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5 reasons why DVDs still have their place, especially for serious movie buffs

Netflix ends DVD rentals, and movie lovers are the losers.
Written by Steven Vaughan-Nichols, Senior Contributing Editor
Netflix dvds
Photo By Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

I get it. Streaming video is great. I can't blame Netflix for finally killing off its 25-year-old DVD business. The company makes its cash from big-time streaming hits such as The Night Agent and Wednesday, not shipping DVDs of Alfred Hitchcock's only Best Picture Oscar-winning 1940's Rebecca

It's true that I love my video-on-demand  (VoD) streaming services, such as Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+, and live TV streaming services, such as Sling TV, YouTube TV, and FuboTV, but they have their problems. 

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There are just some things DVDs, Blu-Ray, and 4K UHD discs offer that streaming doesn't.  

1. Streaming's limited selection 

For example, Rebecca? You can't stream it. You also can't stream arguably George Romero's best zombie flick, 1978's Dawn of the Dead. The fun Burt Reynolds comedy, The Cannonball Run? Sorry. David Lynch and Nicholas Cage together, which is just as crazed as you'd imagine, in Wild at Heart? Nope.

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Due to a mess of licensing problems, we'll probably never see any of these movies on streaming. But, there are DVD versions of these out there. Sometimes the quality is lousy, and sometimes the copies are bootlegged, but they're out there. Streaming? Forget about it. 

It's not just old movies. Take HBO's Westworld; it was a great show during much of its run, but you can't watch it now on HBO Max. If you want to watch the whole series now, your only choices are to watch it on DirecTV or buy it on Apple TV or Vudu

2. Superior audiovisual quality and experience of DVDs

Yes, streaming platforms offer a wide selection of movies, but they almost always use heavy compression to save bandwidth. The result? A much lower-quality viewing experience. 

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On the other hand, DVDs deliver an uncompressed, high-quality image and sound, providing the viewer with an authentic cinematic experience. Furthermore, DVDs often come with superior audio options like Dolby Digital or DTS, which can enhance the immersive atmosphere of a movie.

If, like me, you get Blu-Ray and 4K UHD discs, there's simply no comparison of what you'll see on the screen between discs and streaming. With a high-end TV, such as my own favorite 77-inch LG OLED77C1 4K TV with an LG S80QY soundbar, it's the difference between night and day.

3. Special features and bonus content

For cinephiles like me, one of the most appealing aspects of DVDs is the wealth of special features and bonus content they typically include. These can range from director's commentaries and behind-the-scenes footage to deleted scenes and interviews with the cast and crew. Streaming services rarely offer these extra materials. 

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If you're the kind of person who collects classic movies from the Criterion Collection -- guilty! -- discs are the way to go. True, some of these films are also available on the Criterion Channel. But, not all of them are, and again the quality is simply better on discs.  

4. Complete control over your collection

With DVDs, you build and curate your own collection. Whether it's anime, screwball comedies, or film noir, no service can take your favorite movies or TV shows away from you.  

With streaming services, movies can disappear with a change of management, a disagreement over licensing agreements. When you own a DVD, you don't have to worry about your favorite films or shows disappearing from your libraries.

5. Consistent availability, regardless of internet connectivity

Streaming services rely heavily on stable and fast internet connections to deliver content. You're at the mercy of your ISP.  

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DVDs, however, require no internet connection, ensuring that movies can be enjoyed without interruption or buffering. DVDs provide a consistently available and enjoyable alternative. If you live somewhere where your internet connection is iffy -- and many people do -- DVDs are still the way to go.

Going forward without Netflix DVD rentals

If you're a movie lover, Netflix abandoning the DVD market as of September 29, 2023, is really bad news. BlockBuster is long dead. The local tape or DVD rental shop is almost extinct. 

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So, what can you do? Well, if you have a favorite movie or TV show, you can still buy it on Amazon or other services. You can also often find great videos for low prices at second-hand stores. Just be careful before you buy if it costs real money. For example, I love the BBC series I, Claudius, but the Blu-Ray edition's quality is quite poor. The regular DVD box set's quality, however, is quite good. 

Finally, if you don't have a DVD player yet, they are still available. My own favorite is the Sony BDP-S6700. Even if you don't have Blu-Ray discs, it's worth getting a Blu-Ray player. You never know when you might find a movie you've been lusting for on Blu-Ray in a garage sale. It's happened to me. 

Now, if you'll excuse me, it's time to rewatch Casablanca on Blu-Ray for the umpteenth time. 

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