6 Aug 2009 9:00 am   //   Filed under: Media, Movies, Over!

I will probably never buy another DVD

Last year, I spent $20 for a cable that connects my computer to my TV. It has more than paid for itself. A few months later, I’m streaming most of my home entertainment over the Internet. This week I watched “The Hunt for Red October” from Netflix. The experience delivered just as much Cold War nautical awesomeness as it would have on a DVD. And I can play it again any time I want.

Which makes me wonder, why own DVDs at all? My modest, tightly-edited DVD collection takes up one shelf of a narrow bookcase. Like my long-obsolete CD collection, seeing it sometimes fills me with buyer’s remorse. Eight discs of “Arrested Development” sit there mocking me, now that every single episode is available free online. “Pan’s Labyrinth,” “Casablanca,” and “Vertigo” are there too—and also available streaming from Netflix.

Netflix does cost money. But $10 a month seems damn cheap considering the alternatives: Video store rentals, Pay Per View, premium cable. I’m not opposed to occasionally buying shows a la carte. If I want something right away that Netflix doesn’t have for streaming (such as recent episodes of “Mad Men”), I may buy it from iTunes.

It’s the physical DVD I’m happy to live without. With so many shows online, buying a disc that only has one program on it seems like an idea from the distant past. What a model of inefficiency. What a waste of plastic!

I am using my DVD player with such decreasing frequency that I doubt I will ever upgrade to a Blu-Ray player. My next computer, especially if it’s a Mac tablet, might not even have an optical drive. TV shows and movies are all going to be on the cloud. Another point of friction in the media marketplace disappears. There’s one fewer reason to exchange money for “content.”

And Rupert Murdoch thinks I’m going to pay to read the news?