Renegade Rant: Will Digital Downloads Kill the Blu-Ray?

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I am so sick of hearing about how DVDs are dying and if people don’t switch over to digital downloads, they will get left behind. As far as I am concerned, I still think digital downloads are a giant rip-off and I refuse to stop buying my precious Blu-rays.

Digital DownloadsNow, don’t get me wrong. I am all about the digital revolution. I don’t buy CDs anymore and get everything in MP3 format now. I don’t buy many books anymore, and get most of my stuff on my Kindle. However, there is one small exception, where I won’t buy film books on Kindle because I use them for research and prefer to have them spread out on my desk in front of me. I think it is easier to find what I am looking for that way.

But, those are completely different from Blu-rays.

A lot of people who are on my side of the fence claim they still buy Blu-rays because the quality of the picture and sound blows the hell out of digital downloads. Others just don’t have a way to watch the digital downloads on their nice big TVs – and honestly, a computer screen is a shit way to watch any movie.

That is not why I refuse to stop buying Blu-rays.

Digital DownloadsI am someone who does buy a lot of used Blu-rays. Now that they seem to be getting more expensive (what the hell is up with that?), I will sometimes wait a month or so and then get it used at Hastings with one of their Buy 1 Get 1 used specials.

Now, when I go to buy a Blu-ray used, I flip it over and check to see if it is a Used copy or a Previously Viewed copy. The difference here is that Previously viewed means it is a former rental Blu-ray. If you have ever been to a Redbox or rented a Blu-ray, there is a pretty damn good chance you got NO special features on it.

I won’t buy a Blu-ray – not even used – that has no special features on it. The extras are what makes a Blu-ray worth buying to me. CDs don’t have extras and neither do books. However, a Blu-ray bought from the store has commentary tracks, deleted scenes, featurettes, documentaries and much more.

Digital DownloadsRental Blu-rays have nothing and digital downloads have nothing. What that tells me is that renting a Blu-ray and buying a digital download gives you the same thing. If you don’t plan on watching Django Unchained 6 times, it is cheaper to rent it than buy a digital version. Me, I paid the $7 more that the Blu-ray cost and have the extra features to watch.

I LOVE extra features and – no matter the price difference – I will buy the Blu-ray that has the special features over the one that does not. You may not give a crap about documentaries or commentary tracks, and that is fine. But my question is why would you buy it instead of renting it unless you plan on watching it a ton of times?

My opinion. If they phase out Blu-rays and just have digital downloads, which means no extras, they will sell a whole let less and rentals will jump big time. Look, I don’t care if you just want to buy the digital download and have your movies stored on your hard drive. That is your¬†prerogative. However, I want my extra features that comes with buying a Blu-ray. That is my¬†prerogative.

My problem is the ass-clowns on other websites who are telling me, and others like me, to get with the program of digital downloads. Just because they love bare boned releases, doesn’t mean anyone else should fall in line with them.

But that’s just my opinion.

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About the Author

Shawn S. Lealos
Shawn is a film critic with over 25 years of experience in print and online media. He is a member of the Oklahoma Film Critics Circle and loves everything from critically acclaimed movies to B-level action flicks.
  • Yep. Agreed. There is a place in the world for Blu-ray. It’ll be around for a long time. People love the feeling of owning something. The cloud is fine until it disappears, then what? Will that service burn you a hard copy and send it to you? Nope. It’s just gone along with whatever you paid the cloud to stream the movie.

    I think another reason they’ll be around for awhile is the internet connectivity and speeds aren’t as good as everyone claims. Better in the USA maybe but still poor in many parts of the country and overseas. Luckily, we still have some time before digital downloads take over fully.

  • Lex Collins

    Your article is severely flawed. Digital Downloads now include special features and fortunately for those of us who enjoy them the writing is on the wall for discs. It’s already begun, look at the way Paramount spread the extra features across multiple digital platforms for Star Trek Into Darkness and left the Blu Ray with worthless bonus content. Better get used to digital because it will be the dominant package for movie content delivery in less than five years time.

    • I hated the studio for what they did to Star Trek Into Darkness. That is why I refuse to buy it. I’d rather pay $1.50 and watch it through Redbox or wait for it to come to Netflix or something like that. I won’t support a studio that screws over their consumers.

      • Lex Collins

        Oh I agree it’s a bad business model of screwing over consumers but it shows what studios are currently thinking. They have better control of the content and can eliminate the over-head costs that plague physical copies. There are alternative markets for the digital releases and they are very low cost if you know where to look. Many people will find it very affordable to amass very large digital libraries for a fraction of the money spent on DVDs and Blu Rays.

        • It still seems like a movement that would eliminate almost everything that makes a DVD and Blu-ray special. If enough people use these alternative methods to save money on digital releases, I see the special features disappearing completely (no longer financially worth it to the studios). That eliminates me buying anything but the best movies since renting them makes more sense with no special features. That comes from me, someone who owns over 3,000 DVDs and Blu-rays

          • Lex Collins

            The people who don’t like the digital format are helping to fuel the success of it. Selling or giving away the codes that come with the combo packs for next to nothing. With the studios beginning to include bonus features with the digital releases it will eventually entice the detractors who purchase Blu Rays and DVDs because of special content. It also gives retailers like Target, Best Buy and Walmart to name a few opportunities to release their own exclusives digitally without the need to press physical discs. As is the case with Star Trek Into Darkness if people want the commentary and bonuses badly enough they learn to appreciate the benefits and eventual dominance of digital.

  • Jill

    I don’t like digital downloads. Don’t forget if the licence is not there on those sites, then you can be screwed. I own some rare disney movies and anime like Dragonball Z, Pinocchio, Lion King, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, you cannot find anywhere only on DVD & Blu-Ray. I also hate the fact the downloads take a while, and does not like to eat up my computer memory spaces. I have had my Blu-Ray DVD player for 5 years and going strong. I can play 3 formats, CDs, DVDs and Blu-Ray for best picture and sounds.

    • I love Blu-rays and really don’t like playing digital downloads on my TV, which is where I prefer to watch movies (not on my computer or tablet)

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