Physical Media is Dead, And I'm OK With It

Discussion in 'Cafe toonzone' started by Shawn Hopkins, Feb 25, 2014.

  1. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    So a few nights ago I rented The Hunger Games. I rented it from a Redbox because there are no more video stores in my city, the closest one is a decent drive.

    Great movie, but some of the most effective parts of it I just had to fill in with my imagination, because the disc skipped like crazy. Whomever had rented it before had not been kind to it.

    So, that disappointment in mind, I sat down to play my copy of Dead Space 2. Terrifying game. Wonderful atmosphere. I was scared out of my wits, with a big grin on my face anyway, right up until the game froze. And it kept freezing at the same section. Over and over. Couldn't get past it. The disc I bought used had been scratched by the previous owner. Unless I buy it again I will pretty much never see how Dead Space 2 ends, and that means I will never play Dead Space 3.

    And that's when I embraced the digital future, because, screw this.

    I've been reluctant to say it, but I really think physical is on the way out. There's just not that much interest in it any more, too many drawbacks, and too few benefits over digital. The main one for me was buying and selling used, but that's been overtaken by the annoyances of damaged used media and the fact that the digital market has evolved to the point that sales on older games, at least, undercut the used physical market. Today I will buy Persona 2 for PS1 for 3 bucks In my game collecting career I've seriously considered paying $100 for it.

    And there is just so much media at our fingertips digitally now that it barely makes sense to lug it around physically, except in those rare cases where it isn't available digitally for some stupid reason.

    It may take five or ten years but I think a time is coming soon when discs just aren't going to be a major concern.
     
  2. Michael24

    Michael24 Moderator

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    Well, of course you may encounter problems with a rented or used disk. Haha!! Especially nowadays with the way people seem incapable of taking care of stuff. But in the sixteen years that I've been buying DVDs (and the few now that I've been buying Blu-rays), I've hardly ever had an issue. When the rare problem has occurred, it's hardly been a big deal to return it for another copy. I just don't see physical media entirely dying out, though. There are still a lot of people out there who use it for it to fully disappear, and frankly I see more benefits to owning something physically than just possessing a digital file.
     
  3. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    What are those benefits for you?
     
  4. Gold Guy

    Gold Guy This ain't Pokemon!

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    Yeah, I hate to say it, but using rentals isn't a great case-maker. If you had bought Hunger Games on Blu-ray, or bought Dead Space 2 new, I doubt it would have frozen up.

    And..digital things (and streaming) also freeze up from time to time. An I your W-fi is bad, forget about it.
     
  5. Hanshotfirst1138

    Hanshotfirst1138 Singing drunken lullabies

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    A good old-fashioned sense of ownership from the fact that I can physically pick something up and hold it in my hand. I equate that with "mine." If it goes out of print, I still own it. If George Lucas wants to do an Orwellian rewriting of history and pretend my discs don't exist anymore, they're in my hands. Suppose a giant streaming company goes out of business, what happens to all of my money? Do you think Walmart bough Vudu to run a charity? Do you think they'll keep those low prices when they know their customers will abandon physical media? Or if Netflix has a knockdown drag out with Verizon with the customer caught in the middle! Besides which, I steadfastly refuse to support Vudu, the only thing capable of proper 1080p stream, because I won't support Wal-Mart. Not a problem for anyone else, admittedly, but it is for me.

    Look, digital is the future. A belief in anything else is at best willful ignorance. The market is done, the people who had jobs in that industry ( or wanted them, such as I) are done. I just sold a mess of my DVDs and got peanuts for them. It's a fact. I can't ignore it. It's coming. I'm still pretty infuriated about 35mm, but that doesn't change the fact that theaters have to move to digital projection if they want to survive. It does make me less inclined to go to the cinema, but hey, I'm one person. The cloud is coming. The future is here. I'm not stupid enough to be blind to it, nor do I think it's futile. I use Netflix streaming often, I find it highly useful. But if they get into a fight with the distributors, they can take it down, to say nothing of the fact that my current player can't even steam at 1080p. Look, many of the technical issues do or should have forthcoming solutions. Streaming is the future. Believing otherwise is simply willful ignorance. But I'd hate to see it to away entirely, I'd hate to lose the concept of ownership which I feel, and I'd hate for it to become the sole method of distribution. The future is here whether I like it or not. Things are changing. But they doesn't mean we have to abandon what came before entirely.
     
  6. Light Lucario

    Light Lucario Moderator

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    When I bought some of the DVDs at one of my local Blockbuster's going out of business sales, pretty much all of the DVDs had scratches and they wouldn't sell me a couple of the Pokemon DVDs I wanted because they knew that they would have more scratches due to how maybe kids would damage them more. I haven't really rented a DVD from Redbox, so I don't know if their DVDs are usually kept in better condition, but going off of rented DVDs probably isn't the best judge for physical media. If you had bought the movie or the game new, then it's pretty unlikely that you wouldn't have this problem.

    When I buy new DVDs, I don't really have much of a problem. I think it only happened with one of the discs for the first Slayers series I bought, but after getting a DVD cleaner and using it, it worked perfectly fine. Even out of the few used DVDs I've bought, I think that only happened with one of the Fushigi Yugi sets I bought shortly after Genon went under. I wouldn't say that physical media is dead or dying. There are still plenty of people who would choose renting or buying a physical DVD or video game. While getting digital copies is useful too, I don't think that it's at the point where the vast majority of people in the general public are able to do that for various reasons, such as not having a good Internet connection or their computer being old.

    And I also like the ownership that comes with owning a movie or a series on DVD. That way, I can watch it whenever I want to, instead of whenever my Internet connection is working or when it's available on a legal streaming site. Granted, I haven't been able to buy too many DVDs for awhile due to my own funds, which is where legal streaming can also be quite handy, but I don't see owning DVDs or Blu-Rays going away completely, at least not anytime in the immediate future.
     
  7. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator

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    It's ironic this topic has come up again now, because I was just noticing Disney's Disney Movies Anywhere service and the fact from earlier in the day that their digital release of Frozen is reportedly nearly indistinguishable from the home video release. This is because they threw in just about all the extras except the French and Spanish audio tracks, and maybe the teaser trailer. Even the "Get a Horse!" short got thrown in. These things address my bigger issues with digital content, namely the issue of storage space (Disney Movie Anywhere syncs up with your digital library and can rely on the cloud, meaning that with a connection you don't need to have have a title downloaded on your device to run it) and the deficiency of bonus material. Reliance on internet connectivity and trust in media companies to not shut the door on their content remain issues where mileage may very, but if everyone followed the Disney example I'd finally be very tempted by Apple TV.

    It only goes so far for now though. Another wrinkle for me is that I just finally hunted down the Tartakovsky Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts. Fortunately still possible to do for the DVD release, but the digital option doesn't exist for those. It's really optimal for the newer material out there. At the same time, I wouldn't overlook it on that count either. For example, that awesome Oscar-nominated 2D short Adam and Dog? It's on iTunes for just a little money. A physical release, though - good luck waiting for that.
     
  8. Beemo

    Beemo New Member

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    It's funny how I read the thread title and immediately knew who created it.
     
  9. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    That's why I'm member of the year.
     
  10. CoolEric158

    CoolEric158 God Bless America!

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    For me, if physical media went digital, I'd be fine with it. This may just be because I'm very careless in what I do. My Monster's Inc. DVD skips often, and my Shrek the Third DVD just stops halfway through, or how my PS2 collection dwindled down mainly due to failing to work. I still miss my Sonic Heroes and Crash Nitro Kart. With digital copies, I'm able to watch it with very little issues; yes, buffereing occurs, but I'm able to do other things in the meantime like schoolwork or going to the sites I frequent.

    With digital, instead of having copies that could deteriorate in about 10 years or so, I'm able to own it unless I delete it, or there's something that erases my data. Or even with book reading I prefer doing it on a Kindle or iPad, since paper can attract dust, can be a fire hazard, and can be torn, crumbled, ripped, get wet, and/or folded.

    But I doubt it'll phase out physical copies a la the DVD with the VHS and Laserdisc. Many do prefer a physical, especially those with no Internet connection or a spotty connection, and there's the fact that you're able to leisurely watch a DVD anytime at home, while the Internet could be unable to work at any time, as well as other things people like, such as scene selection, and bonus features like deleted scenes, "The Making of", DVD games, etc. Now there are also others who use both; my mom buys both physical and digital books, depending on if said book is unlikely to have a digital release. For example, I have several books about movie-making and movies in general, but since they aren't mainstream fiction or non-fiction, I doubt they'd appear on E-books or the Kindle store. However, I won't speak for everyone, as I know there are people who prefer one way over the other. In many ways, the future will go like this: Physical and digital will be together, with either used for one's own convenience. It's like shopping at a store or online. Some travel to a store, while others don't.
     
  11. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Like I said, though, the main benefit for physical media for me is that it can be rented or bought used for a lower price. If I'm going to pay full price I might as well go for the convenience of a digital file.

    Also, yeah, digital can freeze if the computer crashes, and streaming can mess up if the signal drops. But you're not going to simply lose data the way you will with damaged physical media. You're still going to be able to watch that scene or get past that level eventually. If your disk is scratched too much, that stuff is gone.

    Here is a video from Netflix, a company that made it's name with physical media, making fun of the fact that people still wait more than a few seconds to watch a movie.

    [video=youtube;ucz3JpvDQjk]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ucz3JpvDQjk[/video]
     
  12. cartoonscartoons

    cartoonscartoons I cant help it, if I'm lucky

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    Pretty soon everyone is going to be like the people in Wall-E.

    Is that really a future that you want?

    Technology development should back off and cool down for a few years, people should start reading physical books again, people should start buying vinyl again, and the process of having everything made digital-only should be immediately stopped.
     
  13. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Yeah, that's not going to happen, though. People are already adapted to a get-it-now digital lifestyle, and anything else would seem too slow.
     
  14. GWOtaku

    GWOtaku Moderator

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    The people aboard the Axiom in Wall-E were slothful because they lived an automated lifestyle characterized by mindless overconsumption and an utter dearth of anything resembling culture. The method used to consume books and movies is separate from that and completely irrelevant to me, so long as people actually do it.
     
  15. Hanshotfirst1138

    Hanshotfirst1138 Singing drunken lullabies

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    I understand the appeal of scratchy records and 35mm and the dog-eared pages of books, but I also won't deny that getting on a plane with iPod or a Kindle is a hell of a lot easier than lugging around a CD wallet or a bunch of books. A great work of literature is a great work of literature, regardless of how you read it, paper wouldn't somehow make Shakespeare more relevant. Do I wish the world would slow down some? Yeah, but it isn't going to, and I'd have to be at worst stupid and at best outright ignorant not to see some of the advantages of this technology. The future is here, and it isn't going anywhere. Now, as regard what this instant-gratification culture means for attention spans, art, etc is a whole different topic. But that's a different thing.
     
  16. Zorak Masaki

    Zorak Masaki Active Member

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    The only problem is that a lot of the older, more obscure stuff has never (and likely never will) be released in a physical form. For example, look at the martial arts section on netflix. Most of the titles are all newer titles, but 70s/80s films like five fingers of death, five deadly venoms, master of the flying guillotine, the stranger and the gunfighter, and all of the late jim kelly's films are nowhere to be found.
     
  17. The Huntsman

    The Huntsman Friend of Toon Zone

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    I bought Thief for my Xbox One today. I like new games. Nice and shiny. Put it in and... I had to wait four hours for my system to download a 6 GB update. Now imagine, if you will, that I instead had to buy and download the entire 21 GB game. Plus the patch. I'd still be downloading it this time tomorrow. As Microsoft learned all too well, physical media is alive and well. The digital infrastructure just isn't capable of supporting it at the moment. Not here. Not in most of the world.
     
  18. Storm Eagle

    Storm Eagle Power to the peaceful

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    I once talked about an experience I had with the Sony Entertainment Network where I tried to watch something I ordered for a day's time, and it always kept stopping every time I tried to play it. I never made it through the entire movie, and I've decided not to use SEN anymore. Every now and then, I'll use Vudu though. I've streamed six movies on Vudu so far, and none of them froze on me once. I must have gotten lucky so far, but I wouldn't be surprised when the luck starts to run out.

    Also, count me in as one of those who prefers physical media that I can hold in my hands after I've BOUGHT a title with my own money.

    Then I'd suggest making a better effort to take care of your things.
     
  19. Shawn Hopkins

    Shawn Hopkins TZ Member of the Year 2013

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    Yes, the places that are behind will keep physical media going for a while. But the people with options? They're going to switch. Anyway, it's slowly catching up, and in places you wouldn't expect. You live on mountain in West Virginia, right? My grandmother lives on a mountain in Kentucky, her internet speed is about 13 GB. She could download Thief rather quickly, if she knew what that was.

    A full retail video game is a lot different beast than a streaming or downloaded movie. But it's not crazy thing even in areas where there are moderate download speeds. I downloaded Grand Theft Auto V on my 6 GB connection. I just started it before I went to bed.

    I think there's a typo in your post, but I get what you're saying from the context. But Netflix isn't the only place to get digital movies. Lots of that stuff is available on Amazon Instant video, either to buy, rent, or stream digitally.

    Amazon.com: Five Fingers of Death: Lieh Lo, Chang Jeong, Shaw Bros., Yang Chiang: Movies & TV

    And yes, there will probably be things that never get a legit digital release because of rights issues. But there's also lots of stuff that has NEVER been released on physical media, and never will be, that is available to buy or stream digitally.

    Mod Note: Please use the multi-quote option, Shawn. Thank you.
     
  20. Peter Paltridge

    Peter Paltridge Steven Sword!

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    We'll see how you feel when you suddenly lose something you paid for a while back, because the streaming company lost the rights to it.

    I don't know why anyone would want corporations to have THAT much control.
     

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