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 Post subject: The Future of Home Video
PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:39 pm 
not perpee
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Is the death of DVD being discussed anywhere else on the forum? Perhaps a thread devoted to this would be good?

With the Warner Archive Series (old films on DVD-R), the Universal Vault Series (old films on DVD-R, not a series of gymnastics-related films), and the winding up of Fox's superb classics line -- we're seeing a gigantic shift in focus from the studios.

These majors are cherry-picking their best-selling old films for a handful of Blu-ray releases, and generally scaling everything back.

It opens the door for labels like Criterion, MoC, Carlotta, etc. to go after many more studio titles that the studios don't want to issue on Blu-ray (which amounts to almost everything).

In a way, it's back to the days of Laserdisc - when titles such as 2001 and King Kong were licenced out.

Is this all being discussed somewhere else on the forum and I've missed it all?


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PostPosted: Sat Jan 16, 2010 10:53 pm 
Dot Com Dom
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Just in the Blu-ray threads, the Warners Archive thread, the MGM Burn-On-Demand thread, maybe others

And the Fox Classics line stopped before Blu-ray was really an issue. I think the lack of B+M space starting the downslide and then Blu-rays became a bigger distraction for the studios, leaving very little time for nicher-than-niche releases. I'm glad you can see a silver lining here, because it's left me in something of a panic. I tend to buy DVDs a lot more freely now, because they're going out of print in record numbers


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:31 am 
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peerpee wrote:
Is the death of DVD being discussed anywhere else on the forum? Perhaps a thread devoted to this would be good?

There is this infighting thread, but it's mostly about the possibility of optical discs being replaced by digital downloads. While I don't really see that happening anytime soon, I definitely agree with your assessment about studios and their current attitude towards catalog product. Your comparison of the current market for Criterion and similar companies to the laserdisc days seems especially apt. Jonathan Turrell says, "The impact the economy has had is if the studios — and I can’t speak for them — but if George Feltenstein is saying it's harder for them to find places for their classic films, then the bad economy has enabled us to make deals with studios." Criterion was able to swoop in when Warner let their license with Castle Hill for the Caidin Trust library lapse, and they've supposedly licensed a good-sized package from MGM -- which apparently includes some heavy hitters. Those two deals alone supply Criterion with at least a dozen major Hollywood classics to pepper their already-crowded schedule with the next couple of years. I assume that MoC is having similar good fortune in this regard?

If the market for studio-released classics on standard DVD isn't dead, it certainly looks like it's on life support. They also seem to think of Blu-ray solely as an outlet for contemporary films with the exception of major restorations of their AFI-list fodder (North by Northwest, The African Queen, etc.). It looks like all of the deep catalog will be relegated to burn-on-demand unless it is rescued by Criterion et. al. George Feltenstein said, "most of the studios have pretty much said ‘Screw it, we’re out of here, we’re not going to do this.'" While the golden age for studio classics on DVD may be over, a new golden age for Criterion and MoC may be just beginning.

Columbia seems to be the exception to the current trend of studios not releasing classics on pressed DVDs. They've kicked their classics division, under the direction of Grover Crisp, into high gear, and have just relaunched a website for it. Most of their classics are getting bundled into multi-title digipak sets, but they are nicely restored and supplemented and are on real DVDs.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:39 am 
Dot Com Dom
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Well great-- to paraphrase the Boutique DVD Label Prophet Stephen Malkmus, we can now look forward to one percent of one


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:43 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
Well great-- to paraphrase the Boutique DVD Label Prophet Stephen Malkmus, we can now look forward to one percent of one

Look on the bright side, Domino. The other 99.99% will soon be available on featureless $20 DVRs!


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:57 am 
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I think the biggest impact on the demise of DVD has to be the bankruptcy and restructuring of most B&M stores that sell (sold) DVDs. Stores like Circuit City, in addition to many mom and pop stores, are gone. Other places like Borders and Barnes and Noble, who used to have almost every title that came from studios, have scaled back or eliminated DVDs in their stores. Even wherehouses like Costco, who had a great inventory of catalog titles for Christmas, have changed and they only stock mainstream movies and boxsets. Right now, most people who want to buy Criterion releases can only get them through the Internet retailers. The issue I have with studios is the laziness of the way they are treating their catalog titles. Why it has to be DVD-Rs? Why can't they set a proper system where produce a limited set of catalog titles, have them pressed, include extras and sell them on a limited time or quantity basis through e-tailers? I refuse to buy these overpriced DVD-Rs where the quality is no better than VHS or a bootleg.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:00 am 
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^ Same goes for Virgin and Tower, which, at least here in Denver, used to be the only big retailers that sold deep catalog, foreign, boutique label, and silent films. The only place those titles get any shelf space in this city these days is one local independent record store.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:21 am 
Dot Com Dom
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The rapid decrease in internet prices has a lot to do with that slow murder. It's like global warming: We love the conveniences but end up paying more in the karmic long run.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:41 am 
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In the UK, brick & mortar stores that sell music/DVD have been decimated over the last 3 years, leaving one massive chain (overpriced HMV, who seem to be in existence by default simply because they're the last one standing).

I think we have to get over the fact that record stores are closing and we can't browse DVDs in shops. Even if we could browse DVDs, they probably wouldn't stock what cinephiles wanted. My local HMV stocks one MoC title (METROPOLIS for £19.99) and about two BFI titles. No Second Run, etc.

If quirky, one-off, well-run, specialised film and music shops can continue to exist in major cities - then I think that's all we can hope for.

The interesting question is about how we consume films at home and how well film companies realise that there is a gaping chasm between casual viewers of Will Smith films and hardcore cinephiles. They need to cater for these two groups in wildly different ways.

Absolutely nothing beats a handsomely packaged Blu-ray with booklet, and until a non-compressed HD film can be streamed in identical quality to a Blu-ray disc (not some compressed-to-hell faux-HD cable stream), and until extras and pdf booklets can be accessed beautifully too, then it's just not going to cut it or work at all.

I think Apple are probably the only company who could push this through logically and create something worthwhile. Perhaps Apple + The Auteurs + Criterion could come up with a new robust virtual format for all this, whereby the product is 'delivered' online and stored at home on trustworthy, foolproof hardware. All the time remaining extremely aware of the need to offer a flawless, highest quality product that cinephiles would want to collect. Let's face it, we're not going to wake up one day and find that Warners, Fox, Paramount, etc have suddenly created this perfect system.

The many benefits of an online (true HD) delivery system are huge: live updates offering corrected/tweaked versions or newly created extras where each film's online presence is a growing hotbed of content; a subscription based club, brilliantly curated (just as Criterion and The Auteurs do now); and obviously no physical product to manufacture, store, and distribute. This model even trumps the logistical savings that the major studios are trumpeting about their (temporary, unsatisfying, and ultimately flawed) DVD-R series.


Last edited by peerpee on Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:44 am 
Dot Com Dom
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But as any collector will tell you, there's nothing physical about a download. Besides, you don't invite someone over and show off your collection of computer files


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:52 am 
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What about a Criterion-branded silicon-based indestructible 2TB harddrive that holds 40 x Blu-rays (BD50s). Then another, then another - stacked side-by-side. Your own private HD archive, of your own purchases, which as soon as you plugged it in had a 1080p menu system with a virtual shelf offering hi-res posters, production stills, original promotional materials for each film.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 3:46 am 
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It's funny, not so long ago there were a similar discussion, just about if blu-ray was dead (or atleast people spamming how they would never change to blue).

Even if fox, universal and warner have stepped down, atleast sony has picked up the torch in that area.

I would be interesting if anyone had updated percentages on blu-ray penetration and selling percentage compared to dvd. Isn't it still something like only 20% blu-ray penetration (a lot due to ps3), and selling 20% / 80% of discs to blu-ray vs. dvd?

I went blu-ray a little over a year ago, and bought around 50 blu-ray in the first half on 2009, but since I have almost only been getting DVDs. There's plenty of old classic movies on blu-ray now, but almost all of them are films that I have already seen more than once, or often have on dvd. I'm wishing for more blu-ray like Comrades, Red Desert and Un Femme Marie (which are probably some of the blues that are hardest to earn money on), but im not sure others feel the same way.

Also im guessing smaller labels like second run, second sight, flicker alley will stay dvd for quite some time. Artificial Eye did some blurays last year, but then seemed to stop again, and i can see they Double life of Veronique coming soon, hopefully theyll do more blurays this year. Kino will be interesting to follow, they almost just entered with The General, and think they have Fallen Angels coming soon.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 4:23 am 
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I think we are heading for a future where you will have blu-ray if you want best quality watching at home, and internet streaming for the rest. When the switch was made to DVD most consumers wanted higher quality, but this is not the case today. I think most in the new internet generation find it more important to have easy access to the films and for the price to be low.

Yes this would mean that criterion, and perpee, decide what old films we can collect in the future.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:07 am 
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RobertB wrote:
I think we are heading for a future where you will have blu-ray if you want best quality watching at home, and internet streaming for the rest. When the switch was made to DVD most consumers wanted higher quality, but this is not the case today. I think most in the new internet generation find it more important to have easy access to the films and for the price to be low.

Maybe for a few more months, but the situation is rapidly changing thanks to Moore's law.

Ten years ago I was waiting an hour to download a 3 minute MP3 down a copper dial-up line. Last month I illegally downloaded a Blu-ray rip of MoC's SOUL POWER in the same time (cue Pete Townshend-style arrest).

Quote:
Yes this would mean that criterion, and perpee, decide what old films we can collect in the future.

What a horrible world we live in!


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:35 am 
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Sure you can download blu-ray. But do you think many will? Teenagers I know don't mind listening to music as 128kbs MP3. :shock: And lots of people download films that haven't been released on DVD. They don't really mind that the quality isn't the best, they just want them as soon as possible. Hopefully a larger percent of those who want best quality will also pay for it. Why else spend all that money on a full HD tv and a good stereo set-up?

Quote:
Quote:
Yes this would mean that criterion, and perpee, decide what old films we can collect in the future.

What a horrible world we live in!

Can you check if you can get blu-ray rights for Vertigo please? :D


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:55 am 
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Robert - only Universal will deal those titles, and from what one can gather Vertigo is up for Blu release through Uni later this year, along with Rear Window. Robert Harris - I'm quite sure - has a handle on that. And just as well, I think.

Nick is right to raise all this. Dave K sometimes starts up the idea on his blog,and he's right at least about the demise of SD, but not for the suppsoed cause of Blu. However, not many people there are really interested. I think Nick is right now to be highlighting the advantage of the new format. Not least the completely sub par crap that comes out of Blu 1080p down to 720 Matroska downloads. These things seesm to have spawned out of a faux HD Windows Media format or worse reduced rez format that was designed to take up the least possible HD space, like the totally trash audio new media. They are just rubbish, as anyone who's downlaoded these "Blus" will tell you, and they of course lack all the extras that come with a properly produced disc, like MoCs or Crits Blus. So for sure the inroads these things can make into legit sales now are surely minor, and the people who think they're getting anything like a real Blu will get a real shock when they put their downloads up on a large 1080p screen.

But general "non commercial" downlaods are the other part of this equation aren't they Nick? Not of Blus or even Sds but all the things that are never going to get up.

I'mm going out on a limb here but - for example - somebody is currently putting up near mint hi res SD quality of Pal Fejos early movies on BT servers. Shortly there will be very professioanlyl subtitled versions of things like La Nuit du Carrefour and much more from the same places. It has simply been left to people in a couple of cyber commnties to do this stuff because ther is simply no market for this materai lin the commcerical world. And - well - maybe some TV broadcast rights or whatever are violated, and whatever else. But I know where I stand on this...


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 8:07 am 
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david hare wrote:
I'mm going out on a limb here but - for example - somebody is currently putting up near mint hi res SD quality of Pal Fejos early movies on BT servers. Shortly there will be very professioanlyl subtitled versions of things like La Nuit du Carrefour and much more from the same places. It has simply been left to people in a couple of cyber commnties to do this stuff because ther is simply no market for this materai lin the commcerical world.

And that is precisely the question: is there really no market for Fejös or early Renoir? I guess the people who take the effort of making these things available and writing their own subs, which I assume is a hell of a work, and those who download this stuff or other films in whatever fuzzy avi-quality are hardcore cinephiles who more or less are acting out of desperation because absolutely no label is making these gems available (whereas the few hand-picked silents that ARE released tend to be the same all over the world). I tend to see this almost as an attempt to save a particular part of film history, and I see a big difference here to illegallly uploading the newest MoC disc and thus seriously impairing Nick's and others' great work. I was close to vomiting seeing somebody putting up the full, unaltered discs of the new Filmmuseum Vertov-set on one such BT server only days after its release. However, it's not just the people who upload these things, but much more those who download them and who are absolutely unaware of the results of their behaviour.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 10:31 am 
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dx23 wrote:
The issue I have with studios is the laziness of the way they are treating their catalog titles. Why it has to be DVD-Rs? Why can't they set a proper system where produce a limited set of catalog titles, have them pressed, include extras and sell them on a limited time or quantity basis through e-tailers? I refuse to buy these overpriced DVD-Rs where the quality is no better than VHS or a bootleg.

Indeed. The major studios are on one hand happy to chastise people for illegally downloading their films but at the same time they put no effort into making them available themselves. You can't charge $20 for a DVD-R and expect people to be thankful.

I'm just thankful we have companies like Criterion, MoC, Artificial Eye, BFI, RHV, Dolmen/Cristaldi, Edition Filmmuseum etc. who are willing to put time and effort in to make excellent DVD releases, which are great value-for-money due to the fantastic transfers, optional subtitling and extras that help enhance and contextualize the films themselves. I'm currently studying Rocco e i suoi fratelli in class and I can't explain how handy it is to be able to have a private copy of this film with a booklet and an extra disk full of extras to help start to analyse the film and the environment it was created in.

I only got into quality films (and their DVDs) last summer when I purchased a few German and Italian language titles to help get back into the swing of things before arriving at university. I was disappointed with the quality of the releases I bought: Sophie Scholl was non-anamorphic, Cinema Paradiso wasn't the OAR. Wondering why I had bothered, I was going to start just downloading the films instead as I didn't feel like that they were worth my money. To cut a long story short I ended up discovering this forum and along with it the likes of Criterion, MoC and BFI etc. As a result I have discovered a whole treasure trove of films on fantastic DVD releases, which I probably wouldn't have otherwise been aware of.

I guess what I'm getting at is that if I hadn't discovered the specialist DVD labels I'd likely to be downloading any films that I would be interested in due to be disillusioned with what I had previously bought. Now I'm eagerly anticipating my Lubitsch in Berlin set, looking forward to the likes of M on Blu-ray and looking forward to buying some RHV and Cristaldi/Dolmen titles when I'm in Italy later this year.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 11:57 am 
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domino harvey wrote:
But as any collector will tell you, there's nothing physical about a download. Besides, you don't invite someone over and show off your collection of computer files

Not only that, I still haven't seen a hard drive that hasn't crashed. So even if you go by a system where you can re-download things that are in your purchasing account, like the PS3 and Wii do, there is the chance that you may have to download again an entire 1000 film library and that could take hours.

Most of these studios have movie clubs or send their film to be part of movie clubs. Disney has released pressed DVDs as Movie Club exclusives. Why can't the continue doing that? Why couldn't Warner do the same? The other option is to lower their fees and license the films to Shout, Criterion, Anchor Bay, Mill Creek, etc., like they did at the beginning of the DVD era. I'm still pissed that a film like Odd Man Out has been OOP for almost 10 years now.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:45 pm 
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How do you envision DVDs future in European releases, peerpee?
And could you let us in on how much more £$£ it takes, generally and roughly speaking, to prepare and issue a Blu-ray as opposed to a SD DVD? Lastly, why have you decided that your edition of City Girl is likely to not turn a profit in the SD DVD format: Is this the new scheme of things, Blu-ray only from MoC? Thanks in advance.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 12:50 pm 
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dx23 wrote:
I'm still pissed that a film like Odd Man Out has been OOP for almost 10 years now.


In the U.S....


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 1:24 pm 
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strangerinparadise wrote:
Lastly, why have you decided that your edition of City Girl is likely to not turn a profit in the SD DVD format: Is this the new scheme of things, Blu-ray only from MoC? Thanks in advance.

It's not that they didn't think it would turn a profit but they said they don't want to waste time doing dual releases and wasting time on an inferior format when the source material is good enough for Blu-ray and they could be spending the time on releasing another film. MoC have said they'll only be doing DVD or Blu-ray releases in the future (bar the odd exception like M).

fdm wrote:
dx23 wrote:
I'm still pissed that a film like Odd Man Out has been OOP for almost 10 years now.

In the U.S....

That's one thing that really annoys me, but at least isn't too prevalent on this forum: the attitude of if something doesn't exist in the US then it doesn't exist at all.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 2:54 pm 
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fdm wrote:
dx23 wrote:
I'm still pissed that a film like Odd Man Out has been OOP for almost 10 years now.

In the U.S....

Is there a good version somewhere else?
TMDaines wrote:
That's one thing that really annoys me, but at least isn't too prevalent on this forum: the attitude of if something doesn't exist in the US then it doesn't exist at all.

Most people aren't familiar with DVDs from other regions or don't have the hardware to play them. I do, but haven't checked the availability of a lot films in other places or find them to expensive to import.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:33 pm 
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TMDaines wrote:
It's not that they didn't think it would turn a profit but they said they don't want to waste time doing dual releases and wasting time on an inferior format when the source material is good enough for Blu-ray and they could be spending the time on releasing another film. MoC have said they'll only be doing DVD or Blu-ray releases in the future (bar the odd exception like M).

I do hope their suppositions aren't misguided, for their own sake. Personally, I mourn the fact that the recent Blu-rays of City Girl and 8 1/2 aren't graced with high definition DVD counterparts. It's more than a tad arrogant, and the production companies involved just might lose a little badly needed dough by choosing this option.


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 Post subject: Re: The Future of DVD
PostPosted: Sun Jan 17, 2010 5:55 pm 
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strangerinparadise wrote:
I do hope their suppositions aren't misguided, for their own sake. Personally, I mourn the fact that the recent Blu-rays of City Girl and 8 1/2 aren't graced with high definition DVD counterparts. It's more than a tad arrogant, and the production companies involved just might lose a little badly needed dough by choosing this option.

Why is it "more than a tad arrogant"? We already know that they won't make as much money by doing a Blu only release but it will reduce their costs and will increase the volume of titles they can release. It isn't as if the guys at MoC are doing what they do for the cash anyway.


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