FOR those who do not know, I am a movie addict.
I watch a lot of movies in cinemas and collect them in the form of DVDs, be it movies, TV shows, special edition releases, etc.
Lately, the shift has been to buying the high-definition Blu-ray titles and, if the price is right, replacing my DVD collection with a Blu-ray version.
So it was with much joy that I saw that Warner Brothers is having a DVD to Blu-ray replacement promotion, where users can convert their DVDs into Blu-rays.
The plan is simple – visit www.dvd2blu.com and check if you own any of the 50 titles listed, like Rush Hour 3 or Ocean's Thirteen.
Click on the titles you want and pay a token sum of between US$7.95 to $9.95 for each, and you will receive the new Blu-ray copies after you mail them the DVD versions you own.
The catch, of course, is that this is available only to US residents and even if you find a way to circumvent the shipping details, this exercise will most likely work on the US protocol (Code 1 DVDs) and not the local Code 3 versions.
While it is great to see a Hollywood studio rally consumers towards Blu-ray – and its own Blu-ray content – by getting movie fans to upgrade their DVDs rather than replace them, it is highly doubtful that local consumers will ever see such an offer here.
The simple answer is because Hollywood studios do not release DVDs or Blu-ray titles directly to the local market.
Instead, they use licensees who pay studios the royalties for movies on DVD and Blu-ray titles, and then sell them to retailers and consumers.
So if the licensee has already paid Warner for the royalties on that copy of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth DVD they sold you, they will not be thrilled to take back that DVD in exchange for a Blu-ray version instead – losing money in the process.
They will make more money if they sell you that copy of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth Blu-ray, because the token sum that they should charge, if the licensee ever rolls out such an exchange, will leave them with very little profit.
This royalty, when factored into the price of a DVD, also explains why movies cost a lot more here, compared to the US.
As much as I can see the reason behind the call to support local businesses and suppliers, it is reasons like this US-only deal with Warner that makes me question what I get for my loyalty.
I am stuck with a bunch of soon-to-be outdated DVDs with no other recourse than to buy Blu-ray versions as replacement.
If I had, like some of my friends here, bought the US Code 1 DVDs, there would still be the option for me to participate in the upgrade program.
But I picked the wrong camp to support and you can bet I won't make that mistake again.