Star Wars coming to Digital HD exposes the insanity in digital copies of ANYTHING!
You may have heard the fanfair - Star Wars is coming to 'Digital HD' - a term that is itself misleading given the films have already been on two digital formats and one of them IS HD! Still it's happening and soon you'll be able to visit a galaxy far, far away on the bus, trail, beach or your sofa via your favourite device. Sounds great doesn't it?
However, when we look at the logistics things take a turn for the worse and this release really exposes the shortcomings and issues around digital copies of films that you have probably already bought countless times.
First there is the price - £59 - FIFTY NINE ENGLISH POUNDS. For six films, the oldest of which was released nearly fourty years ago. Once you're over that shock, then consider the fact that what you get will be locked down - not only to the device ecosystem, but also to YOU.
See - buy the film on Google Play and you'll only be able to watch it on devices that support Google Play. Buy it on XBox One and only be able to watch it on other XBox Ones. Rinse and repeat - we have no idea how many platforms the films will be released on, but the fact is this isn't a lifetime purchase. What if Microsoft stop offering legacy media support in a generation or two? What if Google Play Movies as a service is ditched as Google have done to countless other projects in the past? What if you decide you've had enough of iTunes eccentricities and jump from iOS to Android? Goodbye Chewbacca, that's what.
Digital copies of a 99p music track are one thing, but if you're investing £59 in something we'd hazard a guess that you want to keep it and use it how YOU see fit. While various platforms are great for competition they mean that, as consumers, we end up having to commit to one ecosystem and risk loosing our purchases if something unexpected happens.
Buy a Blu-ray - you can play it for as long as a) the disc lasts and b) hardware is available. Buy a digital copy and you're at the whim of content providers, platforms and even the complexities of technology.
There was a huge format war between HD DVD and Blu-ray in the last decade, but it seems this time around we just have to accept that multiple incompatible formats are the future and we just have to suck it up. We can no longer buy just one device and expect to buy and watch everything we want - it's even a problem with streaming services where stupid company politics have meant that outside of having to buy a £300 console, there is no ONE device that can play all of the major streaming company's content. Not for technical reasons, but because one company doesn't like another.
In reality, people have been watching Digital HD versions of the Star Wars films themselves for years - by ripping or downloading illegal copies. We're not going to convince these people to 'go legit' when they have to spend £59 on something they'll never truly own anyway.
Will you be buying Digital HD versions of the Star Wars saga? Let us know in the poll or comments below.