Hard media

It’s the end of an era: Best Buy will stop selling physical media like DVDs and Blurays in 2024.

Having not bought a physical disk in over a decade, I can’t rightfully complain about this, but I’m getting nostalgic thinking about it nonetheless. Like used book stores, browsing Blockbuster and Future Shop 1 are a fond part of my childhood and teenage years. On nights when company would come over we’d head off to Blockbuster and rent a movie largely based on its box art and short synopsis on the back. Given the wild variation in film quality, you never knew what you were going to get. Occasionally a life changing cinema experience. More often, a total bomb.

Digital media is better in every way, but the ease with which we access it and the sheer quantity being produced has cheapened it. I use to treasure my DVD copy of The Matrix. Now I sit on a trove of terabytes worth of every TV series that’s ever aired and I have a hard time caring about any of it.

I watched the premiere of the new season of True Detective last night and despite never having seen it before, it was repetitive. They’re trying to rekindle the magic of the first season, with a few twists. Male leads are swapped out for female ones, and the south swapped for the Alaskan north to tap into the Nordic noir aesthetic, inspired by the last season of Dexter and 30 Days of Night. I’ve seen this program before, and not even all that long ago. Including but not limited to True Detective, everything I stream these days feels so same-y, with minor reconfigurations to make the content original in only the most literal sense of the word.

So not to say that Best Buy should keep selling DVDs, but as they’re rotated out I can’t help but feel a little malaise for these technologies which were strictly worse, but felt strictly better.

1 Canadian box store similar to Best Buy which was eventually acquired by Best Buy in 2001.

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