• Re: Format

    By Peter Becker

    Last November, when we announced that we would start releasing dual-format editions, we hoped that we had found an alternative that would address our concerns about packaging costs across two formats, while guaranteeing that both DVD and Blu-ray customers would still have access to an identical product. While we did solve that problem, no one seemed particularly happy with the solution. Blu-ray customers didn’t like making room for DVDs they didn’t want, and DVD customers didn’t like paying more to get a Blu-ray they couldn’t play. We soon found that we had to start releasing stand-alone DVD editions alongside the dual-format ones because a fairly large proportion of our audience has not made the leap to Blu-ray yet. And once we had separate DVD editions, what was the point of putting DVDs in with the Blu-rays? A good question.

    With that in mind, when we announce our September titles at the beginning of next week, we'll be going back to releasing separate DVD and Blu-ray editions. In most cases, the contents of the releases will be the same in both formats. This may come as welcome news to many of you and perhaps as a disappointment to some, but please know that we’ll keep thinking and listening, experimenting and exploring, so do let us know your thoughts and preferences.

491 comments

  • By DVD Phreak
    July 10, 2014
    03:35 PM

    People don't need Blu-ray players because they can watch and may prefer to watch streaming video in HD. They may even consider Blu-ray *backward*. Nobody cares the higher bit rates and other advantages of Blu-ray if it is going to inconvenience them with yet another electronic device in their living room -- the same way nobody is to going care about DTS CD and DVD-Audio and their supposed audio superiority if MP3 is so much easier to deal with.
    Reply
    • By G
      July 31, 2014
      03:13 PM

      Yeah --Everybody has an opinion and that's ok ---BUT----That's ridiculous to say "NOBODY cares" about the benefits of Blue Ray-----You mean you don't care and maybe your group of friends don't care------ Like I've stated in my numerous posts if you bothered to read them---Its all going digital in the future ---SO yes there will be many people streaming/using cloud/ultraviolet etc now and in the future but there will still be hard discs around both DVD and Blue Ray and the vast majority of the population will still use them for years to come.-----The industry is already transitioning to Blue Ray as well as digital if you've got eyes, and the transitioning solution and or trend is a combination of formats WHICH ALSO INCLUDES both or all 3. ----
    • By callahan09
      November 24, 2014
      09:03 AM

      @ DVD Phreak, you don't need an extra device because Blu-Ray players are backwards compatible with DVD. So that's just not a good argument. It isn't an inconvenience. And what about if you lose your internet for a time? Then you can't stream HD.
  • By Max_Fischer
    July 10, 2014
    06:14 PM

    I'll miss Dual-Format Editions, not because I like having copies of the same movie on Blu-Ray and DVD but rather the packaging for them, like The Great Beauty, Persona, and Breaking the Waves just to name a few
    Reply
  • By SilverContent
    July 19, 2014
    12:32 PM

    As formats go, whatever floats your boat. I have both Blu-rays and DVDs in my collection. But if both formats are using the same hi-def source material, I'll always choose the higher definition format— but if a title is available only in DVD format, I might purchase it. And I agree with many of you, but I take issue with phrases such as, "...worst news I could possibly hear." If Criterion stopped doing what they do best—for reasons that extend beyond what we see, that would be a travesty.
    Reply
  • By Michael Link
    July 19, 2014
    06:29 PM

    Dear G-- Sorry about the long delay in response, but my wife and I moved lately and we were in a media-free zone for at least a week. Anyway, thank you for your thoughtful and generous responses. (And for your kind comments about B&N, as well.) I suspect we'll just have to agree to cordially disagree. Blu-Ray does have a much greater data capacity, as you mention, and its fabulous to be able to have a film and its extras on one disk instead of, say, two, but I suspect that every increase in format capacity comes at a cost of what I can only call "technical futziness." I'm not lying when I say that at least three of my favorite cinephile customers have purchased decent BR players but now seem to waver on whether it was worth the effort. I must say that, like Max Fischer, above, I'll actually miss the dual-format editions because of the PACKAGING--Criterion put a lot of ingenuity into the design of these things, and I'll miss the smaller (but thicker) trim size and the sheer fun of opening the thing up, even though I never play the BRs. The package design of "Zatoichi" was a thing to behold, and of course I HAD to buy the dual-format of "Picnic at Hanging Rock" because I had to have the damn book that came with it. On a side note--I know this hasn't been a part of our conversation, but I have to STRONGLY disagree with "DVD Phreak," above. I'm sure the technology will improve, but I must say that streaming HD movies don't do it for me. My wife and I have a very fast broadband connection on a good cable service, but I'd be pressed to name the last time I watched a streamed HD flick without at least one hiccup--pixillation, freezing, buffering, what have you. Besides, streaming does not supply the Joy of the Physical Artifact, which Criterion has always artfully exploited. If you're ever in Columbus, Ohio, come to say "hi" at the Polaris B&N store. It's always a pleasure to talk to actual film fans. Michae
    Reply
  • By A C
    July 19, 2014
    11:01 PM

    this is good and bad news to me (i think more bad, than good) 1. i started preferring the dual format releases because i still prefer/respect the DVD menu designs more than bluray. having dual format made this easy for me -- as i actually do consider buying the DVDs just for the menus (i understand the challenges of bluray menus, and how keeping things consistent are good...but still...the DVD menus feel *designed* whereas i find the blurays a bout 50% lackluster/uninspired) 2. i buy blurays exclusively, to future-proof, but don't always have access to a player, so having the DVD around is handy! 3. the only negative (for me) when things went dual format is that the bluray case sizes were retained -- DVD size was much better to appreciate artwork, etc. similar to how vinyl artwork is way more fun than CDs or digital
    Reply
  • By sp4zzj4zz
    July 20, 2014
    04:02 AM

    Well, I gotta say, this doesn't make me happy. So I suppose with the loss of dual format releases we will also lose the incredible new packaging also? Because that will *really* make me unhappy.
    Reply
  • By G
    July 20, 2014
    09:05 PM

    Interesting Factoid-----A L L ---- the top sellers on B & N right now are DUAL FORMATS. And don't worry Ive asked the sales clerks what has been selling the most and the titles and formats and the info ive received corroborates the posted info from B & N's website. ---- So I'll KEEP buying stacks of dual formats----and help criterion stay in business and by this sales data I think criterion will get one of the biggest sales boosts its seen in awhile.------- Too bad I can't get La Dolce Vita and several others in Dual Format before the plug gets pulled; but oh well I'll keep doing my thing and dig and search from all over to find great films. I am very happy that there are GREAT companies like criterion who work tirelessly to bring me (and all of us) great films and special features. THANK YOU CRITERION ! ! !
    Reply
  • By Eddie
    July 22, 2014
    05:54 PM

    Are the titles you released on dual-format going to be in standalone format versions now?
    Reply
    • By Cezary_C
      March 17, 2015
      05:12 PM

      I believe they will have to go through their existing stocks of dual-format editions before the standalone editions are released. I don't remember if this was addresses by Criterion or not, but I think this may have been mentioned.
  • By William Delpino
    July 24, 2014
    07:51 AM

    I think the dual format is a better value, and as a collector of films, as I am sure many of us who buy these great films are, I wish you would reconsider and keep the dual format. I am much more likely to purchase a dual format, than a stand alone, even though all my 4 players in my home are blu-Ray. The packaging of the dual format also makes the extra cost of the Criterion films feel much more like a " must buy". I also feel that I will purchase less Criterion than I have in the past, once you stop selling the dual format.
    Reply
  • By Ron Cerabona
    July 24, 2014
    10:42 PM

    Reverting to having DVDs and Blu-rays separate is good news for those of us not in the US for whom playing Blu-rays from that region is difficult, if not impossible (very hard to find machines that will do it).
    Reply
    • By G
      July 31, 2014
      03:28 PM

      Hi Ron------ I will assume that you don't live in "The Americas" North central or South nor in South East Asia. These countries all share the same new Blue Ray Regions. I was quite thrilled to pick up this improvement over the old DVD format but yes it would have been nice if everything went 1 world region. The powers that be will probably wait another decade to implement that or there counting on making the next transition to completely digital. -----I like Michaels comment that he has high speed yet can't digitally stream without frustrating interuptions(crashing of the digital stream). This furthers my opinion that Blue Ray accompanied with digital copy is the best solution for the future. P. S. I have many DVDs but they are playable on my Blue Ray player and I'm happy with that.
  • By NOTADIRECTOR
    November 20, 2014
    01:33 PM

    With the beginning of this months Barnes and Noble Criterion sale I've ventured into more than one Store to find that some of the originally thick packed DVD titles such as The Golden Age of Television have been Re-packed into slim DVD cases. How many "Box Set" DVD releases will be re-packaged this way? Because part of the appeal of Criterion releases are the high end presentation, from Picture quality of the film right down to the premium packaging. If I had a choice I'd rather pay for the Premium Packaging if I choose to Own the film, other wise If I want to just watch a title I will use my HULU account.
    Reply
  • By callahan09
    November 24, 2014
    08:59 AM

    This is fine for DVD fans, because from what I'm seeing they will not get to pay $30 for the DVD alone, without having to pay the extra $10 for the Blu-Ray they don't want. But now that we're going to be getting DVDs separate from Blu-Rays, why do we Blu-Ray fans have to pay the same price for just the Blu-Ray as we used to be paying in total for the combo? Blu-Rays still cost $40, only now we're getting less for our money.
    Reply
    • By mietha
      December 19, 2014
      01:18 PM

      Pretty much my opinion on the matter as well. There is NO excuse to not have a blu ray player in 2014, especially if you are will to pay $30 for a DVD. Blu Ray debuted as a format EIGHT YEARS AGO. Why is criterion catering to a vocal minority of people stuck almost a decade in the past?
  • By Anthony B.
    February 16, 2015
    06:09 PM

    The Dual format editions that were released are great. I would like to own all of them. I will buy everything from the Criterion Collection on Blu-ray because I feel like everything about Blu-ray is superior. I'm happy that Criterion listens to their fans but at the same time, the five people against dual format editions have been getting more of a say than the 5 billion people for them. I like having both the DVD and Blu-ray packaged together in a thick Digi pack with a booklet. Going back to separate releases is like taking a step backwards in the wrong direction. In some ways, you could even say that Criterion is taking an even farther step back because now we are not even getting booklets, just leaflets. I hope that in the future Criterion will consider going back to the dual format editions as I would rather buy those than the current releases. I have always been a huge supporter of The Criterion Collection and they will always be my favorite company but, I hope that they eventually go back to releasing dual format editions as I'm starting to miss them.
    Reply
    • By Ricart
      February 18, 2015
      05:27 PM

      I also hope that Criterion goes back to offering dual format as at least an option. It is great to be able to view a movie under different conditions (for instance, both on laptop and regular monitor). The perceived difference in price that people complained loudly about does not seem a real issue, as it appears that most blu-rays are priced the same as the dual format editions. I also love the quality and richness of Criterion's offerings and will also buy the Blu-rays, but I will be trying to get all the dual editions while still available.
  • By Anthony B.
    February 16, 2015
    06:13 PM

    We also get more artwork in the Digi pack sets and the heaviness makes me feel like i'm getting more for my money.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 12, 2015
    10:32 PM

    Ok, no more dual format, but please bring back the booklets, hate the leaflets :(
    Reply
    • By jon-not-john
      March 13, 2015
      07:48 PM

      Maybe having to spend more money to make separate editions of the releases means they can no longer spend the money to produce lavish booklets.
    • By stynn
      April 01, 2015
      01:54 AM

      Agree!
  • By Gord
    March 13, 2015
    12:52 AM

    Besides being curious to see what they did with the DVD menus compared to the Blu- (which I did a grand total of twice) I never bothered with the DVDs. I just got the Zatoichi box and I can't help feeling it's unnecessary to have so many DVDs (18) I'll never use. Then again maybe the need to house 27 discs is the reason why we have Zatoichi in such a beautiful box, haha. I've not noticed a return to leaflets, but the most recent one I have is Eraserhead which was from Oct '14 (before Anthony & Pedro's comments). On what releases are there leaflets? Eraserhead has a nice bound book. All That Heaven Allows and Fantastic Mr. Fox, two other recent ones I bought have the stapled bootlets, but they're pretty nice. The last time I saw a fold-out leaflet was the Blu- for Last Temptation of Christ and I didn't mind it because it was old-school Criterion which seemed appropriate for a title they've offered for 15 years. Anyway, if it's true yes it sucks.
    Reply
    • By Pedro Verdugo
      March 17, 2015
      11:57 AM

      I think Eraserhead was the last release with booklet (apart from box sets) i think it may even have began a bit earlier, but since Eraserhead had a digipak and they probably still used a booklet for that reason.
    • By Pedro Verdugo
      March 18, 2015
      01:36 AM

      I Think Eraserhead was the last one released with a booklet, and that is because it was a digipak release which usually comes with a thick booklet, all the other releases from that time until now have either came with a triptic kind of leaflet like this one: http://criterionforum.org/DVD-packaging/vernon-florida-blu-ray/the-criterion-collection/1399 or a foldout like this one http://criterionforum.org/DVD-packaging/dont-look-now-blu-ray/the-criterion-collection/1378 you can check all other releases in that website
  • By jon-not-john
    March 13, 2015
    07:47 PM

    I appreciated the dual format releases. I really can't understand someone who buys Criterion, but does not own a Blu-ray player. It stands to reason that someone who is interested in classic and world cinema enough to purchase physical media at premium prices, would also invest in the technology to view said media at the best possible quality. It is also important to consider the financial realities of producing physical media these days. If dual format helped keep Criterion afloat and operating I am very sad indeed to see you return to a more costly separate release formula.
    Reply
  • By Cezary_C
    March 17, 2015
    05:10 PM

    I'd just like to address a couple of the misconceptions I've seen in the more recent comments. First, most of the new releases include booklets, not leaflets. If a few of the releases have slim leaflets included, they are nowhere near as common as booklets. Second, although some of the dual releases came in larger digi-packs, some were still released in the regular slim Blu-ray cases. Even when Criterion was DVD-only, some releases came in more elaborate digi-packs, while others were in slimmer DVD cases, so there's really no change, there.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 18, 2015
    01:38 AM

    Agreed with your second point, about the leaflets check the links of my previous post, i don't consider any of the two forms shown on my links a booklet.
    Reply
  • By Pedro Verdugo
    March 18, 2015
    01:45 AM

    Something happened with my previous post (i guess you can't post links), i was just saying that Eraserhead was the last of the booklet releases because it is a digipak, which usually comes with a thicker booklet, the more recent releases all have either one triptic kind of leaflet or one that folds like a map, you can check criterionforumd dot org to check the packaging of all releases.
    Reply