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Amazon Gives Free Streaming Versions of DVD & Blu-ray Purchases

Gordon Kelly


Amazon Gives Free Streaming Versions of DVD & Blu-ray Purchases

Could this be the way to save optical media? Oh no, it's doomed - but it is a clever temporary solution...

'Disc+ On Demand' is an evolution of the 'Disc on Demand' streaming music service Amazon introduced midway through last year and - guess what? - this time it brings streaming video into the equation.

The theory is a fairly sound one: "When you purchase select DVD and Blu-ray titles from Amazon.com you will also receive an Amazon Video On Demand standard definition version as a gift with purchase," says the company's FAQ. "You’ll be able to instantly enjoy the video on demand version on your Mac, PC, compatible device or compatible TV when it is available."

Sounds a fine plan to me: instant gratification combined with long term ownership of a potentially higher quality physical original. The snags are Disc+ On Demand will only be available on limited numbers of TV shows and movies initially while Amazon has yet to negotiate licensing deals to offer the service outside of the US.

So until we finally cast off our penchant for owning physical media this looks like a best-of-both-worlds deal. Smart thinking Amazon, now please try and get it over to these shores...


Disc+ On Demand FAQ Page


December 11, 2009, 11:28 am

They're making good use of their Cloud infrastructure.

Chris W

December 11, 2009, 1:13 pm

"Could this be the way to save optical media? Oh no, it's doomed"

Until it's possible to stream content at the full bit-rate quality of Blu-ray and includes DTS Master HD or Dolby True HD I think I'll stick to Blu-ray. I have to admit the streaming capabilities of movies on the XBOX 360 is very appealing but to me this replaces the likes of rental stores, where as favourite movies will still be purchased on optical media for some time to come.


December 11, 2009, 2:28 pm

Do I have to "cast off my penchant for owning physical media"? I'm in no great hurry to do so.

I can still play the CDs I bought 20 years ago, whereas the music tracks I've downloaded from a variety of vendors to different devices, in different formats, and with different DRM, don't have much of a sense of permanence.

I expect to lose many of these in the medium term by losing track of them during hardware upgrades, through disk failures (my DVD/Blu-ray collection would be tens of terabytes if downloaded... I can't see myself backing this up), and potentially format/DRM obsolescence.

I wonder, though, whether it would be practical for content providers to maintain a central license registry, so if I purchased a digital license for a CD or DVD, that license could be recorded in perpetuity, and I could redownload the content as required (perhaps in multiple formats, e.g. to suit HDTV or a portable device).


December 11, 2009, 2:32 pm

I wonder how many people make good use of the extra capabilities of blu-ray's extra capacity for these lossless codec's, or those found on a DVD for that matter. Like most people I have to make do with the sound track reaching my ears though a TV and without the additional equipment, only getting improved picture quality and therefore part of the experience. For most people, though (taking a deep breath and speaking for the country a whole) the visual experience is the most important part, after all you go to watch a movie, not hear it.

So I for one am looking forward to seeing this approach evolve. I doubt physical media will die out (people generally want something tangible), but we should look to the music industry for a general indication of where we are likely to go.

I long for the day when I can buy a film from any distributor, and then be able to get the same film again (for free or a small nominal fee) with improved visual and sound quality because I legitimately purchased the film.

I've become jaded with the Extended Editions/ Theatrical Editions/ Director's Cuts and Ultimate Editions of the same film. The film industry must engage with the consumers and innovate if they are to keep the consumers as loyal customers and away from Torrent sites.

I really don't want to buy the same film again on Blu-ray when I have it on DVD now do I.


December 11, 2009, 4:04 pm

@HDRE: the visual experience is the most important part, after all you go to watch a movie, not hear it.

For a lot of films, especially talky talky ones I'd have to agree.

But take Jurassic Park without the sound, you'd be missing half the movie. Or the Saving Private Ryan beech landing, really not the same without the a good sound system, or the Cinema.


December 11, 2009, 5:08 pm

Half the experience of a movie comes from the audio. Even if there is little action going on, being able to hear voices clearly along with subtle background effects really makes a difference to the enjoyment of a film.

Until the quality of streaming or even downloaded video content is as good as DVD and Blu Ray, I won't bother with it. The 'digital editions' that sometimes accompany Blu Ray discs are fine for portable players but certainly not equivalent to the SD DVD version.


December 11, 2009, 5:57 pm

I just have one question (for everyone): How long will it be before we get DRM-free digital video downloads? I'm fed up of the absolute stupidity of being forced to watch a movie on a PC or Apple device.

If the big studios' only excuse is "bu-but, but, then they could share them with anyone!" Well, guess what, your movies are already out there being "shared" with everyone, but you're not making any money off them. Get the f**k over yourselves and open things up already.


December 11, 2009, 6:14 pm

Well it think it's a good start, only time will tell how well it actually does. Won't make any difference to me I don't buy DVD's anymore got to the stage where I think 90% of new films are not worth it and the other 10% once I have seen them I won't want to re watch them for a while.


December 11, 2009, 6:42 pm

I think this is a brilliant idea from Amazon: buy DVD and watch it online for free, after you finish watching it, cancel your order or return the DVD/BluRay back to Amazon within 30 days for a full refund.

Where is the fuss? Praise it with all my moving body parts held high.

p.s. I'm sure they won't allow this to happen.


December 11, 2009, 9:33 pm


Actually, I think distance selling regulations force Amazon to allow this to happen. I suppose they're betting that the expense of returning the disc and the hassle of doing so will dissuade most people.

And yes, I don't see digital downloads truly replacing Blu-Ray for quite a while yet. A lot of things would have to happen before that becomes a reality. IMHO it's more likely that downloads and physical movies will co-exist for years to come.


December 12, 2009, 11:12 pm

AS a deaf person the main selling point of any DVD/Bluray I'm interested in is that it has to have subtitles, and not 'Director's special; uncut version, etc' otherwise its no purchase.

As far as I'm concerned: If the digital versions do carry subs, then great - if none do, then this 'selling' point is useless.


December 13, 2009, 1:24 am

We stream everything at home - all the dvds through a Popcorn Hour A110, all music through a Philips Streamium or PS3 or the Popcorn. That said we still buy the physical media - it lives in crates in the loft. All the space-saving of digital, with the security of knowing that we have the original media.


December 15, 2009, 2:42 pm

@Keith, I do agree with you. I was just speaking on behalf of those men out there with "Wives Against Wires" :-)


It's the approach I'm using. I simply don't have the space to display all my CDs/DVDs/Blu-ray. Nor do i think i would wish too either. Media Players are every married film fans saviour.

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