The DVD turns 25: How the disc bought began and why it’s nonetheless fashionable | Entertainment


“Titanic” was the primary DVD to promote a million copies.

The “DVD” acronym initially stood for “Digital Versatile Disc.” The first DVD to ship greater than 1 million models was “Titanic.”

And when Disney launched “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” on DVD in October 2001, it bought 1 million copies. In in the future.

These are only a few of the enjoyable details Southern California journalist Thomas Okay. Arnold unearthed for the two-part collection on the twenty fifth anniversary of the DVD that he wrote for the March and April editions of Media Play News, a publication dedicated to the home-entertainment business.

But probably the most beautiful factor concerning the collection shouldn’t be the reminder that when Netflix founders Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph supplied to promote the corporate to Blockbuster for $50 million, Blockbuster turned them down.

It is the truth that on this age of limitless streaming leisure, the DVD remains to be round and nonetheless price celebrating.

An unbreakable connection

“The connection has to be drawn. DVDs shaped our present entertainment habits. Seventy-eight percent of all the money spent on home entertainment is spent on streaming, and streaming wouldn’t have happened if not for the DVD,” stated Arnold, Media Play News’ writer and editor.

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“The DVD is not nearly dead. It is still a huge business.”

There is not any query that DVDs don’t rule the home-entertainment panorama the way in which they did in, say, the banner 12 months of 2000, when DVD gamers had been in 13 million properties, shoppers snapped up greater than 182 million discs, and “Gladiator” and “X-Men” had first-week DVD gross sales of $60 million. Each.

According to the Digital Entertainment Group, gross sales of DVDs (together with Blu-ray and different codecs) dropped by 19.5% in 2021, for practically $2 billion in gross sales. Meanwhile, Grand View Research reported that in 2020, the worldwide streaming market was valued at $50 billion.

Massive influence

But for an merchandise roughly the dimensions of a coaster, the 25-year-old DVD has had a large influence on the way in which we entertain ourselves proper now.

Arnold started overlaying the home-entertainment enterprise when he joined Video Store Magazine in 1991, which gave him a front-row (recliner) seat for the DVD revolution. And whereas it is perhaps onerous for stream-addicted viewers to think about, his collection reminds us {that a} revolution is strictly what it was.

Before Warner Home Video president Warren Lieberfarb spearheaded the event of a CD-inspired video disc to distribute motion pictures, our home-entertainment lives had been dominated by clunky VHS cassettes, chunky VHS gamers, and choosy video-store guidelines. The high quality wasn’t nice, the format wasn’t user-friendly, and late charges had been a ache.

The participant

Did you keep in mind to rewind? Did anyone?

When DVD gamers had been rolled out on the Consumer Electronics Show in January of 1997, home-viewing was about to vary in a seismic manner. The digitized pictures had been sharper, and the sound was richer. The discs had been smaller and simpler to retailer. Cheaper, too.

And as an incentive for shoppers to purchase the discs as a substitute of renting them, studios started including deleted scenes, blooper-reels and different extras.

The DVD helped make us the masters of our leisure universe.

We watched what we needed to observe, after we needed to observe it, as many instances as we needed to observe it. We purchased greater and greater screens and invested in higher sound techniques. And the studios had been very happy to provide us extra of that on-demand factor.

Netflix film rental

Speaking of in-demand, Arnold’s story recounts the origins of Netflix, which began as a result of Hastings reportedly needed to spend $40 in video-store late charges for an overdue copy of “Apollo 13.”Netflix started renting motion pictures to prospects by mail in 1998, postage-paid return envelope included. According to Business Insider, Netflix mailed DVDs to about 2 million individuals in 2019.

“The DVD shifted everyone from renting to buying. When the studios realized that consumers were buying everything, that made them digitize their libraries. And that enabled streaming,” Arnold stated. “You could never rent videocassettes by mail. They were too big and bulky and heavy. Keep in mind that for 10 years, Netflix only rented discs by mail. DVD gave all of digital entertainment its start.”

Lasting legacy

Those small discs additionally launched us to the bottomless rabbit-hole that’s binge-watching.

When studios started placing complete seasons of TV reveals on DVD, you may pop in a single episode of “Friends,” and never depart your sofa for a whole weekend. Long earlier than we had been binging on “Bridgerton,” the DVD craze bought us hooked on devouring TV in a single grasping gulp.

“At one point in 2001, DVD TV shows accounted for $4 billion in consumer spending,” Arnold stated. “I remember a good friend of mine told his family he had to work while they went on vacation, and he stayed home and watched all six seasons of ‘The Sopranos.’ I think that paved the way for people to sit down and watch multiple seasons in one session, which laid the groundwork for streaming.”

Since Media Play News covers all points of residence leisure, Arnold is totally steeped within the comforting conveniences of streaming. But when he notices that everybody in his home is glued to a distinct display screen, every particular person in their very own separate room having their very own solitary expertise, he is aware of that comfort comes with caveats.

The disc itself is perhaps celebrating its silver anniversary, however that have of firing up the living-room TV and sharing a brand new film or TV present with the man followers in your life? That is pure leisure gold.

“A lot of stuff generates buzz, but with streaming, it is more of an individual experience now. And it never lasts long,” Arnold stated.

Here’s a roundup of notable releases popping out — in theaters and in your lounge — between now and the tip of the August:

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