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Is the DVD format on the decline?

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I doubt the "DVD IS DYING" claims. You realize that shortly after DVDs came out people were claiming would never get a foothold with the public because there was already something better that had been developed. Think about it...LPs, Tapes, CDs. And man, it took CDs awhile to come along and catch on. The first strong challenger to VHS in how many years? DVD isn't a few short years from death.

Though-how is VHS more portable than DVD?

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Hmmm....I'm not sure I know many people who would settle for just douwnloads. Afterall, part of what gave DVD an edge were the extras. How do they create a download with things like optional commentaries?

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Thom   

I have begun to notice a lot less extras on DVD's lately. So eliminating such extras it quite plausable.

I'm not sure I know many people who would settle for just douwnloads

That is what they thought about MP3's as well. MP3's are lower fidelity than CDs and yet IPODs (and other MP3 players) are a HUGE market. I understand that people want, almost expect, music to be much more portable and they will (ARE) sacrifice audio quality for that luxury. I think people will be willing to dismiss the extras and quality for technological ease.

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asher wrote:

: I have begun to notice a lot less extras on DVD's lately.

Really? It seems to me that the 'extras' thing has reached a new level of excess these days, now that THREE-disc sets are being released for single films like Panic Room, Windtalkers, Black Hawk Down and Spider-Man, etc. While there have been some disappointments in recent months (e.g. The Passion of the Christ, and The Return of the King's lame extras selection can only be PARTLY explained by the fact that there are no future films to promote any more), it seems to me that, at the very least, mainstream films don't do bare-bones any more.

Edited by Peter T Chattaway

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And yet, MP3 have not eliminated CDs. But still, a CD still pretty much offers the same thing as LPs. The music. DVDs from the start added to their presence. And I can't think of many bare bones DVDs from the past year, versus many, many bloated with extras DVDs, as Peter Noted (Mystic River came out with a three disc set as well).

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Actually, I skipped mentioning the Mystic River DVD because the third disc is actually a CD soundtrack and not a DVD per se. So it's really a two-disc set, plus a CD.

However, Mystic River is ALSO available as a one-disc bare-bones set -- as with Alan's example of Master and Commander, sure, you CAN buy a bare-bones set if you WANT to, but the company has ALSO made an extras-packed version available, too. And there's nothing new about that -- plenty of films have been released simultaneously with different degrees of extras.

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Anders   

Me and my brother had a discussion today at lunch regarding how people feel like they have ownership of films, especially regarding films like Star Wars, etc., and how the advent of affordable, quality portable mediums, like DVD is causing people to take a more personal stance on film than they once did.

Take for example, the differences between a play and a film. A play is a much more communal thing, and at one time films were more like this. Then then the advent of VHS rentals started to make it a more private thing, but it's really been the rise of DVD and sell-through mediums, such as CDs, etc. that have contributed to the fact that people want to own their favorite films.

When I buy a DVD as opposed to seeing it in theatres, I say to people "I own that movie." It says something about my relationship to the film that people didn't used to feel for the medium. "I own it" says something different than "I saw it," and it sends a FAR different message than "I burnt it" or "I downloaded it legally" or whatever. I feel different about a burnt or copied album than I would if I purchased it. I don't care if my burnt copy of "Hail to the Thief" gets scratched. I would care if my Limited Edition CD did.

Essentially what DVD and CD has done for movies and music, respectively, is caused them to enter the realm that books once did for people. People have been very defensive and personal about their taste in books for a long time, probably dating back to arround the printing press. There's still something about having a particular book in your library, rather than borrowing or loaning from a library, that says something about you and your tastes. That's why we're sometimes embarrassed to show our book collections to people. It says something about my relationship the works of art.

DVD is now doing the same thing for film. My DVD collection says something about me. It's a reflection of my relationship with the particular work in question. And this is why, while DVD may (will) eventually die, I don't see people switching to solid state memory devices (be it in MPEG, MP3 form) replacing truly portable mediums in which people can form a library or collection.

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Thom   

CDs actually have changed a great deal though. CDs used to offer quite a bit more features than an album or cassette, at one time. The enhanced CD (video clips, interviews, etc) is not very common any more and the "hidden track" has been lost. Once the attraction is gone and the consumer is sold things tend to get a bit more stripped down again.

I have noticed on many of the DVDs I have rented lately there isn't even a comentary track, which used to be a given.

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Anders   

I don't believe the key to the medium is special features or other "value added" materials, but rather the fact that one can "own" the work in question and the human urge to collect and create personal libraries.

Just for the record, I'd rather have a DVD with a great transfer, DTS sound and be bare bones than have a crappy transfer with loads of extras.

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Thom   
Just for the record, I'd rather have a DVD with a great transfer, DTS sound and be bare bones than have a crappy transfer with loads of extras.

I am with you on that!!

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CDs actually have changed a great deal though. CDs used to offer quite a bit more features than an album or cassette, at one time. The enhanced CD (video clips, interviews, etc) is not very common any more and the "hidden track" has been lost. Once the attraction is gone and the consumer is sold things tend to get a bit more stripped down again.

I have noticed on many of the DVDs I have rented lately there isn't even a comentary track, which used to be a given.

Actually, when CDs came out, they had no enhanced features. Enhanced features never really caught on with CD's, in spite of the effort put forth by labels to convince us how cool this was. The fact is, most folks never gave "enhanced features" as a reason they bought a CD...in most polls special features come in on the top five reasons people would buy a DVD(along with things like picture, sound, favorite movie, etc). It's just not the same argument.

Also, audio commentaries were not a given. In fact, I remember when DVDs first came out (I worked at best buy right at the start of DVDs)...most films were bare boned-and much more expensive. Most films that had audio commentaries only had them if the Laserdisc edition did. New movies that were never on Laserdisc did not have audio commentaries. It was a couple years before audio commentaries were a given. And I would say that easily, nine of the last ten films I bought on DVD had audio commentaries and a wealth of extras.

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Thom   
Actually, when CDs came out, they had no enhanced features.

Also, audio commentaries were not a given. In fact, I remember when DVDs first came out (I worked at best buy right at the start of DVDs)...most films were bare boned-and much more expensive.

I am not certain what polls you are referring to but I do see where you are coming. Consumers are fickle but the coming generation is growing a bit more aware of media technology, the enhancements and benefits.

Doesn't the "barebones" comment imply the same statement made previously about CDs?

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Speaking of CDs with enhanced features, one of the very first CDs I got, back in the late '80s, was a thing called Star Tracks II, and in addition to a TRACK listing, there was one track which had some sort of INDEX listing as well -- that is, the track was broken down into two, I dunno, sub-tracks or something, and I could actually see a number go up on my counter, but I never figured out if there was supposed to be some way to skip to the particular sub-track or what. I don't think any of my OTHER discs have had anything like that.

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Clint M   
Speaking of CDs with enhanced features, one of the very first CDs I got, back in the late '80s, was a thing called Star Tracks II, and in addition to a TRACK listing, there was one track which had some sort of INDEX listing as well -- that is, the track was broken down into two, I dunno, sub-tracks or something, and I could actually see a number go up on my counter, but I never figured out if there was supposed to be some way to skip to the particular sub-track or what. I don't think any of my OTHER discs have had anything like that.

That's on a lot of classical music CD's too. I think only very expensive CD players had the ability to skip the index.

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Doesn't the "barebones" comment imply the same statement made previously about CDs?

And look how long CDs have lasted-in spite of new media attempts to usurp them, even digital has not replaced CDs. Afteral, people still burn music on to them-even if they download the songs.

But the promise of special features was there, DVD didn't really take off until after special features became more common place. Special features were one of the reasons DVDs got a bigger audience. CDs were big before enhanced features were added.

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Thom   

Doesn't the "barebones" comment imply the same statement made previously about CDs?

And look how long CDs have lasted-in spite of new media attempts to usurp them, even digital has not replaced CDs. Afteral, people still burn music on to them-even if they download the songs.

But the promise of special features was there, DVD didn't really take off until after special features became more common place. Special features were one of the reasons DVDs got a bigger audience. CDs were big before enhanced features were added.

True. CDs haven't been replaced and I don't think they will any time soon, simply based on fidelity alone. Eveyone thought MP3's and minidiscs would kill CD sales. They even came out with the Super Audio CD in an attempt to change the audio fidelity and that didn't catch on.

I can see DVD losing more features but not being replaced. VHS took a long time to counter where technology is concerned and there is stil a market for them. I remember when Video Discs came out. Didn't change VHS. Then laser disc - didn't change VHS. Beta didn't even beat out VHS.

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Exactly. DVD is the first thing to ever give DVD a run for it's money. That may have something to do with DVD being the first movie format to come close to being as cheap as VHS films were. In fact, DVDs started out cheaper than VHS did (there was a time when a movie cost anywhere from $60-100...cuz, hey, who would buy a movie when you can rent it?! smile.gif) and I seem to recall that laserdiscs didn't drop under $45 for one movie until the format entered decline and DVDs were picking up steam. I found that if you paid $40-100 for a DVD, you were buying a set and get several discs(outside of the Criterion Collection-which are still ridiculously overpriced).

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Clint M   
Exactly. DVD is the first thing to ever give DVD a run for it's money. That may have something to do with DVD being the first movie format to come close to being as cheap as VHS films were. In fact, DVDs started out cheaper than VHS did (there was a time when a movie cost anywhere from $60-100...cuz, hey, who would buy a movie when you can rent it?! smile.gif) and I seem to recall that laserdiscs didn't drop under $45 for one movie until the format entered decline and DVDs were picking up steam. I found that if you paid $40-100 for a DVD, you were buying a set and get several discs(outside of the Criterion Collection-which are still ridiculously overpriced).

It started out more expensive - but every new format is that way. I remember the Face/Off DVD was initially released around 29.99MSRP, and now you can find it for 7.50-9.99, depending on the store.

It's getting cheaper (Criterion is always an exception - there are good places to find those for a better price) to buy DVD's, but I'm not liking the trend of dumbing down the supplements. Whereas Master and Commander had some fine supplements on the different aspects of making the film, Spiderman (which was just re-released as a Deluxe Edition with a new 3rd disc) had one document on the comic book history that was good. Otherwise it was mostly EPK's and HBO first looks, which are pretty fluffy.

And the reason for the decline of the commentary track is that most people don't want them. I can understand why, as several are dry and don't provide any real insight. It is more akin to "oh yeah, I remember that shot......" (...so why don't you tell US about it??)

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Clint M   

And another thing -

Does anyone else find the constant re-releasing of titles with "new!" supplements annoying? I don't mind when it's a vast improvement (Monty Python and the Holy Grail comes to mind), but when it is a slight difference? Or, my favorite, when a 2-disc set is reduced to 1 (the uber-popular Fight Club comes to mind)?

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It started out more expensive - but every new format is that way. I remember the Face/Off DVD was initially released around 29.99MSRP, and now you can find it for 7.50-9.99, depending on the store.

True. But discs started out in the $30 range and dropped in a few short years. Even CDs took many years to become reasonabley priced, and even then, many stores that cater to niche groups and carry stuff that you can't find at any Best Buy often still charge $18 bucks for a CD-and their deep discount CDs are $14.

My point was that DVDs came out and were more expensive than VHS, but cheaper than Laser Discs. In about a years time while working at Best Buy I saw the average CD price go from $29.95 to $19.95. That's a steep drop.

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Kent   

Does anyone else find the constant re-releasing of titles with "new!" supplements annoying? I don't mind when it's a vast improvement (Monty Python and the Holy Grail comes to mind), but when it is a slight difference? Or, my favorite, when a 2-disc set is reduced to 1 (the uber-popular Fight Club comes to mind)?

Yup, sure do! Miramax seems to be the most visible recent culprit as they have been bragging about "double" or possibly "triple dipping" their "Kill Bill" release. That's why I haven't bought it yet; I'm waiting for the version I want to be released. That's why I'm not buying "The Passion" yet. And I'm not repurchasing "Dr. Strangelove" because the only difference that's been announced so far for the "upgrade" SE release is a DTS track. Buyer beware!

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utzworld   

DVD had better stick around. I'm not about to replace all 200+ (and counting) of my collection. They should leave well enough alone!

I have no problem with buying barebones DVD's and then trading them in for the special edition upgrade. The trade off is that I trade them in to video game stores and get ridiculous discounts on my X-Box games! Case in point...I got the new Madden 2005--originally priced at $50 bucks--for $25 bucks with the help of my barebones edition DVD that I swapped.

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utzworld wrote:

: DVD had better stick around. I'm not about to replace all 200+ (and counting) of

: my collection. They should leave well enough alone!

Heh. I'm not too worried about this, though -- if DVD players can play Video CDs, then no doubt the next technology or two will be able to play DVDs, too. I believe the term for this is "backwards compatible".

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