Why Do Blu-Ray Distributors Hate Me?

A bit of captain obvious on every disc...

I rent a fair number of Blu-Ray titles through Netflix. I also purchase a smaller number of Blu-Ray titles for my modest collection–movies I’ll want to watch a few times, examine the extras of in detail, and perhaps even put into my yearly “oh, I haven’t watched that in a while” rotation.

Which is the problem. Because the majority of the Blu-Ray titles I happen to own and watch repeatedly begin, right off the bat, with a trailer advertising how great Blu-Ray is. You can probably guess my forthcoming rant.

Why, oh why, does the distributor think that the virtues of Blu-Ray need to be extolled to someone who already owns a frigging Blu-Ray player!? Seriously. I plunked down the money for the player. I wouldn’t be seeing the stupid ad if I hadn’t. And I’m obviously watching a Blu-Ray disc, so what possible purpose could this kind of preaching to the choir have other then to piss me off after the third viewing of the same disc.

True, I could skip the offending ad with the touch of a button. However, I’m usually too busy dimming lights around the living room and grabbing a glass of beer (love those nitrogen widgets!) to catch it at first given the boot-up time necessary for the magic of Blu-Ray to take place. Then the hype machine starts up, I start sputtering about being nagged over buying something I already own, and my wonderfully patient and understanding wife smiles a calm smile for the umpteenth time and hands me the remote, so as not to deny me the pleasure of skipping the ad, with vigor.

My quickdraw ability with the remote is not the point. One possible point is that these little ads are one more grain of sand on the beach of reasons for physical media haters to decry the obsolescence of any disc format. An argument I have little patience for since the highly compressed video delivered by streaming or downloadable media services pales in comparison to a nicely compressed Blu-Ray disc. Yes, I’ve tried Netflix on demand and Amazon streaming. Yes, it’s awesome and convenient. And yes, I find the video quality is inferior, and I’m tired of the occasional skips. At the moment, I still like discs for movies I really care about seeing.

Getting back to my ad hatery, the real point is there’s no reason for it.

It’s not like the Blu-Ray authoring that creates the discs for manufacturing somehow leverages the authoring that went into making the DVD version of the same title. Both formats have widely different authoring requirements, and both sets of discs need to be created separately. No, I can instead imagine some executive or another demanding “I don’t care if we’re hyping the format to people who already own it, we need to make sure they’re constantly reminded that the more expensive discs are the best!” As if the folks who took the trouble and expense to go out of their way to assemble an HD television and Blu-Ray player combination are somehow not going to be aware of which discs to buy. Perhaps I’m being optimistic, but I suspect that owners of PS3’s and $200+ dedicated players are capable of “grabbing the blue box off the the shelf.”

If you’re going to burden customers with an ad, burden ones who might actually have a reason for buying the product (sorry DVD watchers) and might possibly need to be made aware that there’s a higher-quality format out there that they can blow their hard-earned cash on. (This is assuming they’re not part of the 10% unemployed as of this writing, or the undoubtedly larger percentage of working poor who don’t have the money to spend on this kind of nonsense.)

But better yet, why don’t you just leave us all alone. Skip the ads telling us how great your format is. Skip the trailers that are going to be outdated in five months. Just throw up a menu and let us watch the damn movie we gave you our money for.


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