DVD Industry Scams and Shortcomings

[written years ago, just found and posting here]

the DVD industry is getting worse and worse. i wrote this in September of 2004 and laugh a bit as the problem is still getting worse. instead of selling us copies of movies for home viewing, the industry seems to go overboard in finding new angles on making (and remaking) a buck on each movie. special editions, regular movie, X anniversary release, directors cut.. how much material are they going to hold back on each release just so they can do another X years later? why brag about five minutes of extra footage that blends in to the movie so that you can’t even distinguish what is new? here were the problems i saw back then..

1. bonus footage. this can be integrated into the video (Underworld) or as deleted scenes. in some cases, these deleted scenes have no value at all. they were clearly cut from the movie because they were horribly done or offered nothing to the movie. with DVD releases however, they have value! grab five random minutes of footage, slap it at the end as ‘deleted scenes’ and use it as a selling point. in other cases, the new footage is edited into the film and often times adds a lot to the movie (LoTR among others).

2. unrated versions. more and more are being released as ‘unrated’ versions. you saw the PG-13 version in the theatres right? get ready for the PG-13 movie again, under a newly titled ‘unrated’ version. many times the material added isn’t worthy of a higher rating as seen in Girl Next Door or Charlie’s Angels.

3. forced advertising. it’s one thing to rent a DVD and be subjected to movie promos, it’s another to purchase a movie and forever be forced to see the same previews. i don’t know what is more frustrating, having to see the same preview of a movie that was horrible, or the same preview of a movie i already own. insult to injury, you can’t skip past the commercials. excuse me, it’s *my* DVD now. i want to play it my way. no wonder people look for ways to copy and edit DVD/movie content.

4. don’t list “cool interface” as a feature to the DVD. too often they are annoying and a burden, not a feature. some of the menu screens seemed to have been designed by autistic sons of movie distributors, forcing you to navigate menus that are far from intuitive and play the same tight loop 30 second music clip that doesn’t even cleanly loop to itself.

5. pick a case! there are two major types of DVD cases (not counting special editions, promos etc), one of which is annoying on any DVD rack. trying to put the movies back in place is a lesson in frustration, not convenience.

6. special edition. how many times do you want us to buy the same movie? it’s a given that some people are fans of a movie and will want the best version available. selling the regular movie, then releasing a directors cut, then a special edition, then an anniversary edition .. how much do you need to make off that one movie? if you are going to do that, offer trade in credit for my other three copies of the movie, or at the very least, make it very clear when you will release the mother of all mother versions so I can wait and get the best.

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