Thoughts on Going Digital Downloads/Streaming for Movies

I recently sent this note to a relative, I thought it might be useful to share this here. Now is the perfect time to consider dropping physical media (Blu-Ray or DVD) for movies.<

You’re probably at the perfect point to ditch physical media. You can get high quality streams right now. In a lot of ways it comes down to how you think you’ll watch video content that you buy or rent.

Here are the questions I’d ask:

  • Will I want to buy a reasonable number of videos that only come on DVD or Blu-Ray? I think this *might* be the case for some of your racing stuff, but I’m not sure.
  • How do I want to rent things? Do I want to go to a local video store, if you even have those, or a Redbox machine? Do I want to have to remember to return the movie, or pay the overage fees? It looks like Redbox is dirt cheap to rent from, but you have to drive to one to pick it up and return it.
  • Where are the videos I want to watch available?
    –Will Redbox / local store have them? Redbox will likely only have new releases or popular movies.
    — Will Netflix have them? Netflix now is 30 days behind everyone else for streaming of new releases, they made this decision to save money I’m sure. But it puts them at a disadvantage.
    — Does X service have the shows I want to watch? Where X is Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, Vudu…

    You can see what’s available where for streaming at:

  • Would you rent TV shows? Where are they available?
  • Do you still have a working DVD player? If yes, that’s an option for a lot of stuff that you might buy, and then you can supplement with streaming.
  • Do I really care about optimizing cost? $2.99/SD and $3.99/HD from Amazon (I’d personally only do the HD rentals) vs. $3.99/4.99 from iTunes vs. $1.20/DVD and $1.50/Blu-ray from Redbox. In that equation, I’d prefer not to have to drive to pick up a movie or return it, but I can see why it would be a good thing to do activity wise to get out of the house, yada yada.
  • Does a Netflix streaming membership make sense at $7.99/month all you can stream? But more importantly do they have stuff you’d watch?