Are DVDs Dead?

May 23, 20184 min read

I’m sure at least some of the readers and writers of Affinity will be personally familiar with the concept of the VHS. No menu, poor picture quality, and having to rewind all the way back to the start of the film to watch it again (keeping your eyes closed the whole time to avoid spoilers of course).

I, even as a young child, was relieved to start using a DVD player, with nearly every film I then watched having the option of scene selection, deleted scenes, and even just starting from the beginning – a true novelty. But over the past decade, that novelty has clearly worn thin, and the concept of having to actually stand up from my couch in order to put a movie on is now an irritation because of Netflix, Amazon Prime, and more.

My DVD purchasing does not necessarily reflect this tend though. Although the stats may be skewed in favor of DVDs due to my being a Film student and movie reviewer, I find that I buy at least a few a month, nearly all of them being old (pre-1950) or foreign films unavailable to me on streaming sites. Some, if not all, are available with dubious legality on YouTube or a pirating website, but in my opinion, it’s these films that we have the lowest levels of access to that often require the most in financial support.

With buying DVDs, you also get a sense of physical permanency that streaming just can’t guarantee.

They can remove your favorite TV show at the press of a button, but all you need for a DVD is a player and not too many scratches on the disc. Even digital downloads don’t give you the same feeling of security, with hard drive corruption or just a lack of storage all putting your ability to view the movie or show whenever and wherever at risk. There’s certainly something for the collector in you to have an actual, physical copy of a TV show or movie you love that you can hold in your hands or display on your shelf as well.

Just because you aren’t using them doesn’t mean that everyone else isn’t either. You most likely have parents or older relatives or friends that use DVDs far more than they use online services, having built up a collection or because they haven’t got the hang of streaming yet. The decreasing popularity of DVDs has even been great for cinephiles without much money, as buying a few second-hand DVDs can prove far cheaper than subscribing to multiple streaming services. All you need then is a cheap player or a laptop with a disc drive.

Obviously, there are reasons why DVDs are becoming increasingly obsolete. They aren’t nearly as portable as digital downloads or streaming, and the risk exists of losing or breaking the DVD itself. However, I don’t think they’ll be going the way of the VHS for a long time to come, with eighth generation consoles still supporting DVDs and many box sets including incentivizing physical extras like posters serving as proof.

So maybe don’t sell your old Blu-ray player on eBay just yet.

Cover Image Courtesy of Pexels

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Zoe Crombie

Film student from Lancaster, U.K. who loves movies, old video games, Modernist art and my hamster Vlad.