A true screener is a dvd (or VHS) copy of a movie sent out by the STUDIO to promote their award hopeful's,.... usually between October & January.... mostly to Academy members.... but many other critic groups receive them as well.
They are complete movies. Usually anamorphic widescreen and 5.1 (the DVD's anyway). Most don't even have menus or chapter stops. Almost all of them have a recurring onscreen warnings about it's origins.... (ie - this is a screening copy ... property of studio ... not for sale ... etc. some even have the mpaa phone number to report a bootlegged copy).
In the past year or two... ebay bootleggers/scammers have adopted the term "screener" to their products ... because it sounds more legit & alluring. You're apt to find very few TRUE, original screeners on ebay.... as most of the people who rightfully receive them are professional enough not to sell them. (Plus... it's prohibited and get get your ass kicked out of whatever organization you represent.)
Who benefits? The seller.... as they get it for free... and sell it to make a profit from you. The studio makes nothing from it. I'll admit... they are cool to have... and I proudly collect the ones that I am sent ... but I would never, never, ever part with them. It's up to you whether or not it's worth it to you to buy one,...but I would be very very sure of it's authenticity before I bought one from ebay.
Unless you're collector.... they really aren't that big a deal,.... since whatever movie it is will surely be available to purchase on DVD in the not to distant future.
There are essentially two kinds of DVD screeners: legit and bootlegs. The first kind is not meant to be sold and the second are of course illegal. So discussing their purchase on ebay cannot be allowed.
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