The disc, which Comcast's
"This disc is intended for rental purposes and only includes the feature film," read an introductory screen. "Own it on Blu-ray or DVD to complete your movie watching experience with additional bonus features."
I've received several discs marked as rentals before, but this one was ruthlessly restricted. For starters, I was forced to watch a half-dozen movie trailers before getting to the "play movie" screen. There was no way to skip or fast-forward through them. There was no way to zap straight to the menu screen. I tried this on two different optical disc players, just to be sure.
As promised, clicking on any of the special features simply pointed out that I would have to purchase the DVD for the full experience.
Inconveniencing and restricting renters may be studios' strategy to keep disc sales lucrative. Promising Netflix and Coinstar's
The cynic in me wonders whether Netflix is more than happy to play along. After all, if some of its discs no longer have special features and have several unavoidable ads, higher-margin streaming does become that much more attractive for couch potatoes.
It's still a gutsy move, especially now that Amazon.com
In the end, how can this move by studios spur viewers to purchase more movies? I can't imagine someone being so wowed after a rental to the point of buying an actual copy to see the special features. If optical disc sales continue to decline, we'll have our answer.
Should rental DVDs be more restrictive than purchased ones? Is this good or bad for Hollywood? Share your thoughts in the comment box below.
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