MoneyMas is a lot of things to a lot of people. To me, it is another day of isolation, marginalisation, and annoyance. But from the things that make it so, sometimes comes a boon. This year, it was a quick passing of money from my mother to my account. For a moment, I did consider sending it back and telling her I did not want it. But that would be a lot more aggravation and effort than it was worth, so I did a lot of pondering about the best thing to do with this cash.
It is most certainly not a coincidence that for many moons, I had also been thinking about purchasing a BD-R drive. The things that were holding me back from that were that it needed to be external in nature, and finding media for it would not be the easiest thing in the world. Upon finding a reliable source or three for the media in question, however, I took the plunge and bought myself a BD-R drive. It is not the best one in the world, for certain, but BD-R drives are still in a relative stage of infancy, and buying one that goes faster than six times the standard speed entailed more effort than I considered it to be worth. I might be willing to go to extremes for some things, but when options are not in immediate abundance, I am just as inclined to follow the path of least resistance.
No, it also is not a coincidence that in the last three or four months alone, three distinct titles have been released that I wanted to purchase. In order of release date, these are E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial, Prometheus, and The Dark Knight Rises. Now, if you follow release schedules close enough, you know where I am going with this. Whilst The Dark Knight Rises was only on my list of potential purchases due to the presence of subtitles (the audio that it was presented with in theatres sucked donkeys, and seemingly so at the insistence of its director), all three titles ended up on the non-purchase list.
All three titles were offered in a manner that offends me. You see, whilst anyone can purchase the DVD version of these three titles as separately as they please. But go to the staff in a retail outlet and tell them you want the BD, and nothing but. Whilst I do not know about the markets in the rest of the world, I do know that purchasing these three titles without a forced-in, unwanted DVD in Australia is impossible. So with enough money to get myself a BD-R drive, and discovering by accident that copying titles on BD was piss easy compared to how it was written up in earlier writings, I went to work.
Do you recognise the still image above, Warner Home Video? That is right. It is from The Dark Knight Rises. You know, that title that you will only offer on BD if I pay for a DVD. To say that there is no excuse for this is an understatement. I can understand if there is old inventory of an old title that you want rid of. Having tens of thousands of discs of Unforgiven or Police Academy that are not going anyway due to lack of consumer interest cannot be fun, so I might understand if you want to give them away for “free” with a more attractive product. But when the film in question is mere months old, there is absolutely no need at all to print an excess of DVDs in order to sell the public. Not only did Blu-ray Discs sell ten times as many units in their first year as was the case with DVD, the relative rates of growth in title numbers means that this trend is unlikely to slow down. Ever.
Here is another picture. Yes, it is the same image on the screen. Observant readers will already know what the important part is. See the blue near-square object at the bottom of the display unit? For those who are not so observant, I will include a zoom to 55mm on that part of the image.
That is right, Warner Home Video, it is a BD-R. I am watching this title that you tried to force me to buy a DVD with on BD-R. This represents a sale that you have lost because you will let DVD buyers have their format of choice on its own, but will not extend the same courtesy to those who have taken that bold stride into the present day. I find it ironic that the title you choose to do this with is partly a lyrical waxing about the universal evil of the rich. But what is more ironic is that after more than a year of pleading, pissing, moaning, and threatening with yourself as well as other distributors, you chose to go down this path.
Fox and Universal, you both can still do the right thing. I presently have ISO images of Prometheus and E.T.: The Extra Terrestrial on my hard drive. I do, however, lack the BD-R DL discs necessary to make copies. But that is going to change very quickly. So as I said, you can still do the right thing. You can state to the public that this DVD force-in was a big mistake, and that you will quit doing it. You can follow this up by scheduling an immediate release of any and all bundled titles that have been offered in force-in packs with the option of buying the BD on its own. It is one thing to offer bundle packs. Hell, marketroids the world over cannot be wrong when they say it generates sales. But if you want to stop me from acquiring the BDs out of them and pirating them in the same manner that I have done with The Dark Knight Rises, then you must start allowing the people who no longer have any use for interlaced, low-pixel formats the choice of excluding them from their collections.
Warner Home Video, consider The Dark Knight Rises lost revenue. No matter how you come after me and drag me into court, I will never pay you money for this title. Part of the blame for this lies with previous experiences with retailers who, in response to being told again and again a DVD was not wanted, were unconscionably pushy and rude. But the lion’s share of the fault lies with you. Because retailers are not the only outlet that I have used to try and tell distributors that when I go to retailers seeking BDs, I want BDs. So now that I have expended the processor time, disc drive usage, and money to make a bit for bit duplicate of The Dark Knight Rises, consider that money lost for good. You will never get it back because you ignored repeated pissings and moanings about this situation. I got extremely angry at my own mother trying to use “consequences” as a power-word against me, so I want you to hear me very clearly. BD-Video was intended to be a clean break with everything that DVD-Video got wrong. I embraced it, paying huge amounts of money to do so in spite of the fact that I could get DVD-Videos hand over fist for next to nothing.
Now, because my entries always seem to attract a slew of people ignorantly basing their responses or comments upon fundamental misunderstandings of their contents, I am going to explain a fundamental point here. You can rationalise the force-in of DVDs any way that you please. Taking the DVD out and throwing it away would be an option if the covers were not emblazoned with text proclaiming the presence of the unwanted DVD. And this is to say nothing of the fact that in spite of being mass-produced, every superfluous, unwanted DVD represents resources that are being wasted. That might have been acceptable before I was born, but the overpopulation problem makes every little bit of plastic precious. And spare me the riff about how it does not take up any extra shelf space. Compared to the DVD-less BD that might be available from Amazon in America, it does.
Copying a BD is a laborious and time-expensive operation, that is true. But here is the point that Warners, Universal, and Fox in particular seem to keep missing. It is not about the choice. In fact, the choice of either buying your desired programme with a superfluous format you do not want or not buying it at all is hardly a choice. So, as you can see here, I decided to cheat and add another option, that of simply taking the programme that I want in the format that I want, not paying directly for it, and waving that in the face of the morons who keep trying to force me to buy things I do not want. Earlier, I made the demand that in order to stop me from pirating titles that have forced-in DVDs, the studios are going to have to immediately announce the release of BD-only equivalents of their force-in packs. They are still free to keep marketing these force-in packs if they want. But as long as they continue to make it a choice of DVD or force-in pack, the titles on which they do so will have a date with my BD-R drive.
As a further point, making a copy of a BD is a laborious process. The BD on which The Dark Knight Rises is offered is a little over forty gigabytes in capacity. Making the ISO image of that takes around ninety minutes on a six-speed (read speed) drive. On a drive that burns discs at six-speed, the burn takes about the same amount of time. So Warners, Universal, Fox, read my lips. That is the kind of effort I am willing to go to in order to exclude DVDs from my home video collection. In spite of what I expect you will threaten me with. Have a nice day, now.