Monday, September 19, 2011

I hope Qwikster Survives

I have friends that think the Netflix/Quikster split has sounded the death knell for discs, but I don't believe DVD or Blu-Ray is going away any time soon. When Netflix decided to add a fee for streaming, the decision was easy: I canceled streaming and am now paying a dollar less per month than I was before. I'm on the two-DVD per month, with Blu-Ray, plan and that's all I need.

These are the reasons why I prefer DVD/Blu-Ray

  • I have a 56" HDTV, a Blu-Ray player and a nice sound system with DTS decoding. At best, HD streaming video looks about the same as a DVD, but can't come close to Blu-Ray picture quality. Streaming audio is much worse than DVD and is nothing compared to Blu-Ray; streaming audio is usually two channels, while even DVD is 5.1 in most cases.
  • DVDs and Blu-Rays don't pause or stop if there is a network problem, something that happens quite often with streaming.
  • The selection. I've watched thousands of movies, which means that I have a hard enough time finding something good to watch on DVD or Blu-Ray, and the selection of streaming video doesn't even come close to the selection I can get on DVD or Blu-Ray.
  • Subtitles/Closed-Captioning. Unless it's a foreign movie, in which case you have no choice, I've never seen an option for closed-captioning or subtitles with streaming. When I have to turn down the sound because the wife is sleeping or if the accents of the actors are difficult to understand, I rely heavily on the subtitles and captioning for the deaf and hard of hearing that are almost standard on DVD or Blu-Ray.
  • Extras. Even ignoring BD-Live, which is pretty much a joke, I like to watch deleted scenes, making-of features, alternate endings and all those other "extra features" that you find on DVDs and Blu-Rays. You don't get any of that with streaming video.
So, for me, the choice to go with physical disks over streaming is an easy one. I get better quality video, audio, selection, and extras than with streaming.

But, beyond all the reasons above that work for me, there are several reasons why DVD/Blu-Ray is not going to die any time soon:
  • There is a large percentage of the population that either does not have the high-speed internet required or has it but has no idea how to or any inclination to hook their internet up to their TV. For those people, they're either going to watch regular TV or they're going to rent, borrow or buy a DVD.
  • Sadly, people (and, less sad, kids) watch movies in their cars and, for most people, the only way to do that is to pop a DVD in the car DVD player. Most people do not have streaming movies in their car.
  • DVDs and Blu-Rays are still impulse buys and many stores still stock them near their cashiers because people still like to own a movie that they can hold in their hand.