Why are DVD owners getting a raw deal?

Feature Simon Brew 7 Nov 2013 - 06:58

If you opt for the DVD version of a film rather than the Blu-ray, why are you getting less for your money?

If you head to Amazon UK at the moment, The Wolverine is up for pre-order, with a £10 asking price for the DVD, and a £15 tag on the Blu-ray. That's generally been the new release premium between the two, and it's been accepted, for better or worse, that you pay the extra fiver for the picture and sound upgrade that the Blu-ray should and usually does provide.

In more recent times though, if you've not got a Blu-ray player at hand, you're not just getting a weaker presentation of the film though. More and more, it seems that studios are holding back extra features as a Blu-ray bonus. As if the DVD is now the 'entry level' way of buying the film, and you can't have everything else unless you buy the Blu-ray.

The vast majority of film sales still come through the DVD format, and that's understandable. DVD is still omnipresent, Blu-ray a little bit of a luxury. The vast majority of the world's laptops, for instance, have a DVD drive in them, very few have Blu-ray.

Digging into the listing for The Wolverine, if you buy the DVD though, your only extra features are the theatrical cut of the film, and a featurette entitled 'Inspiration - A Ronin's Journey'. On the Blu-ray? An extended cut of the film, an alternate ending, a set tour of X-Man: Days Of Future Past, and a feature called 'The Path Of The Ronin'. DVD owners are missing out on an awful lot there.

It'd be remiss just to pick on one film though. Star Trek Into Darkness didn't have many features on its Blu-ray, but it had none whatsoever on the DVD. The forthcoming Man Of Steel DVD has the 75th anniversary animated short, and a 'Krypton Decoded' featurette. The Blu-ray adds features on 'All Out Action' and 'Strong Characters'. These are just the listed features, we might add. They may yet change by release date.

I'm not quite sure when it become de facto to assume that Blu-ray was the film lover's format and DVD wasn't, but certainly the treatment of big films on DVD suggests that it's now something of a done deal. Gone are the days of big DVDs being released in two disc packs it seems. Now, the DVD is the stack it high sell it cheap option, and the Blu-ray is where the premium is.

It's not strictly a storage issue either. A dual layer DVD holds just shy of 9GB of data, and a dual layer Blu-ray holds 50GB. Inevitably, even after the picture and sound upgrade, the Blu-ray does have spare capacity. But that doesn't mean that the DVD doesn't have some. Did Star Trek Into Darkness' transfer really leave no room on a disc for half an hour of featurettes?

To be fair, there is some logic to assuming that Blu-ray is for those who want the best home entertainment release they can get. But there are reasons that some film fans don't want DVD. Cost for one, the lack of a good screen to make the most of it, being fed up with rebuying films on different formats, a dislike of the politics behind the format... there are lots of reasons why even the most ardent movie buff would resist the call of Blu-ray.

The thing is, they are now being punished for it. We get far less on a full price DVD release than we got five years ago. The 2009 Star Trek reboot, for instance, came with a commentary, gag reel and 'A New Vision' featurette, as well as the film, on disc one of its original release (there was a second disc of goodies, too). So where has material like that gone, and why is it being denied to DVD owners?

Inevitably, there's more margin for studios in Blu-rays, and there are financial advantages to them in getting us to buy a more expensive version of a film. It's such a shame that those who stuck with DVD are collateral damage in the quest to put more cash on the balance sheet. Disc extras are getting short shrift in many quarters already. Sadly, DVD is leading the charge in that respect - and without a good price cut to compensate for it.

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Good article. I have also thought about this. I had a huge VHS collection up till the early 2000s when I reluctantly started to gradually re-buy everything on DVD. Then just a very short time later everyone was talking blu-ray. I'm not made of money, nowadays I will rent rather than buy new films (only if I really love them will I buy them) - I hope DVDs stay around for a long time yet as I am very reluctant to start replacing the DVD collection and have no plans for a blu-ray player, though I think my son's X-Box can play them and he might have a couple...

Despite the studios' best efforts, the fact is that Blu ray remains a largely niche format and has not broken out wide the way they had hoped for, the majority of sales do indeed happen for DVD's... although the cratering of sales in the latter format pretty much correspond to the rise of sales in the former format, and that's one of the main reasons for studios pushing the Blu ray over the DVD in recent years (and deliberately withholding extras in that pursuit)!

In another time and place, I loved - LOVED! - all the extra goodies that DVD's had to offer, and although I still buy two-disc sets of older titles when still available, I have yet to watch almost any of the extra material, the films more than suffice for me and the 'making of' stuff just sits idle and unwatched... not interested in audio commentaries, don't wanna hear funny stories behind-the-scenes, no interest in how they achieved the spectacle onscreen (some things should remain behind the curtain), or some vainglorious puff piece on how everyone was "super" to work with, what a "visionary" the director supposedly is/was, or some amateur and pretentious psycho-analyzing of the characters and/or storyline... I pays for the movie and the movie alone, and that's what is important for me when I pass the cash!

I genuinely feel for movie buffs that can't afford Blu rays at present, but the good thing for DVD die-hards like yours truly is that our prefered format will be around for a LONG time to come, and as long as you don't care about extras (which I don't), then there's very little downside for us in the format wars at present...

I reckon while not all movie buffs have blu ray it would be a fair assumption to say a high proportion of blu ray buyers are movie buffs and so the concentration is put into that format where it is most valued. DVDs are now just the 'get the movie' option with the vast majority of people who buy DVD just wanting the movie only so there is little value in putting the extras on.

What i do find strange is the fact that DVD players are still being sold, given BD players are dirt cheap, play both and do great upscaling there seems little point to DVD players now

^Yep. There's still a fairly significant difference in price between even the cheapest Blu-ray player and DVD players though, so that's why DVD players are still out there.

The Xbox 360 can only play DVDs, not Blu-rays. They can occasionally play HD DVDs too, but nobody cares about those any more, heh.

The soon to be released Xbox One, on the other hand, can play Blu-rays as well as DVDs.

If you watch on your laptop or PC, you should buy a download that will now come in HD, if you want to buy a physical format, buy a (now very cheap) BD player. DVD seems so dated and the picture quality is poor. Time to put it to bed in my opinion.

...don't forget you also used to get proper booklets with your dvd...then they became 1 page leaflets....then just ads nothing to do with the actual movie itself...then nothing!

The Marvel Cinematic Universe films are bad for this as well. DVD gets nothing, Blu gets the extras including 'One-Shots' short films that are actually part of the film's universe.

As long as the extended cut makes it onto the DVD format then I ain't bothered.
To be honest that's the only extra feature I would definitely use, as I prefer to leave the movie magic in the movie.

the real issue is when they put all the extra material on the 3d blu-ray to force people to buy 3d s**te

Just a thought - surely the most important aspect of any movie release is the movie itself? Bonus features are just gravy. Frankly I barely watch the special features, as long as I get to see the movie. But, just to add fire to your argument, how about the trend of denying BluRay users the bonus features unless they buy the 3D version? Eh Prometheus?

I wouldn't discount DVD - it's infinitely more versatile than Blu Ray. I'm Blu all the way, but very few of my friends are, so it can be a pain if you want to take a disc round to a friends house to watch there. Hotels/holiday cottages etc rarely have a Blu Ray player either. I also, like many people I assume, don't have a Blu Ray player in the bedroom. For this reason, I like those 'Triple Play' releases that package both formats.

Any bonus features on a 3D BluRay are surely just compensation for having to watch the movie in 3D.

Problem is that BluRay is probably the last physical format and so inevitably there isn't as big a take up for it as DVDs. The premium price isn't just because of the upscale in quality but because it is still quite a niche medium.

I can see extras becoming a thing of the past as people start to buy their films digitally or just watch them through a streaming subscription service.

The end of physical media is a great thing crippled by DRM.

True but you can get a sony blu ray paler for £50 for that it just seems daft to buy a DVD player. I assume a lot of the dvd players sold are the £20 specials

What do you think of Criterion's idea? They've gone to simply packaging all their releases with both DVD and blu ray, with identical features on both.

That sounds fair. I have no wish to ever get myself a Blu-ray player, but I also want to get the extra behind-the-scenes material.

Totally agree. Blu is the cinephile's format and they're the ones most interested in "behind the scenes" gubbins. The format of choice for the average punter is split across DVD and all the different digital options. I do miss being able to listen to commentary tracks and watch extras on my computer though.

Well, considering you can still buy DVD/VHS players, it doesn't surprise me. Although I guess most people have a computer with a DVD drive, which they can then connect to their TV.

i'm a big movie fan and get films all the time and i hate the way the dvd only gets the film and no other features....but my main issue with the whole blu ray vs dvd thing is the fact the blu ray version of a movie is allways longer than dvd, y'know it's all the time these days, the film on the blu rays now are allways saying the "uncut version" or whatever, now that is the real problem, and even though i want the extra 14-20 mins of more movie i don't want to pay £5 more for it or £20 for it when i could get 2 films on dvd, for that one blu ray costing £20.
I think dvd's should come with the director's/uncut editions.
To get the uncut version of The wolverine i have to pay £20-£30 and it only lasts like 12 mins longer than the dvd version, that's a rip off!

The 'end of physical media' isn't coming any time soon. With a really high speed internet connection required through fibre optics, then it's going to be a long time before physical media is finished. People were talking about the PS4 and XBOne being disc free cloud machines, but they both include blu rays and the games will be sold on disc.

Outside of a hardcore fraternity, most people still buy physical media, and that will not change any time soon.

... I agree on the Blu-ray 3D thing. I had to buy the 3D version of Prometheus just because I wanted that documentary and now I'm stuck with a 3D disc I can't or have the intention to use

If i had a full hd tv i may be inclined to get a blu-ray player but as it stands i'll stick with dvd.

There's also the issue of how nice physical media is. I mean, I buy a lot of digital content too, but I still love to have my films right there, in their boxes...

... for the first few years I was angry looking how little or non existent bonus features were included on DVDs. Eventually I had to upgrade to Blu-ray not only because of the extra features but because I want to watch movies in the best possible way. I don't own many things, but as a film lover I'm willing to pay the extra price for the quality, so it's really one's choice rather than a premium thing. On the other hand I can live with DVDs for movie I like but have no interest in go beyond the movie itself. As a friend of mine told me long ago when I was complaining about my bare bones DVDs, the most important thing is the movie itself

... you're solely looking at the movie's length, but what about the picture and sound quality? Blu-ray are at the same prince DVDs had when I first started buying movies

I take my movie watching very seriously. I've got a home cinema set up at home and want the best quality and sound I can get which is why I g with Blu-ray every time and not DVD or low quality streaming. Quality is the inspiration behind what I buy, not the added features. I may watch deleted scenes or sometimes a directors commentary if its included (most don't unfortunately) but I rarely even watch the added bonus documentaries or featurettes as it just doesn't interest me so my membership to LoveFIlm is a God send as I pay a small amount each month and get the disks sent to me without having to pay £15+ each time I want to watch a 2 hour movie.

I don't own a Bu-ray player, but I'm looking into it. I might just buy an up-converting DVD player.

I wonder if the lack of bonus content on recent DVD's is really to boost Bluray. I think we should have a look at the bitrate of like Star Trek and Into Darkness. The first has bonus content to share space with on the DVD, the second hasn't. More storage space could mean a higher bitrate and thus a better picture quality.

Having said that, Bluray has better sound and picture, period. I don't really understand why people, even when they own a Bluray player, are still going with DVD's. OK, the upscaling of some DVD/Bluray players make up for something, but still it's not like the prices are a lot higher. But I also am fed up with the continues new formats. Bluray is it for me, 1080p is paramount in your livingroom. With the new Ultra HD or 4K home technology you only get something out of it if you have a Barney Stinson like wall TV.

Of course you should still be able to buy a VHS and/or DVD player. Everybody has still got VHS tapes. And not just movies, but home video's for example.

You can get major brand Blu-ray players for less than $50, and that includes outboard drives for computers/lalptops. There really is no excuse.

Plus, the next console generation (PS4, XBox One) will have Blu-ray capability.

I know I'm in the minority here, but I consider myself a movie buff, and have no interest at all in extras. I can't for the life of me understand why people want to listen to commentaries. Its like going to see a painting where the artist has written all over it.

About the only thing I'm interested in is an extended cut, where deleted scenes are inserted back into the main movie

I used to devour DVD extras. Cosy up with a commentary or a good making of. After collecting DVDs for around a decade and blu-rays since 2008, I can rarely be arsed any more. It's not helped by the fake chummy Hollywood BS, that makes me want to hurl things at my TV. I was ready to level a city of my own, after going through the extras on the US Man of Steel disc(s)*

*No, there's no apology to be found anywhere...

My mistake. I'm sure he's probably saving up for an XBox One by now :)

I don't watch that many either unless the feature is particularly interesting or I really love the film. And commentaries, yeah... The thing is I don't re-watch that many films again and again. If it's a favourite film and I want to re-watch it then it's a bit of an 'event' and watching it with a commentary would just feel like a bit of a waste, somehow?

That's pretty much how I feel about it. I'm glad its not just me :)

And that's why blu-ray owns

Ultimately the majority of people either can't notice the difference between Blu and DVD (and tbh in the real world the difference on average-sized TV screens at the average viewing distance isn't really that great) - or simply don't care.

You also have to keep in mind that the average man in the street has their TV set up and calibrated appallingly. I was round my brother in law's recently, and he was waxing lyrical about how much better Blu Ray is compared to DVD - and yet he had the contrast and saturation levels on his LCD cranked up so absurdly high that everyone in the Blu Ray he had on had bright orange skin and overall the picture quality looked like an unwatchably murky pirated VHS. Other family members always have that horrible motion-smoothing setting on that makes $200m blockbuster films look like they were filmed on a camcorder on a cheap rear-projected set. It's no wonder Blu Ray hasn't really taken off as a mainstream format and is only really appreciated by snobs like me! :)

I hear you, brother. I hear you.

You might be surprised at the quality of streaming these days - and it's only going to get better in the future.

The people interested in the extras are the people who will buy it on blu-ray anyway. I am betting 90%+ plus of the people buying the DVD just want to see the film and have interest in extras... I suspect the film companies know this based on research and are targeting their products accordingly.

In my experience the 'Extended' or 'Uncut' versions of films are generally worse than the theatrical cuts anyway.

Anyone who can't tell the difference in the picture and the colour representation on a 19" screen needs to see an optician post haste. If however they can and simply don't care, fair enough.

The technology move from video cassette to DVD was massive, the move from DVD to Blu-ray not so much which is why people are happy to stick with DVD or move to the next technology leap of downloads.

The studios bumping up blu-ray extras vs DVD extras is no different to what they did with video cassette extras vs DVD extras.

Blu-rays annoy me when it's a 3D version included too for a higher price as I don't have 3D or it's a combo pack with DVD and Blu-ray discs for a higher price when I only want the blu-ray. Studios also annoy me when it's a show filmed in hi-def, shown on hi-def tv but only released on DVD and not blu-ray

Seriously, if you get the chance, get Richer Sounds or somewhere similar to show you side by side the same film on Blu-ray and on DVD uprated on a HDMI DVD player on the same TV model... you'll walk out with a Blu-ray player after about 2 seconds of watching.

Don't bother with 3D though... it's just pointless.

I agree that the 'Physical Media is dead' brigade tend to be the minority that live in a bit of a bubble. It's easy to forget that there are still a hell of lot of people out there who've never even HEARD of Netflix - and not just old people, either!

Though the advent of streaming has definitely affected my viewing and spending habbits - I never 'blind-buy' films now, and make a point of exclusively buying only Blu Rays of all-time favourite films I love and will watch multiple times - I think physical media will have a place at least for the next few years.

And of course, you're now stuck with a copy of Prometheus.

Not sure what these "DVD`s" are that you speak of. But they sound dangerous to me, probable best to to approach if you find one in the wild.

The difference is marginal - especially if you're viewing it from the usual living room viewing distance in a brightly-lit room. It's certainly nowhere near as tangible as the difference between VHS and DVD.

In my mind, Blu Ray only really makes sense if you own a TV that is 32" or larger - because DVD does start to look a bit sucky at that size.

Sorry folks, but it's almost 2014....there's just no excuse for not owning a Blu-ray player in today's day and age. In Canada, they sell for as low as $59 - $69...and you can downscale many of them to play on an old tube tv. Let's also remember that they will also play DVDs. For a price like that, anyone who buys physical media should own one. I'm sorry that DVD buyers are getting the shaft, but there really is no excuse (other than laziness) for not owning a Blu-ray player. The format has been around for almost 10 years now.

Why would you have no wish to ever get a Blu-ray player? That's just ridiculous! You don't want superior picture quality?

Oh really? I might have to give a try then, although I cant think its anywhere near as good as a Blu-Ray (and I am very picky about quality) but am happy to be wrong :)

You're right......it's nowhere near as good as Blu-ray. Avatar is a 50GB file on Blu-ray....to stream it would be about 2, maybe 3GB....do the math.

I humbly disagree, comparing DVD upscaled on a PS3 versus the Blu-ray version of the same film sold many a PS3 for me (on a Samsung 22" 1080P screen). Even the skeptics usually reacted with a wide eyed "oh!" (must admit I usually used an animated film to make sure it was a U or PG though.)

It's certainly a lot better quality than DVD, though it is dependent on your connection.

You bring up some interesting points; you're 100% right. If someone can't notice the difference between DVD and Blu-ray, then there is something wrong with the TV setup they're watching it on (most people have no clue how to set this stuff up properly). That's like saying there's no difference between VHS and DVD. Good Grief! Obviously, the quality of the Blu-ray presentation depends on the source material (and restoration work if it's an older movie or show), but it's quite a noticeable difference. In some cases, the difference is drastic....especially on larger TVs.
To conclude....anyone who can't tell the difference between the 2 formats either doesn't have their equipment set up properly or there's something wrong with their vision. It's just that simple!

You are completely mistaken. If you honestly feel that way, then you need to pay some $$ and get your TV professionally calibrated (assuming it's a newer Plasma, LCD or LED TV and not a "lower-quality picture" projection TV). Trust me, it'll make a big difference. I always have people at my house who know nothing about tv picture...and even they are blown away by the picture quality of Blu-rays.

Exactly!! Tom clearly has something wrong with his setup.

I point the learned gentleman specifically to the Star Trek: The Next Generation Blu-rays... Oh My... you can see the stitching on the uniforms... seriously.

You are grossly overestimating the number of people who have £50 lying around for a luxury. The only way the majority of people will purchase a Blu Ray player is if their child/partner is after one for their Birthday/Christmas, or if they happen to be a movie buff who will purposefully put the money aside.

People naturally enter Birthdays/Christmas with the intention of spending some money.

If, maybe, their DVD player happens to brake, it is likely they will just buy another £20 DVD player. Because what's the point in a Blu Ray? Getting ripped for £5 extra when all you want is the movie? Paycheque to paycheque, mate.

Agreed....no matter which way you look at it though, HD streaming is compressed...both picture and audio. Some amazing compression techniques involved, but compressed nonetheless.

To be fair, I think what's most incredible is that DVDs are still even being made! I'm not complaining. I love a good DVD! Be we really are lucky that they're still faffing about with them! They go for £1 in CEX!

I don't think it'll necessarily be the last physical format. I think physical media will be around for quite awhile. While we have true video and audiophiles in this world, we'll always have "physical media" because with HD-content the quality is always better....at least it is for now and for the foreseeable future. Most people who have HD movies on their harddrives have seriously compressed versions of them. A 2 TB harddrive would only hold about 40 dual-layer Blu-rays at 50gb each.....
Also, let's not forget that 4K TVs are on the way, and I'm sure movies for 4k TVs will be at least 200GB each. How do you propose to download a 200GB movie? Even if you have a 2 or 3 TB harddrive, that'll only hold 10 or 15 movies. I imagine when you purchase a 4k movie, it'll basically be like you're purchasing a physical movie "in a case", but inside the case will be a hard drive with that movie on it.....does that still count as "physical media"?...to me it does. What do other people think?
It seems to me that until Harddrives start getting a whole lot bigger and Internet companies all over the world start giving out "bandwidth with no restrictions" and "unlimited downloads and data", physical media is here to stay (at least with the die-hards).

The extended cut of wolverine is 3d Blu only sadly

It's called Consumerism.

I noticed a huge step up in quality between my old 720p 40" screen and the new 1080p 40" screen I got last year let alone between DVD format (576i?) and full HD, the difference in massive.

I couldn't care less about the special features. I have a whole big pile of secondary DVDs I am about to just toss in the trash because I don't have the room for them anymore. The feature is all I care about. Has it been mutilated? Is it a good transfer? I view BD as something highly inconvenient (due to DRM) that takes up a lot more space. That may or may not be worth the tradeoff depending on the content.

BD releases that aren't proper upgrades from the DVD are where the real raw deal is.

I'm not as I don't assume anything about anybody, I've seen more than enough poverty to understand that

But 2 points

I'm looking at it from a manufacturing point of view If Sony can produce a £50 BD player than what can the generic makers make it for especially if they ramp up productions with the discontinuation of DVD players £20 to £30 is not unrealistic. From the manufacturing point of view it seems stupid to have two products when one will do. I mean If BD players are all that's available people will buy that even if it's only to play DVD

Secondly VHS players didn't really get below £60 yet they were as widespread as dvd players in the living room (bedrooms and portable players might be a different story) so it wouldn't surprise me. In fact VHS became quite widespread at far higher costs, so I'm not assuming anything

Yeah I totally agree with. But I buy DVDs and I like getting the behind scenes stuff. But at the same time people are bound to put up the Blu-ray extras on Youtube, so you can them for free in the end.

DVDs are relatively small in terms of data size and easy to rip. While AACS has been cracked, there aren't that many decoders and the best are commercial. The BD DRM format is a cat and mouse game and you basically need a commercial product with a service contract just to keep up.

I love Blu-ray, though I'm not bothered by special features at all. I think it's a bit rich for special features to be released exclusively on the likes of iTunes though... these features are considered bonus material, not 'pay more and we'll give you more material'. And I suppose with that argument I can understand why DVD buyers are similarly getting short-changed now.

I would love to permanently buy Blu-ray films as I like the format a lot. The problem is accessibility. I travel around a lot and if with friends really enjoy watching movies with them - if at a friends house you cannot guarantee they'll have a Blu-ray player and then it's a complete waste of time. Similarly, if you're in a discount hotel or something then you'll be lucky to even get a DVD player half the time.The world needs to embrace it a bit more, and I feel we've all fallen into a consumerist rut between DVD and Blu-ray which can prove awkward for all of us, but plays into the hands of disc manufacturers.

For 99% of the films I buy, I wait until they are £3-£5 on DVD at Tesco...not interested in interviews, deleted scenes or whatever and that works just fine.

I wouldn't call it superior, just different. I don't like the sharpened picture quality of Blu-ray, because it stings my eyes like 3D does. I actually prefer the grainier quality and the atmosphere it gives to a flick, especially as most Blu-ray conversions completely ruin the look of older movies, just as poorly done digital restorations. It's a matter of taste and preference.

Your use of the word poverty goes to show you have absolutely no idea what I'm talking about, or what issue I took with your first comment. The line isn't between poverty and spur of the moment Blu Ray shopping sprees.

And how you can say it wasn't assumption is a bit bizarre. It read like something a politician would say about the great unwashed while swilling his brandy and tweaking his moustache.

That may be even stupider than your first comment. It doesn't matter what you'd call it. It IS superior. Wow...just wow. I guess you just don't know what you don't know.

And you are very rude for insulting me like that.

Sorry, but that was an incredibly stupid thing to say. You have no business commenting on something you know nothing about. That's pure ignorance!!

So I basically just do without special features.

Basically he's saying he prefers the softer edge of a DVD picture to a blu ray one. What's stupid about that? It's just one aesthetic over another. The HD isn't always better, and doesn't always suit all films. There's something to be said for watching Evil Dead on VHS, for instance.

But here's the thing: I don't really WANT to see the stitching on the uniform. DVD really does look fine on a 32 inch telly. Blu Ray does look noticeably better, but once you get into the story, you tend not to notice picture quality. DVD picture quality isn't so bad as to take me out of the movie.

I'm trying to come back at you and rereading my comment you're right it does come across like that. B****rd I was wanting to argue.

It's not what I meant but for a lot of people who aren't pay check to pay check it doesn't make sense to get the £20 DVDs because I meant if a sony is £50 I'd expect a bush or other own label BD player to hit £25 or £30 mark

If the DVDs have no special features, what exactly do we gain by buying them as opposed to, for example, downloading them illegally?

In all seriousness; Breaking Bad has amazing special features on, every episode has a commentary and the discs are packed with interviews and making ofs. I buy them as soon they come out, at full price. Iron Man 3 has nothing on, besides the film, which I've seen once this year. The original price tag was 12.99 in most stores, but I'll wait until it's a fiver. Or pick it up second hand.

I implore you, don't throw them! Give them to a charity shop, or put them on freecycle. There's got to be something in there worth something.

No excuse? What about price? Besides the initial cost of the player (which can be a lot more than that in some countries), every Blu-Ray disc is more expensive than its DVD counterpart, usually by quite a bit. In order to get a better picture quality you also need a better television set, which is ANOTHER cost on top for an improvement most people don't even notice. For people who can only afford to buy a few new DVDs a year, there's no way a Blu-Ray player is a viable option, and it's frustrating to be getting less material per release than would have been available a few years ago.

Count me as one of the under 10%. I can't afford a Blu-Ray player, and I can't afford to buy many new DVDs a year, so the ones I pick tend to be the ones with the best special features. As soon as I get a Breaking Bad DVD set I bung on the episodes with commentary, and watch all the way through the documentaries; I get a new perspective on episodes which are still fresh in my mind from their broadcast. Iron Man 3 I'll likely not get on DVD until the end of next year, when it's reduced in price or is available second hand, because there's nothing on it I haven't seen in the last six months.

I miss double play. Those short days were awesome. Or even triple play! Man those were the days...

Personally I'm glad that DVDs are less likely to come with a whole other discs worth of bumf. Most of the time I buy a dvd to watch the film, not to see all the (mostly pointless) rubbish they can stick on there.

I have way too many cases filled with second discs that I've never even taken out of the packaging and I bet most people are the same.

If nothing else it's a waste of energy all round to provide these discs.

If the DVDs have no special features, what exactly do we gain by buying them as opposed to, for example, downloading them illegally?

Well, the film purchased legally for a start.

I've got To Kill A Mockingbird on DVD from its initially release on that format... you know what? The lack of cast diaries, producer interviews and storyboard doodles really lowers the whole experience...

In all seriousness, I watched MP and The Holy Grail last night and it doesn't even have subs on the DVD of it I bought.

It did however come with a second disc full of pointlessness.

"Special Features" were the biggest enticement in luring people from VHS to DVD. It makes sense that the same applies to blu-ray. I own a brick & mortar video store (yep, still kicking) and blu-ray has kept us alive. People are spending big bucks on home entertainment systems and want the best quality. My new release purchasing is 90% blu-ray. Most of the dvds are bare bones... movie and that's it!

I agree. I also find most cgi looks glaringly obvious on blue ray, taking me out of the film.

I've got LoveFilm and it's great, but if I love a film I will buy it on Blu Ray without a doubt.

If you are happy with it, that's great. I personally find *well done* Blu-rays make the film or TV programme seem more real - closer to looking through a window into another world which aids the suspension of disbelief, than just looking at a screen.

But then I always have wanted the TV programmes and films I love to be in the highest quality available at the time. My recently deceased Laserdisc player is testament to that.

Also I 100% do not want to download this stuff - 30-50GB of data though the internet is not viable still, frankly, and I much prefer something tangible - but that's the collector in me.

Quite right. I for instance prefer the original Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation blu-rays because they were filmed rather than taped and CBS have put a lot of time and effort into getting them right.

However Independence Day on Blu-ray is a mess because of how it was recorded originally. Similarly there is no point in uprating things like Doctor Who from series 4 of the new series and prior to HD. Blair Witch Project would be ruined by Blu-ray, surely?

Plus if the detail of the Blu-ray version makes the screen too busy (which I am aware is the case for some people), then why should they not just enjoy the footage in the form they find most comfortable.

Personal attacks are not appropriate anywhere especially when it's over a case of personal choice.

I can kinda see where you're coming from - one downside of Blu Ray is that the clarity is not very forgiving on the special effects of older films!

I feel like you're missing my point - I am talking about the 'real world' as in the average man on the street with a smallish screen, sitting 3-5m away from it. Yes, the difference is stark on a properly calibrated 42" plasma screen, but that's not what I'm talking about. The leap in picture quality just isn't comparable to the one between VHS and DVD in most cases, and that's why it hasn't caught on with the mainstream public.

Plus that a very poorly done conversion tends to make people look waxy, even in relatively new films. The biggest problem I have is with what tends to happen to older animation, because all the flaws tend to be highlighted in a distracting way, as well as the common screw-up of certain colours.

It's a fair point - resolution isn't the be all and end all. Personally I swear by my (non 1080p) Panasonic plasma screen. I could have bought a full 1080p LCD, but LCD displays always look a bit washed out to me. The black levels on a plasma, in my opinion, give a much richer, warmer, deeper image. There are other considerations, sharper isn't always better.

No, I don't. I actually used to work in a specialist Home Cinema centre so I know what I'm talking about. Yes, if you're an A/V nerd, the difference is clear - I'm talking about the layman's perspective.

I can see Blu Ray and any other futurre physical format as going the way of Vinyl. Still around, but very niche - of no interest to the general public and only sought out by collectors. That won't be for a few years yet, though.

I know a few Blu Ray discs were mastered using a pretty brutal noise reduction filter, making them look plasticy and weird - the original BD release of Predator was one such. Leave it as is! The film grain is SUPPOSED to be there!

The resolution issue also opens up a whole other discussion. With resolutions and even frame rates getting higher and higher, aren't we actually LOSING something? The Hobbit showed us that if a film looks TOO crisp, smooth and real it can totally wreck the illusion of cinema. The grain and strobing inherent in traditional film techniques acts as a barrier which hides a lot of flaws - remove that, and our eyes reject the image and just reveals a load of actors in makeup standing on an obvious set. It's an interesting debate.

I'm not saying physical media is dead just rather slowly dying. It wasn't that long ago that there was a hell of a lot of people out there that hadn't heard of MP3s but those people are in the minority now.

There will be a place for physical media for years to come but the faster our internet connections get and the easier it becomes to download films the more people will do it. Ease of access trumps the niceness of a physical product hands down when it comes to consuming content. Look at the music industry; from Napster to outselling CD's in 12 years. If you don't think films will go the same way you are just plain wrong.

No one's saying that. Just noting that the people who go on about the end of physical media are being a little premature.

As I said before, I can see physical media existing for many years to come, but it will slowly become as Vinyl is now for music - something for collectors and not really a mainstream concern.

But which is better?? There's only one way to find out....... FIIGHT!!!!

...see you after the break...

"True but you can get a sony blu ray paler for £50 for that it just seems
daft to buy a DVD player. I assume a lot of the dvd players sold are
the £20 specials"

Then there is the extra expense of blue ray discs, replacing your curreny films with blu-ray, and with no certainity over how long the format will last.

Blu-ray is pretty pointless in a world of high speed broadband, and very large capacity hard drives. How long till discs are completely obsolete?

"The resolution issue also opens up a whole other discussion. With
resolutions and even frame rates getting higher and higher, aren't we
actually LOSING something? The Hobbit showed us that if a film looks TOO
crisp, smooth and real it can totally wreck the illusion of cinema. The
grain and strobing inherent in traditional film techniques acts as a
barrier which hides a lot of flaws - remove that, and our eyes reject
the image and just reveals a load of actors in makeup standing on an
obvious set. It's an interesting debate."

True, I saw the trailer for the next hobbit film, and I wasn't very impressed with the quality of the effects. They looked noticably inferior to the original LOTR films. Of course the trailer was more than like 24fps, so that could be the issue.

I have one of the latter 32inch CRTs and to be honest, most programmes look better on that than my friends LCD TVs, even with the lower resolution.

The reason it hasn't caught on is because there'd are still DVDs being manufactured. The average person can quite easily tell the difference....it's a very noticeable difference to anyone with good vision....it's not difficult at all....whether they care or not is probably the actual question. There will always be people buying DVDs until they kill the format. That's how it was with VHS as well.

The general public rarely bought DVDs and TV shows anyway. They used to rent. Physical media has always been more of a collector's thing.

yeah, my point was that if BD players are so close to price as DVD players then you get a very good DVD player with the BD player. you don't need to buy Blurays but you have that option should you ever decide to buy them. You limit yourself buying a DVD player when for a close price you can get a better player that is future proof.
It seems pointless for manufacturers to produce both when they can produce BD players for around the same price as DVD players.

As a storage device I don't see much of a future but at the moment No online film service comes close to the quality of Blu Ray

I'm not about to waste my money on Blu-ray when there's probably something new around the corner in another 5 years. Besides, with so many people sticking to DVDs, it clearly hasn't caught on as expected.

I think limiting extras to the Blu-ray edition is a bad business move, because no matter what is done, I'm not about to buy a Bluray player. They could squeeze more money out of me by releasing DVDs that include extras and ask a couple of bucks more on those.

The picture quality might be superior, but I don't care as much about that as I do about the story. As long as I can see what the director intended to show, I'm happy. That's also one of the reasons why I really don't understand why people constantly complain about the picture quality of computer games. It's not what really matters.

It's not just a case of getting a raw deal with Blu-ray vs DVD, but what is released in what country. Case in point, Avengers. No commentary over here in the UK, and a pittance of special features, even on Blu-ray. I rarely buy brand-new DVD's now with the way content is managed over here. Case in point, I got the Iron Man special edition DVD, packed with special features when it came out. There's barely anything like that in the sequels. Lord of the Rings pulled off a special edition with each release on DVD, why can't we get this sort of treatment on DVD's now?

In order to drive sales to the more expensive Blu-Ray the studios have to give incentives. Those incentives are all the extras. Now if people can get those same incentives on the cheaper DVD format that is probably what they are going to do. That is marketing strategy plain and simple If you just want the movie get the DVD, but if you want the extra goodies you get the Blu-Ray. Now it is a legitimate gripe about there not being Blu-Ray in computers, laptops, etc. You HAVE to get DVD.

'Are DVD owners getting a raw deal?' Em yes. It's a marketing ploy to get people to buy Blu-Ray and phase out DVD. Simple.

"What i do find strange is the fact that DVD players are still being sold, given BD players are dirt cheap, play both and do great upscaling there seems little point to DVD players now".

You're forgetting that you also have to buy a £500.00 super HD plasma screen otherwise it's pointless.

I'm just loathe to fork out for a Blue-Ray player and a riducluous big HD telly when Blue-Ray will just get replaced by the next thing in a matter of years.


That is the most ridiculous thing I've heard today. The original EvilDead looks amazing on Blu-ray. You may feel nostalgic when you watch EvilDead on VHS, but if you say you prefer it to the Blu-ray, you're basically saying you prefer an inferior picture quality.

I DO prefer an 'inferior' picture quality. The VHS copy I have I last watched in about 98. I remember it well. None of the colours reproduced properly and it had extensive tape decay. Also the sound was horribly warped.
That precise copy is the best version of the movie.

Okay then....well, thanks for the ridiculous discussion...you have fun with that.

Agreed, if it's not a 3d extra then it doesn't have to only come with the 3d set.

It's not ridiculous. I think as we're moving to digital we're losing something that physical media brought.
I remember buying Different Class on CD and being stunned how different it was to my copy that I'd had for years, taped off a mate. The sound didn't warp. It was pristine. Quite frankly, it wasn't as good.
Even on CD, my copy of 13 by blur skips the intro to Beetlebum. That's how I remember that record. And that has value.
Also: VHS supplements the grid house aesthetic of Evil Dead BRILLIANTLY. That movie was made to watched at 1am, an explicit copy borrowed from a friend, sound down as to not wake the parents.
The emotions connected to the periphery of a film often can't be untangled from that film.

«If you opt for the DVD version of a film rather than the Blu-ray, why are you getting less for your money?»

Simple: because you are paying less.

What a stupid article. Did someone complain when the DVD format came along with special features, when VHS releases rarely had any?
The DVD is an obsolete format.

Now, if you want to complain about retail-specific in-disk content, now that would be a valid article.

I agree that motion blur has traditionally added to a film, but I really did think the high frame rate version of The Hobbit was better. I saw both versions, and the traditional framerate version was murky and blurry. When watching the fight with all the goblins in high frame rate, however, I could actually make out the individual dwarfs...

That's not to say I approve of motion flow technology on TVs - that's just plain wrong - but if a movie's designed to be at a higher frame rate, then I think it should be seen that way.

I am glad you posted this article as it has been a issue that has bugged me for ages now when I buy a dvd I am not that fussed on extras mainly just want the film and so long as it has subtitles I am a happy guy , but I do however agree with issues of extended versions only being available on blu ray is unfair such as the hunger games the blu ray has extended cut but the dvd version doesnt.

I know what you mean , £50 for a blu ray player is quite alot thats assuming it is good quality and transmit a good picture and sound , Personally I have no need for one at the moment I use my ps2 as a dvd player with headphones so only good part I would get out of blu ray is the picture not the sound

Ive never been fussed about blu ray. I have an hd 42 inch tv, and i borrow my friends ps3, then i borrowed a blu ray movie he had as well, which ironically i had a dvd copy. Now i did notice a difference, but i kind of preferred the quality of a dvd, also dvds are cheaper and the boxart looks nicer on my shelf then a big blue line stretching across it.....overall, dvds still have a good life left in them, 10 years tops

Because they want to phase out the DVD. And most Blu-rays are just a fraction more expensive as a DVD (especially a few months after release) and often they come with a DVD included. Most stores now have more Blu-ray titles than DVD's.
Blu-ray players are getting cheaper as well and all new TV's are HD and getting ridiculously cheap in comparison to the old days.
Face it DVD is old-skool just as Blu-Ray will be in five years. Hardly no one under the age of 25 (dare I say 30-35) buys physical media.
And in general it is only the bestsellers, kids movies or special offers that are sold.
VHS has become a collectors item with many titles only to be found on VHS. Which will not likely be the case with DVD and Blu-ray. Still I wish I had not cleaned up my collection and kept those old "bad" and obscure titles.
VHS lasted a generation, DVD maybe 15 years. I hear many people saying Blu-ray will be replaced even sooner but with what? Nothing physical in the near future that I've heard of. But likely solely trough Cable channels, On demand streaming/downloading etc.

Which next thing is that?

I don't particularly have a problem with the studios pushing Blu Ray - between them, studios and retailers don't push Blu Ray nearly enough for my liking, and it's more noticeable at this time of year than most - but it's a poor show when DVD purchasers can miss out on so much. It never used to bother me so much, but with the advent of 3D Blu Ray, it's now becoming fashionable to reserve various features for the 3D version and leave them off even the 2D Blu Ray, so I can completely understand the frustrations of the audience who still buy and watch things on DVD.

You're clueless.

Well aren't you late to the party! I'm not clueless at all, toolbag! I know exactly what I'm talking about. Sorry that your brain can't process.

Actually you're more than a toolbag; you're a flat out idiot like most of the people sharing in this discussion.

I take it that your stance is that crappy VHS quality is better, eh toolbag?!?!

1. VHS is obviously of an inferior quality to Blu Ray in terms of picture quality. But some films, mainly horror films, benefit from a scuzzy, grainy picture. Evil Dead loses a lot of its charm when upgraded to a more pristine picture.
2. Please don't breed. Fortunately, i'm confident that every girl out there will be immune to your putrid personality and below average looks. Don't bother replying, i won't be reading.

I disagree strongly with everything you just wrote. I have tons of old horror on Blu-ray. You're living in a nostalgia bubble.

I'm still wary of buying Blu-rays. Players are still $70 bucks (vs the $20 for a DVD player), the only software players are expensive and they suck, and they're not at all portable (unless you want to drag the player over to your grandma's).

I DESPISE Blu-ray exclusive extras, but the worse part is, instead of buying the stripped down DVD, I won't buy the movie at all. What's the point? The only, ONLY reason I buy movies anymore is for the features. If I
just wanted to watch the movie, I'll rent it or watch it on Netflix.

DVD are lower resolution than any display that any person has in their house INCLUDING their phones! A 200 dollar netbook has a higher resolution than a DVD does.

The point with Wolverine is even worse than the article specifies, since the extended cut was only available on the 3D blu version, so normal blu purchasers lost out as much as the DVDers. So if you have no interest at all in 3D, you still have to pay for the most expensive set which contains a useless disc. THAT is really out of order.

Interesting how many people complain about the cost of a DVD/bluray.
Considering a blank commercial ( silver backed ) DVD disc costs approx. 4 to 8 pence per disc, and that a commercial bluray disc ( silver backed ) costs about 10-12 pence pence per disc it comes down to other expenses. The actual printing process of putting the picture/logo of the film on the disc costs a little more than the disc itself.
The mastering of discs is done en-masse and a bluray film with all its extras is printed to disc in around 2 minutes.
The most expensive physical part of any DVD or Bluray is the case and the printed insert sheet.
Costs instead come from everywhere else. The maintenance and running of each processing plant, the film makers, the actors, the adverts, the companies behind all of this etc etc.
As we don't see any of that, and all we see is "end product" on shelf, we all bemoan the costs of Discs, be they DVD or Bluray.
Frankly, a tenner for a new DVD film or fifteen for a new bluray is an absolute bargain.
Where it all falls down of course is when a film isn't that good and we feel a bit peeved when we spend our hard earned and don't enjoy the end product.
But, a DVD or a Bluray is a genuine work of science and design brilliance. We really shouldn't moan about their minimal costs. But we do. I know I do....and sometimes its helpful to take a step back and try and see the bigger picture.
I can't see many of us changing however.
As for the extras.....Film companies want Bluray to work, so of course, they skip on DVD content in favour of Bluray content sometimes. Obvious I suppose.
Best policy. Don't buy on release. Buy when the product you want is on offer.
A prime example of this for me will be Thor 2. I watched it on a streaming site recently so I could make an informed purchase. It was nowhere as good as I was hoping, but had some wonderfully witty moments. I'll now buy it when its going for £7.99 instead of the retail release price of £15.
Don't get me started on the cost of DVD and Bluray players...they can be ridiculously cheap and are another wonder of design.......god ....we are so spoilt !
TV 's ?...yeah well...they do cost a bit regardless....but then you're probably only buying one every 5 years, unlike films, which may be as often as every month.

I still buy DVDs. Not many BR because of the high crazy prices. I have over 100 DVDs

Now I know why Walmart has those $5 DVD bins because of the the scratches on the Discs. I also love how The BR will play and never has scratches. I take extra good care of them. The most expensive set I own is the Star Wars collection which is still worth $90 in stores, got for Christmas 3 years ago and was my 1st BR set to get. I now own like 30 movies on BR, mostly $5-10 ones and some Disney's $30 movies. I love the fact that BR picture and sound is better and cleans easier. I also got my 1st Magnavox BR player the same year I got the Stars Wars set. The Magnavox player was $80-90 in Walmart. I love it!

I like buying CDs and DVDs. I find them cheaper to buy now like @ BigLots o Walmart in those $5 racks and bins they have for music and movies. I'll buy Blu-Ray if they are only $5-10 per film like @ Walmart, Target and Bet Buy. Digital is okay for backups, but not everything is online. I like owning the disc better


my hp laptop has a CD/DVD drive. So I can play movies on it. I do have a Blu-Ray/DVD Player also

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