Which Version Of A Film Should You Buy?

Which Version Of A Film Should You Buy?

“Ownership” of the movies and TV series you purchase has become ever more complex with the advent of triple — and sometimes greater — play sales options. Which approach makes the most financial sense?

A couple of weeks ago, I picked up a copy of The Avengers, because, well, I’m notably a big comics movie fanboy. I’ve purchased many movies over the years, and way back in the days of VHS, it was a pretty simple arrangement; head to store, find tape on shelf, purchase. You had one choice, like it or lump it.

That’s not the story today, however, and while it’s nice to have choice, the range of choice — and financial implications behind them — make for some difficult choices.

Take The Avengers as an example. I could buy just a basic DVD. Or a Blu-Ray and DVD combo pack. Or a 3D Blu-Ray, Blu-Ray and Digital copy pack. Or a Blu-Ray, DVD and Digital Copy pack. Or a pack containing just a Blu-Ray of The Avengers along with the other Marvel movies that led up to it. Oddly, as far as I can tell, there’s no way to purchase The Avengers just on Blu-Ray; you’ve got to take some form of optional content with it. Each of these were at different price points, so what’s good “value” in that iteration?

It’s also worth noting that it’s perfectly feasible to rent The Avengers through a number of online movie rental/sale services; iTunes at last checking wanted $5.99 for SD rental, $6.99 for HD Rental and $24.99/$26.99 for SD/HD ownership. That doesn’t feel like good value to me, at least on the purchase price, although it does make some of the digital packs good value, at least on paper; it’s the same digital copy at a lower bundled price.

In the end, I opted for the simple Blu-Ray/DVD combo; as I noted in my review I didn’t feel that the addition of 3D added anything significant to the flick, and the DVD copy was a handy addition for my kids, along with being the cheapest single Blu-Ray option. But I’m curious as to what the Lifehacker audience thinks of the triple-play phenomenon. Does the “upsell” of having a digital copy make you part with more cash than you would otherwise, or do you prefer a bare-bones movie approach?

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