The Tyranny of DVD

J&R had a really impressive and tempting Black Friday DVD sale. So tempting that at opening time, over 100 people had already lined up for it! (I was passing by, not a participant!)

Among the goodies: complete season boxed sets of Monk and House and others for only $15-$20!

I was really drooling over the possibilities of that … but then thought ahead.

1) How often would I want to watch those? After Hill Street Blues did its run, it had a very limited syndication life. I tuned in to one episode and … it was already dated! It seemed old, but not in a good way.

2) I already have several boxed sets of TV series. I don’t watch them as often as I thought I would. In fact, while watching some of them, I was beginning to resent watching them again. Another 25-50 minutes gone from my life — and for what?

3) DVD boxed sets weigh something. If I had been stupefyingly rich and indulged myself in every boxed set that looked good, I’d have even more things and even more weight to lug around when moving!

4) There really is only a very, very limited number of things I could stand to see more than 3-4 times. In movies, for example, Die Hard never seems to get old or tired for me. Same with The Final Countdown and The Long Good Friday. TV-wise, certain — but not all — episodes of The Twilight Zone. And Dennis Potter’s two groundbreaking serials: Pennies from Heaven and The Singing Detective are immortal. Those are just a few examples. But the total wouldn’t be as many as I think if I were to compile a list.

I wonder if I’m the only one who feels this way? I’m beginning to think a service such as Hulu is now a very good idea. Throw the repeats up on the Net. Let me watch them with ad breaks. I get it for free whenever I want it, you make money — and I also won’t have to hoard more stuff and weight to lug around.

Explore posts in the same categories: Reference - Life, Tech - Other, TV, Video - DVD, Writers - Dead, Writing

2 Comments on “The Tyranny of DVD”

  1. Alan Pritt Says:

    Soon after renting my first movie off of iTunes I took a look at my DVD collection. Typically these films had cost me between £10 and £20. To rent a movie on iTunes costs between £2.50 and £3.50. That means to buy the film on DVD rather than rent, I’d really need to watch the disc three or, more likely, four times before it started to make economic sense. I believe there are twelve films in my collection that get to that level.

    But that only means I’m spending roughly the same purchasing them as I would be renting them. The number of films in my collection I’ve watched more than four times is, I think, about three.

    That means compared with renting I’ve lost money on 62 films, spent the same on 10, and saved on three.

    But even that isn’t quite accurate, because that’s just the number of times I’ve watched the film. Most of what I’ve watched multiple times, I first saw on TV, at the cinema, rented or previously owned on video cassette.

    So renting is definitely cheaper for me.

    What is more, a large number of the repeat viewings have come about because there was nothing on television that I wanted to watch. So when I’d really prefer to watch something new, I’ve often taken the option to watch something I know is good one more time, instead of something that looks terrible (the majority of what is on television) but is new to me.

    The only problem I can see with renting compared with purchasing seems to be the size of the catalogue. Unfortunately this is currently a huge problem.

  2. mikecane Says:

    Ah, but you know that as time moves on, more and more will come to video — as it continues to do with music. And the stuff that doesn’t have rental or sale revenue will most like be free with ad breaks. I can see a future where Long Tail stuff becomes almost an Event: “This week only! See [insert movie name] for FREE!” Scarcity generates demand — and could even, paradoxically against my own point — lead to sales.


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