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"Oh, look at my poor neck... all bare and tender and exposed."
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July 15 2010

Dollhouse season 2 DVD and Blu-ray extras revealed. Bonus material on both versions includes Outtakes, Deleted Scenes, "Defining Moments", "Looking Back" and Audio Commentary on 2 episodes: a "Vows" commentary by show creator Joss Whedon, and also a "Belonging" commentary by writers Jed Whedon and Maurissa Tancharoen.

Exclusive to the Blu-ray release is an additional Audio Commentary, on "Getting Closer" by exec producer and episode-writer Tim Minear.

Eff you, extra commentary track on the Blu-ray.
Blu Ray is better.

Can't wait to get this.
Right there with you, b!X.
Yeah, that extra commentary is frustrating.
It's so sucky leaving the extra commentary off the DVD.All the studios are doing this with their DVD's and Blu-Rays unfortunatly.This is the first T.V. Series set to pull this junk though.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-15 04:34 ]
Yeah, I'm getting the Blu-Ray but leaving the commentary off the DVD? That's really horrible. And what's the "special surprise" everyone was talking about?
Blrrghlflrrgll, Blu-Ray. Stoked for the outtakes and Belonging commentary, though!
Blu Ray > DVD so leaving off the commentary makes sense. There's really no excuse for not upgrading, especially when the players are so cheap these days (just get a PS3).

I'm only iffy about the artwork, but it's better than that creepy colorful stuff, with the yellows and pinks, etc. I would prefer to have the one with all of them standing over the LA cityscape, but the white background really does represent the show well.

A full-series collection would've been nice, though. =/ But I'm grateful regardless.
Cheap is relative. But then I'm going to Comic-Con, so it's more a matter of ranking of choices for me.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-07-15 04:39 ]
I don't think leaving off the commentary makes sense. It's not like the Blu-Ray needs "something extra" to convince people to buy it. It already has that: an immense increase in video quality. And I doubt the people holding off on buying a Blu-Ray player were doing so just because it wasn't worth it until the right commentary track came along.
Of all the features to be Blu-ray exclusive, it's audio of a person in a room talking over the episode. Weiiird. Getting it Blu-ray already but just find that odd.
To echo* what everyone else has been saying: AUGHH, FRIGGIN' BLU-RAY

*I am sorry! I swear that was completely unintentional
If you think that's bad,the Iron Man 2 two disk DVD is being fleeced.The DVD is leaving off the big docummentary.It's also only giving two out of the five of the featurettes and half of the deleted scenes(.

I was livid over what Warner Bros. did with the upcoming Superman/Batman:Apocalypse 2 disk DVD.the Blu Ray gets the The New Gods featurette and the mini featurettes on Orion and Mr. Miracle meanwhile all the 2 disk DVD gets is the Supergirl:The Last Daughter of Krypton featurette which is ported over from the Smallville Season 7 DVD release from a few years ago!All us DVD viewers get is a old featurette that was released a few years ago and I already have!

But now it seems they are going to start pulling this with T.V. on DVD too.It also looks like the Bones Season 5 DVD's are getting the deleted scenes held back for exclusive to Blu-Ray.

I get the studios are doing this to push people to upgrade to Blu-Ray but it still bites.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-15 04:47 ]
Ok, I was going to complain about there only being two commentary tracks (Come on, gimme more! I'm greedy and I love them on ME shows!) but throwing the extra onto the Blu-Ray just adds insult to injury.

I is pouty now.
Yeah, cheap is relative. Suffice it to say, I will be upgrading to blu-ray as soon as I win the lotto and stock my pantry with more than ramen. And excellent point, BamSaidTheLady. I'm not super mad about it or anything, just slightly irked.

Commentaries are really all I care about on DVD extras, and I would have been thrilled for a track on ANYTHING from 2.04-2.11.
I'm not getting a Blu-Ray player at this point because most of my movie watching is done on my computer,not on my T.V.I have a DVD player for my T.V. but I hardly ever use it.Almost EVERYTHING home video watched is done on my DVD-ROM on the computer.And I was told specifically by a few places not to convert my computer's DVD ROM for a Blu-Ray one at this point because they are very expensive compared to a regular Blu-Ray player,there is very few selections at this time(Best Buy only sells Blu-Ray ROM's in one brand for example) and they have a lot of bugs/problems right now.I was told to wait a year or two until they come down in price and the bugs are worked out.

So there's no point in buying a Blu-Ray player if it's hardly ever going to be used due watching my movies on the computer.What good is blu-ray disks when I'll never be able to use them in my prefered place of watching which is the computer and not a television?

SO it's not a question of price for me.If I watched most of my videos on T.V. and not the computer than I would of bought a blu-ray player probably over a year ago.If I can't also watch the disk on my computer,it's no good to me.

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-15 04:59 ]
That's just rude! Hopefully someone will upload that commentary in an audio file.
It's a nice distraction to keep us from grumbling that only 2 or 3 tracks have commentary whatsoever. I wish there were commentary tracks for every episode.
i highly recommend a blu ray player to everyone. It has been a very pleasant experience since I got mines a year ago.
Hey, I can think of an excuse for not upgrading to blu-ray. It's a bad economy and a lot of people are unemployed or just really poor. Some of us don't have the money for a new player or more expensive videos.
I've been so spoiled by The Simpsons on DVD... Commentaries for EVERY episode! *sigh*
Bad economy, plus, if you look up how to do it and don't mind the cords (there's probably a wireless way to do it, for those so inclined), you can run good quality television and movies from your PC (or Mac?) to your TV and skip the waste of plastic and metal that are physical discs and packaging. I understand not wanting to watch on the computer, my PC is from 2002 and everything's just nicer on a TV (though I enjoy The Guild, a couple other webseries, and YouTube stuff on the computer moniter just fine).

What would be ideal is, when PVRs (TiVos and the like) finally grow large enough hard drives to hold loads of HD video (or if studios and cable companies just allow you to buy the shows, but forever keep them on their servers for download/streaming at your convenience), they start releasing season and series sets of TV with the frickin extras. The Movie Network up here (or HBO Canada, as it were, and I assume HBO USA as well) put the minisodes (glorified deleted scenes) of True Blood up OnDemand for Season 3. That's a promising start.

It's kinda striking how elitist folks can get about their technology preferences (like when I pull out my dinosaur of a cell phone, I get the jokey-but-still-"c'mon man, seriously?" poking from friends--but hey, I'm allowed to shun expensive cell phones, aren't I ? I keep one in my truck and use it for emergencies only, or in times when searching for a payphone is too much of a waste of time, plus I've got a nice cheap $15 plan). Not everyone has or is willing to spend the cash on fun but arguably useless and definitely non-essential shiny electric toys (and when you add up iPhone + desktop computer/laptop + video game console + TV/blu-rays-or-DVD + every other high end toy you can think of, who has the time, aside from the exceedingly rich and unemployed ? Maybe those of you lucky/smartly-opportunistic enough to be working from home and who're exceptionally good at multi-tasking).

I get it. I can be a nutty cinephile at times ("the only way to see big budget and sweepingly epic films is in the movie theatre!"), but getting all smug about having gotten to blu-ray before others is kinda pointless and mean (not to mention acting like it's the only option for decently crisp picture and sound, although yes, I know it's the best available).
GoldDust12 said:
Commentaries are really all I care about on DVD extras, and I would have been thrilled for a track on ANYTHING from 2.04-2.11.


I agree. This is unacceptable. Fear not! Slowly but surely, I'm working on it. :)
I didn't mean to be mean or pretentious, and I don't care about getting Blu-Ray before anyone else; I just bought my PS3 in March for Final Fantasy XIII. All I'm saying is that you can buy a Blu-Ray player for under $100 these days. That's a huge leap compared to the $500 price range of a few years ago. And yeah, sure, you need to have the right kind of television in order for Blu-Ray to even be worth your time (which can also get expensive), but all I can say is that it's so worth it.

Kris, I wouldn't call phones, computers, and media players "toys" -- video game consoles, sure, but the rest are more like tools than toys for me. Even video game consoles are becoming more tool-like, since you can use them to connect with people, browse the internet, view media, check the weather, whatever. I've kept the same phone -- my first phone -- for about 6 years and it was honestly a shitty phone. But I liked it. Last January, I got the droid. It was beautiful and my life was changed for the better. (Not to mention there was a $100 rebate, and since I hadn't upgraded in forever, that took another hundred bucks or so off the price tag, as well).

Blu-Ray is only going to become more and more inexpensive as time goes on. It's not about who gets there first; rather, it's about not being the last one. Eventually, there will come a time when not experiencing your (contemporary?) movies and shows in 1080p will be laughable. It won't be a matter of price; soon, it will be a matter of laziness and Luddite syndrome.

This does not hold true with VHS tapes, because those are badass and awesome in a very retro kind of way. (What can I say? They're my childhood.)
electricspacegirl said:
Hey, I can think of an excuse for not upgrading to blu-ray. It's a bad economy and a lot of people are unemployed or just really poor. Some of us don't have the money for a new player or more expensive videos.


Seriously. I've barely managed to hang on to enough cash for the DVD (and that might disappear before October rolls around). Is there a stronger phrase than "this pisses me off"? Are we into the realm of appropriate swearing yet?
Don't you just love it when companies come right out and say "Support your local bittorrent site"?
beergood, exactly.
I was rather hoping for another commentary or two, since I'm not getting the Blu-ray (new campaign name: Two's too few?). I wonder if the commentary on Vows will finally reveal the original plan for the Epitaph-gang. Also, I'm not really sure how this works, but I assume the UK version will have the same features, right?
beergood said:
Don't you just love it when companies come right out and say "Support your local bittorrent site"?


I pretty much just said the same thing in a rant on my LJ. Except longer and with f-bombs...
BD is the future and this site does NOT have all the extras. :) The special surprise is not listed. Available on both DVD and BD.

Companies have to give those that upgrade to BD an incentive. It's a bonus for those that pay more, not a punishment to those who buy the standard edition. You get the standard fare.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-07-15 07:03 ]
Ooh, intriguing!
I'm in the camp of too few commentaries! Those bunch of no good, lazy, sons of--what's that? Busy? What else could they possibly be doing that's more important than explaining Dollhouse to me so I can understand it better?

Jerks. ;)

And the Blu Ray thing is just plain mean (although I know it's not the creative team's fault).

Tamara C--as someone above stated, the bonus you get with Blu Ray is the vastly superior video quality. People that have Blu Ray players are going to buy that version anyway.

[ edited by guidedby on 2010-07-15 07:06 ]
Well, if the special surprise was actually listed, it would cease to be a surprise, no? :)
Honestly? I gather Blu-Ray is the best available - but I don't care. I don't need the best available. HQ VHS was plenty good enough for me - though that ship has sailed. And these new-fangled ; > DVDs are more than fine for me.

I'm just getting frikkin' tired of buying the things I like over and over and over. And I'm tired of the waste. And cheap is relative. I'd rather put that money into something I really need - or, goddamnit, give it to someone else who needs it.

No excuse? I don't need one. Most of you probably don't recall laserdiscs - I think they began just around the time Beta lost to VHS (and yep, been there, too) - but I switched to laserdiscs at one point, too. *sigh* So wtf. I know technology changes, but there is, you know, a point when you get way tired of the delivery system game and having the best and the latest. Like the 4th time you go to buy a version of All About Eve.

I don't need a new delivery system - but I want the damn full content. And I resent the manipulation tactic of dropping content off the DVD in order to get more people to 1) buy the more expensive Blu-Ray, and 2) move altogether to Blu-Ray, helping push DVDs further into obsolescence, and necessitating more replacement manufacture, expenditure and waste.

It clearly isn't just a case of "what's better will win out" (btw, see the Story of Beta) - leaving content off the DVD is clearly a tactic to move people to Blu-Ray. There's no other explanation for it, right? I'd be interested to hear if there is.

BTW, I'm neither a Luddite nor lazy - I was learning to program my wittle PC in 1981 when most of you weren't even larvae - but I am tired of filling up landfills with the last best and latest. And I think I'll just move towards digital delivery altogether and skip the whole Blu-Ray/whatever is the next hardcopy step.

So, everyone will scream "progress" at me. Yes, yes, of course. And? And so what, if you don't require it for any other reason aside from being pushed in this way towards it? I'm also remembering that we are little Betas, Gammas, Deltas, Epsilons being dutiful little consumers. And though it's mixing my literary allusions, eventually we will have all four walls full screen with a brand new yet-to-be-discovered delivery system. (We already have the little seashells in our ears.)

I will find this missing content by other means, then.

Now, you kids really get offa my lawn. Gamma's a little cranky.
BD is the future and this site does NOT have all the extras.


I'm with the school of thought that says BD is going to be irrelevant in 3-4 years time and digital download is the future.
Quotergal, you said it and there is no other motivation other than moving people to BD. Yes it is on purpose to continue to pay for future genre content. That being said, I can't see it as a bad thing. It does incentivise the consumer to buy a different piece of hardware and pay a few extra $ for a much better experience. If you just want the show and 95% of the extras, you need do nothing. Those that want the full HD experience and just a little extra, will make a little more effort. Or they will steal it off the internet. Who's to say? I pay full effin price for Mad Men and True Blood (among many many others) on BD because I can't not fathom watching my home video as a lesser experience than broadcast.

And like I said, the soon to be announced extra special special will be available on both standard DVD and Blu-ray. :)

oops. I've said too much.

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-07-15 07:23 ]
It clearly isn't just a case of "what's better will win out" (btw, see the Story of Beta)


Also since HD DVD was better than Blu-ray, but I guess Blu-ray was marketed better or something.
Right on QG (and all through your flower beds too ! Wee buggers ! ;). Except I don't mind the wall to wall fullscreen thing, that actually sounds pretty cool. When can we start an ongoing war with a nebulous, ill-defined enemy in order to pay for it ? ... Hey, wait a minute ...

(I actually will be upgrading to Blu-ray, hopefully within the next 6-12 months - pesky house-move coming up so my disposable income just got disposed of for the forseeable - but mainly because my DVD player's knackered. And it'll be a long time before I start rebuying films I already own, as you say, been there, done that, burned the T-shirt)

Don't you just love it when companies come right out and say "Support your local bittorrent site"?

This. Grey area, oh so very grey. But deliberate manipulation like this kind of inspires me to have a mosey on the dark side.

(and yeah, it's all about the digital delivery - why continue to pay for distribution, shelf-space etc. when we can just get it straight to a box by the TV ?)
I'm with the school of thought that says BD is going to be irrelevant in 3-4 years time and digital download is the future.


Exactly, Simon. And what QuoterGal said. If it's cheaper for people to download - and I'm not talking about sales price here, but of the price of bandwidth and storage - dozens of gigabytes of data, then distributing ones and zeroes on little plastic discs is not "the future". But thank you, FOX, for incentivizing us.
I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.
@electricspacegirl That is a big misconception that's been perpetuated by HD DVD consumers who just can't admit they made the wrong choice. The first three months or so, Blu-ray players DID use lesser quality internal hardware. Eventually, they switched over to the EXACT SAME CHIP that HD DVD players used. Additionally, Blu-ray discs hold almost double the storage space than HD DVDs, meaning Blu-ray doesn't have as much video compression, and more space for supplemental material.
Not helping, Tim. I give up. Can someone please find me a different line of work? Thanks.
I'm totally with QuoterGal on this one (and I haven't even been through that many transitions). I think the future is probably in high-capacity digital memory cards or an entertainment system that can play video files directly from a flash drive. Something that can interface with the file library on a computer. Digital downloads will win out in the end and watching the attempts to put off that inevitable day just makes me cynical and angry.

It's a bonus for those that pay more, not a punishment to those who buy the standard edition.

I can see how it's meant to be that way, but it's a double-edged sword. Dollhouse has a fiercely loyal cult audience and this is absolutely not the way to repay that loyalty. At minimum, the extra commentary track should be available to buy in a digital download.

And, as others have said above, isn't the incentive for Blu-ray supposed to be the superior video quality or whatever?

My first impression is that Blu-rays either can't be that great or they are terribly under-marketed if they need the entertainment companies to offer additional incentives. Though of course, the real truth of it is that everything is losing out to digital download.

I'm not one to throw my last few dollars onto a sinking ship. Give it to me in a more universal format or don't count on my cash. It's as simple as that. (Or possibly try to convince me that Blu-ray actually is superior, based on the merits of Blu-ray and not on the merits of an incentive.)
Tim Minear said:
I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.


Yes, and my embarrassing audio files of you will keep it that way. :)
Xantastic1316, that is a wonderful idea about making it available as a digital download and I will pitch that. Great thinking. Digital is not really where you think it is. It's hard for those of us who live on the Internet to understand sometimes but we are the outliers. DVD and BD sales dwarfs digital to a ridiculous degree. Hi Def Digital is most likely the future but the future in in no way now. Not even close.
Tim Minear: I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.

These are the kind of extras we'd hoped for, both Luddite and non.

I've heard from BackupBash Flan folks that you do a mean live commentary.

; >


ETF: flotsam and jetsam

[ edited by QuoterGal on 2010-07-15 08:00 ]
You can always buy the dvd for your collection and get the missing extras elsewhere. I prefer a complete collection, and I like financially supporting the projects that interest and entertain me, but the little "screw you's" and dings for extra dollars inspire no loyalty from me.
Though to be fair to 20th Century Fox they may have something planned for the inevitable R1 Complete Series DVD boxset. I would suspect that the R2 version which is out in September will not include anything new but the US version probably will.
You can always buy the dvd for your collection and get the missing extras elsewhere. I prefer a complete collection, and I like financially supporting the projects that interest and entertain me, but the little "screw you's" and dings for extra dollars inspire no loyalty from me.


+1
TamaraC said:
DVD and BD sales dwarfs digital to a ridiculous degree.


That's probably because DVD and BD are so well incentivized. ;-)

I'm sure they are doing better right now and may do for several years. But the ship has sprung a leak, however small, and those of us who've spotted it are less interested in getting on.

That said, if my DVD player broke tomorrow, I probably would upgrade to a BD player. (Though I'd probably still avoid the Dollhouse BD on principle; I'm nothing if not stubborn.) I just don't see the point in upgrading when I have a fully functioning system (until companies start dangling content out of my reach).

And I do get the incentive thing. It makes a lot of sense from a corporate/marketing standpoint. The problem is that (especially for the people who haven't upgraded) it feels very much like a slap in the face.

And in an attempt to end on something positive: someone really ought to applaud you courage. Pretty much every time you come on here, you end up addressing a bunch of angry fans and that can't be very easy. Kudos to you.
Companies have to give those that upgrade to BD an incentive. It's a bonus for those that pay more, not a punishment to those who buy the standard edition. You get the standard fare.


I think that's the thing that bugs.DVD isn't getting the standard fare anymore.It gets practically nothing.I can understand features like BD live and certain other things being withheld from DVD for Blu-Ray because the DVD format can't do those things but now we got the case where DVD's standard fare is being withheld exclusivly for Blu-Ray.Documentaries,featurettes,deleted scenes.DVD used to get all this and now hardly gets anything.

I'm really ticked off about the Superman/Batman:Apocalypse 2 disk DVD.

The one disk DVD is bare bones except a preview of the next DC Universe Animated film.

The 2 disk DVD has the above plus...

•DC Showcase: Green Arrow

•Featurette: Supergirl: The Last Daughter of Krypton(from the Smallville season 7 DVD set)

•2 bonus episodes from animated television series handpicked by Bruce Timm

The Blu-Ray has all the above plus...

•All-New Featurette: The New Gods

•All-New Orion mini-featurette

•All-New Mister Miracle mini-featurette

•2 additional bonus TV series episodes handpicked by Bruce Timm

So the 2 disk DVD only gets the DC Showcase and a old already released featurette(which I have on the Smallville season 7 DVDs) and two old epsiodes of Batman The Animated Series.

The Blu-Ray gets ALL the new content.

I mean I'm basically going to be paying for an extra disk filled with old already released junk just to get the DC Showcase Green Arrow 10 minute short.

The upcoming Batman Under The Red Hood?The two disk DVD gets a Dick Grayson featurette while the Blu-Ray gets that and a Jason Todd featurette.

They put out two disk set for the DVD with hardly anything on it that could of easly gone all on one disk and then call it a 2 disk special edition.

And I'm completly disappointed in the Iron Man 2 two disk release.Most studios are getting worse and worse.


Some DVD's are pretty much bare bones now when they used to have nice featurettes and making of's.But those are all reserved for the Blu-Ray.

T.V. on DVD hasn't gotten like that yet.The Dollhouse Season 2 and Bones Season 5 seem to be the very first case of it.But it's the start of the poor trend that has taken over DVD's of movies.

IMO it does feel like punishment because we aren't getting the standard fare.Our standard fare is going to the Blu-Ray and more and more of it as time goes on.

Now that T.V. on DVD is holding out on DVD for Blu-Ray,mark my words,it's going to get a lot worse.Right now they held off a commentary for the Blu-Ray of Dollhouse Season 2 and Bones Season 5 is holding the deleted scenes for Blu-Ray.I will bet a year from now,most T.V. on DVD won't have any special features.They'll be bare bones.All the special features,all the deleted scenes,commentarys,featurettes,docs and outtakes wil be reserved for the Blu-Ray set.

ETA

Sorry for the rant but this has been eating at me for a bit now>

[ edited by Buffyfantic on 2010-07-15 08:25 ]
>>I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.

That I call top quality commentarie! I'd love to have a visit from Tim Minear, doing live commentaries, while having a Dollhouse marathon. With the mandatory tea and scones, beer optional, of course. But I suspects that that little thing called the Atlantic will get in the way for such a shindig. Or perhaps it would rather rank as a gathering?

I do love commentaries and look forward to the two I´ll get with the DVD's, and hopefully Tims will become aviable someway soon or later.
Thanks for the nice words, Xantastic. I was a member of Whedonesque long before I worked for my current employer. :) I love you guys and it hurts when you aren't happy. That being said, I totally understand the reasons for the differences in DVD and BD releases. I understand those reasons to a ridiculous degree.

Bottom line. Companies make less and less money on DVDs all the time. Actual prices have fallen drastically in the last few years. You all have to recognize that. Look at all the sales that are constantly announced here. The prices are crazy low. BD attempts to offset that. Studios are not gauging, they're trying to adapt and give the fan what they want, how they want it, when they want it, with the extras they want, in the format they want without giving away the farm and just calling uncle on theft and piracy. Soon there may be no extras, no gag reels, no commentaries. None of that stuff is free. All of it cost extra. All of it is charged to the DVD and BD.
On the other side of the fence, I've been disappointed that many shows don't even come out with BD versions. Or in the case of HIMYM, do it for one season and then stop. I've converted, and now I want my BDs, dammit. I also want Tim Minear strapped to my tv. Why can't I get everything I want?
None of that stuff is free. All of it cost extra.


Of course. So let us pay you for it without demanding that we first spend hundreds of dollars upgrading to a tech that's going to be outdated soon anyway. Offer it over iTunes and we'll pay. Put it on the R2 DVD set and we'll pay. Offer it for free online viewing and we'll watch the ads and you'll get paid. What pisses people off isn't that they want stuff for free; it's that they're willing to pay and feel like they're being told that their money's no good.

"I'm obsolete. This must be what old people feel like... and Blockbuster."
beergood, that is why Xantastic's idea is great and I will pass it on. If people are willing to pay extra for the extras then I hope we will figure out a way to make it available eventually.

But, let's be realistic, BD players start around $100 (Best Buy has them for under $90). I spent far more on groceries this week alone. Are groceries that much more expensive in Los Angeles?

[ edited by TamaraC on 2010-07-15 08:57 ]
I wouldn't know, I've never been to LA. But yes, I prefer spending money on good food to spending it on thingamajigs I'll end up shelving in a year or two anyway. Believe it or not, to some people $100 is a lot of money.

Look, I work in digital media myself, and I'm all too familiar with your situation. But demanding that people move to Bluray whether they want to or not is, at best, a stopgap measure. Very very soon you're going to switch to web distribution anyway, and you're going to have to find some way of making your downloads/streams more attractive and more profitable than the pirated ones - to offer a better product than the free one. The sooner you start thinking of ways to do that, the better, and I'm really glad you're considering Xantastic's suggestion. Because we're huge fucking nerds and we will pay for premium content. :)
Hm. I concur with the general 'more commentaries overall' sentiment. Obviously people have busy schedules but is it really that hard and time consuming to do something relatively small that will really keep your fans super happy?

Annoying about bluray, I have no idea if I can watch that on my x-box 360 but I remember how annoyed I was about that extra commentary they put on the U.S. Buffy season 4. Dickheads.

I don't get this unceasing drive to have 'better quality' television, you don't need to see every bloody follicle on a person's body to enjoy a drama series. Yeesh.
You all know that I am a peon and have absolutely no power other than to make lame suggestions. Right? It's not like I'm making any decisions or running anything. If I had any real power, The Inside would be out on DVD. And commentaries are usually dictated by expense and availability of talent. I'm just saying.
The extent to which you defend the studios and their way of business, you should be at least a VP TamaraC, you're like a one woman PR machine ;).

I'm all for the extra commentary appearing separately on iTunes (or even better, Amazon too) for a quid or whatever (though Tim Minear seems determined to undercut that by offering his talking for free, he may hate America and capitalism and freedom and possibly apple pie ;). Only thing is, remember the rest of us if and when it happens (i.e. the little bit of the world outside US borders).

Studios are not gauging, they're trying to adapt and give the fan what they want, how they want it, when they want it, with the extras they want, in the format they want without giving away the farm and just calling uncle on theft and piracy.

Please. Which year was it, '07, '08 ? Y'know, when the film industry was apparently on its knees (mainly, if you listen to the MPAA, due to piracy) except the next year was a record box-office year ? There's no need to call uncle because piracy isn't killing the film industry.

It's hard for those of us who live on the Internet to understand sometimes but we are the outliers. DVD and BD sales dwarfs digital to a ridiculous degree.

In other news, in 1975 more people bought records than tapes, in 1985 more people bought tapes than CDs, in 1995 more people bought VHS than DVD, in 2005 ... etc.

Digital/VOD content is less and less just for early adopters. My parents use BBC iPlayer and my mother actually still has trouble using a mouse (difference between right and left clicking ? Fuhgedaboutit ;). Neither of them can programme a video recorder and they struggle with their digital central heating controls.

In other words it's not about whether it's "digital" or "downloaded" or "streamed", people don't care about that IMO, it's about whether you can access it in a fairly intuitive way through a UI hundreds of millions of people are familiar with and use on a daily basis i.e. the TV remote control. In 5 years I predict that capability will be readily available either through subscription TV packages (my parents get iPlayer with their cable package) or via internet ready set-top boxes available on any high-street (for - at most - the price of today's Blu-Ray players). Nevermind games consoles, DVRs, HTPCs etc. It's the future basically, whether you're willing to wait or would rather buy a Blu-Ray player in the interim is up to the individual (it's not like if you buy a bunch of Blu-ray discs they'll magically stop working when VOD reaches its tipping point, up until a few months - and one long overdue trip to the charity shop - ago I still had a box of VHS tapes that, crappy quality aside, still played).

I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.

Dear Mr Tim Minear,

Please talk over all the episodes of 'Dollhouse', i'd even pay for the privilege.

Yours,

The Internets
Tim Minear is always welcome to come over to my house and talk over whatever he wants to! I'd make pie!
People will always like being able to physically hold something in their hand, I think. I like digital downloads, but they're just temporary until I can get the Blu Ray with the shiny packaging and extra features and the still superior quality.

And digital downloads are fleeting. You eventually run out of space, and have to delete something just to fit something else, and if not, spend more money on extra storage...and as someone who doesn't like watching things on the computer and prefers the TV, it annoys me that I have to convert and/or transfer stuff most of the time.

Even when I download stuff from the PlayStation store (my PS3 is hooked to my TV), their videos are only encodes in their format. And that annoys me too.

I'm with TamaraC on this.
I think if they're going to treat DVD customers like this I'm just not going to bother getting them in future.

Blu-Ray, it's like the Emperor's New Clothes... and what's to stop them coming up with an even more *special* new format after that we all have to upgrade to and get ripped off on?
It all comes down to the financials. BD = more $, and studios need to get it (the format) off the ground still as it accounts for a fraction of the market. Exclusive BD content pushes up the BD sales, and helps people meet targets.

That said, there's no reason for a commentary to be BD only. A DVD can do that. It won't endear Fox to consumers.
Outtakes! That's what I was hoping for. I can't wait to see the outtakes. I just hope they're not as lame as the ones on the BUFFY/ANGEL sets and more like the bloopers on the HIMYM sets (8 to 10 minutes of bloopers on every DVD set!)

I am a bit bitter about the precious Minear-commentary on the Blu-rays. I don't have a Blu-ray-player and I am honestly not sure if I really want one. Sure, the picture quality is neat and so on, but I am kind of satisfied with the quality of your average DVDs. In my opinion Blu-ray is just overrated luxury. Which is why I really hope that DVDs don't go the way of VHS videos.

I'd bake two cakes for Tim.
It all comes down to the financials. BD = more $, and studios need to get it (the format) off the ground still as it accounts for a fraction of the market. Exclusive BD content pushes up the BD sales, and helps people meet targets.

Hmm, not as many more $ as VOD according to Jeff Bewkes, Time-Warner CEO albeit a couple of years ago (or at least, maybe but only because Blu-Ray discs are still at early adopter prices).

You eventually run out of space, and have to delete something just to fit something else, and if not, spend more money on extra storage...and as someone who doesn't like watching things on the computer and prefers the TV, it annoys me that I have to convert and/or transfer stuff most of the time.

Converting/transferring stuff, proprietary single manufacturer formats, lack of space, these are ALL "early days issues" (that you can also download extras barely needs saying, those are attributes of increased storage combined with competition for entertainment attention, not any particular medium. Added to that, hard-disk space is much cheaper than shelf-space already in some places and dropping all the time). Cloud storage, on demand viewing and a competition driven drift towards open standards address all those issues (computers are already moving away from the beige box in the corner of the room to the all-in-one PC/laptop/media centre sitting by your TV type of idea).

Just to be clear, i'm not saying VOD is there yet, i'm saying it's close enough that Blu-Ray might not have time to properly take off before VOD is there enough to effectively compete.
Only 2 commentaries on the dvd ? I'm kinda disappointed, and I was really hoping for a commentary on "The Attic".
I'm with Buffyfantic, in that I'm okay when they add specific features that just Blu-Ray supports, that can't be done on DVD, but it's just a money grab when it's something as basic as an audio commentary.

Blu-Ray looks like it will just be the laserdiscs of this generation, rather than the future of the medium. Look at internet enabled tvs, digital downloads, the upcoming Google Tv for what the future looks like.
I think the real question is: Who among us has a living room big enough to fit us all for a Dollhouse Marathon with the Loverly Mr. Tim Minear commenting on every episode. Also, technically, he never limited himself, which I interpret to mean that he would also comment on Angel and Firefly. Hurrah!
I'll bring Norwegian cookies.
I'm one with the general consensus on this: I get why having Blu-Ray (why do people keep abbreviating this to BD, by the way - it's counter-intuïtive ;)) exclusive extra's make sense from a company stand point. But I don't think anyone would believe that DVD's are the "basic" package and the extra extra's on Blu-Ray are in fact, 'extra'. It's the Blu-ray that gets the basic things the DVD would've gotten until recently, some of which is then subtracted from the DVD for marketing reasons. It's not a question of storage space or technical limits, after all.

As for getting a Blu-ray player: so far, I'm not very excited about getting one. I get that it's backwards compatible with DVDs (thankfully) and I don't have to throw out my movie collection which numbers into the 400, 500s by now (I was an early adopter for DVD), it's that the new viewing standard set by Blu-Ray is so minimal it nearly doesn't deserve the extra push and investment.

I mean: who do you know that actually has a television that can take advantage of the extra resolution and sharpness a Blu-ray offers? And, if one does have said set-up, how visible are the effects? The noticeable quality difference on anything less than a truly high end system is negligible. And even on a high end system (my girlfriend's parents are the only people I know in real life who own such a system), I'd ask if the rise in quality is worth it. Many Blu-Ray transfers are faulty and older movies especially tend to look worse, with their visual faults being exaggerated.

I jumped on DVD when it appeared because it had massive improvements over VHS. The image quality was a huge leap forwards and the extra storage space meant we could get extra's like making ofs, interviews, deleted scenes and the likes in the first place, because those were much harder to do on VHS for technical reasons (you'd need to fastforward through unwanted bits, there were no menu's etcetera) and therefore nearly never happened. It was correctly marketed as a leap forwards and a medium very much suited for movie lovers (like myself). Which was true then and is still true now.

With Blu-Ray what we get is "slightly better resolution" and extra storage space, which - let's be honest - we don't really need. Not for movies, anyway and neither do we really need to put Blu-Ray drives in our computers, given all the cheap ways in which storage space is available (through USB sticks, for instance).

When I say need, I obviously don't mean in a 'survival' sense, because we didn't 'need' DVD or VHS either, but 'need' in a "considerable amount of added value" sense. I find many people I know feel the same way and I wonder if Blu-Ray will ever be the success DVD was.

One can, after all, still get a new DVD player for throwaway prices which are low even when compared to the cheapest Blu-Ray players. So when an old one breaks down and people don't have the televisions to properly appreciate Blu-Ray discs, I don't know why they'd upgrade to a Blu-Ray player. Furthermore the discs themselves are more expensive than DVDs and offer only marginal extra's, without being the leap forward DVD was. Plus, DVD came along after many, many years of VHS (and occasional unsuccessful sidesteps like laserdisc) which means people were willing to try something new. Right now, with most people I know, that willingness isn't there, as too many people still remember switching from VHS to DVD (which they were expecting to become the moving image format for quite some time).

I can imagine that at one point people will start buying Blu-Ray players to replace their broken DVD players and/or together with new television sets etcetera. But apart from the PS3-audience, most of those buyers will probably remain in the upper end of the market. All in all I have a hard time picturing Blu-Ray becoming as popular as DVD - or as essential. And I have an even harder time picturing people replacing the movies they already own on DVD by Blu-Rays - which I think was a big part of DVD's initial success.

Then again, I might be wrong :).

As for VOD: I do think it'll take a flight, replacing a lot of the rental market, for instance. But I think there's still a long way to go before VOD will replace that feeling of owning a movie on DVD or - for instance - buying it for someone else as a gift. Even in the music industry, in which the rise of the iPod and other media players means much of the music consumption now happens exclusively in a digital format, it's taken quite a while for the CD to slowly die out. In fact: it still hasn't happened, even with the superior ease and exclusive use of the mp3 format in the most popular players and the easy legal and illegal download sector making the distribution of digital music much easier than the old fashioned CD. VOD currently has none of that flexibility and it'll be a long time before people start to really invest in media centers. I'd say it'll take a very good on demand service to get close to what iPod and iTunes do now. I'm not saying VOD won't play a significant role in the future - I think it will. I'm just not sure it's very far yet, in terms of technical issues, legal issues and the speed with which it could penetrate the market when those issues are solved.

But then again: I might be wrong on this too :).
Carnelionne, I'm not going myself, but I hear some small comic book expo is going down soon, that might be good.
I'm very disappointed with the lack of audio commentaries.

Is there going to be a complete series release?

[ edited by danielgm86 on 2010-07-15 13:47 ]
I mean: who do you know that actually has a television that can take advantage of the extra resolution and sharpness a Blu-ray offers? And, if one does have said set-up, how visible are the effects?

I have and the extra resolution and sharpness are pretty visible to me.

However, although I'm more than happy with Blu-Ray, I have no intention of replacing my DVD collection (except for that Serenity film I now have two copies of) and I'm definitely more interested in downloads (and rental) for anything I have no wish to own which is big change from my avid DVD buying days.

Short changing on audio commentaries is out of order though.
@QuoterGal I feel the same way. It just seems like such a waste to always be replacing what works just fine with something new. I remember Laser Disks, though I never owned a player. But I've gone from VHS tapes to DVDs to Blu-Ray (and from LPs to cassettes to CDs to iPod). It goes against my nature to replace something that works just fine, but my husband tends to drag me along kicking and screaming. I work in software development, so I'm not afraid of technology. I suppose it's because I was brought up to take care of my toys and make them last.

Sure, maybe some things are possible with Blu-Ray that aren't possible with DVD. But somehow I don't think an audio commentary is one of those things.
Blu Ray is too expensive. When it costs the same or less than a standard DVD, I'll switch.

Disappointed that there's no commentary for Epitaph Two.
I might be in the vast minority here, but I rarely ever listen to commentaries or play extras; I just like to watch the program or movie and leave it at that. Thus, I don't find it a problem if extras are left off a disc. As to technology, I have hundreds of DVDs and since they won't play on a BD, I have no reason to upgrade, and therefore won't. I don't want to watch on my computer, so a streaming movie is also of little interest. I guess I am sort of a Luddite here. I do not wish to go through major changes agin- I have more than 3000 records (LPs), 1000 cassette tapes, and 2500 CDs, and now I have to go to downloads only, and make my own CDs to take to work and so on. I don't want to have to do this again with DVDs.
I don't have an HDTV, nor can I afford one. As such, I see little reason to buy a blu-ray player. But I'm commentary junkie, so this pisses me off.
Very good points, GVH.

I do see why the industry is trying to incentivize the new format - in this age of a weak economy and shifting technologies, the companies do have to scramble to remain profitable, and therefore viable, entities; and it is cheaper to withhold features from the DVDs than to create additional features which take advantage of the Blu-Ray capabilities. I also see why, particularly in this still-strugling economy, trying to force what really is a luxury format onto people by beginning to gut the still-relatively-new standard format (this applies much more to the Iron Man 2 and DC Comics DVDs mentioned above than to the Dollhouse set - those examples are very disturbing) will produce some grumbling. (And as daylight points out, what's to prevent another forced upgrade? And another? Obviously, the entertainment companies can make even more sales by consumers not just buying new films/TV boxsets, but buying the same ones over and over, but inevitably that's going to produce some resentment from the consumer end of things.)

Of course, there are the people who don't see the Blu-Ray as a luxury. One of the odder things I've seen in this shifting landscape is people demanding the greatest resolution in picture quality... while in the music industry, consumers are demanding the impaired, inferior sonic quality format. Clearly, convenience has become the largest factor in that market - and this might give hints that downloadable movie library units will indeed be the ultimate market leader. But, it also punctures the argument that "We must have the highest quality format possible!"; clearly not a universal concern. But, I do think that there will continue be a market for more than one format in entertainment, if multiple forms continue to exist - that even if downloads which can be watched on your TV becomes the majority share of home video sales, the market will still be there for tangible movies - for one thing, as GVH points out, for gift-giving - for quite some time to come. Just as, while the music market has shifted, there are still many consumers of CDs - and, in fact, audiophiles have also driven up production of vinyl records in the past couple years. (Now if cassettes would just come back ;) )

Despite disappointment at the missing commentary - which I do think I'd be more likely to try to buy as a download than to get a Blu-Ray player (though it is interesting to hear that they've gotten so much cheaper - is the industry now taking a loss on players to try to promote the format?) and new TV (not so cheap) just to watch - I am excited to hear about these special features. The featurettes sound interesting, and could there be nearly as many deleted scenes as on the first season set? And Tamara C definitely has my interest raised in the "special surprise"!

And - nice to see a special appearance by Mr. Minear here!

[ETA - I actually hadn't seen Candace or Dana5140's mentions of cassettes/LPs before posting my post! I guess this topic just brought similar things to mind for several of us.]

[ edited by LKW on 2010-07-15 15:41 ]
BD is the future and this site does NOT have all the extras. :) The special surprise is not listed. Available on both DVD and BD.


I'm cool with that, TamaraC. From your smiles on Twitter, I'm quite looking forward to the surprise. :)

Xantastic1316, that is a wonderful idea about making it available as a digital download and I will pitch that. Great thinking.


This is a great idea. It may not please the entire Dollhouse fandom, but it would please those who know about digital downloads and Whedonesque (all 7,000 of us).

I'll be happy to talk over any episode for free for anyone.


Ah, Mr. Minear, that is a wonderful offer from your Awesomeness. I already feel better about living in the DVD-Dark Ages. :)

Disappointed that there's no commentary for Epitaph Two.


Me too, Riker. It just doesn't seem right not to have a commentary after the hilarious one from E1. Not only was it the season's end, but the series' end, and I for one would like to hear their final thoughts. :(

That surprise better come with a bow.
Um, a blu-ray version hasn't been announced for the UK. At least it's not available for pre-order at Amazon.co.uk, unlike the dvd.

http://amzn.to/diGCQm
The varying perceptions and views on BD (Blu-ray Disc) are very interesting. TV is my life and the only thing I really spend any money on so hearing different perspectives on what is necessary and unnecessary to others is cool.

There are pockets of misinformation in this thread too. All DVDs in your collection can be played on a BD player and they even look better when played on a BD player than your old DVD machine. Of course, if you don't have a HDTV in the first place, it doesn't make any difference. The only media company that benefits from sales of BD hardware is Sony. Universal/WB/20th don't get anything from that $99 BD player at Wal-Mart.

As to the future of content delivery, that is a HUGE topic of interest to everyone I talk to at work. The trick is to figure out which format, system, and timing to bet on. If any of you have a foolproof crystal ball on that worth gambling hundreds of millions of dollars on please (pretty please) contact me. We NEED to talk. :)
Agreed with a lot of what's been said before. I am sad that there are so few commentaries. Firefly really spoiled us - a cancelled show on dvd, and so many commentaries and great features! Also, while I am ordering the Blu-ray version (I have a PS3), I do not like the idea that they are withholding standard features from DVDs. Even with the ability to play Blu-rays (and I only very recently bought an HDTV), I usually buy standard DVDs because they are just more cost effective. I think that Blu-ray sets simply are too overpriced compared to their DVD counterparts. The added cost rarely seems to justify the improved picture for me. A lot of DVDs, upconverted, and well-encoded, look just fine on even an HD projector.

Hey Tim, you should do 'podcast' commentaries for the other episodes. :-)
Well, I had a good sleep. You guys?

What a thread this has turned out to be. Catching up inspires a lot of thought.

The Blu-Ray difference probably is negligible to most people, but if they're backwards sideways compatible with DVDs and the media companies are going to move the premium content over there, then the upgrade would probably be worth it...if I were already replacing my DVD player anyway.

TVs with USB ports. That's what we need. Does that exist yet? I want something that can interface with my flash drive, my external drive, and my computer (and that last one is long overdue).

With most DVDs, I don't even care about commentary. TV and Movies alike, most of them don't inspire a particular desire to go out of my way for special features. This used to mean a choice between downloads and DVDs (because I can never find downloads for special features). Now it's a choice between DVDs, Blu-Rays, or getting better at piracy.

If the companies can appease the internet portion of their fanbase (which I suspect is larger in a fandom like Dollhouse) with special features in digital download, that would be fantastic. If they can get a convenient digital download going before the torrents get a lot of seeds (or if they have a loyal fanbase that actively wants to throw money at their show) then I think it would really prove to be beneficial to all parties involved.

My crystal ball says format will go through at least one more change, maybe two, over the course of ten years or so as Sony and any competitors try to milk every last drop from the conventional media cow before it finally keels over and dies, leaving everything in its will to its illegitimate child, the digital download.
I wanted to add my own viewpoint into the physical medium versus download discussion. Personally, I love having a physical collection of discs (be they dvd or bd). I perceive a number of disadvantages to buying digital only content.

-DRM. Ok, so DVDs/Blus also have forms of copy protection, but at least I know they'll play on all certified players. DRM severely limits what I can do with content I have legally purchased. It also means I am reliant on the DRM servers being maintained - in many cases with music, people's purchased files have become useless when servers have been shut down. I hate the idea of a time-bomb like this potentially locking me out of my content.

-vendor-locked file formats. A similar problem, it limits what I can do with my content. I want to be able to watch it on an mp3 player, on my tv, on my computer, anywhere. I don't want to worry that I have a certain brand, or need to rebuy the same content in multiple formats due to incompatibilities. And what happens when file formats inevitably shift to something new in a few years?

-Storage. Ideally, you should be able to re-download what you have purchased any time, as often as you like. I'd hate to think that I could lose everything if a hard drive goes bad, or that I need to maintain a massive growing collection on hard-drives and back-ups myself.

-Lack of extras. I love the bonuses that come with a dvd. Technically, they should be possible to be downloaded.

-Cannot share. I like being able to grab a dvd from my shelf and take it over to a friend's house, or a viewing party somewhere, and watch it. I like being able to loan out dvds and borrow them from friends. You can't do that with digital content.

-More 'abstract' concept of ownership. I like feeling like I actually own the show or movie - I have a physical disc of it. It just doesn't feel the same to have a digital-only copy stored on a hard-drive.

And I have a major issue with streaming, which is availability of content. I don't expect content streamers to maintain content indefinitely, and I like the security of knowing that if I buy a dvd, I can watch it any time I want - many years down the road, as long as I still have that disc. I just don't feel secure that digital content will be there for me, especially if it's streaming and I don't even have my own copy of it.

Those are my thoughts. I'm sure there are differing opinions.
Xantastic, technology already exists to be able to stream content from your PC to your TV. Many players and also game consoles (xbox 360 and PS3) support media servers. There is free software (such as PS3 Media Server or PMS - yes that is how they abbreviate it) available to allow your PC to share content over a home network.

HDTVs often have a port where you can just plug your laptop in directly to it.
I keep getting reminded of last year, when Up DVD / BD specs came out, and there were so much more extra content in the BluRays. But at least with these Disney release, they come with both type of disks, problem is if you don't have a Blu-Ray player, you can get access to the BD additional content anyway.
I do understand the need to add some stuff for people investing on the format.
I do agree with the economy justification, for why this is so unfair for people not upgrading or not yet upgraded. Upgrading doesn't mean only getting a new player (even if it's getting cheaper, the same thing happened to DVD players 10 years ago), but it also means a certain need to upgrade your whole set up.

BDs high definition images mean nothing if you don't own a HDTV. I still have many friends who own the old standard tubed TVs, which means another investment, and won't upgrade for flatscreen HDTVs, anytime soon for financial reasons. I'm not talking about getting a movie theater set-up, simply a change on the TV set you have at home.

About the features.
It's sad that aren't more commentary tracks. And among 3, only 2 will be on the DVDs, which is what I'm getting.
I'm also disappointed that there's no commentary for Epitaph 2.

ETA: Digital distribution definitely the future. But also huge problem there, that's not even nearly solved, as one of the main topics from The Writers Strike from a few years ago. Just saying.

BTW, I still own a Laser Disk player (seriously), it's old (it doesn't even flip sides automatically) and still works. The loading / reading time are scary, compared how well DVD players work these days.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2010-07-15 17:24 ]


More ETA: As I'm reading comments I missed while writing mine:

Xantastic1316 said: TVs with USB ports. That's what we need. Does that exist yet? I want something that can interface with my flash drive, my external drive, and my computer (and that last one is long overdue).


Yes there are. After Players started to come with it, the last 18 months or so, some TVs are also being manufactured with USB ports.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2010-07-15 17:31 ]
Im still hoping the unannounced special surprise is all the missing footage of the last two episodes added in, so that they don't feel so rushed.
I'd be willing to pay extra for all the bonus features to be included on the DVD.
Dana5140 said:

As to technology, I have hundreds of DVDs and since they won't play on a BD, I have no reason to upgrade, and therefore won't.


Blu-ray players also play standard DVDs. They even have the ability to up-convert to picture quality. For example, Buffy's season 4 finale, "Restless" looks noticeably sharper and more vibrant on my Blu-ray player and HDTV. :)

AnotherFireflyfan said:

Hey Tim, you should do 'podcast' commentaries for the other episodes. :-)


You mean like THIS, for example? Or, how about THIS? :) (Look out! That second link contains words that need bathing, because of their dirtiness.)

"Omega" and others coming soonish, Tim's schedule permitting, of course. He's expressed interest in covering his other works as well, like Angel's "Somnambulist" as it's the first episode he wrote for that show, but didn't get the opportunity to record his thoughts for the DVD.
kungfubear, re: HD DVD vs. Blu-ray, thanks for the info. That's good to know.

Cannot share. I like being able to grab a dvd from my shelf and take it over to a friend's house, or a viewing party somewhere, and watch it. I like being able to loan out dvds and borrow them from friends. You can't do that with digital content.


Really? I do that all the time. I just put the files on a flash drive and my friend puts that into her DVD player. Sometimes we burn discs (both our DVD players play digital files as well as have USB drive).

And anything I download online I can play on my TV, but I watch everything on my macbook now. Its a more intimate experience and I miss a lot less detail that way.

I do not have an HDTV, so until I do, I will not even consider getting Blu-ray. That's a lot of money I'd need to come up with just for an extra episode commentary.
Digital download may be the future, but not as near in the future as BD, at least not in the US. Our broadband infrastructure needs to be way way better and BD is a fantastic upgrade in picture and especially sound. Lots of players and TVs have USB or DVI (or older school DSUB15/PC VGA) input or support DLNA so they can be streamed to. Failing that, the major game consoles support DLNA and can be streamed to on your TV. I stream stuff all of the time from my PC (oh hai PlayOn and TVersity) or my NAS to my PS3 (and thus TV).

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2010-07-15 18:25 ]
Yeah, you guys need to work on that. Have you considered shrinking your country slightly, it'd make it easier ? ;)

*stays tuned for 'Omega' commentary, considers offering first-born to kungfubear if he could squeeze in any episodes of 'The Inside' at some point in the future ;)*

As to the future of content delivery, that is a HUGE topic of interest to everyone I talk to at work. The trick is to figure out which format, system, and timing to bet on.

This is the thing with digital delivery TamaraC- format and system become less important. New format ? Cool, remotely update the software on the players and they'll play it (just as your cable or satellite box remotely updates periodically). And since the "system" is just the internet + a set-top box/media centre computer a lot of it is already there or readily achievable.

Anotherfireflyfan makes some good point:

-DRM

Yep, good point. Last year, in a story you wouldn't believe if it was fiction, Amazon remotely removed '1984' and 'Animal Farm' (I mean, of all the books for it to happen to ;) from customers' Kindles because the company that sold the particular editions didn't actually own the rights to the books. Maybe we'd need protections in place to stop that sort of thing happening (or of course, we can just accept that it's part of how things work, just as we "accept" DVD encryption or Sony planting rootkits on our PCs vis their CDs or, in years gone by, not being able to play iTunes content on non-Apple hardware and so on).

-vendor-locked file formats. A similar problem, it limits what I can do with my content. I want to be able to watch it on an mp3 player, on my tv, on my computer, anywhere.

This is already an issue with DVDs (and Blu-Ray). Can you watch DVD movies that you've paid for on e.g. a pocket media player or iPhone ? Not without breaking the law (in the US and UK anyway).

And what happens when file formats inevitably shift to something new in a few years?

It's much, much easier to convert files from one format to another than it is to convert physical disks from one shape/size to another ;). And did you notice the whole Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD thing playing out over the last few years ? How about the varying formats of DVD before that ? But yep, that's a good argument for open standards - no published, open file format can ever become truly obsolete.

-Storage. Ideally, you should be able to re-download what you have purchased any time, as often as you like. I'd hate to think that I could lose everything if a hard drive goes bad, or that I need to maintain a massive growing collection on hard-drives and back-ups myself.

Agreed again. This isn't unique to digital delivery though. What happens when your DVD becomes damaged for instance ? And not only is it an inconvenience to back-up DVDs but, as I say, you're not actually allowed to do it by US law (the EU has a similar law on the books though specific implementation details are down to the individual member states). As I say upthread, if cloud storage/computing is more than a buzz-word based flash-in-the-pan then huge amounts of storage are readily available now and certainly will be in a few years.

-Lack of extras. I love the bonuses that come with a dvd. Technically, they should be possible to be downloaded.

I just don't get folks even wondering about this one at all. Of course extras would be downloadable as well, why wouldn't they be ? They're "just" data, exactly the same as they are when they happen to be stored on a DVD.

-Cannot share. I like being able to grab a dvd from my shelf and take it over to a friend's house, or a viewing party somewhere, and watch it. I like being able to loan out dvds and borrow them from friends. You can't do that with digital content.

You can if it's done right since this is basically the DRM issue again. Ultimately I imagine a kind of "roving login" situation where I can go to a friend's house and watch any films I have on my "account" just by signing in. That's not how VOD works now (AFAIK) but as I say, it's early days, the barriers to that are largely not technical in nature but political.

-More 'abstract' concept of ownership. I like feeling like I actually own the show or movie - I have a physical disc of it. It just doesn't feel the same to have a digital-only copy stored on a hard-drive.

To some extent this is just a matter of acceptance of the new - records felt more real than CDs (still do to some), CDs felt more real than MP3s and so on. Personally, for instance, I feel like paper books are much more real than eBooks but that doesn't mean I can't see a time in the near future when many people read eBooks exclusively.

Good points though, many of which will need to be addressed as VOD moves to the mainstream (they're also "early days issues" for the most part though, related to how it sometimes works now, rather than how it must work as a result of the delivery mechanism itself).
Really? I do that all the time. I just put the files on a flash drive and my friend puts that into her DVD player. Sometimes we burn discs (both our DVD players play digital files as well as have USB drive).

Perhaps that needs clarifying. With the vast majority of legal digital downloads, you can't just pop it on a Flash drive and give it to someone else to watch, because of the DRM. There might be authorizations within that DRM to watch the video on multiple computers, software permitting, but that's obviously different.

No one was arguing digital files can't be shared inherently, but rather that legal digital files are mostly unsharable due to DRM.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2010-07-15 18:28 ]
Just adding oil to the debate, Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez double Grindhouse feature is about to be re-released as a combo unified-feature set (like it was originally shown in the US, and also in Japan), instead of the individual sets out there, but as it seems will be exclusive to BD.

As a side note, Death Proof is only premiering here in Brazil tomorrow, with a over 2 year-delay.

[ edited by Numfar PTB on 2010-07-15 18:32 ]
I'm a hardcore stickler for hard copies. I buy CDs 90% of the time and DVDs 100% of the time. I'll continue to buy standard DVDs until Blu Ray and HDTV becomes more affordable because the standard DVDs will "up-convert" in a Blu Ray player and look great.

If companies want more people to switch to HDTV and Blu Ray, they need to make these available at the same price or less than the standard machines.
Great points, Saje:

-DRM

The big issue is piracy. Especially with digital-only media, it's very difficult to protect against piracy, when it's easy to make identical copies of files and share them with anyone over the internet. There needs to be a solution in place that won't penalize the legitimate consumer, however, and DRM as it exists is flawed to the point that it is ridiculous.

This is already an issue with DVDs (and Blu-Ray). Can you watch DVD movies that you've paid for on e.g. a pocket media player or iPhone ? Not without breaking the law (in the US and UK anyway).

True, and I think that law is incredibly stupid. It should be fair-use to be able to make your own digital-copy of a dvd you bought, and then to be able to transfer that to your pocket-media-player of choice. As long as you aren't distributing the files, it should (but unfortunately isn't) be perfectly legal. (Man I hate the DMCA). Of course the content providers don't complain, because they get to double dip and sell the same content to you again (silly "with digital copy" discs).


It's much, much easier to convert files from one format to another than it is to convert physical disks from one shape/size to another ;). And did you notice the whole Blu-Ray vs HD-DVD thing playing out over the last few years ? How about the varying formats of DVD before that ? But yep, that's a good argument for open standards - no published, open file format can ever become truly obsolete.

That is a great point. Neither HD-DVD nor Blu-ray managed to capture much market share while both existed because consumers wanted a standard format. DVDs are standard - they are supported by everyone, including Blu-Ray players and computers. That's a great feature. Digital Content really needs more standards. (this applies to music and ebooks as well).

Agreed again. This isn't unique to digital delivery though. What happens when your DVD becomes damaged for instance ? And not only is it an inconvenience to back-up DVDs but, as I say, you're not actually allowed to do it by US law (the EU has a similar law on the books though specific implementation details are down to the individual member states).

While it is true that DVDs can become damaged or lost, this only would affect a smaller portion of your collection. Whereas if a streaming or on demand provider shuts down, or if you lose your hard drive, or a DRM server shuts down, you would lose a huge amount. It's a lot more of a risk.

I just don't get folks even wondering about this one at all. Of course extras would be downloadable as well, why wouldn't they be ? They're "just" data, exactly the same as they are when they happen to be stored on a DVD.

I haven't investigated all options, but it doesn't seem like this is happening today. You can buy episodes on iTunes or Amazon, but if you want the bonus features, you need the physical disc.

BTW, another problem with today's distribution of digital content is the general lack of cheaper 'bundles' - ie season sets. It ends up being cheaper to buy the DVD season set than to buy every individual episode from, e.g., iTunes.

You can if it's done right since this is basically the DRM issue again. Ultimately I imagine a kind of "roving login" situation where I can go to a friend's house and watch any films I have on my "account" just by signing in. That's not how VOD works now (AFAIK) but as I say, it's early days, the barriers to that are largely not technical in nature but political.

I'd love to see something like that, where you wouldn't even need to take anything with you. And the option of bringing a flash drive over isn't as good as grabbing a disc, because it requires that you spend some time transferring files to the drive - where as you can just grab a dvd and go.

To some extent this is just a matter of acceptance of the new - records felt more real than CDs (still do to some), CDs felt more real than MP3s and so on. Personally, for instance, I feel like paper books are much more real than eBooks but that doesn't mean I can't see a time in the near future when many people read eBooks exclusively.

I already feel this shift, especially for music. I'm only 24, and already I feel like I'm becoming set in my ways - I like my content physical, and you'll have my discs when you pry them from my cold dead hands (after hopefully many more decades of life). It is very much a societal thing. Digital is a convenient, and we are a culture of convenience.

Good points though, many of which will need to be addressed as VOD moves to the mainstream (they're also "early days issues" for the most part though, related to how it sometimes works now, rather than how it must work as a result of the delivery mechanism itself).

I really hope all of our issues get addressed before it becomes mainstream. If they cannot resolve these issues, then I'm happy to stick with my disc-based media as long as they'll keep making it.
How much are you willing to pay for digital delivery? Publishers want to charge the same price for ebooks as a hardcover. Consumers say, well if we're paying that much, give us the damn hardcover AND the ebook...minus the DRM.

Everyone hates Blu-ray because it's more expensive, but as of now, (legal) VOD options are more expensive than BDs. Buying one HD episode of a tv show is, what, $3 each? Over a season, that's over $60. $40 plus for standard definition. Find a good sale and you can get a BD set for $20-30. But hey, if you want VOD, the ps3 has those capabilities too, so no problem.

You'd still need to upgrade your television, you say? You don't think you'll have to anyway by the time VOD becomes more commonplace? Technology is never going to stop. So skip this generation if you want, but you'll still have to pay for the next one, and the one after that.
zeitgeist make a very valid point. Digital downloads will not be feasible on a large scale in the US until our serious broadband infrastructure problem is fixed. Most countries in Europe and Asia are leaps and bounds ahead of the US in this area. There are huge areas of the country where broadband is simply not available at all because it isn't cost effective for private companies to put in the necessary equipment.
Very disappointing, obviously. I really enjoy good commentaries and I always listen to the Buffy, Angel and Firefly ones when I re-watch the shows. It's a shame that there's not more commentaries on those discs, but only two for all of Dollhouse season two is really poor. And on top of that is the irritation of the Blu-ray getting an extra one (a format I couldn't care less about - I'm going straight from DVD to digital downloads, no matter how long it takes the industry).

I guess I've been spoiled by the Futurama DVD's. They have commentaries on every single episode. Ok, so the episodes are shorter, but each commentary has about five people on it.
I lurve my Blu-Ray player. But I get distracted watching discs because I'm always thinking, "It's so pretty!" :-) I definitely find that "normal" DVDs look better on my Blu-Ray player, which is nice. I'll get DH on Blu regardless of the extra, but I agree that the extra commentary should be available for everyone (if only for an additional fee or something). Oh and I work at Sony so I used my employee price discount - otherwise I may have gone my usual three-years-behind-the-curve route.
Digital downloads also have entry barriers other than broadband. For example, say to 90% of that VOD is the future and they'll ask what VOD means. Say to people they need to watch on a PC or buy an AppleTV box (or whatever), and they'll bork. DVD is great because you see something in a shop, buy it on impulse, and when you watch it you... put the disc in.
Understood, but this past years TVs have hardware to allow VOD, DLNA and local storage of downloaded/VOD/owned content without an extra box -- though Google and Apple would both like you to buy theirs ;).
DLNAwubawho?
This whole conversation is over my head. I'm just going to get the DVD, which I will watch on my crappy little dying computer because we don't have a TV anyway , and be grumpy that I'm missing a commentary ;).
DLNA is the Digital Living Network Alliance is a coalition of several hundred companies and a standard by which consumer electronics and computers can interact to share video, audio and photo data :).

A lot of early problems with High Def discs of either stripe was a really immature encoding process and last minute spec alterations, by the by, beyond incredibly flawed hardware choices.

It's okay, catherine, you can stop by and watch it in glorious High Def sometime ;).

That is a great point. Neither HD-DVD nor Blu-ray managed to capture much market share while both existed because consumers wanted a standard format.


Yes and no - Blu took off faster than DVD did, but maybe there's a need for an technology inflation index to properly compare the two eras? ;)

[ edited by zeitgeist on 2010-07-15 20:17 ]
So, Dollhouse was a neat show.
What's 'Dollhouse' ?
"Uh, it's pink and it opens up and there's teeny furniture and you put the boy doll on top of the girl doll and we learn about urges."
*throws table around then sits on a chair backwards, like a tough guy, possibly showing off his "guns" a bit, haven't seen the episode in a while*

Whereas if a streaming or on demand provider shuts down, or if you lose your hard drive, or a DRM server shuts down, you would lose a huge amount. It's a lot more of a risk.

Yeah, true AnotherFireflyfan, some kind of backup would be necessary. I guess i'm not thinking of a provider so much as a sort of Hulu type thing (i.e. a collective of major content producers) but you're still right that there're more links in the chain that could break (whereas once you own a DVD the only "provider" that can really stop you watching it is your electricity supplier ;).

I haven't investigated all options, but it doesn't seem like this is happening today. You can buy episodes on iTunes or Amazon, but if you want the bonus features, you need the physical disc.

Yep, that's largely true as far as i'm aware. Were I a cynical sort of person I might suggest that's deliberate, to bolster disc sales (as are, possibly, the inflated prices hacksaway mentions). Ahem ;).

For example, say to 90% of that VOD is the future and they'll ask what VOD means.

5 years ago if you said "Blu-Ray" to 90% of people they'd ask what it meant.

Say to people they need to watch on a PC or buy an AppleTV box (or whatever), and they'll bork.

Like saying to people they need to watch on a Blu-Ray player ? I feel like a few people on this very thread are borkin' over that. And as I say, stuff like iPlayer is available right now just through normal telly on e.g. Virgin.

The broadband in America problem is a big stumbling block though, didn't realise it was that bad over there. Still, as I say, shrinking could be the answer. I mean, what are you really using Wyoming for anyway ? To me it's just kind of sitting there, taking up valuable broadband cable lengths.
iTunes has recently started providing exclusive special features with certain movies and shows. I remember Amazon and iTunes had exclusive bonus tracks for Christophe Beck's official Buffy score album.

See, that's just it about Wyoming. It's actually holding the rest of the United States together! Like a safety pin, or a wad of chewing gum! You remove that, and the entire country comes undone and separates all over the ocean! :)

If I recall correctly, places like Japan have the fastest download speeds in the world at something like 60 megs per second!

[ edited by kungfubear on 2010-07-15 21:33 ]
I would have really liked to see some commentary for Epitaph Part Two. Maurissa and Jed were so entertaining in their commentary on Epitaph One.
Instead of taking away DVD extras, how about they add something new that can only be done on a Blu-ray? Picture-in-picture commentary like in the Serenity BR, perhaps.
That is the thing about Wyoming - and a few other of those states in the middle. No state is an island - each is a part of the main, or something like that.

You go messing with Wyoming and one by one we all fall like dominoes. Or so I understand.

And, um, yeah, bork3. I had more to say about this - or at least to respond to, especially about being "incentivised" at, but then I realized, oh, hell, I'll just do whatever the hell I want anyway (I'll have some stuff on DVD, some stuff in VHS, and some digital as I do now) and I'll manage to get ahold of anything I want, so pas de big honkin' quoi.

Oh, hell, one thing: I don't automatically hate all corporations or anything. I realize that the R & D and development that currently keeps some of my favorite people alive comes from HUGE drug companies, and that good new stuff comes from corporations all the time - but I see it kinda like how penicillin resulted from a nasty war. ; >

And I'd be naive to think they have my best interests at heart - or even my interests at all, except insofar as it serves their interests. Most corporations are simply money-making machines, fed by the humans that tend them, whose main end is profit. All kinds of humans - good, bad, and in between - tend that money-making machine that in itself has no soul, everyone fighting the onus of responsibility when anything bad results, and very little accountability to the rest of society. I think we've had that rather nicely underlined for us recently.

While Fox naturally doesn't make money off the actual Blu-Ray players, pushing a new format does serve their financial purposes or they wouldn't be doing it. And it doesn't follow that it serves mine.

BTW, I don't want free content. I am genuinely willing to pay for my entertainments, and I would give Tim Minear cash on the barrel for his commentary if I thought that would work. I'd pay even more money to watch him live-comment it with 1000 of my closest friends. ; >

In fact, I'd feel a whole lot better about paying increasingly large amounts for my entertainment if I thought there was a remote chance that a bigger chunk would go to the creatives. But we know how that went, too. (See WGA and every other industry union.)

Ooopsie - guess maybe I did have 1 or 2 more things to say.
I'll just do whatever the hell I want anyway...so pas de big honkin' quoi.

There should be a line of Quotergal-themed t-shirts, starting with this one. The whole rest of that post could be another t-shirt, with smallish print.

It's okay, catherine, you can stop by and watch it in glorious High Def sometime ;).

Yippee! That's what I was really hinting at ;). Whatever High Def is. (I don't think I'm a luddite, just preoccupied and broke, but sometimes this place makes me think otherwise...).
I think we're missing the big picture here. Do we actually get chapter selection this time round? Cause I appreciate that there might not be much of a budget to spend on making a Dollhouse DVD but no chapter selection for the season 1 DVD? That's just embarrassing.
People use chapter selection?
I get really annoyed with my Buffy DVD's, wishing there was a "Play All" feature.
People use chapter selection?


I like to know it's there. And to be honest, I would use it far more than watching extras and listening to commentaries. Plus it's good for going back to a particular scene.
I tend not to watch scenes too often (if i'm going to watch it i'll usually watch the whole episode) so chapter selection's no great loss to me. Whereas I might only watch extras once or twice or listen to a commentary once but the best of them definitely add value.

And I also don't resent paying for my entertainment but I do kind of resent paying inflated prices in order to cover huge losses made on films that I never watched (nor wanted to watch) in the first place. Particularly when so little of it goes to the creators themselves. Then there're the times when the losses are let's say "dubious".

You remove that, and the entire country comes undone and separates all over the ocean! :)

OK, that'd be even worse, 50 floating islands would need a lot of cable between them. You clearly need to keep Wyoming. So the next easiest solution is probably folding parts of the US up into other dimensions (to do it I think you may need more energy than the universe contains but that's a teeny speed-bump, if you let that get in your way you're not at all the can-do folks I have you down as ;).

(broadband speed wise you're actually very slightly ahead of the UK BTW so it could be if/when iPlayer is taken up by more people our entire internets will grind to a halt. Or maybe our much, much higher population density makes a difference somehow ? But yeah, we both lag way behind 60 Mb/s Japan who're like 50% faster than second place Sweden. In technical terms Japan has what's known as a "shitload" of bandwidth ;)
With regards to chapter selection, perhaps my biggest pet peeve with television dvds is if they either have no chapter selection, or if they don't put a chapter start right after the title sequence. When you're watching a lot of episodes, often it's nice to be able to skip the titles and save some time. (Unless it's Firefly, in which case the Ballad of Serenity really helps to set the mood for the show).
Saje, why don't we just send the cables through another dimension instead? It would at least use less energy than folding entire states into them! Plus it would be much easier to travel between states - them all being in the same dimensional plane and all.
Re: "Hollywood accounting" - yeah, Saje, and there's been some other really interesting cases lately along those same lines: Celador vs. Disney and Don Johnson Productions vs. Rysher. Very gratifying decisions. ; >

Awww, thanks, catherine - folks who've met me will tell you that I talk that way in so-called RL, too. I understand that it can get a little wearing sometimes. But I guess maybe "pas de big honkin' quoi" would look kinda cool on a tee.

; >
Saje said:
*stays tuned for 'Omega' commentary, considers offering first-born to kungfubear if he could squeeze in any episodes of 'The Inside' at some point in the future ;)*


Deal! We would have done it for free, too! Sucker! We're going to take that baby to an alternate dimension, raise it to fight monsters and teach it to hate you with a fiery passion.... only you know, not be so whiny about it. :)
In the "future of tv" ideas, I find the new Google TV interesting:
http://www.google.com/tv/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/GoogleTV

It's basically having Android operating system, which is currently used on various smartphones available on tvs. Either installed on a top-set box or installed on a chip right inside your tv.

You could install Android apps (like say a Hulu app) but also have a browser with the Flash Player installed to watch any online video.

Also Google a special search that would target just video sites, so if you looked up say "Buffy One More Time With Feeling" it would provide results from YouTube, Hulu, Vimeo, network websites, etc, to make it easy for users to find videos from a wide range of websites.

However, as others have pointed how bandwidth needs to continue to increase and be cheaply available through out more of the world for this or other similar ideas to work on a massive scale. The iPlayer has proven to be a success in the UK, but takes up huge massive amounts of bandwidth.
Simon, I haven't seen the DVD itself (don't think it is done yet) so I don't know about the chapter thingy. Of course that is a feature that I never use so it wouldn't be readily apparent to me whether it was there or not.

I was slightly bummed when I found out the number of commentaries too, just so you all know. Wish I had more say in these things. Someday. :) The other extras I saw are all good. Gag reel is really funny. Deleted scenes (from what I remember) are meaty. Joss has some candid and interesting stuff to say as he always does. :)

And Quotergal is absolutely right, the job of any corporation is to maximize profit. That means they charge as much as they can while making things as inexpensively as they can. That is the way it works. Almost all for profit corporations do that or the people in charge tend to get fired or go to jail. Smart corporations also listen to what their customers want and try hard to meet those needs. For cash. A corporation has no soul and sometimes that is problematic, but the people working in that corporation do have souls (mostly) and try do their best most of the time just like anyone else. Sometimes they do great things and sometimes they fail miserably. I don't know of a better system though.

I know there were massive changes in an upcoming release (not anything Dollhouse or Joss related) because the customers demanded it. Strategies all changed over night and caused a lot of problems for everyone involved but it was done because that was what was going to make the customers happy and make $$. I have no idea if there are chapter selections or commentaries on that release either, Simon. :)

The best way for you to get the products you want in the way you want them is to buy the stuff you want and don't buy the stuff you don't want. QG is right on the money with that, figuratively and literally. Your dollars are your voice. It's probably too late to impact decisions on this release if you don't agree with them, but it will inform the decisions on the next thing. I imagine lots of comparing and contrasting S1 sales with S2 sales in my future. Oh lucky me. :)
Chapter selection is very important to people like my husband, who inevitably falls asleep in the middle of an episode and can use chapter selection to quickly find his place the next day while I'm impatiently waiting for him to catch up.

Unlike most here, I'm not a disc fan. Don't like things I need to dust. Love Netflix streaming and am looking forward to the heyday of legal digital downloads.
Every time I move I become less and less fond of "stuff" and more and more into the idea of shifting 5 hard-drives and a PC smaller than a shoe-box rather than about 8-10 tea chests full of books/CDs/DVDs/etc. OK, except for the books which I think i'd still struggle to part with.

(most of my DVDs etc. are in boxes though so dusting's not really an issue)

Very gratifying decisions. ; >

Yep, it's nice to see common sense making some headway. Apart from anything else, if you can take in a billion dollars for a product and not make any profit then i'd say the way you do business is broken.

Deal! We would have done it for free, too! Sucker! We're going to take that baby to an alternate dimension, raise it to fight monsters and teach it to hate you with a fiery passion.... only you know, not be so whiny about it. :)

Dammit, I knew I should've opened negotiations with my third born (which, on average, is less valuable owing to probably not existing), just got carried away is all. Still, I do appreciate the whine reduction. Bloody teenagers, I dunno, when I was a lad we were never out of Hell dimensions and most of our afternoons consisted of being manipulated against our fathers by a wily but sadistically obsessed archenemy. But did we moan ? No, we just got on with it. Kids today ...

Saje, why don't we just send the cables through another dimension instead?

Officer thinking AnotherFireflyfan. That makes it even easier, you guys should have it done by, say, early next week ? And so everyone in America will soon have infinite bandwidth. Use it wisely.
Tim Minear offers that under the assumption that we're all just too damn polite to ask.

And he's right. Sigh.
I blame my upbringing. Stupid manners.
You know it's funny I was just talking about getting a blu ray player with my brother, he wanted one and HMV have an offer for them right now so he called to tell me to get one and until I read this I didn't want one...now I do. So I get the whole "grr argh! No upgrades" attitude, but it's quite cheap now to do it, yes the dvd's are more expensive, but still it's a better viewing experience. Although i am gutted that something as small as an extra commentary could cause this! Damn you corporate machines!! But how nice of TIm Minear to offer his views for free! What a great guy!
People keep talking about Blu-ray discs as being way over-priced. I bought Fight Club (10th Anniversary Edition), Run Lola Run, T2 and Die Hard all on Blu-ray for $10 each! I just did a search on Amazon, and found Serenity on Blu-ray for $13 (just over $10 if you buy it used). Granted, those are technically "Catalog Titles", but you can find great deals for new releases, you just have to know where to look. Standard DVDs are the same way. James Cameron's Avatar can be purchased on DVD for $17.87, but for $22.87, you can get the Blu-ray, which also comes WITH THE DVD! That's a deal, if you ask me. :)
Kungfubear (great name!) you're right, online all that stuff is pretty good price wise and let's face it for the visual upgrade the extra 2 or 3 dollars is worth it. Now we sound like we're advertising these discs...we're not! At least I'm not, but you might be! So I can understand why they're offering extras on the blu ray to make up for the extra cost and propelling people toward that side of the market.
Folks have mentioned some download services they like. Wanted to chime in with praise of how the Nintendo Wii's Virtual Console works. You pay/use points to download games (from classic systems, or those created specifically for the Wii), it can be saved on the Wii's hard drive or memory card. If your hard drive fills up, you can delete it. When you go into the Wii Shopping Channel, it still shows that you've paid for it and you can download it again at your convenience. So long as Nintendo continues to exist, it should always be available (I believe I read a while back that the Virtual Console will continue to be supported with future systems, with the library of available games only increasing in size, never having old games swapped out for new ones). This is a great example of a digital download being bought and probably owned forever (you can even bring it to your friends' places like a cartridge or disc-format game).

Re: lotsa folks’ comments about being attatched to hard copies/physical formats of music, film/TV, and video games

I understand this, ‘cause I still haven’t bought an mp3 player/iPod (I will, I will). I bought my last CD last year (it was the Buffy score CD or Bo Burnham or something) and simply haven’t bought any music since (if I really need to check out a song, I download). If you experience a shift in attitude toward feeling the need to own a physical format, or simply liking it (and AnotherFireflyFan highlighted a bunch of pluses for continuing to own hard copies, until digital ownership addresses all—or at least most--of the issues), various groups of people are gonna come at it in different ways, for different reasons. For some it’s gonna be an issue of cost, for others shelf space, likely for many it will be due to not wanting to buy a player/game console and wanting to simply rely on the computer they already have for viewing, and still others will just want to adopt the most up-to-date and “in” method of receiving their entertainment.

First I just decided I didn’t need to own things all the time. Yeah, I’m with Saje on books and comics and whatnot (if the library doesn’t have what I need, I’ll buy—and man, a lotta folks forget about all the “free”/taxpayer-funded awesomeness at the library, though I realize not every town has one/some suck or are underfunded/location isn’t so convenient for all—luckily libraries are getting better and better about stocking graphic novels/comic TPBs, I’ve noticed), I might try an iPad/Kindle eventually, but I can give up CDs and DVDs no problem (yes, occasionally there’s very cool/well-made/unique/innovative packaging, but given that it usually gets displayed with only its spine facing out, who cares??? I think I’ve gotten over the “oooh, shiny!” phase, but I’m still occasionally tempted by DVD and awesome CD art). I still kept a minority of the stuff I bought (especially as far as TV-on-DVD goes), but otherwise I felt the need to sell sell sell (and give away a few) after I had this little epiphany one day. I looked at all the movies and shit I had bought (and games I had finished—wouldn’t part with the mountain of used-but-unbeaten/unplayed games, still plan on finishing them some day--was a voracious used-game-bargain-bin hunter at one point, would take damn near anything that I knew had been regarded or rated decently and was $5 to $10) and just thought, “whoa, that’s a nice chunk of change I spent on all this. I really could’ve used that for more useful things years later/local travel/savings, etc (y’know how your priorities change once in a while as you age, sometimes minorly, sometimes in a dramatic tonal shift). Sure, I’ve lent a bunch out and re-watched the odd thing—but I’ve actually discovered I’m not huge on re-watching when there’s so much out there (media entertainment and otherwise) that it’s impossible to get around to experiencing in one lifetime (heh, I should be watching/reading/doing stuff now instead of internet!). So why exactly do I need to own ?”

Not trying to get on moral high ground or anything (you can argue against this next point just as easily as you can argue for, depending on personal value system, whether you care about the state of the world after you’ve left it, etc), but the environmental impact of all the manufacturing that goes into creating CDs, DVDs, Blu-Rays (plus they’ll eventually be landfillers, though some parts may be recyclable), and whatever else comes along is conceivably having a significant impact. Byproducts result from the processing of oil-into-plastic (for the discs, for the cellophane packaging, for the plastic cases) and metals-into-discs, some of it getting into our air and water. Significant enough to effect things noticeably poorly in our lifetime, given all the other industrial manufacturing that goes on and will continue to happen for stuff we actually need to survive (or huge conveniences that society will no way in hell be willing to give up in order to improve environment) ? I dunno. But it felt right to contribute less to this waste.

One thing that is fact and should be of concern is that oil is a finite resource and could conceivably run out in many of our lifetimes. That oil should be conserved for items that, so far, we need to use plastic in (medical equipment, as one example, and unfortunately gas for vehicles as well until renewable, more viable and widespread alternatives are developed and embraced—even I still drive, it was a used gas-guzzling SUV that I’ll stick with until it dies probably in the next year or two, given how it’s behaved recently…didn’t care about the environment five years ago when I bought it, try to bike/walk/bus it when I can, to make up for the admittedly self-imposed bit of guilt, heh). It shouldn’t be wasted on luxury items like DVDs, CDs, and Blu-Rays. Widespread digital sooner rather than later, making discs obsolete, I hope. I know, I know, baby steps.
I would honestly pay an extra $10 for Tim's commentary on the Dvd. :-/ It's getting difficult not to swear.
The environmental aspect is a really good point Kris, that hadn't even occurred to me (I remember seeing the huge piles of free AOL CDs being bulldozed into landfills on the news, those things used to be everywhere). I mean, i'd imagine there're a lot of areas where we could all have a much bigger effect on our environmental impact than cutting back on CDs/DVDs/etc. but still, worth bearing in mind.

And don't get me started on libraries, I tend to get a bit misty eyed ;). Seriously, I think the whole idea of them is bordering on the beautiful. Anyone that can read and has sufficient motivation can go into one and teach themselves basically anything (and some even host adult literacy classes so you can learn to read there too). That, when you think about it, is pretty astonishing. Hell, forget 'bordering', the whole idea of them is beautiful.

Added to that, for me they function like McDonald's or one of those soulless chain hotels are supposed to. Libraries are the only example of a "franchise" that actually does make me feel instantly comfortable and at home in any town or city, anywhere in the world.
Liberries (and bookstores) are my churches, and librarians their sacred attendants. ; > (And don't get me started about the increasing numbers of both that are closing up shop in the U.S.)

I'm okay w/ not owning hardcopy films and TV episodes, though there are some (like Whedon-y stuff) that I still want to own. I do prefer to own stuff digitally in perpetuum rather than stream, however.

But books - in general, I really need to hold a physical book when I read - they can be such works of art (oooooh, letterpress) - but even when they're ordinary-looking, reading a real book is a distinctly different thing than reading an e-book.

I think digital book-reading is a more impoverished experience in a number of ways - but I read some online (out-of-print stuff on Google books, Project Gutenberg, etc.) and some on my iPhone (when I finish my book and don't have the next one on me.)

Oh, gods, those damn aol discs. *sigh* The environmental aspect of all of this is huge for me - there may be bigger sources of waste, but using less personally is something we can control. When we actually morphed into an almost paperless business, I was mighty pleased - though I don't fool myself that our alternatives are free of impact.

And hells, yeah - I'd pay some more to get the stuff I want - like Tim's commentary - on DVD.

But I'd rather pay the extra directly to him.

Dear Mr. Minear, I am not shy or well-mannered. Will you please come to my house or a place of your choosing and live-comment for some of us at your convenience and in the style that most pleases you? There will be cashy-money, and also cookies in it for you. And cakes of many kinds.

You just say the word.

Sincerely,
Yer wHeDONeSqUEy FRiEndS

The best way for you to get the products you want in the way you want them is to buy the stuff you want and don't buy the stuff you don't want.
I don't envy those who have to look at our buying habits and trying to make sense of them. I want to buy DVDs. I want Tim Minear's commentary. If I buy the Blu-Ray will they say "Look, they want Blu-rays" or will they say "Look! They want more wonderful commentaries"?

As for the hard copy vs digital and its effect on the environment, don't forget the huge impact all those servers have on the environment.

And a plug for libraries.(Support yours today!) Many now have downloadable ebooks. I really get wanting to buy print books but wanting to buy ebooks makes little sense to me. I won't re-read them so why keep them? And I only tend to buy things I want to keep. So if I want to read some new title, I'll borrow an ebook version. The waiting list are much shorter for the best sellers in ebook format, so that is an added bonus.
Yeah, I'm keeping in mind that the increase of electricity demands and anything else related to the further use of computers and downloads for obtaining our entertainment will continue to have an impact (lessened if greener alternatives like solar and such are somehow made more widespread, at least as far as energy generation is concerned, but that's likely a long way off. We still have coal-powered plants). The scales-of-negative-impact are tipped steeply on the side of hard copy formats, though, currently. Maybe if they could find a way to make memory cards out of something renewable or something that the planet has in massive abundance, instead of plastic, then hard copies would make more sense than the power it would take to have entertainment constantly available on servers. Heh, I'm not saying we're gonna see SD cards made out of hemp or bamboo or anything--although Madagascar has made a bamboo-constructed, solar-powered radio--but there's probably something else they could use, plastic is just the cheapest and lightest option apparently, for now.

We can always make more electricity, it's something that'll never run out.

[ edited by Kris on 2010-07-17 17:24 ]

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