Best Buy says it will no longer sell DVDs after the holidays.
The 25-year-old technology that brought high-quality movies into homes across the country is apparently going the way of vinyl records due to the fact American consumers have moved on to streaming.
Streaming, of course, is how most people watch movies in their homes. Netflix, Max, Hulu,
Amazon Prime, and other streaming services offer thousands of movies. It’s convenient and
streaming doesn’t take up shelves of space for physical copies of movies.
Have you ever wondered about the difference in quality of streaming a Netflix 4K movie is
compared to a Blu-Ray DVD?
To find out whether the quality is noticeable enough to hold on to DVDs of movies I want to see
more than once I picked up a Blu-Ray copy of the movie “Signs” which also happens to be
streaming on Max for a comparison.
I didn’t notice anything lacking from the streaming version of the movie. When Mel Gibson ran
through the cornfields searching for his children at the beginning of the film I was as gripped as I could be.
Then I immediately began playing the same movie with the Blu-Ray disc and the difference was
noticeable. There was a big difference in the actors’ skin tones. The colors were not necessarily
brighter but it did appear more like the movie would be on a large screen in a theater.
The audio was clearer as well. Blu-ray discs have lossless audio that can be played or heard in
7.1 surround sound. So the creatures sounded more like they were behind me in the pivotal
scenes toward the end of the movie.
The difference in quality of both video and audio is from compression. Movies and shows that
are streamed must be compressed to play over an internet connection. 4K UHD movies (the few
you can find) require a lot of bandwidth so compression is a necessary evil.
Blu-Ray movies are not compressed so the picture and sound include details that streaming
In addition to the quality of the movie, DVDs also have bonus features on the disc such as
interviews with the actors, deleted scenes, and even some alternate endings.
That may not be important to someone who just wants to watch a movie they haven’t seen
before, but for films you want to see over and over again, those bonus features are worth
owning the DVD.
While Best Buy will no longer have DVDs in stores, you can still find them online and you can
still rent them at Red Box kiosks for a couple of dollars. And Blu-Ray DVD players are still
available for under $100 at Walmart, Amazon, Best Buy, and other retailers.
I walked away after the test convinced that Blu-Ray DVD is far and away the best way to watch
movies, particularly in a home theater or if you’re having a family movie night in the backyard
using a projector and a screen.
Keep this in mind. If you purchase a movie for streaming on Amazon Prime, you’re only
purchasing a license to watch it as many times as you want. But if Amazon stops offering the
movie due to licensing issues, that movie will be removed from your account.
Even if you bought it.