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A Third of Americans Still Buy and Rent Videos (qz.com) 126

An anonymous reader writes: One-third of Americans still buy and rent videos, in addition to using streaming services like Netflix and YouTube, NPD Group found in its annual Entertainment Trends in America report. The research firm surveyed more than 7,000 members of its US online panel about their entertainment consumption during August 2017. Family films are still popular buys because kids will watch them over and over again. Spotty broadband service in rural America makes buying and renting more reliable than streaming for some. And some people just like to own and collect movies. Overall, 54% of people surveyed said they still buy or rent video.
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A Third of Americans Still Buy and Rent Videos

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  • I'm not surprised (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Harold Halloway ( 1047486 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @11:59AM (#55615653)

    Blu-ray video quality is still superior to most streamed video, in my experience.

    • by Thundercat007 ( 1105151 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:03PM (#55615677)
      Agreed, if it's some latest crazed blockbuster movie, stream all the way. IF by chance it's good and I want to see it again. I'll buy it. I have all my favorite movies on Blu-ray, the problem has become once you see newer movies, that's it. You saw it, told people you saw it but never have interest to see it again.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I would say FAR superior. Not to mention streaming is not viable for many due to broadband limitations. Amazon Prime works great for me for checking things out, as I have a pretty stable 25megabit connection and only a 42" TV, but when I want to enjoy a film, bluray is a much better experience every time. Perhaps in the future that will change. Plus, I like extras and simply enjoy having a plastic box to look at.

      I still buy CDs too, even though the quality of a lossless codec is just as good. Putting a disc

      • Yes, I've bought a few FLAC "CDs" online, but the last time I compared, the bits in the FLAC files with similar sample rate were mostly but not exactly equal to the bits on a real CD, and in interesting places. That tells me that downloaded copies are likely tagged by purchaser, with some unknown effect on sound quality.

        Classical music is also very poorly represented by online services. I even need to go international to buy some of the better but out-of-print CDs.

        Also, last time I checked, my shelf of DVD/

    • by amiga3D ( 567632 )

      I agree with that. But given that 98% of movies are shit 480p is good enough for most of them.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:30PM (#55615831)

      Blu-ray video quality is still superior to most streamed video, in my experience.

      At is much less likely to randomly disappear from your video collection like on a streaming service.

    • by fatwilbur ( 1098563 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @01:13PM (#55616041)
      Having grown up in a rural area and moving to a city for school/work, it's really surprising the number of things city dwellers take for granted: high speed internet, water, electricity, etc. It's a comforting life with so many services so close by, in fact I know a number of people who are scared to even leave a city. It would do a lot of people a whole lot of good to go live on a farm on acreage for a year.. as Calvin's dad used to say, it builds character.
      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Funny thing, rural Vermont now gets ECFiber, high speed Internet, far faster than what most city-dwellers get. Maybe it's been a while since you've been in the country?

  • by damn_registrars ( 1103043 ) <damn.registrars@gmail.com> on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:00PM (#55615657) Homepage Journal
    ... but buying can still be really really cheap. It takes very little time for a movie - especially on DVD - to hit the $10 or even $5 bin now. They've put so many movies into the "impulse buy" category now that it's no surprise a lot of people still buy. On top of that if I want something I can't stream I can often get a copy on DVD through an online seller.
  • ...I still like to rent.

    I have put together over the years, a pretty good AV setup.

    I have a nice TV, and a very high end audio system to go with it....good for stereo and surround for movies.

    When there are special movies with great sound and images, I prefer to view it from the medium with the highest fidelity I can get for both audio and video and that's not streaming.

    I don't buy many videos with the exception of music and concert videos.

    Those are things I"ll throw on to have in the background when d

    • The highest fidelity you'll typically find is Pirate Bay. Because they sell _crazy_ high resolution videos in Japan. Not much past Kurosawa at that resolution though.

      • And yet a very large number of digital projectors in the big multiple screen cinemas are 2K (2048x1080).

        • DCP beats BD (Score:3, Informative)

          by tepples ( 727027 )

          Because Blu-ray Disc's bitrate is up to 54 Mbps, its picture quality can greatly exceed that of HD Internet streaming or HD cable TV. But 2K cinema can have an even cleaner picture than a 1080p Blu-ray Disc because DCP reels [wikipedia.org] use Motion JPEG 2000 with high dynamic range at up to 250 Mbps.

        • Videophile high res is higher than they can typically display. Because it makes the picture 'warmer'?

    • Sometimes the best version IS streaming. There are films where HD versions are available to stream, but there has never been a Blu-Ray release so the only physical version available is SD on DVD. The same logic applies to 4K, where there are some films that are available for 4K streaming but not on Ultra HD Blu-Ray discs. There are films available to stream that were never released on disc at all, only VHS. (But some of those have streaming versions that look like they were transferred from VHS!) And of cou

  • by OzPeter ( 195038 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:02PM (#55615673)

    Netflix has both streaming and physical movies. But the catalogues are not identical, so there are many movies that you can get on disc that you can't stream.

    In addition movies on Netflix come and go with their streaming service. Thus it is possible that a movie you watched previously is no longer available for streaming.

    And that doesn't consider that I have had my Netflix streaming service seemingly disappear for days at a time, only to mysteriously re-appear for no reason at all.

    So in reality the Netflix situation is just another example of a cloud service ebeing "someone else's computer".

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Netflix has both streaming and physical movies. But the catalogues are not identical, so there are many movies that you can get on disc that you can't stream.

      In addition movies on Netflix come and go with their streaming service. Thus it is possible that a movie you watched previously is no longer available for streaming.

      And that doesn't consider that I have had my Netflix streaming service seemingly disappear for days at a time, only to mysteriously re-appear for no reason at all.

      So in reality the Netflix situation is just another example of a cloud service ebeing "someone else's computer".

      Hell I once had a streaming movie on Netflix disappear while I was watching it. Got glitched out halfway through the movie, by the time I got back to the main menu the movie was gone from my list and from the search.

      • by murdocj ( 543661 )

        Kinda makes sense. They are going to remove movies at some point in time. If you happen to be watching at that point in time, bingo, you are no longer watching, and it isn't available. They could probably be nice and handle that situation more gracefully by removing from search and letting existing streams finish, but also probably doesn't happen all that often.

    • Netflix invested large bucks in upgraded servers and bandwidth for streaming, but then found that rights holders were unwilling to let them do it. That’s why the streaming side of the company is a ghin gruel of expiring and second-line movies. To get selection, stay with Netflix DVD.

  • by Jason Levine ( 196982 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:04PM (#55615687) Homepage

    We often "rent" videos from our local library. We don't pay anything for them (apart from our local tax dollars which I consider well spent on the library system and any late fees) but I guess you could consider them rentals. Yes, there is often a wait, but my library has an app to manage requests between library branches and renewals which makes it very easy. I'm currently on the waiting list for Spider-Man: Homecoming when a copy is freed up - and I'm the first person in the request queue - the copy will be sent to my library of choice and I'll be notified to come pick it up.

    • by Camaro ( 13996 )

      We do the same in our household. Our broadband is a satellite connection with a 100GB cap. Streaming is usually out of the question. So put in an order for whatever discs we want, wait a few days, then enjoy!

    • We often "rent" videos from our local library. We don't pay anything for them (apart from our local tax dollars which I consider well spent on the library system and any late fees) but I guess you could consider them rentals. Yes, there is often a wait, but my library has an app to manage requests between library branches and renewals which makes it very easy. I'm currently on the waiting list for Spider-Man: Homecoming when a copy is freed up - and I'm the first person in the request queue - the copy will be sent to my library of choice and I'll be notified to come pick it up.

      You are a brave soul for stating that you consider any tax dollars well spent around this site. Kudos! I agree with you, libraries are great. I pretty much grew up in my local library.

      • Same here. I'd go into the library, take out a big stack of books, and then return next week to return them and take out another big stack. The library has changed a lot for the better since I was a child. One of my local libraries even has a maker space with two 3D printers. You can go there, load something from Thingiverse (or your own 3D model that you made) and print it out. If your print is going to last past closing, they'll hold it for you to pick up the next day they're open. I wouldn't be able to

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I do not use the library. However, I donate DVD and bluray to them all them time. I have well over 3000 discs (1200 movies and a few tv shows)

      Sometimes people will get me a movie "YOU JUST GOT TO HAVE" and I find sometimes I already had it so I am nice and accept the gift and donate it. Or I upgrade to a better version or bluray or something like that. Every once and awhile I buy a movie and forgot I had it already. So with as many as I have, duplicates happen. I donate them. Someone I knew bought a

    • Spider Man Homecoming has been to my house and sent back already via Netflix DVD.

  • DVDs and Blu-Ray. Free and you can hang on to them for a week. Not to mention a built in list of stuff I want to watch. The only downside is you don't know when you'll get the movie,
  • by Templer421 ( 4988421 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:14PM (#55615729)

    Red Box is just easy.

    Plus you NEVER have to wonder if you are popping a data cap and it NEVER buffers on you.

  • Streaming Video (Score:4, Interesting)

    by PPH ( 736903 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:15PM (#55615743)

    It was nice while it lasted.

    Thanks, Ajit.

    • It's been crystal-clear from the beginning that once you strip away all the sanctimonious pontificating and Chicken Little scenarios from the NetNeut debate, you're basically left with "I wantz my unlimited N3tFlix."

      Thanks for being frank about it.

  • With GameFly and Netflix and Redbox it's easy and doesn't kill your bandwidth, plus you get the full quality BD. Now with UHD BD it seems more sensible than ever.

  • Internet providers limits the total amount downloaded per month. In our case, it just means throttling to ISDN speeds, for some friends and acquaintances it means extra monthly fees. It is often both easier and cheaper to just buy a disc to insert into the player than to log into a streaming service, find the movie, and watch cap rapidly come near. There is also the issue of licensing. If the streaming services no longer license a movie or series, then it is gone until found again. With a disc, as long as c
  • Selection (Score:4, Insightful)

    by jabberw0k ( 62554 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:22PM (#55615787) Homepage Journal
    How many Spencer Tracy, Katherine Hepburn, Alfred Hitchcock, or Charlie Chaplin movies are on Netflix? About half a dozen total (with zero Chaplins). A video store or your local library will probably have a few more. Every time I search my brother's Netflix for a movie or show (hmm, let's see... I'd like The Ghost and Mrs Muir, or Fantasia, or how about the real Avengers with Steed and Peel) it's not there.
  • Yep (Score:5, Interesting)

    by markdavis ( 642305 ) on Friday November 24, 2017 @12:24PM (#55615803)

    I still rent and buy discs, in addition to cable/DVR and also streaming. I consider it a perfectly valid content format for a variety of reasons:

    1) A disc never stops working (when treated right)
    2) Disc has best picture quality.
    3) Disc has 3D capability (which I like, so shove it :) )
    4) Disc requires no internet access (which is important to many who have no, limited, slow, or capped Internet)
    5) Disc rentals cover almost ALL movies out there, not just a sub-set available through streaming.
    6) Purchased discs gives me the option to save it in varies different formats, resolutions, etc, and use it on any device I like, immediately, with no outside connection.
    7) High-quality video on disc with no impact on network quotas.
    8) Purchased discs give me the option to sell it later, or lend it to family/friends.
    9) Discs have extra content- some of which is very interesting.
    10) If you wait a while, prices on discs can be surprisingly, even shockingly cheap.

    Of course, there are a some issues with discs:

    * "Unskippable" content on discs I buy, which is infuriating (and they are shooting themselves in the foot.
    * And discs CAN be damaged when not treated correctly- but I have never had that issue (except on some rentals, not discs I own).
    * Rental discs often do not contain the "extra" content and sometimes have limited audio choices.
    * Some [even natively shot] 3D titles are not being released on 3D discs, which is a shame.
    * Having to physically store them... although this is hardly a big deal if you are willing to depart with the large, stock cases.

    • Disc requires no internet access (which is important to many who have no, limited, slow, or capped Internet)

      True of DVD. But don't players require occasional firmware updates to play new titles on Blu-ray Disc?

      Disc rentals cover almost ALL movies out there

      Still a big "almost". There are movies that haven't been rereleased on home video since the VHS days.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        When BluRay was a NEW thing, yes, the players did need to be updated to play the newest titles. I haven't had to actually go through this process for at least 4 years now, and the last time I checked, there was no new firmware to install anyway.

      • >"True of DVD. But don't players require occasional firmware updates to play new titles on Blu-ray Disc?"

        I have never, neither has one of my friends, connected my player to the Internet. It is true that newer discs can contain revocation lists to invalidate certain players, but I think in practice, this never really happened because that protection scheme failed so miserably. Instead of effectively fighting piracy, it would have just lead to mass-chaos as consumers had things they paid for suddenly sto

    • Err you may want to check some of those:

      2) Disc has best picture quality.
      - 4K streams are a thing outperforming a great many Bluray titles.

      4) Disc requires no internet access (which is important to many who have no, limited, slow, or capped Internet)
      - They most definitely do in order to continue the cat and mouse game that is bluray encryption. If your bluray player isn't connected to the internet the chances are it will stop playing new discs periodically.

      6) Purchased discs gives me the option to save it i

      • >2) Disc has best picture quality.
        >- 4K streams are a thing outperforming a great many Bluray titles.

        That is just resolution. From my experience, the bit rate is far more important. Most streaming and cable is a much lower bitrate than on disc. Plus, 4K bluray is now available.

        >4) Disc requires no internet access (which is important to many who have no, limited, slow, or capped Internet)
        >- They most definitely do in order to continue the cat and mouse game that is bluray encryption. If your b

        • See my previous posting on the thread. From what I heard, that protection scheme failed and never became a thing. I have never connected mine to the Internet and it plays everything.

          Let me update what you've heard: I have on 4 occasions required an internet connection to get my Blu-ray player to play discs due to AACS keys being revoked.

      • 2) Disc has best picture quality.
        - 4K streams are a thing outperforming a great many Bluray titles.

        There is no substitute for bitrate * codec efficiency. So long as quality is dominated by compression noise resolution will remain an irrelevant gimmick.

        There is no Internet streaming service competing with blu ray let alone 4k blu ray on quality. Most 4k content is nothing more than an up-conversion scam from content shot and post produced in 2k.

      • Somebody is selling. Otherwise stores wouldn't have all those used discs for sale.
    • 1) A disc never stops working (when treated right)

      In theory, a disc never stops working, period. You're not buy a disc. You're buying a license to view its content whenever you like, forever. As the studios are so fond of telling us, you're not buying a movie, you're buying a license to view the movie. Even if the media fails, the license is still in effect.

      Unfortunately, only one studio has been openly holding up their end of the bargain. Disney will replace your broken discs (and tapes) for a mod

  • by Anonymous Coward

    98% of them have a refridgerator too!

  • I mean, yes, my family has purchased SOME video in the last year. My wife has purchased exercise videos. I got my MST3K DVDs as part of the Kickstarter.

    The more relevant question is, "What *fraction* of entertainment purchasing goes to physical videos?" and the answer is "almost none". But more than none.

    • and the answer is "almost none"

      Link to study?
      For something that is "almost none" there seems to be an incredible amount of effort to stack incredibly large shelf space which typically still has a constant stream of people standing in front of it picking from the shelf.

      Netflix et al haven't displaced purchases for many people, especially for those who like the idea of watching something they paid for. My Disney movies will still be watchable after next year, good luck with that on Netflix.

      • I'm sure people still buy DVDs. But measuring a strict binary -- "Did you rent or purchase physical video media in the last year?" -- they set themselves up to report a strange number, since that includes all the people who bought 1 video. Or 2 videos. These are people who have, for all intents and purposes, switched to something else.

        In any case, TFA [qz.com] tells the real story, with video sales dropping from $12 billion per year to under $6 billion per year in just 7 years.

  • have you seen how low quality Netflix steam is compared to 50Mbps Bluray with lossless audio? duh! me and my friends have been renting Bluray since they came out and ripping them to our large storage systems then we stream from there to our devices. I have 50TB worth myself on my home server.

    Netflix is like sub 10Mbps highly compressed steams with blocky audio and video in comparison.

    https://www.trumpsweapon.com/ [trumpsweapon.com]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The article title says one third, but the content says 54% - quite a rounding error.

  • We use RedBox all the time, saves some bandwidth, get better quality picture & sound.
    We buy great movies to try and show support for great content as a way of voting with our money what we would like the studios to be producing more of.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Headline: "A Third of Americans..."
    Last sentence: "54% of those surveyed..."

    If the author's intent was to present the facts without any bias they really screwed the pooch. The headline straight-up misrepresents the facts.

    • The headline says "a third of Americans still buy AND rent videos" (emphasis added). The final statement says "54% of people surveyed said they still buy OR rent video" (emphasis added). Both statements can be true if there are people who only buy or only rent.
  • by Anonymous Coward

    There's why one-third of Americans don't give a crap about net neutrality.

  • I know that it's easy to forget that some of us still live and work out away from the coasts but we do. Sometimes it's for family, sometimes it's for work, sometimes it's because we like the area. However universally I don't know of anyone that lives out here for the internet.

    This is the 'best' ISP where my mom lives: http://www.m33access.com/ [m33access.com]

    • $40/mo 1.5/0.5 Mbps
    • $50/mo 3/0.5 Mbps
    • $70/mo 5/1 Mbps

    And while the coasts are pissing and moaning about what Comcast might do with NetNeutrality they've given us the "fu

    • by marcle ( 1575627 )

      Amen brother. I'm lucky enough to live in a beautiful house perched on a ridge with an amazing view. There's a whole lot to like about the community, recreational options, and quality of life. But my internet options are either 6mbps DSL or satellite -- no cable service here.
      Would I trade this for a super-fast connection in the city? Been there, done that, and don't even want the t-shirt.

  • Overall, 54% of people surveyed said they still buy or rent video.

    So basically, not a third but a half still buy or rent videos. Original source says the same:

    Overall, 54% of people surveyed said they still buy or rent video. It’s not all DVDs and Blu-rays. Physical sales have plummeted compared to digital, data from the Digital Entertainment Group shows.

    Or am I reading it wrong slashdot?

    • by edjs ( 1043612 )

      As I read it:
      54% of people buy or rent.
      33% of people buy or rent in addition to streaming.
      Implying 21% buy or rent but do not stream.

      • Which is why the title is "still" logically wrong by a very relevant 21%. Creating clickbait titles with the "still" buzzword instead of the essential "only" word, as in "still ONLY rent or buy" (i.e. as you said it - "do not stream").

        Furthermore, I'd say there is blatant editorial manipulation (even if unintentional) in the title, as it applies the exact phrasing of the content article - "(54%) STILL rents and buys" - and replaces 54% with the fake value of a third, 33%.

        That right there is how you turn a v

  • One thing I noticed about Anime is that old stuff on DVD or BluRay can end up costing a lot over time because when the licenses aren't renewed they become impossible to find. I have some anime in my collection that are going for a few hundred on eBay. So when it comes to imports, buying is the safest solution if you want to be able to see it again in the future.
  • Two thirds of United States Citizens (aka Americans) rent their houses, lease their cars, make frivolous purchases on credit, are unable to balance their checkbooks, and leave nothing of monetary or cultural value to their progeny. [marketwatch.com]

    The other third buys and eventually pays of their house, owns used cars outright, has no revolving credit, saves for retirement, and leaves their music and video collection to their children.

    • The one third buying their house and cars may well be doing the right thing. It's a bit easier to justify renting movies, though, as there are very few you are going to watch more than once. As for inheriting a music or video collection - (a) it's probably in some obsolete or inconvenient format (33rpm, VHS, laserdisc), and (b) who wants every episode of Matlock?
  • I choose to pay not pirate. Those who believe they can just take for free will never be convinced why it matters to those who refuse to take. But everything else follows as an economic argument only once you accept Iâ(TM)m a paying customer and compare means to pay.

    Digital copies usually cost the exact same amount as a physical copy. Except the physical copy always comes with the digital copy bundled. So itâ(TM)s the exact same price for the exact same digital copy plus free discs.

    Discs are usuall

  • We'll still rent movies by using the 'On Demand' feature from our Cable TV provider (Telus Optik TV).

    Last Christmas the kids wanted to watch "Home Alone" for the first time. Wasn't on Netflix so we just pushed the button on the remote and rented it for five bucks. A minute later and we were watching Kevin McCallister's antics on the flatscreen.
    • Same here, which is why this summary seemed unclear to me. By "video", I guess they mean, "DVD" or "BluRay" (or maybe even VHS tape). "Discs" or "media" would've been a better term.
      Technically I rent a video using Comcast On-Demand, which streams it.

  • If you buy a DVD/BluRay your kid will want to watch it over and over. If you rent it, it has to go back to the store :) Family Video has most of the Disney stuff in the FREE section so it is just like going to the library and I don't have to store it and watch it endlessly. Just like the song in Frozen says, "let it go, let it go, I'm not holding on the DVDs and BluRays anymore."

  • Netflix streaming gives me great series including awesome originals but is mostly worthless for movies. It is the replacement for the TV of old (I cut cable). If I want to see a good movie, the basic choices are rent from Red Box or get Netflix disks by mail. I don't ever own because that's just a piece of clutter in my house.
  • I have good web with no data cap nonsense. I'd stream happily, but many films aren't streamable. They make you mail discs back and forth instead...
  • I still rent movies from Redbox sometimes. I can't really see paying 6 dollars for a streaming rental if I can rent the same movie on Blu-Ray for 2 dollars a day.
  • Netflix streaming was great at first - they had lots of good movies to watch. I seem to recall that their library was over 100,000 movies at one point. But that didn't last long. The movie studios starting charging a lot more and sometimes building their own competing services, such that it looks like we're trending toward 100 streaming sites with 1,000 movies each.

    That's a made up figure of course, but that's just to make a point. The point is that with the splintering of the streaming services' film libra

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