Warner Bros boss moots 'disc-to-digital' scheme
New files for old
Warner Bros wants you to trade in your DVDs for cloud-stored video files, the home entertainment's president has indicated - its latest method to persuade punters to buy rather than rent.
Speaking at a Morgan Stanley tech confab in San Francisco this week, Warner Home Entertainment Group President Kevin Tsujihara outlined an initiative, dubbed ’Disc-to-digital’, under which movie fans will be able take discs back to shops and get digital copies.
Likewise, online retailers will provide links to downloadable copies of disc contents. And Tsujihara said he can envisage a time when playing a disc for the first time will automatically add the title to your online library of downloadable files.
There's no timeframe for the plan, but it's clear Tsujihara and co. see it as a way of steering punters away from file-sharing sites and from disc rental and streaming services such as Netflix and Lovefilm.
The industry fears these services not simply because they generate far less revenue for it, but because it encourages, it believes, a 'rent and rip' culture. Disc-to-digital is about replacing that with 'buy and download'.
Make it easier for people to get legitimate copies - duplicates that, unlike rips, will be DRM'd, of course, so can't be shared - of content they've already paid for, and they'll be more likely to carry on buying discs, goes the theory.
Such a scheme could tap into UltraViolet, the Hollywood-backed standard cloud-based film library - with associated DRM tech - that, the industry hopes, will get folk buying Blu-ray Discs to keep. ®
"its latest method to persuade punters to buy rather than rent."
I am confused by that statement. I think that means exactly the opposite - they seem to want you to give back your physical disc, which you've bought and which they have no way of clawing back from you and, in exchange, give you access to a DRMed copy stored on their server, which they fully control and which they can withhold from you any time they like.
In other words they want you to rent rather than buy, not the other way round.
So you want me to trade me my physical, unrevokable, hard copy of digital data that I can perfectly on any standardised machine, can rip to a perfect digital copy in a matter of minutes, including removing all those horrendous ten-minute adverts and unskippable menus (not to mention region encoding), so that I receive in return an online, revokable, copy of the digital data (format not specified) where i can't do any of that stuff at all.
That's a real nice plan. For you. I don't see anything in it for me. I don't do piracy, but I do make digital copies of my own disks onto a hard drive so that I can get rid of all that junk and - shock, horror - just play the damn movie that I bought.
I've yet to buy one of those "we'll give you an online copy too" DVD's that are already out (so this isn't really news). My dad asked me what they were the other week and after I explained what you'd need to do to play them, he just said "Wouldn't be easier to just copy the disc that's in the same box onto your computer?" This is a man who doesn't know how to right-click.
Seriously. If you want me to do it, advertise to me using words that I can appreciate: No region-encoding. No UOP's. No adverts. Same digital data. And not having to trade in my original copy at all.
"In other words they want you to rent rather than buy"
Not exactly right. They want you to think you're buying something when you're actually only paying for a service.
The cloud is the biggest waste of space and scam in the history of IT. There is no way any of us should be willing to accept a situation where what we have bought can be lost simply because the seller doesn't want to offer it to us any more.
Looked like a good plan until they said "DRM". So I can access it only on approved devices (no Linux), and I can't put a copy on my smartphone/tablet for when I travel and won't have connectivity. Fail, fail, and fail again. I'll keep ripping.
Until they let me use these digital copies on my Linux box, which most current ones won't, I'll stick to ripping my DVDs manually.