I think I’ve learned from DVDs. I learned a lot. . I needed to First, I learned to like movies. I was never a movie kid growing up. I liked TV more. I liked watching Jeopardy! at far too young an age. I liked and appreciated animation that, while originally in the theaters, at that time resided solely on TV in blissful half hour blocks. To this day, though, there are still large gaps in my movie memory that everyone assumes I have. When the DVD format hit, I fell in love and watched all I could. I’d spend Saturday afternoons with the shades drawn, the DVD player fired up, and a couple or three movies ready to go, often in those distinctive little red envelopes from Netflix. (I subscribed to Netflix in the days before they had warehouses every 15 blocks around the country, dangit! I had to wait a week to exchange a disc for a new one, at least. Bah!)
But those were the days in the early 2000s that I caught up on classics like “The Maltese Falcon” and “Casablanca” and “Network” and “The French Connection” and “Chinatown” and “The Godfather.” I’m sure there were some movies that didn’t come out of the 30s and 70s in there, too, but you get the idea.
DVDs were a weekly purchase, aided by the Sam Goody store (remember those?) downstairs from where I worked, where a pre-order would save you nearly as much as you’d save ordering it on Amazon, in the days before free shipping with your $25 purchase.
I bought the discs often knowing I didn’t have time to watch them right away, but figuring I would someday — that I should buy them while I could.
The end result? Literally hundreds of DVDs in boxes are filling up a couple of closets in my house. A couple of years ago, I sold off a bunch, many of which turned out to be unexpected collector’s items that fetched high prices, such as the “ReBoot” DVDs. That money paid, in large part, for my dSLR camera.
Most of the DVDs in my collection did not retain their value, the way they did in the early days of the format. There was a time when most movies were $30. You could almost make that back on eBay immediately, if you wanted to. DVDs weren’t available at every checkout stand and 7-11 spinner rack for $5 or $10. They weren’t available to rent for $1 from a big red box outside the supermarket.
And today, as broadband opens up to ever more of the country and the tech industry fights to put an appliance in your home theater to stream things to your TV, the future of disc-based entertainment, itself, is in danger. It’s not a perfect solution, though. Broadband isn’t equally fast or available everywhere. It’s a lot of data to send through the pipes to show a high def picture on your TV. And there’s the basic human need to own stuff, not merely have it stream past your eyes. Why pay for something you can’t hold?
An early format war nearly killed the next generation disc-based successor to the humble DVD before it began. Through various political machinations, Blu Ray eventually won the battle, this despite the HD-DVD plug-in for the Xbox. In the end, content won out. Once enough Hollywood studios chose Blu Ray (for whatever reason — pay outs, technical specs, etc.), HD DVD was dead. With an entire industry behind one format, the march forward with it could begin, and prices could come back down to earth, largely in an attempt to recoup the sagging DVD dollars being spent in Best Buy and WalMart.
With prices of Blu Ray players eking below $100 (albeit for bare bones, previous generation, non-internet capable players), now is the time to start buying.
So why go with Blu Ray? Because it’s cool looking. Because I’m a tech geek. Because I bought a 1080p TV screen capable of displaying it. Just because.
But I learned from the years I spent vacuuming up new DVD releases. There are limitations this time around. Here’s my thinking:
I’m sticking with movies that take advantage of being in high def. I want the spectacles. I want the special effects monsters. I want the loud surround sound movies.
Failing that, I want only the best movies in Blu Ray. If it doesn’t qualify for the previous definition, I’m only buying it on Blu Ray if it’s an exceedingly good movie with a new transfer that I’m likely to watch again.
Comedies, old classics, etc. are fine enough in DVD with the upscaling DVD player. As much as I love and adore Airplane!, I don’t need to buy it again, thanks.
I’d almost go so far as to say TV shows will be good enough in DVD, but so many of those today are shot in high def beyond what DVD is capable of showing that I might go Blu Ray with those, too. Plus, fewer discs means less swapping things in and out of the player!
I’m also not planning on a lot of double-dipping. If I already bought it on DVD, I’ll stick with that. I will have one or two exceptions (Hello, “Matrix”), mostly to see the difference between the two formats, but I’d prefer those on a budget basis — if there’s an Amazon sale where I can get it for $10 (Hello, “Dark City”), I might go for it.
I don’t want to end up with a large library here. I want something manageable and something of quality. Plus, I just don’t have the time to watch a large volume of movies/tv shows anymore. I know my limits better now. So let’s see how this goes…