The early bird catches the worm
It seems I’m a little late to the party with this news, but I recently discovered that Disney’s upcoming Blu-ray Disc Platinum Edition of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs will be arriving on store shelves a full seven weeks ahead of its DVD counterpart.
This to me is very pleasing news and is the sort of thing I hope to see more and more of in the future. Before anyone accuses me of being mean in denying those still restricted to standard definition DVD the right to experience this classic, let me just say that I’m not. The BD release of Snow White also includes a DVD copy of the film, as was the case with the recent BD releases of Bolt (itself released 48 hours ahead of the standalone DVD version) and Pinocchio, among others. My reasoning behind this is that, by adopting this strategy, Disney is ultimately encouraging (whether intentionally or not) those who have yet to adopt BD to pick up a future-proof package, making the eventual path to BD that bit more painless for them. (“Gee, honey, why not get a BD player? We’ve already got this collection of discs just waiting to be played in it.”)
What I’d ultimately like to see is the abolition of stand-alone DVD releases altogether, in favour of these BD/DVD combos. I’m not sure how feasible this is at the moment, but I suspect it will become more so as BD replication and licensing costs decrease. It seems fairly clear that the general public will have to be dragged kicking and screaming into high definition. I suspect that BD is long past the point of being considered a failure, so its survival in the immediate future is not in any jeopardy. Simply surviving, however, is not enough.
My ultimate dream is to be able to obtain a BD copy of any film of my choosing, and that won’t happen until the format at least achieves parity with DVD. At the moment, it’s simply not worth the time and money for smaller labels to release their niche collections on BD, because not enough people will buy them for them to even begin to recoup the costs. I don’t blame them. If you’re struggling to make a profit when you release a title on DVD, the last thing you want to do is pay the astronomical licensing fees to author, press and distribute a BD version that even fewer people will buy.
Therefore, it’s up to the majors - the ones who can afford it - to lead the way by helping to increase market saturation, and personally I think that these combo releases are theoretically an excellent means of doing that. It can only work, though, if sufficient incentive is given for the average (wo)man on the street to buy the BD/DVD combo rather than the standalone DVD. Until the day comes that standalone DVD releases disappear altogether, “BD first” strategies like the one being demonstrated by Snow White seem like the best solution.
Posted: Monday, April 06, 2009 at 11:50 PM
| Comments: 7
"At the moment, it's simply not worth the time and money for smaller labels to release their niche collections on BD, because not enough people will buy them for them to even begin to recoup the costs. I don't blame them. If you're struggling to make a profit when you release a title on DVD, the last thing you want to do is pay the astronomical licensing fees to author, press and distribute a BD version that even fewer people will buy."
How many of those smaller labels actually possess HD tapes of their films (other than Blue Underground)? Even if the original master was in HD, haven't most of those companies licensed an SD downconversion (sometimes in a different standard)?
Posted by: , April 7, 2009 6:44 AM
That’s a good point, actually. It’s hard to say how many of these labels actually have access to HD masters of the films they’ve already released. In addition to Blue Underground, Synapse do, I believe, for many of their more recent titles, and I’d imagine the same goes for Anchor Bay. With some of the other labels, though, it’s difficult to be sure, particularly as a few of the blurb writers are, shall we say, less than honest when it comes to that sort of thing. At some point, someone figured out that “fully restored” and “mastered in HD” sells copies, whereas printing “this came from an old PAL master that we converted to NTSC” doesn’t.
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, April 7, 2009 11:24 AM
Regarding BD Combo discs.
Would this restrict films to one BD-25 and a DVD-9 dual layer ?
How does the BD combo work and can you supply a link to an article which i can read or give more information.
Posted by: FoxyMulder, April 8, 2009 9:17 PM
Perhaps “combo” was the wrong word to use. There is to the best of my knowledge no such thing. The releases I’m referring to are actually just a BD and a separate DVD (and a Digital Copy, but who cares about that?).
Posted by: Michael Mackenzie
, April 8, 2009 10:39 PM
>> What I'd ultimately like to see is the abolition of stand-alone DVD releases altogether,
What would the point of that be? There is a lot of standard definition TV show material of which there is very little point of putting on BD.
>> How many of those smaller labels actually possess HD tapes of their films (other than Blue Underground)? Even if the original master was in HD, haven't most of those companies licensed an SD downconversion (sometimes in a different standard)?
Regarding the fees of releasing titles on BD. The biggest problem now is the fees the AACS LA are demanding. If you want to release BDMV discs (that's ones with menus, etc) then you have to pay for a copy protection system *whether you want it or not*. A good thing to do would be to add your name to this petition:
Posted by: David M
, April 9, 2009 1:28 AM
I can see the point of Disney releasing family movies on Blu Ray with a DVD edition that the kids can watch in the car but as you say digital copies are at the moment a waste although i suppose those with Ipods or mobiles with 2 or 4 gigabyte memory cards might be able to make use of them but i have never understood the fascination with watching movies on such a small screen.
Posted by: FoxyMulder, April 9, 2009 12:54 PM
Foxymulder: "Regarding BD Combo discs. Would this restrict films to one BD-25 and a DVD-9 dual layer ?" I just asked and was told that JVC's prototype BD/DVD combo was "3 layers". Whether that means 2 BD and 1 DVD or 2 DVD and 1 BD, I don't know.
Posted by: David M
, April 10, 2009 4:22 AM
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