One of the reasons I decided to purchase the best possible version of The Avengers on Blu-ray was the inclusion of a free digital copy. We all know that’s the way things are going. Discs are heading towards obsolescence so, on the rare occasion I buy a Blu-ray, I like to cover my bases for the future. Foresight is a big factor in my purchasing habits, such as with my new laptop: a Retina Display MacBook Pro. Much like my computer before it, I tried to buy the best available model at the time knowing it’ll still be relevant when it’s time for a new one.

Unfortunately, The Avengers don’t have the same foresight and now they’re the poster child for a bigger issue.

Upon excitedly opening my 4-disc Avengers Blu-ray, I hopped online to input my digital code, hoping to quickly download the film to my laptop and iPhone. It said I needed to insert the disc. Usually, this would be no problem, but as technology moves away from physical media and hardware gets smaller, Apple and other companies have begun to do away with disc drives. So my three-month-old MacBook Pro doesn’t have one. I called Disney to inquire about this problem. Everyone was as kind and friendly as you’d expect Disney employees to be. Unfortunately, after talking to two people, their only suggestion was to buy an external disc drive because uploading on a friend’s computer wouldn’t allow me to transfer the file. There’s no contingency plan for new hardware that lacks an old media interface. Why would the year’s biggest movie not be compatible with up to date technology? Why do Blu-ray digital copies require a disc at all? 

The solution seems simple. If people don’t have a disc drive, give them a number to call where they can turn in their unique, unused code in exchange for one enabling a direct download from iTunes or another provider. In the case of The Avengers, I was told this is not an option. The movie is only located on the disc. So I guess this is a figment of my imagination:

There’s the movie available on iTunes. It’s also available on Amazon, Vudu, PSN, XBox Live, everywhere. I paid for a digital download so let me download it. It is NOT only on the disc.

I completely understand the idea to put the digital copy on a disc. For one, doing so allows the company to advertise an extra disc in an expensive package. It also assists those with less than stellar computers or Internet connections to download it in a safe, easy way. Plus, it is made relatively clear on the back of the packaging that a disc is need for the digital copy. But to rely on that and not have a contingency plan for new technology seems absurd. At least put “I don’t have a disc drive” as one of the FAQs on your tech website.

In regards to The Avengers and my MacBook Pro, odds are I’m going to have to break down and purchase one of Apple’s $80 SuperDrives – which was probably Apple’s plan all along. They’re fully aware that not only are disc drives becoming obsolete, there still not obsolete enough that after spending $2500 on a laptop, they can’t hit you up for another $80.

Obviously, this is not the end of the world. The purchase gives you the movie on Blu-ray, DVD and even Blu-ray 3D. You can always make a Genius Bar appointment or find a friend with a external disc drive to hook up. But no matter what other options there are, it doesn’t change the fact that an additional step takes away from the ease of the digital download already paid for.

The Avengers surely isn’t the first, or last, film to pose this problem for fans. Maybe some companies are even aware of this problem, but there’s no bigger movie on Blu-ray than The Avengers. If any movie needed to be up to date, it’s them. Computer companies are not going to start reinserting disc-drives into their laptops, or adding them to tablets. Companies relying on Blu-ray for revenue need to figure out a way to get with the times and stop relying on a dying medium.

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