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Warner Bros: New Program To Digitize Your DVDs 371

shoutingloudly writes "Warner Brothers has just announced a new 'Disc-to-Digital' program to convert your DVDs into digital files that you can play on your internet-connected computers. As the helpful Public Knowledge graphics demonstrate, all you have to do is find a participating store, drive there, pay again for your movie, wait while it's ripped for you, drive home, and hope it works. This will surely have tech-savvy movie fans saying, 'Brilliant! I've been looking for an excuse to uninstall this free, 1-step DVD ripper that I can use in the comfort of my own home. This is much better than DMCA reform.'" In exchange for paying a bit more you might get a higher resolution copy (DRM encumbered and stored in "the cloud"). The launch process is absurdly cumbersome, but: "Later on, Internet retailers like will email customers to offer digital copies of DVDs they previously bought. Eventually, consumers will be able to put DVDs into PCs or certain Blu-ray players that will upload a copy, similar to the way people turn music CDs into MP3 files." Will the video distributors ever offer DRM-free files that you own? The music industry doesn't seem to be any worse off than they were when they insisted upon DRM.
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Warner Bros: New Program To Digitize Your DVDs

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  • by elrous0 ( 869638 ) * on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @04:12PM (#39265765)

    Wow, what a deal.

    Seriously, who the hell is in charge at Warner Home Video these days? When DVD first came out in 1997, Warner was one of the leaders in DVD's. They offered the best extras, were the first to make anamorphic DVD's their standard (meaning my first Warner DVD's still look pretty good even on a HDTV), and were real cheerleaders for the format back when a lot of people were saying things like "Why would Joe Sixpack want to give up his VHS tapes?" and "Laserdisc looks so much better" (I kid you not, those were prominent arguments against DVD in those days).

    But in the last few years, their home video department has went to shit. Their support for early HD-DVD and blu-ray was weak. Their blu-ray discs these days are almost as annoying with the upfront/unskippable trailers as Sony. Even their extras seem weak these days.

    You used to be cool, Warner.

  • by ISurfTooMuch ( 1010305 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @04:35PM (#39266089)

    Yeah, I know this post really adds nothing new to this discussion, but I just have to say it. Fuck you, Warner Bros.! I'll rip my DVD's--you know, the ones I paid for--on my own computer, in the comfort of my own home, on my schedule, and I'll watch them anywhere I please. And you know what, if I take a notion, I'll even set up a media server and stream them all over my house. And you won't see one extra penny from any of this.

    Oh, and I'll show others how to do the same thing.

    You guys had a golden opportunity here. You could have offered digital copies of the movies people already bought for a reasonable price, maybe as a streaming option, but no, you not only decided to charge them, but you went out of your way to make it more inconvenient than it would be if they simply do it themselves. You really are a bunch of geniuses. Please tell us where you got your MBA's so we can all go there and develop the acute business acumen that you obviously possess.

  • by gstoddart ( 321705 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @04:47PM (#39266261) Homepage

    Their "position" is irrelevant. The law says otherwise.

    For now.

    Don't forget, due to lobbying pressures by the *AAs, some countries are moving to make it a criminal act to circumvent any form of copyright encryption.

    And, game manufacturers are trying to establish that a video game is a "service" not a "good" so they can yank it out from underneath you anytime they like.

    They are trying very hard (and succeeding to a certain extent) in convincing lawmakers that the current laws are inadequate to maintain their desired level of revenue.

    They don't care about what's legal now, they want to make it all illegal ... and then make sure everything you do can be monetized so you have to pay for every time you watch (and for every person watching). Hell, Sony would be the first company to argue against what they argued for with the early Beta VCRs ... that you don't have the right to record for personal use to watch later.

    Think of the whole HDMI spec being required to implement HDCP -- I know people who bought HDTVs 10+ years ago that can't actually get an HD image anymore because the TV isn't "allowed" to receive it.

    Give it time, it will be made illegal, and they'll probably try to make it retroactive, so that possessing stuff that was ripped before the law is still illegal.

    And, for the record, I hope to hell I'm wrong.

  • by X0563511 ( 793323 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @04:49PM (#39266309) Homepage Journal

    DMCA says yes. Civil disobedience says no.

  • Re:Wait a minute. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @04:50PM (#39266311)

    Or the third possibility. By offering this stupid service as an alternative of people just ripping their DVDs on their own, they'll try to claim dvd rippers are destroying their business model and begin new attacks on the evil pirates who won't pay for their movies a second time.

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:01PM (#39266439) Homepage

    "Laserdisc looks so much better" (I kid you not, those were prominent arguments against DVD in those days).

    I didn't have one at the time, but weren't some of the early laserdiscs apparently quite poor? I might be wrong, but I vaguely remember hearing some of them were single layer (*), the transfers weren't apparently too great (the first Blade Runner DVD issue was apparently rubbish) and/or the compression wasn't that well done. It's not beyond the realm of possibility that a well-done Laserdisc would beat a poor DVD, or at least its limitations wouldn't be as obnoxious as visibly blocky compression.

    (*) Actually, I have a DVD with a *2005* issue date on it that is a single layer (I'd checked when I noticed some distracting compression artifacts and suspected the reason). Granted, it was only a 109 minute film with no extras, but the compression was still clearly visible. (Probably didn't help that it apparently hadn't been remastered that much, as perversely lower-quality and noisier material tends to require more compression to compensate for that wasted reproducing the noise(!))

  • by AnalogDiehard ( 199128 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:14PM (#39266587)
    Judging from Sony's Rootkit fiasco and the content industry's push toward pay-per-view, tethered content, and self-destructing media I no longer trust any application or service from content providers.
  • Wonderous (Score:4, Interesting)

    by lightknight ( 213164 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:23PM (#39266675) Homepage

    Let's see here. Rather than takes Valve's approach to things (they are actually successfully competing against 'free,' which is the technological equivalent of making a river flow upstream), they instead take the most ass-way possible to providing 'backups' to customers.

    It's like they have some form of a powerful character disorder, where they can see others profiting (legally) through content distribution systems, but can't quite grasp the concept that they need to deliver the content, with minimal fuss, at acceptable pricing, to their customers in order to get some green. Their attempts to create 'new' systems compares favorably with the "Supervisor" sketch from AQHF [] -> they aren't really new, but for some reason the people creating them think they are. "That's it boys, the problem with the previous system isn't that the customers hated being treated like dogs, it's that the interface wasn't shiny / restrictive enough!"

    Allow me to help you with the right DRM system design, since you seem to be suffering from an inability to figure it out yourselves. 1.) The customer should be able to access said content in an off-line mode, without having to provide a fingerprint / urine analysis, 2.) the content should be downloaded to the customer's machine (f*ck streaming), 3.) (and this is key) ensure that you actually keep said content updated (studio releases a change to a scene, because they left a mic visible somewhere? automatically send that out), 4.) ensure pricing (monthly, seasonal) deals (actual deals, not the pathetic jokes that you wish were deals); why? because it undercuts the people who might be setting up factories to stamp out that stuff on DVDs (because you know from finance & accounting, that you can erect a barrier to entry to a market by ensuring that any new players will never be able to recoup their investments; and you can even do that without having to pay off DC), 5.) do not piss off the customer, do not piss off the customer, do not piss on the customer, 6.) while I am sure that you have many other wonderful products you think that customer might be interested in, do not make them mandatory to watch before the customer can watch said purchased content (if you haven't heard the amount of b*tching that goes on whenever you sit through 30 minutes of previews at the theater, or 15 minutes on a DVD, you need only open your window...).

  • by Dogtanian ( 588974 ) on Tuesday March 06, 2012 @05:31PM (#39266797) Homepage

    Old people don't get it, and they never will. The digital revolution is about what's possible that wasn't possible before, not about doing everything the way you did it before only with digital files instead of physical media.

    Yes, this is my theory on (partly) why DVD recorders rose then fell in popularity.

    DVD recorders are obviously based on different technologies to VCRs, but from a consumer point of view, the usage model is similar- removable media that stores a similar quantity of video. You basically use it like you use a VCR, but with discs instead of tapes. Also, prerecorded DVDs and players replaced prerecorded videocassettes, so shouldn't video cassette recording be replaced by DVD recording? You can see how people used to VCRs would mentally have perceived the DVD recorder as their logical successor.

    Except that this is flawed because it forgets that most recording on VCRs was done for timeshifting purposes rather than archiving, and now that PVRs/DVRs exist, they're way more useful because they remove the need to faff about with (and store) tapes altogether, hold more than enough for most people's timeshifting use and tend to include useful facilities like "series record" (i.e. no messing about with timers).

    The video recorder was the best way of doing that in its day, but the DVD Recorder isn't the best way of doing it nowadays.

    IMHO, people's thinking has now been weaned off the "VCR model" of doing things and they have now realised the benefits of the DVR. I also think that people realised that DVD recorders were a PITA, with media type compatibility issues and general temperamentality that made them less straightforward than a VCR replacement ought to have been. They might be useful for archiving, but the "old way of thinking" would blind one to the fact they're not, and were never, the VCR's true successor.

Perfection is acheived only on the point of collapse. - C. N. Parkinson