I've never bought a movie digital only

It was recently announced that Disney will no longer make physical media releases in Australia. Now as dire as this sounds, according to the article, Australian physical media is really bad sales wise. The few Australians still collecting physical media will probably be better off importing. But what inspired me to make this post is that I saw some people comment about how purchasing a movie digitally is the way to go because it pays residuals the same way DVDs/Blu-rays do. Let's ignore whether or not this is true and focus more on the bigger picture: buying a movie digitally sucks.

Now what does buying a digital movie entail? Well to answer that, we need to answer what buying a physical movie entails. Owning a movie on a disc or any other physical format gives you ownership over YOUR copy of the movie until you sell it or break it. And you can do whatever you want with it except make a copy of it, use it in a public setting, or god forbid post its contents on the Internet. They aren't permanent storage devices, but by the time they become unusable, either you'll be dead or there will be plenty of newer and arguably better ways to watch it that it won't matter.

You aren't given the same privileges with a digital copy. What you are buying is a digital license for the film. It means that you have access to that digital version of the film until something happens. "Something" can mean anything. Maybe the distributors lose their rights to the film and pull it from stores. Now most stores will only stop future customers from purchasing the film and keep the film on their data labs to allow people who already bought it to keep using it, but let's not put it past companies to change that. The service allowing you to access the movie isn't the issue, what's far more likely is the service shutting down 10-15 years after you signed up. Remember UltraViolet? That was THE place to redeem digital movie codes. And it lasted from 2011-2019. I have no reason to believe services like Vudu won't meet the same demise. I sure hope they don't, though, because I've got 20 movies on that service that aren't Movies Anywhere eligible and are stuck on Vudu.

But you know what? I can live with not permanently owning a digital movie. What I don't like is the fact that I can't really DO anything with my digital copies of movies. You can't download the movies. Oh they might SAY you can download them but really you're just downloading the equivalent of when you download a video on Netflix. You don't get a video file that you can do whatever the hell you want out of fear that you'll copy it and upload it online. You can only play it in the media player the distributor provides, which after the early 2010s does not include an offline method. All I'm doing is adding a movie to my own mini streaming service where the movie probably doesn't go away.

And that's why I've never bought a movie digital only. There's no upside compared to owning it physically. I get RENTING a movie digitally, even if the couple times I've tried it haven't worked out, but at least there I get not being able to download a file and only being given access to a stream. But for OWNING the movie, it's a fucking waste of money. All I do now is redeem the digital codes I get with Blu-rays. That's it.

Don't even get me started on TV shows.

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