Mid-Week Poll: Do You Use Digital Copies?

These days, many Blu-ray releases come with Digital Copies that you can download to watch on a computer or portable device. When you get a disc that has one of these, do you actually use it?

For me, the most frustrating aspect of Digital Copies is that they expire after a set amount of time. If you don’t remember to download them right away (or if you purchase the disc after that expiration date), the Digital Copy is just a useless disc suitable only for the garbage bin.

There was a time when I made a point to download every Digital Copy I acquired so that I could load them onto my iPod Touch, whether I actually planned to watch the movie on that portable device or not. After a while, I realized that I was hardly using any of these files that I’d taken the time to download. Eventually, I upgraded to an Android phone and my iPod Touch wound up left in a drawer to collect dust. Of course, those Digital Copies are non-transferable. That means that all of the Digital Copies I downloaded are stuck on a device I don’t use anymore. I don’t think I’ve bothered to actually download a Digital Copy in ages.

Most Digital Copies are limited to use with WMV or iTunes. A few discs from Sony offer PS3 and PSP compatibility. As far as I’m aware, ‘Unstoppable‘ is the first and thus far only Blu-ray to come with a Digital Copy compatible with Android. If more Android-compatible Digital Copies were released, I might be tempted to download some of them. But I doubt I’d go out of my way to do it unless it was a movie I honestly expected to watch on my phone. Otherwise, I’ve given up caring.

How about you?

Do You Use Digital Copies?

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  1. HuskerGuy

    I answered “only for movies I think I’ll watch on a portable” but as an add on I would certainly download more if they were viewable on my psp/ps3. I love that the digital copies of The Other Guys can be put directly on my PS3 and transferred to my PSP.

  2. Alex

    I have an hour and a half’s commute every day, so my iPod Touch is invaluable for keeping me entertained (yes, I should read a book. I know), so I grab all of the Digital Copies that I can, specifically so that I can watch them on the train. I certainly prefer to watch movies in my Home Theater, but I love having the option to watch on the train as well.

    I have to admit, for some of my Blu-rays that weren’t kind enough to include a digital copy, I’ve made a quick trip to the Redbox and ripped a $1 digital copy. I know, it’s probably bending the rules as far as they can possibly go, but it’s a convenience that I love.

  3. I had Kitt Kitridge, Star Trek, The Dark Night, Mamma Mia, and The Nightmare Before Christmas on my iPhone, but I changed providers and got an Android around Christmas. I must say, though, I rarely used them before as it was. I used to watch movies when I did laundry at the laundry mat, but then I got my own washer/dryer set at home. I loaded it up once when I had my cousin in the car on a long trip, but she watched about 10 minutes of it – she could not stand the small screen, and prefered to talk.

    So while I chose Android, chances are that I will rarely download them, and if I was to download them at all, it would most likely be well after the expiration date.

  4. I need a different option. I really like the idea of digital copies, and I always intend to download them… but I haven’t gotten around to it yet. Not once. :/

    • Josh Zyber

      I think the “I’ll download a Digital Copy if I remember to do it, but I don’t always remember.” option is pretty close to your situation.

  5. Mario Menchaca

    Digital copies are not such a hassle here in Mexico. Most “mexicanized” blus don’t have them, and we only get them when the disc is sold as imported here, from the U.S. version. And then they don’t even work here.
    I’m glad we don’t have those. It’s just a waste of a disc, and a lame excuse to keep the blu-ray price up.
    DVDs are also an issue. I agree they are helpful in kids’ movies to let them watch their movies on alternate TVs, but I don’t really see a need to add a DVD copy of the movies in movies focused on a more mature audience.

  6. EM

    I have a lot of video content that I watch on my PSP. I just rip it from my DVDs (I don’t have the capability to rip from Blu-ray, but to date it’s not been an issue). I don’t mess with Digital Copy or fret if there isn’t one available.

  7. Illegal torrents download fast and don’t have restrictions. If I own the Blu-ray with it’s digital copy disc, I feel no shame in downloading the same movie from a less-legitimate source.

    I love the initiative that the industry is taking with digital copies, but it’s clear that they’re still too scared to give us what we actually want.

  8. besch64

    No. I don’t see the point in having a movie stored on my computer, because the only time I can watch a movie on my computer is when I’m in my house. If I’m in my house, I will just watch the movie on my television. Why would I ever watch it on my PC instead?

    Now, when it comes to uploading movies to phones and other hand-held devices, I’ll let the great David Lynch speak for me: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wKiIroiCvZ0

    “Now if you’re playing the movie on a telephone, you will never in a trillion years experience the film. You’ll THINK you have experienced it, but you’ll be cheated. It’s such a sadness that you think you’ve seen a film on your FUCKING telephone.”

    Honestly, the man speaks the God’s honest truth. I suppose it’s one thing to watch Iron Man on your phone, but what about a movie like The Thin Red Line? Get real.

    • I just don’t buy that argument. I mean, where do you draw the line? Sound and video quality are usually better at the theater, so does someone watching a movie on their 60″ TV really experience it? If they are then what about someone with a 32″ set? If they are then what about someone with a 27″ set? Where’s the line?

      • I think we can all agree though, that movies WEREN’T meant to be watched on a phone, iPad, or laptop. I’d also disagree that sound/video is better in the theater – ideally it should be, but how many of us have theaters where they still dim the bulbs and haven’t replaced their sound systems in 20 years? I’d bet a lot of us.

        • So what if they weren’t meant to be watched on a phone? If I’m on a train and I have a phone that can play movies, I’m going to play movies on my phone.

    • EM

      I don’t think of watching a movie on my PSP, a mobile phone, etc. as a substitute for watching it on a much larger screen. I think of it as a substitute for not watching a movie at all. No bus I’ve ever ridden has had a movie theater on board, for example. The movies I watch in this way are movies with which I am already familiar from viewings on larger screens, and which I continue on watch on larger screens when circumstances permit.

    • Josh Zyber

      I am so sick of that stupid David Lynch clip, I can’t even tell you. This from the man who shot his last three-hour movie at about 240i resolution with a p.o.s. handycam. His opinions about the proper way to watch a movie mean about as much to me as Charlie Sheen’s opinions on sobriety.

      • besch64

        It was an artistic decision on his part. Why? What purpose does it serve in Inland Empire? Who the hell knows.

        That’s besides the point. Insisting that a man who intentionally shot one of his movies on DV to achieve a specific look (whatever the reason) has his opinions disqualified is absurd. The man makes movies, and not a few people would tell you he’s one of the best to ever do it. His opinion is always valid.

        And it’s not like I’m linking the clip so I can say “David Lynch agrees with me so I’m right guys!!!” My opinion isn’t at all influenced by his and I don’t expect anybody else to have their opinions influenced by it (although I suppose it would be a good thing if they were). I just love the clip because he takes the words out of my mouth and says exactly what I would say. And also infuses them with hilarious profanity.

        As I said before, I don’t have an issue with people wanting to watch shlock on their iPods. Whatever. But don’t tell me you’ve really SEEN Once Upon A Time In the West if you watched it on a tiny screen on a crowded bus through headphones. Come on, man.

        • Ian Whitcombe

          Likewise, I don’t consider it valid for people to infer that I’ve never seen Lawrence of Arabia because I wasn’t witness to the 70mm exibition.

          What about DVDs? How would we be able to argue the validity, or lack of, of watching a motion picture in 480 lines of resolution?

          • besch64

            As Dick Ward mentioned before, you can’t draw a literal line in the sand on this topic. What size and quality is “acceptable?” There is no answer to this. It’s a gray area, but I know for a fact that watching a movie on a phone pole vaults completely over the gray area.

  9. Jason

    I think the only digital copy I downloaded was for Kick-Ass.

    My lifestyle just doesn’t lend itself to watching movies on portable devices. I don’t have that much down time.

    Plus, if I buy a blu-ray the last thing I’m gonna do is watch the movie on my phone. I have a home theater for a reason. The only use my blu-ray player in the bedroom gets is to watch television series.

  10. Jared Chamberlain

    I spend a lot of time checking in on my ailing father, who tends to spend most afternoons with CBS. CBS is a fine network… in the evening. During the day if i’m over there I would much rather take my iPod video cable with me so I can at least spend time with my dad and Scott Pilgrim, as opposed to spending time with my dad and Wayne Brady and Dr. Phil. I honestly see the digital copy of some movies as a saving grace, and I appreciate every one. Especially if it means I never have to see that dunce Dr. Phil giving the same advice that a half decent bartender would, to the same people that ignored the bartender a couple weeks prior to thinking “Hey, I should exploit myself on Dr. Phil.”
    Bring on more digital copies, for the love of God, more digital copies, please!

  11. I have downloaded every digital copy I got with a blu-ray. When I traveled, I enjoyed watching the movie while on a plane or train, also, I like listening to some movies while driving in traffic. A movie like the Hangover, or Monsters, Inc, or even Inglorious basterds, is still enjoyable even without the visuals.

    When I get an iPad this year, however, I think my digital copies will begin getting more play.

  12. that1guypictures

    I use digital copies occasionally. I store them on my iPhone, and when I go on vacation I use my component video out adapter to stream Netflix and play digital copies back on the TV’s in hotels and the like so that our family has something to watch. My opinion though is that the digital copy only needs to be a code, there doesn’t need to be a disc. If they want to merge the DVD copy and the digital copy, thats fine, but it gets pretty absurd to have a 4-disc set of Tangled or Alice in wonderland when the film is simply presented 4 times in 4 different ways.

  13. I was thinking of my comment earlier, and I guess I kind of need another option – I would use digital copies if they didn’t expire. I use them so rarely that when I do get around to wanting one, the movie is expired. It would probably be a lot easier to just rip the DVD – especially since I no longer use my iPhone and now use my Android.

  14. Does Sky Mall still sell those goggles that if worn are supposed to make it look like you’re watching a gigantic movie screen? If so I’ll use those. Take that Mr. Lynch!

  15. BMH

    If I’m going on a long trip, I’ll pick through my blu rays for unexpired digital copies and load them on my iphone. Generally, it isn’t worth the effort. It takes a long time to get from the disc to the pc and then to my iphone. Then it takes up way too much space on the iphone. I love “No Country for Old Men,” but I would rather have Futurama episodes on my phone.
    Similarly, a download code for 2012 for my PSP resulted in taking forever to download and load onto the PSP, and then it takes up way too much space. In fact, I deleted it, and have never seen 2012.

    At any rate, I prefer Steam codes. If you buy a box copy of Just Cause 2 for the PC, you get a code for Steam that doesn’t expire in addition to discs that let you avoid a long download. So while I feel that I own Just Cause 2 (albeit dependent on Steam,) the digital copy that came with Dark City was a worthless onetime windows media player download.

    As other people have said, as long as digital copies are a much larger pain to deal with than trans-coding a dvd, and there is no sense of ownership… then you might as well include an Aol disc…

    I have the Inception limited edition briefcase set, but I haven’t opened it. I’m sure that whenever I do open it, the digital copy will be expired.

  16. I download any digital copies I have been given the rights to. Mainly because I know that eventually studios will get stupid again and start to revoke these files rights and people won’t be able to download them at some point in the future. I generally only use the Apple iTunes files (which thankfully are the majority of the digital copies out there due to their easy compatibility with both Mac’s and PC’s equally). I have been trying to convince my friends that an Apple TV 2 is a good investment because any video I have on my Ipod Touch or iPad can be played on it, even DRM’d video files you buy from iTunes are one click away from playing on a friends TV if they have the device. People can whine about DRM, (I hate it more then a lot of things in life), but apple’s system works, I can watch movies and shows on ALL the portable devices I own from apple. I can stream those shows from my Mac to the Apple TV, or my iPad to my apple TV or iPod touch for that matter. And I can keep copies of these movies and TV shows on up to 5 machines and legally play them which vastly reduces my chances of losing the files due to a hard drive crash.

    By Comparison I once bought a copy of Terminator 2, the Skynet edition which came with a Microsoft sanctioned copy of a High Def Avi file. Not only did it not work correctly but months after it came out the only way you were able to properly watch this movie (THAT I LEGALLY PAID FOR!!!) was to perform a crack so that I could play it without the DRM on it.

    That was the day I gave up on Windows DRM for video files, and I have never looked back. Nor will I ever trust Microsoft with DRM on files I purchase ever again.

    Oh, I did however buy the HD version of Terminator 2 off of iTunes, and playing it back on multiple devices was painless.

  17. RollTide1017

    If it is a digital copy of a Disney movie, then it always goes on our phones. When the family is out in public, they become a “stop bugging mommy and daddy and be quiet” movie player!