Regardless of your opinion on Netflix, there’s no denying that the video-streaming juggernaut changed the way we watch TV and movies. As the innovators behind on-demand video streaming, they created the mold, and everyone else has been following suit. What you may not be aware of is that Netflix started out as a DVD rental service. Subscribers would log in to their accounts online and make a list of movies they wanted to watch, and Netflix would mail them out. Once you were finished with the DVD, you would simply mail it back to get another one.
While it may seem like physical media is a thing of the past, there are still significant advantages to DVDs and BluRays over streaming. Even Netflix thinks so. As of 2019, Netflix still mails out DVDs to over 2.7 million customers. If that sounds crazy to you, you might want to give it a second thought. Here’s why you should consider opting for physical media over Internet streaming.
Significantly Larger Library
It’s no secret, Netflix’s library has gotten considerably smaller over the years. With competition from the likes of Disney, HBO and others cropping up all over the place, Netflix has had to scale back. Furthermore, Netflix has a greater emphasis on producing original content rather than shelling out massive amounts of cash for licensing rights to movies and television shows.
As a result, Netflix’s selection of titles pales in comparison to old-school video rental places like Blockbuster. That is, only if we’re talking about Netflix’s streaming titles. If you consider Netflix’s massive DVD rental library, then it’s a different story entirely.
No other Internet video streaming service (including Netflix itself), can hold a candle to Netflix’s DVD rental library. To give you some perspective: as of 2019 the number of titles available through Netflix’s streaming service was about 6,000. Meanwhile their DVD library boasted over 100,000 titles.
The reason for this is multifaceted. Netflix’s streaming library tends to skew toward original content and more contemporary mainstream titles. In addition, the licensing rights for titles Netflix doesn’t produce themselves is very expensive. This is why they put an emphasis on original content. On the other hand, a DVD can be purchased once and rented any number of times, no licensing required.
If you are a film buff, one of the best things about DVDs and BluRays was all of the extra bonus content that was crammed on to the disc. Most titles had hours upon hours of additional content and extras. These bonuses included everything from director commentaries to deleted scenes, to behind-the-scenes footage, to cast and crew interviews, to documentaries. Some even included material from pre-production, like storyboards, screen tests and table reads.
Unfortunately, in the era of streaming media where you can opt to skip opening and closing credits, this extra material has gone out of fashion. If you’re a film enthusiast, the only way you’re going to be able to see this extra footage is if you get your hands on the DVD or BluRay.
As we mentioned earlier, when Netflix was the only game in town, having a subscription was pretty much a no-brainer. Unfortunately, with new streaming services coming out of the woodwork, licensing rights for your favorite titles are often spread across multiple services. Regrettably, this means that if you’re a movie buff, you’re going to have to shell out for multiple subscriptions to ensure access to all of your favorite titles. You don’t have to major in finance to know that’s going to cost you quite a bit. Even if you did subscribe to every service under the sun, there would still be massive gaps in the titles that were available due to licensing and legal issues.
For example, take Netflix itself. As we mentioned earlier, Netflix’s streaming library skews toward mainstream contemporary titles. If you don’t believe us, have a look at Netflix’s “Classic movies” section. It’s pretty lonely in there. However, if you have Netflix’s DVD service, you’ll find that many classic titles are readily available. Furthermore, you can even find ones that are exclusive to other streaming services and brand new releases as well.
You Don’t Need Broadband
Streaming video from the Internet chews up a lot of bandwidth. How much data you actually consume while binging your favorite movies and shows depends on the quality of your stream. Generally speaking, if you’re streaming in standard definition, you can expect to use about 1 GB per hour. High definition requires about 3 GB per hour, and 4K Ultra HD needs roughly 7 GB per hour.
2.7 million Americans still subscribe to Netflix’s DVD rental service. For many of these customers, it’s simply because streaming isn’t an option due to a lack of broadband Internet access. If you have a data cap or live in an area with crummy Internet speeds, Netflix’s DVD mail service starts to look pretty good.
How to Sign Up for Netflix’s DVD Service
Log in to your Netflix account from your computer. Click on your profile icon up in the top-right corner of the screen. From the drop-down menu, select “Account.” On the following page, scroll down to the section labelled “Plan details” and click “Add DVD Plan.”
On the next page you can select which DVD plan is right for you. Currently, the standard plan includes one DVD out at a time and costs $7.99. The Premier plan allows two DVDs out at a time for $11.99. If you opt for BluRays over DVDs, the price jumps to $14.99. The payment method you use for Netflix streaming will be charged on a monthly basis after the first free trial month.
Now that you’ve supercharged your Netflix experience with DVDs, make sure you are utilizing all of the latest tips and tricks to enhance your online Netflix viewing. Do you subscribe to Netflix’s DVD rental plan? Did you even know it existed? Let us know in the comments!