Why does anyone buy digital only content?

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23

Movies specifically.

If you purchase a DVD you own it. You keep it with your other DVDs in your DVD collection. You cannot collect movies purchased digitally through iTunes. It is not a physical item you can hold and technically you do not own it. You just have unlimited access to it on their terms.

So besides a movie that your kid(s) love and will watch hundreds of times without getting sick of it why do people purchase digital content?

Is it to see it without having to wait the week or two for it to become a rental?

Do people watch some movies repeatedly enough to justify purchasing them without actually owning them?

Am I just so cheap I refuse to purchase things so I can enjoy them repeatedly?

Too many questions

Comments (23)

23 responses to “Why does anyone buy digital only content?”

  1. Avatar

    maethorechannen

    It saves space. I'm willing to put up with the downsides over having to find more room in the house for stuff. And there's some convenience of having the content right there on the TV without needing to Rip+Plex.

  2. Avatar

    robincapper

    I'm in the interesting position where I purchased some albums via Windows Store Groove several years ago. Got the "Download your purchases before Dec 31" shutdown warning and found 5/175 tracks will not allow me to download them. Says I no longer have the rights to download or play these tracks, but other tracks on the same purchase play/download fine. Most of them are not on streaming services so that isn't an option. It is still an open call with Microsoft (whose support staff have been good so far) but a cautionary tale for others

  3. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    There are maybe 12 movies I'd watch repeatedly. I already have 8 of them on DVD. Having old Law & Order episodes on when I have insomnia is the only other time I watch the same thing multiple times.

    That said, it was fun in a way several years ago to watch all seasons of Adam 12 on Hulu, but I hadn't seen the show since I was a kid. I also liked watching all of Land of the Giants (a show I was a year too young to watch when it was on TV), but I don't need to watch it again.

  4. Avatar

    Bats

    I see your point. From now on, I will look towards my endless VHS and Beta movies with affection, because I own them.

  5. Avatar

    wshwe

    I don't have the space to store a lot of physical media. The world is slowing moving to a digital only one. I sometimes have trouble playing DVDs and Blu-rays. I assume the cause is either defects in the media or lack of compatibility.

  6. Avatar

    Patrick3D

    Some people don't like clutter and prefer the convenience of digital. When iTunes first offered movies I went all-in with digital only. Eventually, I returned to physical and have no plans to return to digital collecting.


    Here are 2 problems which resulted in me returning to physical:

    1.) There is less content available digitally than physically, I have ~400 digital movies versus ~800 physical

    2.) You do not own digital purchases, just a license to access the content while the seller has a license to host it, which can and has been revoked in the past, as well as substituted for a different version than you previously purchased (not a serious problem at this time but what about 10-20 years from now?)


    ...and 2 reasons to stick with physical content:

    1.) You can create your own DRM-free digital backups that can be played anywhere on any device

    2.) Unlike digital media, physical media is an asset that you can sell and trade, sometimes for a profit upwards of 500% (rare and out of print movies)


    Digital streaming and renting suffers from problem #1 listed at the beginning: lack of content.


  7. Avatar

    Chris_Kez

    Some people don't want to be bothered ripping a DVD.

  8. Avatar

    Finley

    So I am going to assume by the first few replies that people are rewatching these purchased movies which makes all my questions null and void.

    The reason for the OP is that I was unsure if this was the case or if there were other reasons people were purchasing DRM movies.

    I am youngish but kinda old fashioned. My wife and I are slowly collecting a library worth of books (and more slowly reading them). Once I started using a music streaming service a few years ago the only music I have purchased is on vinyl (an excellent way to support an artist, and they come with a free digital download of the album).

    I am also untrusting (maybe even paranoid) of the motives of large companies. As is be shown numerous times by MSFT trusting them can come back to bite you.

    The other reason for the OP is to get another point of view on a question I had. Thank you all for responding.

  9. Avatar

    rameshthanikodi

    Movie consumption has moved away from being a living room activity with the family to a more personal experience, with people prefering to watch movies on their smartphones, tablets, and laptops. Of course, as I hope you are aware, phones and tablets don't have DVD drives built into them. Most new laptops don't have them either, with the disc drive giving way to higher battery capacities..........so that people can watch movies for longer.


    I understand that one can always plug in an external USB disc drive, put in the DVD, rip it into their laptops, and then transfer it to their phones/tablets, and then watch it on their preferred device. But people have found a better way: sign into the netflix app anywhere and stream the movie from the cloud.

    • Avatar

      Lauren Glenn

      In reply to FalseAgent:

      All well and good until Netflix drops the movies from streaming. Case in point, I started up DVD Netflix again and when I populated it with some older movies I enjoyed and wanted to watch, I noticed fewer and fewer of them were available for streaming. They're from the 2000's and a few from the 90's but it makes sense though... that kind of stuff takes up lots of space and they can gauge current demand vs. storage capacity..... or licensing running out, I guess.

      • Avatar

        rameshthanikodi

        In reply to alissa914g:

        if it isn't on Netflix people just won't the movie or they can always buy the movie online on another serivce like iTunes and whatnot. No one is switching to DVDs. Like I said, most don't even have DVD drives on their devices anymore. No one is going to buy a DVD drive and a DVD and then rip.

        • Avatar

          Lauren Glenn

          In reply to FalseAgent:

          I do that because I want to own the content. It's fairly cheap for me and I get to keep it on my NAS. That's my decision and I'm happy with doing that.


          This is the same type of argument as to streaming vs purchasing. No one buys music anymore.... yeah, some of us still do because if we pay $10/mo, we want to have something to keep instead of just renting. I didn't get 4000+ songs in my lifetime by renting music.




  10. Avatar

    Lauren Glenn

    The only reason I would buy a digital only film is IF it had UltraViolet or that Movies Anywhere like services. Otherwise, I buy the disc. The only benefit I see to digital only is IF the company stays in business and does things like Apple did to upgrade it to 4K for free (or even for $1 or so).


    For me, it reminds me of when Zune went away and suddenly all these people who didn't have DRM rippers had all this music that would no longer work (but I think MS gave them DRM free versions for a limited time).... but if digital video content didn't have DRM, I'd probably buy that moving forward. Keep one in the cloud and keep the digital copy on something I could back up or on DropBox where I don't have to worry about it being scratched, skipping, etc.


    But for buying the physical media, if you don't rip it, you have Vudu's conversion for $1 SD or $2 HD to put it on UltraViolet which is a great thing that I used to convert almost all of my movies to things in the cloud. Since then, I just started ripping all my movies to MP4 H264 and store it digitally with backups since I've had a few discs get ruined through scratches or just accidentally stepping on the box and cracking the discs. And not having to rummage through boxes to find a movie I wanted is easier this way. Kind of like ripping all my CDs to lossless and having them at my fingertips. Backup for when something happens to the CD and convenience.

  11. Avatar

    Paul Thurrott

    If you purchase a DVD, you own it in an out-of-date, low-resolution format. And if you're on the road and want to watch that movie, which is at home in one physical location, you can't.

    • Avatar

      red.radar

      In reply to paul-thurrott:

      DVD, Blu-Ray, 4k, 4k with HDR.... what is next 8k?


      I am tired of repurchasing video content because formats keep improving.


      However Audio is fairly mature and even in lossless formats it is relatively cheap to store. I am sort of on the fence with this strategy.

      • Avatar

        Lauren Glenn

        In reply to red.radar:

        Audio isn't fairly mature. It's STUCK in the 70's/80's with the 44.1kHz/16-bit audio standard. Now, if someone like Apple decided to release all their music in Hi-Res audio format and their players as such, we'd see the music industry move away from that. iTunes does support Hi-Res audio formats, so I'm curious as to why no one wants to move away from CD level tech. Maybe if someone came up with a compression algorithm that worked with 192kHz/24-bit audio? But then much like we had when 128kbps audio was in iTunes, most people saying "I don't hear the difference" even though they say the same thing now with 256kbps audio even thought there actually is a huge difference.


      • Avatar

        TEAMSWITCHER

        In reply to red.radar:

        AppleTV 4K will auto upgrade your iTunes movie to 4K if available ... free of charge. This inspired me to go though my entire Blueray collection activating UltraViolet and iTunes digital copies like mad. You can now tie your UltraViolet account to VUDU.com and then tie that to iTunes. In one day, I went from 12 to 75 movies in iTunes. I'll still use the optical media, but it's nice to know that I'm also building a digital movie collection for the future.


        • Avatar

          Finley

          In reply to TEAMSWITCHER:

          This is where my OP comes in. I once use to buy movies on DVD, usually special edition ones for the extra content they provided but stopped once I realized I was just hoarding a bunch of dvds I wasn't watching. They weren't worth the money.

          Also during this time I was living in rural Canada with 2 TV stations and dial up internet. Now with streaming services, cable and satellite TV, and digital renting of tv and movies my viewing options are endless. I am unable to keep up with all the great content.


          So my real confusion is this: Are people with these huge movie collections that routinely upgrade these collection to the latest format watching these films or do they just like owning them?

  12. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    Mostly just to sate my need to buy stuff. To your point, I seldom ever re-watch something I've previously purchased. Renting would be a much better option for most things. The possible exception for my family would be Marvel/Disney/Star Wars movies. I do try to watch for sales and only buy movies that I'd consider my "all-time favorites." On a related note, it would be really nice if you could deduct the cost of any prior rentals from your purchases.

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