The streaming service felt like the ultimate solution, until they began to remove content — at least they can’t revoke my discs
Ever since 2013, the Netflix service has been available in the Netherlands. I was extremely curious about it and took a subscription almost on day one. Before that time, I had also had a subscription to HBO Go, but that had been somewhat disappointing. For many years I watched Netflix daily and discovered multiple movies and series. And now I’m doing without. Why did I make this choice? Why did I feel the need, and what did I do to replace it? Did I go for Disney+, Apple+ and HBO Max? And why do I now feel so free?
Here in the Netherlands, we always lag a few years behind the United States regarding technical innovations and media developments. Most of the content we watch on TV is still American, though, so I’d seen and heard a lot about Netflix. It seemed to be a magical solution.
I remember well how we would go to the video rental store on weekends when I was a teenager. Browsing the shelves, selecting the one movie you could watch all weekend. They are fond memories, but life has moved one. Streaming services are the future, and I was more than willing to jump aboard.
During those first years, the possibilities were endless. You could watch Disney movies, Harry Potter movies, Fifty Shades, Friends; you name it, and it was available on Netflix.
I watched shows like ‘When Calls The Heart,’ ‘Money Heist’ and my favourite: ‘Greenleaf.’ All of these shows have great acting, good storylines and captivating content.
I love the show ‘Fringe,’ and it was the first to be taken offline. I was shocked! Weren’t these shows going to stay on the service forever after they were added? I was dismayed but simply switched to the next show that was still available. It wasn’t too big a deal.
But then the next one disappeared. Then all Disney movies were retracted because they moved to Disney Plus. All Marvel series were retracted. And it went on and on.
What I dislike most is that the shows jump from one provider to the other. You cannot count on one service to have a particular show because it might be changed to another next month. I don’t want to subscribe to all services available either, since that gets too expensive quickly.
Surely Netflix did add content during this time? Yes, but there was nothing I liked. The shows they added were of a lower quality or a political mindset that wasn’t mine.
For the final six months, I didn’t watch anything on Netflix anymore, and yet it still cost me 15 Euros per month, roughly.
Around that time, I bought the blu ray set of the Hobbit. Since I’m such a Lord of the Rings fan, I figured I needed it for my collection. But you know what struck me when I played the movies during nights with my family? It was a relief that I held the disk and could play it whenever I wanted without the risk of it having been moved to a different streaming provider.
At that moment, I began toying with the idea of picking up my old hobby of collecting DVDs and Blu rays. I put it aside, but when I was watching ‘The Mentalist’ on Amazon Prime, and it got removed from the service before we had finished watching, I decided enough was enough. I mean, I still don’t know who Red John is, only because Amazon no longer holds the right to air the show in the Netherlands.
I now own the TV shows ‘House of Cards’ (controversial, I know ;)) and the complete set of ‘Downton Abbey’ on DVD. Yes, I know blu ray is preferable for its longevity, but I also need to be able to afford it :p
My plan is to visit thrift stores and flea markets to scour for discs of my favourite movies and series. I could go online, spend two hundred Euros and buy all I want, new or second-hand, online in a whisk, but that’s not my idea. I want to slowly build my collection. I also have the remnants of my collection from when I did buy DVDs regularly twenty years ago.
Yesterday was this year’s first flea market I visited, and I hit the jackpot with the movie Nymphomaniac on Blu ray and Jesus Christ Superstar boxset of two discs on DVD, amongst other finds. I was so happy 😀
Buying DVDs and blu rays of my favourite movies and series give me a sense of control. They cannot be deleted or blocked from afar when an actor becomes controversial or gets cancelled. Yes, my discs can be scratched and will decay over time. But right now, it gives me the freedom to watch what I want, when I want. And since I’m looking to buy them on sale or second hand, they won’t be that expensive. I’m definitely pleased with my new hobby and hope this post will inspire others or at least makes them consider my arguments. Streaming services are still the future, but not in their current setup. For now, I return to my discs.