Universal to offer Blu-ray and DVD films on one "flipper" disc

By on December 2, 2009, 3:30 PM
Universal Studios Home Entertainment introduced a "groundbreaking" dual-format disc today. The studio will offer some of its films on "flipper" discs that contain both DVD and Blu-ray media.

Universal is aiming its combo discs at folks who plan to upgrade to Blu-ray in the future, but have yet to take the plunge -- essentially "future-proofing" their collections. "The flipper disc offers an easy way for viewers to convert to Blu-ray now or any time in the future," said Craig Kornblau, president of Universal Studios Home Entertainment.

The combo discs will launch in the US on January 19, with films including The Bourne Trilogy. The Bourne films have a BD-59 disc specification, seemingly combining a 50GB dual-layer Blu-ray side with a 9GB dual-layer DVD surface.

No price has been disclosed, but it is probably safe to assume the discs will cost in the vicinity or upward of a standard Blu-ray film. If that is true, flipper discs may be too pricey for the "ideal" consumer, who has likely avoided Blu-ray and the HD-scene in the interest of saving money.




User Comments: 46

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ColdPreacher said:

I guess its a good idea in theory just skeptical about the price. If you do not have a blu-ray player or a high definition TV to play it on then maybe you should save some money to buy one. But perhaps the discs are not much more then a standard Blu-ray disc, then i can see this being a great product. Either way i think this is neat.

claycc said:

seems like a clever way to try to get DVD users to upgrade to Blu-ray since they could use the DVD now and play it on a Blu-ray player in the future.

Adhmuz Adhmuz, TechSpot Paladin, said:

This is a great idea, have both formats on a single disc. Maybe this could be what it takes for people who have not gone HD yet to start preparing for it.

TorturedChaos, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I like the idea, but if they are more than even a Blu-ray, and people are still on the fence about whether they want a Blu-ray player or not, I don't seem them buying the disc

LazyNinja said:

That's a great idea but like they said, it's not going to be cheap.

Eddie_42 Eddie_42 said:

The arguments for the price are valid...but it also stands that if the only version of the released movie comes on the "flipper" then that's is what the buyer must buy.

I understand the Bourne series isn't part of this, however in 6 months, they may release a 'new' movie (say Couples Retreat, or the newest season of 'the office' , and only do that release on the one disc. Thus forcing the DVD buyer to purchase the "flipper"

Serag said:

Great idea and bold move..provided that prices are fair...

And could be a motivation for users to switch to Blu-ray players as well...

Timonius Timonius said:

I think this is a stupid marketing scheme. A case of too little too late. This kind of thing should have been launched at least two years ago. A better 'upgrade path' would be to offer rebates, trade-in programs, or something similar for dvd owners.

Guest said:

Groundbreaking? Am I crazy or did HD DVD not offer this very same thing before it was killed off?

FrankTank said:

I agree this is a really good idea. But of course price is going to be the determining factor of whether or not this will be successful. If they can keep the price as close as possible to the current blu-ray price then this may catch on.

TomSEA TomSEA, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

As others have mentioned, the pricing will determine success or not. Blu-Ray's are dropping in price like crazy. Amazon, Wal-Mart and Target have been offering a slew of titles over the last few weeks at less than $10 a pop. If that's the case with these, then I'll be a success. I know on more than one occasion I wanted to bring a movie over to watch with friends, but they didn't have a blu-ray player available. If I'd had one of these flipper DVD's, it wouldn't have been a problem.

compdata compdata, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I think this is a great idea and will help blue-ray adoption. Although it remains to be seen in my mind weather blue-ray will be adopted fast enough that one of the online streaming delivery methods doesn't over take it.

freedomthinker said:

Holy crap , never thought of this kind of damn

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

this could help give that push people need to get blue-ray players and upgrade there tv's its a plus if you have family that want to borrow it and they only have a dvd player or maybe only a blue-ray player. if the price is right then they should sell well.

Guest said:

LOL. HD-DVD already had this before it died. Mind you the discs were more expensive but still.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

Groundbreaking? Am I crazy or did HD DVD not offer this very same thing before it was killed off?

Not crazy, I have a few HD-DVDs that are standard dvd on the other side. This isn't innovative or new.

Xclusiveitalian Xclusiveitalian said:

I really like the idea tho if you have a blue ray player the "other" quality is most likely unacceptable lol but like others are saying price is a concern to.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Universal Studios Home Entertainment introduced a "groundbreaking" dual-format disc today. The studio will offer some of its films on "flipper" discs that contain both DVD and Blu-ray media.

Hardly ground breaking as they already tried this trick with HD-DVD and failed.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

Hardly ground breaking as they already tried this trick with HD-DVD and failed.

Oh, I agree all right, but to be fair, 'groundbreaking' was in quotes in the article. :-) I think it was meant with a little bit of sarcasm.

ken777 said:

I wonder if Netflix will adopt these flipper discs. Would be nice to get rid of the blu-ray premium they charge if these discs catch on.

Guest said:

People who already have a large stack of DVDs aren't going to see any value in this. If they made a blu-ray player that could play DVDs it would be far more significant. Also, I think a lot of people don't want to upgrade to Blu-ray until the disc prices come down, so why would they pay more to "future proof" their DVD purchase? Really, the prices of Blu-ray disks should come down and then if you repurchase a movie you already own on DVD it would probably be cheaper at that time then buying these disks now (cheaper to buy both the original DVD and in the future the Blu-ray version).

I think a lot of people can't tell the difference between and upscaled DVD and a Blu-ray, so they won't be concerned about future proofing, their only concern is price.

If they made all future DVDs only available in this format people would just buy less.

Staff
Matthew Matthew, TechSpot Staff, said:

People who already have a large stack of DVDs aren't going to see any value in this. If they made a blu-ray player that could play DVDs it would be far more significant.

Blu-ray players *can* handle DVDs. Pick one and look under "Product Details".

Decimae said:

Even though HD DVD had already done this, this is in my opinion a good thing. Though it might be cheaper just to buy the dvd and the Blu-ray player seperatly, or to buy a combo pack including one DVD and on Blu-ray.

lfg18 said:

I do not think this idea will atract more people into blue ray, people wont be willing to pay more for one of this movies and I don't think they will eally understand why they would have to, we still have to give some time to this technology to get to the masses, just today I found a 15-year-old who didn't know what a blue ray was, and like him lots of people do not really understand this technology, it is just a matter of time until everybody changes to blue ray, or maybe digital downloads haha, we will see.

tengeta tengeta said:

Sounds more like a way to force DVD users to pay the Blu-Ray premium even if they decide to never upgrade.

TechDisciple said:

flipper discs may be too pricey for the "ideal" consumer, who has likely avoided Blu-ray and the HD-scene in the interest of saving money.

^^ Nuff Said.

Richy2k9 said:

hello ...

cool, using the old dual sided DVD/BD like with older DVDs having Widescreen one side & full screen on the other. this is a cheap mean to inject more Blu-ray into the homes & if someone just by any chance try the Blu-ray, let say at some friend's place just to have a look at it, then the migration is assured for will be difficult going back

nice move Universal, will help me also with my future Collections, for even if i'm going mostly blu-ray these times, i also want a simple DVD option i can use when not at home.

cheers!

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

By the time these DVD/BD combo discs take off, online streaming (/p2p) will already be the norm I reckon.

Razerblade said:

I must admit this is a very good idea. However, The discs will probably cost even more than normal Blu-ray films so I think they will not hit off unless the price is attractive enough! I would rather pay for the DVD when it comes out and then get the Blu-ray when I upgrade to a Blu-ray player and by that time the Blu-ray version of the film would have come down in price!

ET3D, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I don't much see the point of it, unless, as someone said, that'd be the only format the movie is available in. I think that DVD player prices are low enough right now that people would do better to just get one if they want blu-ray, instead of buying expensive movies and watch them on their DVD player.

On second thought, it's an interesting format if you own a blu-ray player but want to loan the disc to people who don't.

manintech said:

an interesting idea, but don't think there would be many people willing to pay extra for future proof though, in the future the blue ray version might be cheaper than you are paying now

jtickner1 jtickner1, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That's actually a hell good idea. Nice thinking.

kaonis92 said:

Great way of thinking, this is good from many sides.

LightHeart said:

It sounds like a good idea if the price is not too much. The real question is will Blu-Ray become mainstream before streaming HD movies do?

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Timonius said:

I think this is a stupid marketing scheme. A case of too little too late. This kind of thing should have been launched at least two years ago. A better 'upgrade path' would be to offer rebates, trade-in programs, or something similar for dvd owners.

Totally with you on that one... And, isn't it funny, but Sony actually refused to even consider the "flipper" design before, when HD-DVD had introduced it. They didn't want to muddy the waters, or do anything that might jeopardize their BluRay hardware sales. Then, BluRay wins the HD war, but then the HD sales are lackluster, and now suddenly they are considering options like these... And somewhere in the accounting and PR departments in Sony, someone thinks enough people will pay a premium to have both formats... In reality, if you only have a DVD player, you will buy the cheaper DVD, since when/if you actually move up to a BluRay player, you can still watch your entire DVD collection. If, at that point, you want one of your older movies in BluRay, THEN you might go out and pick up the HD version. But there are more people pinching pennies these days than there are people who are planning for their HD future.

Between this type of product, and the PSP Go, I am beginning to think Sony has really lost touch with their customer base, and the realities of the economic times.

swilllx2p said:

A great idea but more then likely a failure because of what the price will be. The article says it perfectly..there going to miss there target market because of the price. People may also buy these though to be able to take it to friends houses who don't have blue ray or other places without, and still be able to watch there movies.

Chazz said:

I'm sure they will offer DVD, blue ray and combo versions of movies. They won't be forcing anyone to pay extra because of blue-ray.

Guest said:

This is a nifty idea, but in the past dual-sided discs have caused problems. What width are we talking about here? Can you watch the blu-ray side in a PS3 (which doesn't have a tray) without destroying the other side? I'm just thinking about DualDisc CDs, which of course you couldn't play in anything that didn't have a tray or closeable lid.

buttus said:

I like this idea. It's a nice way of future proofing the digital content you buy. Now, the weird thing I find about this is that....the movie and music industry says that if you buy one DVD, you can only have that one DVD (and not say burn a second copy for backup). How is it then that by going this route you are in fact getting two copies of the same content?

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

because they sold it to you as 2 copies. if you buy 1 copy and make yourself a copy thats considered wrong because they only sold you the rights to 1 copy of that movie versus the 2 copies on 1 disk here.

wcbert said:

I like this idea as I have not moved to Blue-Ray, but I not going to pay for brand new releases as I wait for them to be on sale for $10. So giving me a dual format is not going to make me buy it. When the price is $10 I will buy it.

AbsolutGaloot said:

In addition to being more expensive, a design like this means there's twice as much surface area to get scratched up. It'll be years before blue-ray becomes mainstream enough that this kind of disk will be appealing, since most people will look at the flipper disc and the DVD next to it and go for the DVD because it's cheaper now. Unless of course they only offer the release on the dual sided disk, which would be rather dickish since even people who just want DVD pay the premium.

Guest said:

What's funny is I seem to remember the Blu-Ray camp making fun of HD DVD for doing this very same thing.

klepto12 klepto12, TechSpot Paladin, said:

just to let you know Universal is the one doing this not sony thats only one production company not all movie companies are doing it.

BlindObject said:

I rather just spend the money on a tv player and bd. This "in between" deals never last.

vangrat said:

Thank god, this is the one thing that has been stopping me from going full bluray as half of my devices are DVD.

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