How trapped are your digital movies and TV shows? | Common Sense Tech - CNET News (click for full article) Summary: Buying films or TV episodes from a digital media outlet may be great if you watch though one particular device. But what happens if you change from iOS to Android? From a PC to a Mac? From a Roku to Apple TV? We chart it out. by Danny Sullivan January 31, 2013 9:09 AM PST "Have you decided to ditch DVDs and Blu-rays to instead buy movies and TV shows only in a pure digital format? There are certainly advantages to that. But one of the biggest downsides of going all digital is that how you can view your content is largely dependent on the service you purchased it from. Digital video providers In this column, I look at how "trapped" video content purchased from iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, Xbox and Google Play may be. The first four video marketplaces were listed yesterday by NPD as among the top ways people purchase digital video. Google Play is probably still in the "Other" category. But with Android devices growing and Google continuing to push its own Google Play marketplace, it seemed well worth including in this survey. Why would anyone give up on physical discs? My last column, "Keep your Blu-rays and DVDs, Hollywood -- I've gone digital," covered some of the reasons I want to abandon them. Digital means I don't have to get off my couch, find a movie disc and shove it into my Blu-ray player. My Roku player can just pull a movie I own down from the cloud. Digital also means if I'm on a trip, and away from my physical movie collection, I can pull the movie down to my laptop or tablet. The digital trade-offs But as many people who commented in response to my last column note, giving up on discs means giving up control. They're entirely correct, too. You're giving up the ability to absolutely, positively know that the movie or TV show you own is available to watch in the highest possible quality, without some terms of service down the road possibly taking it away. Quality is a big issue. For the convenience of having your video content made available to a variety of devices via the cloud, you might find that the best quality isn't always available. That Blu-ray might come with an iTunes, Amazon or UltraViolet digital redemption code, but that doesn't mean you'll get a digital copy equal to your Blu-ray's quality. Even if you do, some devices might be restricted to only getting standard definition quality. The trapped video matrix Enough preamble. Below is a chart of how trapped your video might be, followed by explanations. I've tried to cover the major ways people might try to view their digital films, and I've actually tested all of these to see if they work as promised."