Watching films or television, reading books or playing games. These are all things which most of us love to do, for the escapism, the experience, to broaden our knowledge or, most of the time, to simply entertain us.
In the past decade how we consume this media has slowly been changing, Netflix, Hulu and Prime are all excellent examples of how television, in particular, is changing. The Amazon Kindle has almost single-handedly decimated physical book sales, and games services such as Steam, GamePass, PlayStation Now, and all console manufactures own digital stores have, in this past year, overtaken physical game sales.
Physical media has many advantages over the digital, for collectors of movies, tv shows and books, simply having experienced said media is not enough, owning it, displaying it and having the chance to revisit it, cannot in all those cases be had, when you really only own the digital rights to a product. In this current state of technology 4K Blurays simply offer the best audio and visual quality available, surpassing that of the most technically adept cinemas. No drastic compression, no variable bitrates, complete lossless audio, and of course, you generally receive a plethora of extras. Gamers have another advantage in owning the physical, having completed a game, you can simply trade it in towards that next big purchase.
Digital media however has a huge advantage over physical, and no it’s not price, generally digital media differs very little when compared to its real-world counterpart. The biggest advantage digital media holds over the consumer is convenience, what you want when you want it. Netflix alone has changed the Oxford English Dictionary’s definition of the word, binge:- verb – as to binge watch – watch multiple episodes of (a television programme) in rapid succession. The advantage to the companies and studios, is greater control of costs and distribution, resulting in greater profits.
@thejohninc writes –
In a series of articles I plan to write relating to this change, I have chosen to start with Movies.
Over the years I have had numerous collections of films, starting out with VHS then moving to DVD, for a brief spell there was HD-DVD then came Bluray and now 4K Bluray. I have owned Jurassic Park on all of those formats, with the exception of HD-DVD, yet I did own a 3D Bluray version. I have even owned films on UMD and VCD format. The problem with physical media is that eventually you will end up with a collection of media which you will no longer be able to play, whether that be because the method of playback becomes defunct or because your brand new 8K TV’s no longer support, Scart RGB, composite, component, s-video, RF coaxial, HDMI etc.
In the past year I have slowly begun to purchase my film collections again, this time I have opted for Google Play Movies. I understand that technically I do not actually own them and should one day Google cease to exist, then yes I have nothing, but the advantages are many. My family and I can watch our collection on any device anywhere at any time. One purchase allows everyone in my family to share that media, TV’s, iPads, phones, consoles, Android or iOS, it really does not matter. Stream it or download it, SD, HD or 4K. Going on a long journey, need to entertain the kids, no problem. Flying abroad, then I can download it to watch on the flight. At a friends house, then login and my movies are there. As mentioned earlier the convenience is unparalleled, I also do not have to get up to change a disk.
I understand that there are those who will always wish to own physical copies of movies or TV shows, and I get that, but for me I am done with that world. My digital movie collection currently sits at 89, a mere fraction of what I have in disk formats, but its growing. If you like myself have begun to embrace the digital world then check back each week on TwoBeardGaming.com where we will be producing a small review of the digital movie deal of the week.
Have you made the switch over to digital? Do you still prefer a physical collection? Either way, we’d really love to hear all about it in the comments section, on Twitter or our FaceBook page!