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We continue our triumphant victory lap of commentaries as we mop up the last few episodes with M-Corp, officially the second best episode of Series XII and a solid favourite of the site in general. Join Cappsy, Ian and Danny as they hope against hope that they haven’t got their microphones mixed up with something entirely less savoury.

DwarfCast 135 – M-Corp Commentary (67.3MB)

Just two more commentaries to go in the currently known Dwarf universe, but before then we’ve recently recorded our first episode of the Backwards Book Club so keep an eye out for that releasing in the coming weeks. This weekend we’ll be sitting down in front of Skipper and our plates are getting dangerously low on waffles, so throw any questions you have for us in the comments and we’ll get to pretty much all of them eventually.

Show notes

74 comments on “DwarfCast 135 – M-Corp Commentary

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  • Were any of you guys at the Trojan recording? Because on and off over the years I’ve heard it said (as you do in this ep) that Ian Boldsworth has warmed up every audience show of the Dave era. But if that’s the case I must have been hallucinating Tom Price off of Torchwoord and other fames being warm up for the Trojan recording.

  • Did we say he’d done them all? If we did then we wouldn’t have meant to because we were all at Trojan and The Beginning, which were both Price, I think.

  • Pretty sure you did (unless I have manky ears) and it is definitely something that has been floated before too. I’m almost positive I’ve not heard of Tom Price’s role as warm up which has always confused me.

  • If I didn’t say “most” of the Dave era then I meant “most”. As well as Tom Price’s two eps in X, there was a couple that Ray/Ian missed in the XI and XII block, plus, the second Promised Land night.

  • 17:57 “he [Ian] had done the whole of the Dave era that has had audiences, and then the odd episodes here and there” – which I took to mean the screenings of episodes as he was at the XI Premier and such. But maybe you meant “except the odd episodes here and there”?

    This sounds like I’m getting really pedantic about it, which I am I guess. I’m just interested in this can of worms I’ve opened up.

    Side note, good episode. Enjoyed it as always :)

  • I say “other than odd episodes here and there”, but the “other than” is quite fast and garbled. Mystery solved, I am the best.

  • I’ve just noticed that US Britbox has every series of Red Dwarf (including Back To Earth) and series 1-8 are advertised as remastered. I’m assuming these would be the blu ray versions. Someone better qualified than me (perhaps with a VPN) could comment on picture quality but I’ll certainly be checking it out.

  • Check for film-look, CGI establishing shots, starfield screensavers out of windows etc.

  • Great stuff as ever, for me I’d place this above Skipper but they are both excellent episodes and I’d definitely agree with the general view that the back half of XII is probably the best run we’ve had from Dave dwarf.

    Loved the reference to horse armour as well, ah those innocent days when that seemed like the most ridiculous and egregious attempt to cash grab we’d see within the games industry!

  • Its probably one of the better episodes of the Dave run, but I have always had issues with the logic in this episode. M-corp taking over earth seems like a kinda Skynet situation. if what it did to Lister it did to everyone on earth then thats earth gone to shit. and i get it that its a futuristic exaggeration of how thing are these days with mobile, tv, streaming contracts and whatever. but then its quite clear later on that M-corp is Evil as Doug wasn’t very subtle with that.

    The crates appearing on the ship in jump cuts gives off the impression they were always on the ship? there is no transporting effect. they are just there magically. what was the idea behind that transition?

    Red Dwarf even in the early days wasn’t always solid with its logic. but i sometimes think Doug goes so bold that the logic is often unsteady.

  • For me this episode gets a lot of slack because the tone is so well established and it’s a much more interesting concept than a lot of Dave Dwarf (plus it has little to no OTT and out of character stuff that has blighted much of the post VI output)

    There are plenty of holes to poke in the concept and exactly how it’s presented no doubt, but that’s the case for quite a few golden era plots as well!

  • I really, really don’t like the The End callback, otherwise it’s about as close to classic Dwarf as the Dave era has got. I prefer Skipper, but it’s not an episode that would ever have existed in the ’90s.

    Curry every day is easy, just make a huge batch, separate it into portions and refrigerate or freeze.
    I’ve certainly eaten worse than Lister over a period of time.

    The first two Dwarf DVDs are now two BBFC certificate logo designs ago.

    Wot, no outtakes?

  • There are plenty of holes to poke in the concept and exactly how it’s presented no doubt, but that’s the case for quite a few golden era plots as well!

    True, but i think Doug gets more carried away than they did in the golden era. it often feels like when Doug gets an idea he likes, the show works for his idea, rather then the ideas working for the show.

  • Wot, no outtakes?

    Waited over a minute after the podcast had ended until I admitted to myself that this was the case. I think it’s great that you guys are becoming ever more professional and polished, but is there any way you could put pretend fuckups at the end if the recording process goes too smoothly?

    Enjoyed the ep nonetheless! I’m going to echo International Debris in not liking the callback, and Skipper kind of makes me dislike it moreso. Just too many callbacks that aren’t spread out. Talkie Toaster really only gets a pass from me because White Hole is such a great episode. I do really like M-Corp overall!

  • The callback in M-Corp is such an unnecessary one too. It is completely orchestrated that it is obvious Doug was on a call back kick and forced it in a bit.

    Without it, there’d have been more time for a slightly less hurried ending. Rather than Kryten turning up and buying a virus to shut it down. Why not having them all trapped in the M-Corp place, fighting against the AI to get out and then finding a genius solution.

    Or just, something else.

    Talkie I’m ok with as it’s less a call back and just a returning character of sorts. It only sticks out as the scene directly references White Hole in the way it is scripted and it’s nestled alongside these other two. Put it in XI and it’d be less of an issue.

  • Conversely I really didn’t like the Talkie callback. I mean there’s far worse stuff that modern Dwarf has done and true it raised a smile initially, but it’s so entirely derivative of the original scene that I find it increasingly hard to stomach!

  • Best Non-speaking character – the bloke who wanders round the Drive Room in series one.

    I really ought to stop commenting while I’m still listening – late – to the Dwarfcast, but I still don’t understand why you all say that DVD is so obsolete? I often buy DVDs. New releases of Classic Doctor Who, for example – I still buy DVD over bluray so that they fit in with the rest of the collection. :/
    I’ve always liked having physical media. If I’m paying money, I generally want something I can hold or at least see.

    Also, I’m an older fart than youse.

  • I buy DVDs as well, and while that’s mainly because the internet in this area is really shit, I really like having physical media too. My IT friends say physical media is obsolete, but I’m a technological pleb so until they’re actually no longer produced I’ll probably keep buying DVDs, physical books, etc to fill up the place.

  • I think it’s more a recognition of where things are going. For me, DVDs are dead and buried just due to how I’ve chosen to consume my telly now, but I wouldn’t really use the word obsolete to describe them (unless, er, I did use that word in which case I mis-spoke) I just think that that’s the way it’s eventually heading, sadly.

  • There are plenty of new shows now which don’t get DVD releases at all. As with CDs, the decline in DVD sales has been massively overstated by the media, but they have been in decline for ten years now and will continue that way. There are two groups of people who are likely to buy DVDs and BluRays now: the nerds and collectors, like us, who appreciate physical collections and detailed extras; and the casual older fans who technology has left behind (so, us again then).

    That leaves a huge number of mid-level fandom and younger casual fans who are happy to buy downloads (which now outsell physical copies) and, even more so, pay for streaming. This is where the majority of TV and film is watched these days, and it continues to grow.

    Physical media for music and screen is dead in the way hedgehogs are extinct in the UK: they’re still there, but the numbers are on an unavoidable exponential decline, and the absolute best possible outcome in the next 20 years is small pockets of existence that are forever on the verge of disappearing.

    I say this without any joy, because a) I hate the loss of personal collections, being able to go to somebody’s house and their taste would be on display through music, video and book collections, which are so often now transient through digital means, and b) I love hedgehogs.

  • For me, DVDs are dead and buried just due to how I’ve chosen to consume my telly now, but I wouldn’t really use the word obsolete to describe them (unless, er, I did use that word in which case I mis-spoke)

    CAPPSY: “I don’t feel like VHSes ever felt as obsolete next to DVDs as DVDs are next to Digital.”

    No, I’ll always get DVDs and CDs given a chance, and will never understand how there is now, apparently, a generation who don’t know what CDs are (pardon?!).

  • I’ve just had a goosie on US Britbox and first eight series are labeled as HD. They look good to me but again I couldn’t claim to be an expert.

  • DVDs are generally so cheap second hand that they make economical sense to have, but after living an ephemeral virtual existence with basically no possessions for 15 years until recently, it doesn’t make sense to my brain to start housing select video and music files in cases any more when their content doesn’t actually exist in the real world like a book does.

  • DVDs are generally so cheap second hand that they make economical sense to have, but after living an ephemeral virtual existence with basically no possessions for 15 years until recently, it doesn’t make sense to my brain to start housing select video and music files in cases any more when their content doesn’t actually exist in the real world like a book does.

    This made me think about how “physical vs. digital” is kind of the wrong framing (or at least labels) for this discussion. Sure, DVD cases look good on your shelf and help with organisation, but as you say, a file stored on a disc is inherently no less “digital” than one stored on a hard drive. It’s even in the name of the format!

    But the physical/digital divide isn’t really about that. The divide is that people who buy DVDs legally own an offline copy of the file with its own dedicated storage, while people who buy digital copies or subscribe to streaming sites merely have a licence to play that file, and they can’t even store the file locally most of the time. Access can be revoked at any time.

  • I expunged all my DVDs about 6 or 7 years ago. Having accumulated hundreds that I’d only watched once I saw no point in them taking up so much bleeding space so ripped them all and sold all but the ones I absolutely wanted an offline copy of. Red Dwarf, Battlestar, London’s Burning (whose DVDs are like gold dust anyway) and a few other bits and pieces and just dramatically reduced my collection. Now I really only buy Red Dwarf DVDs, maaaaybe the occasional film on blu-ray but I’m generally more than happy having a hap-hazardous relationship with streaming media. Chances are I’ll only watch something the ones anyway so owning it is pointless, and you can more or less find what you want to watch in some form or another online.

    As it happens even the DVDs and blu-rays I own are now just in a box in my mums loft whilst I bunk at hers for a while, so they’re only really kept for nostalgia than any practical use, especially as all their content is on my computer anyway.

    Ditto CDs, only kept the ones I couldn’t bare to lose. Though I do buy music a lot more regularly than DVDs, a few times a year there’ll be an artist I want to support enough to buy a CD to rip or a vinyl to own and chuck some money their way.

  • I’m 100% in the physical category, for numerous reasons – I like the tactile experience, I don’t like putting all my eggs in one basket, I really don’t like the increasingly incorporated world of entertainment and social media, but mostly because I actually find it a lot easier to choose something from browsing a shelf, which feels considerably less overwhelming than a screen chock full of text and icons. Choosing an album to put on from iTunes generally involves me sitting staring blankly at the screen for 20 minutes before turning back to my CD shelves anyway.

    That said, I totally get why people wouldn’t care about DVDs, and increasingly CDs which, although they still outsell digital downloads and vinyl by a long stretch, are often so flimsily and minimally packaged these days that there’s barely any aesthetic value to them. Gone are the days of nice 24 page booklets. As has been said above, the content is effectively the same as the file on your computer, and given that downloads (although not streaming) are generally more environmentally friendly than CDs, vinyl, DVDs, etc., I still think they’re the best format in general. Just not for someone like myself who grew up collecting CDs and videos and having a nice shelf full of them.

    That said, I keep my physical collection to things I will actually use. The idea of buying an album or TV series that I’ll never actually put in the player is so totally beyond my comprehension. There’s enough plastic in the world, and not enough space in my room or money in my bank for something that will be nothing more than a spine on a shelf. I’ve sold somewhere in the region of 2,500 CDs, LPs and tapes over the past ten years, because I realised my life wouldn’t actually be negatively impacted without them, so why not let somebody have them who might enjoy them more?

  • I don’t think DVD will ever feel as obsolete as VHS did, there are just too many advantages that it brought which are still relevant, positive changes that current media consumption mechanisms still use: digital quality picture and sound, not falling apart and getting twisted Tess of the D’urbervilles style, instant access to any point in the video, valuable extras to watch etc.

    VHS really was shit. DVD is basically still what we have now in 4k Blu-ray just in reduced picture quality.

    All that said I am very much on board the abandoning physical media train, I’m signed up to various streaming services because the selection of titles they offer is good enough and the convenience factor of having it always available to me wherever I go is hard to put a price on. It’s the same with games and music, I’d rather not have to deal with the baggage of physical even if it does still have some advantages (the threat of games I own digitally not being available to me at some point in the future for example)

  • It’s not a straightforward question for me.

    For movies (and music, and books, and games) that I know I’m going to want to return to regularly, I prefer physical media. It’s more reliable in terms of both availability (things can get pulled and disappear quickly from digital/streaming services) and technology (sometimes I’m going to want to be able to watch/listen to/read/play this stuff without a reliable internet connection to hand). So I’ll always have a certain amount of stuff I want to own in a physical medium, even if that is ultimately a physical version of a digital file.

    For stuff I’m less bothered about keeping permanently though, streaming services have definitely replaced DVD for me. I don’t think I would ever again buy seasons of a long-running TV series on DVD like I used to (with, say, Sopranos or Breaking Bad or GoT or 24), because their availability on streaming services makes it so much easier to follow them that way. And after watching them I’m unlikely to want to return to them again.

    So for me, the availability of stuff digitally has led to a thinning-down of my physical collection, a sort of curation to just the best stuff. Which I’m quite happy with as I don’t have infinite room to store shitloads of stuff that I’m ultimately not that bothered about ever rewatching, like I used to with DVDs.

  • Also, re. the Dwarfcast discussion, Amazon Prime Video does currently have Back To Earth available, but controversially listed as “season 9”.

  • but controversially listed as “season 9”.

    You spelt “correctly” wrong.

    Also, I’m only seeing it available as a purchase, not a stream. Isn’t that the point?
    iTunes also has it as a purchase.

  • Can you download things from Prime Video? I’ve never looked into it and just assumed you were buying the right to stream it in perpetuity (or until they lose the right to host it at least..)

  • but controversially listed as “season 9”.

    You spelt “correctly” wrong.
    Also, I’m only seeing it available as a purchase, not a stream. Isn’t that the point?
    iTunes also has it as a purchase.

    For me it will always be Series 9, not Season.

    And fair enough if the point was about paid vs “free” (notwithstanding subscription fees), I thought the comment in the Dwarfcast was suggesting it wasn’t available to stream anywhere at all.

  • Can you download things from Prime Video? I’ve never looked into it and just assumed you were buying the right to stream it in perpetuity (or until they lose the right to host it at least..)

    You can download stuff temporarily but I also think that with bought stuff on Prime you own the right to stream it digitally “forever”.

  • You can download stuff temporarily but I also think that with bought stuff on Prime you own the right to stream it digitally “forever”.

    vlcsnap-2021-05-19-11h20m30s827

  • I don’t think I’ll ever really get behind streaming as an alternative to ownership. Especially when it comes to music, as the appalling royalty rates from most of the big services are financially crippling all but the most successful musicians. And quite a lot of my favourite albums aren’t on any of them (for that very reason).

    Really, though, I just hate renting as a concept in general.

  • I’m with you in principle on the royalties front, but the entire economics of the music industry has changed in the last 20 years and buying an album is no more going to put money into the pockets of musicians than streaming it. A little but not a significant amount.

    I’ll buy the stuff I really love and I want to support (and usually I’ll buy every format as a bundle for like £50 to try and help) but really that’s not really doing more than proving they can sell records.

    Buying other merchandise and going to shows is the only real way to financially support a musician or band these days. Or in the last year signing up to all their patrons and watching then wank about with their guitars in home studios.

  • Red Dwarf even in the early days wasn’t always solid with its logic. but i sometimes think Doug goes so bold that the logic is often unsteady.

    Has anyone ever constructed a diagram where Red Dwarf sci-fi concepts are placed along a spectrum of how much of an attempt was made to think them through and ground them in some sort of theoretical science principles?

    Like on one end of the spectrum is, “The stasis room creates a static field of time.  See, just as X-rays can’t pass through lead, time cannot penetrate a stasis field.  So, although you exist, you no longer exist in time, and for you time itself does not exist. You see, although you’re still a mass, you are no longer an event in space-time, you are a non-event mass with a quantum probability of zero.”

    And on the other end: mutated photo developing fluid opens a time travel portal.

  • This DwarfCast has made me want to eat some delicious unhealthy food. Good.

    On the subject of stuff carrying over from XI to XII like Mega/M-Corp, I really like Jonsmad’s theory that Kryten’s referring to Snacky in Mechocracy when he talks about a dispensing machine he met recently.

  • I’m with you in principle on the royalties front, but the entire economics of the music industry has changed in the last 20 years and buying an album is no more going to put money into the pockets of musicians than streaming it. A little but not a significant amount.

    Maybe it depends on the service, I’ve been told Bandcamp treat their artists very well, for example. Spotify, though, are absolute arseholes when it comes to paying artists, yes.

    Is there a difference between someone who streams something and then buys it as they like it and someone who watches something on the telly and then buys it? If we’re talking about people who only by physical media they already know, then yeah that’s me on that list. I don’t buy things unless I know I’m going to enjoy them, apart from today when I bought my first Original Curry flavoured pot noodle. I’ll let you know how that turns out.

  • I’ve been told Bandcamp treat their artists very well, for example. Spotify, though, are absolute arseholes when it comes to paying artists, yes.

    Bandcamp is a retail platform mainly, so will take a cut of the transaction but it’s basically direct to consumer sales allowing the band to take the majority of it. That’s completely different to Spotify allowing users to stream a song and then paying a 0.00001p royalty per play or whatever it is.

  • Has anyone ever constructed a diagram where Red Dwarf sci-fi concepts are placed along a spectrum of how much of an attempt was made to think them through and ground them in some sort of theoretical science principles?
    Like on one end of the spectrum is, “The stasis room creates a static field of time.  See, just as X-rays can’t pass through lead, time cannot penetrate a stasis field.  So, although you exist, you no longer exist in time, and for you time itself does not exist. You see, although you’re still a mass, you are no longer an event in space-time, you are a non-event mass with a quantum probability of zero.”
    And on the other end: mutated photo developing fluid opens a time travel portal.

    I think its less about the logic of the science and more the logic of the rules set up in-universe. with Red Dwarf we have come to accept alot of made up science. but made-up science should also have in-universe rules or explanations we can understand. but if you attempt to go too many different directions with an idea, you start to get tied in knots and Doug often does with his concepts.

    I mean where did those crates come from? they just jump cut in the shot. which in the old days you could understand, but these days with CGI… were they always on the ship? did Doug want them to have just been invisible and the crew couldn’t see them till the upgrade? because those rules kinda don’t fit with what happens later on. so why did Doug decide to do it like that?

  • Buying other merchandise and going to shows is the only real way to financially support a musician or band these days.

    If you’d said this a few weeks back, I would have been able to point you in the direction of a Twitter thread with a huge number of musicians (from tiny DIY bands to professional artists) talking about how they usually make a loss from touring. As it is, I can’t find it now. But yeah, going to shows isn’t the cash cow some people think it is.

    And yeah, the best thing you can do for smaller artists is buy directly from the band, if possible, or the label if not. I buy from Bandcamp whenever possible.

  • Oh good yeah I mean being a small band is a money loss whatever way you dice it. In my entire musical career I’ve never made money as such.

    But bands at that level would never have made money from physical music sales pre-internet either. So streaming won’t be cutting into funding they never had. In fact, it’s opening up a (albeit very very small) revenue stream and a way to reach potential audiences.

    The only way to make money as a band really is with great success.

  • The discussion included a number of people who are professional musicians, too. I remember one being The Anchoress. Despite her last album getting into the top 40, working with the likes of the Manics and being a live member of Simple Minds, she still makes a loss from touring. It just contradicts the idea that musicians don’t make any money from sales these days, and all the money comes from playing live, when there are plenty of people for whom touring is the least profitable part of being a musician.

  • Great podcast, as usual. I really like M-Corp. I like it when Dwarf does jokes that only Dwarf can do and M-Corp has this in spades.

    However, like a fair few others the final scene doesn’t really work for me and a big part of that is because I’m not sure how well it works for casual viewers. It feels a bit too niche as a call back. I like jokes for the fans but quite often when Doug does these back references I feel like half the audience aren’t going to really get it. I think the stuff in Skipper is good because it’s far less specific. I think all Dwarf fans will remember the grey sets and know why the boys are alone in deep space but I would bet that not many more casual fans regularly revisit The End and re-experience the opening scene because, frankly, that episode does little more than set the show up to be a lot funnier later.

    Re: physical media, I still pick up Blu Ray and 4K. I’m amazed how many 4K releases we get in this country to be honest as the market for them feels so niche. I like streaming but there’s still a lot that’s not available on streaming services and it can be a bit of a lottery on picture quality. I dislike the constant switching out of films you get on platforms like Netflix. If it’s on my shelf it will always be there. I also like supporting film and TV through purchases.

  • I think the stuff in Skipper is good because it’s far less specific.

    Really? I’d say a good half of it is just fanwank (and I’m saying that as someone who loves it).

  • I kind of get where NoFro is coming from. Skipper is absolutely full of fanwank but it’s more generic callbacks – the concepts of the look and feel of series 1 and 2, the presence of Holly and Hollister etc. It’s definitely playing on nostalgia but you just need to remember in general what the first two series were like to ‘get’ it, whereas the final scene in M-Corp only really works if you remember the fact that it’s a full on recreation of the start of The End

    I like them both myself!

    EDIT: That said there is the very obvious direct callback to the “everybody’s dead” scene, but that’s more iconic than the humming from The End so it’s more likely that people will get it

  • Yeah, the Everybody’s Dead Dave bit is the only direct reference, surely? Given VIII, Hollister will be one of the most familiar characters from the early days, and the rest of it is just the general look and feel of the show.

    My dad really enjoyed Skipper and got the Nobody’s Dead, Arnold joke (and even laughed at it, to my distaste), but I had to point out why people were laughing at the end of M-Corp.

  • I hate alot of the back-references in the dave era. but Skipper kinda works for the references to an extent. although i dislike the nobody is dead Arnold joke.

  • I do quite like the irony of Holly saying “Nobody is dead” whilst Norm is sitting there looking like some fucking ghoul from beyond the grave!

  • I wonder if there’s a sense of overthinking the callback at the end of M-Corp.

    Obviously if you’re familiar with the scene being referenced, you’ll get it instantly – but if you’re not, then you won’t realise it’s a callback and you’ll just see it as Lister having reverted to his younger self and getting pushed around by Rimmer again.

    So I think it works as a funny scene even if you don’t recognise the specifics.

    Stuff like the Om Song callback is arguably more obscure and baffling to a casual viewer.

  • I think there are alot of things you could overthink about with that ending. you ain’t meant to think that hard about it though.

  • No, I’ll always get DVDs and CDs given a chance, and will never understand how there is now, apparently, a generation who don’t know what CDs are (pardon?!).

    I still struggle to accept that there are people who don’t bother having optical drives in the PCs they buy/build!

    I mean, it was only in about 2009 that I finally stopped transferring my floppy disk drive across PC builds and upgrades.

  • No, I’ll always get DVDs and CDs given a chance, and will never understand how there is now, apparently, a generation who don’t know what CDs are (pardon?!).

    I still struggle to accept that there are people who don’t bother having optical drives in the PCs they buy/build!
    I mean, it was only in about 2009 that I finally stopped transferring my floppy disk drive across PC builds and upgrades.

    I was right there with you until I went to buy a reasonably powerful gaming laptop a couple of years ago and barely any, if any, had optical drives. Had it since November 2019 now and I’ve not missed it at all.

    I still prefer to buy films and music physically though, but I don’t think you need an optical drive for PC now unless you’re archiving, and in that case you don’t need it there all the time and external ones probably make more sense and free up some bays.

  • Depends on your living situation, I’ve been in tiny one bedroom places where my computer also acted as a telly out of necessity, and I’ve had to buy an external DVD drive so I can watch DVDs.
    Of course, Apple’s decision to forgo backwards compatibility and provide pretty much no support for BluRay means I’ve ended up buying a telly now anyway.

  • Last PC I built with an optical drive was in 2007, I have not missed having one in the slightest!

  • The last time I got a lot of use from my PC’s optical drive was around 2015-2019. A branch of That’s Entertainment (which I think was the retail brand of Music Magpie/zoverstocks) was open in my town during that period, so I was buying lots of second-hand CDs in 5-for-£1 deals and ripping them to my PC.

    Also during the same time, I had a car with an audio system that had a CD player, but no Bluetooth or aux in. So I was burning loads of MP3 CDs to play on my commute to work.

    Currently my main use of physical discs is postal DVD/Blu-ray rentals from Cinema Paradiso. (They’re the only UK company still doing what LoveFilm previously used to do UNTIL AMAZON KILLED THEM.) I watch those a lot more than I watch discs in my own DVD collection. I don’t often play DVDs in my PC’s drive though – only if they’ve got scratches that cause them to skip past scenes in my main player.

  • I hatehatehate this stupid fad* of optical drives not being available in laptops. HATE it with a burning passion. That said, I have already been having to use an external drive for quite a while now because my internal drive no longer works well enough to even watch one episode. But the external drive has an equally unreliable connection and drops if you so much as breathe on it, so I’ve been using it to rip the DVDs I want to watch so that I can actually sit and watch them whenever, not just in the one position the external drive works.

    So I am very happy to own digital copies of things (also why the shrinking of storage in laptops is driving me bonkers – yet the price keeps going up and up for fewer features … yes I have been looking for a new laptop for a while now, why do you ask? *headdesk*) but I dislike renting – and HATE owning DRMed copies which can only play in the proprietary app. I own the damned thing so why can’t I play it on whatever device I choose?!?!

    [I also own my phone outright, have never had a car on finance, and don’t have a credit card, so this is very much the way I operate anyway.]

    Streaming is useful for things I just want to watch once or twice, but for things I want to watch over and over again I want to own a copy. Digital copies are convenient but I also like having the physical copy as a backup, and I will make a point of buying the DVD if there are decent extras that are not available digitally. Plus of course there’s the problem with streaming that it’s not guaranteed that the programme will stay on the service in perpetuity.

    I also mostly buy DVDs because blu-ay optical drives are more expensive, though if I resign myself to having to have an external drive in order to buy a new laptop within budget then maybe a blu-ray drive would be feasible.

    Also streaming apps often don’t let you take screenshots, or do but only if you don’t pause it – which as a nerd, screenshots (or even just pausing it!) are a very useful thing to be able to do.

    I don’t buy much music; to be honest I never really have – my CD collection is mostly second-hand classical or Irish folk music – but when I do it’s usually direct from the artist or as close to direct as possible. I always make a digital copy if the purchase didn’t include mp3s, but just like it’s nice to see the DVD cover and any accompanying booklet, I do appreciate having that with CDs too.

    *Yesyes, I know it’s probably not a fad, even though I wish that’s all it were. I keep hoping against hope that some manufacturer will recognise that optical discs have not quite gone the way of the dinosaur though and bring them back in mid-range laptops at least.

    EDIT: that turned into way more of a rant than intended, oops.

  • One of my issues with streaming is the number of potential issues between you and watching something: having a TV and DVD player involves both of those working. If you’re throwing a router, your internet connection and the server into the mix, as well as the fact that something could be taken down on a whim, you’re literally letting numerous things get in your way of watching or listening to something that would previously have been “I own the media and have the hardware to play it”.

  • HATE it with a burning passion.

    I hope this pun was intentional.

    Happy accident, but it pleased me when I noticed :D

    One of my issues with streaming is the number of potential issues between you and watching something: having a TV and DVD player involves both of those working. If you’re throwing a router, your internet connection and the server into the mix, as well as the fact that something could be taken down on a whim, you’re literally letting numerous things get in your way of watching or listening to something that would previously have been “I own the media and have the hardware to play it”.

    Indeed.

  • yet the price keeps going up and up for fewer features … yes I have been looking for a new laptop for a while now, why do you ask? *headdesk*

    I had a similar reaction when asked to look for a new laptop for my brother and discovering that even modern ThinkPads solder the RAM into the motherboard for the sake of “slimness”.

    Honestly I blame SSDs. Whatever their merits they never could have got that slim if they still had to use a platter.

  • One of my issues with streaming is the number of potential issues between you and watching something: having a TV and DVD player involves both of those working. If you’re throwing a router, your internet connection and the server into the mix, as well as the fact that something could be taken down on a whim, you’re literally letting numerous things get in your way of watching or listening to something that would previously have been “I own the media and have the hardware to play it”.

    Absolutely, but it’s a trade off isn’t it. The negative aspects (reliance on internet connection, lack of control over the content available etc.) are offset against the genuine positives streaming brings: availability on almost any device you own, wherever you happen to be, and you don’t need to worry about “Oh shit, where did I put the disc this time!” problem with physical media (yes I’m sure we are all responsible custodians of our collections and always put the discs back in their cases every time…)

    If I want to watch my DVDs I have to do it on the one TV in the house that is connected to a player, if I want to watch something on Netflix I can do that basically anywhere on any number of devices.

  • Probably. The only devices I can play things on (telly and computer) are both in the same room, so it’s not something that’s ever really occurred to me. Although I can confirm that I always put discs back in their cases every time. The thought of not doing so makes me uncomfortable.

  • I don’t like streaming because shit is everywhere and keeps disappearing and I end up subscribed to more and more services and then you realise that you’re spending not inconsiderable amounts of money to watch about 4 shows.

    Last month I wanted to watch For All Mankind (great btw) on Apple TV, so I had Netflix 4K and Prime (which I always have), Apple TV, and Disney Plus. That’s what, £35?

    Then today I wanted to watch The Martian, which I only watched on Netflix a couple of weeks ago, went to put it on, and it’s gone.

    It’s fine for just putting something on, but if you actually like something, physical all day.

  • For All Man Kind (and nearly all Apple TV shows) is really great you’re right.

    Amazon is really a bonus to the Prime delivery I pay for, and Netflix (especially with ever increasing prices) I will only sub to for a month or two, watch the shows I want, then un-sub for a while.

    If I regularly wanted to watch anything on other services I’d just do the same, get them for a month then sack them off something else.

    Of course it can be a bit potluck what is available to you but I usually find something.

  • My brother has Prime but doesn’t use the Videos part so I use it, and my sister and I share Netflix. I refuse to sign up to anything else unless it is for something I desperately want to watch and can’t buy. [And that’s not happened yet!]

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