Wednesday, May 4, 2011

DVDs Died Before I Even Started My Collection

There’s something exciting about owning physical media. In many of our living spaces, we’ve devoted an entire bookshelf to CDs, DVDs, VHS tapes, 8-tracks, vinyl, and Edison wax cylinders. Then we step back and look at the rainbow of titles staring back at us and think of how much money we spent to amass that collection.

Downloading MP3s and XVID-fueled TV shows and movies is significantly less thrilling, but much more efficient. For example, when an earthquake strikes, all of our MP3s won’t fall onto the floor in an impressive but tragic destruction of jewel cases. We don’t have to worry about house guests discreetly lifting them during a Halloween party. Some of us even have the satisfaction of knowing that no wasteful packaging was used to transport a bunch of ones and zeros across the country, or the world (remember the original CD packaging?)

Being a tech-savvy youth, I jumped into all-digital media as soon as it became available, copying my friends’ CDs and downloading songs from various peer-to-peer networks to put onto my 64 megabyte Rio MP3 player (it holds one full album!) This was illegal, of course, but I bought back my karma by meeting my favorite bands at the venues they’d play and giving them gas money. This became a lot more popular when gas prices skyrocketed.

I never had the money for DVDs; if I ever wanted to watch one, I’d just rent it. As a result, my media bookcase is filled with embarrassing music from the 90s and VHS tapes like Motorvision. It’s more of a time capsule than something to gawk at. Its lack of timeliness has manifested itself in a steady decline in the number of CDs missing after every Halloween party.

Someone gave me a DVD player for Christmas one year which meant that I had something to collect dust while I used my Playstation 2 for the rare occasions during which a DVD would be screened in my living room. Though it’s still in my entertainment center now, it’s never powered on.

Yes, I’ll admit it. I sometimes take the rogue path and torrent movies I want to watch if it doesn’t show up on my wife’s Netflix account, but usually I’ll do it anyway if the Netflix movies don’t fit the proper aspect ratio of my TV. Hey, if we’re paying to stream it, and there’s no time limit for viewing it, it must be legal for me to download it, right? RIGHT?

So if I have an endless stream of media flying into my house via coaxial cable, do I need to start collecting DVDs and impressing my party guests? Of course not. That’s more of a waste of money than my monthly TiVo bill. Do I need to purchase a BluRay player and those even-higher-quality discs now? No, I really don’t care about movie quality.

I don’t hate to say it, but DVDs are dead, as are most disc-based media, and I hadn’t even started my collection yet.

However, I still buy CDs for reasons even I don’t understand.

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