My Two Cents

Bill’s on the latest Home Theater United podcast, plus an Apple digital purchase lawsuit & Warner and Universal combine their physical media operations

April 23, 2021 - 4:53 pm   |   by
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All right, we have a few key items to discuss here at The Bits today...

First, Tim has posted his thoughts on Nico Mastorakis’ Death Has Blue Eyes (1976), newly-released on Blu-ray by Arrow Video. Do give it a look if you’re interested.

Also for those of you might be interested, I had the great pleasure of joining our friends Sam Posten & Brian Dobbs from the Home Theater Forum to talk Blu-ray, 4K, and the state of the home entertainment industry in general on their excellent Home Theater United podcast! The discussion was a lot of fun, and you longtime Bits readers especially should find it an interesting listen. We definitely get into the topic of where the industry is and where it’s going, so do give it a listen here. [Read on here...]

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In announcement news today, Lionsgate has set Abel Ferrara’s Siberia for release on Blu-ray on 6/22. The film stars Willem Dafoe.

Also coming to Blu-ray from Artisan by way of Lionsgate is Brad Furman’s City of Lies, starring Johnny Depp and Forest Whitaker, on 6/8.

And in other news today, here’s something interesting: A U.S. District Court judge has ruled that Apple must face a class action lawsuit for the way it promotes the ability of consumers to “buy” digital content online. As a matter of routine, Apple reserves the right terminate consumer access to “purchased” content. But the lawsuit says this is both an unfair reading of consumer expectations regarding ownership of the things they purchase, as well as a misleading use of the term “buy”. As we’ve said for many years about Digital here at The Bits, you don’t technically own a copy of the content you purchase online unless you’re guaranteed a copy of the file that you can download to your own hard drive in an unrestricted manner. It will be interesting to see how this suit shakes out, because it could have a far-reaching impact on the digital marketplace. You can read more here at The Hollywood Reporter.

Finally today, a number of you have asked us about online rumors (over the last few days) that Warner Bros. Home Entertainment is basically shutting down their in-house physical media production operation. This is essentially true, but it’s also lacking important context. The reason they’re doing this, is that Warner Bros. and Universal are essentially merging their home entertainment operations. That new joint entity—Studio Distribution Services, which is now up and running after a slow ramp-up period in 2020—will produce and distribute Blu-ray, DVD, and 4K Ultra HD titles for both studios. None of this should come as a surprise to anyone; Warner and Universal essentially announced their intention to do this back in January of 2020 (see our report at the time here). (You can also read this Deadline report from the time.) The pandemic just slowed the process of getting it going down a bit. This, in theory, will allow them to do the same quality and level of work (in terms of releasing titles on disc) more efficiently and cost-effectively, allowing both Warner Bros. and Universal to stay in the physical media business for as long as possible. Unfortunately, it means that a lot of good people at each studio have been laid off (for example the dedicated Warner Archive Collection team at WB and much of the restoration team at Universal) as they combine their resources. But it can also be seen as a positive sign of each studio’s commitment to physical media in the long term. I strongly encourage you all to read the Deadline piece here. You should also know that I’ve confirmed just today that Studio Distribution Services is now in place and operating as intended. And there is no intention by either studio to discontinue their disc releases anytime soon. Hopefully, we’ll learn more about how all this is meant to work in the days and weeks ahead.

Now then, before we go, a quick viewing recommendation: Both Disney+’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Apple TV+’s For All Mankind have big season finales now available for streaming viewing online today. I watched each last night, and they’re both fantastic. Well worth your time.

So enjoy those and have a great weekend!

(You can follow Bill on social media at these links: Twitter and Facebook)


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