BLOG Where Have All The Extras Gone?

DVDs don’t seem to be as packed as they used to be, notices Steven Ellis

I realise that it’s a tactic by the film companies; they want us buying the Blu-rays, so they put all the extra bits on them to make them a bit more enticing. The DVD format is suffering as a result; even the two-disc special editions of DVD releases are getting short shrift these days…

Removing content from one format in favour of the other is a pretty mercenary thing to do. It gives the more discerning consumer less choice and less choice is always going to piss people off.

I understand the business thinking behind it. I don’t like it, but I do understand it. Blu-ray is the new technology; they charge us a little bit more for it. They want to push the Blu-ray format. It’s the new kid on the block that was designed to supersede DVD. The technology is gives better picture quality and you can get more data on the disc, so there’s always the prospect of getting more for your money on a Blu-ray. But Blu-ray sales have never been as good as companies want and show no signs of catching the numbers of DVD sales, at least in the stats I was able to find.

It would seem a lot of people just aren’t buying into the HD thing as much as the people selling it would like.

With this new technology coming so soon after DVD swept the world, most people have only just replaced all their video collections and are happy with DVDs.

The difference in price of players and individual Blu-ray films, while becoming cheaper all the time, is is still wide enough to stop Blu-rays becoming the number one choice. They’re simply not as enticing as the film companies would like.

Given the choice, I’m happy to stick with my DVDs for the time being. I have a perfectly good DVD player and I’m happy with the technology. I have loads of DVDs and I have no problem with the picture quality. I’m not being a Luddite; I know all about up-scaling and I do intend to make the Blu-ray leap at some point, probably when my current DVD player dies a death. What I don’t like is having the choice taken away from me; I don’t like the feeling of being pushed into it. I love films, I buy lots of films and I’m really interested in the extras and all the background stuff and I love commentaries. Having them taken away from my chosen format is a kick in the teeth.

Another thing I’ve noticed this past month is the lack of commentaries on several new releases. DVD releases of X-Men: First Class , Captain America and Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes , amongst other, all came minus a commentary – or with very little else – while the Blu-rays are jam-packed with extra goodies. This, for m,e is a step too far. I love the commentaries. If I’m pushed I can do without the making-of documentaries, deleted scenes and the group back-patting that often count as extras. But the commentaries are something I really would miss. Again I feel like I’m being forced to make the leap to Blu-ray and I’m not happy about that at all.

I don’t see the DVD format disappearing anytime soon. Shops still have far more DVDs than Blu-rays on their shelves. Films and TV are still being released on both formats and even while Blu-ray sales are increasing and also getting cheaper, they’re still behind sales of DVDs, so whether this tactic will actually work remains to be seen. But it’s certainly got me thinking about getting a Blu-ray player sooner rather than later. But what can we do? There doesn’t seem to be anything we can do. If we really love our extras then we have to join the Blu-ray gang don’t we? As I said earlier this tactic makes me not want to move to Blu-ray because I want the choice to be mine and not something forced upon me by some cynical sales tactic dreamed up by suits.

So, what do you think about this move? Am I over reacting? Does this attempt at sidelining the DVD format bother you? Does this move by the film companies pee you off? Are you happy to stick with DVD even while losing some of the extras? Or are you willing to make the leap to Blu-Ray to keep all the bonus features? Did you get a Blu-Ray player for Christmas?