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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

looks like I picked the wrong week to say that I’ll never buy a blu-ray player…

Actually, I’ve been saying forever — for almost a year, at least — that I have no desire to own a blu-ray player. Yes, I’ve seen demos of blu-ray, and yes, it does look super cool, but I’m still not convinced that it’s better enough to make it worth the expense, not just for the player, but for the discs, too. I dread going through another format upgrade, and I really, really just want to wait for everything to be digital on-demand.

Also, until my laptop can play blu-ray discs, I need to stick with DVD, or I won’t be able to grab any more screencaps.

But Warner Bros., just now, may have headed off one of those objections: it’s gonna start offering blu-ray and DVD in the same package in early 2010, for the price of just one of them. I received this press release a little while ago:


Studio To Begin Offering Blu-ray(TM) Combo Packs On All Theatrical New Release Titles;

Blu-ray Disc, Standard Definition DVD, And Digital Copy All-In-One At No Additional Cost

Also Introducing The Industry’s First Line Of Affordably Priced “Blu-ray Double Features;”

Sets Will Include Two Of Warner’s Top Catalog Hits On Blu-ray Disc

Burbank, Calif. December 16, 2009 – Warner Bros. Home Entertainment today announced two Blu-ray(TM) packaging initiatives that will give consumers greater value and portability when shopping for the best possible way to watch movies at home. Beginning in the first quarter of 2010, Warner Home Video will be releasing its entire Theatrical New Release slate as Blu-ray combo packs, containing a Blu-ray Disc of the film with exclusive special features and exciting BD-Live interactivity, a standard-definition DVD and a Digital Copy of the film. For no additional cost, Blu-ray combo packs offer consumers significantly more value by merging the unsurpassed quality of Blu-ray with the convenience of being able to watch the film in any format, on just about every playback device.

Warner Home Video is also launching the industry’s first line of Blu-ray Double Features, priced at $24.98 (SRP). Beginning February 23, the attractively packaged and entry-level priced Blu-ray Double Features pack will include a pair of well-matched catalog hits spanning multiple genres – comedy, action, drama/thriller and horror. The first wave will include “Dirty Harry” and “Magnum Force” starring Clint Eastwood; “Analyze This” and “Analyze That” starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro; “Presumed Innocent” and “Frantic” starring Harrison Ford; “Miss Congeniality” and “Miss Congeniality 2” starring Sandra Bullock; and Grumpy Old Men and Grumpier Old Men starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.

“When people experience Blu-ray – they love it, and with Blu-ray combo packs on all of our top new releases, we are giving consumers the titles they want without having to sacrifice convenience and portability,” said Ron Sanders, President, Warner Home Video. “And our new Blu-ray Double Feature sets make it easier and more affordable than ever for consumers to build or expand their home movie libraries and discover why Blu-ray is simply the best way to watch movies at home.”

According to third quarter figures compiled by the Digital Entertainment Group (DEG), Blu-ray is on the rise. In 2009, Blu-ray Disc set-top player sales grew 112 percent over the same period last year and this holiday season consumers are seeing Blu-ray player prices starting around $100, making it that much easier for home audiences to see the films they love the way they were meant to be seen. Blu-ray devices are at the top of many consumers’ holiday wish lists this year are projected to be in 15 million U.S. homes by the end of this year.

On the other hand, if Warner Bros. can offer two formats in one package for the price of one, what the hell kind of markups have these discs been getting forever?

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  • Considering how much a blank DVD costs (even for commercially pressed, not burned discs) the mark-up is huge. Most of it is royalties and profit. I’m assuming that their licensing people have managed a way to convince the unions that all three formats in one package is still just the sale of one title (and not three.)

  • doa766

    DVDs are obsolete

    digital on demand is not going to replace physical media, because people like to own the movies they buy and put them on shelves and blu ray picture quality requires around 40 GB for a new release, you need a really good connection to handle that on demand (blu ray picture quality is very different that standard 1080P)

    also studios and are pushing hard for blu ray, star trek sold 40% blu ray and 60% DVD

    it’s hard for everyone to admit that the huge DVD collection on which you spent so much time and money is obsolete but it’s just the way it is

    after you watched a few blu rays on a big screen LCD DVDs look awful

  • funWithHeadlines

    Yeah, this seems to be the Christmas of blu-ray, finally.

    Well, I’ll never buy one. DVDs are fine for now, and I’m increasingly doing movies over the Net through Netflix or Apple TV or the like. Frankly, just having Tivo grab the AFI Top 100 list of movies gets me lots of good stuff.

    Discs are dead. The studios just haven’t noticed yet, and frankly neither have most people. But by the time people replace their library with all new discs, that’s about when they’ll realize that they are never pulling out discs any more.

    This is the 21st-century. Time to bury old tech like physical discs. No matter how cheap it gets.

  • funWithHeadlines

    And yes, I agree that people like to own movies. It’s discs that are dead, not ownership. Storage is so vast now, you just get the movie electronically and you store it any way you want. Presto! You own the movie, but are not tied down to dead technology like blu-ray discs.

  • doa766

    people don’t feel the own a collection they can’t see on shelve

    also, how many people have connections good enough to move the 50 GB of data that are needed for blu ray quality in less than a week?

  • funWithHeadlines

    Owning movies is a recent concept. Everything is moving to digital media, and this will too. They will see them on their virtual shelves in a far more convenient format. If nothing else, today’s kids will never know a world with discs.

    How many people have such connections? Quite a few and growing rapidly. This will not hold back the future. In fact, some countries can already easily handle 50 GB data transfers today.

  • doa766

    I don’t know about “growing rapidly” when now on the US about 30% of the territory only has access to dial up, imagine the rest of the world

    I find it funny how the people that say that discs are dead are the same people that still buy DVDs

    also, now it’s very common for people to own around 200 movies, on blu ray quality 200 movies are about 10 TB, I find it hard to see how the people who need to be told that the printed side of the DVD should face up when they put it in would handle and organize one or more HDDs of that size

    usually the people who comment on this matter online know a lot about computers, technology and movies so tend to forget that most of the market is not like them at all

    most of the people never learn how to program a VHS before that technology became obsolete but they did learn how to use DVDs and blu rays are pretty much the same

  • doa766

    and actually all the info about connection speeds, HDD sizes, future technology, digital or physical collection is irrelevant

    studios and manufactures had decided to go with blu ray and that’s it, they’re not going to change their mind

    no matter how much better, efficient and cheap is the electric car it doesn’t matter until car companies decide to go fully ahead with it it’s dead in the water, like digital on demand

    just because there’s a better technology out there doesn’t mean that’s going to become the standard, far from it

  • Dr Rocketscience

    What I wouldn’t give to be 20 years younger…

    …and able to afford a Blu-Ray player…

    …and a woman.

  • Maybe if I was 15 years younger I would be getting more excited about blu-ray and probably be in the process of updating my library. But I look at the huge number of movies which I own that still includes video, laser disc and of course DVD and the thought of going through updating and the expense is prohibitive. Plus no doubt there will be some new technology along in another few years which encourages us to update once again.

    I am sure at some point I will end up entering the world of blu-ray and its impressive quality but for now I will wait and see what’s next in the pipeline before I commit to another update.

  • MaSch

    I hope you won’t find that you also picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue, MaryAnn … (I hope I correctly spotted your reference, else this might look like an extremely dickish thing to say …)

  • RogerBW

    Yet more desperation as people continue not to buy blu-ray players.

    CDs and DVDs had clear advantages over what came before: a format generally resistant to degradation, and one that could be stored compactly. So people were prepared to buy stuff all over again.

    Blu-ray (and SACD and DVD-Audio) doesn’t offer that compelling advantage. Very few people have the equipment to detect a difference between standard DVDs and blu-ray, and many of the people who do don’t reckon it’s worth the cost of re-buying things they already own.

    And that’s where this goes wrong, I think: it offers nothing to the people who already have the film on DVD.

  • Pat Mustard

    Discs are dead

    Just as TV killed radio? Or as video was the death blow for cinema?

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit drinking…

  • Jerry Colvin

    Warner has already done this with the new Harry Potter, and Disney’s been doing it all year.

    I relented this summer when player prices dropped below $100 at certain stores, and this holiday season has seen deals (sales, coupons, combination) at Target, Amazon, Walmart, Best Buy, etc. where the price of a blu-ray disc has been lower than the price of a DVD.

    Discs are not dead. Those who say otherwise are wrong.

  • Leslie Carr

    How strange – last night I plugged in my newly acquired Blu-ray player and watched “Bourne Ultimatum” with the family. Like MAJ, I have been saying for ages that I would never get Blu-ray. I don’t see the point of High Definition and I think that the last thing we need is for the industry to focus on more dots on screen rather than better stories on screen.

    Well I can report that I couldn’t tell the difference. Not that I was comparing two experiences side by side, but I certainly didn’t know that I was watching Blu-ray. Not only that, I got exactly the same surge of irritation as I do on a DVD when I found that I wasn’t able to skip over the studio ident or the dire warnings against inappropriate performance. Apparently you’re not allowed to show the film in prison, but Universal will try and send you there. Grrr.

    So I feel slightly disappointed – I was expecting a warm glow of visual amazement at least. I also feel a fool for being taking in by the obviously over-hyped marketing. “Beyond High Definition” my arse.

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit amphetamines.

  • markyd

    Ha! Leslie beat me to it.

    So I feel slightly disappointed – I was expecting a warm glow of visual amazement at least. I also feel a fool for being taking in by the obviously over-hyped marketing. “Beyond High Definition” my arse.


    I bought a PS3 when they price dropped in September, which means I also got a Blue Ray player.
    I have since watched several Blu Ray movies on it, and can’t, for the life me, tell the difference.
    I have it hooked up to a 42″ Sharp LCD 1080 TV, so I’m not lacking in technology(yes, through an HDMI cable)
    Sure, the movies have looked good (Incredible Hulk, Star Trek, Wanted, etc) but I wouldn’t know they were Blu Ray if it didn’t say it on the disc!

    Just tell me a good story and I’ll be happy.

  • Alli

    I got a PS3 on black friday because I knew many of my favorite films would be coming out on blu-ray soon. That and I’ve wanted one for a long time. This may sound lame, but I really want the blu-ray versions of these films because they tend to contain more extras than the regular DVD. I bought the Half-Blood Prince bluray/DVD/digital copy pack for about $16. That’s a pretty darn good deal. I have no intention, however, to replace my entire collection any time soon though.

  • Pat Mustard


    That’s it! Thanks Leslie, knew there was a drug-related one in there but couldn’t for the life of me think of it.

  • LaSargenta

    Ahhhh, the latest media upgrade.

    You know, I still have a couple of piano rolls. THAT uses some hardware that they still haven’t got a USB hookup for! *goes off whistling*

  • Bluejay

    You know, I still have a couple of piano rolls.

    If you’re not joking, that is really cool.

  • LaSargenta

    Nope, not joking. We found them in the attic. One other was so crumpled and damaged that we used it for firestarter, but there’s a couple more. I think they’re both waltzes.

    No player piano, though.

  • funWithHeadlines

    When I said, “discs are dead,” I meant it in the sense that mainframe computers are dead. Obviously they are still around and useful to those who need ’em, but the average person will never deal with one. So yes, if you want to think literally when you see things in print, my saying discs are dead is foolish on its face. But I’m thinking of the future and trends and what I mean is that this is a dead-end technology. It’ll be around for a while longer, but there’s no future in it at all.

    usually the people who comment on this matter online know a lot about computers, technology and movies so tend to forget that most of the market is not like them at all

    I’m glad you mentioned that because usually the blu-ray supporters are the geeks who get into resolution questions and high-end electronic equipment. The average person not only doesn’t care, they can probably not tell the difference between a DVD and a Blu-Ray disc when seen on their crappy televisions. Trying to tell them they have to replace their movie library once again won’t go far.

    But the idea that we’ll all have ready access to what might as well be unlimited disk storage is something that’s going to happen whether they seek it out or not. Their cable companies will push it onto them just as they are pushing DVR tech onto clueless people who wouldn’t know a Tivo if it recorded their butt. Or Google will push it onto us — closely followed by Microsoft who copies anything Google does.

    That said, if you like Blu-Ray now, good for you. Enjoy it. No one is going to take it from you. Have fun.

    But leave me out of it. I like HD, I like free-flowing information, I like the 21st-century, I’m forward thinking. I don’t want discs any more.

  • Paul

    The fine print these guys don’t tell you is that to truly enjoy the total capacity of a Blu-ray is that you also need to buy a big ass, brand new, top quality TV that can handle the higher resolution. I was shocked when I saw those new TVs in a store. Not shocked enough to whip out my credit card, but shocked none the less.

  • Looks like I picked the wrong week to say that I’ll never buy a blu-ray player…

    Looks like I picked the wrong week to admit knowing people who can’t even afford cable or Internet access right now…

    And, geez, could that announcement have anything to do with the fact that fewer and fewer people are likely to be making the purchase of blu-ray players a priority in this current economic climate?

    Why, even people who sell and design shrubberies are in considerable economic distress in this period of history…

  • Les Carr

    What should I do with my VHS collection? Those films date back to when my kids were small. Even though I love them I’ve never got round to upgrading them all (the films, not the kids) to DVD. Funnily enough, what sometimes puts me off playing them is the sound quality, not the picture quality. That and the fact that they are shelved somewhere less convenient than the DVDs (they are bulky!)

    What I love about VHS tapes is that you can FF over the studio crap at the start :-)

  • jez

    Being from Australia, were our internet is woefully slow and blu-ray is all the hype, i cannot even fathum replacing all my dvd’s for this format.

    VHS – DVD = Excellent upgrade
    DVD – Blu-ray = Mediocre upgrade at best

    I recently bought a HD LCD and couldn’t be more stoked with the difference. What will blu-ray ofer for me that only a videophile can detect. I cant stand downloaded movies (allways dodgy rips my friends have) and love having a physical collection. i guess it’s similar to how “iTunes killed the CD star.”

    Unless the jump to the next format is extereme (alla quasi 3D in Minority Report)i wont be changing in a hurry.

    And no, disc are not dead, and never will. I’m priviliged to a 3000 strong vinyl colection – anyone who thought casette’s were the duck’s nuts were kidding themselves. Alot of marketing, consumerist rubish!!

  • G Bates

    I have a bluray player that interfaces with Netflix to show movies that can stream from there on the TV. I’m not planning on upgrading the DVD’s I have now just for picture improvement. It will depend on extras and things like that. Right now when determining if I will get a DVD or BDVD, I check the extras and price and then determine if the extras are worth the extra price to me.

  • Paul

    I don’t recall many extras that made them worth the extra price. The deleted scenes from LotR and Galaxy Quest, that’s about it. And commentary? Too slow and meant for fans, not a writer who wants to know the deep structure.

    But I probably wouldn’t mind that everyone is out to steal either my money or my time if I had more of them.

  • Lori

    Okay, please be aware that a vast majority of all (if not all) blu-ray players are able to play DVD’s. So none of you will have to replace your DVD collection just add Blu-Ray discs that are released in the future.

  • RogerBW

    Lori, I think (hope) that everyone here knew that. But what the media producers have gambled on is that, as with the VHS->DVD transition, people will pay again for the stuff they’ve already bought.

    Possible future question of the day: how do you feel about DVD extras? I like deleted scenes, and some commentaries are good, but the “making of” shorts never really seem to be anything other than an extended trailer, and calling the trailer for the film (or the trailers for other films) an extra is just insulting.

  • G Bates

    Whether the DVD’s have extras on them or not is uaually one of the determining factors as far for me when I decide whether to get the DVD. I can see most of the movies eventually on HBO or some other pay channel so if the DVD only has the movie I normally just wait. I like commentaries and older movies I like when movie historians have short segments talking about the actors and things like that. As far as making of segments on newer movies it varies.

  • FunWithHeadlines

    Don’t kid yourselves, this is about money. Blu-ray players will also play DVDs? Not if Blu-ray really takes off in the marketplace. That’s when you’ll see the Blu-Ray-only players dominate the marketplace so that the big wave of purchasers will then be locked in. That’s when they will answer the question of “how do I play my DVDs?” with “replace your library with Blu-ray.”

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