Cheers: Finale

Sorry, We’re Closed

Nothing can last forever, I suppose. Regrettably, after more than 8,000 posts and nearly a decade of writing about all manner of movie, TV, and home theater topics, the Bonus View blog at High-Def Digest must close its doors effective today.

In the early days of its life, High-Def Digest was devoted almost exclusively to news and reviews about the Blu-ray format and its (now-defunct) competitor, HD DVD. Even after HD DVD conceded and the great High-Def Format War ended, the site maintained a focus on movie discs and software. To be fair, despite the waning presence of physical media in the marketplace, that remains a significant interest to most of our readers.

However, this is not and has never been “Blu-ray Digest.” Starting in April of 2010 (read Post #1), I spearheaded an initiative to expand the site’s scope by opening a blog which would serve as an outlet for myself and our writers to discuss other topics related to high-definition video and the home theater hobby. These included, but were not limited to: movies in theaters, TV shows, video games, electronics, and (later on) streaming.

The original mandate for the blog was to post two to three articles a week. That seemed insufficient to me, and I made an aggressive push to post every day. At our peak, we had as many as five or six posts a day, five days a week. That slowed down a bit over time. Old writers left and new writers joined. Personally, having kids severely limited the amount of available time I have to write. Nevertheless, with limited exceptions, I’ve overseen the publishing of new content in this blog every working business day for nine-and-a-half years. Some of those posts may have been more substantive than others, but I’ve tried my best to make sure we have something interesting to read here every day, with a minimum of blatant click-bait. (I won’t say there’s been none, but I tried to keep our readers engaged.)

I appreciate the blog format because it forced me to write something every day, overcoming my inclination toward procrastination. I’ve been Managing Editor of The Bonus View since its inception. During that time, I set a goal to personally contribute at least one post on every active day, often working through vacations and illnesses. Since 2010, I’ve only had about a dozen absences, and half of those were paternity leave immediately after my kids were born. I also edited every single piece of content that ever got published in the blog (some of our writers might say too heavily), and frequently chose the images and wrote the headlines to go with them. The Bonus View is very personal to me, and I am deeply saddened to see it end. I know that everyone working here feels the same.

The following are just a small handful of my personal favorite articles that I wrote for this blog:

Home Theater Technical Articles

Movies and Discs

TV

Fun Stuff

Looking at it, I see that many of those were technical articles. I suppose I single them out because they were the hardest to write (except that Q&A piece, which was a blast), yet also the most rewarding. Of course, we also had a great deal of fun talking about movies and TV. Among countless TV posts, I wrote lengthy recaps for every single episode of Game of Thrones from start to finish over its eight seasons.

Another accomplishment I rather enjoyed was systematically working through the entire career of filmmaker David Lynch for a series of posts under the heading Auteur Theory. Grouped with these are recaps for every episode of the Twin Peaks revival series, through which I attempted to make some sense of the infamous, mind-warping Episode 8.

Counting this one, The Bonus View published 8,197 posts during its lifetime, from 27 different authors. Most of those were regular contributors in some fashion, while a few were one-shot guests. Among all those posts were 1,954 TV recaps; 1,466 theatrical reviews; 484 Blu-ray Highlights articles; 466 Weekend Roundtables; and 394 reports from film festivals.

Intended as a weekly buying guide for everything released on Blu-ray and Ultra HD, the Blu-ray Highlights pieces were a tremendous amount of work to put together and write every week. As someone who remains passionate about watching movies on these formats, my goal was for the posts to serve as a useful resource for other fans and collectors. They were (and still are) the sort of thing that I wanted to read somewhere, and not seeing anyone else doing it as comprehensively as I liked, I took on the responsibility myself. I can only hope that came through.

This is the final post for the Bonus View blog. After today, the Comments section will remain open, but I’m not sure whether (or how long) it will be moderated. I am told that the wealth of content we’ve amassed over the last 9+ years will remain where it is. Unfortunately, no further posts will be published.

Some of our blog writers may remain on the site staff to contribute Blu-ray reviews. Starting next month, I have accepted a position to write about television for Primetimer and will be found there. I’m also exploring some other options to continue writing about movies and home theater, but don’t have anything to announce yet. (Sorry, I don’t do Twitter and my Facebook is only open to people I know personally.)

Before we shut the doors, here are some stats you might find of interest.

Total Numbers

Posts: 8,197
Months active: 114
Posts per month: 71.9
Avg words per post: 796

Josh Zyber

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Soon to be found at: Primetimer

Posts: 3,701
Months active: 114
Posts per month: 32.5
Avg words per post: 927

David Krauss

View all posts

Posts: 59
Months active: 111
Posts per month: 0.5
Avg words per post: 1,507

[Note: David’s numbers are somewhat skewed because he wrote a few posts in the early days of the blog but only became a regular contributor about a year ago.]

Deirdre Crimmins

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Follow: @dedecrim

Posts: 180
Months active: 16
Posts per month: 11.3
Avg words per post: 525

Jason Gorber

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Follow: @filmfest_ca
Also found at: ThatShelf

Posts: 169
Months active: 18
Posts per month: 9.4
Avg words per post: 534

Adam Tyner

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Also found at: DVDTalk

Posts: 49
Months active: 93
Posts per month: 0.5
Avg words per post: 1,052

Phil Brown

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Follow: @thatphilbrown

Posts: 1,105
Months active: 58
Posts per month: 19.1
Avg words per post: 752

Shannon Nutt

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Follow: @shannonnutt

Posts: 281
Months active: 66
Posts per month: 4.3
Avg words per post: 1,019

Brian Hoss

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Posts: 170
Months active: 26
Posts per month: 6.5
Avg words per post: 739

Luke Hickman

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Posts: 992
Months active: 84
Posts per month: 11.8
Avg words per post: 561

Aaron Peck

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Posts: 367
Months active: 34
Posts per month: 10.8
Avg words per post: 763

M. Enois Duarte

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Posts: 167
Months active: 72
Posts per month: 2.3
Avg words per post: 522

Tom Landy

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Posts: 77
Months active: 81
Posts per month: 0.9
Avg words per post: 621

Dick Ward

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Follow: @celmatespodcast

Posts: 432
Months active: 23
Posts per month: 18.8
Avg words per post: 538

Wayne Rowe

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Posts: 62
Months active: 49
Posts per month: 1.3
Avg words per post: 722

I’m very proud of all the work we’ve accomplished here over the last decade, and very appreciative of the writers who have worked with me, both past and present. I know that I speak for the whole staff when I say that we’re extremely grateful to all of our readers for following us. Perhaps we’ll meet again, somewhere else. Until then, all I can say is…

Thank you.

68 comments

  1. Pedram

    This was a sad surprise.
    I had to check my calendar for a sec to make sure it wasn’t April. Unfortunately, we’re far from it.
    Even though I often had differing opinions to those on this site, I’m sad to see it go. Thanks for the memories (and the two or three free discs). Good luck on your new ventures.

  2. Julie Kravetz

    I have never made any comment on this site, but loved reading the reviews, the technical stuff, and how a movie rated. I will really miss reading this blog. It was a an at least once a week go to on the internet. Thanks guys for all the great reviews and so much more!

  3. Brett

    S**T!!!

    Josh –

    I’ve been with the blog for most of its 9 years and I’ve always appreciated the time, energy and thought you’ve put into it. I can honestly say I’ve learned a heck of a lot about two of my favorite topics in the world: movies and home theatre. Haven’t always been able to follow some of your more technical pieces but I’ve always enjoyed them.

    On the reviewing side of things, my two personal highlights have been your original Dune piece (of course) and Transformers: Revenge of the Filth. I’ll admit here at the end (*sob* *sniff*) that for me Dune has always been more successful as a sleeping aid than as a movie, but thanks to your writing on the subject, The Passion Of The Josh and Dune will always be inextricably linked in my mind. In fact I may just dust off my copy of Dune as a Celebration of Life for this dearly departed blog and all things Zyber. “Long live the figh… er, the Zyber!”

    As runners-up I have to also mention Apocalypse Now and all your Bond pieces, right up to your fair and balanced review of Spectre. I also appreciate all the knowledge I’ve gained about Lynch and his work.

    Might I also suggest for the above highlights list the Thing (Arrow edition) debate. What a doozy! I don’t yet have a region-free player to watch my copy on but I’ll certainly be watching closely when I do!

    Also, as a postscript to the great Avatar Massacre of April 2010, when I mailed my sister my copy of Avatar after upgrading to the Extended SE disc, I made sure to include a copy of your humble review. In doing so I may have fatally skewed her outlook as she hadn’t yet seen the movie but what the heck.

    Every episode of Game of Thrones! Wow! I’m a Game of Thrones virgin although I do have the season 1-6 Blu boxset which I still haven’t dug into, but once I do I’ll be referring back to this blog as a companion guide.

    My reading for the next few days is decided with the above highlights list. I’ll keep a tissue handy…..

    To finish I can only steal your line and say…

    THANK YOU.

  4. I am really stunned. And a little upset because you didn’t give us the real reasons for that. 🙂

    Your idea of making a list of your personal post is great, but at the same time very risky, You are certainly leaving important things out.

    “When 4k Is Not 4k” is certainly one of the most most enlightening posts on Internet regarding 4k content.

    If I may, I woul like to point out “High-Def FAQ: Blu-ray and HD DVD Audio Explained” (I know it was not a post of the Bonus View), but for me, it was the single most useful article I have ever read about home theater.

    Let me also congratulate and regret the lack of the “HD Adisor” series of post. Also extremely helpful and full of contents. On top of that you kindly anwswered 3 or 4 questions of mine.

    Please, try to just give us the reasons…

  5. Brian Hoss

    Sigh. Late to the party as usual. I was really hoping that something would change and that at least the lights could be left on for a few more days/posts but alas no.

    It is nice to see some friendly reactions. I can’t relate how special the the Bonus View is to me in my life (thanks so much JZ), but I’m glad I’m not the only one who wishes that the end had not been handed down.

    On that subject, I too know what it is like to deliver bad news and have people offer sensible rational and generous ideas about how to keep going. All I can say is that is also rough to go through when those options aren’t really at your disposal.

    I want to salute the content as well as the community for the Bonus View. Even in the last few weeks, Josh has done such a great job of producing unique and awesome posts that are like catnip- to do so under the shade of this end is no small task.

    I have my Oppo in my home theater. Just this weekend I started looking for a small CRT to use with old game systems. Likewise, I just watched a movie that I really dislike because it is a part of a series that I do like (License to Kill). I still dislike it, and this is one community where it is ok and welcome to discuss such things. I could even talk about buying the whole Ultimate James Bond Collection on Blu-ray this past summer (not once but twice, as the first one did not include Spectre and had to be returned), and how I wanted the digital copies and how many other times I’ve bought the “whole set” and how kind of bummed I was that the Quantum of Solace disc is the same one (cover art aside) from when it first hit home video… sigh. If anyone wants to do a roundtable, let me know!

  6. DaveK

    So, I’ve been waiting patiently, but I guess this means Josh Z won’t be posting his review of the 4K UHD version of Prometheus?

  7. Dave M

    I’m late to the party, but damn! I will miss this. I loved these posts-especially the nostalgic ones about the old days and older formats. This truly is the Bad Place.

    Good luck on your next gig-all of you.

  8. Derek W

    Been a reader since the beginning and sad to see the end of an era. Thank to Josh and the many contributors for always reminding us what it means to be a home theater enthusiast.

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