Escaping the Streaming Rat Race

We’re moving in a few weeks. In preparation for this, I did something I tried not to think about doing for a long time. I went ahead and stripped my DVD collection of its cases, and gathered them into one neat (if very large) binder.

Yeah, I know what you’re probably thinking. “Who bothers with DVDs anymore?”

It’s a good question. If Netflix or Amazon Prime (or Hulu if you prefer) don’t have what you want, you can usually rent it off Amazon or another service. But I’ve been watching the wind and I have a ominous feeling that bad times are upon consumers. Not a “forever” situation, but things can suck for a while.

I believe that Netflix has known it, but they’re working on borrowed playtime. Much of their content is still very much from other movie studios. Back then, it was cheaper for content producers to license their titles out and collect royalties from Netflix instead of constructing digital delivery services of their own. But the industry is making rapid steps to embrace the changes Netflix heralded.

And when they do, they’re going to want their stuff back. If Netflix doesn’t build enough of a brand, their platform will be barren, save for whatever they’ve made in time, and that of a few independent studios providing outside content. A report from late last year stated that users spent 80% of their time watching titles that Netflix didn’t make. The company is locked in a race to generate enough of their own stuff to escape the reaping.

It’s already coming to a head. Anyone who has been following the recent Netflix and Marvel TV series shake up knows that Disney is entering the game with Hulu and Disney+. When Warner Bros gets its services running, all those CW shows will probably be going elsewhere. By the end of the next three years, likely every major studio will have its own service instead of relying on a few, centralized providers.

I’m really not wild about hopping from service to service, paying $10 to $20 a pop. All the apps, logins, bills and so on, for only a few things I really want to see. In theory, you could purchase and own on Amazon, but I wouldn’t be surprised if they find ways to make your selections “unavailable.” I’ve read a couple of articles where the fine print on Amazon’s digital movies may result in unavailability of movies you’ve “purchased” due to sudden “content provider licensing restrictions.”

I feel that the ease and convenience of the streaming age is going to be on choppy seas for a while. Again, I don’t think this is going to be an everlasting dark age. Yet it may take another few years for studios to accept that this emerging system isn’t convenient for customers, and is already resulting in a second age of digital piracy.

Everyone just has to learn the hard way…

If you’re like me, you refuse to torrent. But you’re probably not wild about your wallet being thinned either. So maybe my arguments have swayed you to consider either buying Blu-Ray, DVDs or storing digital copies of your favorite movies. If so, I would highly suggest storing the following crowd pleasers to escape the streaming rat race:

And you don’t have to buy new. Keep an eye out at garage sales and antique stores, grab them for $3. Just buy them, and store a copy to call your own. And yes. Yes, I know that you can rip and store these DVDs. The legality of this is questionable, so I sincerely hope you do so only for your own personal use if so.

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