I've said it before and I will say it again; region coding is massively uncompetitive and needs to cease. I can understand new release titles being coded, where distribution is divided worldwide. However, a movie approaching up to half a century old, such as Dr. No, does not need region coding. Parallel importation will not adversely affect the ability of Fox to derive income from releasing this on Blu-ray, but merely exists to control distribution and in this day and age of a worldwide economy, is wholly irrelevant.
A throwback from VHS and then DVD, studios love to feature their respective studio logos, copyright warnings and even trailers for other releases. However, where these cause problems are when these are unskippable, forcing users to wait until they have finished, for up to as long as a minute and more. Coupled with the long load times for the disc itself, for the player not to respond to user input is totally unacceptable. Studios renowned for this include Paramount and Universal.
Day and Date with DVD
While most major new release Blu-ray titles are released in the U.S. the same day as the DVD release, this does not always apply to other countries, including Australia. Often, this is because of manufacturing delays, but this needs to be rectified by either manufacturing the Blu-ray earlier, or delaying the DVD. As Blu-ray manufacturing rolls out worldwide, this problem should be lessened. Disney has been particularly ordinary in this regard of late.
While BD-Live is a great opportunity to increase the life of a title once it's been released to retail, I fear the unparalleled access Hollywood will have to our buying habits. A case in point is the newly released U.S. versions of the James Bond Blu-rays; whilst none actually feature BD-Live features, the discs call home if there is an internet connection. So why does it need to? Call me paranoid, but I doubt studios would pass up the opportunity to peek in at our buying preferences and catalogue my purchases and usage details. If a title does not feature any BD-Live features, get the hell off my internet connection. A worrying trend and one I will be certain to monitor as time goes by.
The Futility of HDCP
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection was created to help protect Blu-ray from succumbing to content hacks. By only utilising HDCP compliant computer monitors and graphics cards, it was hoped this would bolster the security to Blu-ray and close the analog loophole. Since this has long since been circumvented at any rate, HDCP exists now only to stop computer users from watching Blu-ray movies on their own systems that feature a Blu-ray drive and drives the very people away that Blu-ray needs to appeal to. With a bit of common sense, this could be rectified by abolishing this standard and moving forward.
So whilst the studios and player manufacturers have done a lot right with the format, there is also work to be done; some that should be done, some that is common sense but won't and there's no doubt many more improvements that could be made that would fill a dozen more lists. Small steps first, though.
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