Reed Hastings, Netflix CEO, admitted in January that the company expects DVD subscribers to decline every quarter, “forever”. When the head of America’s biggest DVD rental company – the US equivalent of LoveFilm – makes this kind of statement, that says a lot about the state of the DVD market.
Experts have forecast the fall of the DVD for the past few years and, as digital options increase, we take a look at a few of the alternatives.
Billed as “A lot of entertainment. In a very little box”, Apple TV offers movies, news, music and the ability to share photos and documents on your computer through your TV. Netflix subscribers can access the company’s online movie streaming service and you can use an iPhone or iPod as a remote control. The box costs £99 upfront and movie rentals start at £2.49. The newly updated version now streams in 1080p.
iTunes rentals provide a digital alternative to traditional video rental shops – without the late fees. Rented movies stay in your iTunes library for 30 days and, once you start watching, you have 48 hours to finish the film before it expires. Download rented movies onto an Apple device to watch away from home and, if 30 days isn’t enough, you can also purchase most movies to keep within your iTunes account indefinitely.
Lovefilm and Netflix
Lovefilm has been established for a few years as the UK’s leading online entertainment rental company. As well as sending DVDs by post, Lovefilm users can stream movies online. Netflix also recently launched their streaming service in the UK, providing some healthy competition in the paid streaming market. For a monthly fee, both services allow you to stream films for free, or pay a small amount to watch new releases.
New Kids on the Block
This year’s CES revealed a few new players that are enhancing the digital movie market. Syncbak, currently on limited release, is a system that enables you to stream content from the internet to smart TVs, mobiles, tablets and more. Meanwhile, the Roku streaming stick plugs in to your television, transforming your set into a smart TV and enabling you to stream content from your computer to the big screen.
With the offerings at this year’s CES, it looks like the DVD’s demise might not be long coming. Trends suggest our TV and movie watching is going mobile. With newer technology and formats undercutting DVDs in price and surpassing them in convenience, we can only hope it will be a quick and painless end, rather than a protracted and drawn-out struggle.