Let's get physical...with our media! The relative merits of owning vs streaming

Streaming sucks! I thought it was cool at first. All these options at my finger tips and cheap to boot! Timing was perfect as I was just dipping my toes in a new format called BluRay and I was excited but annoyed at having to replace a bunch of DVDs. Streaming and “4k” streaming upgrades made me totally skip buying Bluerays and I was happy to do so. I even got rid of most of the old DVDs. The new Oled I got back then made things look good and I had one off those soundbar things so I was happy.

Fast forward a decade or so and I now realize that streaming sucks! It’s gotten expensive with less content and extremely fragmented. I missed being able to watch what I wanted when I wanted which is why I jumped in in the first place. When I streamed The Batman and quit watching half way through because of the black scenes (lots of them) being crushed by compression I decided to do some research. I had a newer Oled by now and had invested in a decent little A/V system over Covid so I dove into bit rates and compression and educated myself on streaming quality vs Physical media. I waited for a good sale and bought a fairly high end 4k Blueray player and a handful of movies. OMG! What a huge difference. I watched the Star Trek Reboot and Blade Runner the 1st night. The aforementioned Batman and Fury Road the next. I was blown away by how good these looked and sounded compared to streaming movies. Sound was incredible as it takes the biggest hit in compression but even the video was noticeable. Especially with HDR.

I have been on a bit of a buying spree since then as Bestbuy and Target are getting rid of physical media I am swopping in and grabbing bargains. BB had a ton of $10 4K UHD Steelbooks and Target was doing BOGO50% offs. Local used shops proved to be good bargain places as well. I now have about 30 or so and am expanding from there. All 4K UHD’s, though my player does an excellent job upscaling regular bluerays and even DVD’s. I am totally hooked on Physical media again and it’s a great time to jump in. The Conan Chronicles are on their way and will be this coming Wekend’s Feature.

If you have a high a end TV with good HDR and decent sound setup your doing yourself a disservice and not taking advantage of your nice setup by only streaming. Don’t be shy jump right in!

Paragraphs would help :)

I don’t have a high end enough system for Physical, the streaming 4k looks fine and as someone who is not a graphical whore that converts to tv pictures, all that crushed blacks and shades of grey is like a passing wind to me.

Decent sound helps but I have been watching Millenium on DVD in 576 resolution and while the picture is crap I am still enjoying the re watch.

Indeed! I think i found good breaks :)

Good Job :)

Yeah, I have been buying Blu-rays for a while (and ripping them to my Plex server, along with my DVD collection) and it has been great. I like to peruse sales as well as Goodwill/Savers and other used media/gaming stores. You can usually get a blu-ray of a movie for under 10$ easy.

As for 4K/UHD, I just upgraded to a 4K TV, and have been impressed by the streaming services. Disney+, Apple TV+ and Prime have Dolby Vision 4K UHD streaming included (I read Prime was dropping it, but I still get 4K streaming with my base prime sub), and the movies look amazing. I don’t know if it is my internet connection being 1gig, but I haven’t seen the bit crushing and issues much on those Dolby Vision stream sources.

That being said, it is a shame that ripping 4K UHD blu-rays is not possible with standard blu-ray drives, you have to install custom firmware to get around the copyright locking. It isn’t too difficult to do, but still just plain annoying.

I haven’t started ripping any 4K content yet, because I worry for my hard drive space (I need to upgrade to a NAS for my plex), but it is something I am considering. I can use the disks, for sure, but I hate having them around, my collection is in a few large rubbermaid tubs right now in a closet.

Hard drive space is a real thing though. If you want to pass through the uncompressed DTS 5.1 (or 7.1) audio, you can expect a single 1080p blu-ray to be around 20GB in file size. Right now, I am downmixing all of my blu-rays to Stereo, and that makes a single movie closer to 3GB. I still have all of my blu-rays in storage, and if I want to re-rip them with 5.1 DTS I can, I just don’t have a surround sound setup, only a soundbar/subwoofer combo.

I am excited to start buying some of the “must-haves” in 4K UHD though, because man… watching stuff in Dolby Vision is amazing, and it is hard to go back.

My system could probably best be described as low end. Perhaps even ass-end. My wife and I just have her PS4 in the living room hooked to our Samsung, and it plays Blu-Rays good enough for us. Maybe if our room were more larger, we’d invest in something more fancy.

But I digress…I still purchase discs from time-to-time, and plan on doing it more often. I recently grabbed her The Office complete series for Christmas for obvious reasons. It used to be on Netflix, then it was moved to Peacock – which we had free of charge through Xfinity --, then it got moved to Peacock Plus or Gold or whatever the next tier was. All of a sudden, no more Office. F- that.

It’s funny, I remember way back when, when I was in college and taking some Mass Comm lecture. The professor was ranting about the monopoly that Cable was and how ideally, pricing should be a la carte. Well, 20+ years later we have that and it’s pretty much the same price as Cable if you feel the need to subscribe to all the channels.

Tim “You’re Not Even Your Mom’s Favorite, Jonah” Simons recently joined Sean Fennessy again to talk about physical media. These are my people. I just wish I could visit that store in Tarzana that Simons talks about.

Funnily enough, “The Office” moving from Netflix to Peacock is what got me started ripping DVD’s in earnest. I bought a bunch of our favorite TV shows on DVD/Blu ray and ripped them to the plex server. Because, while I sub to Peacock through some free deal, it has ads, and FUCK ads.

Very much this. Why I had to splurge on the right player for DV. 1 gig internet doesn’t matter though. They best any of them do is about 32 MBPs (apple TV I think). Most are around 16 MBPS for 4 streams. 4K Blue disk are 100+. It might look good, but physical WILL be better. Audio is still the biggest difference and it is huge. I think streaming can and will improve on this…maybe.

NNNNOOOOOO! :) I put my 5.1 together from Facebook Maretplace and Factory refurbs! Except the Sub which I did get on deep discount at least. I saved a ton of cash that way just need a lot of patience.

Wait, which store?

I’ve never gotten off the physical media train. Have a region-free blu-ray player and everything. Latest example is Northern Exposure. Bought the British DVDs so I could have all the original music.

My wife was against more physical media for a long time, but now that she sees how unreliable streaming services are, on the whole, she’s coming around.

CD Trader

Funny, the wife and I just started streaming this last week. I’ve never seen it before.

Oh I’ve been there! It’s terrific!

It’s my first time through as well, and I love it.

Atlanta and burbs are awash in used media stores.

Between home and work I have access within 15 mins to :

Second and Charles x 2
CD Warehouse x 2
Book Nook x 2
Half Price books x 2

I haven’t even ventured “in town” yet where there appears to be a ton more I have yet to discover! I am having a dandy old time cruising around town bargain hunting. I feel like 'im back in the early 2000’s scrubbing Big Lots/etc. bargain bins for PC gaming gems.

It also just dawned on me that my new BR player plays audio CD’s. Why this revelation just struck I have no idea but I was flirting with getting an old CD player to add to my AVR stack anyhow. My wife is going to be so excited when I pull out the old CD collection from the attic and start adding to it. I’m gonna need more shelves and maybe a new wife.

Edit: Good Threat title edit @tomchick! thanks!

Woo, physical media 4ever!1! Post your collections!

I’ve got a decent Blu-ray shelf going but only because I screen them at work. I very rarely watch them at home.

Oh man, I used to love collecting BDs (and DVDs before that, and VHS before that). This is a cross section of what I have remaining:

I stopped buying years ago and am debating divesting myself of the physical media (already done with the DVDs). Yep, there may be reasons to keep 'em but I’ve not taken anything off the shelf to watch in those same years. There’s just too much content out there to consume and rewatching is rarely on my list of things to do.

Sorry folks, I’m no longer holding the physical media club card. I just don’t want to lug it around anymore.

Our family holds a physical media club card for sure. We only started into streaming in the last say 5 years, and it seems like its in a race to the bottom in quality and ever higher in price.

We have a 2 tier system on physical:
-We have a few must own items. BSG, Firefly, Star Wars Original Trilogy, LOTR, etc. We watch these every few years, and keep top tier quality copies
-Other physical: Like described above, we watch sales and grab stuff we really like at a discount.

Patience wins for sure. Even ignoring secondhand stores, deals are everywhere. Pre orders are even deeply discounted like the aforementioned Conan Chronicles I got for 40% off. I was pleasantly surprised by this after initial sticker shock on the upcharge for UHD over standard Blu-ray. I’m averaging around $12 per.

Disney looks to be exiting the physical movie distribution business.