Want to Pay More Money to Watch HBO Shows at Lower Quality? Now You Can!

A few years ago, I was under the impression that everyone was on the same page when it came to digital distribution.  I’m starting to feel like I misjudged the industry.  Sure, it’s cool that HBO is on the PlayStation Network, but paying $36 for a standard definition season of ‘True Blood’ is just plain unacceptable.

All right, so here’s how it’s supposed to break down:  Companies like HBO have a great advantage distributing their shows digitally because it saves them money.  They don’t have to ship the product, they don’t have to pay designers to make the boxes, and they don’t have to pay to have discs made.

The benefit to the customer should be obvious.  First, we get our content when we want it.  And second, since the companies giving us the content have lower overhead costs, we should get the content cheaper.  Right?

HBO made the move over to the PlayStation Network yesterday with much celebration from Sony.  You can jump on your PS3 now and download episodes. But there’s really no reason to.  Take the hit show ‘True Blood,’ with its decidedly non-sparkly vampires.   If you buy it on PSN, you’ll be shelling out $2.99 per episode.  For all of season two, that’s $35.88.

That’s $35.88 for standard definition video.  For $32.99 you can get the DVD set on Amazon, pop a disc into your PS3, and enjoy SD video upscaled to 1080p.  Sure, an upscaled DVD isn’t Blu-ray quality, but it looks a lot better than the downloaded 480p videos.

Of course, if you’re willing to shell out another $4.11, you can pick up the Blu-ray from Amazon with free shipping.  Your choice becomes $39.99 for ‘True Blood’ on Blu-ray, or $35.88 to download and watch a standard definition version of ‘True Blood.’   Doesn’t sound like a choice at all.

7 comments

  1. Tim

    Indeed, but there are still alot of idiots out there who don’t have a clue about bluray and all it has to offer.

    To add to your argument, most people would be able to go to a local Best Buy and back (probably more than once) before their season has fully downloaded

  2. Aaron

    How about watching true blood for free if you have comcast or verizon tv. It is on demand right now if you are an hbo subscriber and have on demand the entire first and second season is on demand.

    • Tim May 27, 2010 at 11:28am How about watching true blood for free if you have comcast or verizon tv. It is on demand right now if you are an hbo subscriber and have on demand the entire first and second season is on demand.

      can you please explain how it’s free if you have to pay for hbo?

  3. Tim

    And they wonder why piracy is so rampant. How about taking a shot at pirates by offering the downloads at a LOWER cost than the DVD? As the author mentioned, there should be some cost savings here.

    I’d buy high quality episodes online if the price was reasonable. These guys just don’t get it.

      • Gotta love Showtime getting it right by putting their stuff on Netflix

        Starz also has their stuff on nexflix except unlike Showtime all their stuff is available streaming even their shows like Spartacus: Blood and Sand.

        Not all of showtime stuff is streaming.

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