The Future of Home Video

Discuss North American DVDs and Blu-rays or other DVD and Blu-ray-related topics.
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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#76 Post by tenia » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:08 am

I don't know, I'm buying almost only catalog movies (probably 90% of what I buy), and the only DVDs I'm still buying are some Classic Confidentials, some MoC and a few BFI I have late like the COI collection. In 2012, I only bought about 40 DVD releases. I bought something like 350 BD releases.

I don't especially disagree with you, especially when it's clear that not all catalog movies can get a BD treatment. But I just wish that DVD would die for anything that has material HD-worthy, and that DVD would only be used for when the material is not in a good shape.

When some Classic Confidentials DVD releases are from HD material, but are only released on DVD because the market doesn't allow a BD release to be viable, it is extremely sad. In France, we are currently in a state where most of the Introuvables from Wild Side that are being released only on DVD, are released on BD by Olive (That Cold Day in The Park, for instance).

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TMDaines
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#77 Post by TMDaines » Sun Mar 10, 2013 9:54 am

Well put it this way. I'm far more indifferent to the announcements of Criterion and, to a lesser extent, MoC nowadays, because there seems to be less and less stuff making its DVD/Blu-ray debut. Whereas I'm far more excited to see that what the aforementioned labels (and some others) have on their schedule, as they continue to put out other films for the very first time anywhere in the world.

Don't get me wrong, one of the great things about Criterion is that virtually all mainline releases are getting BD releases now. This means that certain things such Rosi's Il momento della verita', which would never get a BD release elsewhere, are getting one. At the same time, however, it seems that because everything needs to be on BD, films that can't justify one financially or artistically are no longer getting a look in. I still don't think it's been a good thing that Criterion and MoC have got access to the majors' catalogues. In a ideal world, they themselves should be putting their own films out, but alas.

In summary: nine times out of ten I'd rather see something new on a decent DVD, then a film making the leap to 1080p - and I say this as both an ardent supporter of Blu-ray and someone who will also watch a terrible, VHS-sourced transfer of a television recording of a battered print, if that's the only way a film can be seen. I'm just here for the films themselves, first and foremost.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#78 Post by vsski » Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:42 am

While I agree with the basic premise that it's better to see a new film on DVD than having the "7th version" of Casablanca on BD - although the last version of Casablanca is a noticeable improvement over the previous BD-, for me just having a new film in any format and quality is no longer sufficient (unless it's a movie I've been dying to see for 20 years and can't get my hands on otherwise).

Quality plays a great role for me nowadays and I seldom buy anything blind anymore. E.g., in the beginning of DVD I bought all the Wellspring titles (listed elsewhere on this forum as now OOP), because Wellspring published so many titles I really wanted to see. But most of them are in very crappy editions and I seldom look at them anymore. So if they came out on BD there are quite a few I would repurchase, provided they are high quality BDs.

I also feel that my time is very limited and I can't possibly watch everything I want, so I focus on those titles that I know or have read about as being quality releases.

To go back to one of the origins of this thread, if it's titles I really want to see, but that I know aren't up to my desired quality standards either due to label screw ups or film elements, those may be the ones where streaming will become an option for me (but so far I have no intention of going in this direction, as my kevyip is far too great still).

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#79 Post by David M. » Sun Mar 10, 2013 1:27 pm

TV manufacturers have a lot to answer for with their MotionFlow shite, ambient backlight, and pisspoor factory settings all set to default right out of the box. It wouldn't be at all hard for them to have a "24fps 35mm Blu-ray" setting which automatically turns all that shite off and effectively calibrates your display for optimal Blu-ray viewing.
That's part of what my job has turned out to be over the last few years. And, it is getting better.

Panasonic have "True Cinema" on the mid-range models and THX/ISF modes on the higher-end ones. Samsung's "Movie" mode is usually also quite good. The trouble is, the viewer actually has to select that mode, and many don't change the default settings at all.

The fact that there are different names for what the accurate mode is, and sometimes more adjustments to be done afterwards, shows that we're not there yet. There's a lot of consumer education to do (the fact that a TV picture can be right or wrong is news to a lot of people, including those who should ideally know better, who are used to playing with the controls daily "to suit their preferences" as instructed by the manufacturer). But the situation is much better than it used to be: at least you CAN now get undistorted video out of most displays, even if you need to be a technician to do it!

The fact that you can't define a pixel to be a certain colour and brightness and get it out the other end undistorted (well, within reasonable manufacturing tolerances) is silly.

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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#80 Post by tenia » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:23 am

David M. wrote:There's a lot of consumer education to do (the fact that a TV picture can be right or wrong is news to a lot of people, including those who should ideally know better, who are used to playing with the controls daily "to suit their preferences" as instructed by the manufacturer). But the situation is much better than it used to be: at least you CAN now get undistorted video out of most displays, even if you need to be a technician to do it!
I've always been told "there are more differences between the same set calibrated and badly set up that between a good calibrated display and a below calibrated set". I've seen it, I can only agree with this assertion.

On the other end, I'm still amazed that all these years haven't been used for consumer education, when you think that this education should probably lead to a better understanding of HD and BD, so to a better understanding of what to expect from a consumer POV (so less complaint about grain, old movies on BD ans such stupid stuff) and probably more sales (now that people understands the benefits of BD over DVD).

That the editors and manufacturers aren't at this point, 8 years after the launch of BD, still amazes me.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#81 Post by MichaelB » Mon Mar 11, 2013 9:43 am

tenia wrote:I've always been told "there are more differences between the same set calibrated and badly set up that between a good calibrated display and a below calibrated set". I've seen it, I can only agree with this assertion.
I honestly think that a huge number of (perceived) problems with grain would be cured by simply turning the sharpness setting down to zero - which is what it should have been set to in the first place. If the transfer is grainy, excessive sharpness in the TV or monitor's settings exaggerates the effect in what can often be a very harsh and unpleasant way - and I suspect that's the root cause of many complaints.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#82 Post by David M. » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:31 am

I've always been told "there are more differences between the same set calibrated and badly set up that between a good calibrated display and a below calibrated set". I've seen it, I can only agree with this assertion.
Totally true, yes.

And what Michael said - when people complain that their Blu-rays are 'Fuzzy' I always explain that the film grain should be there in the background, giving texture to the picture, and if they have their Sharpness up too high, it'll become a distraction.

To confound all that, you have manufacturers shipping TVs that have sometimes undefeatable noise reduction (I've been assured the manufacturer has changed that this year). So what's left of the grain sticks on screen and stretches around. That's only the texture of course, most people are watching displays that tint the picture blue and push the colours up to 11. And the end result is a molotov cocktail of video crap. It's no wonder some directors still have this mindset that a video representation of their film will stink.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#83 Post by peerpee » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:18 pm

Totally agree with MichaelB and David M. on these points. A beautiful grainy Blu-ray can look absolutely shocking on the average TV with factory default settings. I've fiddled with many friends/family sets to turn all the gunk off.

It's a massive issue.

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Drucker
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#84 Post by Drucker » Mon Mar 11, 2013 2:33 pm

I was a novice/unaware about the importance of "basic" calibration until very recently, but another point worth noting is that each input requires fixing the settings individually. So once you've fixed all this stuff on your BD input, your cable input needs it, too, etc. I noticed my father-in-law to-be's DVD settings were fine, but last weekend actually adjusted it so that pure motion would be turned off when he watched TV. Half of what he watches are on-demand movies, and it's always bugged me when we watch TV.

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Matt
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#85 Post by Matt » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:02 pm

It depends on how you route your inputs. Provided you have enough HDMI inputs, you could send all devices through a receiver (or sound bar or other switcher) and then send a single cable from the receiver to the TV. You'd select your input via the receiver and not the TV. But if you're a fussbudget like me, you'll want to have slightly different settings for your TV for each input, so you can't do that.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#86 Post by David M. » Mon Mar 11, 2013 5:08 pm

It varies on the TV as well. Some don't have per-input settings. It's yet another gotcha for consumers to wade through.

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Brian C
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#87 Post by Brian C » Mon Mar 11, 2013 11:05 pm

Cable is such a random assortment of sources and standards that it hardly seems worthwhile to worry too much about the settings for your cable input beyond very broad strokes. I turned off all the default "enhancements" on my set for cable viewing, but beyond that, what looks great on one channel is bound to look wrong on another. Trying to get it minutely "right" seems like folly.

EDIT: Clearly I'm wrong about this, see David M.'s following post.
Last edited by Brian C on Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:46 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#88 Post by David M. » Tue Mar 12, 2013 12:08 am

^ That's actually not the case. All professional content* is mastered to video standards. The colour of white, the colours of red, green, blue, and to a similar but lesser extent, the amount of light output at each input signal level - it's all standardized. Most TVs in the default settings ignore some or all of them. Likewise, submitting programming for broadcast demands very strict standards for signal levels ("broadcast legal").

In the US, the colour gamut is slightly different between SD NTSC and HDTV, but not enough to turn people's faces pink or anything.

* Unless you're talking about public access TV or America's Funniest Home Videos, that is. I can't imagine those are too tightly controlled. With that said, I've not seen your local cable system either, but they'd have to actually go to a decent amount of effort to make two channels comply to visibly different standards (different resolutions notwithstanding).

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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#89 Post by tenia » Tue Mar 12, 2013 2:48 am

David M. wrote:That's actually not the case. All professional content* is mastered to video standards. The colour of white, the colours of red, green, blue, and to a similar but lesser extent, the amount of light output at each input signal level - it's all standardized. Most TVs in the default settings ignore some or all of them.
I always saw the usual TV settings as you described earlier : put on cold in order to have "whiter white" and then, saturation at maximum to have the colors popping. THen, you turn luminosity at the max too, and you have the most aggressive TV settings ever. Of course then, you can enable most of the technical shenanigans (even if some of them are not supposed to be on at the same time, like maximum sharpness and maximum DNR) : TruMotion, DNR, Sharpness, Overscan (yes, still in 2013).

It's far away from any calibration but seems that it's the most eye-catching for the end-consumer. That always amazes me, because it should be a complete turn-off, since there's no way it's close to any standard, or any reality in terms of Delta E. But people are so ignorant of this that it is, in fact, the complete opposite, and I always believed that this kind of thing is quite representative of the amount of knowledge people know about this.

It is truly quite sad.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#90 Post by Numero Trois » Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:49 am

tenia wrote:That the editors and manufacturers aren't at this point, 8 years after the launch of BD, still amazes me.
It was the same thing with Super Audio CD and DVD Audio. The outreach to consumers was severely lacking. Of course back then perhaps companies were distracted by the DVD and illegal downloading booms. At any rate maybe they just aren't used to learning how to communicate with the public. In both cases a real failure of the imagination.
tenia wrote:But people are so ignorant of this that it is, in fact, the complete opposite, and I always believed that this kind of thing is quite representative of the amount of knowledge people know about this.

It is truly quite sad.
TVs have been relatively simple devices in most people's lives until fairly recently. It's perfectly understandable that they wouldn't know otherwise. I'd say it's all on the manufacturers and studios.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#91 Post by MichaelB » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:16 am

Numero Trois wrote:It was the same thing with Super Audio CD and DVD Audio. The outreach to consumers was severely lacking. Of course back then perhaps companies were distracted by the DVD and illegal downloading booms.
...and the public was distracted by the concurrent rise of the MP3 player. Who cares about quality when you can cram an entire record collection into a box the size of a cigarette packet?

I suspect we're seeing a not dissimilar process right now with regard to BDs and streaming services - because the fact is that the average member of the public has never been that fussed about quality. I suspect that my wife is a far better representative of Josephine Public than any of us here, and she still claims not to be able to tell the difference between DVDs and BDs - which is partly to wind me up, of course, but also because she genuinely doesn't care. (She doesn't even care enough to switch on the equivalent HD channel, even though it doesn't cost anything extra!)

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#92 Post by David M. » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:33 am

TVs have been relatively simple devices in most people's lives until fairly recently. It's perfectly understandable that they wouldn't know otherwise. I'd say it's all on the manufacturers and studios.
Yes, the fault isn't the users. Manufacturers have confused the hell out of them.

Obviously there are manufacturing tolerances so not every uncalibrated TV can show the exact correct colour of white. But it's not unreasonable for them to assume that they can turn the device on and get a manufacturers' best attempt at delivering unmangled video. (See Panasonic's True Cinema mode in European markets, although it still has some strange setup decisions).

Honestly, what we need is for filmmakers to start complaining about this, and telling people and manufacturers that they don't consent to having their work mangled in this way at the point of delivery. I seem to hear very little from them about it; from what I gather, most of them aren't fully aware of the problem or the reasons behind it.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#93 Post by Drucker » Wed Mar 13, 2013 10:58 am

MichaelB wrote:(She doesn't even care enough to switch on the equivalent HD channel, even though it doesn't cost anything extra!)
Happens to me, too, Michael.

I'll never forget the marketing that Blu-Ray got when it was coming out. I worked at Target the summer of 2007, and here's what their TVs said, all day long, in an overly condescending voice:

"If you're not watching movies in Blu-Ray, then you're just not getting the most out of your HD-TV!".

This was a time in my life I had no interest in cinema, and I know my reaction at the time was "fuck these guys, telling me DVDs aren't good enough? What a scam!"

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#94 Post by FrauBlucher » Wed Feb 05, 2014 10:51 pm

This is web article I found on twitter that was retweeted by Master of Cinemas. It's an overview, that also tracts the evolution of the boutique labels.

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Re: The Future of Home Video

#95 Post by wattsup32 » Thu Feb 06, 2014 12:05 pm

MichaelB wrote:(She doesn't even care enough to switch on the equivalent HD channel, even though it doesn't cost anything extra!
This was a constant source of tension in my marriage. We still have a marriage. We no longer have cable.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#96 Post by danieltiger » Fri Apr 10, 2015 1:22 pm

Finally saw the new Vampyr packaging in person yesterday. Man they really killed a beautiful product. Just a simple two-disc DVD case as expected, and without the book.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#97 Post by MichaelB » Sat Apr 11, 2015 7:54 am

This is going to happen more and more often as the physical media market contracts.

Quite a few distributors in this area are now producing lavish "first editions" and stripped-down follow-ups (in the BFI's case, DVD-only ones), which seems to be the most rational response to the potentially fatal combo of an inexorably shrinking market and consumers unwilling to pay realistic prices (i.e. which actually reflect production costs instead of what competitors are charging for barebones knock-offs).

And additional physical media such as books is a hefty additional production expense

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Re: Criterion OOP

#98 Post by tenia » Sat Apr 11, 2015 8:49 am

MichaelB wrote:This is going to happen more and more often as the physical media market contracts.

Quite a few distributors in this area are now producing lavish "first editions" and stripped-down follow-ups (in the BFI's case, DVD-only ones), which seems to be the most rational response to the potentially fatal combo of an inexorably shrinking market and consumers unwilling to pay realistic prices (i.e. which actually reflect production costs instead of what competitors are charging for barebones knock-offs).

And additional physical media such as books is a hefty additional production expense
But at some point, it's not going to appeal to anybody anymore. I mean, if a niche of customers remains, I don't think they'll be satisfied with a stripped-down release. In the case of Criterion's Vampyr, I heartly agree with danieltiger in that they really killed a beautiful product, and for a Criterion release, it's just a shame.

I guess it all goes towards the same direction, which is that less and less even premium releases will feel as exhaustive and lavish, when it's actually with premium products that margins can be kept high (but most likely at the detriment of volume).

Sad, real sad.

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Re: Criterion OOP

#99 Post by MichaelB » Sat Apr 11, 2015 9:03 am

tenia wrote:But at some point, it's not going to appeal to anybody anymore. I mean, if a niche of customers remains, I don't think they'll be satisfied with a stripped-down release. In the case of Criterion's Vampyr, I heartly agree with danieltiger in that they really killed a beautiful product, and for a Criterion release, it's just a shame.
I suspect economics dictate that it's either a stripped-down product or nothing at all. Unless you're certain that you can sell enough of a fresh production run to justify the cost, it's not worth doing.

The "niche of customers", if they have any sense, will snap up desirable products as quickly as possible, even if it means paying a much more realistic amount than they're used to.
I guess it all goes towards the same direction, which is that less and less even premium releases will feel as exhaustive and lavish, when it's actually with premium products that margins can be kept high (but most likely at the detriment of volume).

Sad, real sad.
But inevitable. No two ways about it, this is a dying market, and it's a situation that's unlikely to change.

In all seriousness, if anyone has any alternative ideas for how to get around the pretty intractable economics of the current situation, I'm all ears, and will gladly pass them onto people who are in a position to something about it. But it's highly revealing that the likes of Criterion, the BFI and Arrow have all adopted similar production models at more or less the same time.

(The thing that would make a measurable difference would be a substantial reduction in the cost of producing Blu-rays, but that particular ball is firmly in Sony's court.)

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Criterion OOP

#100 Post by TMDaines » Sat Apr 11, 2015 10:10 am

I think my position as a consumer has shifted in the last six months or so too. I only got into film when starting my German and Italian degree in Oct '09. Since then I've bought about 1500 films on DVD and Blu-ray, importing heavily from the US, Italy, Germany, France and even elsewhere, e.g. Hungary. I've also made contacts to get hold of some really rare stuff from Poland and Ukraine produced by cultural centres. A lot of the stuff that I have bought is not English friendly and so I have a hoard of fan subtitles too. When I was uni, I watched everything through my PC and have since used laptops and HTPCs hooked up to TVs ever since. DVD and Blu-ray players are garbage compared to what a PC will allow you to do, e.g. use fansubs, play PAL at 24fps, correct stretched or squashed video etc.

I've started to use Plex on my HTPC to house all my digital content, which is mostly rare stuff from the back channels. The software is brilliant and the temptation to start ripping my discs and have everything digital in one system is very strong. I can be sitting here in Ukraine and access my home server in the UK and stream anything that I own.

I still love buying the deluxe editions that CC, MoC, Arrow and a load of foreign labels put out, but I'm struggling to justify housing several hundred barebones (or virtually barebones) discs at this point. Why have a DVD case taking up valuable home space to house a single DVD with only an SD copy of the film? I could store hundreds of these on a server, with very little perceptible quality loss, which would grant me instant access to them with any fansubs ready alongside them. Suddenly putting a DVD in machine seems laborious!

I wouldn't consider parting with my deluxe and special editions, laden with booklets and extras, at this point, but the temptation to cull my physical collection and only keep those that have some real value - other than the film they contain - is very strong right now.

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