A lot of the science fiction that was written during the 2000s still has people using DVDs in the future. As far as I’m concerned, DVDs were already a completely dated technology by then. It feels like we had VHS tapes for a long time, and DVDs only got to enjoy a very brief moment in the sun. It’s almost enough to make you feel sorry for DVDs, since they barely had any time to make an impression on the world. However, when you think about what it’s like to own DVDs compared to what it’s like to stream movies, you can only feel so sorry for DVDs.
DVDs get ruined so easily. They’re just like CDs in that regard, except they’re even worse in many ways. You get the tiniest little scratch on a DVD, and then you end up missing part of the movie, or the DVD just doesn’t work in general. Anyone who’s ever owned a DVD also knows that it’s really easy to get them scratched in the first place. Just taking them out of their packaging can get them scratched, because of course they’re packaged in these hard outer plastic shells where there are scratching hazards everywhere. I probably still own some DVDs that I miraculously enough managed not to scratch, but a lot of mine had to be specially cleaned before I managed to use them again.
The DVD creators also really went too far when they started throwing confusing menus at us. Menus that take forever to appear are going to annoy anyone. Menus that keep trying to convince you to watch the commentaries are also annoying. I also don’t always want to have to hear the movie’s theme music before I actually watch it, like it’s a new set of opening credits. The DVD creators knew that they were going to have to compete with live video streaming, so they really tried to make the DVD watching experience different and novel. I guess they succeeded, but they did it in all of the worst ways. The sound of DVDs taking forever to let you access the movie is the sound of me ejecting the DVD and watching the movie on Netflix instead.
Popping a DVD into a disk drive is nothing compared to driving to the movies, and previous generations probably think all of us are spoiled because we don’t want to have to bother with hunting around for the right DVD and inserting it into a disk drive. Still though, the right movie on Netflix is only a few clicks away, and anything that saves me time and irritation is worth it.
There’s also the fact that my newer and less expensive laptop doesn’t even have a disk drive. A lot of software companies are giving all of us an opportunity to save money by appealing to our annoyance with DVDs, it seems. The fact that lots of new computers don’t even have disk drives that are compatible with DVDs is a clear sign that the culture is in the process of abandoning them, leaving them to join the 8-track, the VHS, and the cassette tape.
Probably one of the biggest things that’s killing DVDs is the cost factor. Buying five movies on DVD could once cost me around one hundred dollars. Now that lots of people are turning on DVDs, it would cost me around fifteen dollars if I knew where to shop. However, a month of Netflix costs less than ten dollars, so the price is right. I could get countless movies and television shows during that month, instead of one movie and a bunch of DVD commentaries that I didn’t want.
Streaming on Hulu is even more cost-effective since it’s completely free. Hulu may not have the best selection, but then again, neither did Blockbuster back in the day. We all still went there. Hulu has a better selection than Blockbuster even did, and it’s absolutely free. Even if Blockbuster were still in business, Hulu would win in every conceivable way.
Streaming is catching on everywhere, and it is going to ultimately make DVDs more obsolete than they were before. The VHS tape is one of the symbols of the 1990s. The cassette tape is one of the symbols of the 1980s. The DVD is going to be one of the iconic symbols of the 2000s. In that sense, it will live forever. However, it will live forever as a symbol, and not as a device.