Is Sony preparing for the extinction of the DVD?

Sony is embedding exclusive features such as script searches and video sharing into its iTunes movies.

Sony is experimenting with exclusive features embedded into its iTunes movies, PaidContent reports, slowly paving the way for the day when DVDs will be no more. In the iTunes version of The Other Guys users can search through the script of the movie to see the exact moment a line was said in the film, while other pictures like Salt and Resident Evil: Afterlife allow you to share video snippets on social media.

Sony's move is welcomed in the face of decreased DVD sales and increased online piracy, as these exclusive features, found only in iTunes versions of the movies, make it more appealing to buy the digital version of the flick from Apple's online store. While the add-ons are not revolutionary, they show that movie studios are willing to adopt digital over DVDs and offer more than just a collection of leftover video clips, usually found in DVD extras.

The iTunes version of the Will Ferrell comedy The Other Guys includes a search button that allows you to search for a word in the movie's script. The search query will then retrieve any mention of that word and link to the exact moment in the movie when it was said, PaidContent notes.

Other Sony Pictures films like Salt and Resident Evil: Afterlife also have a playlist with songs from the movie and links to the iTunes Store, where they can be purchased, along with a clip and share feature, which allows you to select scenes from the movie and share them on Twitter or Facebook. All of these features are not available on any other digital platforms, DVDs or Blu-ray discs.

The downside of these iTunes-only extras is that Apple has not yet implemented a way to experience the bonus features on some of its popular devices like the Apple TV or the iPad (Apple has sold more than 7 million iPads and 1 million Apple TVs). These features are also only available when you buy a movie from iTunes and don't apply to rentals, which, according to analysts' estimates, account for more than three-quarters of movie viewing through iTunes.

Have you stopped buying DVDs in favor of digital copies of movies? What would motivate you to buy a movie over renting it from iTunes? Sound off in the comments.

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Daniel Ionescu

PC World (US online)
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