The End of Netflix DVD Rentals

But it’s coming back in a boutique way. It’s all 180 gram colored vinyl and costs an arm and a leg.

All physical media is becoming boutique. The average person doesn’t have an optical disc player at all, while I’m making a Criterion tracking spreadsheet, because I’ve ended up buying the same movie at different 50% sales because I have so many I forget. But like the vinyl, people are buying it for the equivalent of the liner notes (the essay booklets by film critics) and the nice cover art. Nobody is buying movies, just films.


And it’s all from digital masters, cuz haha.


Looks like it’s the end of Redbox Rentals too.

Guess their official account comparing their situation to Titanic was all too apt, wasn’t it?


Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When it comes to how the final product sounds, the limitation is the physical medium. Vinyl favors the low end and cuts a bit of the high. Some people call that “warmth” and others call it “distortion.” CDs get a bit more of the high end at the cost of the low end, and when they were first produced they just used the vinyl mastering, which means the high end they would have gotten was already cut, and the low end that vinyl excelled at was compromised. That’s why the earliest CDs sounded tinny.

The digital file can have all the frequencies, but they need to be customized for the target medium because what gets chopped out is not always negligible.

I wrote a paper on this in college which was way back in the late 1900s but the basic premise holds true.


Two words: Shannon Limit.


Losing access to prerecorded physical media is bad enough, but this is a bit discomfiting:


I honestly don’t remember the last time I burned something to a disc.

Hard drive/thumb drive storage is so cheap (and so large) these days that burning to disc is just not needed.


I burn 5 every year minimum. 1 disk is tax returns. 4 disks are copies of my family tree file. That file represents thousands of hours of work, and we almost lost it when mom died. I sometimes burn 2-4 more in a year different reasons.

The tax disk and 1 family tree disk go into the safe deposit box, and the old ones are taken out and destroyed. The other 3 family tree files go to my sister and her 2 kids.


:astonished: I’ve just remembered my optical drive can burn discs. I don’t think I’ve ever had cause to do that. In like a decade.

What is the life expectancy on CD-Recordable again? It depends on if they’re exposed to light doesn’t it?

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Anyway… goodbye, Redbox. A lot of poor people used you.

At least they still have the public library.

For now.

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When I sold stereos in the 80s, we called it Digitally Induced Reactionary Technology (D.I.R.T.) because the analog guys (it was always guys) were very sensitive about it, and really obnoxious.


Fun story: someone I knew was releasing music on a bespoke download service and there were a couple of guys who were always up in arms about them being in MP3, insisting that soooo much money was being left on the table because “everybody” wants FLAC files. They were super annoying.

A few years later, the bespoke service went away and some of the music was moved to Bandcamp. The annoying guys loudly rejoiced, because Bandcamp offers FLAC as a download option. But - haha - what was uploaded to Bandcamp was sourced from those MP3s, so the quality remained the same. But because the file extensions were .flac the guys perceived an upgrade.

(Bonus epilogue: more years later some of that music was also released on CD, and the guys rejoiced again. I’ll give you one guess where those CDs were sourced from.)