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DVDs and customer abuse

I'm curious how others feel about the BRUTAL abuse of customers the distributors of DVDs have been perpetrating as of late -- how does it feel to spend $30 on a DVD to be forced to sit through 3, 4, sometimes 5 (dated) movie previews, all while the controls on _your_ DVD player are disabled by vendor collusion. I'm generally a pretty forgiving, mellow guy, but this absolutely INFURIATES me -- it feels like a such a brutal abuse of position, and it's one that we have so little control over (yeah, maybe I'll patronize the competition...oh wait they all do the same thing).

It is amazing how my position on things like divx piracy and hardware hacks changed 180 degrees after sitting through 5 god damn movie previews on a DVD that I just put hard money down for -- before I felt that it was miscreants and a tragedy of the commons (with a bunch of thieves weakly justifying their actions), but quite honestly I now feel that the movie industry can burn in hell, and I applaud all those who subvert their industry.

Dennis Forbes
Monday, February 02, 2004

I guess I've been lucky or maybe my player is different. I've not seen any forced previews yet, though it does annoy me that I can't easily fast-forward, or can't set bookmarks.

Which movies are the evil ones? I will be sure to avoid those. Maybe you could get your revenge by starting a site that lists the evil DVDs and advises people not to buy them.

Dan Pennycoat
Monday, February 02, 2004

I hadn't noticed too many DVD's with previews last year, but this year they seem to be coming out in force.

Generally, you can't skip past them but they do allow you to fast-forward.  So much for the wonderful random-access quality of DVD!

One major advantage of DVD's however is that they stop at the menu.  I always put the DVD's in well in advance of watching them.  That gives them time to run through whatever they want to run through.

Almost Anonymous
Monday, February 02, 2004

I wonder if it would be possible to copy the dvd to a new one sans the previews...

FullNameRequired
Monday, February 02, 2004

Think that's bad? Just wait until they add interstituals and pop-ups to DVDs...

Hey, that gives me an idea. Imagine free DVDs - all you have to do is sit through some ads. Sort of like TV.

Please. Nobody tell the studios about this idea.

burninator
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

FNR - DVD Shrink can do just this

www.dvdshrink.org

Its a great little app

Dan G
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The worst one of these is on Columbia-TriStar DVDs in Australia (not sure about elsewhere) - but when you put the *DVD* in it starts an ad about how much better *DVD* is than VHS - wouldn't I already know that?

Chris Ormerod
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Interesting. I was just thinking about discs in general last week.  Overall I think they are a crappy technology advancement.

DVD Movies:
========
o - They cost a lot more than VHS, but I really doubt they're more expensive to produce.

o - I haven't noticed a huge improvement in picture quality over VHS. (To be fair, I'm not one to watch the same movie over and over again.  Once I've seen a movie I'm usually not interested in seeing it again for a long time.  So, for my viewing habits, VHS is just fine.)

o - They aren't standardized.  Some let you hit the menu button to bypass all the initial crap; some don't.  Most let you hit the pause button, but some don't.

o - Music, sound effects, etc. are much louder than the voices - although that may just be my DVD player.

Games:
=====
o - Easily scratched.  My son's Gamecube and PS2 discs remain scratch-free for about 1 day after purchase.

o - The optical units are prone to dust related read errors.

Music:
====
o - Plus one for music.  CD's are much better than tapes.  But do they have to make the packaging so f*cking hard to remove?

Data Storage:
=========
o - For SneakerNet data transfer, I'd rather have a thumb device.

o - For large-scale data backup I wish there were a better yet affordable alternative to CD's.  The software I've used makes every write operation painful.


I'm just hoping there's something better on the horizon.

Nick
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated.  You will watch movie previews for old movies and like it.  You will watch advertisments and immediately press pause on the DVD player so you can run right out to the store like a good little consumer and buy more stuff you don't need... er... oops... um... I guess you can't... really *pause* it right away... um... since we disabled that along with the skip and fast forward to make you watch the ad... um... so... you will wait for the movie to start and *then* run off to the store to buy, buy, buy, more, more, more.  You will repeatedly watch our very pretty animated logos that you could've created yourself on a Saturday afternoon with POVRAY because our egos get a boost just from knowing that you can't fast forward it.  You will watch all of this stuff over again when you get twenty minutes into the movie and discover that the disc is skipping like mad because the moron who rented the disc before you doesn't know to handle the disc by the edges and got their popcorn buttery smudge prints all over the surface of the disc.  And you will enjoy it all.

MPAA Thought Police
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Are you guys living in a parallel universe?

1. DVDs are $10 and you can get movies that were only released a few months ago. Or if you want, you can subscribe to a rental service and have as many as you want to watch mailed to you for less than the price of a single VHS when they were the latest.

2. DVDs have way better quality than VHS. Better resolution, better sound.

3. DVDs don't wear out and get tracking lines after watching them a few times.

4. DVDs donn't have to be rewound.

5. DVDs have 6 channel sound, soundtracks in multiple languages and comments by director and crew.

I could go on but why bother.

I have 261 DVDs in my collection right now and not one of them forces me to watch previews.

I really don't know what you are talking about. Either you guys have never seen a DVD or you live overseas and they have bad DVDs there or something. I think probably you have never seen a DVD since you say the quality is not better than VHS.

Yeah, ok. Like, whatever.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I also use the tactic of putting the DVD in to play some time before settling down to watch it. Once, after brewing a beverage and arranging the munchies, I sat down to find a menu asking for my language. After choosing -- you guessed it -- I was presented with a selection of previews with the actors talking in my favourite lingo.

Paul Sharples
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

>>Are you guys living in a parallel universe?

Yes.  Drop by and visit sometime.  It's nice over here. :-)

>>1. DVDs are $10 and you can get movies that were only released a few months ago. Or if you want, you can subscribe to a rental service and have as many as you want to watch mailed to you for less than the price of a single VHS when they were the latest.

Most DVD's I've seen are $5+ more than VHS.

>>2. DVDs have way better quality than VHS. Better resolution, better sound.

I'm sure they do. I've just never noticed that much of a difference.  But then again, I grew up with a 13" black & white TV.  But now I have a 60" big screen, so I don't care what's playing - it looks fucking great!

>>3. DVDs don't wear out ...

DVD's do too wear out.  The only DVD's we buy are the kids movies, and within 10 viewings they get so many scratches on them they play like crap.  Maybe in your universe kids handle DVD's with care, but in mine ...

>>... and get tracking lines after watching them a few times.

Busted! You're buying porn from the Asian market on the corner, aren't you?

>>4. DVDs donn't have to be rewound.

You see, I've noticed that the clerks at the local video store go out for smoke breaks a lot, especially mid-day when the traffic is low.  Nowdays I just don't rewind.  It gives the clerks something to do besides smoke.  I'm not lazy, I'm just promoting good health!

>>5. DVDs have 6 channel sound, soundtracks in multiple languages and comments by director and crew.

I have 2 channel ears, speak 1 language, and think the director and crew comments are a yankfest.

>>I have 261 DVDs in my collection right now and not one of them forces me to watch previews.

I can think of maybe 5 movies that I could watch again and again.  But 261?!?  Dennis, Dennis, Dennis, spend your money on something worthwhile like a motorcycle, a trip to Cabo, or a couple of hookers.  If that doesn't appeal to you, then buy me a motorcycle, a trip to Cabo, or a couple of hookers. :-)

>>I really don't know what you are talking about. Either you guys have never seen a DVD or you live overseas and they have bad DVDs there or something. I think probably you have never seen a DVD since you say the quality is not better than VHS.

Take care, Dennis, and try not to get so worked up about this.

Nick
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

" I think probably you have never seen a DVD since you say the quality is not better than VHS."

Ive never seen a dvd on my home tv.  <g> mostly because its an old 13(?)" screen..or maybe 15"...or something.  <shrug>

Every now and again I think about buying a flash new flat screen tv and a poncy new dvd player to go with it....and then I think about it for a few seconds and realise that if I had a flash new television Id prolly just watch more of it.
<g> I cant really see an upside there, can you?

OTOH every once in a while I see dvds on the televisions of various friends...they are ok I guess, although honestly not _that_ much more impressive.  I nearly always get bored when people start playing through all the other crap that comes with the dvd though....I mean...I _like_ watching movies...violent movies, funny movies, clever movies...all good.  but who on _earth_ wants to watch how they were made? waste time hearing about how the third assistant to the executive producer of the company felt when he saw something or other finally played?  sit still through a half dozen actors agreeing on how exciting the movie is and why making it changed their lives?

<g> and now Im starting to hear about people being forced to sit through previews...dvds not even playing on different players or strange areas of the planet....

jesus...dont people have better things to do?

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

CDs and DVDs aren't so durable.  They will deteriorate to the point of not being able to watch them eventually.  Same as tapes.  However, these days just you admit to copying them to fresh media every n years..

i like i
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I thought the most excitement a DVD could ever give was when I figured out that pressing up-up-left-left-left-7-9 on my remote control gave me the ability to turn off regional coding....

but this thread is even more exciting then that!


(okay so that was alot of sarcasm, and I have a reputation for being a nice person, but I just couldn't help myself... *big grin*)

Aussie Chick
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Look I just bought a 23" wide screen LCD TV and I'm not sad, really I'm not.

I just need to check on 'I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here' and see if there's more snoring.,,

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I have an opposite viewpoint from full name required.

1. If I'm going to watch a movie, I want to get as much detail as possible. Since I can't see Lawrence of Arabia in it's original format (the IMAX of it's day) I want to at least squeeze out as much detail as the DVD + the money I'm willing to spend (not much) will get me.

2. I love learning about the creative process, and watching people working on something, and I love to learn about what goes in to a work of art. If I'm willing to read an essay about a book or a biography of someone I'm interested in, I don't see how different it is to watch the director's commentary on a movie I liked. I don't always get around to doing it, but the times I do I typically enjoy it.

So my PS2 and my $500 32" flat screen Toshiba and my discount Netflix subscription will enjoy a stream of classics & guilty pleasures at the rate of about 1-2 movies a month.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"o - They cost a lot more than VHS, but I really doubt they're more expensive to produce."

Nick, I've gotta ask - how old are you?
VHS is cheaper now than DVD due to market dynamics - supply and demand. But compare DVD now to VHS in its heyday - for one thing, DVD slipped past the "rental" clause in rights contracts. VHS tapes used to be $99 for the first six months of release, so only video rental places would/could buy them. A lot of movies never came out on tape.

And my god does VHS take up a ton of room.

As far as wear, VHS simply wears out with use. DVD, if properly cared for, doesn't. I'll pit the crappiest DVD in your collection against any of my 10-20 year old VHS tapes and you'll see what "wears out" really means.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"I have 261 DVDs in my collection right now and not one of them forces me to watch previews."

Are you hording movies in the event that the industry goes bankrupt or California falls into the ocean? I don't mean to pick on you, but this hording mentality seems to be the latest craze, in the US anyway. I notice that just about every sh!ty television show is out on DVD so we can own it and [presumably] watch it over and over until we have every line memorized.

m
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

On second thought, maybe the DVD collection impresses the ladies (though my wife would not let me buy any).

m
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

In DVD authoring programs the "disable skip" option is just a single check-box... But players are required to honor it in order to get DVD certification. (if it weren't such a big deal, you would see tons of players that ignore the bits, just like region coding). I do find it offensive that so many studios take advantage of this little DVD "feature."

I don't think it's a good idea to build a huge DVD library since it will eventually be replaced by an HDTV format. But then again, you can see the industry is taking its sweet time developing HD DVDs.

Dan Maas
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I agree having to sit through adverts is a pain.  That's why I watch the BBC ;-)

On the general discussion, there is a big price difference in Britain between DVD & VHS.  As for the advantages - well the extras don't really do a lot for me - with the exception of the "Have I got news for you" which has a commentary track as funny as the programme - and the extra languages are more of an advantage for the studio.  The less wear *might* be significant but depends on usage.

The big advantage which no one seems to have mentioned is that you can't play a VHS tape on your laptop.  Which when you're on holiday in France, the telly's incomprehensible, it's raining and the kids are bored is a godsend ( and on a personal note is why my 5 year old refers to "The Matrix" as "...the one with the bouncy road".) 

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Starcops" STILL isn't out on DVD. There's only nine episodes of it. Years and years we've been waiting, but no. The BBC ignores us...

That's my main aggro with DVDs.

Katie Lucas
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Katie, I've been waiting decades to see the Goodies again, so you can just wait.

As for collecting - for whatever reason, humans seem to have a collecting gene. It's not just hoarding - there's some kind of need to actually *complete* collections. I'm not sure what the survival benefit is, but it's definitely there.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

One thing about tapes is that although they may be more likely to degrade than DVDs, at least they generally degrade gracefully.

When a tape starts to wear out, the picture and sound quality usually start getting a bit iffy, but it's watchable.

When a DVD gets a scratch, you're out of luck. The player just gets bogged down and freezes up when it can't read the data, and you have to manually jump to the bit after the affected part of the disc.

Frankly, I think the tape situation is preferable.

That said, I've only had the problem with rental discs. All the DVDs I own play perfectly.

Sum Dum Gai
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Philo get your credit card out:

http://www.bbcshop.com/invt/7952171

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

In a bid to sort out the jumble of electronic boxes in the living room we're going to get rid of a lot of the videos which take up one half of it.  My daughter has agreed (as they're pretty much all hers, Disney and such), as she's going to net the proceeds to buy clothes (when I was 9 clothes were things that you just had and you didn't bother about having more of them).

That negotiation over, she turned to me and said 'We could get rid of your records, Daddy, you don't play them.'.

She was talking of my LP collection which takes up the other half of the cupboard.  I was at a loss for a couple of minutes.  How could I explain the value of an original Dr John in mono, and not its worth in money either?

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Nick: "...and think the director and crew comments are a yankfest."

FWIW, one notable exception is "This is Spinal Tap", which has the band members talking about the movie as it's playing. One of the funniest things I'v ever heard.

Chris Winters
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"How could I explain the value of an original Dr John in mono, and not its worth in money either?"

Appearantly you can't? If you are not listening to the music, what is the value? Of course the past is a hard thing to let go.

m
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Back to the original topic.  I've noticed that I only ever encounter the inability to fast forward with Disney/Kids movies and rentals.  Disney has always forced self marketing apon users since the beginning of VHS and DVD's.  I also seem to notice it more when I rent movies from Blockbuster/Hollywood Video.  I wonder if the rentals now come with these ads, and the DVD's in stores don't? 

For all this talk though about how bad the ads are, I think it would be more productive to narrow down the sources of the problem rather than quip over having too many movies and the durability of the media.  That conversation is boring.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Simon

Grin broadly, say "but listen to this it's brilliant", play it at her. 

If anything like my daughter she'll decide that on certain topics you're nuts and that it's best not to ask.  Alternatively, she might like it too and you get to annoy the rest of the family.

All of which gets away from the real reason  - you just don't want to.  Which is a valid alternative.

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Yes but the point I failed to make is that its not the music (I have most of it in other formats), its the artefact itself.

Would I point to, say, 'Lord of the Rings The Entire Saga, Director's Cut' (c) 2005 on 25 DVDs in 25 years time and say 'I couldn't possibly sell that its just priceless'.  Somehow I don't think so.

Mind, I'm being slightly optimistic I'll be pointing at anything in 25 years time...

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I agree with Dennis.  My wife purchased Bruce Almighty, and rented American Pie 2 and American Wedding.  They all contain forced previews.  They are Universal DVDs.

It is absolutely egregious and unacceptable for Universal or anyone else to force me to play previews.

To cure is to boycott the DVDs or buy them so you can burn a proper copy.  You have to remove the copy protection (www.DVDDecrypter.com), then burn it to blank DVD media.  You can compress the movie to fit on one disk or span it across two.  If you get rid of the junk on the original DVDs then you don't have to compress the movie as much.

Gary
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Simon:

Get a new turntable from audioadvisor.com or needle doctor.  They will sound remarkably better than you CD player.

As for the people who don't see a difference between DVD and VHS quality (or don't care)...okay.  Don't see or care.  The rest of us guarantee there is a difference.  A well done DVD transfer with a good front projector (getting quite reasonably priced) and a good stere system can give a very good approximation of a real theater (minus the incosiderate other patrons).  For fans of the cinema this is wonderful.  When the higher resolution DVDs come out in a few years it will be better.

BTW- on the topic at hand I agree.  You'd think they could at least make it so that after you had played them once you could skip them in the future...or maybe have them self destruct after the movies they preview are released.  You know have the previews play for the first month or two and then be skippable.

name withheld out of cowardice
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Philo, I don't know why we need to complete collections, I do it to, though with me it's mostly making sure all of my writings stay in tact. I have a fireproof safe for all my journals, half of them digitally transcribed as well, and many of my digital writings are in two physical locaitons.

Maybe it's the same instinct that makes a parent triple check that all of their 16 children are there, or a tribe member ensure that the entire tribe is accounted for before moving on to the next location.

Forced previews are egregious and rediculous. Luckily there's Mute and Popcorn to be gotten out of the popper. We've paid for the DVD, they shouldn't be advertising to us on it as well, not in a forced manner. We wade though advertisements in magazines, but we're not forced to read them with the articles.

Movies in the theater, I would argue are different because we expect to not be in control of the time there, though one man in Chicago sued a chain of theaters because they started showing commercials. False advertising - the movie didn't start when they said. Previews he claimed are part of the movie going experience, are expected, and anticipated, commercials (like you see on TV) are not part of the movie or the experience.

This is clearly an abuse of the "you can't skip the FBI warning" software. What they're doing is classifying the preview as necessary. Heck, you can skip the movie to your favorite scene, you should be able to skip the previews.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Forced previews are an abuse of power.

The creators of the DVD format surely incorporated skip-locks for short legal warnings, but they underestimated the smarminess of the talentless pricks running the faux-art distribution industries.

These sorts of things should be wake-up calls to all citizens when their governments foolishly grant more and more power to the copying cartels, such as via the American DMCA.

The required response to any abuse of power is always to take the power away.

(And something like software-enforced DVD skip-locks is a rather easy problem to solve.)

veal
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Sort of on a tangent but covering previously laid ground -- I absolutely love the high quality video and sound of DVD, but it is interesting how the video and sound is partly sacrificed for features. i.e. Every additional "director's commentary" (some DVDs have a half dozen accessory stereo audio tracks, for instance) is interlaced with the video and audio stream, and given that there is a maximum data rate they reduce the video and audio bandwidth to accommodate it -- A few more visual artifacts in those gradiants, and reduced audio fidelity, all to add some features. This is why most DVDs don't use the superior DTS method of audio encoding: The extra bandwidth would limit the addition of additional audio tracks.

Just an aside.

Dennis Forbes
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Someone made the comment about commentaries, and I agree. I sat through the director's commentary of the Matrix just to hear about how he engineered the scene where Neo and Morpheus are walking through the crowd (It's an awesomely understated scene - Morpheus moves easily through the crowd while Neo keeps bumping into people).
When the scene came, the director was yammering on about some other inconsequential thing, all in service of his ego.

I haven't listened to an audio commentary since.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

>>Nick, I've gotta ask - how old are you?

I'm 39.

>>VHS is cheaper now than DVD due to market dynamics -
>>supply and demand.

That makes no sense.  Supply and demand of what - the media or the content?

You can buy blank DVD media for less than $2, roughly the same cost as a blank VHS.  I'm sure manufacturers are paying under a $1 for either.  On the retail side, at my local Blockbuster over 90% of the shelf space for new releases is DVD.

The content isn't really subject to market forces.  You can't go buy a copy of The Matrix from another studio, so there's really no downward pricing pressure that you would see in other products.

Also, I'd be willing to bet that the recording process for DVD's takes less time and is more cost efficient to automate than VHS.  And as someone already pointed out, DVD's are much more compact than VHS, so the shipping costs should be lower.

Lastly, the distribution channels for DVD's have already been laid out thanks to the VHS legacy.  So comparing VHS in it's heyday to DVD now is irrelevant. 

Nick
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Supply and demand for the content in a specific format.

Lord of the Rings comes out on video.
More people want it on DVD than on VHS.
Therefore, studios can charge more for DVD.

The same thing was in evidence with music albums in CD vs. vinyl.

Philo

Philo
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Well it's your fault for not skipping straight to that scene. Why subject yourself to an hour of commentary when you only want 5 minutes?

There were a lot of twins in that scene.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Rather than more people want it on DVD - I'd bet that people who own DVD players are less "price sensitive" than those who buy videos and in the wierd but logical world of marketing  DVDs are seen as a "premium " product. 

People are willing to pay the premium whatever the actual benefits partially for bragging rights. The upshot is for some things you need to increase the price to increase sales. 

a cynic writes...
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I just kicked off 'Princess Diaries' on the DVD drive downstairs and when the trailers began pressed Search and it zipped to the Menu.

Oh and 'Princess Diaries' is a Disney film.

Simon Lucy
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I watch DVDs on my PC, and the same thing happens; some DVDs freeze up the (onscreen) controls.  I've seen some that force previews, but never seen one that makes it impossible to skip the previews.  Yet.  I'm sure it'll happen.

"FWIW, one notable exception is 'This is Spinal Tap', which has the band members talking about the movie as it's playing. One of the funniest things I'v ever heard."

I second that.  Spinal Tap's commentary is the best one I've ever seen.  Instead of Christopher Guest et al yakking, you get Nigel Tufnel et al in character; instead of watching the same movie over again, but with someone talking, it's like getting a whole 'nother movie.

Kyralessa
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Philo, while your argument has merit, I really think it's price fixing.  Despite my smart-ass rant last night, I'm not a raving conspiracy theorist who throws claims like around lightly.  In fact, I'm not even against the recording companies who are filing suits against illegal downloaders.

But we're really getting off track here.  I like the expanded memory capacity, reduced size, and improved overall quality of DVD's and CD's compared to their tape counterparts.

However, I just don't think that the leap forward in technology has been all roses.  On computers, the software interface for CD's and DVD's generally sucks (at least, the software that I've used.)  On DVD movie players, I feel like I'm being manipulated.  And for games, the media are in a format that isn't robust enough to be handled by part of their target consumer.  This is especially true of GameCube whose target audiaence is largely young boys.

Nick
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

DVDs are manufactured by stamping the little pits and bumps into the disc. That's pretty cheap per-DVD, though the setup cost is probably quite high. I couldn't find any info on prerecorded videos, but I don't see that the spools of tape can come premanufactured. One would have to use some kind of mechanical duplication device, increasing the length, complexity and expense of the production process.

Insert half smiley here.
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

OK, so I don't have any disney kids films. I totally agree that if a movie forces you to watch stuff that is bad. I just have not seen a disk that does that yet.

Not all Disney stuff is bad -- disk #261 (the latest) is "Pirates of the Carribean". I was going to say that I do not collect to complete but I am trying to get the complete set of everything Johnny Depp is in. And everything Jonathan PRice is in, so this was a double catch. Yes the commentary is bad on this one, but there are seven and a half hours of additional material!

I don't have cable. Premium cable is what $75/month? And so I buy ten or fifteen DVDs a month instead for twice the cost of cable. Is that so bad? I watch a new movie every night and the ones I like I can go back and listen to the directors comments - sometimes they get inte technical details about how they framed an angle or composited a scene or whatever and as a tech minded guy and also as an art fan I find it very interesting.

Renting at the store is silly for me because I travel around so much. Where would I return the tape to when I am on the airplane? I can buy DVDs in any city and watch them on my laptop and when I get home, I can watch them on my plasma display with my 6 channel setup. It sounds awesome and the picture quality is practically the same as in the theatre for gosh sakes! I mean, DVDs are a thousand times better than tape dudes and they are ten times better looking and sounding than cable. And its fun for friends and my younger relatives when they visit - its like visiting someone who lives in a movie theater. And I can pause them without having tivo spyware report on what I watch.

The other cool part is that I can get DVDs of realy obscure stuff mail order. I would NEVER be able to find these weird foreign films I like at any local store!

Having a large collection is great, even if I never watch a film a second time. It costs less for me to buy the things and watch them once than it would to deal with retning and trying to return a tape. Where would I watch a rental tape when I am on the road anyway? A VCR weighs a lot more than a laptop.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"I don't think it's a good idea to build a huge DVD library since it will eventually be replaced by an HDTV format."

Are you sure that DVDs aren't already in HDTV format? I can't imagine these things having any finer resolution - it's many times better than a normal TV is capable of showing, so I have always assumed that that means it is HDTV.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

What Dennis, your Laptop doesn't have an internal VHS Combo Drive?

(Sarcasm intended)

Elephant
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"You can buy blank DVD media for less than $2"

And I can buy the steel, aluminum and crude oil I need to make a Ferarri for less than $500.

DVDs cost a lot more to produce than VHS for one thing with all the additional features. They also have higher value to the consumer. And yet they cost less than I ever paid for a VHS tape (granted VHS tapes seem to cost $5 now, but they didn't five years ago).

But it doesn't matter how much the crude materials cost. There are a lot more costs in producing a movie than in buying some blank DVDs. Sheesh!

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Are you sure that DVDs aren't already in HDTV format?"

No, they're not. DVDs support the lowest resolution of the digital standards, 480p (480 lines, progressive scan). When people talk about HDTV they typically mean 1080i (1080 lines, interlaced).

DVDs are good, but they will (eventually) get much better.

David Fischer
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

>> 5. DVDs have 6 channel sound, soundtracks ...

> I have 2 channel ears, speak 1 language....

Errr... what? You have directional hearing and can tell which direction sound comes from (roughly three-dimensionally). Multiple speakers simulate three-dimensional sound. The same thing can be done with only two speakers but it's quite sensitive to speaker and listener positions (among other things).

As for "1 language", foreign movies typically have the original language soundtrack, a dub, and sub-titles so you can choose the best option for your two ears and one language.

David Fischer
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Just occurred to me that for me as a consumer the DVD is not competing with buying tapes, not renting tapes or DVDs. The DVD is competing against going to the movie theater. it provides better focus, better sound, better viewing angle, more features and capabilities, less sticky floors and seats, less funky smells, less attitude, less waiting in line and less listening to the inane comments of people I don't like than going to the movie theatre does.

The last time I saw a movie in a theatre they showed a commercial. I walked out, demanded a refund, and haven't been back since. The movie theatre is dead.

Dennis Atkins
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Someone touched upon it, but does someone truly know why there is such an incredible difference in volume between dialogue and music when watching a DVD?

I'm constantly turning it up to hear what they're saying, then diving for the remote to turn it down when they decide to go to a musical interlude.  Seriously, what gives?

If you watch the same movie on HBO it seems that the two volumes have been given a happy medium.  Any ideas?

Beethoven
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I largely agree and disagree Dennis.  The theater is good for seeing movies that you really wanted to see as soon as the come out.  i.e. I didn't want to wait to see "Return of the King" until it came out on DVD so I went to see it in the theater. 

I disagree that it is dead though.  There is a certain element to seeing movies in the theater that a home theater lacks.  That is a large group of strangers coming together to share an experience.  I find this is really only true on opening nights though.

**Story**

At "Lord of the Rings: Return of the King" on opening night as Eowyn gets ready to kill the witch king, the Witch King says "no man can kill me" and from the back of the theater in dead tense silence this ghetto dude yells out at the top of his lungs "Aint no man bitch".  The theater erupts with applause and laughter.  Only at the theater (although usually only on opening night) do you encounter such moments. 

Elephant
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Volume Issue:

In the theater, there is a much larger dynamic range that can be covered between sound effects and dialog.  Problem is in production of DVD's.  The audio track is often cut straight to the DVD from the original track.  The very dynamic (constant changing volume) that succeeded in the theater does not necessarily work in a home environment, and definately not through your TV speakers.

Audio pre-processors (and some AV receivers) have a "night" mode that compresses the dynamics of the movie.  There is also a problem where the theater track is excessively bright (too much trebble in relation to bass) when coming through traditional home audio gear.  This is also often addressed through your receiver or pre-processor.

Elephant
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

As a Laserdisc enthusiast, I just want to say that we had all these debates a decade ago. :-p

By the way, "disable skip" does not disable your ability to fast forward, just to skip to the next track (at least, it doesn't on most of the DVD players I've used). And yes, forced commercials suck.

Brad Wilson (dotnetguy.techieswithcats.com)
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

>this ghetto dude yells out at the top of his
>lungs "Aint no man bitch".

Heh heh, I'm not sure which side is supposed to benefit from your example but IMHO this is a definite +1 to the "would rather watch it on DVD" crowd.  :-)

Matt Foley
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

1. DVD's aren't the same quality as the theater and probably won't be for several decades. I would say if ever, but it'll probably come to pass.

There are Superbit DVD's and other similar DVD's that have no commentary, no extras and use every last bit for movie quality. It's a file just like any other, and the video can be compressed with different algorithms.

2. Broadcast/Cable television is highly audio compressed, and commercials even moreso. DVD's aren't compressed, so the quiet parts are quiet and the loud parts are loud.  You may be able to find a compressor to help balance this, but I've never seen one for a 5.1 system, just stereo.

3. Human hearing is directional, and that's largely due to the shape of the ear and the way sound enters, and that echoes from different part of the room will cause something to sound different.

4. DVD's do compete with theater going, but the Lord of the Rings beat first all time weekend sales, and then (some movie I forget which, was it Big Fish) did after that, so I guess they're not that much competition. DVD's don't compete with video cassettes.... the same people sell both, only the 14 year olds in China at the manufacturing plant who start making clothes instead experience any real change.

www.MarkTAW.com
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"The last time I saw a movie in a theatre they showed a commercial. I walked out, demanded a refund, and haven't been back since. The movie theatre is dead. "

Dennis, you are starting (?) to sound like an insane person.
Data points: you own 261 DVDs (that's like $7000 worth of DVDs!) and demanded a refund because the theatre displayed a commercial!! I've never been to a movie where they didn't show commercials! Even back in the 70s, my local theatre in nowheresville, midwest would show cheesy filmstrip ads for the local A&W hamburger joint, car sales lot, please donate to the local hockey team boosters, etc.

Anyway, until the rest of the world turns into DVD hoarding shut-ins, I don't think the movie theatre is dead anytime soon. Going to the movies is an event; going to your living room is not.


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

"Dennis, you are starting (?) to sound like an insane person."

<g> somehow poor dennis always comes out sounding like an insane person.

mind you, Im doing my own impersonation of one in another thread...I guess we all have our sore points.

FullNameRequired
Tuesday, February 03, 2004

I just wanna know where dennis is getting 1st run DVDs for $10. Even a used copy of pirates of the carribean is $11.98 at amazon (new $17.99). 


Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Around $10 is what I've paid for most of them. Most new, but quite a few I get used here and there for $5-$10. All together I think I'm into it for about three grand.

Pirates I paid $16 new, on sale marked down from $20. It comes with two DVDs so that its able to have a high quality movie on one disk and all the extras on the 2nd disk.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

I didn't know that some theatres showed full blown commercials so long ago. Sure i've seen the Mach of Dimes collection movies they have here and there and take up a collection. that doesn't bother me. And the slide shows where they have the trivia questions is ok. But when the lights go down and they just shown a set of full blown TV style commercials for cars and fast food restaurants and all that, then I feel it's a rip off since I am paying to see the movie without commercials.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Oh sorry forgot to answer the question of where. I always look through the bins of anyplace that has DVDs. This includes places like KMart and Target, but also video rental stores, gas stations, lots of places. They'll have lots of the $20-30 ones, but I only look at what's selling for $7,$10,$12 and $15. I guess the very recent releases are the more expensive ones, but oddly if it's an artsy movie, it'll go for less at certain places, like Circuit City. There's also various web sites you can find the more obscure stuff at and of course amazon used and other used places will have some of the more obscure ones for cheap as well.

A *lot* of people seem to buy DVDs and then resell them used after watching them a few times or copying them or whatever it is they do. Just have noticed that there seem to be a lot of used first run movies out there.

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"...when the lights go down and they just shown a set of full blown TV style commercials for cars and fast food restaurants and all that, then I feel it's a rip off since I am paying to see the movie without commercials."

I'm with Dennis on this.  On TV the commercials pay for the TV shows you watch.  But when you've already shelled out $8+ per ticket, $5 for a bucket of popcorn, $3 each for sodas, etc., etc., then what exactly are movie commercials paying for?

Kyralessa
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

"then what exactly are movie commercials paying for?"

They are paying for future lost revenue.  Have to have greater revenue now to account for the future decline in sales, because people stop coming to the movies as a result of the commercials?

Elephant
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Dennis, you really should consider Netflix.  Unlimited number of rentals; keep the discs as long as you want; return them by just dropping them in the mail (using the included postage-prepaid mailer.)  I'm worried that someone will discover your body burried under a collapsed tower of DVDs.  :-)

Robert Jacobson
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

thanks Robert, I know about NetFlix and it's definitely the one I would go with if I didn't do the travelling. Sometimes I'm out of town for a while so any NetFlix shipments would just be languishing in my mailbox and I'd not have any movie fixes.

Maybe they can have a logo: "DVD - the rental you  don't have to return."

Dennis Atkins
Wednesday, February 04, 2004

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