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Physical Copies vs Digital Copies For Visual Media

BluRayHiDef

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Are you an avid fan of visual media who buys physical copies of the titles that you like? If so, what formats comprise your collection? Laser disc, video cassette, DVD, Blu-ray, and/ or 4K-UHD Blu-ray?

Also, how do you feel about physical media relative to digital media? Do you think that one is better than the other?

I personally am an avid fan of visual media and subsequently have a sizable collection of movies, TV shows, and anime on Blu-ray and 4K-UHD Blu-ray. My collection consists of about 50% of each format and is comprised of mostly movies, followed by anime, and then television shows (only the first two seasons of The Flash and the first two seasons of West World).

I like physical media because it provides better picture quality than digital media. For example, I recently sampled both the 4K-UHD Blu-ray discs and the VUDU digital copies of Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and Lucy on my new 4K TV (TCL 55R635). The physical copies had wider dynamic ranges; more details on skin, fabric, and other objects; and more saturated colors.

Also, I buy physical media because they often come with codes via which digital copies can be redeemed for free. So, it doesn't make sense not to buy physical copies of movies, since they come with digital copies anyway.

How about you?

My Collection:



 
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kingwingin

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I buy my favourite titles in 4k even if they are only 2k transfers. I never really got into bluray back in the day since blockbuster was still around so I just rented a lot

I do have about 100 vhs's I collected over the years. Nothing beats hearing the movie trailer guy from back in the day before watching a film
 
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TaySan

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Movies-Physical always. 4K UHD provides the best visual and sound quality.

Games and music- All-Digital i'm mainly a PC gamer so everything is digital for me.
 
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pauljeremiah

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When it comes to buying games digitally it's the same product as the physical disc. The game runs at the same framerate and same resolution. If I had two PS4's running the same game side by side, one digital one physical, you would be able to tell the difference. But if you do it with a film, there is a difference. I haven't bought a physical game since the last days of the PS3 when I made the switch.

I find there is a big difference in both picture quality and sound quality when it comes to watching a film either via blu-ray or iTunes or Netflix.

Let's just get sound out of the way, while both Netflix and iTunes can both do standard Dolby Digital 5.1, the basic standard since DVD's came on the market in 1997, they create this sound field at a compressed bitrate of (usually) 640Kbps, which to 99% of the ears out there is fine and does the job. But with Blu-ray, it's completely uncompressed with Dolby True HD and DTS-HD and averages out between 2-5Mbps. And now with the advent of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the sound fidelity is getting even better, while digital platforms continue to stay at the standard Dolby Digital 5.1.

With picture quality, and this is in regard to 1080p, I've noticed a big difference between the three platforms. Netflix streams at a bitrate of about 5Mbps, while iTunes streams at a rate of 8Mbps. So there is a slight bump in the image quality, it's noticeable in a few films but not every film. Physical, on the other hand, plays its media at a bitrate of 20-25 Mbps. To me, it's a night and day difference, and that's why I continue to invest and support physical media when it comes to films. Maybe it's just the film buff in me that wants to see a film with the best possible picture and sound, and try to recreate that "cinema experience" at home.

Here's my physical movie collection: (please note I took these pictures earlier this year and have since added to this collection)









 

BluRayHiDef

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When it comes to buying games digitally it's the same product as the physical disc. The game runs at the same framerate and same resolution. If I had two PS4's running the same game side by side, one digital one physical, you would be able to tell the difference. But if you do it with a film, there is a difference. I haven't bought a physical game since the last days of the PS3 when I made the switch.

I find there is a big difference in both picture quality and sound quality when it comes to watching a film either via blu-ray or iTunes or Netflix.

Let's just get sound out of the way, while both Netflix and iTunes can both do standard Dolby Digital 5.1, the basic standard since DVD's came on the market in 1997, they create this sound field at a compressed bitrate of (usually) 640Kbps, which to 99% of the ears out there is fine and does the job. But with Blu-ray, it's completely uncompressed with Dolby True HD and DTS-HD and averages out between 2-5Mbps. And now with the advent of Dolby Atmos and DTS:X, the sound fidelity is getting even better, while digital platforms continue to stay at the standard Dolby Digital 5.1.

With picture quality, and this is in regard to 1080p, I've noticed a big difference between the three platforms. Netflix streams at a bitrate of about 5Mbps, while iTunes streams at a rate of 8Mbps. So there is a slight bump in the image quality, it's noticeable in a few films but not every film. Physical, on the other hand, plays its media at a bitrate of 20-25 Mbps. To me, it's a night and day difference, and that's why I continue to invest and support physical media when it comes to films. Maybe it's just the film buff in me that wants to see a film with the best possible picture and sound, and try to recreate that "cinema experience" at home.

Here's my physical movie collection: (please note I took these pictures earlier this year and have since added to this collection)










Amazing collection. How many titles do you have?
 

diffusionx

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My physical collection of movies is pretty small these days. I don't want a BR/UHD unless I love the movie. The end result is I have a few UHD and maybe 30 BRs, mostly hipster Criterion shit because that stuff comes and goes and can be hard to find (Chungking Express is >$100 on eBay!).
 

Amory

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I'm a 4k UHD collector. It's a great format, particularly for catalog releases. People keep saying it's a dying product, but more and more releases are coming out
 

IDKFA

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I only have so much space and can only collect so many physical items. I made the decision to collect physical books only and keep films, games and music to digital only.

Space was the only thing holding me back. If I had more space, then I'd get my films on physical format as the picture and sound is far better.

Also this isn't a problem in all locations, but buying digital films is a pain in the arse in the UK. There are some titles that are just not available to purchase on any digital platform and/or they're only available in SD. Then there is the issue of Movies Anywhere not being available, so on the UK digital purchases are spread over a number or services.

Is it too hard to ask for the ultimate movie online store that has every single film ever made available to purchase? Do studios not want my money?
 

eddie4

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I usually get blu-ray, if it's not available, I will get the DVD. I also have some VHS tapes from back in the day, and a VCR from the 90s to enjoy them on (although they look like shit on an hdtv). I buy digital version of non visual media though.
 
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pauljeremiah

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Damn, that's a lot. Do you feel as if you jumped the gun on regular Blu-ray now that 4K Blu-ray is here and offers superior picture quality via higher resolution and HDR?

not at all. I’ll usually read up reviews of 4K discs before I buy them. If it’s a new film I’ll go 4k if available, if I already have the blu-ray, it would need to be an improvement over the 2K version for me to upgrade, ie is it native 4K or just upscaled, or a brand new remaster etc.
 
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AlteredForms

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Oct 22, 2013
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Personally I'm into digital versions because they don't consume physical space and don't need to be maintained. Most people who own extensive movie collections have to worry about dust particles and cataloguing, as well as arranging an insurance policy in case something happened to their investment.

I love the packaging and design of the blue cases and especially well-made collector's editions, the only one I own is a limited release of 300 as it's a classic in terms of meme culture and graphic historical violence.



 

brap

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I like physical media because it provides better picture quality than digital media.
Says the dude that owns funis horrible DB releases lmao along with assorted upscaled anime garbage.
Also there's plenty of times where companies put a good raw version out for streaming while they DNR the shit out of their physical releases.
 

BluRayHiDef

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Says the dude that owns funis horrible DB releases lmao along with assorted upscaled anime garbage.
Also there's plenty of times where companies put a good raw version out for streaming while they DNR the shit out of their physical releases.

I was mainly referring to live-action. As for DragonBall, the Level sets have been discontinued and can be bought at only exorbitant prices from scalpers; the same applies to the DragonBox sets. Don't be so harsh.
 
A

Anal Wake

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Don’t care about physical media at all. I stream my movies and music and buy games digitally since 2014.
 

BluRayHiDef

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Don’t care about physical media at all. I stream my movies and music and buy games digitally since 2014.
Then you don't care about video and/ or audio quality. You're content with macroblocking, pixelization, noise in dark scenes, low bit rate and subsequently low detail relative to physical media. You're also content with compressed dynamic range, because the dynamic ranges of HDR10 and Dolby Vision as streamed are much narrower than those of the respective formats as played back from discs.

If you have a 4K TV, then you've wasted your money.
 

brap

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I was mainly referring to live-action.
Ok well they DNRd the shit out of the Wonder Woman BD's lmao.

As for DragonBall, the Level sets have been discontinued and can be bought at only exorbitant prices from scalpers; the same applies to the DragonBox sets. Don't be so harsh.
You said physical media offers better quality. Just download the dboxes or level sets lmao. At least it's quality.
 
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if I'm buying a movie, it's going to be a physical copy. otherwise it just feel like there's no point in it. wish I have more money to buy them thou. need to spend the money in a lot of other places these days.
 
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BluRayHiDef

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Ok well they DNRd the shit out of the Wonder Woman BD's lmao.


You said physical media offers better quality. Just download the dboxes or level sets lmao. At least it's quality.

1. DNR'd or not, Wonder Woman looks better via physical media than via streaming. My point is that physical media offers the best available picture quality, not necessarily the best possible.

2. I don't steal; I'm not going to risk an infraction for copyright infringement by my ISP. And no, I'm not going to bother with a VPN.
 

Fbh

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I don't really own a lot of movies, but the ones I do are all physical.
 

Hinedorf

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I used to think I wanted physical media until I bought a few movies I can stream to chromecast from Amazon. If only I could move all of my media over that way I would never want to stuff shelves with disc cases ever again!
 

MrFunSocks

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DIgital all the way. I have thousands of movies and thousands of TV shows all available at the touch of a remote on my NAS, on any device in the house or even outside the house via plex. Have owned a blu-ray player since the PS3 on day one and own all of 2 blu-rays. Physical is just such a waste of resources and space IMO, and far less convenient.
 

HE1NZ

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Bluray is simply the best format of all times. Great for movies and audio. UHD is a bit of an overkill. 35mm doesn't have the sharpness of 4K, so most movies are just blowups. Some remasters push color HDR bullshit to cartoony levels (see Batman and Batman Returns remasters).

Oh and the thread is about digital. Streaming is only good when the movie is not available on Bluray.
 
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SLoWMoTIoN

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Physical media will always have superior audio quality. Video quality is becoming better though.
 

Karmic Raze

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I just go digital for all of my media, movies/tv/music/games/etc. I’m done collecting physical media when I can just save the money and stream it instead.
 
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