In defense of DVDs


I’ve just re-enabled my Netflix DVD service for the umpteenth time. Streaming is usually enabled (though it’s of dubious usefulness), and whether I’m getting DVDs is a matter of how much time I’m spending on movies at all.

As a general rule, DVDs are the only way for me to watch the movies I want. I use various movie recommendation sources and my wishlist is filled with things that are not available on streaming services, at least not Netflix nor Amazon. As for torrents… They’re usually left for the odd case where I can’t buy, rent or stream the movie anywhere. I have a job and I don’t mind paying for stuff.

How bad is the streaming situation? I recently was searching Netflix for some of my top recommendations from Criticker and went through nearly 20 movies before coming across one that wasn’t DVD-only. Looking for a Bogart film to stream? Netflix has you covered, with films involving Andrea, Dominic and Keith Bogart!

But this is not a big deal. DVDs are just fine. The iconic Netflix envelopes are occasionally mocked as some vestige of a media age gone by, but I don’t buy into that. There is convenience with streaming, but it’s marginal. I can wait a day for a movie, and if there are multiple DVDs in the house then there will usually be no waiting ever. I’ll even say there is an advantage to the DVD queue system: it reduces choice. Not of what to watch ever (something it increases about 10x for Netflix), but for right now. My viewing time is limited, and I just as soon know that movies A, B and C are options tonight and that’s it. Surfing around a list of mediocre choices the Netflix thinks I might like in wholly unappealing.

If streaming suddenly had the full library of movies, there would be no point for the DVDs. But for now, in this weird state of media transition, I’m quite happy for the USPS to provide a steady DVD stream to my house, allowing me to watch almost anything I want.