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Why Blu Ray Failed

Will Disney and Sony's anti-piracy efforts only further alienate consumers?

Stephen Green


June 28, 2013 - 11:00 am


I should very excited about this story, but I’m not. We’ll get to the why not in just a moment:

In a bid to limit movie piracy in Asia, Disney and Sony have quietly begun testing a bold new on-demand service in South Korea which offers movies to rent while they are still playing in theaters. As noted by the Wall Street Journal, the two companies are the first US studios to provide consumers anywhere with the option to buy a ticket to see a movie or watch it in their own home using their cable, internet, or satellite-TV subscription. Django Unchained, Wreck-it Ralph, and Brave had all been made available as part of the trial.

These are 2012 movies here in the States, but I’m assuming based on the story they’re in current release overseas.

But why make this a piracy-fighting move? Why not just …I dunno… give audiences what they want? Increasingly, that’s to watch movies in the comfort of our own homes, with a picture quality better than many movie theaters of just ten or 15 years ago.

I’m still counting on Hollywood to screw this one up, however.

Do you know why Blu-Ray has failed to take the place of DVD in lining Hollywood’s pockets? Because Blu-Ray sucks. The picture quality is outstanding. And the sound is an audiophile’s dream. But the discs are so locked down that they’re a total pain in the bottom to actually use. Loaded with FBI warnings we can’t skip, menus that can take forever to load, and years-old previews you’re forced to watch again and again. And — oh, yeah — most of the movies are crap.

So we rent from Red Box or stream from Netflix or download from iTunes. Or we just pirate the stuff.

Because as nice as it sounds to be able to stream a current summer blockbuster release like Melting Flying Zombies vs The Buxom Flamethrower Pirates, I’m pretty sure Hollywood would fill it up with all the same, lame stuff they cram onto shiny new Blu-Ray discs.


Cross-posted from Vodkapundit

Stephen Green began blogging at in early 2002, and has served as PJMedia's Denver editor since 2008. He's one of the hosts on PJTV, and one-third of PJTV's Trifecta team with Scott Ott and Bill Whittle. Steve lives with his wife and sons in the hills and woods of Monument, Colorado, where he enjoys the occasional lovely adult beverage.

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All Comments   (5)
All Comments   (5)
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Blu Ray hit the wall, not quite as bad as SACD and DVD-Audio. In fact downgraded MP3 has nearly replaced the old standard of Redbook CD.

This is what we are seeing....with Blu-Ray and Streaming. The exact same thing at play.

4K is going to be strictly niche.

I dont own a Blu-Ray player. Still rent DVDs from the library and stream over Netflix and Amazon.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Note to Hollywood:
1. Make terrible movies,
2. Make the product so hard to use that no does use it,
3. Interject your politics into everything,
4. Result; don't be surprised if you are a miserable failure.

Maybe it is Bush's fault!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I agree with Raymond: Blu-Ray isn't what's failed. It's the content and the anti-piracy efforts that are a flop. The same people who broke past the DRM on DVDs are doubtless developing ways to eat right through the DRM on BR discs as well so they can cut out all the mandatory-play nonsense. When home burning hardware and software gets inexpensive enough, people everywhere will be using BR discs much the same way they did the DVDs and CDs before them.

Of course, just like CDs and DVDs, BR discs will soon be going obsolete too; the way things are trending, computers and the internet are already swallowing television and will soon devour Hollywood as well. Future movies may well be sold as .iso files on cheap thumb drives rather than encoded on discs, and eventually just sent out via direct downloads. The few movie theaters that survive the dissolution of today's increasingly obsolete distribution system will have to reinvent themselves first as nostalgia pieces and then as arenas for public spectacles much like sports stadiums. (In fact, I've already heard of some theaters selling tickets to people to watch the Super Bowl on the big screen.)

Even then, theaters will face considerable competition from a lot of people who've already got enormous computer/TV monitors and sound systems at home that can justifiably be called home theaters. Hollywood will still be making movies, of course, but it'll have to go the way of TV in decentralizing into all kinds of niche marketing rather than relying on huge blockbusters to turn a profit.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Are they really schmaltzing up the BR's? I've been (years!) delinquent in upgrading my DVD player and was looking forward to the BR.

Even with the DVD I usually put in the disk and go get a snack before trying to view it, but while I have a couple that auto-boot to previews, I think I have maybe one out of a hundred or so, that FORCES you to watch stuff. Of course lots have tedious FBI warnings and the like, but that's the purpose of the snack time.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Please don't confuse media with content. I went for Blu-Ray while I had (and still have) just a 720p display. Even so, picture and sound is better, and will get better still when I go full 1080p. But don't blame them because Hollywood only turns out a few decent releases a year. There's a lot of quality older stuff available in this newer format. And it's worth an extra 30 cents for the Blu-Ray version from my local Redbox.

Yes, BR disks take longer to load than DVD (I suspect due to the Java processing), but would the HD format have been a better next-generation format? Who can say today. But I keep an older DVD around to more quickly load CDs and 4:3 DVDs to handle those.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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