Why Many Movies are Not Available on DVD


For those of you who work with patrons who expect all their favorite movies to be available on DVD, here's an NPR story about why it's so hard to move movies to DVD, and why many might not be available soon or ever. (audio required--scroll down page to "Some Classics Still Not Available on DVD").


I heard this story this morning and highly recommend it. The only knock against it is that NPR left unchallenged a statement by someone who said that putting older movies on DVD presented a great "preservation opportunity", when it is likely that the DVD copies will not survive as long as their VHS counterparts. Plus, if the DVDs get outfitted with harsh DRM technology, it may be IMPOSSIBLE to migrate these movies to the next big format.

Also, now I understand why'll I'll never see the original 1977 version of Star Wars, and why the DVD copy of Battlestar Galactica has such cheesy special effects that are inferior to what I remember from 1978!

I might disagree with Daniel on one point: If properly cared for, a DVD should last a lot longer, with or without play, than a videocassette.

Should and will are two different things...

As for DRM: Well, pretty much every commercial videocassette has Macrovision, the same dumb pseudo-DRM that's on DVDs. DVDs also have CSS to enforce region encoding. Nothing requires that historic DVDs be put out with either form of DRM...