Friday, July 04, 2014

Keep It On The Download

Okay, I own a bunch of DVDs. I don't watch them. I used to own a bunch of laserdiscs. I don't watch them anymore because I replaced them all with the DVDs that I am no longer watching. Those laserdiscs were a replacement for the shelves full of VHS tapes that I had collected for years before that. My love of movies has been expensive. I currently have nearly the maximum number of cable TV channels that will show me movies, most of which I have seen before. I take great comfort in re-watching films I have seen and enjoyed. I like to keep my old friends close by.
That's why I am so intrigued and pleased with the idea of streaming video. Every film ever made is just sitting out there somewhere on a hard drive, waiting to find its way into my home for one more showing. That's what Netflix will do for anyone who subscribes to their service. Push that button or click that mouse and your favorite movie will start right up. You don't have to wait by your mailbox for a disc in an envelope. You don't have to remember to return anything. And you can watch it a whole boatload of times before your twenty-four hours rental is done. If that's not enough, just push the button and again and invite it back for a second straight day of binge-watching.
Sounds too good to be true, right? That's because it pretty much is. Netflix has done my family the huge favor of bringing back "Arrested Development" for their victory lap of a season, after we had greedily consumed all the previous episodes the summer before. Then they came out with a batch of their own shows that were so very good that new subscribers lined up online to be a part of the fun. Until now. Now that Netflix has decided to remove all the Rocky films from its downloadable content. Even the good ones. They're also getting rid of Taxi Driver. And a whole lot of of other films that you and I might get a wild hair and decide we could enjoy watching tonight. Or next week. Oscar winners. Bond films. Treats and trash that now we'll have to wait for Encore or Cinemax or HBO to get around to plugging into their rotation.
Or I could head out to Best Buy and dig around in the bargain bins of antiquated digital media. Or I could just close my eyes and replay "Wrath of Khan" in my mind.

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