Is there an advantage for expensive Bluray players?

Physical disks do not disappear. Name 5 “big” movies – any of 5 – that are only available for streaming and cannot be found on the disc option and/or are unlikely to be released soon after a certain period is over” of exclusivity”.

Yes, store shelves may shrink, but retail stores in general are shrinking thanks to “online shopping”. The same entities that kill retail stores the most – sometimes the online version of those retailers themselves – have virtual shelves full of anything and everything, including all sorts of things that can’t be found on physical store shelves.

Streaming — like music rentals — could actually outpace—if not already—physical record sales. However, again, if you own a record, you actually own a movie. The studio that made the movie or any intermediary that sold you the movie can’t come into your home and take the movie back at any time for any reason…and not even refund your purchase when they do.

If you’re streaming, you have – at best – a lifetime lease* on a movie that may not actually be for your life, but for the life of a studio (which retains ownership of what you think you bought ) leaving that particular version in an online store. Yes, you can download a copy – and it’s strongly advised to increase your chances of ownership control – but even that has a DRM “key” owned by someone else. If the source of the key were to go away and/or there was to be some kind of change in how the key can be applied, or a break between Studio and the middleman E-tailer, even the local copy might not not be “forever” playable.

The disc will play. The ripped digital version of the disc is not DRM, so it will play. If an Apple or similar has revoked playback of the DRM content for any reason at any time in the future, the disc will still play, just like the version ripped from the disc. If AppleTVs no longer play video content in iTunes/Movie apps and Airplay no longer streams it to TVs, the disc can bypass the entire hardware ecosystem and the ripped version of the disc can be connected directly to the TVs if you want and read – any TV, whether it has Apple hardware in place or not.

Finally, if one cares about quality/detail, disc is currently the best mainstream option for maximum quality picture and sound options. If you’re ripping your own copy of a disc, YOU get to choose the quality of the result (including choosing the easiest option of the exact same quality as on disc), not a company choosing to pinch a file size very, very small so streaming tenants with relatively slow connections are also likely to have a good experience. Streaming tends to get you the “pinch” of the lowest common denominator, even if your own channel is much faster than average.

Nothing against streaming – it really is extremely convenient to have your own “Blockbuster/Netflix” essentially in your home at all times. Nothing against DRM – locking streaming content is essential to have streaming content. But owning and renting are very different things and offer different benefits to the consumer. Choose wisely based on what works best for your own situation. Renting definitely has a place in the world and for some that’s perfectly fine. Quality is “the eye of the beholder” and many will argue for “good enough” when Apple offers this option instead of “full blu ray quality” (see arguments AGAINST lossless music until Apple decides to offer without loss).

The big danger is when we trick ourselves – or each other – into thinking that renting and owning provide pretty much the SAME benefits to the buyer. As it stands, buying a brook is something of a hybrid – a bit better than pure rental but significantly inferior to true ownership. Again, choose wisely for yourself.

Harry L. Blanchard