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Bemoaning the movies on demand market

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Am I the only one who bemoans this direction toward the "movies on demand" bandwagon that all the studios have apparently decided to jump on? Since the advent of the home video hobby back in the early 80s, one of my pleasures has been the weekly trip to the local video retail store to check on the latest releases and browse through the shelves of VHS tapes, Laser Discs, DVDs, and Blu Rays. But, these mail order movie on demand discs are the pits. In the first place, what use to be an easy enjoyable experience, going to a store to browse and buy what you want, has been replaced by online or by phone ordering that is time consuming and prone to error due to ignorant and overworked phone reps or computer malfunctions. Also, from what I have heard we are paying good money mostly for DVD-Rs that have a very short shelf life, some times going south after one playing. If I wanted to buy coasters I would buy them for a lot less then what these DVD-Rs cost. And what is going on with companies like WARNERS pulling their pressed DVDS and re-releasing them in this inferior format without the extras but apparently no cut in cost? Something smells rotten and it's not just the discs self destructing. 

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The fact of the matter is that  it wasn't for "manufactured on demand" most of those classic films would never have seen  a release on DVD. Demand for  those titles just isn't enough to support a full-blown retail store release. Warner Bros. found a way to make them available in smaller numbers while still being profitable and other studios have followed. Obviously it's become a big success for the studios and collectors alike.

 

True, in the early days, there were problems with some DVD-R releases, but over the years quality control has improved and frankly the format has received  an undeserved bad rap. Nowadays, most of the complaints seem to come from people  who  have only "heard" that they're troublesome and have never bought any themselves.

 

Speaking for myself, I have about three thousand DVR-R discs that were recorded over the years and have yet to have a single one turn into a "coaster".

 

In a way, it is too bad one can't wander the stores browsing at them, but if comes down to MOD being the only way to get  access to those otherwise unavailable titles, I'll gladly forgo browsing.

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I have purchased several "video on demand" DVD's and have no problems with any.  Even after many watchings for some, no problems.  The only objection I have is the high cost relative to other DVD's,but that is probably related to the relatively low demand vs. costs to produce. 

Also, it would seem that some could be made with two movies on each disc.  An example is the Andy Griffith movies such as Girl in the Empty Grave and Deadly Game.  IMO could also add Winter Kill and Adams of Eagle Lake as another set as they are very similar.  All were TV movies.

This is another advantage in that the "on demand" system has generated availability of a lot of good TV movies, as well as the ":B" movies of the past.

BTW, I have had problems with standard, produced by major company DVD's deteriorating.  DVD's are not industructible.

If the manufacturer, producer and distributor can't make a profit, they won't make them.

Have you noticed how few Blue Ray DVD's are being produced?  I have never purchased one although one of my players is a Blue Ray.  Friends have told me that even with new HD TV's and Blue Ray players, they are not really worth the extra money so they no longer purchase them.

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 The only objection I have is the high cost relative to other DVD's,but that is probably related to the relatively low demand vs. costs to produce. 

You figure that a big new mainstream title might sell several million copies while MOD releases are probably counted in the tens of thousands so that makes a lot of sense.

 

If somebody buys one title from Warner Archives at list price it is high, but hardly week goes buy that I don't get email notices of sales with deep discounts. I know people who will just wait for a good sale and then buy several titles at once to get a big discount.

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One of the best things that ever happened for the classic movie fan. Waited for years to buy Gary Cooper's The Hanging Tree. Got it from WB's Archive Collection for a little over 13 dollars plus tax with free shipping made to order. Chump change. Very happy with it.

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The fact of the matter is that  it wasn't for "manufactured on demand" most of those classic films would never have seen  a release on DVD. Demand for  those titles just isn't enough to support a full-blown retail store release. Warner Bros. found a way to make them available in smaller numbers while still being profitable and other studios have followed. Obviously it's become a big success for the studios and collectors alike.

 

True, in the early days, there were problems with some DVD-R releases, but over the years quality control has improved and frankly the format has received  an undeserved bad rap. Nowadays, most of the complaints seem to come from people  who  have only "heard" that they're troublesome and have never bought any themselves.

 

Speaking for myself, I have about three thousand DVR-R discs that were recorded over the years and have yet to have a single one turn into a "coaster".

 

In a way, it is too bad one can't wander the stores browsing at them, but if comes down to MOD being the only way to get  access to those otherwise unavailable titles, I'll gladly forgo browsing.

 

Outside of TCM actually playing them, this is really the way to go for many of the harder to find movies. 

 

I have about half as many DVDs as you, but also do HD recording as well.  I suspect that the DVDs that turn out to be coasters for other people were coasters to begin with, and weren't detected (as they might if they had used Verify with ImgBurn). That is not possible with a shelf-top unit though, unless it temporarily stores the video on a hard drive first.

 

I have read the results for a study or two that show the outside areas (normally unused areas) of a DVD not holding up, or otherwise failing after torture tests, but that is torture testing and not using the DVD as designed.  So I think we can safely ignore those too.

 

The following is for others, in case they might be having issues:

 

As far as earlier first-generation stamped (replicated) DVDs not holding up, that is very well documented, as the layers were separating at the glue.  This can be observed as spots or splotches on the media side of the disc.  Things have changed significantly though since DVD technology in the early 2000s, and I haven't had that happen since. 

 

Vast improvements have been made for burned (duplicated) DVDRs as well.  The brands I use are Taiyo Yuden, and to a greater extent, Verbatim AZO (AZO is a marking on the container, not all Verbatims have this).  The non-AZO Verbatim discs are made in a non-Verbatim facility in China. 

 

Manufacturer can be verified by putting the DVDR discs into a computer and running the freeware program DVD Identifier, which will read the manufacturer identification number on the DVDR disc itself, and give you the actual factory of origin.

So for instance the Verbatim AZO series (and also the DVD-R/W discs)  will say something like "MCC (Mitsubishi Chemical Corp)" or "MKM (Mitsubishi Kagaku Media)", whereas the non-AZO series will say something completely different.  FWIW, I tried a couple MOD discs just now, and presumably due to the copyright protection, I was unable to enumerate the manufacturer on the first try.

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Also, from what I have heard we are paying good money mostly for DVD-Rs that have a very short shelf life...

All disks can degrade over time - this is the nature of petrochemical products.  But yes, DVDR's (plus, minus, whatever) have wider 'standards' (ahem) of manufacturing so "high quality" blanks can be difficult to locate AND difficult to continue to re-locate because manufacturers might always go for a lower-bid blank manufacturer.  Some gov'ts have been struggling to force their vendors to supply 'the good stuff' but I find it hard to believe a "10 year marketing claim", much less 20 or more.  This is why Backups are really a great thing.

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All disks can degrade over time - this is the nature of petrochemical products.

 

 

In the broadest sense that's true, but it doesn't mean that every disc will degrade. Like I said in my previous post,  I' ve recorded thousands of discs, since the introduction of recordable DVDs and not one of them has "gone bad".  No doubt that some of that is due to proper storage and handling, but also because, early on, I learned not to always go for the cheapest discs because in the long run that could turn out to be foolish savings.

 

It's true, finding good quality blank media is getting harder, particularly in local stores, so that's why I stick with certain proven brands from reliable online sources and I stock up when there's a sale.

 

Making backups a fine idea. I've done it myself with certain hard to find titles, but even that isn't foolproff. The fact is that it's more likely that somebody will lose their collection to fire, flood, theft, or natural disaster long before all their  DVDs would have "spoiled".

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It's true, finding good quality blank media is getting harder, particularly in local stores, so that's why I stick with certain proven brands from reliable online sources and I stock up when there's a sale.

mark,

 

When you get a chance (without sounding too much like a commercial) can you tell us which brands in your opinion are the more reliable ones? 

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mark,

 

When you get a chance (without sounding too much like a commercial) can you tell us which brands in your opinion are the more reliable ones? 

Sure, just remember that this is  based solely on my own experiences and it's not a plug for any one brand. Without question, my favorite is Sony. I've never had a bad one. Other brands that have worked well for me  are (in no particular order)  Fuji, Maxell, Verbatim, Kodak, and Philips. I'm sure there are others, but I haven't used them.

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Sure, just remember that this is  based solely on my own experiences and it's not a plug for any one brand. Without question, my favorite is Sony. I've never had a bad one. Other brands that have worked well for me  are (in no particular order)  Fuji, Maxell, Verbatim, Kodak, and Philips. I'm sure there are others, but I haven't used them.

Thanks. That is reassuring, because I only buy Sony and Verbatim. 

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Thanks. That is reassuring, because I only buy Sony and Verbatim. 

 

You're welcome. I've never gone wrong with either of those brands. :)

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Sure, just remember that this is  based solely on my own experiences and it's not a plug for any one brand. Without question, my favorite is Sony. I've never had a bad one. Other brands that have worked well for me  are (in no particular order)  Fuji, Maxell, Verbatim, Kodak, and Philips. I'm sure there are others, but I haven't used them.

I agree about Verbatim, though I don't find them so easy to find. I had problems a few years ago with Sony discs (after years of no problems, at all). My DVD recorder suddenly started to have "disc failures" with Sony (and only Sony) and wouldn't copy a film successfully on about every third blank DVD-R that I tried. I stopped purchasing Sony as a result of that, and have done very well since with Maxell and, more recently, Polaroid DVD-R blanks.

 

About a year ago I cautiously purchased some Sonys and, so far, no problem with them. Maybe it was just a batch issue at the time. However, it happened with a few different rondels of Sonys that I bought from different locations so, at the time, I thought, "Enough!"

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I agree about Verbatim, though I don't find them so easy to find. I had problems a few years ago with Sony discs (after years of no problems, at all). My DVD recorder suddenly started to have "disc failures" with Sony (and only Sony) and wouldn't copy a film successfully on about every third blank DVD-R that I tried. I stopped purchasing Sony as a result of that, and have done very well since with Maxell and, more recently, Polaroid DVD-R blanks.

 

About a year ago I cautiously purchased some Sonys and, so far, no problem with them. Maybe it was just a batch issue at the time. However, it happened with a few different rondels of Sonys that I bought from different locations so, at the time, I thought, "Enough!"

I could never find Verbatim where I lived in Arizona. So I always bought Sony. I tried Memorex once but those were absolutely worthless.

 

Up here in Wisconsin, we have a midwest-based chain of stores (like a high-end Walmart/Target) called Shopko. In their electronics section, they have only Verbatim. I started buying them, when they would have a pack of 50 discs for $20 which I thought very cheap. And lately they had an extra ten percent off on all computer supplies and they were considering these discs part of their computer supplies inventory, so for a few weeks, I was getting them for around $18. 

 

But then I started wondering, why are these going so cheap? Is it because Verbatim's quality is not as good it used to be? Or maybe because people are not using discs much anymore and going to on-line files? At any rate, while I am still using discs, I am glad mark gives Verbatim a thumbs up.

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maybe because people are not using discs much anymore and going to on-line files?

I sometimes stock up on blank discs, fearful of the day they will no longer be around or, at least, far harder to find. Am I paranoid? I certainly hope so.

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I sometimes stock up on blank discs, fearful of the day they will no longer be around or, at least, far harder to find. Am I paranoid? I certainly hope so.

I did that for awhile, but what it meant was it increased my recording. And I was recording all sorts of stuff I really didn't ever watch again. So I've cut down a bit. I do have the fear that I will have to transfer all this stuff over to files I can play on a computer or future TV. If I can get ten good years out of these discs before having to re-do my classic film library, I will be okay with it.

 

As I write this, I think buying an extra DVD player or two is probably the smarter investment. Because even if I reach a point where I've stopped recording discs, I will want several years afterward where I can still play them on a television set as opposed to a computer.

 

Am I making sense? I am sure you can tell I am far from a techie. LOL

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As I write this, I think buying an extra DVD player or two is probably the smarter investment. Because even if I reach a point where I've stopped recording discs, I will want several years afterward where I can still play them on a television set as opposed to a computer.

 

Anyone with a DVD collection would be wise to buy a spare player or two. Just a few days ago I bought a new Panasonic (my favorite brand) for just $39. Although still plentiful online, they're getting harder to find in stores. I'm afraid, it won't be long before DVDs will be a dead format as far as the equipment manufacturers are concerned. I just recently heard that even new laptops are starting to come without CD/DVD drives now.

 

Incidently, most players are now made by the same company. Japan's Funai Electronics either owns the trademarks or makes them under license for major brands like RCA, GE, Emerson, Sylvania, Magnavox, Toshiba and Philips. So other than minor cosmetic differences, all those brands are the same.

 

Of course, just because it's a Japanese company, doesn't mean that they're made there. Funai has them made in China or other Asian countries, probably at the factory with the lowest bid.

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Anyone with a DVD collection would be wise to buy a spare player or two. Just a few days ago I bought a new Panasonic (my favorite brand) for just $39. Although still plentiful online, they're getting harder to find in stores. I'm afraid, it won't be long before DVDs will be a dead format as far as the equipment manufacturers are concerned. I just recently heard that even new laptops are starting to come without CD/DVD drives now.

 

Incidently, most players are now made by the same company. Japan's Funai Electronics either owns the trademarks or makes them under license for major brands like RCA, GE, Emerson, Sylvania, Magnavox, Toshiba and Philips. So other than minor cosmetic differences, all those brands are the same.

 

Of course, just because it's a Japanese company, doesn't mean that they're made there. Funai has them made in China or other Asian countries, probably at the factory with the lowest bid.

Good post. I have a MacBook which I bought two and a half years ago, almost three years ago maybe. It has a disc drive. But the newer, lightweight MacBook Air computers have no disc drive. 

 

I suppose the trend is towards file sharing or renting online, which I am not too crazy about. I like having control of my own physical library. Call me old-fashioned.

 

I own a small Sony DVD player for watching recorded movies in the bedroom, and a larger more heavy-duty Magnavox one in the living room.

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Anyone with a DVD collection would be wise to buy a spare player or two. Just a few days ago I bought a new Panasonic (my favorite brand) for just $39. Although still plentiful online, they're getting harder to find in stores. I'm afraid, it won't be long before DVDs will be a dead format as far as the equipment manufacturers are concerned. I just recently heard that even new laptops are starting to come without CD/DVD drives now.

 

Incidently, most players are now made by the same company. Japan's Funai Electronics either owns the trademarks or makes them under license for major brands like RCA, GE, Emerson, Sylvania, Magnavox, Toshiba and Philips. So other than minor cosmetic differences, all those brands are the same.

 

Of course, just because it's a Japanese company, doesn't mean that they're made there. Funai has them made in China or other Asian countries, probably at the factory with the lowest bid.

I just bought a Magnavox DVD recorder as a backup for when my Pioneer recorder kicks the bucket. Of course, once I start using the Magnavox (whenever that will be, tomorrow, next year, five years from now) I will have no backup for it. I'm hoping, of course, that the blank discs will still be available. Completely nullifies by recorder if they aren't.

 

I've a couple of DVD players now but the suggestion of purchasing yet another one is a pretty good one. I've thousands of discs and will never switch to a new format. I switched from Beta to VHS to DVD in my movie collecting. This final format is IT (!!!) for me.

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I've a couple of DVD players now but the suggestion of purchasing yet another one is a pretty good one. I've thousands of discs and will never switch to a new format. I switched from Beta to VHS to DVD in my movie collecting. This final format is IT (!!!) for me.

Right-- they have us coming and going (the way they like it)...having to upgrade or reformat all the time. 

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I've a couple of DVD players now but the suggestion of purchasing yet another one is a pretty good one. I've thousands of discs and will never switch to a new format. I switched from Beta to VHS to DVD in my movie collecting. This final format is IT (!!!) for me.

 

Blu-ray players play DVDs and can be had for $50. Unless you don't have an HDTV, I don't know why anyone wouldn't replace a broken DVD player with a Blu-ray player. It's affordable, you don't have to replace or upgrade a single disc that you don't want to because you can still use them, from my experience they upscale way better than upscaling DVD players, and you can take advantage of all of the nice visual upgrades it offers in the future.

 

Really, the DVD to Blu-ray transition, which really isn't a transition (both formats are intended to coexist,) has been the fairest and easiest change in the history of physical media.

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Blu-ray players play DVDs and can be had for $50. Unless you don't have an HDTV, I don't know why anyone wouldn't replace a broken DVD player with a Blu-ray player. It's affordable, you don't have to replace or upgrade a single disc that you don't want to because you can still use them, from my experience they upscale way better than upscaling DVD players, and you can take advantage of all of the nice visual upgrades it offers in the future.

 

Really, the DVD to Blu-ray transition, which really isn't a transition (both formats are intended to coexist,) has been the fairest and easiest change in the history of physical media.

Purchasing a blu ray player, since it can play both formats, is neither here nor there, as far as I'm concerned. I considered it but didn't find any there were nearly as cheap as DVD players a few months ago.

 

However, I would not buy a blu ray player with the express purpose of replacing a DVD of a movie with a blu ray version of that same film. My upgrading to new format days are definitely OVER!

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Really, the DVD to Blu-ray transition, which really isn't a transition (both formats are intended to coexist,) has been the fairest and easiest change in the history of physical media.

But not always the cheapest. 

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I just went back to my local Shopko electronics section. As you can see by the photo below, the price for 50 Verbatim DVDs has been lowered, plus I was still able to get 10% off. Not bad!

 

photo.jpg

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Yes, the MOD disc phenomenon is really crappy.  But has any of you considered using STREAMING VIDEO services?  You watch movies instantly, and don't have to deal with all the unpleasantness of the physical discs.  No, you don't just watch them on your computers.  You can watch them on your TV too, provided that you have a streaming device set up.  Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu are the most famous video streaming services.  Then there is Warner Archive Instant that shows old movies.  And if you don't want to pay monthly fees, there are "a la carte" services as well, such as Vudu and iTunes, where you buy and/or rent by title.  Forget those MOD discs.  Forget DVDs in general; their days are numbered.  Consumers and the industry have moved towards streaming.  There are more and more titles available for streaming but not on disc (such as the 4-hour version of the silent classic "Greed" on iTunes).  Studios are reluctant these days to make physical discs because fewer people are buying them.  Naturally, costs are cut and you see the results on these crappy MOD discs.  Join the revolution and go stream!

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