Matt Damon’s anguished face will grace the first ever Blu-ray/DVD “flipper” disc, which contains the Blu-ray format on one side and the DVD format on the other.
Universal will be the first to try the flipper disc with the “Bourne” trilogy, starring Damon, CNet reports. The films will be released on January 19, but Universal hasn’t said how much these discs will cost in comparison to a regular Blu-ray disc. Because Blu-ray discs won’t run on standard DVD players, the flipper format gives buyers the best of both worlds.
The flipper disc concept originated with HD-DVD, again from Universal. What’s odd is that Universal reportedly cut back on flipper discs in the spring of 2007 according to High Def Digest, reissuing two of its most popular flipper releases as HD-DVD only and reversing course on two other movies that were supposed to come in both formats.
The studio had once pledged to release 90 percent of its HD-DVD movies as combo discs. It’s not clear what caused the change of heart, but it seems that Universal is up for experimenting again. There’s no indication in CNet’s report that other flipper disc releases are planned.
Flippers already have stiff competition from Blu-ray and DVD combo packages, which keep the formats on separate discs. This seems advantageous, because you can bring one disc with you for use in a portable DVD player or laptop, while the Blu-ray copy can stay behind with your home theater. Lionsgate, Fox, Walt Disney Studios and MGM are among the studios supporting the separate disc combo format. Then there’s the trend of including a DVD with only a digital file for use on computers and portable media players. Some releases contain all three.
I can see why the flipper would be desirable to studios, because it ensures that you’re not just giving away or loaning the extra DVD copy, but if so many other studios support the separate disc combo package, why mess with it?