Sunday, December 27, 2009
The Great Blu-ray Rip-off!
This blog is not meant to be a review of the PS3 (there are lots of those around), but I must say I'm very happy with my choice. The console exudes quality, the games are a huge step up from the PS2, and the media capabilities are a great bonus.
However, I have to ask myself why, every time there is a new format introduced, the studios feel the need to up the price so radically. Locally, Kalahari.net has the District 9 DVD listed at R145.30 and the Blu-ray at R270.70, an 86% increase. The studios will ague that they have included a whole lot of additional material on the Blu-ray, but honestly, who wants this extra material. I almost never even look at the additional material on DVDs; I don't see that changing with Blu-ray. And is that additional material really worth the 86% on-cost?
To my mind, the cost of a movie, regardless of format, can be broken down into the royalty, the physical media, the manufacturing, and the marketing and distribution. The only differences between DVD and Blu-ray are therefore the physical media, the manufacturing and the additional material. Personally, I put zero value on the additional material, and, with volume, the media and manufacturing cost difference is negligible. So why the huge on-cost?
Well, we are being charged more for the 'perceived' value of high definition. The same thing happened when CDs replaced vinyl, and again when DVDs replaced VHS. And this is a huge rip-off, and a huge mistake!
Do you remember how people started building CD and DVD collections to replace their LPs and VHS tapes? That isn't happening now with Blu-ray, because the price is just too high. Instead, the format is battling to get a real foothold in the market, despite there already being a huge number of Blu-ray capable machines out there.
Sure, in the US especially, 'video on demand' services like Hulu offer an alternative to physical media, and these services have put a dent into both DVD and Blu-ray sales, but the fact remains that Blu-ray has not been the phenomenon it deserves to be.
So why should the studios do anything differently? Well, the security features built into Blu-ray make the discs much harder to copy. Almost anyone with a PC can copy a DVD; not so easy with Blu-ray. So, as a deterrent against piracy, the studios should be encouraging people to switch to Blu-ray, and they could do this by offering a 'movie only' version on Blu-ray, at a price point even lower than the DVD. People would flock to the new format, I guarantee!
That's what I would do.
Thanks for reading.