Social DVDs: gimmicks or progress?

December 8, 2008

gimmicks or progress?The wonderful thing about technology today is that it changes quickly and fluidly, faster than even the savviest early adopters can keep up with. But alongside the positive changes come many advancements that are simply money-making gimmicks, which lose support almost as quickly as they gain it. DVDs which allow viewers to communicate real-time with fellow viewers as they watch the same film might fall into the latter category.

Good technological progress: digital video discs like Blu-Rays which provide high-definition audio and video content along with additional film supplements. Arguably worthless progress: Blu-Rays with social chatting functionality.

Just think…all those friends of yours who feel the need to inject their rather shallow input regarding your favorite film can now pester and otherwise annoy you real-time as you watch the movie together, but from different locations, linked together by the all-powerful internet. Such a feature might drive one to drink, and I’m not talking about a large Coca-Cola accompanied by a big bowl of artery-clogging buttered popcorn.

The Wall Street Journal
reports that movie studios are attempting to combat low movie sales by adding unique content to high capacity discs, specifically Blu-Rays. Unique content is good; director commentary, behind-the-scenes footage, deleted scenes and additional film angles are all welcome in my book. But I’m failing to see the value of being able to communicate with fellow viewers of a particular film as you all watch together from different locations.

Frankly, it seems like a cheap trick to combat falling Blu-Ray player prices by enticing consumers to spring for players equipped with internet capabilities. It might move a few more PS3s, but beyond that, I don’t see consumers strapped for cash looking to be that far ahead of the gadget curve.

And it really comes down to this: do you really want to be distracted while you watch a movie by the incessant chatter of fellow viewers? There’s a reason movie theaters make it known that nobody is to talk (or text now) during viewing. Why would you want to bring those annoying people who insist to make their thoughts known back to your living room?

Though the WSJ does make an interesting point regarding the potential success of such a feature if included with “cult classic” films, why not just discuss said film with your fellow geeks before or after playback? You probably already do. Just keep doin’.

Don’t let it be said that I’m fighting progress. If that’s where movie viewing is headed, more power to the social movie viewers amongst you. I’m content to watch my favorite flicks in the relatively uninterrupted peace and quiet typical of my living room.

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