I own 75 DVDs and Blu-Rays on top of 5 streaming subscriptions. Here's why I'm convinced physical movies will always have an edge.

I own 75 DVDs and Blu-Rays on top of 5 streaming subscriptions. Here's why I'm convinced physical movies will always have an edge.
Which remote I reach for in the evening depends on if I want a specific movie title or to browse a streaming site.Katie Canales/Insider
  • Streaming sites can add and then drop movies because of deals they have with movie distributors.
  • Owning your favorite movies, on the other hand, solves that problem. I own 75.
  • That's why I'm convinced that physical discs still have an edge on streaming.

I have three remote controls on my coffee table: one for my TV, my Roku remote, and one for my DVD player.

Nearby is a disc wallet holding my small DVD and Blu-Ray collection, which has grown in tandem with the number of streaming subscriptions I've bought over the years. I have Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, and Disney+, though I'd cancel all but the last two if I had to. It may seem useless to collect physical media in today's streaming-obsessed world. But the disc lets me do something that streamers don't always offer: easily watch my favorite movies whenever I want, since they'll never disappear with the expiration of a licensing agreement.
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The physical disc still has plenty of edge over streamers, as collectors told me recently, and chief among the reasons may be that they - NOT streaming services - have the best movie quality. Discs, specifically 4K Blu-Rays, have the highest bit rates, or the amount of data that can be processed onto your TV screen.

I'm not a purist

I own 75 DVDs and Blu-Rays on top of 5 streaming subscriptions. Here's why I'm convinced physical movies will always have an edge.
I enjoy my five streaming subscriptions as much as I enjoy my disc collection.Katie Canales/Insider

I just always want easy access to what I like to watch the most.

I'm a huge fan of streaming subscriptions and accessing neat movies and shows online. I could browse the titles for hours.
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But what streaming companies offer at any given time depends on licensing deals with film studios, acquisitions of big media companies, and other factors. That means a streaming company offering your favorite movies could drive you to sign up for a subscription - and then pull those films or shows when a deal runs out. For example, Netflix is set to stop streaming "The Twilight Zone" and "Twin Peaks" in July.

As a Reddit user named Ben, who goes by Cinema Adherent and says he's collected 5,000 discs, told me recently: "With services like Netflix you are always at the whim of whatever they could license for the cheapest this month. Good luck finding what you want to watch when you want to watch it." When a movie craving hits, it's a sinking feeling to find that with a quick Google search, I realize not one of the five streaming subscriptions - a collective $50 - that I pay for offers the film (Google's "Available On" feature is handy for this).
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Instead, you're faced with paying an extra $3 to $5 on Google Play or another service to rent it - the same price you'd pay for a disc fished out of a bargain bin. So you might as well just buy a physical copy, even if you watch it only every once and a while.

I own 75 DVDs and Blu-Rays on top of 5 streaming subscriptions. Here's why I'm convinced physical movies will always have an edge.
The movie "Belle" is only available for rent online, according to the Google feature.Google/Insider

I started my collection in college to easily watch movies around Halloween, my favorite holiday.

I've got the entire Dracula collection, "Practical Magic," "Beetlejuice," "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," and "Hocus Pocus." And, of course, I bought "Tim Burton's Nightmare Before Christmas" before the beloved film was offered on Disney+, which launched in late 2019.
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Other titles I own are also available to stream, so there's definitely some overlap. But again, they could always disappear from online offerings, so my physical copies are insurance.

Besides Halloween-themed movies, I have romantic comedies, other comedies, action, musicals, and dramas.

I own 75 DVDs and Blu-Rays on top of 5 streaming subscriptions. Here's why I'm convinced physical movies will always have an edge.
But the movie is always available to me since I bought it in 2019 for $10 on Amazon.Katie Canales/Insider
The collectors I spoke with said they snagged their finds from a mix of places, including Best Buy, Amazon, and thrift stores. I've taken the same route - there's nothing like rummaging through a bargain bin at Best Buy on a rainy Saturday.
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There's also a certain rush that comes with settling on a movie and plopping it into my little $70 LG player. It's a ritual, a commitment, to scan through the previews to the disc menu and press play.

That's something streaming platforms can never touch.

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