The Future of Home Video

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DeprongMori
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#551 Post by DeprongMori » Fri Nov 22, 2019 3:57 pm

HinkyDinkyTruesmith wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:11 pm
DeprongMori wrote:
Wed Sep 04, 2019 12:28 pm
Anyone been following what has been going on with Fandor since December, when they laid off their entire staff?

I subscribed during the sale when FilmStruck closed down, but really haven’t watched it since the December announcement. I was surprised to find today that it was still active. However, the streaming quality seems poor. In streaming my first film today, Escape to Burma (1955), I’m finding the video quality low-resolution and dupey, and it is being streamed in the wrong aspect ratio — 1.78 instead of 2.00.

What have others been experiencing? Has anyone heard any news since December?
I had been subscribed, but changed credit cards mid-December. Fandor's account stuff no longer works––you can't sign up, you can't change things––so I couldn't re-sign-up. However, the Amazon channel for it still works, and I signed up through that. I don't think the video quality is being affected by their state of affairs––they've often only had low-grade transfers of many of their films. But a recent film like Ida is available in full-HD, and looks great.
I have received an email that my year subscription to Fandor has expired and it “helpfully” provides a link to an “update your credit card” page that is a convincing-looking secure web page under their domain name, but I am suspicious at this point of any web page not accessed directly from my logged in Fandor account, since they have been operating on fumes for a year now, and their phone is disconnected.

Anyone have any further news? I may try to re-add the service through Amazon instead to be on the safe side.

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Roscoe
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#552 Post by Roscoe » Fri Nov 22, 2019 4:09 pm

I'm still able to stream FANDOR through my Amazon Prime. Looks good.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#553 Post by FrauBlucher » Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:05 pm

This from Glenn Erickson. Thought it was interesting enough to post...
Happy New Year —

I’m skipping a ‘best of’ list this year, only because my lists of favorites were becoming relevant only to me. It was an impossible list to compile anyway, because the literal explosion of desirable titles made it impossible to rank the favorites — I counted over a hundred worthy favorites among just the genre releases. I’ve discriminated by quality (what looks the best) and by rarity (what I never thought this would look this good) and got nowhere. These days, even the most minor releases routinely sport excellent transfers.

The explosion I talk about comes from a handful of non-studio disc companies. We’re by now well aware that the big studios release few older library/vault titles, and prefer to license them to small Blu-ray companies. Shout! Factory, Powerhouse Indicator, Kino, Arrow and a few others have joined Criterion in soaking us with the riches of studio libraries, giving us beautiful HD masters of genre titles that the studios can’t be bothered with. Twilight Time has ceased activity, and Olive Films has also hit the pause button, but we don’t know yet if both are out for the count. Yet 2019 has seen an avalanche of genre favorites, most beautifully remastered. Scream Factory has all but cleaned out the Universal vault of horror and sci-fi films, and other companies have pretty much covered most of the desirable Hammer films, at least the ones not tied up by Warners. Kino Lorber’s deal with Studio Canal has opened a floodgate to a potentially endless stream of exotic / forgotten foreign products. Many of which were seldom screened here, at least not in complete editions, in their original languages.

For the last twenty years we’ve been reading editorials claiming that DVDs and Blu-rays are on the way out, nearing extinction. This is the first year in which mainstream voices are finally echoing what we’ve been whining/preaching/arguing about for years: hard-media home video is the only guarantee of access to one’s favorite movies. Even if you’ve bought a digital version, anything in the cloud can be revoked at any time. Those old DVD collections may suddenly become valuable again, if studios remove their libraries from circulation, except for streaming services under their control. Remember, they OWN the films as intellectual property. Nobody can force them to make individual titles available.

How many streaming services do you subscribe to, in addition to all the new subscriptions one must maintain to do things like run a home computer? Studios that are pushing streaming in a big way seem to be aligning their distribution model to ‘disrupt’ theatrical distribution. With Disney acquiring 20th-Fox, repertory theaters have been told they won’t be supplied with Fox product, and the foreign disc companies I know have been told that Fox product will no longer be licensed to them.

Nobody knows the future of theatrical distribution for new pictures, but learning about older movies now seems even more of a splinter activity for cinephiles, film students and TCM fans. Cultural Consensus moviegoing, where many of us see the same things, only happens with a few exceptional mega-hits. The ‘average’ folk I know don’t have time to become cinema fans. If they have leisure money they’re into other new pursuits. You could pretty much guarantee that somebody in the 1990s had access to a VHS player, and until 2015 or so most homes I visited could play a DVD. But just because my personal friends have a Blu-ray hooked up, doesn’t mean that most people do. When I say that I have a set that will play 3-D, it’s often assumed that I’m rich (hahahaha) or ‘one of those people’ with a central obsession better avoided in conversation.

But folk that frequent places like CineSavant of course tend to be fellow confirmed movie addicts, many with professional contacts or actually working in the biz in one way or another. That’s where you’ll find serious collectors. Not many consumers buy discs all the time, but I hear from plenty of people who somehow purchase MANY. I think the generation of college students that went crazy for DVDs around 1998 matured out of the habit, as they got deeper into their adult responsibilities… in other words, they became normal consumers, mostly buying Disney discs when their kids demanded them. And plenty of college-age disc fans got out of the habit after a couple of apartment moves, when they realized how bulky discs can be. After not being able to accumulate anything in the first half of my life, I think I’ve kept EVERYTHING from the second half. I still haven’t figured out a reasonable storage/library system for my discs, that’s for sure. I’d ask my sane friends how they got the courage & willpower to divest themselves of so many possessions / collections… but I know I won’t change.

Will people still continue to care about old movies, outside of a small group branded as elitists? It’s scary when Martin Scorsese ventures an opinion that clashes with popular taste, and all of a sudden finds himself being harassed like a target of a political slur on Twitter. I’ve been through the 2019 releases I wanted to see and found several really fine pictures, but only a couple that I know I’ll want to see again. But right now there must be 500 old pictures that I’m ready to screen at a moment’s notice — I love showing guests things they haven’t seen.

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Godot
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#554 Post by Godot » Tue Dec 31, 2019 7:07 pm

FrauBlucher wrote:
Tue Dec 31, 2019 6:05 pm
This from Glenn Erickson. Thought it was interesting enough to post...
...But right now there must be 500 old pictures that I’m ready to screen at a moment’s notice — I love showing guests things they haven’t seen.
Danke, Frau, for posting that.
God bless DVD/CineSavant, he's contributed to the life support of physical media. I certainly have bought most of my discs this past year after reading his reviews (and those in our forum). If not for the temptations of reviews and posts, and the decision to explore region-free a few years ago, my savings account would be much healthier.

And to the point of Glenn's last sentence, that is among my primary pleasures in owning physical media - I have extended family visiting now, and it's nice to have them pick through options each night for viewing (especially helpful when trying to form consensus on what we'll watch). I try to select movies no one has seen (difficult with 10 of us, but it can be done). Two nights ago it was the wonderful Optimum Region-B blu-ray of Went the Day Well?, last night it was the better-than-expected War Arrow (the bodice-ripper image of Jeff Chandler kissing Maureen O'Hara on the DVD cover intrigued us). We keep a shelf of "not-seen" titles to pick from, across a variety of genres, plus my in-laws' favorites (John Wayne, courtroom dramas, Westerns, mysteries).

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colinr0380
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#555 Post by colinr0380 » Tue Dec 31, 2019 9:01 pm

I have to ask Godot, but how did they react to Thora Hird gunning down Nazis in Went The Day Well?

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Godot
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#556 Post by Godot » Wed Jan 01, 2020 3:38 pm

They were all shocked, and I loved the canted angles and shadows in that scene ... but that comes so late in the film, after so many other images of surprisingly realistic violence. I think the film establishes the indiscriminate brutality of the invaders effectively in the church, where earlier we see
SpoilerShow
the vicar murdered and the children's lives threatened in retribution for the policeman's attempted escape,
and even I jumped when we see the four returning home-guard soldiers ambushed, including
SpoilerShow
being shot in the face and bayoneted.
But the scene that had our room most surprised was Mrs. Collins' (the Miss Marple-like community store owner and phone maven) genial discussion with the solder in her kitchen, the way the actress (Muriel George, had to look her up, I don't remember seeing her in anything before) plays the scene, with sly come-ons, toothy smiles, and yet with her jaw set and eyes narrowed, so when
SpoilerShow
she peppers the soldier's eyes, and Cavalcanti shows her heft the axe in her right hand as she lurches forward, then bringing it down on him with both hands, trembling as she recovers her senses ... and that action seems to be over in less than 5 seconds,
nearly everyone in the room exclaimed something, from "Oh my God" to "Wow" to "Wait, what just happened?"

So by the end scene you referenced, when Nora asks for the pistol and then slowly descends the stairs to confront Wilsford, my kids were talking back to the screen in encouragement and guessing what would happen. I've trained my kids not to talk during movies, but this one really got under everyone's skin, so it was a big hit in that way. Thank God for subtitles, we were a bit confused by all the names and accents (especially the poacher and young George in the woods) and titles and relationships in the dialog, but the visuals and editing and acting tell the story effectively nonetheless.

Afterward, I found the Graham Green short story for my father-in-law ("The Lieutenant Died Last", in Complete Short Stories ... an interesting source, it's from the poacher's POV) and the BFI Film Classics monograph by Penelope Houston for my kids to read. Those aren't "Future of Home Video" necessarily, but are in a similar vein wherein I enjoy having books at the ready to explore topics, rather than using the interwebs to look something up. We even walked to the library to take out more Graham Greene books.

And last night we watched Ford's 3 Godfathers, which was an interesting comparison to the more pedestrian War Arrow, to see how Ford imbued such poetry and atmosphere in his visuals, and subtlety in revealing information, mixed with (to my kids' modern ears) awkward discriminatory language ("Don't talk Mex around the kid!") and bold emotion (the birth scene and Harry Carey Jr.'s angelic appearance, the miraculous Bible-predicted mule in the grotto /cave). And it was great to see Ford use more Jane Darwell (Ma Joad, as an earthy man-eater!) and Mildred Natwick (the widow Tillane from Quiet Man, as Mother Mary!). I picked this film because of the holiday metaphor, but we enjoyed its oddness within the Western / John Wayne genre even more.

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FrauBlucher
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#557 Post by FrauBlucher » Fri Jan 03, 2020 7:00 pm

How many streaming services do you subscribe to, in addition to all the new subscriptions one must maintain to do things like run a home computer? Studios that are pushing streaming in a big way seem to be aligning their distribution model to ‘disrupt’ theatrical distribution. With Disney acquiring 20th-Fox, repertory theaters have been told they won’t be supplied with Fox product, and the foreign disc companies I know have been told that Fox product will no longer be licensed to them.
I just noticed that Fox is partners with Regency Enterprises, which have been a huge presence in the last 20 to 25 years. So, does this mean the only place to view these films going forward will be on the Disney streaming platform, as well as the physical media for them going away? Although, the Wikipedia page says the deal between 20th Century Fox and Regency is up in 2022. I could see this easily getting renewed


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knives
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#559 Post by knives » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:06 pm

There's this book I read as a kid, Jennifer Government, where corporations become monopolies to the point of being countries. News like this makes me think Australia falling under the domain of McDonald's isn't so crazy.

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domino harvey
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#560 Post by domino harvey » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:20 pm

It only sounds like a good idea because both labels are still releasing and licensing titles on physical media, but the very real threat of all older Fox films disappearing completely with the Disney merger should give any and everyone pause from praising any further consolidation

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Grand Wazoo
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#561 Post by Grand Wazoo » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:44 pm

knives wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:06 pm
There's this book I read as a kid, Jennifer Government, where corporations become monopolies to the point of being countries. News like this makes me think Australia falling under the domain of McDonald's isn't so crazy.
Wow, you're the first person I've ever seen mention this book in the wild, one I also read back as a sophomore in high school.

It would be ironic if this were somehow a merger our government squashed, but something tells me that won't be the case.

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jindianajonz
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#562 Post by jindianajonz » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:54 pm

My plasma TV is dying, and I'm starting to look at OLEDs. Is it true that 3D TVs aren't really a thing anymore? I only have a handful of 3D titles, but damn, that was a quick disappearance for a fad that seemed omnipresent only 5 years ago.

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DarkImbecile
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#563 Post by DarkImbecile » Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:56 pm

jindianajonz wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:54 pm
I only have a handful of 3D titles, but damn, that was a quick disappearance for a fad that seemed omnipresent only 5 years ago.
Much like those curved screen TVs that have completely vanished! I'd highly recommend the LG 55"/65" C-series OLEDs, if you can make that kind of investment.

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captveg
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#564 Post by captveg » Wed Jan 15, 2020 6:19 pm

Distribution is not the same as merging authoring/compression, or even possibly replication. Remains to be seen how this effects things for the consumer (if at all).

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MichaelB
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#565 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:23 pm

jindianajonz wrote:My plasma TV is dying, and I'm starting to look at OLEDs. Is it true that 3D TVs aren't really a thing anymore? I only have a handful of 3D titles, but damn, that was a quick disappearance for a fad that seemed omnipresent only 5 years ago.
I needed to buy a 3D screen this week to QC Indicator’s The Mad Magician, and much to my very pleasant surprise I was able to pick up a second-hand LG monitor for just £75 including delivery, which just goes to show how obsolete the technology is now regarded as being.

Works fine for my purposes, though, and I was equally pleasantly surprised to discover how many 3D titles I’d somehow amassed purely because combined 3D/2D editions were the only ones available at the time - around ten all told, including the animated Czech Fimfárum 3 and the Polish 1920 Battle of Warsaw. (Two out of four of my players also turned out to be 3D compatible, another surprise.)

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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#566 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:55 am

MichaelB wrote:
Wed Jan 15, 2020 7:23 pm
which just goes to show how obsolete the technology is now regarded as being.
Not sure if you can correlate things like this.
I suppose, given the price, that you bought a Full HD TV and not a UHD one. Considering the market today, that'd be the main reason.
Then, it's second-hand, and I've seen high end TVs being heavily discounted because the seller had reasons for that. I suppose you took a bit of time to look for the best price-quality compromise you could find, and thus possibly find someone willing to go that low.
Finally, 3D FHD setups quickly were the same price than non-3D ones, the glasses being the main element (for a time) upping the price of the whole set.

It doesn't mean 3D TVs aren't obsolete (they are : the market for 3D BDs - which accounted for the utùost majority of the 3D content - never went passed a few % of the BD market), but I doubt the price of a second-hand FHD TV is a good indicator for judging that.

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fdm
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#567 Post by fdm » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:52 am

Projectors still support 3D, even the newest 4K ones. My plasma still does too, knock on wood. (I recall looking for a 3D copy of 1920 Battle of Warsaw, but at the time it wasn't easy to come by.)

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jedgeco
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#568 Post by jedgeco » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:07 pm

tenia wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 3:55 am
I suppose, given the price, that you bought a Full HD TV and not a UHD one. Considering the market today, that'd be the main reason.
Then, it's second-hand, and I've seen high end TVs being heavily discounted because the seller had reasons for that. I suppose you took a bit of time to look for the best price-quality compromise you could find, and thus possibly find someone willing to go that low.
Older HDTVs are also going to have to be heavily discounted because brand new 4K sets are so ridiculously inexpensive now (mainly because the price to the consumer is heavily subsidized by adware and data collection).

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tenia
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#569 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:37 pm

jedgeco wrote:
Thu Jan 16, 2020 12:07 pm
Older HDTVs are also going to have to be heavily discounted because brand new 4K sets are so ridiculously inexpensive now (mainly because the price to the consumer is heavily subsidized by adware and data collection).
Yes, that's what I meant by "considering the market now". Most retailers are selling UHD TVs and most buyers of new sets are buying UHD TVs, so HDTVs are already heavily discounted already in retail and most likely have to be even more so in the second hand market (otherwise, they'll never get sold).

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#570 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:01 pm

I keep hoping to hear that someone has cured/greatly reduced the OLED burn-in issue. For now I'm sticking with our antique plasma. ;-)

David M.
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#571 Post by David M. » Thu Jan 16, 2020 4:38 pm

If you've not managed to burn a Plasma, I'd be amazed if you could burn an OLED.

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mfunk9786
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#572 Post by mfunk9786 » Thu Jan 16, 2020 5:20 pm

Right. I sometimes see a ghost of something I just got through doing on my OLED, but never anything that doesn't go away in mere moments. Permanent burn-in would take a lot of effort.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#573 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:32 pm

Glad to hear this... (though, since we WERE able to repair our lightning-shorted-out plasma, we'll probably stick with it until it dies for good).

Speaking of even more antique equipment -- I thought one of our old VCRs still worked -- but it still doesn't. Can one even find working VCRs anymore (for cheap)?

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Altair
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#574 Post by Altair » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:47 pm

On eBay I imagine - I still have a working VCR in order to play my (dwindling) collections of videos (mainly canonical classics which for one reason or another I haven't yet upgraded to BD). It's a testament perhaps to how bizarrely well made VCRs from the '90s were that they're working a quarter of a century later.

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Michael Kerpan
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Re: The Future of Home Video

#575 Post by Michael Kerpan » Thu Jan 16, 2020 8:51 pm

One of ours turns on but is otherwise "unresponsive" -- the other can't respond to any remote control (and no way to deal with tracking without the remote control). It seems the sensor on the VCR died (I even opened it up and cleaned it of dust etc to see if this might help). :-(

Addendum -- the non-responding to remote control VCR has ALSO completely died since I last checked it a year or so go -- pushing the power button now does nothing.

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