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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 7:26 am 
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We had a bit of a discussion going on about these in a different thread, but I'd thought I'd start one to discuss these Digital Copy discs, or in the Mouse House talk, Disney File.

I can see the value for some, but to me they're just either taking away bonus disc space on a two disc set, or they're adding a third disc to the set for which those with no need for them are paying out $5-10 more on.

James' comments even nearly convinced me that they're a good idea, but then I opened The Nightmare Before Christmas set last night and inside was a Digital Copy.

Two things surprised me. I though the point of these was to provide a low-file size version of the film for portable storage. So I was surprised when the specs listed a size between 1-2gb per file. What? These things aren't even small enough to fit on a CD, like Divx files? And taking up a gig or two on a smaller device surely isn't the best way to use storage space? Especially when ultimately watching these things "on the go"?

Surely you buy the full standard DVD or Blu-ray for watching big screen style, and use the Digital Copy for smaller devices where quality isn't that important. So why can't they make the files smaller, put them on a CD instead of a more expensive DVD, and sell these things for what they are as Digital Copy disc on their own?

Bingo...no chunk of disc space gone on two disc sets, and no paying extra to get what is ultimately redundant to a lot of people. Strike one.


Strike two: okay...Nightmare is still a two disc set. The Digital Copy is stored on its own and is unobtrusive in the case. Maybe it's not such a bad idea, I think. Maybe when I give in and decide to experience big screen movies on something the size of a postage stamp (yes, I'm being sarcastic) then I may well want to put my copy of Nightmare on the thing to take around with me.

But...wait. Not only is the file size at least twice as much as I would ideally want it to be for the quality I'm looking for on a small small screen (which means I'm going to then spend the time downsizing it anyway, which I might as well have done simply from the original DVD), but there's an activation code and a cut off point.

Which means by the time I get me a portable device (which could well be after August 2009), my chance to use the Nightmare Digital Copy would have expired!

What if I did buy a video player this Christmas and put Nightmare on. What happens when I upgrade that, or buy a new PC, or switch to a Mac, and want to reload the movie after the August 2009 date? Anyone?

I'm sure there's a way to hack the content, but doesn't that negate the very point of providing a Digital Copy? What if I buy the disc after August 2009? Either way, we're back to square one: after August 2009 I've got myself a dandy Nightmare Before Christmas coaster. Useless.


Strike three: no extras. You might have worked out I'm an old fashioned soul who likes to watch movies on a movie screen. That's why I have an eight foot home theater screen. So the very things I would be most likely to actually WANT to watch on the move, would be television episodes or bonus content. This kind of stuff is ready made for portable devices. Got ten minutes waiting for a bus? I'll take a peek at some deleted scenes that I didn't get a chance to watch the other night.

Genuinely, apart from being stranded somewhere, when the heck am I going to sit and watch a full movie on one of these things in one go? Yes, I know you can give me examples, and I'll accept there would be rare occasions when it might be handy, but honestly you're going to end up watching someone's well-crafted movie in drips and drabs, interrupted by whatever else is going on around you. So, you might think, I'll wait till I get home to watch the movie again properly, but in the meantime I'll take a look at the not-so important added features.

Oh, wait...I can't. Because extras are not included on these Digital Copy discs.


My point is that these things are little more than hard copies of downloads, which people can get online. If people want those discs, let them buy them independently. Let the studios set up a rebate thing: buy the full DVD and get a Digital Copy either by mail-in or with $2 off the asking price. Make the Digital Copy files smaller (okay, where possible) and put them on a CD, making them lower cost to produce and able to be put out on their own for $5.

No-one who really wants a decent copy of a film and the extras is JUST going to buy a $5 Digital Copy that eventually expires anyway, so copies of DVDs and Blus will continue top sell well. But shifting this otherwise redundant "extra" off the two-disc sets and out of regular cases would cut the inflated prices of the bigger DVD sets by a good few dollars.

A 3-disc set for WALL-E? No it's not...it's a 2-disc set with a bogus third disc of the movie you already just bought! Its file size is still huge, it doesn't come with extras and the activation expires so you won't be able to use it in a few months. Just what is the point here? Ahh, right, to bump the price of the box up...


Gosh, I'm surprisingly irate about this, aren't I? :)


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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 9:28 am 
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I'm of a similar opinion; Digital Copy is something that should be 'separately' available for those who need/want it.

I can (and will) ignore them in the BD sets on which I'm 'forced' to buy it (i.e. Nightmare Before Christmas) .. and will opt to buy the version without them, when given that choice (i.e. WALL-E). And that will probably be the extent to which I think about them.

IOW, I'm not 'irate' about them, at all. :wink:

But I do agree that they are unnecessary, for the most part. At least for people like Ben and me, who don't tend to watch movies on portable devices.


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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 10:40 am 
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My biggest beef is that on things like Nightmare, we're paying a few dollars more for this "privilege".

In a funny way, if I had a portable device and saw fairly priced $5 discs in a store marked for that use and without restrictions, I'd probably think it was cool idea! :?


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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 2:36 pm 
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Uh, Blu disks are $5 more than DVD's (they use more costly ingredients!), and as there's no Blu edition without the DC for comparison, there's no way of proving exactly what they're making us pay extra for.

And so far, this's been the third or fourth forum I've seen that's complained "What's the big deal?...We're only getting a crappier version!", as if they thought they were somehow supposed to stay home and watch it in their living room.
Well, if you DID own a portable device, you probably would think it was cool, and I happen to do: With the airlines cutting back on in-flight movies, and no laptop, I've had to bring my iPod on my last few travels, and having a favorite movie in your pocket is a survival REQUIREMENT for three-hour flights.
Yes, DC's are designed for one purpose only, and they fill it. :D

(Although the Disney DC's are only free/unlock codes for the iTunes download--
And with Apple's new Air laptops becoming popular without hard DVD drives, they've forced reliance on soft-download movie files as well, so it's no good using that excuse anymore.)


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PostPosted: August 29th, 2008, 4:07 pm 
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Sure start this thread when I'm out of town and would have to kill my thumbs writing a respond on my phone! ;)


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2008, 11:44 am 
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Poor James. But he'll get in here soon.

Hey, maybe Disney thinks that because people care about quality so much, they think people want the Disney File to be as high as possible and still be a portable digital copy?

That's just a suggestion of what they're thinking, but if the quality's going to have to be less to be practical, and people don't care about it when on the go, then yes, I don't see the point.

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PostPosted: August 30th, 2008, 12:23 pm 
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I dunno.

As someone who LIKES to have a portable copy of a movie for the go, I kind of LIKE the Digital Copy business. It really doesn't cost that much more than the regular DVD and frankly I find it funny to hear from people who are complaining about this who have no idea how difficult it is to make these files on your own.

It's much easier to put an mp4 of a movie on a mobile player from a file that's been done for you than it is to rip a DVD, remaster it, and then find out that the file you think's "ready" doesn't work at all in the iPod or breaks or lacks sound and video quality.

There's no perfect solution for this. DRM is going to remain because the Studios want their money. Most of us really don't want to pay more than once for something but at the same time the grey technological route doesn't work 100% of the time, either. I should know -- I've been making mp4 files for the better part of 2 years now. First I did it for the PSP when I had one, now I'm doing it for the much better iPod player.

The Blu-Ray editon of "Nightmare" has everything that the DVD edition does minus the great packaging on the 2-disc DVD (which had to be 2-disc to hold everthing that the BD does on one disc) and the statue in the Gift Set. That's my one remaining complaint about BD -- the packaging and lack of gift sets still stinks. I do understand why this is being done since hi-def sales still only make up 6% of all movie disc sales in a good month.

If you're complaining about the file going bad on you because you don't plan to use it, I don't know what to say to you. Use it or don't. It's easy enough to download the iTunes software or the MS equivalent and unlock the file as is. The code to unlock the mp4 is provided for you in the DVD/BD packaging.

I could say a bit more about grey technology on the Net and DRM/locked files not being so locked after all, but I'll shut up now...


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2008, 12:49 pm 
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I have the iTunes software and watch vlogs on my PC all the time. If I had a portable device I would no doubt put some stuff on there and use it out and about.

However, I'm not going to waste time putting the DC of Nightmare on my PC at home. If I want to watch it on a PC, I'll use the DVD and save my space. But I'm going to watch it on my big screen, so there's not much point anyway.


I'm with you on the Blu-ray packaging. As with the Warner sets, I really want How The West Was Won, but I want it on Blu-ray and with the cool collectors box. They did it with Blade Runner and Forbidden Planet. I don't see why they can't just swap the discs out. Y'know, DVD for Blu-ray.

If Blu is only 6% of business I'm not surprised...those that want the deluxe packaging are going to buy the SD DVD, and those that want both - like me - are going to wait and see if a title gets the treatment in the future. End game: Blu-ray edition = no sale.


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PostPosted: August 30th, 2008, 2:10 pm 
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The "Nightmare" giftset is the best-looking of the releases for the film but I DON'T need to spend $160 for a one-foot tall Jack Skellington bust plus 3 DVDs! (3 DVDs = 2-disc collector's + Digital Copy disc.)

Yes, it's an okay/nice-looking bust, but it's definitely a luxury I can do without... I saw the bust (2 of 'em) at Best Buy the other day but the novelty just isn't good enough to spring extra money for.

As for the regular "Nightmare" DVD casing, yes it has a nice-looking 3-D relief of Jack Skellington on the cover but it's not enough to lose a Blu-Ray sale from me. Granted, the least Disney COULD have done is spring a little extra to put Blu-Rays in relief casing but for economy reasons (re: sales) they didn't do that.

For me, it's still about the movie and video quality THEN the extras. The Blu-Ray still wins there.

85% of the time I can really live without stuff like the Skellington bust. I've been burned too many times on special editions and giftsets to care much for those. If I really wanted a high-quality Skellington statue or bust, I'd probably buy one of the million or so PVC statues made of the character in Japan. THOSE are higher quality than the Skellington bust case Disney is charging an extra $120-$130 for.


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2008, 5:20 pm 
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Though I will always turn to surround and a decent TV to appreciate a feature, I love the idea of owning it on my ipod! Any opportunity to enjoy my favourite films on a bus, on a train or on the toilet is a boon :) One of those I was just being flippant about :)


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2008, 5:50 pm 
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This DIGITAL COPY DISNEY SITE may be interesting to people :wink:


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2008, 5:57 pm 
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JustinWilliams wrote:
Though I will always turn to surround and a decent TV to appreciate a feature, I love the idea of owning it on my ipod! Any opportunity to enjoy my favourite films on a bus, on a train or on the toilet is a boon :) One of those I was just being flippant about :)


Yeah, you can never watch movies on a bus, with all those road bumps--
Makes you queasy, like reading over the wheel... :P


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PostPosted: September 1st, 2008, 6:03 pm 
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...but that will teach people for using public transport ;p I don't think most of THOSE people will afford a DVD anyhow. *


*Joke.


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