Beyond Netflix

I am cleaning out my room; I have far too much stuff. If I ever want to move without having to contemplate burning everything, there’s a lot of stuff that needs to go.

One of these things is my DVD collection (of which I’ve added nothing new to in at least 3 years). The thing is, even though I don’t watch them, I own them and spent money on them and they take up a lot of space. I have 2 options if I don’t trash them. Keep them in a giant box and lug them around, watching one a year maybe, or burn them to an external hard drive which would save a lot of space but would be very time consuming.

The truth is neither of these solutions satisfies me so I’ve come up with an alternative. If you’re a big nerd you’ve heard of UltraViolet, the MPAA’s plan to curb movie piracy by allowing cloud access to all ones newly bought DVDs. There are enormous flaws in this model, most egregiously not understanding piracy. They should start by producing less crap and overcharging for both movie tickets and DVD prices.

Personally, I love Netflix and Amazon puts out a good streaming product as well I hear. Redbox (or Netflix DVDs by mail) are a great supplement to these streaming services, but physical media is dead just as GM was dead decades before their failed bailout. But none of these services solves my problem: I bought all these DVDs and while I hardly watch them I’m too cheap to ditch them.

My solution (using Netflix but broadly applicable, maybe even to you MPAA with your disasterous UltraViolet):

Netflix doesn’t want to rent DVDs and their catalog is constantly changing shape. They’re trying to remake the visual media consumption landscape which I love. Being said, they’ve rubber a lot of media types the wrong way. They don’t want to sell individual movies (another insight into the future) but I think they could redesign the idea of a cloud locker service. Take Titanic, just assume its not streaming on Netflix but I don’t know. You bought it a decade ago but don’t really want to keep the disc. Through some sort of proof of ownership you show Netflix this Titanic DVD is in fact yours and they add it to your now customized library.

They would be able to negotiate the streaming rights of Titanic to only customers who owned the DVD, not their entire customer base, resulting in small revenues for the content creator while not cannibalizing potential physical sales. The consumer would pay a small additional fee, say $.50/month, and all their DVDs would be available streaming through a service they already use.

Let that one soak. I wrote it from the cuff but I’m sure its a flawless plan. Regardless, I have a ton of DVDs; does anyone want to burn them for me for free?