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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. Mark Booth

    Mark Booth Cinematographer
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    I only own 10 of those 25 titles.

    Mark
     
  2. Traveling Matt

    Traveling Matt Supporting Actor

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    Well, nothing is forever of course. But there are optical media such as audio CDs that date back to the beginning of the format (ca 1982) and play just fine today. DVD hasn't had the same luck unfortunately and it's perhaps too early to tell with Blu-ray, but the tech is essentially the same and so should be the expectation generally. Some DVDs will probably still read thirty years from now, and amazingly I have no read issues with any of my discs AFAIK (but I have relatives who do so I know it's real).

    I wasn't using streaming as a catch-all, but since we're talking digital purchases (downloads) too, I'll compare. I too am working on a HTPC, and for me disc ownership has come to mean some new things. A, a hard copy that doesn't vaporize. B, a disc I can rip. C, data I can optimize as I see fit (export settings). D, the ability to do it all again if I need. E, doing it as soon as I purchase to avoid read issues later.

    Downloads are technically "ownership," yes, but severely compromised ownership compared to the above. And if I had some downloads (I don't) I'd have no idea where they might be in thirty years.

    Streaming, of course not being ownership in any way, doesn't even have a seat at the table. But I am not anti-streaming by any means. I'm pro-streaming. I love it. 95%+ of the content out there I don't care to own, but accessing it like regular folks who don't care to own 100% of the content works perfectly fine for me. And I agree it's not a physical vs. digital debate for regular folks. It's indeed more a matter of convenience for them, as it is for me with shows I don't care about.

    For shows I do care about, however, streaming isn't good enough.
     
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  3. Message #243 of 647 Jan 21, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2020
    jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    No it has not been. Before vhs/beta machines were on the market, it mind as well been only access semi-live and no ownership.

    The only viable "ownership" before vhs/beta, was if you had access to a film projector and stuff which was available on 8mm or 16mm film reels.
     
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  4. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    I have a massive collection of CDs/DVDs/Blu rays. It would take the rest of my life to “rip them” to hard drives. I don’t mind streaming for shows that I intend to watch once on Netflix, etc. but until there is some sort of world library/data base that includes every classic movie and TV show, I intend to hang on to my discs. I’ll just have to put up with the occasional rotten one (none so far :wacko:!) as a risk I’ll have to take for the benefits of ownership. I’ve been collecting for 65+ years, and through CDrs have most of that collection in tact.

    Now, ask me in another life in a parallel world where streaming was available before I bought my first record!
     
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  5. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    Good point.

    If I was 20 years younger, during high school I would have grown up with easy downloading / streaming (both legal and illegal) for music and tv/movies.

    I don't know if I would have ever latched onto cd/dvd discs at all, if music and movies are "disposable" commodities (whether real or perceived).
     
  6. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    The only way this type of "bundling" can be stopped in its tracks and go back to a la carte, is if the government makes it illegal.

    Though I suspect even if this practice becomes legally banned, it would probably be "too little too late" for cd/dvd/bluray.
     
  7. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    I suspect the only reason a movie company will replace a defective dvd or bluray disc, is semi-goodwill and a way of dumping old inventory they have piling up in their warehouses without having to send it all to a landfill garbage dump. (Probably also a tax writeoff).

    It appears Warner is willing to do this, judging by the thread on here about defective Warner discs from a decade ago. Don't know about other companies.
     
  8. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    8-track tapes ?

    ;)
     
  9. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I don’t see how that genie gets put back in the bottle.

    Right now, if the average consumer wants to see a movie, they grab their remote control, select it, and press a button - takes all of five seconds.

    How do you tell someone who has been happily doing that for years now that they should put down their remote, get in their car, leave their house, go to a store, and pay at least an entire month’s streaming subscription price for one title? Or tell them instead of the remote, to turn on their computer, go to an online store, buy a disc, and then wait a week for it to be delivered?

    Once you have “right now” as your default option, how can you be persuaded to wait longer for something when there’s no reason to do so?

    Subscription services will not be made illegal by the government. If anything, the government’s decision to abandon the Paramount consent decree all but signals government approval of the current system. Practically speaking, Netflix/HBO/Disney/etc making their own content and distributing it on their own service direct to the consumer is the 21st century version of studios making their own movies and owning their own theaters.
     
  10. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Obviously as long time member of this forum, and the owner of thousands of CDs, DVDs, BDs, 4Ks, LPs, etc. my feelings on streaming vs. physical media should be clear...although I also do have HBO Go, Prime and Netflix.

    However, I think what we're seeing here is a change in how films are taken in by the younger generation and it's akin to the shift that happened when CDs gave way to iTunes.

    Back in the LP days, music was something that was closely listened to. People lined up at records stores, came home, and spun the album, listening to their favorite artists' creation.

    But in the 80s and later, home video games came out, VHS became ubiquitous, cable service proliferated. Suddenly kids and young adults had a lot more to do, and by the time Napster upended the music world, I had noticed that for a lot of kids then (I was in my mid twenties) music became less of a "listening event" and more of something you just had playing in the background while you did something else. So while many of my peers then bemoaned the lossy quality of MP3 vs. CD, I realized quickly that many of the college kids then just didn't care about the sound quality because they didn't consume music the same way previous generations did.

    Fast forward to now. I still work in a major university and my department employs hundreds of students. I see how they consume digital media (including movies). Almost none of them have acquiring "home theater" on their radar. They watch everything through their phone, or tablet/notebook. They have smaller screens on while watching other screens.

    Movies, and streaming shows, are not being consumed the way we did it back in the day, where we paid attention to story, dialogue, plot, structure, etc. It's almost becoming background music, a distraction, something to have on while they're updating their social media platform of choice (usually the 'gram).

    So to me now the question isn't "is streaming a good replacement for physical". It clearly is inferior--though A/V quality has made pretty good strides recently, there's still the lack of permanent ownership.

    But the question is: do current Generation Z (and subsequent generations) even care for physical ownership since the vast majority of them don't consume movies the same way we do. I'm in my forties now, and still have a few friends that collect physical media of some kind. But very few of my friends and acquaintances in their 30s or earlier have any interest whatsoever in doing so. And every so often I do have some of the students over for a movie night/team building event, and they all marvel at the number of discs, but no one expresses anything remotely near any interest in creating their own library.
     
  11. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    (On a slight tangent to what Carlo has been discussing).

    When I was younger, I remember being an actor or musician was frequently considered an "alpha male" type of activity. (This was in the era of stuff like Rambo, Die Hard, Motley Crue, Ozzy Osbourne, etc ...).

    Fast foward to the present, I get the impression that amongst young people today that being an actor or musician/rockstar is considered the domain of a "nerd" or "artist" type. (ie. Not in the domain of an "alpha male").
     
  12. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    The quality of online media used to be pretty substandard compared to what it is now. Remember how bad the audio for RealPlayer was compared to a CD? You can now hear that same music in much better quality on YouTube!
     
  13. jcroy

    jcroy Producer

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    I can only tell the difference when I connect my computer to my standalone stereo setup.

    When I'm listening to music on the computer's speakers or earbuds, the differences between youtube and cd rips are not obvious most of the time. (That is unless the cd rips were encoded deliberately at really low bitrates).
     
  14. MatthewA

    MatthewA Lead Actor

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    For older YouTube music videos, perhaps, but that is changing now. I think cable is going to get hurt even worse than physical media. Where does it have to go from where it is now? That’s even less likely to start growing again.
     
  15. Blu Eye

    Blu Eye Stunt Coordinator

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    I think what many movie collectors can't comprehend is that the majority of people that watch films do so casually. A lot of them will watch a film and stop watching it halfway through or with 20 minutes left until the end or whilst they are doing some other task etc.

    They are not concerned or even aware of cinematrography, mise en scene & quality of screenplay or who directed it etc.

    A lot of people will watch/stream a film because a relative or friend recommended it or someone on the TV recommended it etc. It is more like a fad type of event where they feel they are missing out if they do not watch it like a new TV show that everyone just has to watch. They will literally watch it on their laptops and smartphones too which is obviously not the way the filmakers intended for its use.

    It's a similar mentality to people going to fast food restaurants like Mcdonalds to eat. They do so because it is convenient & cheap which is why streaming is doing well and will continue to do so. The majority of people that are streaming are people that want to watch the next, new great thing. They are not subscribing because they wish to watch Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau or The Birth Of A Nation in 4k completely remastered.

    Generally, people who collect physical media are perhaps more creative type personalities or possibly more cultured. For better or worse society in general does not possess these positive traits. They are a product of mass education aimed at creating a producer/consumer society with no consideration for artisitic beauty or self expression. Generally, they are only interested in what is sold down their throats through the media.

    This is why you have people like Martin Scorsese and Francis Coppola commenting on the fact that these comic book type movies that are prevalent in Hollywood of not being cinematic. The audiences are not being exposed to anything that might perhaps develop their taste and help them watch different types of the many varied and broad varieties of cinema that it has to offer.

    They are complaining because not only is it endangering home physical media but it is threatening cinema itself.

    I personally can see the day coming soon where audiences will have the option to stream a movie at the same time as it is released in theaters. They will pay a premium for viewing it early but the option will be eventually there as I feel this will be potentially a very lucrative market for Hollywood. They will be streaming it on their smartphones in a coffee shop as opposed to going to the cinema to experience the magic of cinema.

    Maybe the cinema itself will be just as limited as physical media where they are only available in major cities. I can forsee a lot closing down in the next decade or so.

    I hope I am wrong on everything I have said for the sake of cinema and the art of making movies but to me the writing is on the wall.

    If anything, it is important for people that do have impressive home theaters to invite friends and relatives to watch some classic films which hopefully incites more people to appreciate this dying art.
     
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  16. BobO'Link

    BobO'Link Producer

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    Very few people - ever - have had a desire to own a large collection of anything. Age is not a factor. Some people like to have a favorite book/CD/movie or two, maybe even a couple of dozen, but rarely more. Most people I've known didn't have, or want, any at all - even in the pre-digital age. A *serious* collector of any of those has always been a rather rare thing. When it comes right down to it, collectors of *anything* are a very small percentage of the population.
     
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  17. Blu Eye

    Blu Eye Stunt Coordinator

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    Not sure I agree with that. Many women collect clothes/shoes and men have a lot of hobbies including the collecting of stamps, comic books, antique furniture, coins, war memorabila, wine and fine art etc.
     
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  18. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    I semi-agree and semi-disagree.

    I agree that a "collector's mentality" has always been a minority viewpoint. Otherwise we wouldn't be "collectors" we'd just be the norm.

    But I will say this: I knew far, far more people in the 1980s who had large CD, VHS and/or vinyl collections, and in the 1990s I knew quite a few who had large CD, LD and/or DVD collections. As I've grown older, I now know more people now than I did back in my youth. And within that larger group, I know very few who have large libraries of anything (and most are some of the same people from the 1980s and 1990s groups I mentioned). And just about none of those people are Generation Z or younger.

    So while I agree collecting has never been mainstream, I believe it's happening at a much lower pace than ever now in the streaming age. Don't forget what a wildly popular and high-selling medium DVDs and CDs were.
     
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  19. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I don’t think it’s fair to say that people who don’t collect physical media aren’t cultured, artistic or anything else of the sort.

    Streaming is just a delivery method. It can be used to watch the lowest of lowbrow or the highest of highbrow. A disc is just a container for a data file. When movie discs were invented, they were the most efficient delivery system for the amount of data needed to show a movie. Now streaming can accomplish the same goal.

    Our forum’s founder wrote in a thread that he just purchased West Side Story digitally in 4K for $5. It’s not available in 4K on disc at all, and the Blu-ray version costs twice that. I don’t think you could accuse Ron of not being cultured or not caring about film. He’s got a collection that would give mine an inferiority complex. Streaming was a low-cost way for him to access the highest quality version of that critically acclaimed, culturally important film.

    Let’s stop making value judgments on people’s tastes based on the delivery method they’re choosing. It sounds about as ridiculous to me as saying the person who goes to the store to buy office supplies is morally superior to the person who mail ordered. It’s two different ways of achieving the same goal.
     
  20. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Here’s the key question, though: would those mediums have been as high selling if they had had to compete with subscription services that allowed you unlimited access to an astronomical amount of content for the price of a single purchase?

    Once Napster divorced the act of listening to songs you liked from needing to possess a physical object, CD sales took a dive off a cliff they’ve never recovered from. And once subscription streaming for music came out, digital purchases of music also plummeted.

    I remember when I was a kid growing up with Star Trek, one of the coolest ideas buried in the show was that the Enterprise computer had all recorded media on file. You didn’t need to have a hardcover copy to read a book. Anything you could want was available at the touch of a button. That is essentially where we’re at now. Can it really be a surprise that most people are satisfied with that?
     

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