Against The Stream: Do We Still Need DVDs?

You may still have that copy of your childhood birthday party video on DVD, carefully labelled and kept somewhere in your home or your parents’ house. You could even have come across a copy of a VHS tape of your parents’ wedding when you helped them with some house cleaning. But some people have already upgraded their video copies from polyprolylene tapes to CD/DVD – and lately to digital copies.

DVDs and Blu-rays have long been a medium for entertainment distribution. Following its tape predecessors, it is now slowly being shadowed over by digital media and soft copies.

But why do we still see them on sale and widely distributed, and how do disk manufacturing and distributors cope with the current market? There must be a reason why there’s still business for disk manufacturers and why disk duplicator suppliers earn from mass production.

THE DIGITAL MEDIA

The steady rise of computers and internet use has seen media content slip their way to the digital medium. Multimedia content is sent over the internet and stored in a data server where anyone with internet access can see it from their home computers, mobile gadgets and smartphones. Movies, TV shows and music albums can now be streamed over the internet with a monthly subscription, and some contents can be bought and digitally stored conveniently.

Even with the availability and convenience of digital media, producers and record company still uses public sales and distribution by making disk copies as a medium. The answers are both complex and straightforward.

PICTURE AND SOUND QUALITY

For picture quality, streaming media does not come close to DVD and Blu-ray playback. While some streaming services offer 4k (8 million pixels) video quality, they are highly dependent on the caprice of a capable home entertainment system and internet quality and speed. Having a physical copy offering the same video clarity is preferable under certain circumstances.

When it comes to audio, no streaming service can utilize the latest sound technology because of its low sound fidelity. Blu-rays have been playing on Dolby TrueHD (DTS HD) Master Audio standards for years.

ADDED FEATURES

At this point, some may say that the best entertainment experience is still achieved by going to the movies or a concert; these home entertainment systems are made to duplicate that experience. However, some people prefer the comfort of their own homes for several reasons, and the most common is privacy and unwanted distraction.

While cinema experience is all about widescreen and surround- sound, watching it for the first time is better the second time around with your DVD or Blu-ray copy. DVD and Blu-ray releases offer more content like subtitles, commentaries, director’s cut, interviews, and many more.

PERSONAL CHOICE

home theater with popcorn

People have their reasons for collecting things, and movie enthusiasts and music fans are no different. Having a physical copy of movies and music albums (plus the added content you can’t find anywhere else) gives collectors a sense of ownership over their favourite movie or music, psychologists say. Repeated viewing or listening allows them to repeat the experience and connect to the artists and the actors. This is one of the complicated reason why disk distribution still exists.

While flash drives offer a more compact and higher capacity for data storage, disks can be personalized and kept for a longer time. There is some nostalgia in looking over labeled disks (or their cases) instead of looking at file folders inside the flash drive.

Digital media is developing at a fast rate with different innovations and ideas, giving birth to new ways to record information. Disk usage may seem overtaken by new means of storage and media distribution, but its value as a keepsake is unrivaled.  Perhaps it is another way to see how some people can’t help but collect vinyl records and albums.