It’s never been a better time to build a collection of physical media (probably Blu Rays). With streaming services getting more expensive, collecting Blu Rays can actually save money depending on your viewing habits
Streaming Is Getting More Expensive
One of the reasons physical media started to stall was streaming services. And it’s easy to see why: price and convenience.
Netflix used to be $10 a month where you’d get all of your favorite shows and movies on any device you wanted. And while it is still possible to stream on a myriad of devices, most services have raised their prices by as much as 25% in the past 2 years.
This trend is likely going to continue as Nielsen reports that streaming is more widespread and ever. And streaming continues to dominate peoples viewing habits, companies will raise prices to maximize their profits. Meanwhile, they’ll be cutting content from the streaming services so that you’re getting less value for your money.
￼This is where physical media comes in. Once you buy a Blu-ray collection of a show, you functionally on it (you don’t technically on it, but that’s another story) you can play in your own player at your convenience. ￼Can you play it on your phone? Of course not. For that type of flexibility, you may want to consider ripping the discs and running a media server.
Anyways, once you have the discs, they can’t be taken away unless you sell them. Speaking of which.
Prices Are Going Up (And Down)
Now is a great time to bargain hunt for Blu rays. As streaming grows, people are giving away their disc collections to thrift shops, local video stores or eBay. With so much inventory hitting the market, you’re bound to find most of what you’re looking for for a fair price.
Of course, that’s if you’re buying Blu rays second hand from other people. If you want them for new releases, prices are generally going up. This is mostly due to the move to 4K Blu Rays, so at least you’re getting more for the price increase. Big studios are also increasingly making their physical media more suitable for collectors with occasional remasters or steel book releases.
This raises the question of wether the studios will continue to do so when most of the money comes from streaming. Well, Disney sees physical media as a good source of income. As the market leader, most studios will follow along.
Aside from the studios, there’s an increasing number of “boutique” sellers of Blu Rays. These companies often remaster or repackage old films or shows for a modern audience. Ever heard of Criterion? They are the most famous, but they are one of many!
So while the prices of Blu Ray will vary depending on your source and how old the content is, you’ll be able to build a fine collection very easily.
The Community is Thriving
When I first started researching the space, I was concerned I wouldn’t find anyone with the same interests or concerns as me. Of course, in the internet age, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
All sharing the same idea that physical media is something to be treasured and maintained even in the streaming era. It was upon this realization that I decided to write this piece.
The Future is Bright but Hazy
The future of physical media is not as bright as it once was, but there’s shine in it yet. The community I discovered of Blu-ray and DVD collectors has restored my faith in the practice.
Because as long as people are willing to pay for something, you’d better believe that Hollywood will remain happy to sell it.
And I’m just getting started!