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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. Bryan^H

    Bryan^H Lead Actor

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    Bottom line is I don't give a Fuck what the numbers are. Just as long as I'm getting what I want to purchases on BD. The day I see new theatrical releases dry up, and not available in that format, then I worry.

    Man, I have too many movies already so that probably a good thing!
     
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  2. Robert Crawford

    Robert Crawford Moderator
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    Going by your use of profanity, I hope you're not mad at us for questioning those sales numbers. It was not my intention to challenge you personally, but just those reported sales numbers from that website. My apologies if I offended you.
     
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  3. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    I’m not sure exactly when that would happen with new theatrical releases stopping - that’ll probably be the last category to fall. My guess is that distribution will cease in the US first and that the rest of the world will continue on a little bit longer, in much the same way that there are often more catalog titles coming out overseas than here. Once the end comes (at least for mainstream mass produced titles - I think the boutiques could survive indefinitely the way vinyl has) it’ll happen quicker than anyone imagines.

    It might be similar to how VHS went when I worked at a video store. We kept stocking VHS for all new releases (when they were even being made) and then one day, we just got ordered to pull them all from the shelves and put them on a table for 99 cents each. DVD was so outperforming VHS that every tape on the shelf was costing us valuable real estate that could have been used to display a product that was actually selling. Out of a client base that had to be in the hundreds if not thousands, I think we got less than five complaints that VHS went away. Did I feel bad for those five people, even though they had years of warning that this would eventually happen? Yes. Would it have been a smart move for the store to keep buying VHS rental tapes that cost $100 each and would only bring in $25 in rental revenue over? No. Sometimes inconvenient stuff happens and there’s not much you can do about it.

    So I think with new release discs ceasing, it’ll be something like that, or something like how 35mm release prints went away. Paramount was the first major studio to go exclusively digital and stop providing 35mm prints to theaters for most releases. It seemed like a crazy thing at the time. And then once Paramount did it and the world didn’t end, everyone else followed suit rather quickly. In the end, the overwhelming majority had already added digital capability, and the cost of maintaining that film infrastructure and providing film prints to the few holdouts exceeded the money those locations made.
     
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  4. Message #564 of 647 Jan 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
    The Drifter

    The Drifter Supporting Actor

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    Several points, to follow-up on what has been discussed in the last couple of pages:

    -I have never understood the nostalgia/desire for Vinyl these days. Vinyl was an inferior format when it was the only one around, and is even worse now that we have so many superior options. Those who say the sound is "purer" than CD must be hearing something I'm not; I only heard scratches, hisses, & pops when l listened to Vinyl - and this isn't breakfast cereal.

    The bulkiness/size of the format & only being able to listen to this @ home were other drawbacks. In addition, I hated record players; the needle was always problematic, and it was a real chore just to put a record on & listen to anything. What a hassle.

    -VHS tapes were/are garbage.

    I'm a physical media guy, but only disks, i.e. CD's/DVD's/Blu's. I prefer physical media to streaming/digital, but do stream & listen to digital somewhat as well.

    I think disks will continue to be produced well into the foreseeable future - but to a much lesser extent than they have been in the past. Which is, of course, what we're already seeing to a great extent. Blu's especially have practically become a niche format (especially the titles on boutique labels). Less brick & mortar stores are carrying physical media - and there are less brick & mortar stores out there, anyway.

    Of course, there's always online - which is where I typically get my physical media "fix" anyway - especially in the last several years.
     
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  5. Carlo Medina

    Carlo Medina Executive Producer

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    Just going to answer the vinyl question, and try not to derail this thread too far: google The Loudness Wars.

    In summary: the reason vinyl can sound better than digital isn't because it's a superior format. It isn't. It's that there is an overcompression stage that happens to music right before it's put onto a CD, or distributed as a digital file. It's been in widespread practice since the 1990s (which is why CDs from the 1980s sound quieter when played in your system), and it was premised around the psychoacoustic phenomenon of "louder sounds better". Meaning to the average person, if you play identical music but one is louder, they'll tend to say the louder one sounds better. So basically the dynamic range (meaning the volume difference between quieter and louder passages in songs) that artists and their engineers put into their music is all but squashed (or compressed) in the final stage of creating a CD or digital audio file.

    It's the audio equivalent of TYPING IN ALL CAPS. You lose nuance. Fine detail is obscured.

    And that step is generally not applied on vinyl. Hence why it sounds better to audiophiles.

    Now if you simply skipped that compression step and made a CD from the exact same master as the vinyl, then I'd happily stop buying vinyl and only buy CDs or lossless digital files. Often that step is skipped (but not always) on DVD-Audio and SACD releases...but we know how little music is released on those.

    If you only hear scratches and pops, you're listening to a poor record and badly maintained turntable. My setup sounds fantastic, and I keep my records clean using a record cleaning machine. Yes it is more work, but for me, it's worth the tradeoff when I'm in "serious listening mode".

    If I'm in a car, or on the go and using my phone, then it's Apple Music.
     
  6. Blu Eye

    Blu Eye Stunt Coordinator

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    Gee Whizz. It is a bit more healthy than I had imagined. I might set-up my own company :)

    That is just U.S market too.

    Does anyone know the state of the physical market in Europe and Asia?

    It would be interesting to see the sales trends from around there overthe last few years.
     
  7. Message #567 of 647 Jan 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
    The Drifter

    The Drifter Supporting Actor

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    Thanks for the info. - this is all good to know. However, note that you've just proven some of my points:

    -Even if I were to be convinced that Vinyl sounded better than CD (I'm not), in order for me me to get the best possible sound out of the format, I would need to have well maintained, non-scratched records & a very well maintained record player. And, I don't want to spend the time or money to buy & then maintain a record player and/or the Vinyls themselves.

    -Re: listening to music in my car, I'm on the road a good amount - and this is the primary time I listen to music....so obviously vinyl & record players would be useless here. I only really listen to CD's in my car, because I'm old-skool; am very happy with the sound quality; and I like the album format.

    For what it's worth, some genius did have the bright idea to put record players in cars back in the 1950's, but obviously this didn't catch on:

    https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/555840/highway-hi-fi-chrysler-car-record-player

    My favorite line in the above article: As it turned out, attempting to spin a record while in a moving vehicle was every bit as problematic as it might sound. - no shit, Sherlock ;)
     
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  8. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    You could apply similar thoughts to home media: in order to get the best possible playback, you need to have high end equipment in a custom configured room with good light control and acoustics. This equipment ideally should be calibrated by a professional being paid hundreds or thousands of dollars for their time. And when you’ve done most or all of that, a disc can (by virtue of the larger file sizes contained within) deliver that.

    But if you’re like most people who buy a TV, maybe fiddle with the settings once, place it in the living room and then sit ten feet away from it, you are never going to be in a position to notice the very best of what the highest end can offer.

    Most people don’t have their TVs set up in a way to ensure maximum quality because what they’re getting out of the box in a casual setup is more than they need. Most people have a much more casual relationship with their TV than we do. There’s so much in these discussions that just discounts the idea that most people are currently satisfied with their options.
     
  9. Blu Eye

    Blu Eye Stunt Coordinator

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    I think with hindsight it is obvious why VHS went obsolete almost overnight.

    The leap in quality & convenience as well as being affordable made DVD a no brainer for the majority of people.

    VHS was just a pain at least from the players I had. I remember constantly having to utilise the tracking feature to view a clear picture.
    Many times the tapes got chewed up by the players too. The amount of times I also had to forcefully remove the VHS from the player has it got stuck inside was also countless. In most cases the tape got completely ruined and was unplayable after that.

    The longevity of them was not ideal neither. How many times could you play them before the tape got worn?

    It might have been that I just had a cheap player. Not sure.

    However, those problems were in the dustbin of history once DVD was available. Nothing of the sort even with a cheap player. Insert the disc and press play. Simple.

    I do understand why some people (not many) still collect VHS from a notsalgic perspective. I think as a product/package they are quite aesthetically pleasing. The artwork on the covers I remember were quite brilliant. The companies really seemed to put a lot of effort into how to market their products.

    I think this is why some of the Blu Ray packages are being released in a VHS cover at the moment as they are more presentable as a product. I have yet to purchase one but will probably end up having one at some point.

    Due to the fact that Blu Ray/UHD is reasonably practical and the film quality is very good it gives me hope that the market will continue to last for a long time.

    However, going by the trends of people under 30 and the generations that will follow along with the convenience (supposedly) of streaming I think at best it will eventually be an extremely niche market the further ahead in time we go.

    I can easily see the day in 10 years time that practically nobody under the age of 50 will collect physical media. That will severly limit the market.

    Not sure what the market will be like in other parts of the world. I think with UHD not being coded to specific regions it might do okay as companies can release one product for a global market. This will probably help companies like Criterion I think who will be able to sell their products to customers in Europe without having to release a specific title for that area only.

    As long as the customer is wiling to pay for the shipping I do not see any problems.
     
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  10. Message #570 of 647 Jan 30, 2020
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2020
    The Drifter

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    Great points - I agree with all of this. I'm a BD/DVD collector (of some films/TV shows) and find the "trend" of using primarily Eco cases in the past 7-10 years especially egregious. These cases are awful. I.e., if you bother to buy a DVD/Blu then presumably you're a collector and care about the paper cover art & the case. And, an Eco case is not only cheap & flimsy - but, the holes in the Eco-cases will result in the paper cover eventually becoming marred/torn.

    My disgust with the crummy Eco-cases are one of the reasons I've taken some DVD's/Blu's out of the cases - put both the paper covers & the cases in the recycling bin - and then put the disks in smaller CD cases. This takes up less room - though it's admittedly more difficult to find something a DVD/Blu in my collection if they're stored in a CD case. I've thought about going the binder route, but haven't gotten to that point yet.

    Sometimes I'll get lucky and will buy a BD/DVD from Amazon or a brick & mortar store (usually Big Lots or a similar discount store) and the case will be solid plastic - but, those are usually older releases.

    Agree with all of this. They're obviously saving money by producing Eco-cases (i.e., each case uses up less plastic), to the detriment of the consumer/collector.
     
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  11. Worth

    Worth Producer

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    I guess I'm in the minority. I use shelf space for books and keep all my discs in binders. I recycle the case, but keep the cover.
     
  12. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    As someone who worked in the home video industry when eco cases came out, I can explain how those wound up in widespread use.

    The customers asked for them.

    Really.

    I know that sounds counter-intuitive to us collectors, but we’ve always been outnumbered by average consumers. And those consumers stressed in research time and again that they didn’t care much about packaging and were concerned about plastic waste. From the manufacturing side, those of us who made discs for a living never loved those. They cost more to make because their molds were more precise with higher failure rates than standard cases, and they cost more to pack because (at least for the first few years, I don’t know if this was solved in more recent years) they didn’t work with the assembly line equipment so they had to be packaged by hand.

    And yet, it’s a widespread assumption that studios pushed for them because they didn’t care about quality and just wanted to save money, when that’s the opposite of what happened.
     
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  13. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I've always wondered how that "research" really works- I haven't been able to take part in much of it, but it seems a bad idea is usually presented and then they try to get the least negative response from those surveyed- instead of "this is just awful" they answer "I wouldn't be too bothered by this." That's how surveys about in-theater advertising seem to have worked- that's a huge reason why I got out of the theater business and hardly even go to theaters anymore, but at the height of anti-advertising sentiment there was a report published saying "Survey shows most theatergoers don't mind ads."

    Was anyone actually shown an Eco-Case and thought that was a great idea? And if they did, were they someone who actually bought these things in the first place? I didn't know about them until I actually bought a disc with one, and my immediate response was "You gotta be kidding!"
     
  14. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    Jesse, I don’t know if this is your intention or if you realize that your posts are coming across this way, but I have to say, it is enormously frustrating to me that someone here will have a question or discussion point, that I’ll answer it with facts and real world experience in a way that is both respectful of my fellow collectors and enlightening about the industry as a whole, and that every single time, you will dismiss what I write while casting aspersions on the veracity of what I’m saying.

    The above is a perfect example. I explain why eco cases came into use based on firsthand experience of actually being in the room when the call was made. You respond by questioning whether there was a survey and whether the respondents actually used the product being surveyed.

    Rather than saying, “that’s interesting” or “I’m surprised average consumers feel so differently than I do,” you question the validity of the entire line of discussion.

    I can’t keep going round in circles like this. I am happy to share my experience with people who are interested in the behind the scenes workings of this industry, but not when each thing I say is so bitterly contested and each fact is so thoroughly argued against.
     
  15. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    I don't mean to be offensive at all, but I have to ask exactly what you mean by "The customers asked for them"- so you were in the room when the decision was made to start using them? How much are you allowed to say about that? How did the idea for them come about and how exactly did customers ask for them? I'm not doubting the truth of what you say but when you say "The customers asked for them" I have to wonder what the whole story was. The general reaction to them on forums like this was negative. If people really wanted less plastic used did they suggest eco-cases as a solution? I always thought small laserdisc-type sleeves would have been better, but I was never asked about that.

    Again, I'm not trying to upset anyone but when statements like that are made I want to hear the whole story- though I understand if you aren't allowed to tell it.
     
  16. Message #576 of 647 Jan 30, 2020
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    The Drifter

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    This is extremely interesting, and something I never knew. And, it doesn't surprise me at all that Eco cases are actually more difficult/expensive to make than regular cases. What is unfortunate is that they continued being made.

    The average/regular consumers who wanted these are idiots. As you said, their production was actually more expensive, time consuming, and complex than the production of regular cases had been.

    I for one would really like the non-Eco cases to make a come-back, but with physical media in decline anyway - I don't see that happening.
     
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  17. Josh Steinberg

    Josh Steinberg Executive Producer
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    You do see the regular cases from the boutique labels who cater more to the collector than the mass market. Twilight Time, Kino, Criterion, Olive, Warner Archive, ClassicFlix and others like them see using the nicer sturdier cases rather than the eco ones. They’re targeting the much smaller enthusiast market which means they tend to look at their products from a collector’s point of view.
     
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  18. Message #578 of 647 Jan 30, 2020
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    The Drifter

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    Good to know. Now that you say that, I remember recently ordering New York Stories on Blu (Mill Creek) from Amazon, and that was in a solid plastic case.

    Unfortunately, these companies are definitely in the minority. I.e., mass released disks (either DVD or Blu) these days are typically in Eco cases.
     
  19. Jesse Skeen

    Jesse Skeen Producer

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    My disc of Man in the Dark from Twilight Time came in an Eco-Case, then later they posted on Facebook that they would never use those cases again. I didn't think they had much control over it- I keep all my stuff in its original packaging regardless. It's insulting for these to be looked at as "disposable" though- especially when something like The Wizard of Oz comes in them. I wonder if there were any other proposed "less wasteful" package designs that were proposed and were rejected- and again I don't mean to insult anyone by asking further questions. I wanted to work in the industry (closest I got was Tower Records' main office til they went under, then went back to school and got into accounting), if I had I'd want to say eco-cases were a very bad idea but I know in some businesses it's frowned upon to express such opinions (again, why I left the movie theater biz- it was the only way I could truly tell them how I felt.)
     
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  20. TJPC

    TJPC Producer

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    I do not see any problem with “eco-cases” at all. My major objection is the cardboard book like ones that have every disc just shoved into a cardboard sleeve. My Alfred Hitchcock set quickly became a giant accordion when the glue failed. I wouldn’t let them of course, but the discs would have merrily jumped out and bounced on the floor.

    The same is true for my Laurel and Hardy set. Luckily I don’t play my discs over and over again, or they would be ruined. I had to put each disc in a plastic lined envelope.
     

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