Thursday, February 3, 2011

"Looks like I'll have to buy The White Album again"...but twice?

Remind me...when I bought a record album, was I required to also purchase the 8-Track tape?

(Kids - ask your parents this and watch their faces get all wistful and misty!)

Do I have to buy both regular and skim milk in twin gallon containers?

Does a new car come with a case of buggywhips?

Do the XBox 360 and PS3 versions of games come in the same package?

Then why in the holy screaming hell am I more often than not forced to pay for a DVD copy of a popular film when I want to buy the Blu-ray?

An inordinate number of new releases come in three packaged versions: DVD alone, a DVD/Blu-Ray "Combo Pack", and the even more pointless DVD/Blu-Ray/Digital Copy Super-Special Combo Pack.  Needless to say, the price increases with each step up.

You'll notice a lack of "Just Blu-Ray" option.

For some reason, the new marketing plan is to require Blu-Ray collectors to shell out extra for the DVD copy of the film.  As opposed to the "Double Dip" where films released on DVD only a short time ago are hastily re-released on Blu-Ray with a smattering of new features to convince hardcore fans to re-purchase them (coughstarwarscough), this is a Double-Dip-in-a-box.  There's nothing on the DVD that isn't on the Blu-Ray; in some cases, there nothing different between the versions at all, save for the better resolution of the newer format.

So, what, uh, the hell?

It seems to be done mostly for animated films right now.  Perhaps the idea is that Mom and Dad don't let the kids play with the expensive Blu-Ray player, so they can use the DVD on the player in the bedroom, while the parents watch the nice high-res version on the good machine in the living room.  Because there's so many adult animation fans with kids that watch the same film in separate rooms.

Maybe it's for the folks who plan to buy a Blu-Ray player later, and don't want to have to re-purchase the film once they do, so they can just re-purchase it now.  This smacks of buying your summer clothes in the winter, but buying them two sizes smaller, in preparation of all the weight you plan to lose in the spring.

And the Digital Copy?  Please.  They put that, usually an AVI or MP4 format file, on its own disc for no purpose other than to be able to say it's a FOUR disc set.  And are there that many people popping Despicable Me onto their kids' Ipod Touch?

No, it's nothing more than a case of selling us more than we need.  It's the Super Big Gulp that we buy cause it's only ten cents more than the next size down but it's SO much bigger, and then we never finish it and it sits in the car and gets all flat and warm and makes the car smell like warm flat soda*.  The DVD copy is the two wings from the 20-piece bucket of fried chicken that nobody wants to it sits in the bucket in the refrigerator until someone fnally eats out of mercy or to make room for the leftover ham from when the mother-in-law comes to visit.

And the Digital Copy? That's that heavily breaded and overcooked piece of back, the part that includes the Pope's Nose, that has no meat on it at all, and how do they even get away calling that a piece, I ask you?

* In the interests of full disclosure, the smell of warm flat root beer is one of my favorite smells ever.


  1. Bravo on an on-target blog post! I know retailers have to eat, too, and I'll admit that Blu-Ray is pretty darn impressive, but as a movie-loving consumer, I resent having Combo Packs shoved down my throat. I'd rather decide for myself which format I want, thank you!

  2. After having been burned on Beta and videodiscs, the philosophy at our household is to wait about five years for the dust to settle before making a major consumer electronics purchase.

  3. Michael, Vin, if I recall correctly, Anna Deborah Ackner once said something to the effect that she'd only buy items in new technologies if she got a promise that it would be the last thing they ever invented! :-)

  4. Dorian: Anna Deborah Ackner is obviously just too intelligent to have originated from this planet, and I wish she'd contact her homeworld already and have their invasion ships go ahead and land.

    Vinnie: it occurs to me that, rather than THE WHITE ALBUM by The Beatles, a much more perspicacious listen would be Frank Zappa's SHEIK YERBOUTI, especially for the song "Flakes" (which seems to underline this current consumer technology quite adequately).

  5. If you have to explain a joke, it's not funny, but the line's from Men in Black, in which Jay shows off a one-inch-wide silver disc, alien tech that will replace CDs

  6. I can see some people objecting to having to purchase a "combo pack" especially when there are those who already own the material in DVD format.

    On the other hand, with the advent of easily-accessible secondary marketing (such as eBay), or when some vendor (like Best Buy) has a trade-in/upgrade sale, getting a "back-up"copy isn't such a bad thing...for the $5 extra that the extra disc in the package usually costs.

    At least we're not being forced to buy a "digital-copy/blu-ray/DVD/VHS/beta" combo pack.