Another nail in the coffin of physical media

Apple finally removes the one compelling advantage Blu-ray had over digital media - but is it the threat of streaming that made it happen?

One of the oddest things about Apple’s push into video and TV over the last few years has been how close it has got to making the DVD or Blu-ray redundant. One thing was always missing, though. For the true fan, the extras that you really enjoy – the featurettes, and deleted scenes and commentaries are what makes those physical copies so enjoyable. A handful of movies came with these extras on iTunes – but even then, they were only ever available to view on the computer – not on the AppleTV. That made a sort of sense when Apple had its Front Row software) for running your Mac as a mess centre, but that has long since been abandoned.

Well, today that finally changed. I’m guessing that it wasn’t a desire to kill off physical media that finally drove Apple to this, but rather the pressing competition from streaming media services from Netflix (which is on AppleTV, but everywhere else as well) to Amazon Prime.

One nice touch: if you already own a movie in HD and a company later on adds extras to it, you get those for free. No double-dipping here (although, I suspect we’ll see some companies giving it a go, with “special edition” releases through digital channels).

Still, the one compelling advantage of physical media for films is now gone, unless you really, really like bookcases full of discs.