Criterion and Dual Format

The scuttlebutt on Criterion, Eclipse, and Janus Films. Lists and polls are STRONGLY discouraged.
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tenia
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#501 Post by tenia » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:30 am

On the other end, when I read "Blu-ray customers didn’t like making room for DVDs they didn’t want, and DVD customers didn’t like paying more to get a Blu-ray they couldn’t play", it only seems understandable.
It's sad to see this step forward being annihilated.
AMalickLensFlare wrote:It boggles my mind that anyone who actually pays for home video releases in 2014 could still be settling for the DVD format.
I'm as puzzled by this as you, but I guess it's down to so many misconceptions on BD still being well and kicking (like BD-players not playing DVDs, etc).
I mean, I guess HDTV in the US are very well implemented, so it's only a question of buying a $60 BD-player, and throwing a couple extra $ on BD rather than DVD, and that's it.

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Finch
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#502 Post by Finch » Sat Jun 14, 2014 5:48 am

Guess I'm one of the few who is actually delighted that they're going back to single format releases. None of my friends has even a multi-region DVD player so the accompanying DVD is genuinely useless to me and I wasn't a fan of the dual format packaging, especially when it produced gigantic sets like Zatoichi. So, yay, to the return of the BD only releases!

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vsski
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#503 Post by vsski » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:56 am

While I'm personally very disappointed with this move, since I had hoped that Criterion among all labels would be the one that could make the gradual transition to BD only, I think it clearly speaks to the economic realities of the market place rather than complaints from "Internet Whiners".
I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player. And when I ask them why not I get typically the answer that the increased resolution that they admit exists is not worth it for them to make the extra investment in new equipment and paying higher prices for the discs. They feel that the upgrade and added handling convenience from VHS was sufficient and it's more about enjoying the film than the technical merits of the presentation, especially since few folks have 100" screens where the flaws of DVDs become even more noticeable.

And then there are the studios and their business view of the market that clearly has nothing to do with love for film or protecting a cultural heritage (at least for most people working there) and is all about the bottom line. DVDs were hugely profitable for them and they earned a fortune, but they also set the precedent that after several months of release they ended up in the dollar bargain bins and suddenly many consumers simply didn't pay retail prices on all but the biggest titles anymore. Today the expectation among most consumers is that no one should pay MSRP on any disc anymore and if you do you are stupid or don't understand how to use the Internet. And those labels that through their distribution strategy ensure that most consumers have to pay MSRP (i.e. Twilight Time) are being derided as offering no value for money, when in reality they ensured that certain titles who otherwise would have not seen the light of day on BD got out. And while I'm not a friend of the limited edition model what it shows me is that the market for BDs is a small one and even if CC or Kino are maybe selling more BDs of some their titles, they don't run into the tens of thousands either (and small UK labels can't compete with these numbers anyways).

So imho BD will not become a niche product, it already is one, and I predict that for those that want to continue buying BDs they better get used to paying higher prices in the future than what they are accustomed to.

The studios are going to continue pushing streaming as it ensures more predictable revenues and caters to a larger customer segment that will only grow in the years to come.

So for those like me who love BD and want to have a collection on the shelf all I can say buy as many of these shiny discs as you can possibly afford while the going is still good, whether they are BD only or dual-format.

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manicsounds
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#504 Post by manicsounds » Sat Jun 14, 2014 7:57 am

Count me as well for separate BD / DVD releases. I'm just wondering when they'll stop DVD production altogether... Probably not until after major companies stop as well.

It seems obvious but if home video labels want people to convert to blu-ray, they have to stop manufacturing DVDs and DVD players...

felipe
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#505 Post by felipe » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:52 am

vsski wrote:I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player.
People on this forum really overestimate the size of the BD market. Just like you, most of my friends only have a dvd player and no intention to upgrade. They say dvd is good enough for them, and it probably is. Film buffs or technology aficionados can certainly benefit from the superior quality of blu-ray, but I don't think it matters as much to the general public.

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MichaelB
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#506 Post by MichaelB » Sat Jun 14, 2014 9:53 am

vsski wrote:I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player.
Same here - of my friends who aren't heavy-duty film buffs, very very few own a BD player.

It's also worth noting that the prevalence of dual-format releases in some territories - notably the UK, where they're very common indeed - may well exaggerate the apparent size of the local BD market, because every sale will register as "Blu-ray" even if the purchaser has no intention of playing that particular disc.

But there's very little doubt that the BD market in 2014 is nothing like the DVD market in 2004.

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domino harvey
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#507 Post by domino harvey » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:29 am

People spent decades watching movies in the wrong aspect ratio and now watch clips in 360 on YouTube or stream Hulu/Netflix from their phone, so it's not surprising that most casual viewers don't see a need to upgrade.

The dual-format demise for Criterion sucks for us who use them for in-class viewings, though it's gotten to where I often just end up having to take my Blu-ray player in anyways, which is usually looked upon by my students as though it were a mystical talisman from a fantasy land. It's heartening to finally see an influx of positive, pro-dual format comments on this forum for once, though. Jesus I get sick of people bitching about an imperceptible increase in case size or "coasters," and in a way it will be worth it just to never have to read another entitled post about it

Jonathan S
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#508 Post by Jonathan S » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:39 am

I think the recession has also been a key factor in limiting blu-ray take-up. My income is down at least a third on five years ago, entirely due to the recession. Even if I wanted to upgrade every DVD I own that has been reissued on blu-ray, I couldn't afford it. But due to other factors (like collecting fatigue after 40 years) I don't want to anyway and I've never felt any real urge to go multi-region for blu-ray.

I know several other avid collectors (mostly of pre-1950s films) who either severely limit their blu-ray purchases or avoid the format altogether, one of them recently replacing his DVD player with another - but then he still uses a 4:3 CRT television, and needed a machine which would interface with that.

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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#509 Post by artfilmfan » Sat Jun 14, 2014 10:58 am

Although I don't always like the packaging of the dual-format releases, I love and appreciate the extra DVD which allows me to watch the movie on laptop while away from home. It's sad that Criterion will discontinue the dual-format release.

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swo17
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#510 Post by swo17 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 11:21 am

Though I only ever watch the films on the Blu-rays and have no friends to loan the DVDs out to, the DVDs are handy for being able to take screencaps. Then there was the fact that my local library and Netflix actually started to carry the Blu-rays for many new Criterion releases (whereas they only used to stock DVDs when given the choice) so I wasn't having to blind buy Criterions just to be able to "rent" the Blu-rays. The only real negative about the dual-format releases (too many releases getting digipaks) was something that they just came up with a fix for, and which has had all of four days so far to be tested in the marketplace.

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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#511 Post by criterion10 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:05 pm

This is definitely disappointing news, especially considering the recent announcement of the plastic three disc case. The only qualms I ever had with Criterion going Dual-Format was the much larger package sizing, which really did have a negative effect on the small amount of space I have to store my DVDs/Blu-Rays. That being said, the new plastic case would have definitely helped out with conserving space.

The extra DVD discs were also of great use to me, considering that I only have a DVD player in my bedroom (Blu-Ray player downstairs). And they probably would have been of even greater use when I go to college next year.

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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#512 Post by YnEoS » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:34 pm

I'm still one of those primitive DVD watchers, but I really liked having the Dual Format option to start future proofing my collection in case I ever make the upgrade, and for when I take a movie over to a Blu-Ray enabled friend's place.

Dual Format means you can watch the movie on any player in the highest quality possible, what's there to complain about?

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life_boy
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#513 Post by life_boy » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:39 pm

Does this mean we might get Eclipse sets back in the pipeline?

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jindianajonz
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#514 Post by jindianajonz » Sat Jun 14, 2014 12:56 pm

life_boy wrote:Does this mean we might get Eclipse sets back in the pipeline?
Due to negative customer feedback, all future eclipse titles will be released on VHS

Arrow
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#515 Post by Arrow » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:03 pm

jindianajonz wrote:
life_boy wrote:Does this mean we might get Eclipse sets back in the pipeline?
Due to negative customer feedback, all future eclipse titles will be released on VHS
Good, then I can finally take something with me to watch when I stay at my Grandma's house.

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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#516 Post by cdnchris » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:11 pm

They should at least consider dual-format for some of their upgrades. Both Ace in the Hole and George Washington didn't get new transfers, but the encodes were new and improved over the previous DVDs. If they were still doing separate editions at the time I highly doubt they would have given George Washington a separate DVD upgrade along with the Blu-ray.

But I guess if customers who are still DVD-only don't care about the upgrade in picture Blu-ray offers, they're not going to care about a less noisy DVD presentation so maybe it makes no sense.

I'm actually pretty disappointed. Having the DVD made it easier to listen to the commentaries. I'm hoping it was economics (and i'm sure it was) and not the whiners about that extra 2mm of shelf space they take up or the fact they get an extra disc they don't want or they had a dinged corner on a digipak. Really hate to see how they react when they have a real problem.

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FakeBonanza
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#517 Post by FakeBonanza » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:22 pm

cdnchris wrote:Really hate to see how they react when they have a real problem.
Criterion has likely found out recently, with the misplaced DVD commentary in the L'eclisse set. I wonder how they will respond to that, since the information has been out there for a couple of weeks or so, and the company has yet to issue a public response (it's listed as on backorder on criterion.com, which may mean that they've pulled it).

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krnash
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#518 Post by krnash » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:31 pm

vsski wrote: I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player. And when I ask them why not I get typically the answer that the increased resolution that they admit exists is not worth it for them to make the extra investment in new equipment and paying higher prices for the discs. They feel that the upgrade and added handling convenience from VHS was sufficient and it's more about enjoying the film than the technical merits of the presentation, especially since few folks have 100" screens where the flaws of DVDs become even more noticeable.
While I agree with you on this point in general, I can't imagine the people who are not only watching but buying films like Au Hasard Balthazar and Marketa Lazarova are the same people who can't understand a resolution leap like this one. It's mind-boggling. That's what's so puzzling about this situation to me: Criterion caters to film buffs. I guess it seems almost hypocritical to me that there would be people out there concerned with film history enough to collect Criterion's canon but unwilling to make a $40 blu-ray player purchase.

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FakeBonanza
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#519 Post by FakeBonanza » Sat Jun 14, 2014 1:36 pm

krnash wrote:
vsski wrote: I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player. And when I ask them why not I get typically the answer that the increased resolution that they admit exists is not worth it for them to make the extra investment in new equipment and paying higher prices for the discs. They feel that the upgrade and added handling convenience from VHS was sufficient and it's more about enjoying the film than the technical merits of the presentation, especially since few folks have 100" screens where the flaws of DVDs become even more noticeable.
While I agree with you on this point in general, I can't imagine the people who are not only watching but buying films like Au Hasard Balthazar and Marketa Lazarova are the same people who can't understand a resolution leap like this one.
I'm sure there is a large segment of Criterion's customer base that has no interest in those films.

Perkins Cobb
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#520 Post by Perkins Cobb » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:50 pm

Can we get a thread title change to "Criterion Dual-Format Goes"? [Edit: "Criterion and Dual Format"? Borrrrrring!]

As to the question of how Criterion's presumed niche audience can still be Blu-ray resistant, well: Sturgeon's Law applies to film buffs, too. Even among people who claim to love movies, there are going to be 90% who don't get that "I don't care about image quality, I just want to watch the movie" is a contradiction in terms. It drives me nuts, but I've argued about it with a whole lot of people who ought to know better.
Last edited by Perkins Cobb on Sun Jun 15, 2014 10:57 am, edited 1 time in total.

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dwk
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Re: Forthcoming Lists Discussion and Random Speculation Vol.

#521 Post by dwk » Sat Jun 14, 2014 2:58 pm

FakeBonanza wrote:I wonder if we're going to see a box set in September. The rather sudden announcement of the end of the dual-format makes me think it could be motivated by a specific release. Surely, the dual-format box sets would've been particular targets of complaints.
I don't know, I think that the Zatoichi set might have only been possible because it was dual-format.

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DeprongMori
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#522 Post by DeprongMori » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:04 pm

I think Criterion's crazy implementation of the policy is what killed the strategy.

While it baffles me that the bulk of Criterion's film aficionado crowd is not already on Blu or planning to move to Blu, I fully supported the "Dual Format" strategy as a way of letting DVD laggers future-proof their collections, simplify the inventory management for Criterion and retail stores, providing people who have both formats to play where appropriate, etc, and proactively move their audience to a superior display format for essentially free.

I was confused by their move to "Dual Format" *plus* DVD-only releases, which made every argument for "Dual Format" moot. And now I'm baffled by their "no more Dual Format" position, rather than continuing to release them as appropriate.

My cut through the Gordian knot to do Dual Format right: Change the pricing model. If it's a single DVD disc worth of content, price Dual Format at $29.95. If it's two DVD discs worth of content, price Dual Format at $39.95. Use the new Scanovo 3-disc cases where appropriate and DigiPak where appropriate. No more new DVD-only releases. It would do away with all the griping and accomplish the stated goals.

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Gregory
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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#523 Post by Gregory » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:05 pm

Criterion's audience is a lot less niche than it ever used to be, in the LD days or the DVD era before they were able to snag as many major studio properties as they do now.
krnash wrote:Criterion caters to film buffs. I guess it seems almost hypocritical to me that there would be people out there concerned with film history enough to collect Criterion's canon but unwilling to make a $40 blu-ray player purchase.
I get what you're saying, but Criterion caters to all kinds of people who borrow and buy movies. Most Criterion titles are relatively niche films, but the major films have a lot of crossover and so Criterion has to pay attention to mainstream opinion about decisions like this.
Many (I want to say most) of them watch things on what I would call small displays, so the difference in picture quality is scarcely noticeable in most cases.

Still, if it's easy to overestimate the size of the BD market, as vsski says, then it's probably even easier to overestimate the size of the DVD market. Last year, DVD sales dropped 13.6% over the previous year, part of a years-long decline. I still buy DVDs when it makes sense to do so, but the market for the format is clearly going away. Blu-ray hasn't been strong enough to save the physical media market, but it's (barely) holding its own, and I think those who care about owning physical media should help support it whenever they can.

The really strong areas of the market are box office revenues and streaming. If physical formats are going to increasingly become a niche market, then it makes sense for the Blu-ray format to predominate there. More and more mainstream viewers who care little or not at all about optimal A/V are abandoning physical formats for streaming, with a certain number passively adopting Blu-ray. When people ask why anyone who still buys physical media in 2014 is still limited to DVD, I think they're asking why the transition I'm describing hasn't happened faster. I agree that it's puzzling. Criterion DVDs aren't exactly cheap like most other DVDs are, so why would someone who cares enough to want to buy media to build a physical library not pay a bit more (especially those who can take advantage of B&N 50% off sales etc.) to get the current and superior format?

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Re: Criterion Goes Dual-Format

#524 Post by flyonthewall2983 » Sat Jun 14, 2014 3:12 pm

Maybe we should change the title to "Criterion Went Dual-Format".

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tenia
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Re: Criterion and Dual Format

#525 Post by tenia » Sun Jun 15, 2014 9:48 am

felipe wrote:
vsski wrote:I really believe that folks on this forum overestimate the size of the BD market - yes it is probably larger among film aficionados but I have many friends who are as involved and crazy about films than I am and not one of them has a BD player.
People on this forum really overestimate the size of the BD market. Just like you, most of my friends only have a dvd player and no intention to upgrade. They say dvd is good enough for them, and it probably is. Film buffs or technology aficionados can certainly benefit from the superior quality of blu-ray, but I don't think it matters as much to the general public.
I'm not quite sure knowledgeable people like the one in here overestimate the size of BD market, especially in the US where you can have weekly figures to know the BD VS DVD market share.
However, we don't know the market share of BD VS DVD for independant labels like Criterion. And we surely don't know the general consumer view on BD, but surely, looking at the wide difference between the penetration of HD and the penetration of BD, what we might overestimate is how useful BD is for most people.

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