North Texas Daily

There is no better time to support physical media

There is no better time to support physical media

There is no better time to support physical media
October 29
12:00 2022

The more streaming services establish themselves in the digital media world, the more problems are created. Investing in physical media is beneficial in more ways than one, and there may be no better time to stick it to streaming service superiority.

The average streaming service costs around $10 per month. Everyone knows you can’t be subscribed to just one streaming service, so for argument’s sake, let’s say someone is subscribed to three different streaming platforms. That is $360 a year. Spending that amount of money on movies and shows that never remain on one streaming service seems like more of an inconvenience.

Services like to solely release exclusive content digitally without any tangible product. Hulu has released some fantastic films like “Fresh” and “Prey,” but viewers will probably never get physical releases because media giants are going to do everything they can to keep people subscribed to their service. Netflix is the most blatant offender of this kind of content hoarding with almost none of their exclusive content getting physical releases.

Streaming anything requires an internet connection, and even if you have a connection strong enough to stream, the quality of what is being watched may drop to avoid buffering. Yet, with physical media, there is no need to spend tons of money on the highest quality internet or high-speed devices. Being able to watch something without internet is a luxury of its own, especially on power outage prone rainy days, or more serious events like Winter Storm Uri

Aside from saving money, having a collection that reflects your tastes brings a whole new level of satisfaction. There is no better feeling than tracking down a piece of media you can’t own digitally and adding it to your forever collection.

Another plus to collecting physical media is when studios decide to alter scenes on streaming services. A recent notable occurrence comes from “Stranger Things.” In the show, the character Will’s birthday was originally March 21.

Those who watched the recent season of the show know that added a deepened level of sadness when Will’s friend’s had seemingly forgotten his birthday after one episode briefly displayed the date on screen. After fans pointed out the blunder online, the studio digitally altered the dialogue in the second season, changing his birthday to May 22. It may be a very small change, but it should show how easy it is for studios to change whatever they want, whenever they want. Physical media cannot be altered.

Some films and shows don’t have permanent homes on streaming services. Most of the time, they will hop back and forth between platforms, making it impossible to watch your favorites without subscribing to multiple services. This becomes annoying when someone is trying to track down a certain franchise with multiple films.

Physical media distributors are doing what they can to make sure larger franchises are accessible through physical media. All this isn’t to say you should cancel your subscriptions immediately. Sticking to streaming services is the safest option, especially with a lot of platforms releasing content that is specific to their site. Disney+ and Netflix are at the top of the streaming game, but that will soon end.

Keeping content exclusive to streaming services, with no physical release, gives no opportunity for people to buy and collect the media they enjoy. It seems harmless, but keeping viewers trapped on monthly payments, so they can watch what they want, creates an absurdly imbalanced power dynamic.

Regardless if it is one item or hundreds, nothing bad comes out of starting a physical media collection. With the unpredictability of streaming services, one day it could all vanish.

You should feel comfortable when you watch what you like, and not have to worry about paying for multiple streaming services. Sharing accounts with friends and family is always going to be a route people take, but it becomes overwhelming after a certain point. 

Collecting provides a level of comfort that streaming services are unable to produce. No matter what you choose to collect, after a while it becomes something you look forwards to doing. In a world where there are a lot of uncertainties with digital media, we can always rely on physical media to never change.

Featured Illustration by Jazmine Garcia

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Jaden Oberkrom

Jaden Oberkrom

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