Title: So, is the home video market dead yet?
Description: or, trying to pick an Avengers DVD
Peter Nepstad - July 11, 2012 07:05 PM (GMT)
Did I just live through a special historic bubble in which buying your own personal library of movies seemed like a good idea, and that time has now passed?
I don't blame streaming. I blame the fact that no one could decide what the "next format" was going to be until it was too late.
At least HD-DVD has disappeared (hasn't it?), but no one was convinced they needed a Blu-Ray player, not when we've already bought so many DVDs and now stuff is moving to streaming.
I bring this up because trying to buy a movie is becoming a complicated proposition. The new AVENGERS listings on amazon include a TABLE to help you figure out which one you should purchase, for crying out loud.
I love the four-disc set. Wow! So many extras!!! er, no -- that's actually a DVD copy of the movie, a Blu-Ray, and a 3D Blu-Ray copy. And one disc of extras.
Hong Kong movies used to be a lot more accessible -- meaning a whole lot cheaper -- when I could grab them on VCD or rent them from local shops. Now all the local shops have gone under, most Blu-Ray players can't even play VCDs, and if there are any sites that stream a lot of asian movies online that include English subtitles, I haven't found them.
Is anyone buying any of these formats enough to make them profitable anymore? The system feels broken to me.
Wade Sowers - July 11, 2012 07:57 PM (GMT)
I am buying more DVDs than ever now that studio MOD programs are going deep into the more obscure stuff, early movies by directors I admire for example; the same goes for Blu-rays in that outfits like Olive, Kino, BFI (could be quite a long list), are putting out way too much for me to watch promptly, and I watch at least one a day. Actually, the same goes for Blus of television shows I admire like JUSTIFIED, MAD MEN, BREAKING BAD, BOARDWALK EMPIRE, SHERLOCK, GAME OF THRONES, DOWNTON ABBEY, CASTLE - I would rather watch these show without commercial breaks, without cuts (British on PBS), with better sound and a better picture than when they are broadcast. I have always purchased DVDs online as I know pretty much what I want to buy, and most of the stuff coming out of Hollywood now and what seems to be the future isn't it. Regarding profit, if pricing in the States were a bit more restrained they might sell more studio stuff - an example is the new Hitchcock Blu-ray set from Universal which appears to cost lots more on this side than it does in England, 100 pounds on amazon.uk and $224.99 on amazon U.S. You could even purchase the Universal Classic Monsters Blu in England at 37.41 pounds and have it shipped to your door in the States for less then the $111.99 (plus shipping) they want for it around here. I am yet to stream, perhaps one of these days after I watch everything on the shelf. By the way, the new Synapse Blu of TWINS OF EVIL (1971) is a thing of beauty!!
Yi Lee - July 11, 2012 08:01 PM (GMT)
Hey Peter (and everybody else),
Streaming makes a lot of sense if you fall on the First World side of the digital divide that bisects the global North/South or global West/East but a strong argument can be made for physical media in places where high speed internet access isn't prevalent and "always on" isn't just technocratic babble for being out in the sticks. That noted, at my mom's place in Atlanta I notice there are still lots of mom n' pop places that hire out discs and tapes(!) I'm not just talking about Chinatown video rental either. The I-285 perimeter that circumscribes the city contains a population that represents 95% of the world's linguistic groups and you can still get a lot of stuff on physical media if you're willing to venture into this-or-that ethnic enclave. Lots of older immigrants out there that can't be bothered to mess with on-line gadgets and menus but anyone can turn on a player, pop in a disc, press play, and toggle the subtitles button, no?
Also, if one is the type to share what one has, having physical media like DVDs, VCDs, books, CDs, and LPs(!) makes quite a bit of sense if one has a tendency to loan out titles to friends and acquaintances. You just kinda hope they give it back to you someday.
Lastly, speaking of streaming, are you still watching Desi cinema nowadays? Any success with Mela (my mom's still just bumming discs off her co-workers from the hospital whilst she loans out my Chinese collection in exchange)?
Brian Camp - July 11, 2012 08:21 PM (GMT)
I know more and more people who are streaming these days. Which makes sense, I guess. Who can afford the space to stock everything?
Me, I have enough movies on tape and disc to last me the rest of my life. Provided the players last--or I can get enough new machines to stock up. (Right now, I've got three working code-free DVD players, one portable R1 player, three working VCRs and two brand new DVD/VCR combos in storage.) But at some point, I'm going to have a hard time finding the newer stuff I like. Right now, I've still got a Japanese video store in New York that stocks up DVD copies of new Japanese shows and spin-off movies. When that ends, I'm probably going to have to start figuring out how to find stuff on-line.
My internet access shut off on Sunday and calls to tech support at three different places, speaking to five different people, yielded no solution. I envisioned a future where, after retirement, I stopped paying for internet and cable and just watched stuff in my collection and read books from my personal library. And if I wanted to post something or submit a review, I'd just go to the public library or an internet cafe. We'll see. :rolleyes:
(P.S. My internet access magically returned by Monday morning.)
Rob Peace - July 12, 2012 10:57 PM (GMT)
I've been spending more than ever on Blu-rays lately because, ironically, the prices are getting so low. In just the last two weeks I've bought (or preordered) THE FLY (Cronenberg), HOT FUZZ, ALTERED STATES, MEAN STREETS, TOMMY, DOG DAY AFTERNOON, CONAN THE BARBARIAN (Schwarzenegger, natch) and a couple of others I can't remember at the moment, and each of them cost 10 dollars or less ($5 for THE FLY at Fry's). Now the B&N Criterion half-price sale is on. There goes the nest egg.
Also, I don't see having multiple buying choices as a bad thing. I'm glad I'll be able to get SINGIN' IN THE RAIN without paying for useless swag.
John W McKelvey - July 13, 2012 02:17 AM (GMT)
Ha! Crazy about that Avengers table, but it's actually pretty handy if I was out to own The Avengers.
Mark Tinta - July 13, 2012 02:09 PM (GMT)
I say this all the time, but the death of physical media has been greatly exaggerated, especially when it comes to music sales. Yes, sales of cds are down. No question. But this smug "People still buy cds?" attitude I frequently see in the media doesn't represent the bulk of the country (I'm specifically talking about the US). Yes, people still buy cds, and they still buy DVDs and Blu-rays. That may not be the case on the coasts (where people are, generally, more collectively hip and tech-savvy), but the middle of the country is, by my estimation, a decade behind the curve. And there's an entire generation of people in my parents' demographic (65 and up) who are living longer than ever and have no interest in streaming or downloading. I'm 39 and I still buy cds. So do most of my friends. I think a shift will take place when the children/teenagers of today get to be my age and older, but to say it's happened already, that everyone streams/downloads, and "nobody buys physical media" is utter nonsense.
Bob Lindstrom - July 13, 2012 06:38 PM (GMT)
Yes, we can all embrace the "miracle" of video streaming and, in so doing, ensure the death of true HD video and audio, the same way the world has embraced MP3 and all-but-killed HiFi audio.