DVD or Digital Download?

I celebrated my thirty-first birthday yesterday and the most pressing question to come out of that blessed event was this: DVD or M4V?

In the Clark household, movie-watching happens exclusively through an Apple TV. It started with the massive DVD conversion project I undertook earlier this year, and it’s continued with occasional purchases from the iTunes store (Juno and Gross Pointe Blank most recently). But those movie purchases have been few and far between, and the true test of my willingness to go entirely digital has arrived in the form of a much-beloved Marvel Comics movie which I, personally, have yet to see. You see, Iron Man is out now, kiddos. And I can’t decide if I want the DVD or not.

Now, I know what the easy answer is: Buy the DVD and rip it and you’ll have the best of both worlds. And sure, converting a DVD to an iTunes/Apple TV compatible file is a breeze with HandBrake, but that doesn’t address the core issue. And the core issue is this: Do I need the DVD, or do I just need the movie?

I used to be a glutton for special features. I ate all that shit up. But times change, and I don’t have as much time as I used to. I could count on one hand the number of times I’ve watched a DVD’s special features over the last three or four years. All I really need is the movie. And the truth is that I watch movies more often, now that I’m able to get to any movie in my collection with just a couple of clicks.

Aside from that, there’s the fact that, while HandBraking a DVD is simple enough, HandBraking a DVD to a file that’s compatible (and looks good) on both my Apple TV and my iPhone is next to impossible. The files purchased directly from the iTunes store work on both devices, and look good on both devices, but I’ve never been able to create that kind of file myself. And, really, part of why I want digital copies of everything is so that I can take movies on the road with me, on my iPhone. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is that all of the movies I spent my spring converting are incompatible with the iPhone.

Then, there’s the issue of space. We had way too many DVDs taking up way too much space in our living room, and the Apple TV helped solve that issue. I don’t want to contribute to its resurgence by buying more physical products when their digital equivalents work just as well.

But that DVD, that physical package, it’s still alluring, to a certain extent.

How about you, Geek Forcers? Are you ready to make the move to digital movies in the way that many of us have made the leap to digital music? Let us know in the comments.