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Why UMDs Offer Less For More

GhostbustersOne of the primary criticisms against Sony's auspicious idea for offering movies on UMD format for the PlayStation Portable is that the little discs are often compared to DVDs, but they cost more than the DVD version of a movie and offer less content, often skipping any special bonus features.  For instance, over at Amazon.com $15 will get you Ghostbusters on UMD, but for $14 you can get both Ghostbusters films and the special features for the first film on DVD.  So just why does the UMD market work this way?

TVShowsOnDVD.com announced the UMD release of the pilot episode of TV's Lost today (which, oddly enough, does include a few bonus features) and sneaked in the answer to that very question.  It would seem that the primary reason is that creating menus for UMDs is challenging.  Yes, that sounds like a lame excuse to me too.

Adding bonus content means dealing with additional menus, and so studios are hanging back right now and prefer not to include the extras which complicate the project by having to find room on the disc, take the time and expense to author the menus, and make it take longer to bring the release to market.

Also cited are the lack of UMD authoring facilities, time spent with Sony's UMD authoring process, and other such reasons.  Some say that prices will drop as UMD authoring becomes more mainstream, but they said the same thing about the price of music CDs when they first debuted and it took years and a class action lawsuit before that happened.  I still say it's a pure case of greed.  If people will pay more money for less content, why shouldn't the companies overcharge?

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