5 Ways to Improve DVD & Blu-ray Movie Releases

Published 1 year ago by This is a list post.

How to Improve DVD & Blu-ray Movie Releases

Improve Home Media Star Trek Into Darkness Cover2Going to the movie theater is a major part of a film lover’s life, but any movie buff worth their salt also has an extensive DVD/Blu-ray collection at home - and these days, the advancements in home theater technology (including big screen HD TVs and Blu-ray discs) have made watching a film in the comfort of your own residence more appealing than making the trip to your local multiplex. Unfortunately for consumers, movie studios have not handled this element as well as they would hope. Fans and reviewers are criticizing the Blu-ray release of Star Trek Into Darkness due to the four different versions that are available (as opposed to just one) - and this isn’t the first time a home media release has left people unhappy; it probably won’t be the last. With that in mind, here are 5 ways the movie industry can improve their home media releases in order to make buying a film more rewarding.

Put All Special Features On One Release

Improve Home Media Argo Target Exclusive2The biggest issue regarding the Star Trek Into Darkness Blu-ray is that there are four different versions of the movie available – each with their own set of special features. The iTunes, Target, and Best Buy copies come with content that other retailers don’t have. It’s easy to see how this can be frustrating for fans, especially since bonus materials - such as director's commentary and behind-the-scenes featurettes -  are a main selling point for Blu-rays. This isn’t a new thing either. The first video release of Transformers: Dark of the Moon infamously included a coupon for the upcoming “deluxe edition,” (released a few months later) which included the additional content. Blu-rays for Argo and Django Unchained were also shipped with store-specific exclusives, indicating that this trend is here to stay. Shortchanging consumers on special features makes more sense when the industry is trying to push a new format, but now that over 40 million U.S. homes own Blu-ray players, it would just be easier to include everything on one release and put this pointless practice to an end.

Eliminate Advertisements

Improve Home Media Eliminate Ads2On most releases, viewers must first sit through a parade of trailers and advertisements for an upcoming slate of movies (and in some rare cases, random PSAs that have nothing to do with the industry) before they can access the main menu and actually watch the film they bought. When movie lovers dream about recreating the theatrical experience at home, this is not what they have in mind. Usually, a press of the “menu” button will do the trick, but recent Blu-rays have pesky unskippable advertisements. The anti-piracy messages actually serve a point, but there's no real reason to include that feature on previews as well. In a world where we have YouTube and iTunes Trailers, fans have instant access to these types of things, so it's antiquated to use home media as a way to promote new projects. Frequently, the ads are available via the bonus features menu, so interested parties can watch them that way instead of being force fed the content as soon as they put the disc in.

Have Two Versions: Just The Film & Film/Bonus

Improve Home Media Special Features2While we do not approve of studios giving certain retailers exclusive bonus content, we would like to see them separate the releases in a different way: Make one “collector’s edition” version with as many special features that will fit (and we mean as many. Looking at you, Terminator Blu-ray), and have one with the film by itself, which would be offered at a reduced price. Additional content may be a major selling point for home media, but there are some consumers who are interested in just the film and would rather not pay for an extra disc’s worth of bonus materials. Unlike the movies, the behind-the-scenes clips that break down the making of the film – while fascinating for cinephiles – do not have high replay value and most times they are watched only once out of curiosity and never seen again.  Giving people a stripped-down option could be beneficial.

Make Digital Downloads More User Friendly

Improve Home Media UltraVioletWith people constantly on the go, it’s becoming increasingly popular for consumers to acquire digital copies of their movies in order to view them on laptops, tablets, and smart phones. While this is nice in theory, it’s clear that the movie industry is not quite ready for an iTunes revolution. Studios are now pushing UltraViolet as the go-to digital format, but the process is a convoluted mess that’s more trouble than it’s worth. Customers must set up accounts at several sites just to stream one film - and they are not accessible on certain iOS devices. Downloading from Apple seems like a better option, but there is no way for users to import DVDs and Blu-rays in their library (like you can for CDs for music) and only select titles are equipped with bonus materials, which could upset some. To get people to completely buy in, someone will have to develop a gadget that allows you to incorporate existing physical copies with new digital purchases.

Have All Blu-Rays Be Compatible on All Players

Blu Ray LogoBack in the day of VHS and DVDs, watching a movie at home was simple. All you did was put the tape or disc in the player, sit back, and enjoy. While the HD picture and sound of Blu-rays are luxuries we enjoy, their players come with an extra wrinkle that can potentially be a giant hassle. Manufacturers are always developing firmware upgrades to make their Blu-ray players up-to-date and use the most modern software to make their products. Due to this, most Blu-rays come with a notice that informs the consumer that the disc may not be compatible with their player (assuming it’s not updated). Most times, this is a non-issue, but some people have found certain movies don’t work on their player – and there’s no upgrade available. Viewers shouldn’t need new software for their players to perform their most basic function. All discs should work on all players regardless of when it was made.

Conclusion

Improve Home Media Star Trek Into Darkness Cover2Home media allows people to have their favorite films available for viewing at any time and gives those interested an opportunity to appreciate the craftsmanship via bonus materials. However, as we have just shown, there’s a long way to go before this element is perfected so it can reach its full potential. Even in 2013, there are still issues. It will be interesting to see if any of these problems are remedied. Digital downloads in particular is the one key area to watch, as customers continue to look for efficient ways to store their collections. Of course, our list is not meant to be all-inclusive, so let us know in the comments what changes you would like to see be made to home video releases. Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisAgar90 Star Trek Into Darkness is now available on Blu-ray/DVD. Choose your version wisely.
TAGS: blu ray, star trek into darkness

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  1. I agree with most of this. I hate having content split among the retailers. Its gotten really bad recently. Star Trek and GI Joe two prime examples. When I first started getting Blu-Ray movies, I loved getting the DVD as well. Now 100+ movies later, I haven’t used one single one. I just want a Blu-Ray digital pack. Sometimes your only choice is BR/DVD and no digital.

    As for the digital, I didn’t like Ultra Violet at first and preferred downloading on iTunes. I’ve changed on that too. I just ended up with a ton of downloads I never watched. Now I use Flixster to watch all my UV movies across multiple platforms and it works great. Other than signing up for UV and Flixster accounts at first, I’ve only had to make one other account for a Sony Pictures movie. That took 20 seconds. All the accounts sync and it works great. And you still get to download an itunes copy in addition.

  2. You are the first person to tell me that there is multiple releases of this film, other than the standard dvd, blu ray, and the super cool ship.

    Out of sight — Out of mind.

  3. Funny, I didn’t know there were multiple versions either. I wonder what that says…..

  4. This was a smart article, and I found myself reflecting on how/why I buy movies. I tend to prefer “extras”-lite copies, because I’m one of those people who infrequently watches special features, despite enjoying cinema studies. A lot of it is available on the internet and, like the trailers, don’t necessarily need to impact my money.
    I was unaware until recently of the ST outcry, but, given the way video-games make money tying in with particular retailers, the whole ordeal doesn’t surprise me, although I disagree with it.

    • Yeah I always go for the special editions for the extras too but its all on the internet these days. Theres usually MORE special features on youtube than even on the super special gold 5 disc edition anyway.

      • That’s where worthy editions are differentiated from the fluff. The LOTR extended Blu-Ray set had an insane amount of extras (something like 6hrs per film I think), and most of them were really interesting. Good luck putting all that online :)

  5. Dude this is so true. Digital Media is gonna get a lot more popular in coming years. If bluray releases don’t quit being so hard to deal with with this ultraviolet nonsense their sales are gonna drop big time.

  6. I actually liked the idea of having 3 different editions for Star Trek Into Darkness because I got to choose which cover I wanted. I didn’t pay attention to the different special features but I can see how it would be annoying for those people who seek that stuff out.

    And I really love Ultra Violet since I can give the code to friends so they can redeem it on Vudu and stream it whenever they want on Xbox or wherever. :)

  7. Id be ok for Blu-ray dvds to be able to play on any dvd player. They’re always coming out with something newer & better like they do with game consoles.

    I prefer a choice between Full-Screen or Widescreen of the ratio aspect the of the film that it was shot in.

    Better quality made DVDs. I dunno if anyone else had the same problem as me. But each time I bought a new season of True Blood or some other show, one disc I find skips through a episode & I have to exchange it once or twice! I notice DVDS are made in Mexico, I wonder if that’s why.

    • Really? As if any discs made in China or other countries have no manufacturing issues whatsoever. Or is it a specific vendetta from the country of Mexico against you personally? I know that no opinion is necessarily right or wrong but you definitely sound ignorant. Take a moment to think before you commit any thought to writing, please, lest you end up hurting yourself.

  8. VUDU does offer some sort of disc-to-digital option:

    http://www.vudu.com/in_home_disc_to_digital.html

    And UltraViolet is a complete mess. I wish studios would dump it; sometimes I like to pop up a movie I got on disc with the iTunes download, on my Mac or iPhone, for a few minutes to escape my work. UltraViolet stinks and the audio is always out of sync…

    • I worked at the Blockbuster corporate office when UltraViolet was first announced and even then it was a complete mess. At least they’ve kind of straightened things out with linking it to Vudu at this point. You’re right though, the service still sucks.

      As for itunes, there is legal software out there that allows you to burn an itunes copy of your DVD or BluRay when then uploads to itunes. I’m in the process of using it to convert my DVD and Blu Rays (that didn’t come with a digital copy) right now. I should be done sometime next year…

    • @ Heath

      I gotta ask. Is using VUDU like inserting a compatible DVD & the website can download a movie or a entire season of a tv show without a episode skipping?

  9. I personally enjoy trailers on my dvds and blu rays. I guess it takes me back to the vhs era. Besides, I’ve bought indie movies based on trailers I’ve seen on dvds where otherwise I would have never stumbled across them at all.

    As for the UV service, that’s gotta be the most terrible idea ever invented. It shouldn’t take 30 minutes to set up and link three accounts in order to stream one movie. I miss when blu rays had a digital copy of the movie on a separate disc.

    Also agree with the “stripped down” version of movies without bonus content – I love movies, however watching featurettes on how they are made kinda takes me out of movie so I generally tend to skip them. It’d be nice to pay less and just purchase what I really want to watch!

    • Trailers are fine, but put them in the extras menu, not force play them every time you put in the disc.

      • More and more studios are indeed locking out menu button functionality during front-loaded content, but you can still use the chapter skip button to jump through everything, or almost everything, on those sorts of releases. Occasionally, when the chapter skip button is also locked out, the fast-forward button will still work too. So, folks, don’t forget to try those!

        • Yes that’s definitely true, but it’s still annoying to have to do that every time. I didn’t buy something just to see more advertisements (that get outdated very quickly).

  10. All the extra annoyances on purchased media just encourage people to pirate. It’s so much simpler that way. I purchased this movie and you’re going to make me have to keep skipping (or sitting through) extra junk EVERY TIME I insert the disc?

    This picture explains it well: http://i.imgur.com/WZvXyoX.png

  11. Nope I didn’t know there was multiple release versions….. but I remember there was a few for the Avengers and the UK release didn’t have Joss’s commentary so I got a US disk instead as BlueRay isn’t region coded like DVD.

    I must confess to LOVING DVD commentaries and it should be in every director contract that they have to provide a commentary track.

    • Actually Blu-Ray discs ARE region coded like DVDs (though many are region free). HD-DVDs didn’t have region coding at all.

    • I’m only going to get a US DVD version because I hate the fact that it was called Marvel’s Avengers Assemble over here.

      Screw that, it’s The Avengers. Forget that terrible 90s movie based on the 60s TV show, everyone else has.

  12. ALL VERY GOOD POINTS. Thankx!!!!

  13. Just read a Forbes article on the release details and do you know what….. I aint buying any of them.

    Turns out there’s a multiple retailer release here in the UK and again with the commentary track on iTunes.

    love the commentary on the first one but I aint watching something like that on my ‘puta.

    Don’t get why they’ve done it….. it surely must be counter productive, only the most rabid trekkie would buy the whole lot.

    • Okay confused, which word specifically has dropped this into moderation??

  14. One point is missing that is the most important one to me: if a movie has scenes shot for IMAX, with the corresponding change of the aspect ratio(e.g. The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Tron Legacy etc.), and you absolutely want to put it on disc that way, give the user the option to watch the version that was released in regular theaters via seamless branching, instead of shoving this unwelcome and highly distracting ratio change down our throats. I hate it and I don’t wanna see it!

  15. One other thing I would add is to just give us the choice of versions (regular, deluxe etc.) right off the bat, and not make us double/triple/quadruple dip when the remastered/director’s cut/extended/extra deluxe with bonus special features version comes out a couple years down the road.

    Avatar is probably one of the worst offenders in this regard.

  16. Totally agree with #1. I sometimes bring blu rays to my friends’ place and half the time it doesn’t even end up working. Annoying as hell. People pay 100 – 150 for a normal blu ray player and it doesn’t even work on every disc.

  17. I can easily see online premieres in the next 5-10 years that coincide with cinema releases. We are going to reach a point where ticket sales are going to be so low that this will be the compensatory make up (there will always be people like myself who like the cinema experience, so that will never truly die).

    The progression for the home market by then will be 90% digital in all forms of entertainment. But it will be two fold for movies. The initial release (cinema and online) will be the primary box office. The packages with extras will come later in a one off sale (as in, no six months down the line variation) simply because as someone else suggested, the penny will drop that with patience you will get to see it all online anyways for free at some point.

    2015 will tell us a lot. Particularly the summer.

  18. I’m personally a fan of Ultraviolet – in spite of the hassle of having to go to multiple websites, as long as you are logged in on the Ultraviolet website and use the same email – it works well. Biggest issue I’ve had with it is a store putting out blu-rays for sale prior to the Ultraviolet Codes being active (like three weeks early) and I ended up trying to redeem my codes and got an issue.

    Vudu is Ultraviolet’s sister webprogram and does allow the disc to digital copies for SOME movies – thats the biggest issue for me, I want to get rid of my DVD’s but several aren’t compatible (I’m assuming due to corporate agreements) and I can’t get them on the purple disc eater.

    I agree on your other points – some movies I want the special features, some movies I don’t. let me buy a stripped down blu-ray with Ultraviolet and I’m happy.

  19. Apparently anything given the title ‘Ultra Violet’ is destined for failure. It’s going to be a drawn-out, tedious, rage-inducing experience with the end realization no investment is worth this. Just ask Milla Jovovich.

    • Hey, don’t rip on the BBC series, that was pretty good!

  20. I can’t watch any special features anymore. I’m lucky enough just to watch the movie itself, so I’d be more than happy if they offered movie-only Blu-ray discs going forward.

  21. There’s a simple answer to all of the above: Money. As long as there’s more money in it for them, they’ll continue and expand upon their current practices. And as far as I can tell, in spite of all the whining and complaining as there is, all the mentioned annoyances don’t seem to stop people from buying.

    • Sad but true. If there is no other disc-based option to buy to show that we hate all the useless junk, how can we vote with our wallets? We’ll just continue to buy it and they’ll continue to churn it out in ways that can make them the most money.

  22. Psssssh. Now you know how us gamers feel.

    • Except most of the DLC that’s actually important eventually comes out on the marketplace so you don’t have to buy store exclusives.

      I’ve only ever done that if you got something like a statue that I really like the look of, like Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD coming up in a few weeks.

  23. The main reason a dont buy bluray anymore is dvd/digital combo. I want to buy the bluray, why the heck do they give me the dvd and the digital version. If I would want does a would have never upgrade to a bluray. You always end up whit a lot more then you wanted. Pyronaut image is a very good description.

  24. Agreed with absolutely every point. Especially the firmware updating. I have a 3 year old Blu-ray that is now obsolete because Samsung cancelled that model and are not updating it anymore.

  25. This is what annoys me too.

    We don’t get store exclusives in the UK but it is annoying to buy a cheap DVD and then find out there’s a double disc edition for the same price in the same store months later (my brother picked up American Gangster for £3 for example in the latter format with bonus discs).

    I also hate that I see extra features as “Blu Ray exclusive” when I as a consumer refuse to buy Blu Ray and have resorted to having to find the Marvel One Shots for example on Youtube and download them to be able to burn them to disc for my collection. I still can’t find the full version of Item 47 either and “A Funny Thing…” is poor quality due to the uploader seemingly not knowing what the term “high quality” means as far as sound and image, reminding me of the all too dark and hard to hear Mortal Kombat and Super Mario Bros VHS tapes I have that were pirated back in the day when going to the cinema was a rare treat for me.

  26. I’ve noticed in the UK that when a big movie is released the extra-lite version is the dvd version, while the blu ray has more extras and is slightly more expensive. it’s a system that seems to work well and whatever format you buy is compatible with your home media system.

    Personally, depending on the movie, I love the special features and that is why I buy blu-ray as opposed to downloading. My only complaint is with the Avengers blu-ray. I loved the movie and was awaiting with anticipation for it’s release. Christmas came and imagine my disappointment when I released that the UK release did not contain Joss Whedon’s commentary. Some feeble excuse was given by the studio about not being able to get the commentary encoded in time for UK release. I had to sell my copy and order a US version from Amazon. Fortunately, as I use my PS3 as my media player, I was able to enjoy the commentary in all it’s glory.

    I agree with the article when it says that they should release a stripped back version and a feature laden version. My sister loves movies as much as i do, but has little interest in the behind-the-scenes stuff, so I regularly buy her the basic DVD. For me, though, I want as many features as the disc can possibly hold. I don’t mind paying a bit extra on blu-ray for it, as for me it is worth it.

    • This is why I sold my Expendables DVD and didn’t bother getting Watchmen because the UK DVD versions didn’t have the extras that the US DVD versions did.

  27. I’m a gamer but the way I see it the movie industry should treat the games industry as if everything they’re doing is wrong. The way bonus content is treated, the anti-piracy software and the nature of having different stores granting you different content is just done wrong.

  28. #5. I was SOOOO pissed when I bought Die Hard on blu ray and it didn’t play. And the guys at Best Buy just kept telling me how it works and not why. And it seemed irrelevant that it still didn’t work despite that I upgraded it like they told me.

    • Yeah, my ‘Die Hard’ Blu-ray is the same way. Whenever I put it in my player, it comes up as “Invalid Disc.” So annoying. At least it came with a DVD so I can still watch it, but I’d prefer the Blu-ray.

  29. Yea, It annoys me…..I’ll wait until a full version comes out, or oh well….one less Blu-ray case collecting dust for 364 days a year or more.

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