It’s still difficult to tell what is going to happen with Blu-ray. Is it finally going to pick up steam and become a widely adopted technology? Will it remain a niche product like Laser Disc was? Could we see it go on to become the default format a few years down the road? It’s next to impossible to predict because, lets face it, launching a new format around the time a global economic slump was starting couldn’t have been timed worse if they had tried.
One of the drawbacks to this situation is it could have easily driven people to just give up and walk away from the format, especially with all of the up-scaling DVD players out there these days. Then someone somewhere got one of the few good ideas I’ve seen come out of Hollywood: bundle other formats with the Blu-ray
Having just been burned by HD-DVD, the only reason I picked up a Blu-ray player was I was offered a ton of free films and the option to trade a bunch of HD-DVDs for Blu-ray equivalents. I figured why not, and then wasn’t really sure I would ever buy any more Blu-ray discs, and went on with life. Then I started to notice “Combo Packs” showing up where for just a few dollars more than a DVD I could pick up the Blu-ray with the DVD also packaged in the same case. “Hmm, why not future-proof myself?”, I thought, and I started going that route with my purchases.
Every so often you score a trifecta where the Blu-ray also comes with a digital copy (or more correctly, a code for a download) as well as the DVD. In the case of Kick-Ass, it cost me $7 dollars more than the DVD, which was pushing my limit a bit, but for a movie I loved, I went for it.
The brilliance here is that, for once, Hollywood is actually thinking about the consumer as opposed to trying to find new ways to squeeze even more money out of us. (I’m looking at you Avatar!) Yes, in the long run it helps them if the format gets more widely adopted, but for now it is like giving a security blanket to the consumer. If Blu-ray dies out, I have two other formats. I have multiple DVD players in my house, but only one Blu-ray, at least this lets me change rooms to watch. I have an iPad, and movies look pretty good on it, so at least I can take favorite ones on trips with me.
To be honest, I don’t put the Blu-rays on the TV that often because I tend to move around the house a lot as I work, but at least I now have options to watch most films on my terms as opposed to someone else’s. I also don’t have to worry about being told I’m breaking the law for changing the way I do (i.e. ripping a DVD). So in a rare, rare occurrence, I must say, “Thank you, Hollywood for thinking ahead for once.”
What say you? Do you like being given an option of formats with your purchase?