Despite streaming, I still buy Blu-Rays and DVDs. But the reason has nothing to do with image quality

You know very well that in Xataka we are not afraid of expired formats. Here we continue spending cassettes, vhs (Y paperwhich is becoming more and more a matter of boomers) partly for collecting, partly because they are formats that speak to us in their own language, which does not need to be improved. And we have always claimed these formats as a storehouse of the past, to preserve movies, music, images and sound that never come to live within new technologies. Because yes, there are movies that are only on VHS, music that is only on vinyl, books that are only on paper.

From that point of view, there is not much to discuss to justify the preservation of any format. For example: there are a multitude of films that were released in the eighties and nineties in Asia and that today are only available on Video-CD, a very cheap format that had been widespread on the continent for decades. If you are a film archaeologist from that part of the world and you are interested in its past, there are films that can only be found in this way (no rips on the internet or anything like that: you have to dust off the player).

But then what about Blu-Rays? This format, invented in 2002 as a successor to DVD and with much more capacity, which makes it especially suitable for recording movies with much better image and sound quality, does not come with that tradition as a format for archiving unknown movies. Its appearance when the internet was already running, its technical characteristics and its high price they kept it out of oddities. Today, due to its location on the timeline of physical formats, DVD continues to be perfect for collectors of the impossible, for archaeologists of strange cinema.

Today, Blu-Ray as a format is in decline. Although its use is absolutely widespread due to the presence of player units in video game consoles and the low price of desktop players, the comfort of the streaming he has won the game. Most viewers don’t need to watch movies in 4K, and even if they did, even that is a possibility that many platforms make available to their subscribers. Blu-Ray literally doesn’t make sense as a medium.

… but I keep buying

My consumption of Blu-Rays, like that of DVDs, has been radically reduced in recent years. Not only is it an essential question of space, but to watch the movies, as a testimonial, I have streaming. No longer exists that desire from a few years ago to buy movies as soon as they came out to keep them in the future in case they were discontinued: now it is easier than ever to see them on the platforms and, in the worst case, access an infinite second-hand market to later reach those physical editions without rushing. And those movies that never make it to streaming and which account for eighty percent of my film diet are not the usual ones on Blu-Ray either, a market engorged on the basis of successful novelties.

However, I still buy Blu-Rays. I not only have a desktop player, but also a multi-zone one, which allows me to see imported discs that have country restrictions. They are the least, because as happened with DVDs, unrestricted discs are becoming more abundant, but there are still some. A recent case? ‘Hellboy’ by Neil Marshall in an American version and uncensored: it is the only way to see it through legal means. But if the Blu-Ray catalog does not abound in proposals that are only in that format, as is the case with DVD or vinyl (or paper), why do I continue buying Blu-Ray movies?

Well, in my case, for everything. the parallel market that has opened with the recovery of forgotten classics, which are remastered and relaunched, often accompanied by special editions, booklets with studies on the film and assorted gadgets. I admit that I am not one to buy Funkos or aluminum can editions, but put me in front of a box of a very obsolete director of British exploitation films from the seventies with an image and sound quality that he himself did not enjoy in his day and there I will be like a nail.

Labels like Arrow, 101Films, Indicator, Eureka, AGFA, the classic Criterion or, in Spain, Reel One, are dedicated to unearthing dark classics and giving them a new life with never-before-seen qualities, and that interests me much more than ‘Endgame’ in quality so high that my television is not even capable of conceiving it. The exclusive and themed artwork on Arrow’s box sets, the exquisite reproduction of the original Indicator posters, the way in which AGFA celebrates dangerous and risky cinema in its documentaries, Criterion’s utter lack of distinction between auteur delicacies and delusions of exploitation…

All this is worth paying to keep it in special editions. Often they are not unpublished or inaccessible films, but the films that interest me are in a format that allows me to forget about the whims and distribution frameworks of streaming. Given the characteristics of the movies I watch (before ‘Drunken Monkey in the Eye of the Tiger’ than ‘Top Gun: Maverick’), I’m not on Blu-Ray because of the supreme technical quality, but because, otherwise, I approaches in the best of possible variants a cinema that is forbidden to the streaming . And for that I am willing to pay money.

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Despite streaming, I still buy Blu-Rays and DVDs. But the reason has nothing to do with image quality

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