10 Reasons Why Physical Media Owns!

Posted by Mehar Gill on December 12, 2008 
Filed Under: Blu-ray, Downloads, Format War, Software

Let’s face it, before the last format war was even over a new one had begun, both formats had to fight an uphill battle, leaving the winner to fight alone for “true” reign of the market. With a slew of pro digital download announcements, we here at Format War Central decided to give Physical Media the spot light by telling the world “Hey, Physical Media Still Kick’s Ass!”.

  1. People Like Physical: Wether its a 12″ vinyl record or simply a DVD case, people have always wanted something they could hold, to tell them “Hey, you own that!”. Stigma related to this ensures people will always have place in their hearts for years to come.
  2. Bit Rates: Consumers are a odd bunch when it comes to quality, some are fine with VCD type video playing back on their 55″  HDTV, others won’t settle for that, they want the best! Physical media is capable of reaching bit rates which currently wouldn’t be possible on digitally distributed content for a variety of reasons.
  3. You Can’t Sell Digital: If you’re sitting on 50 copies of Doom on HD DVD hoping they’ll be worth something one day, don’t bother. Depending on the title, you could get a hefty sum of money for it down the line. Unfortunately, the same would not apply to digital content, something tells us your 20GB Xbox 360 HDD filled with the third season of Heroes won’t hold much value 20 years down the line, infact a few months down the line and were sure the HDD would be worth more than the show! We wonder how much your colorized Casablanca VHS is worth?
  4. Unified: With Digital Downloads, almost everyone and their sister [company] are releasing a distribution device/platform, it’s a lot to take in! To add to the frustration none of them will work “across the board”. Compared to lets say a Blu-ray player where you can play almost every format known to man, including Blu-ray, DVD, CD, HD DVD [combo player], VHS (Yes that’s right, VHS!) and more! Adding to the irony, many also have the ability to stream content from places like Netflix and soon Blockbuster!
  5. Restrictions Restrictions!: When Digital Downloads were ushered in it meant doom for users who imported their movies. Before region coding was the only issue to worry about, with downloads restrictions are but not limited to: 
    • ISP Locks: In today’s day and age it’s not hard for providers to cut you off solely based on the country your connection is coming from.
    • D.R.M.X!: You may have heard of Digital Rights Management, but have you heard of Digital Rights Management Xtreme! before? With Digital Distributed content, DRM has been taken to new heights, giving you viewing windows, HDD locks, and a whole slew of other nasty surprises.
    • The Studio Equation: Believe it or not, studios only want you to give them money when they tell you too! Despite the digital market being capable of providing millions in revenue, studios choose to ignore the market or limit them. Theirs a reason why your countries XBLVM only has 10 HD movies while the American store has close to 1000
  6. 6.So Easy Howard Stern Can Do It!: Pop in your disc/tape and play, simple isn’t it? Compared to downloads where you have to find the movie you want to watch,  queue, optionally wait for it to download, find where the file is stored, and playback, if necessary take time out of your experience to watch the buffer bar load.
  7.  Instant Access: It goes without saying, if you want a top quality video distributed digitally, streaming just won’t cut it.
  8. “I always feel like somebody’s watching me”: If you tend to use your VUDU box or Bit Torrent Client (Legally….we hope) at least once a day to watch your HD/HDX movies, odds are someone will take notice. We won’t blame you if you decide to watch Tropic Thunder while your neighbour gets fined and/or arrested for “piracy”.
  9. It’s Not A Wired World!: Shockingly surprising yes we know, their are locations in this world that have have little to no Internet access at all (Even in North America!)! Despite not even having 56K access, there is a really good chance those locations have access to at least one form physical media to enjoy.
  10. No Back Up Plan: In a Democratic system, a company is capable of losing millions overnight, the unfortunate case for many is they are forced to shutdown. Suppose your favourite content provider is forced to shut down their servers for any reason, any content you bought would be gone! Any DRM server checks needed for content to work would fail, leaving you with an empty shell of a movie/album/game. Although some services, such as Microsoft Digital Locker (Confirmed to be shutting down this morning, August 2009) allow you to back up your data periodically, unfortunately this model is yet to applied to any other service.

Disclaimer: If your product and/or service was mentioned, it’s not because were targeting you or anything, it was just a unbiased example.

If you have any comments, corrections, or anything of the sort feel free to post about it below!

Related posts:

  1. Digital Downloads to Overtake Physical Media by 2017?
  2. 5 Reasons Why HD DVD Owners Should Go Blu
  3. Shane Kim: “Blu-ray Won’t Take Off”
  4. Swag Giveaway: Home Media Expo Edition
  5. VUDU: A Few Questions Answered


14 Responses to “10 Reasons Why Physical Media Owns!”

  1. Mike Russo on December 12th, 2008 7:06 am

    Sum of money, not “some” of money.

  2. Mehar Gill on December 12th, 2008 8:13 am

    @Mike Russo – This accidentally slipped past our quality assurance team :p

  3. Dave Cowl on December 12th, 2008 10:23 am

    I can add an eleventh, though it ties in with one or two.

    Having a collection of something is a thing we (mostly as men) like to do.

    Stamps, State quarters, Star Wars action figures, and of course movies.

    I have discussed this with my wife often as she ‘doesn’t get’ the idea of collections and how it is a meaningful thing to we ‘hunter, gatherer’ types.

    I am sure that we can find papers on why we like to have collections – all I know is that we do! :D

  4. Ray Von Geezer on December 12th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Another one you can add (though it’s kind of related to “You can’t sell digital”) is that it’s difficult to insure ANY data. Just try claiming on your insurance for the contents of a stolen, fried or “toddler-modified” hard disk and you’ll get short shrift regardless of whether it contained your last 10 years accounts, irreplacable pictures of your late Auntie Doris, your entire movie collection (let’s not talk about all that porn).

    ‘Course, you CAN probably just download it all again…….

    Ray Von

  5. monkeyleader on December 13th, 2008 12:26 am

    So I thnk your argument here is a little dated … I’m actually starting to find myself switching from physically owning discs to looking at a combination of digital and physical.

    I’ve learnt that there are more people out there who are not concerned with owning the discs, rather just wanting to watch the movie. For me things like extras, BD live content etc is fantastic but my wife couldn’t care less – she just wants to watch the movie and be done with it. I know a lot of people are the same.

    Today a BlueRay disk is on average £17 – now try and get the normal punter to pay that when they can get it digitially (and legally) for around £5 or under.

    I also have a massive collection of DVDs, most of which are now appearing on BD disk. I’m starting the long process of going through the DVD collection to see which ones I actually want to keep but don’t need on BD, or which ones I’d like to upgrade. Then of course there are ones which I look at and think “what was I thinking”

    In these challenging economic times the rental industry is one that has pricked my interest – and up until now I’ve been on the side of the “I need to own the disk” fence.

    For the foreseeable future I can see myself mixing it up – owning disks which I really want or can pickup cheap suplimited with a larger collection of digitail rentals

    Apple TV arrived during the week ( and within a few hours it was up and running, all media sync’d from around the house and my wife had ordered a movie from the iTunes store and was watcing it.

    The ultimate test for the gadgets I own is her reaction – and she approves in a big way of the Apple TV model


  6. Dave Cowl on December 13th, 2008 8:14 am

    I agree that downloads or streaming can be a nice alternate to the rental model.

    Now that TiVo and Netflix work together, I am seriously considering getting a Netfix account to try it out (as well as renting BDs of course).

    For me it is something I am willing to look at if it is handed to me (like it was) – not so interested in buying a new box…

  7. tom vinelli on December 13th, 2008 9:33 am

    i’m sure your wife collects something.
    this is a case of she just doesn’t like what you collect.

  8. tom vinelli on December 13th, 2008 9:37 am

    i just think its human nature to collect things,its been going on for forever.
    no one can say for sure what the future holds.
    will just have to get there to be sure.

  9. Reaching on December 13th, 2008 11:19 am

    monkeyleader, where are you buying HD downloads at 5 quid each?

  10. Ryan on December 14th, 2008 12:20 pm

    Truth! I don’t like most digtal downloads because of the restrictions behind them – I don’t want to purchase such a limited item, whereas I can do whatever I want when I buy a physical product – less policing!

  11. mvbd2511 on December 14th, 2008 9:29 pm

    I think you hit the nail on the head here. Physical media when it comes to movies offers so many advantages over streaming that I don’t even consider streaming to be a competitor. Streaming media has its place but it is certainly not going to take over physical media any time soon…Nothing more frustrating than getting “your movie will start in 4 hours” when you try to watch it on Netflix streaming…and this is on a cable connection….

  12. Ryan on December 15th, 2008 10:55 am

    I think also now there is a certain lack of respect out there for downloads, since we’ve been (illegally) downloading music for years and years, people (myself included sometimes) often think “well if I’m going to download it, why not download it free over here instead of paying over there?” I’m not saying it’s right but that’s the truth. I feel better about my buying an actual physical product so I have the case and liner notes etc – versus paying to watch the movie I could’ve watched for free through alternate means.

  13. John on December 15th, 2008 3:58 pm

    Brilliantly said! Every one of those is spot on, especially #9. It’s amazing how some people expect digital downloads to take over when a billions of people all over the world have no broadband access. When the Internet is available at broadband speed over 99.9% of the surface of the earth (oceans included) then maybe digital downloads will have a chance.

    One other addition is that digital downloads rarely (if ever) also include extras. That’s certainly not an issue for a lot of people, possibly most, but there is a large number of people who do enjoy bonus content beyond the movie itself.

  14. Mehar Gill on December 15th, 2008 5:01 pm



    Although that definitely isn’t a reason to stop Digital Downloads from taking over, it would definitely stop a 100% take over like many claim.

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