Is physical media dying?

A few weeks back it was announced that Lionsgate would be releasing an uncut version of The Texas Chainsaw 3D directly to Itunes.  While this might seem like nothing new there is one issue, it's the only way to see that version of the film, meaning the theatrical version is the only one available on the upcoming home video release.

This has certainly caused a bit of an uproar in not just the horror community but also the home video community, as depending on the success of this promotion this could become more and more prevalent.  Streaming is the way of the future according to most higher-ups, but I think most of us assumed this would be a very distant future.   Which brings us to the issue of this release, while this certainly isn't eliminating the physical copy of the film it is making it necessary to make a streaming purchase in order to see the unrated version.  Let's face it, horror fans want to see the unrated cut.  It's hearkens back to the very first exclusive combo blu-ray/dvd releases.  If you want this film "you must upgrade."  Don't get me wrong, I had no issues with it as by the time they came around I was a big blu-ray supporter.  With that said though, I don't like the idea of those who are not having to buy into it just to get the DVD.

So is this the beginning of the end?  In short, no.  While this is an issue on message boards and a few facebook pages I think the general populous will have no idea what's going on with this release.  I think this is one studio testing the water.  Even if it is the start of a trend it will not kill physical media right away, in fact I think it will take a long time before your average person is comfortable forking over hard earned money for the promise of lifetime ownership in the form of a download.  What happens when the rights expire?  Your computer crashes?  These are just a few small points in a sea of bigger issues.  When it does happen though, it will certainly be a gradual thing.

Another thing to consider is this new VHS trend.   It's not just a bunch of dudes in their basement with a stack of VCR's.  A lot of bigger labels are hopping on board, the newest being Severin with their release of The Manson Family.  Most people thought VHS to be dead, hell maybe it did die, but it has certainly been resurrected and I think it just goes to show that many staples of home video will still linger far beyond their supposed point of expiration.

Streaming is the way of the future.  It might not be our future but it's certainly theirs.  It's the direction that all of these big companies want to go.  It's not as messy and it will save them money, it's eventually going to happen in some form.  But it won't be the death of physical media, there is always going to be a yearning for it.  Some people will hop on board with streaming, but it will be a very long time before the manufacturers quit churning out little shinny discs to put on our shelves.

4 comments:

  1. I am not a fan or this instant way of collecting films, I prefer the physical DVD, but it seems that the pattern in technology is moving in this insipid direction! Last year I saw a washed out print of The Burning and was alittle annoyed, but I am glad that there is still a place to visit and watch films on the big screen,it can totally change the viewing experience. I am happy there is a resurgence of the VHS tape and still have my VCR. The main problem is that MP4's are vulnerable like you mentioned and I detest being so dependent on one form of technology (the computer and nothing else). You can't swing the pendulum backwards, but hopefully enough people will continue to bring dead technology back and force companies to recognize, consumers are not all the same mindless zombies following the heard.

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    1. I still know people who haven't made the jump to full on high speed internet, it would impossible for them to make the jump to streaming. There's also the fact that a lot of these films you stream will never look or sound as nice as a blu-ray. If companies do plan on making the jump there's still a lot of work to do. I guess I'll worry about it when it's directly affecting me, until then I'll keep buying blu-rays and dvd's to show my support that way. Streaming is good for stuff like PPV or on demand, but I could never imagine "collecting" AVI files.

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  2. Yeah I have them on my computer and then I'll restart it and they disappear, most of my collection if through skunkape and his dvd burner.

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  3. Unfortunately this is going to be much more prevalent because of the simple cost/profit ratio. It's a hell of a lot less money to prep your content for streaming than it is to manufacture physical media. I despise digital only for a laundry list of reasons, mainly quality & the I paid for something I don't physically own syndrome. That said, maybe a bright spot in a bigger streaming market will be more and more indie horror films can put their budgets into production as opposed to post which will enhance the quality of the film overall. It's an interesting time we live in for media. I will always prefer a physical copy & multiple formats is only a plus. Maybe things will become broader, not more narrow. I love my blus, but I'd be lieing if I didn't smell the studios slavering at the potential to spend less and make more, regardless of the content or audience.

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