The times, they are a' changin. It seems that every time we turn around the online video industry takes a step more towards what users want. This time round it's Wal-Mart's VUDU who is getting in step and showing us that they have been listening to what we want.
On Friday it was reported that VUDU would begin offering downloadable versions of the TV shows and films that users can purchase through the service. Finally, you can now get the content from them without having to be connected to the Internet. So that means you can now enjoy that content on airplanes or on the road (when someone else is driving of course).
Vudu Adds Downloads, As Do Flixster Ultraviolet
They're not the only ones that are doing this either. There has been a new marketing push by Ultraviolet and Flixster also. In the commercials they have been touting some recent large releases for home video and stating that with Ultraviolet and Flixster you can stream and download the digital versions of the films when you buy the DVD, Blu-Ray or more commonly now, the triple pack (DVD, Blu-Ray, digital).
Still, they're bundling a lot of that with physical disc-based copies, but you can easily find many of your favorites now in digital format for streaming and downloading without the need to buy a physical package.
It makes me wonder if when Christmas 2012 rolls round, will we all just be giving each other cards with codes on them for digital releases?
Personally I'm thrilled with the changes. I think they're finally beginning to understand what the consumers want and aren't afraid they're going to lose piles of profit by giving us the digital formats that we want. Plus, I imagine that between packaging, printing and the creation of the discs they were taking a heavy hit on profit per disc. With digital, it's almost all profit as the only thing they need to pay for is the bandwidth, or the license fee for the title if they're a third-party distributor.
It also makes me wonder what everyone will do with the massive piles of discs they have in their libraries when they finally have them all as digital versions. Landfill, here they come! It would be nice to find some use for them so that they don't fill the landfills actually. Perhaps the movie studios and retail stores will offer some discount for new digital films when we turn in our old not-all-that-great-for-the-environment physical copies. That would be pretty green of them.