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?