Mon. Jul 15th, 2024

Despite streaming, I buy DVDs and Blu-Rays

By ki0nk Jul2,2024
News

At Xataka, we do not shy away from using formats that have become obsolete, as you are well aware. In this location, we continue to make use of cassettes, VHS, and paper, which is becoming more of a boomer thing. This is partially due to the fact that these formats speak to us in their own language, which does not require any forms of improvement. In addition, we have always asserted that these formats are a repository of the past, with the purpose of preserving films, music, visuals, and sound that are never fully realized through the employment of new technology. There are, in fact, movies that are only available on VHS, music that is only available on vinyl, and books that are only available in paper format.

When seen from this perspective, there is not much to debate about in order to support the preservation of any format. For instance, there are a great number of films that were released in Asia throughout the 1980s and 1990s, but they are only available on Video-CD today. Video-CD is a format that is quite inexpensive and was highly popular on the continent many years ago. On the other hand, if you are an archaeologist of cinema from that region of the world and you are interested in its history, there are films that can only be found in that manner (not internet rips or anything like that; you will need to dust off your player).

What about Blu-ray discs, though? Although this format was developed in 2002 as a successor to the DVD and features a significantly larger capacity, it is particularly well-suited for recording films with a far superior image and sound quality. However, it does not come with the same tradition as a medium for archiving films that are not widely known. The fact that it was introduced at a time when the Internet was already operational, the technical attributes it possessed, and the expensive cost of it prevented it from being a rare item. Due to the fact that it is located in the timeline of tangible forms, the DVD continues to be an ideal medium for those who collect the impossible and those who are interested in the history of odd film.

Currently, the Blu-Ray format is seeing a noticeable decline. The convenience of streaming has emerged victorious, despite the fact that its usage is extremely common due to the presence of playback units in video game consoles and the low price of desktop players. The vast majority of viewers do not have a requirement to watch movies at 4K resolution, and even if they did, many platforms offer the option to do so to their members. As a medium, Blu-Ray is actually completely incomprehensible.

My usage of Blu-Rays, much like my consumption of DVDs, has greatly decreased over the course of the past few years. The availability of streaming services is not just a matter of space, but also of the fact that I have the ability to watch movies. The eagerness that existed a few years ago to purchase films as soon as they were released in order to store them for the future in the event that they were discontinued has long since subsided. Today, it is simpler than ever before to watch films on various platforms, and in the worst case scenario, it is possible to access an infinite second-hand market in order to acquire physical editions of the films without having to rush. In addition, the films that are never made available on streaming services and that account for eighty percent of my cinematic consumption are not the typical ones that are available on Blu-ray, which is a market that is stuffed with successful new releases.

Even yet, I continue to purchase Blu-Rays. I don’t just have a desktop player; I also have a multi-zone player, which enables me to watch imported CDs that, depending on the country, are forbidden from streaming. They are in the minority due to the fact that, similar to what happened with DVDs, there are an increasing number of discs that do not have any restrictions, but there are still some. A case that occurred recently? ‘Hellboy‘ by Neil Marshall, in its American version and without any censorship; this is the only way to legally see it. But if the Blu-Ray repertoire does not contain a large number of titles that are only accessible in that format, as is the case with DVD or vinyl (or paper), then why should I continue to purchase movies on Blu-Ray rather than other formats?

Well, in my case, because of the entire black market that has opened up with the recovery of forgotten classics, which are remastered and re-released, frequently accompanied by special editions, booklets with studies on the film, and numerous devices. In other words, the black market has opened up. When you put in front of me a box set that was directed by a director of British exploitation films from the seventies with a quality of image and sound that not even he himself enjoyed in his day, I will be there like a nail. I will admit that I am not much of a buyer of aluminum cans or Funko figures. However, if you were to put those things in front of me, I would be there like a nail.

Labels such as Arrow, 101Films, Indicator, Eureka, AGFA, the classic Criterion, or Reel One in Spain are committed to discovering obscure classics and giving them a new life with qualities that have never been seen before. This is something that interests me much more than ‘Endgame’ in such high quality that my television is not even capable of conceiving of it. The exclusive and thematic illustrations of the Arrow boxes, the exquisite reproduction of the original Indicator posters, the manner in which AGFA celebrates dangerous and risky cinema in its documentaries, and the complete lack of distinction in Criterion between the exquisiteness of the author and the delirium of exploitation are all highlights of this publication.

The cost of preserving all of this in special editions is well worth the investment. They are not always films that have not been released or are not available to the public; rather, they are films that I find interesting and that are presented in a fashion that enables me to forget about the complexities and limitations of streaming services. Because of the characteristics of the films that I see (‘Drunk Ape in the Eye of the Tiger’ before ‘Top Gun: Maverick’), I am not interested in Blu-Ray because of the superior technical quality. However, I am interested in it because, in another sense, it puts me closer to a cinema that is not available to stream. To answer your question, sure, I am willing to pay funds for that.

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