I think it’s a legitimate question, and one that popped into my head while inventorying about two dozen BlueRay players that were unceremoniously dumped into our department the other day. They were mostly prototype units provided by manufacturers for testing, or outright trash…ridden hard and put away wet by Testing & Quality Assurance, but one or two (a Yamaha A-1000 in decent condition for instance) caught my eye and I found myself thinking that since we don’t actually own a BlueRay player I should probably keep it in mind when the department does its annual garage sale—especially since we get first dibs on anything being sold and can probably snag it for ten dollars or so.
But then I thought, “Why?”
I haven’t bought a DVD since Prometheus (yeah, yeah, I know…) came out, and with the exception of The Aadams Family/Adams Family Values disk that Ben got me after catching it on TV one night a couple months ago, we haven’t purchased any physical media at all.
It’s kind of funny, actually. Back in 2005 or thereabouts when iPods were first becoming “mainstream,” I was a holdout. I owned hundreds of CDs, and my holier-than-thou audiophile attitude was that MP3 encoding was shit. I was still using minidisks for my portable and in-car needs, and I couldn’t fathom getting rid of physical media. I mean, I grew up in the age of vinyl, for chrissake!
But then I met Ben, and things changed.
I bought my first iPod a few months after I got my first Mac and found myself loving it. Maybe there were a few sonic glitches here and there, but I also realized that my high-range hearing wasn’t what it was 20 years ago and I couldn’t really hear the difference anyway.
Suddenly (or rather, not so suddenly, as it took months to rip all those CDs) I was able to carry my entire CD collection around with me. I then started ripping vinyl, and not very long afterward (okay, it was a couple years) I had my entire collection in my pocket.
Something similar is happening with my relationship to video, although I’ve never been as intimately involved with movies as I was with music. At one point I owned a hundred or so movies on disk. But when I was out of work a year ago and had to come up with cash, I realized it was time for the majority of them (along with my CDs) to go. Thankfully there’s still a market!
I kept a couple dozen CDs that had some sentimental value, and a dozen or so DVDs that I actually have watched more than once and want to keep for that reason, but by and large rest of it was sold off.
And I haven’t missed any of it. New music is purchased directly through iTunes (or, acquired through other sources). With Hulu and Netflix, pretty much anything I’d ever want to watch is available on demand.
Much like I proclaimed in 1977, “I’ll never see that stupid Rocky Horror Picture Show movie!” only to stumble upon it at a friend’s house ten years later and immediately fall in love with it, in 2005 I proclaimed I’d never get rid of my CDs. Both proved ridiculously shortsighted.