July 26, 2012

DVD -- obsolescence

I used to own a laserdisc player. In fact, over the years I think I owned three of them. I had the original Pioneer top-loading player, and later I had a front-loader from someone else. And I had a big collection of laserdiscs, too, an embarassingly large number of which were X-rated.

The DVD made the laserdisc obsolete. And eventually I started buying DVDs in huge quantities. (An embarassingly tiny percentage of which are X-rated. I tell you; it's hard to be a perv when you're old. I think it's been ten years since I last bought any porn on a disc.) I don't have any of my laserdiscs any more; not worth keeping.

And I'm not so sure about my DVDs, either. Yesterday I had an urge to rewatch episode 9 of Kamichu. I was faced with a choice: I could walk over to my shelf and get my copy of the third DVD, or I could pop onto the interwebz and download a rip of the series onto my WHS NAS, and then play it from there.

Guess which I did?

At this point, DVDs are just too inconvenient. I don't even remember the last time I watched one. Fact is, I don't watch BDs either, though I buy a fair number of them. For the last year or so, all my disc purchases have been guilt buys or sequel-encouragement buys, and a lot of them never get unwrapped once they get delivered.

Watching an MKV is more convenient. If the person who encoded it is even halfway competent then the video quality is the same. And it's more convenient to navigate an MKV file, moving backward and forward, because there isn't any disc-head moving around.

It's also more convenient to find the damned things. Searching for a DVD around here means searching the shelf, and if it isn't there then it means searching through plastic crates. But finding something on my NAS is trivial by comparison. I keep directories in alphabetic order by show title, but if I can't find something even so, I can let Windows do a search for a keyword in the title. If I've got it, I can find it within five minutes at the outside without leaving my chair.

And if I don't have it on my NAS, I can probably find and download it in pretty short order. It only took about 20 minutes for me to download Kamichu last night.

Quality and convenience... the marketplace recognized a need, and no commercial company was willing (or at least was permitted) to fill it. So amateurs stepped in. Now the structure that's in place -- all, I might mention, volunteer -- is huge and well-organized and efficient. It's no wonder that the content producers are terrified of it.

But they've got no one to blame but themselves. When the tide is coming in, you can't make it stop by ignoring it.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in General Anime at 01:10 PM | Comments (8) | Add Comment
Post contains 492 words, total size 3 kb.

1 The astonomically high prices of anime blu-ray box sets don't help either. I'm not about to pay $40 per episode.

Maybe later, when I actually have a job and make money.

Posted by: Jordi Vermeulen at July 26, 2012 01:25 PM (AJZdn)

2 It isn't necessarily that bad, even for Japanese discs. The BDs for Mouretsu Pirates are 4-eps per disc (except the first one, which was 2 eps) and the last one I received was 6300 yen, which is about $80. $20 per episode is still quite high, of course, but it isn't like the outright train robbery that they used to charge. Anyway, I am not buying these because I want to watch them. I'm buying these because I want a sequel series.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2012 01:33 PM (+rSRq)

3 I only have 1 BD: the Royal Space Force movie. Never had and LDs, but I still have DBZ on VHS.

Posted by: Pete Zaitcev at July 26, 2012 02:14 PM (5OBKC)

4 Another reason it's even as high as $20 per episode is because the exchange rate is so pitiful these days. As of right now, it's 78 yen to the dollar. Seems like it wasn't so long ago that it was more like 120.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2012 02:32 PM (+rSRq)

5 I still buy and watch a lot of DVDs/BDs, but I think that's mostly because my computer skills and hardware are pretty rudimentary, and I've just never had the strong inclination to upgrade either.  I've spent my time and money on other things.  But that's clearly an anachronistic attitude.  Given notepads and smartphones and the general ubiquity of high end hardware, fewer and fewer people are going to be interested in messing around with such a clumsy medium.  You're right -- those shiny round objects are dead-discs spinning.

Posted by: Dave Young at July 26, 2012 04:00 PM (ZAk0Z)

6 I've three or four BDs, but all because they came in a DVD/BD combo pack... Ga-Rei Zero, for example, came that way.  I have no way to watch them at the moment; no BD player, and no TV with the requisite resolution.

Of course, my computer is no better: no BD drive, and a swell monitor with a 16:10 aspect ratio (1440x900) that is too big for 720p, too weak for 1080p.

Feh.  It was inexpensive.

Posted by: Wonderduck at July 26, 2012 05:02 PM (kYjgN)

7 Another reason I don't really play DVDs any more is because I've gotten spoiled by 720p and 1080p. 480p playback feels like looking at a postage stamp, especially on this display. It's 120 dpi, so a 640*480 image is 5.3 inches by 4 inches. And if I blow it up to double size, everything is blurry. 

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at July 26, 2012 09:07 PM (+rSRq)

8 With a good codec, and especially if the anime is in anamorphic on the DVD, it looks fine even on my 1080p monitor.  

However, I'm in exactly the same boat.  I've been noted on occasions to break out my fansubbed versions of DVDs I own.  Though I at least actually watched Eureka 7 again off the DVDs, recently.

Though, for me, the hilarious one is with FLCL.  I paid list price for the original SynchPoint releases (well, less a little RightStuf discount) and still have that wonderful set sitting in a nice location.  I've got at least 2 digital versions on HDDs right now and I think 2 more burned off on DVDs somewhere.  So, when I feel like watching it, I just pop up digital copies, hehe.

Though I do tend to have one problem with DVDs these days, though it's more noticeable with rips.  DVDs really are quite desaturated in the color space compared to BluRays.  It isn't even because of the added color depth.  It just seems like they have much higher lumina values.  Though it's not a complete given, it just seems like a common problem. 

Posted by: sqa at July 27, 2012 03:27 AM (5/dUV)

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