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Todd Erwin

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Thinking of Paramount...

The more I think this over the more I realize the brilliance of Paramount skipping discs and releasing their big catalog titles to streaming.

Paramount doesn't have to pay for replication or packaging. Paramount doesn't have to worry about unsold inventory in stores.

They put out a title for $12 HD (with it occasionally going on sale for $6) and they still make the same profit per purchase (if not more).

This is the reason why, in my opinion, the disc market is doomed. It seems to me there is a bigger profit in skipping all the overhead, offering a title that costs LESS to buy digitally (which entices more purchases) and the studio still makes the same amount of money (if not more).

Now, I warn, this is all off the top of my head and I welcome factual numbers to back this up, but it makes sense.
But Paramount really needs to join Movies Anywhere, as do Lionsgate, MGM, STX, etc. I am hesitant to purchase digital-only releases from these studios mostly due to the fact that the purchase is for a single retailer. We are seeing some weird happenings lately in streaming - Walmart was (or still is) looking to sell off Vudu; streaming services are not created equal across various streaming devices; and we are starting to see streaming services getting dropped on streaming devices over "carriage deals" similar to what we've been seeing on cable and satellite for decades. Granted, the latter hasn't happened with a Vudu-like service yet, but time will tell.

Apple TV (formerly iTunes) works great on Apple TV devices, but is limited to 4K HDR and Dolby Digital 5.1 on Roku and Fire OS devices, so I am more inclined to purchase non-MA titles on Vudu rather than Apple. However, if Walmart sells Vudu to another company, and the new owner can't broker a deal with Roku, I'm screwed. I feel for all those who had large non-UV libraries on Target Ticket and CinemaNow (which absorbed the TT customer base when TT was shut down). Both services are no more, with CinemaNow closing without any advance notice and essentially cutting off any contact to their customers in the process. Personally, I lost 2-3 movies on CinemaNow, so it's not a huge loss for me, but still....
 

Todd Erwin

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Was anything new even released in the Paramount/Warner deal? It seemed like it was all repackaging already released titles.
They did release a few "new to Blu" Paramount titles, the only one I am familiar with was Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life. There is no home video logo when inserting the Blu-ray, but the menu design is clearly Warner's.
 

Todd Erwin

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I also buy all my discs online as there are no retailers at all within 50 miles.
My only packaging objection is that the wonderful Snapper cases are no longer available. When a Blu ray is issued for a title I have on DVD in a Snapper case, I throw away the new case and re-use the Snapper.
I think you may be in the minority on that one. I don't know how many snapper cases I had that were crimped, either in shipping to the retail store or in shipping to me. All snapper releases have either been replaced with its Blu-ray/UHD re-issue or I scanned the cover and replaced it with a DVD case.
 

Bryan^H

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image quality is definitely inferior for whatever reason.

Through WIFI connections yes, but even then the difference is small.
Took the comparison test on "The Long Night" from GOT. 4K UHD BD, and the streaming version at 200 MBPS WIFI, and the difference was noticeable with the 4K disc clearly superior. But had it been an ethernet wired connection it probably would have been equal in video quality.

How many people have wired internet anymore? How many even care about subtle differences in video quality?
 

Jesse Skeen

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I lost one movie from Target Ticket/CinemaNow and that was one too many. (At least I didn't pay anything for it.)
 

Malcolm R

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Through WIFI connections yes, but even then the difference is small.
Took the comparison test on "The Long Night" from GOT. 4K UHD BD, and the streaming version at 200 MBPS WIFI, and the difference was noticeable with the 4K disc clearly superior. But had it been an ethernet wired connection it probably would have been equal in video quality.

How many people have wired internet anymore? How many even care about subtle differences in video quality?
I have a wired connection to my Tivo and use it to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. There are times when the picture flutters between kind of soft/fuzzy and crystal clear. Hulu would frequently freeze up and buffer, which must have been an issue with Hulu as I don't usually have that issue with the other two streamers (and have since cancelled Hulu). Mine is considered a high-speed connection through Spectrum.

It depends largely on your Internet connection, speed, and quality. Rural and some smaller urban areas still don't always have full access to high-speed Internet, which might lead these people to continue to use physical media. I also occasionally lose my Internet service, while electricity and other services remain on. In that case, I can easily load up a disc to watch. If I was exclusively streaming, I'd be out of luck until the Internet service was restored (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours).
 

Dave Blair

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I have a wired connection to my Tivo and use it to watch Netflix and Amazon Prime. There are times when the picture flutters between kind of soft/fuzzy and crystal clear. Hulu would frequently freeze up and buffer, which must have been an issue with Hulu as I don't usually have that issue with the other two streamers (and have since cancelled Hulu). Mine is considered a high-speed connection through Spectrum.

It depends largely on your Internet connection, speed, and quality. Rural and some smaller urban areas still don't always have full access to high-speed Internet, which might lead these people to continue to use physical media. I also occasionally lose my Internet service, while electricity and other services remain on. In that case, I can easily load up a disc to watch. If I was exclusively streaming, I'd be out of luck until the Internet service was restored (sometimes minutes, sometimes hours).

I, like 20 to 30 million homes have internet with less than 10 mbps and often less than 3 due to my “rural”location. Physical media is my best option. I will not Buy what I cannot touch. I am a fan of extra content which is rare and sparse on streaming platforms.
 
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Ronald Epstein

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I, like 20 to 30 million homes have internet with less than 10 mbps and often less than 3. Physical media is my best option. I will not what I cannot touch. I am a fan of extra content which is rare and sparse on streaming platforms.

I think the next evolution is right around the corner.

That evolution is 5G

Now, if I understand it correctly -- and I always welcome facts -- it is faster than the fastest wired cable speed available.

I am *assuming* 5G has the ability to replace home internet as we now know it.

The only thing I am not certain is if, with all those cell towers, 5G has the ability to deliver those phenomenal speeds without any cable connections and without congestion. If that can be done then 4k and 8k streaming should be a piece of cake.
 

jcroy

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(Without getting heavily into politics).

I strongly suspect there will be no clarity on practical 5G implementations, until after this year or after 2024.
 
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SultanOfWhat

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SpaceX's Starlink will be far more likely than 5G to be able to deliver fast wireless internet to rural and underserved locations.

There are 240 Starlink satellites up right now (SpaceX launches them 60 at a time), with perhaps a thousand more that will be launched over the remainder of the year. Service should start in late 2020 to early 2021. The final constellation will probably consist of 5,000-10,000 satellites.

These satellites will be in low Earth orbit (550 km), so, unlike service delivered by geosynchronous satellites (that are at an altitude of 36,000 km), latency will be far lower.
 

KeithDA

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I, like 20 to 30 million homes have internet with less than 10 mbps and often less than 3 due to my “rural”location.

SpaceX's Starlink will be far more likely than 5G to be able to deliver fast wireless internet to rural and underserved locations.

What about cost? We are 'rural fringe' here with a speed of 1.3mbps. We were offered some Government vouchers to help with the installation of a satellite dish but the ongoing cost of usage was eyewateringly expensive ...,
 

jcroy

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How many even care about subtle differences in video quality?

This is the key word: SUBTLE.

Only a hardcore movie/tech type person will care about subtle differences. For John Q Public or Joe SixPack, they usually won't care about or even notice such subtle differences.
 

jcroy

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(More generally).

Just about EVERYTHING we've been talking about in this thread (and other similar threads), seems to be a clash of viewpoints in how hardcore movie/tech types see the world, in contrast to how the average joe/jane sees the world.

The average joe/jane is rarely ever a hardcore movie/tech type person.
 
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Bryan^H

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This is the key word: SUBTLE.

Only a hardcore movie/tech type person will care about subtle differences. For John Q Public or Joe SixPack, they usually won't care about or even notice such subtle differences.

Exactly!
 

SultanOfWhat

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Regarding SpaceX's Starlink, from Bloomberg article today that discusses the likelihood that Starlink will be spun off from SpaceX as a publicly-traded company:

“This is going to turn SpaceX into a company that is providing service to consumers, which we are excited about,” Shotwell said. The company has been launching roughly 60 satellites at a time into orbit, and with another four launches expects to have global coverage. Shotwell said that service will be “less than what you are paying now for about five to 10 times the speed you are getting.”

It would be great if all the people currently lacking reliable, inexpensive broadband could take advantage of media streaming. We should know more about Starlink's viability by the end of the year at latest.

If you want to follow the progress of the Starlink launches, follow this page, and/or the SpaceX reddit page.
 

Josh Steinberg

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Whatever short term growing pains there are in getting internet bandwidth improved to something resembling a more universal standard, and I don’t disagree that there are growing pains, I don’t think can be viewed as a permanent state of being. The physical media sales numbers have already declined by nearly 90% in a decade even with the internet obstacles that some people face. As internet connections improve, that will almost certainly result in a large number of the holdouts who cite lack of internet access as their barrier on entry to streaming to switch over.

So again, that’s not to say that physical media doesn’t have a place in the 21st century, but it seems increasingly obvious to me that its primary utilization will not be by mass consumers who are stuck using it because all other options have failed. Media on disc will have a niche among the minority of consumers who prefer physical goods for reasons that are by and large based on intangibles and emotions - the same group that prefers a $35 hardcover book over a $12 paperback or $10 digital download of the exact same content. The same group that will pay $40 for a vinyl album rather than a $10 iTunes or $15 HD Tracks download of the same. And the group that’s seeking out individual purchases like that are already a smaller minority among the average mass consumer, who generally prefer to pay a flat rate for access to unlimited content over paying a fee for individual access to a specific title. But if movies on disc are to have any future at all, I believe that’s what needs to happen. Vinyl is thriving in a tiny market because it’s being targeted specifically to the minority of people that want it, and those people are keeping it going by paying higher prices for more limited production runs of titles, which allow the economics to work. Although CDs sell more than vinyl, their longterm future is more bleak because you don’t have the same passion among people who use them - they’re a mass market item in a market that is going away in favor of one better aligned with what the mass consumer wants (low cost subscription access).

If disc is to survive, it needs to transition from being a mass market product that Best Buy and Walmart stock for $20 or less that needs to sell thousands or tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of units. It needs to be a collector’s product that’s manufactured in the hundreds instead of thousands, probably sold by a smaller group of online retailers or direct to consumer to keep overhead costs sustainable, and priced closer to vinyl and hardcover books than to paperbacks and digital purchases. And it will have to be a secondary market and not the one that drives decision making. Just as vinyl sales alone won’t cover the millions of dollars it costs for a major act to record an album, disc sales won’t cover the costs of most expensive restorations or new productions, so they will have to be seen as a small part of a larger ecosystem that is primarily driven by subscription revenue.
 

Worth

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Although CDs sell more than vinyl, their longterm future is more bleak because you don’t have the same passion among people who use them - they’re a mass market item in a market that is going away in favor of one better aligned with what the mass consumer wants (low cost subscription access).
Vinyl is expected to outsell CDs this year for the first time since 1986.
 

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