RIP DVDs

By Deane Barker on July 25, 2011

Netflix: DVD Era is over, no interest in Hulu: Netflix put an effective nail in the coffin of  the DVD this week.

Netflix Monday made it official — the DVD era is over.

For years, Netflix has said that DVDs had many more years of life left to the format. But Monday, in its letter to shareholders for the second quarter earnings report, it acknowledged that “DVD shipments have likely peaked,” and that its future is streaming.

I’ve thought DVDs should die for years now.  How did a technology that delicate and brittle ever get mass adoption?

Physical media is dying, which is a good thing, in my mind.  I’ve wanted to own nothing for a while now:

I’ve gone from wanting to own everything to wanting to own nothing and actually being stressed out by the thought of ownership. Weird how that works.

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Comments

  1. Netflix, I would like the DVD era to end too. Can you please put out something worth streaming?!

  2. “I’ve thought DVDs should die for years now. How did a technology that delicate and brittle ever get mass adoption?”

    Ummm, the same way vinyl albums and cds worked so well for years. You take care of them. Heck both my 3 and 7yr olds know how to properly hold a cd/dvd. When done it goes in the case. All their Diego and Backyardans dvds are like new. Dj’s for years carted vinyl and then Cds around with no major loss I know because I helped a number of them. Ironically, two of the dj’s I use to help, dropped their mp3 players to the tune of over $800. I guess it begs the question, what did you do with your cd/dvds to break them?

    As for media, I prefer something tangible. I like having all my CDs in storage. when I bought new I’d make a copy, and archive the original. No matter what happens to my copy either mp3 or cd I always have instant access to my backup original with or without net access OR jumping thru some emailing the company hoops.

    Regarding stress, it’s the diff between renting and owning. When you own it’s yours and no one can take that from you. When you rent that apartment, car, etc can be gone in an instant with no legal recourse. For me that’s stress.

    take care.

  3. The real problem here is the constant obsession with the adoption of new technologies.

    In the mid-to-late 1990s, we were all perfectly happy with our VHS tapes, but there was one fatal flaw: VHS tapes were easy to copy, so everybody was doing just that, giving copies of films to their friends and family, recording shows off TV, etc. So the film studios stopped releasing on VHS and had us all move to DVD technology, which they said was better. And the truth is, it was – in some ways. Picture quality was superior to VHS, but commercial DVDs could be encrypted with DRM protection which was much harder to break than the weakling Macrovision protection on tapes. Evidently, the Masses didn’t bother to think for themselves as much as they could, or should, have done, and so we all got rid of our VCRs and got DVD players – moved to a technology that was not nearly as developed as it should have been to be offered in the way it was. (For example, think how much more sturdy VHS tapes are compared to DVDs!)

    Then someone figured out that one could copy DVDs as well, so now we are all being asked to move to Blu-ray or pay for access to streaming films and TV shows. This gives the studios and TV people even more control over the content, and the end-user gets his freedom taken away even more.

    Another place where this constant “latest-greatest” technology adoption obsession becomes dangerous is in the world of independent film. Back in the “olden days”, a film that had a good story and decent acting, and maybe a pretty actress or two, was considered a “good” film. Then the advent of home video rentals came around, and Wow! Was that amazing! You could watch a movie from the comfort of your couch – it couldn’t possibly get better than that! But as things stand now, a film is considered “awesome” if it is in HD, 3D, Surround Sound, Released on Blu-ray, available for the iPod, has a dedicated web site, a spin-off clothing line and Oh! What decent venture would be caught dead without an iPhone app?! Where will this leave Joe Filmmaker with his 5-year old MiniDV camcorder and his backyard?

    If we had only stopped and thought for a while about the implications of moving away from our tried-and-true VHS tapes, the world would be that much of a better place.

    As you may have guessed from reading this, I still own – and happily use – a VCR.

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