Posts Tagged Blu-ray

HD Movies: Blu-ray or iTunes?


I feel like I’ve already ranted about the trend of Blu-ray movies including Ultraviolet digital copies rather than iTunes digital copies, though it apparently wasn’t here on my blog. I haven’t tried an Ultraviolet movie, though I’ve heard bad things, as it doesn’t fulfill one of my main requirements for digital movies, which is to be able to watch them via AppleTV (without having to use AirPlay).

This post isn’t about that.

Recently, a viewing of the Iron Man 3 trailer led to my father mentioning that he had yet to seeĀ Iron Man 2. Post haste, I queued it up on my AppleTV and we proceeded to watch most of the movie before he left for the night. At some point it occurred to me (or possibly it was pointed out to me) that we should have been watching the Blu-ray version as the digital version wasn’t HD.

Yesterday, while killing time during my daughter’s cheer practice, I watched The American President on my iPad, having previously loaded my ripped-from-DVD copy via iTunes. The quality was terrible and I made a mental note to re-rip it when I got home, with the presumption that it was an old rip using suboptimal settings or software. Coincidentally, I had also mentally implanted a scene from Dave that was therefore missing, so I went exploring the DVD to see if it was a deleted scene or something. This led to the discovery that the DVD itself is of terrible quality (subsequently confirmed by reading reviews of the DVD on Amazon).

I checked, and the movie is available on iTunes, which the HD version being the same price that Amazon is charging for Blu-ray. I decided to to buy it now, since I had just watched it. Instead, I added the Blu-ray to my Amazon wish list. However, I do not currently have a method of ripping Blu-ray movies, nor do I anticipate acquiring such a method. Therefore, it seems like buying the iTunes version is likely a better idea. However, I am aware that this effectively locks me into Apple’s devices for playback (plus iTunes on Windows systems I suppose).

So which way to go? Get non-combo-disc-non-digital-copy Blu-rays that lock me into using physical Blu-ray players? Get Apple-only iTunes copies that are of known lower quality (though perhaps not usually noticeable)?

Plus, even when a DVD and/or iTunes digital copy are included with the Blu-ray, that still results in the Iron Man 2 situation described above.

At present, it’s pretty clear that the iTunes HD version is my best choice, but what about the future? Or perhaps I can rely on the iTunes DRM being crackable (is it already?) and let that be my escape hatch should the need arise.

Do you think putting a comment in my Amazon wishlist entry for Blu-ray movies that says “I’d rather have iTunes credit” is likely to be effective?


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Digital Copy Annoyances

I don’t complain much, at least not here. At least, I don’t think I do — a search for “complain” revealed 10 entries, but from the titles, most were not specific rants. This is.

A month or two ago, I bought a Blu-ray player (which I’m not yet quite convinced was a good purchase, but that’s another story). I haven’t, however, made much of an investment in movies. Primarily, I upgraded my Netflix subscription to Blu-ray. Until yesterday, I had only actually purchased two Blu-ray movies: The Rock, to replace the Criterion Collection DVD that has never worked correctly (and that I should have returned years ago), and Hancock, because I liked it well enough, it was fairly cheap, and — the point of this post — it included “Digital Copy”. I’ll get to that in a moment.

Last night, after being inspired by Kate, I decided to purchase Elf. Now, it wasn’t automatic that I would purchase the Blu-ray rather than the DVD, since this isn’t a particularly visual movie. However, the Blu-ray included a “Digital Copy” and was only $20. Done.

I expect many people don’t really care about “Digital Copy”. I, however, have been putting movies on iPods and my iPhone for a while now and I really like having movies there. I probably wouldn’t want to watch a movie for the first time that way, but for movies I’ve already seen and enjoy rewatching, it’s perfectly enjoyable. With DVDs, it’s a simple matter to copy them in to iTunes. Blu-rays are another matter entirely, but “Digital Copy” promises to be the perfect solution.

Problem #1: The “Digital Copy” on Hancock is Windows Media Player only and appears to be permenantly tied to a single computer with no ability to load on iPods. Complete fail.

Problem #2: The “Digital Copy” on Elf, while being iTunes compatible, expired in October. I didn’t discover this until I tried to activate the copy, though I subsequently found the date in the small print inside a little “Digital Copy” fold-out that was accessible without opening the packaging.

Note that the Hancock “Digital Copy” also expires, though I don’t recall the date. Also, the expiration is really of the authorization code — as long as you’ve already authorized your copy, it will keep working. Just be sure to keep a backup.

I simply don’t undersand the point of having these codes expire. It seems like it’s just going to cause an increasing amount of customer frustration. It also seems likely that the customers who want the digital copy are also the most likely to simply download a copy — which is presumably the behavior the studios are trying to prevent in the first place.

Now the question is, is it worth a slot in my Netflix rental queue to get the DVDs so that I can make my own digital copies? This would have the additional benefit that I could make a DVD copy as well so that, for example, the kids could watch in the car (though our car has appropriate inputs so that they can actually watch from the iPod) or on a DVD player in another room. While I am not in favor of copyright infringement, I have no issue with making copies to get content that I should already have.

I have submitted a support ticket to each of the studios for these two movies. Nothing useful came of the submission for Hancock and I don’t really expect much for Elf.

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