DVD sales will continue to decline because of online digital content

The DVD market has no way to go but down because digital content is now replacing it as an alternative viewing experience. Companies such as Hulu and Netflix have huge online digital content libraries that people can access with a monthly subscription through their computers.

DVD decline

Sarah Macmillan

DVDs are becoming less convenient, less ‘special’ and more of an outdated product that doesn’t match our needs. With internet speeds increasing, and computer prices falling, consumers are switching their home entertainment setups from TVs with DVD players to a completely online experience. Since computers can be hooked up to big monitors with the help of an HDMI cable, I can only see a downward trend for any physical medium in the home. DVDs are more expensive to create and send to people than it is to host a digital file and stream it.

Below I will make a list of some pros and cons of DVD versus online digital content to give you an idea of why it makes sense that people are switching away from the format. No matter how good the quality of what’s on a disc is, the format itself is obsolete.

DVD – Pros

- You can watch on a computer or TV
- It’s a physical copy that doesn’t get accidentally erased on a hard drive
- You can create your own DVD collections
- High quality viewing experience on Standard Definition TVs / LCDs
- High quality audio compatibility such as 5.1 or DTS

DVD – Negatives

- DVDs get damaged, need to be replaced
- They take up space on your shelf
- Ordering DVDs takes time because the physical product has to be sent via mail
- It looks terrible on HD TVs because it is in mpeg 2 format
- It is more expensive than a digital subscription
- You need a pouch if you want to take DVDs with you on holiday
- DVDs get dusty, and you have to clean them
- It’s big, and you can’t watch it on your phone

Digital Content – Pros

- It is cheaper than buying DVDs and getting them delivered
- You can access digital content libraries anytime and watch what you want
- No physical copy needed, so you save space
- You can get the content immediately
- Online content is available in multiple formats for different viewing experiences
- High quality viewing and audio experience
- Viewable on mobile phones

Digital content – Negatives

- You lose the physical product and the idea of ‘collections’
- You need a fast internet connection
- Your computer must be able to display HD content if you want to watch higher quality streams
- Portable devices have a short battery life

In addition to changes in our home viewing experience, watching TV shows or digital content on the move will further isolate physical mediums with the iPad and mobile phone market tapping into online digital content. People will no longer wish to use a format that is inconvenient in our highly connected digital world, where small gadgets lead the way forward, and physical copies become as dull as a stone in our pockets.

Time will tell how long the DVD will last, but its rate of decline will likely increase over the next few years. It is the end, as we know it.

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