10 Reasons Streaming is the New DVD3
By Dan Berry
10 Reasons Streaming is the New DVD (and DVD is the New Laserdisc)
When I was a little kid and all the other kids were home watching Disney movies on VHS, I was stuck watching a copy of The Wiz. Why? Certainly not because I was a Michael Jackson fan. No, I was watching The Wiz because my father, in his supreme brilliance, had opted to purchase a BETA player rather than a VHS player. To this day, he gets furious when I bring it up, explaining with great fervor: “BETA was better, dammit!” And sure, he was right, but when the video store only has one BETA movie, and it’s The Wiz, it doesn’t matter. It simply sucks.
My father finally did get a VHS player in 1998—just as the DVD was replacing it. Yeah, seriously, smooth move, old man. What I’m trying to get at is that over the course of the last 30 years, technology has advanced more rapidly than at any other point in history. The world has shrunk as our ability to connect has increased. And if that wasn’t enough, along comes the Internet.
The Internet converts all of our entertainment and media into digital files, and stores it “out there” somewhere, available to be streamed (or transferred) upon request, to wherever we are, whenever we want it. The Internet has changed the way we communicate and access content. It has revolutionized the way in which we define entertainment. And streaming? Streaming is the new media format. It is the new way we get our network and internet television shows, music, photos, movies, news, and even our advertisements – without which, all these great services could not be free.
Rest in peace, DVD. Streaming took you down, but it honors your contributions.
1. Cheaper Hard Drives/Hardware/Computers
Ever since that “Dude, you’re getting a Dell” guy about a decade ago, the once exorbitant price of computers, hard drives and hardware has steadily fallen. Even in the midst of the Great Recession, more families have more computers – meaning that streaming content touches an exponentially larger audience. And the market will only continue to grow at breakneck speed, as prices will only plunge further.
2. Faster Connections
Gone are the days of dial-up. No longer do people have to wait 30 minutes for that picture of a cat “hanging in there” to appear on their computer screen. DSL, Cable and WiFi have lead to faster connections, meaning swift, solid, uninterrupted streaming. And that’s just sweet, especially in a world where the average attention span is now shorter than Mini Me.
3. More Computer Literacy
I can’t type to save my life. Seriously. I could lose 8 fingers, including my thumbs, in a horrible farm combine accident, and it wouldn’t slow me down a bit. If my WPM were any lower, it would be in the negative; but somehow I manage. Of course, this doesn’t prevent everyone from laughing at me for being Mavis Beacon’s biggest failure. I’m subjected to jibes on a daily basis because, these days, everyone and their little sister can move their fingers across a keyboard faster than Jerry Lee Lewis tickling the ivories. And I’m merely talking about typing.
Email has murdered the mailman, and Cyberspace is the new library. It’s the way of the world. Times have changed. Streaming content off the Internet has become even easier an act than the simple task of inserting a DVD into a player, let alone opening the DVD packaging.
4. Lightening Speed Changes in Technology
Buying for a particular format makes little sense. The DVD is on the brink of extinction, having succumbed to Blu-ray, which will probably be obsolete by the time the iPod is the size of a grain of rice. Streaming eliminates the time and effort, not to mention cost, of having to replace your expansive film collection. And we all know how much of a pain that is. In the last couple of decades alone we’ve had to switch from VHS and BETA to Laserdisc back to VHS (BETA was better but never caught on in America) then to DVD and now to Blu-ray. Next year, I suspect, we’ll be converting all our Blu-rays to R2D2 hologram projections.
Entertainment fans, streaming can be anything you want it to be: .mov, .avi, .mp3, flash, html5, 3D. Streaming has stamina (That’s why chicks dig it!). Ultimately, and very soon, streaming will take over.
5. More Multimedia Devices
We’re constantly connected to our own little personal network of desktops, laptops, connected TVs, Internet-enabled TV’s and devices, mobile phones, tablets, mp3 players, and gaming devices. There are an infinite number of gizmos and gadgets geared specifically for streaming constantly releasing content, making digital content the currency of Entertainment. So unless physics has found a way to fit a DVD in an iPod, I do believe its days are done.
6. Rise of Social Media
How many of your friends’ parents and even grandparents are your “friends” on Facebook? Too many, that’s for damn sure. And therein lies the point. Everything is connected to everything and everyone to everyone. People, photos, video, satellite GPS—society has gone viral. I couldn’t even tell you how many different social networking sites exist. There are hundreds. Facebook, Twitter, Tumb1r, Fourquare and, yes, even Myspace, are just the tip of the virtual iceberg. These social networks have even managed to create their own language, entering not just our daily conversation but, official dictionaries as well. “To friend,” and “to tweet,” are now part of the formal lexicon. Streaming is redefining the way we communicate.
7. Rise of the Every Man
Let’s say you want to see a one-armed Russian man named Slot Machine Sergei lose another limb while auditioning for The Brothers Karamazov on his homemade trapeze. No problem! There’s got a clip of it somewhere. That’s right. Thanks to streaming, the every man can finally find his 15 minutes of fame without having to work for it. Think you’re a talented musician? How about selling your music on iTunes? Got a knack for making elaborate steampunk jewelry? Have you tried opening a store on Etsy.com? The every man has more ways now to sell goods, deliver content or just show off than ever before. What you want, when you want it. Instant gratification – it’s become an unalienable right.
8. Rise of Netflix/Death of Blockbuster
Speaking of what you want, when you want it, and how fast you can get it…
A few years back, comedian Jeff Ross quipped, “That movie was so bad, they held the premier at a blockbuster.” Hilarious. But tell that same joke today and all you’d hear are crickets because no one can remember what Blockbuster is.
The video store has gone the way of the Dodo. It has been predominantly replaced by Netflix, who took a massive bite out of the market when they first arrived on the scene about a decade ago with their DVDs by mail, and then devoured the industry whole when they took it up a notch and began streaming movies straight to the consumer. Why walk or get in your car and go to the movie store, only to wait in line and discover the movie you want to see isn’t in stock. I mean, seriously, that’s just stupid—especially when you can just scroll through the seemingly infinite catalog of titles and, with the push of a button, have exactly what you want streamed directly to you through your device of choice. The stream means less stress and far more satisfaction.
You don’t need a MBA from Wharton to understand the economic advantages of streaming. Streaming content is cheaper for the manufacturer. It eliminates such things as packaging, shipping and handling, thus, making it cheaper for the consumer.
10. Green World
Thanks to Tommy Lee Jones’ college roommate, Al Gore, the whole world is obsessed with going green. We’ve only got one world (so far), so we need to make it last. And as I mentioned in my lengthy economics seminar (see #9), streaming eliminates packaging materials and the need for fossil fuels for transportation. So not only is streaming more efficient, it’s also eco-friendly. And you know Captain Planet and his glorious green mullet would approve of that.
Dan Berry began writing and performing stand-up comedy while drinking heavily and skipping class at New York University. An inexplicably instant success, he has appeared in clubs and on college campuses nationwide, and is frequently featured on radio and television. Aside from creating the humor site “Jotter of a Rotter” and the internationally acclaimed website “The Prison Kite” (jotterofarotter[dot]com and theprisonkite[dot]com), Dan has also lent his warped writing skills to a pair of failed pilots for FX and NBC, as well as to several current network shows that are somehow proving successful in spite of his crazed contributions.