Has Streaming Rendered DVDs Obsolete?
Technology is a wonderful thing. With streaming and cable services like OnDemand, we can now watch brand new movies with the push of a button. There is no more getting in the car, traveling to Blockbuster, hoping they have the movie you want to see, driving home, and collecting your family again to watch a film together. Have these conveniences, however, made the humble DVD a thing of the past?
Recent reports are saying DVDs are still quite relevant, even being faced with more streaming services becoming readily available. Fortunately for movie makers, there are still people that need to have a copy of new films for their collections. They are the die-hard movie buffs that wear their DVD collection like a badge of honor.
While DVD sales have markedly declined and the loss of sales has been significant, but marketers are still seeing a handsome number in the sales columns. Even with streaming and ondemand services, people are still going to the theater to catch new releases, even though the prices of a movie date have skyrocketed. So why is that happening, when they can simply wait a couple of months for their must-see to release?
The reason people are still traveling to theaters and dropping $10+ on a feature film is the same reason people are still purchasing DVDs. Movies are an escape, a way to embrace a love story, a horrific madman, or a raunchy comedic duo, and in the meantime, escape the hard day at work or a bad breakup. People are still passionate about movies, it is the one art form for which people will shell out money.
Another advantage of the DVD is that there does not have to be working cable or internet to watch one. While streaming requires a high speed connection, and ondemand services need an expensive cable subscription, DVDs only require electricity and the equipment on which to view them. This makes DVDs accessible to the people that are living their lives without dependence on streaming devices and cable.
While there is a heavily stocked catalog between the three major services, Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Amazon Instant, it seems to mostly targeted toward an adult audience. While the nostalgia of A Different World, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and old seasons of SVU might be fun to introduce your older children to, there doesn’t seem to be a large amount of content available for the youngsters. Netflix Kids has a modest selection, but kids get bored easily, and need fresh viewing material. DVDs still provide a great source of entertainment, and allow kids to repeatedly watch their favorites, while DVD rental sources like Redbox provide a much needed break.
For those of us who still really dig the special features, DVDs are a key element. Streaming can only go so far in terms of special features, some services offer limited options but commentary and gag reels are still DVD specific. For some viewers, this is a deal breaker that will always tip the scales in the direction of the DVD. Special editions of certain discs can contain hours and hours of extra goodies that streaming and ondemand can’t supply. This formula just simply can’t be beat.
Traditionalists and technophobes alike all have an opinion on the DVD vs. streaming debate. For a lot of people the question is regarding the parameters of an online library. How soon until providers start charging a premium for their storage services? Also, what if there is a limit imposed on how much data a person can store? At what point does the promise of the almighty dollar outweigh the convenience? Buying a DVD steadily has remained the same price, if not gone down dramatically and it isn’t likely to change anytime soon. Can the same be said for streaming? As more people cut the cord and transition away from cable providers, are these services going to stay the same price?
When all is said and done, no matter what the quality of your TV, nothing beats the blu-ray experience. With crisp and clean pictures, the movie-goer is immediately transported to the land where the movie is taking place. We’re easily able to travel to Middle Earth, the streets of post-apocalyptic New York City, and the gorgeous sands of the Fijian Islands. Combined with a glorious surround sound set-up, movie watching becomes an experience that streaming has yet to capture.
Whether you’re a die-hard streamer, a cable watching afficianado, or a DVD loyalist, we can all say that movies are often a transformative experience. Through DVD purchase on a popular site, we can buy almost any movie ever made and within the shipping period, we can put ourselves in that world. We are able to fly on a magic carpet with Aladdin, tame a wild horse with Brad Pitt in Legends of the Fall, and see the horror the beaches of Normandy in Saving Private Ryan. In this world of technology, can’t we all get along?