Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Open Letter to DVD Publishers


In an era where we can download movies off iTunes and Netflix with incredible ease, why on Earth do we need a physical disc that's essentially the same movie in a different format? I'll be the first to admit that I'd much rather have a physical copy of a movie rather than just downloading it out of the ether. But beyond the actual movie that I'm already paying for, why charge me more for a second copy of the same movie within the same damn packaging? If I wanted two copies of the movie, I'd just buy the movie twice. I just don't understand it. Sure, it's a legal means of ripping a digital copy to my computer or iPod, but even then, I don't need that. I've never once actually used this extra disc.

Digital is the next home movie format, as much as I hate to admit it. It's happening. That's fine. Look, I'm not against the digital copy as a feature. What I'm against is giving us a whole extra disc with nothing but the digital copy of the film. The special edition of Wall-E is marketed as a "3-disc set". Sure, there are two discs of the movie and special features. But then there's the third disc which is nothing but the digital copy. Why do I need that? Why couldn't the third disc be more features AND the digital copy? It's not like there isn't a precedent. My copies of Rambo and Live Free or Die Hard have digital copies as a special feature on disc 2, but there are other features on that disc. See? It can be done. I guess in the old days of digital copies, nobody realized that they could put the digital copy on a separate disc and charge us extra for a "special edition". It's price gouging at its most obvious.

Particularly with Wall-E, the inclusion of a third disc for the digital copy seems totally hypocritical. When your movie is all about being eco-friendly and urging us to stop being so wasteful, isn't it sort of counter-productive to then give us a third disc that we didn't need in the first place? With digital movie libraries growing every day, why couldn't Disney just pack in a user-code and let us download a digital copy directly from the Disney/PIXAR server at our convenience? Would that be so difficult? It's a waste of silicon to manufacture a third disc that will only be used once, if at all.

Speaking of which, what do you do with your digital copy disc once you've got the film on your hard drive? Presumably, you can only download the movie once (I don't know, I haven't bothered trying). Great, the disc is useless. Now what do you do with it? Personally, I say we collect all our Digital Copy discs and go skeet shooting.

Digital Copy discs. We don't need them.

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