Warner has announced their Red 2 Blu promotion, a cleverly titled trade-in program in which owners of Warner HD DVDs can “trade up” to Blu-ray versions between $5 and $15. It’s not a bad offer. For example, collectors of HD DVDs still get to keep the discs; all they need to do is send in the cases cover art and the cash. The program does have a few questionable decisions that need addressed:
1. Pricing: That’s great to know that those who purchased the Harry Potter box set can exchange the entire set for only $15. What about people like me who bought them individually? Why do we get stuck paying $25? Why are the four movie box sets only $10, but they still cost the same individually?
2. Shipping: $6.95 is a steal for shipping if you’re getting the maximum number of
25 discs. If you’re replacing two, not so much.
3. What took so long?: It’s been quite some time since HD DVD died. Other companies such as Best Buy addressed the issue weeks after the announcement. What was the hold up? Still, kudos for the surprise.
4. Pricing #2: $15 for Blade Runner? That really says it all.
5. Is this upgrading?: Many of the discs offer little to no extra value on Blu-ray. They carry the same specs, same features, same transfer, and obviously the same movie. Why spend the money at all?
6. Pricing #3: My personal upgrade total came to $100+. While the $5 price seems reasonable, it quickly adds up. Obviously this needs to be profitable for Warner, but also needs to be a value for the consumer. My HD DVDs work fine, and that money could be put towards more Blu-rays I don’t own. Maybe offer credit towards new discs?
Hopefully some of the other studios will step up as their Blu-ray catalog expands to include those titles released previously. Despite the issues, those looking to unload some of their low value discs will probably find this an easy and convenient means of doing so. Kudos to Warner, although hopefully other studios improve on the concept.