With the recent release of Zack Snyder’s Justice League on Blu-ray, and the immediate success of it, it’s clear that physical media is still in high demand. There was a time when I was purchasing movies on DVD and would burn (that’s write to disk for all the Gen A and Z peeps) all the media I had accumulated through various channels to optical storage mediums such as CD and DVD but those halcyon days of the early 2000’s are long gone. Needless to say, the desire to commit data to disk stemmed from a fear of loss – the prevalent unreliability and non-permanence of the common hard drive just didn’t sit well with me. Countless reams of disks, numbered and correlated with a spreadsheet for ‘easy’ access was the status quo.
Of course, burning content to disk nowadays is a fool’s errand, especially considering that the days of burning entire seasons of your favourite show to a disk are no longer feasible. Thanks to 1080 and 4k display standards, a single 40min episode of your favourite show can easily reach upwards of 4gigs. The advent of SATA hard drive and solid state technologies also means that one is able to store vast quantities of data on their device for many, many years without issue, more so with redundancy (RAID 5 & RAID 50) in place.
So why am I telling you this? Well, I think it’s important to understand where this article stems from as it’s about streaming which in essence is a non-permanent form of media consumption – a disposable platform for a disposable age.
Obviously in this day and age my wife and I make use of streaming services like Netflix. It’s affordable, accessible from one’s browser and can be used across multiple devices simultaneously. Streaming is in fact, the quintessential deterrent against piracy as it grants one access to entire libraries of series, movies and anime for basically the cost of a single movie ticket.
In a relatively short amount of time, streaming has managed to put a fair dent in piracy, by far the most effective mitigation action against piracy thus far. I’m not naïve mind you, piracy is still rife and will never be fully eradicated. The point I’m trying to get across is that streaming services offer consumers an alternative so readily cheap and available that for the most part, it makes torrenting seem like a chore. Requiring a torrenting client and then having to search for sites with active seeds makes the prospect of streaming even more alluring. More so when you consider that a lot of countries have made attempts to block p2p all together.
Blocking torrents/peer-to-peer traffic is a blanket approach that invariably does more harm than good. A lot of legitimate sites and services such as the various Linux repositories utilize torrents for downloading their OS. Hell, Windows 10 uses a P2P-style system called Windows Update Delivery Optimisation (WUDO) so once your computer has downloaded an update it can be shared to not only other computers on your network, but also other people online. There are even some video streaming services that make use of p2p too.
I digress, Streaming is a platform that has a foothold in pretty much every aspect of entertainment nowadays. Amazon Prime, Apple TV, Netflix and Disney + gives one access to every conceivable movie and show available. Services like Spotify and YouTube allow you to stream music and there are even services like Shadow Cloud Computing which will grant a subscriber access to a high-end gaming PC (From $29.99/month) that will enable you to run games your own PC may not ordinarily be able to handle, and with a recommended line speed of 15mbps (down) it really isn’t that demanding.
But with all that available, somewhere in the deep recesses of my mind a little voice is saying – “Is it really all yours, though?”
Well, no – no it is not. Fundamentally, you are paying for a service, an ever-changing service that adds and removes content on a dime. So it’s not really yours to begin with, is it? Streaming represents the evolution of the movie rental age, only now the store is on your screen, not down the road.
Ironically, that aforementioned fear of loss mentality has come full circle with streaming because its content is only really renting space on the platform. This in turn is exacerbated by garbage articles like below (and there are a lot of these) spewing absurdities about how you must watch this movie/series/etc before it’s gone forever. In this case, while I did enjoy 2009’s Star Trek reboot, calling it ‘The most astonishing Sci-Fi movie’ in any capacity is click-bait hyperbole at best. Talk about low-hanging fruit, Allyson. Yes it will leave the platform but your favourite movie or series will always be available elsewhere, especially if you own a copy of it which isn’t tethered to some streaming service.
So, yes I do make use of streaming, as it caters to my disposable watching needs without the need for clogging up precious hard drive space on something I have no intention of keeping, but I also have my own local collection of movies, series, etc tucked away on a local server because the very idea of my entertainment needs under the thrall of an external service which is able to dictate when and how I choose to watch something is a service I would never be able to fully subscribe to.