As much money as Hollywood makes on DVD (and now, Bluray), there's one thing about it they still hate. Namely, the fact that you get to watch your copy over and over again without paying them again each time. It's not fair, dammit!
Even worse, you can loan your disc to a friend, without your friends paying to see it. Or, you can sell it back to some record store that deals in used DVDs. It's like highway robbery! You might as well leave these studio execs bleeding in an alley, you cold-hearted bastard!
"Before DVDs, I had four large bundles of money to juggle."
They hate it so much that they've been trying to devise a system that will lure the consumer away from, you know, actually owning movies and watching them when it's convenient, to a system where the consumer pays, every single time, to watch the movie, at Hollywood's convenience.
The first attempt was that venerable cable staple, pay-per-view. Remember when you were a kid, how PPV got "all the hot Hollywood movies FIRST"? Remember also how it cost about four times what it cost to rent a video? Remember how you laughed in their face?
Remember the laughing?
Then they tried to inflict DivX on humanity. DivX was a disc-based format which was supposed to rival DVD. The movies had no extras, didn't display in the proper aspect ratio, and literally expired after 48 hours. The idea that anyone would use DivX lasted just slightly longer.
The latest attempt is to put a squat plastic box on top of your TV that will feed you movies via download. So far, Vudu, Apple and Netflix have jumped into the fray with Blockbuster not far behind. Unsurprisingly, they're expensive, DRMed out the wazoo, don't cooperate with each other and have crappy selection. We're surprised the things don't self-destruct and blow up your house if you try to cancel.
Also unsurprisingly, they're all failing, with the possible exception of Netflix. At least their box doesn't make you pay for each movie, but lets you download however many you want for the same flat monthly fee you pay for the DVD subscriptions.
If that behavior seems less dick-like than what you'd expect from Hollywood, it's because Netflix doesn't really have a vested interest in the studios. Unlike, say, Apple, which has its ties to Disney via Steve Jobs, or Blockbuster, which has been owned by a movie studio, Viacom. So they don't have some guy in a suit in their office saying, "Come on, the little bastards will pay anything for our movies! Screw them harder! No, harder!"
Doesn't play by the rules.
Better Get Used to it...
The studios are still picturing a day when they can say goodbye to disc manufacturing and packaging costs once and for all (as well as having to share the profits with the retailers who sell them), hopefully replacing it with a model where you pay every time you watch a movie streamed directly from them over a digital signal.
After all, this is the era of broadband. Aren't customers ready to go to an all-download model for their movies?
Sure we are! We call it BitTorrent.
For even more proof that Hollywood is better than Japan at finding new and creative ways to screw people, check out 5 Ways Hollywood Tricks You Into Seeing Bad Movies. Or, read about how they plan on deflowering your childhood in 5 Upcoming Remakes of 80s Movies (That Must be Stopped). Or for an in-depth look at their favorite way to bone you, check out The 10 Most Shameless Product Placements in Movie History.