mentioned at least) but if you truly want to always have access to whatever your favorites are, you can't depend on it for that. (And as we've seen in some cases like The Simpsons, past episodes can be retroactively withdrawn.)
     
  19. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Supporting Actor

    Joined:
    Sep 1, 2006
    Messages:
    713
    Likes Received:
    322
    Trophy Points:
    610
    Discs = ownership.
    Streaming = access.

    This has always been the case, and this has always been the promise.
     
    EricSchulz and Stephen_J_H like this.
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
    Reviewer

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2003
    Messages:
    17,740
    Likes Received:
    21,610
    Trophy Points:
    9,110
    Real Name:
    Josh Steinberg
    I’m not sure that’s actually true, though I’ll totally concede that that’s what we’ve long thought. It also depends on whether you’re saying “streaming” as a catch-all for anything digital or only specifically for digital purchases. It is not fair to compare an a la carte disc purchase to a subscription service.

    I have a disc collection that includes well over a thousand titles. I’ve been slowly building a home theater PC and adding each disc to it. And, as I’ve done so, I’ve discovered that a not insignificant number of discs will no longer play. So what exactly do I own? A piece of plastic that’s no longer good? The retailers I’ve purchased them can’t replace them. The studios that put them out won’t replace them. Owning the physical object didn’t guarantee ownership.

    Meanwhile, TV episodes I purchased on iTunes back in 2006 play just fine. And when I’ve had trouble with iTunes purchases in the past (a very rare occurrence) Apple has stepped in to help regardless of when I purchased.

    Again, and I don’t know why I have to keep saying this lest I be labeled anti-disc, that doesn’t mean that discs are without merit or that digital is perfect. But I just don’t accept the premise that purchasing a physical items equals having permanent access to the content in a way that no other delivery method can provide.

    I think the bigger long term change, that’s getting obscured somewhat in the conversation about physical and digital, more important perhaps, is that it’s not just that the average consumer who drives market forces is moving away from discs... it’s that they’re moving away from purchasing single titles a la carte in favor of subscribing to a broad array of content for a low flat rate. That trend started back when disc was king, when Netflix pioneered the a la carte approach, and when subscription services displaced disc sales in the music industry. It’s now entering the realm of movie theaters where this country’s three major chains now offer subscription pricing in addition to individual ticket sales (and the subscription is often about or only slightly more than the same price as one regular ticket). Even sports teams are offering flat rate discount subscriptions in addition to traditional a la carte and season tickets, where you can pay a small monthly or yearly fee and then show up at the ballpark and have any open seat as part of that package.

    The larger trend that perhaps we’re missing or not paying as much attention to is that the general public is moving away from one time transactions for individual experiences. And in that context, it’s extremely unlikely that a la carte sales (whether on physical media or through digital storefronts like iTunes) will regain their footing and topple subscription sales. For the general public, the whole “physical vs digital” argument is beside the point. For them, the point is that they’re paying less for unlimited access to more, and that’s the better value for them. Most people don’t obsess over movies or TV. Most people can’t name individual episode titles or names of supporting actors. Most people going to watch a movie or show aren’t looking for a lifetime commitment to that one thing. And in that context, it seems pretty understandable why things are unfolding as they are, and why arguments (which may or may not be true) like “X format offers better quality than Y” or “this format is less likely to go bad than that format” aren’t of interest to the general consumer. They have a thing that works for them that they like. And while that may be different from what our preferences are, I think we need to respect that they have something that works for them or we’ll never get any further in this conversation.

    And to me, further is this: disc sales could either become like laserdisc, an expensive niche for serious enthusiasts where the product by necessity must be at a very high level to both appease that small group and justify the price, or they could disappear entirely if the remaining enthusiasts aren’t willing to pay more up front and show their support for the physical formats that do remain. I think it could go either way. Personally, of those options, I’d prefer discs remain as a niche rather than not at all.
     
    DaveF, BobO'Link and Worth like this.

Share This Page