Digital vs Physical Movie Library

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by twobelowpar, Dec 7, 2013.

  1. twobelowpar macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2013
    Hi folks, long time lurker first time poster. I'm at a point where I either want to start building my movie collection from iTunes, Ultraviolet (yeck), or simply continue with the Blu-rays. For a while it seemed I could have the best of both worlds with the BR disc and the included digital copy, especially with the increase of the digital copies being in HD. Now it seems more and more releases only come with the UV copy. I'm simply not interested in starting another account and having my collection in different places like that. I have an ATV and love being able to access movies in iCloud, and the ability to stream non-purchased movies as well. I just don't want any part of UV. So with more BR discs coming with UV copies, I'm not getting an iTunes copy to stash in the iCloud. It's already difficult enough to have 100 movies on the shelf that I would like to be able to access on my ATV. Basically, I want to know what you do. Do you stick with the tried and true physical copies and any digital copies are bonus? Do any of you exclusively purchase movies or TV shows through iTunes? (Shows seem even more convenient to have on iCloud than movies). Or do you do both and just live with some movies on a shelf and some in your iCloud? Hope this isn't a discussion that's been had over and over and over... just wanted to get some input!
  2. linds15 macrumors 6502a

    Oct 16, 2012
    Great White North
    buy blu ray, rip and keep on network to watch at every atv3 in the house. store blu rays away, realistically will not get up to put them in player instead of sifting through atv menu
  3. ChrisA macrumors G4

    Jan 5, 2006
    Redondo Beach, California
    First off the Blu-Ray disc media is the best quality by far. If you are going to spend the time to watch a movie why watch the low bit rate compressed version if you have the blu-ray disc available. It is not really hard to place the disc in the player.

    If you want a digital copy of the movie so you can play it on an iPhone or what ever you can always rip the disc. What to do with all the digital copies? Plavce them in iTunes and "share" the collection. They will them be available in the ATV, iPods and other Macs.
  4. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I started purchasing stuff almost exclusively through iTunes earlier this year. Blu-ray still has the best overall quality if you're going to do a lot of tests on audio and video. But just like iTunes did to audio, the "compromised" videos are NOT THAT BAD.

    Most of the flaws I will see in movies involves very, very dark scenes. It's very rare, but sometimes you will see the pixellation from compression. I can't say this doesn't exist in these movies on BD, but I remember seeing it once at the beginning of "Skyfall." But for the rest of the movie, it was fine.

    I just got sick of buying a movie, waiting for it to get shipped from Amazon -- or needing to remember to buy it at Target or wherever -- locating the package, inserting the disc into the player, MANEUVERING THROUGH THE PREVIEWS AND OTHER CRAP YOU MUST SKIP THROUGH IF YOU'RE LUCKY AND DON'T GOTTA SIT THROUGH IT, getting to the menu on most of them and then hitting play. Now I purchase a movie from iTunes, wait for it to download and then play it on my Apple TV. Heck, I don't even have to download it first if I don't want to.

    As you may have noticed, the previews, trailers and ads that came on BDs just drove me nuts. Go drop $20 to own a movie and you've gotta sit through that crap every time you queue it up. Apple is mostly competitive on price, especially with movies. It runs sales every week, but it's hard to compete with the sheer number of titles on sale when everybody sells physical movies. But hey, not a bad tradeoff.

    I found a BD drive online and learned how to rip the discs I have. I'm in the process of boxing them all up. I wouldn't have minded buying BD and receiving an HD iTunes digital copy of the movie. But movies either started using Ultraviolet -- as you said, yeck -- or just included an SD digital copy.

    Once I find a good way to store all this stuff, I'll feel better. Half of my clutter is TV shows and movies. I used to have some clutter with CDs, but I may have bought 10 CD albums total since starting to use iTunes back in 2004. Now with all the iCloud features, it takes an album just not being available on iTunes -- think older movie soundtracks -- for me to buy them elsewhere.
  5. twobelowpar, Dec 8, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2013

    twobelowpar thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2013
    Hi. In response to a few of your points.
    Yes I suppose if I have the BR disc I wouldn't watch the digital version even if was in HD. I paid for the highest possible quality so why not use it. We have about 50 Blu-rays so it's not yet a pain to find the disc, although I do hate the garbage that you can't skip through at the beginning. With about 100 DVDs I could probably pack those away once I learn how to rip 'em.
    I guess when I think about it the only real advantage, for me, in purchasing from iTunes would be the iCloud. The ability to have the titles right there on the ATV, but not taking up any of my space. I have limited hard drive space that would be taken up eventually with rips, especially if I got a BR drive. I'm not the most tech savvy guy but I can do some things. Say I ended up ripping all my stuff. How possible/expensive is it to have a dedicated hard drive that connects to my iTunes but not one I'd have to drag out and plug into the computer every time we want to look through the movies/TV shows? I've read about NAS. They are pretty much always on right? I know I sound pretty novice here..haha. If I can look through our stuff on iTunes without having to store hundreds of gigs locally, that would be ideal. It would almost be like a personal cloud. I just don't think I'm ready to buy exclusively from iTunes. I find too many sales on the physical discs that Apple just doesn't have, esp in the Canadian store.
    Thanks again for your thoughts!

    Michael, how many iTunes movie purchases would you say you have? And for those who rip, and I can delete this if it's frowned upon, but is there really much of a difference between ripping yourself and just... "finding" a copy online to download and use? I guess since I already bought the movie it's a little different in my mind than doing that for one I haven't purchased.
  6. janitor1999 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    A physical copy iTunes movie downloads are to expensive. I can usually get movies on DVD or blu ray for much less than iTunes charges.
  7. d21mike macrumors 68040


    Jul 11, 2007
    Torrance, CA
    I switched over to all iTunes (HD) a number of years ago after ripping 185 DVD Movies. It took a few months. Very time consuming and a lot of disk space. Along with backups etc. Also, out of the 185 movies I seldom watched most of them. So started by buying my favorite 10 or so in HD (much higher quality then DVD). Then every now and then I buy a few (like when I bought the Bourne Collection of 4 moves for about $40). Sometimes I buy a current movie but most of the time a rent them and then later buy it if I want to match multiple times.
  8. brentsg macrumors 68040

    Oct 15, 2008
    Lately I buy the stuff I want to keep and re-watch repeatedly on Blu-ray.

    If a movie has a digital copy and it's not something that i need for critical viewing, then I will just get rid of it. I can always watch the UV or iTunes version down the road if I get the urge.
  9. blanka, Dec 9, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013

    blanka macrumors 68000

    Jul 30, 2012
    I buy Blu-Rays, they're are often very cheap, and then I rip them to the HD. Sometimes I keep the MakeMKV MKV untouched (many BR's are only 10-12GB) but the big ones I put through Handbrake with RF=14 (not to MP4, just to get smaller MKV's). Then they go from 20-25Gb to +- 10GB while remaining very high quality.

    Another like about BR's is that it allows me to get the animated (Pixars) in Flemmish. Downloads only are translated to Dutch. I hate the Dutch versions, and the Flemmish ones are often even better than the original English ones, so BR is the only way to get them.

    I also like those Pixars to be de-staryfied. I don't give a damn about Eddy Murphy doing the voice for Frozone in the best animated movie ever. The Dutch version also uses a lot of famous Dutch actors, where the Belgian's just use the best voice. Only bad thing is that Dutch is always getting a DTS-HD track, where Flemmish ones only get DD 640kbps.

    One of the biggest reasons for me to have an open standard digital format, is that you can tweak the look of subtitles very well. I have a 16:10 screen, with plenty of black bar, so I can have the subs in a nice small Helvetica outside the main content. I yet have to find a DRM-ed system that allows this.
  10. Menneisyys2 macrumors 603

    Jun 7, 2011
    Exactly. For example, I've paid $80 (with postage) for the complete season 1..3 of the BD version of Star Trek on Amazon. From the iTunes Store, it would have cost me about $170 ($56/season). And iTunes only has a dumbed-down, copy-protected version.

    This means BD generally doesn't only beat iTunes Store in the image / audio quality / extras / copy protection, but also, many times, in the price department.

    There is absolutely no point in preferring iTunes Store over physical BD's, unless one doesn't want to fuss with manual ripping or just wants to "rent" a movie for one-time watching.
  11. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    OP, as far as movies I have 61 as a combo of purchases and digital copies. I think 19 were DC, so that means 42 purchases. For those who claim iTunes is ALWAYS more expensive, nope. Most of them were less than $15 in HD. I think I pad $20 on maybe four of them. A few were $15, but most were $10. I'm a sucker for he slew of $10 movies iTunes puts out weekly. I just bought Elf for $10.

    I keep everything on a pair of external drives hooked up to an iMac. Keep iTunes open and you can access everything from ATV and iOS devices on the local network. The good thing now is if a bomb hit my house, the stuff I bought from iTunes would be easily accessible to redownload had I not been at home during said bombing. Maybe a fire is more likely. A very very good feature instead of your optical discs melting. But the fact that they're technically lifetime rentals attached to my ID isn't the greatest. I have hope legislation and evolution will change this in the near future.
  12. rlu929s macrumors regular

    May 17, 2011
    I took the leap about a 18 months ago. I had a collection of about 150 DVD's and 40 Blu-rays. I ripped them all to a 2TB local drive on my Windows PC and imported them into iTunes. I have not looked back honestly. After my initially ripping spree, which took awhile on a nicer PC. I start mostly buying my movies directly off iTunes. Here are some of the benefits I saw and my main reason for going digital.

    1. I calmed down my need to have the best A/V picture available. It's still a good picture though on a 65" 1080p RPTV and sound is not bad out of my LG sound bar with wireless sub-woofer.
    2. My kid's can use the ATV better than my wife and there's no sticky fingers trying to mess with discs.
    3. Got rid of a bookshelf full of discs. They know sit in a folder in my closet.
    4. Access these movies on 3 TV's anytime.
    5. $19.99 compared to what you buy the BR disc on release day is cheaper from what I've seen.
    6. I wait for the $100 iTunes gift card sales for $80 and stock up. Now that $19.99 movie cost me $15.99.
    7. Can buy on release day and it downloads while at work and ready when I get home.
    8. I can still buy a BR Disc if it's a good deal and rip. I just did this for several new kid's movies over Black Friday. $8 per movie.

    Hope that helps!
  13. jetjaguar macrumors 68030


    Apr 6, 2009
    I went back and forth for a long time about switching from physical discs to digital and after owning like 500 dvds and bunch of blurays I just decided to get my stuff off iTunes. Mainly because I had a ton of itunes cards and I just like the idea of having access to my whole library on any device. I guess I am just getting older.
  14. rayward macrumors 68000

    Mar 13, 2007
    Houston, TX
    I think this is the essence of the digital path. You don't have to be exclusively iTunes or hard media, you can pick and choose whichever works best for you.

    If it's an action movie (that I know I'll want to keep, say "The Avengers"), I prefer to buy the Blu Ray and rip it for my ATVs. That way, I can always re-rip it later to better specs if/when I get an updated media player (or I have a home theater where I want the full Blu Ray quality and space/convenience isn't an issue).

    If it's a drama or comedy, the image quality isn't so important, so iTunes works just fine.
  15. jdiamond macrumors 6502

    Dec 17, 2008
    I've had a bad experience with DRMs so far...

    I generally use BD directly or ripped, because I have had very bad experiences with my iTunes movies. Basically, I am constantly being told I am not authorized to watch them! They are very sensitive to being moved to a different hard drive, or when I buy a new computer - in fact, multiple times I've had to just delete my entire iTunes digital collection and re-download them all one at a time from iCloud. And then, on top of that, I get HDCP issues where I can't watch the iTunes purchases on an external monitor or TV. But if I rip a movie, I can watch it anywhere, any time!

    I *do* appreciate the internet streaming iCloud gives you - that's great for my daughter on her iPad (except when the internet gets spotty). But right now, I would not put any faith in the longevity of what you "own" on iTunes, as they seem to constantly update the files and your own video files quickly become obsolete.

    This to me is the best thing about Blu-Rays or ripped Blu-Rays, PERIOD - they will be truly yours to watch for as long as someone still makes a player that understands the file format. (And if you rip them, you can even change the format to modernize it as needed.)

    Plus, as other posters have commented, Moore's Law for Hard drives has pretty much ended, making it VERY expensive to store and back up this stuff digitally. At the moment, we've found it costs about $7 per Blu-Ray movie to store digitally (assuming two external drives with one as backup), but that's not linear - once you hit the max capacity your RAID enclosure can hold, you have to pay a fortune to create a newer, higher capacity external drive. And the cost per terabyte for hard drives hasn't gone down since 2008.

    At this point, I save money by thinking of the BDs as the backup. I've had CDs disintegrate as quickly as 18 months (most last years), but Blu-Ray disks were designed for extra longevity, so I'm hopeful they can last more than a decade. Will your iTunes files still be valid in a decade?
  16. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    Yes, why not. iTunes uses MPEG4 part 10 an industry standard format.
  17. CWallace macrumors 603


    Aug 17, 2007
    Seattle, WA
    The issue isn't the data, but the FairPlay DRM attached to that data.

    If Apple goes under one day and takes FairPlay with them, then that could possibly disable your iTunes videos as they would no longer be able to authenticate (as has happened with other DRM systems).

    That being said, I buy all my TV series on iTunes and have purchased a fair number of movies. For stuff I wish to watch often, I buy the physical Blu-ray.

    I have ripped my entire DVD collection along with some BRDs that I wish to be able to take with me on my iOS devices.
  18. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    i don't buy a lot of blu rays but everyone i buy is with the digital copy. itunes or UV. my blu ray player plays UV copies via vudu and others

    for digital purchases its only stuff that is on sale for a few $$$ which is always a UV copy since itunes stuff is more expensive. and some kids movies on the spur of the moment but those are via itunes.
  19. blueroom macrumors 603


    Feb 15, 2009
    Toronto, Canada
    DRM's another story, BUT if you read the terms of any DRM based "purchase" you don't own the content anyway, and that includes physical media.

    Caveat: It's illegal to circumvent copy protection in most countries, so you're kind of stuck either way.
  20. Bishope1999, Dec 10, 2013
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013

    Bishope1999 macrumors regular

    Dec 31, 2010
    Like others have said, if you like quality video and audio you buy the Blu-ray version. Plus, you have the option of ripping those movies to the different players you want. They are also cheaper than the iTunes version.

    I don't see any reason to buy the inferior iTunes HD version at a higher cost and at a lower quality than Blu-ray. They may both be 1080p, but the iTunes version is highly compressed with lossy audio.

    If you enjoy getting the most out of your HDTV, then continue to buy the superior physical copy.
  21. twobelowpar thread starter macrumors regular

    Dec 7, 2013
    That's close to the same number of discs that I have too.

    Yeah. I am realizing I'm as much of a videophile as I thought I might be. I'm picky about my HD. I absolutely hate when movies come with SD digital copies and have no use for them. But other than that, I don't think I'll be picky enough to make that be a sole reason to continue with BR discs..

    Unfortunately iTunes Canada has some crappy prices for new releases. But I usually wait till the BR disc comes down in price too anyway.

    Another reason I'd like to learn how to rip and get a BR drive. Although I'm almost better off re-purchasing some titles on iTunes than spending money on a BR drive I wouldn't otherwise need and an external to store them, eh??


    This! This has happened to me before and I don't understand why. I have an ATV and an HDTV and it wouldn't stream via Airplay. Is it because of my PC? I think it says something about HDCP when I tried to Airplay a 1080 but not a 720.

    The thing I love about iCloud is that I don't have to do any of the work for storage. I could see my collection on ATV, pick, and watch.

    A good point.

    $7... Wow. Again, makes me wonder if ripping is worth it and just living with some physical titles and some digital titles. Or repurchasing certain titles if they are ever dirt cheap.
  22. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    You make very valid points about digital file issues. I'm still hoping Apple and/or the government (I know) can get laws changed so we can actually own our digital copies. But right now Apple keeps flirting with being the largest company in the world based on market cap. I have access to the first iTunes music file I purchased in 2004, so I'm pretty confident in continued access. I mean if Apple goes away, we might have more problems than movies disappearing.

    Yes, hard drives have stopped getting much larger. Do any exist over 4 TB? I think part of the problem is drives are now measured in TB and haven't done decimals since 1.5 TB. So despite the fact that maybe a 4.5 TB drive could be produced, the number isn't as "sexy" as 6 TB will eventually be.

    Also, solid state. I guarantee you every drive and memory manufacturer is trying like hell to make SSDs cheaper and more reliable. So there's less R&D into sheer capacity and more into making decent capacity at insane speeds.

    Anyway, Apple is pretty much my backup service for the videos I buy from there. BDs are the backups for the old discs. I just really shudder to think how I'm gonna store all these.
  23. janitor1999 macrumors regular

    Sep 9, 2008
    An old tv series I was planning on buying, £120 for the 3 series on itunes £35 on DVD on amazon, or £78 for the blu ray version, that includes delivery, a lot of movies I watch are old rubbish, so £10 on itunes £4 on DVD. So unless I need to watch it now, it's always the DVD as that can usually be available to watch within 24hrs.
  24. jeff92k7 macrumors member

    Dec 14, 2012
    I'd like to see the math on this. That seems extremely high to me, as if the math was done on a very expensive external RAID array with expensive disks and you're saving a direct copy of the full Blu-Ray rather than recompressing to a smaller iTunes compatible file.

    Running some quick and dirty calculations of my own: With my 4 2TB drives in a RAID 5 array using one as a hotspare yields a bit less than 4TB of usable space. Each disk was $100. The dirty math says that's ~$0.10 per GB. For a 4-5GB reencoded BRrip, it costs me ~$0.40-0.50 per movie to store.

    That's not taking into account the server cost (which I had before I started ripping), but averaging that in only brings up the per movie cost to ~$1.00. And then to figure in my online backup service (unlimited space, per month cost) for estimated 100 movies of various sizes yields an additional $0.07 per month per movie. So I'm looking at less than $2.00 per year for storage and backup of my movie library. The backup costs are further reduced when I figure in all the documents and other iTunes content that are also backed up.

    I just don't see how you could get up to $7 per movie to store it. Moore's law really has nothing to do with the costs since that just means costs per GB of storage aren't continuing to decrease. They're just frozen. So the cost of storage today is the same as the cost of storage tomorrow. If Moore's law continued, the costs would decrease as time progressed but would only be realized when it came time to replace the disk storage.
  25. alent1234 macrumors 603

    Jun 19, 2009
    how much is your electric bill?


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