This morning I read the news (Via Engadget) that Fox would be releasing Prometheus as an HD digital download (now being called DHD) 3 weeks prior to the actual physical release. Also, further titles will be released about 2 weeks prior to the physical version. The download will cost you a whopping $15, a $5 saving over the DVD/Bluray version.
The DHD’s will be available from many sources:
- Xbox Live!
My first thoughts were immediately about DRM. For those of you that don’t know what DRM is, it’s that thing that makes it so that you can only play the file on a certain device, a certain way. It basically makes it impossible to use the media as you want. As a linux user, I have a lot of problems with DRM. I am not just being a fanboy here, but if I buy a DRM’d piece of media, I have to jump through hoops to play it. And it’s not just linux users. More and more people are opting for non-Windows media players like the Roku, WD-Live, XBMC, and TV’s with built in DLNA support. DRM would be very UN-useful for most people. But I think that Fox has thought of that, supposedly the DHD’s (digital HD movies) will be available from many sources, including Amazon! This gives me hope that it will be (somewhat) DRM free.
Now that the DRM issue appears to be sorted out, I am thinking this is the next logical step. Digital is the next frontier. Sure, digital downloads are already available, but by offering them early perhaps the movie industry will convert a few more people. And at $15 a pop it’s not a bad move. I am assuming that offering a digital version is more profitable than the physical version. I understand that there are still delivery expenses when dealing with digital items, but I’m rather certain that it’s more costly to produce the physical copy.
Let’s talk about the elephant in the room, piracy. Of course offering an already digital, (hopefully) DRM free version is a risk. People will surely download like crazy, right? Let’s look at the music industry, they have done quite well with digital downloads, so why can’t Hollywood do the same? The way I see it the pirates are going to pirate. There is a group of people that just will not pay for a film/cd/software, and not much will change that.
While I really like the idea of digital downloads, I’m not sure that it is going to be a good thing for me. You see, I buy most of my DVD’s used, or from the bargain bin. What happens when everything is digital? Can I buy a used DHD? The short answer is no. It’s this reason that I hope we always have some sort of physical media, to keep the second hand, and discount market alive. Call me a Jew all you want, I just can’t bring myself to pay $15 for most films.