With all the recent Star Wars talk, I’m ready to revisit the classic movies of my youth, but I’ve found there is no civility, only rent-seeking. As a non-Blu-ray owning, but still mostly law-abiding American, the best way to watch Star Wars Episodes IV, V, and VI might be to buy the Blu-ray + DVD combo pack ($45 on Amazon).1
Maybe I am being silly or gravely mistaken, but that means watching the DVDs which by the way only seems marginally less clumsy than trying to find and then set up my old VHS machine to watch the versions of the films I already own. Gnawing at some part of my inner nerd would be those Blu-ray discs; I’d own, but be unable to watch perfectly reasonable HD versions trapped on a format I have no device to access.
Or I could buy the combo and also a $40 Blue-ray drive and rip the disks — DRM and ancient weapons are no match for a good tutorial from Jason Snell. This lets me watch in 720p via my not-so-trusty, but still mostly elegant Apple TV 2. Plus, I can always rip it into 1080p and more or less feel future proofed (b/c 4k, pfffff). However, the need to put “rip discs” on my todo list is kind of annoying and maybe there is crazy droid-based DRM making this impossible? I mean, I know better than to trust a strange computer program like handbreak, right?
Or I could try to go the “easy” route, buy the combo and a $75 Blue-ray home theater component and watch the films off the discs, but then like an animal, I am stuck for always and ever after watching the films off the discs and needing that damn Blu-ray player for only these films. Or worse, what if owning a Blu-ray player leads to more Blu-ray discs? The last thing I want is to start collecting plastic boxes and shiny things again, but if I never use the Blu-ray for anything else spending $55/film seems quite gratuitous.
If my lack of faith you find disturbing, let’s be honest… the main problem is that some time between when I buy a Blu-ray + DVD combo pack and watch the first film, inevitably Disney will announce the upcoming sale of the Star Wars films via iTunes (and almost as surely for $20 a pop). Such a development will certainly cause the hate to flow through me.
Sigh. The Force – it awakens – but so far it brings nothing but sadness.
UPDATE: Everything is fine now. Of course.
I have Episodes II and III on DVD and feel no compunction to upgrade or acquire Episode I. ↩