Is Netflix Abandoning Physical Media Too Soon?

Broken Disc

One of the reasons Netflix rose in popularity was its carriage of lower budget indie films and obscure classics that Blockbuster simply didn’t have shelf space for. Mounting evidence seems to suggest that Netflix is now choosing not to acquire as many of those types of titles due to its pursuit of digital streaming delivery. Further, it appears Blu-ray is becoming even more niche in these categories.

Stephen Bowie of The Classic TV History Blog cites several examples and even goes on to compare Netflix to Vestron Video which was completely marginalized back in the ’80’s once studios figured out how much money was to be made in home video distribution.

Are you noticing fewer titles available with Netflix and do you think Netflix will go the way of Vestron Video?

Netflix is more likely to end up as the Vestron Video of the twenty-first century.  Vestron, you’ll recall, was an independent label that thrived in the mid-eighties by licensing movies from the major studios and releasing them on VHS – until the studios realized that there was serious money to be made in videotape.  Suddenly, no more Vestron.  I don’t believe that the studios will ever license their most valuable content – the newest hits, the Academy Award winners, the current Nielsen champions – to Netflix for streaming.  The big content owners will build their own platforms, separately or together, and leave Netflix out in the cold.

The Classic TV History Blog

  • I’ve noticed several movies I

    I’ve noticed several movies I want to see on Blu-ray are still just on DVD months after release.  And recently someone lost the animated version of ‘The Hobbit’ disc and it has gone unavailable for quite a while; no clue if they’ll even bother to restock it. =(

  • I haven’t noticed any

    I haven’t noticed any changes, but I generally only use Netflix to get new releases (BluRay) that I don’t have a desire to own. If Netflix gets rid of physical media they lose me as a customer, online streaming is just no match for BluRay in both audio and video…

    • The only reason I’m still

      The only reason I’m still with NetFlix is because of their vast library.  If they stop carrying the more obscure titles then there’s nothing to keep me from jumping ship and switching to RedBox.  I’ll end up renting fewer movies each month, but I’ll also be saving more money.

  • I’ve seen some instances

    I’ve seen some instances where some slightly obscure TV shows are DVD only.  I have never had a problem where a disk I wanted wasn’t even available.


    Redbox never has the new releases I want to watch in BD either, so I see no reason I start using Redbox.  It also requires a trip to the supermarket and it’s not that convienent for me.


    I’ve now gotten used to being last to get a new release and it doesn’t bother me much.  Yesterday I got 127 hours and Secratariat.  That’s isn’t THAT far from their release schedule.


    Typically if I don’t have a movie I want to watch, I’ll stream it from AppleTV.  It’s expensive, but it keeps my wife happy and it’s only a couple times a month.

  • Streaming is good for

    Streaming is good for convenience, but when I really want to see a movie I want the blu-ray of it.  Honestly, most of what I stream are TV shows and I don’t mind their quality being less.

  • I’d love it if Netflix

    I’d love it if Netflix started carrying 3D Blu-rays.  Seems like it’s a niche market they’re missing out on.  Lots of movies I have no desire to buy but I’d like to actually use my 3D glasses on occasion.  With streaming being their new bread and butter, I’m not holding my breath for it.

    • You’ve got a Samsung display,

      You’ve got a Samsung display, right? Check out VUDU. They rent 3D titles now. There’s also some 3D demos, but I have yet to check them out.

      • Any idea how the 3D titles

        Any idea how the 3D titles are presented (SbS, TB, frame-sequential)?

        • I imagine it’s frame

          I imagine it’s frame compatible, but I’ll check it out tonight and see if I can determine.

        • Just found the answer from a

          Just found the answer from a VUDU engineer. SBS or TB depending on what is better for the content.

          • swoon wrote:Just found the


            Just found the answer from a VUDU engineer. SBS or TB depending on what is better for the content.


            Very interesting.  I’ll have to check that out.

      • Cool, I may have to check

        Cool, I may have to check that out.  I watched Tangled 3D and was quite impressed by the effect and now want to try some more.  The youtube 3D channel is bit sparse on content but does have a few shorts that aren’t bad.

  • I’ll comment on this post if

    I’ll comment on this post if my Netflix queue ever dips below 300 😛


    • I did some pocket math on my

      I did some pocket math on my queue once.  At the time it was around 3 1/2 years of non-stop 24/hr viewing to clear my DVD and instant out.  It’s way worse now (I blame all the Anime series they keep adding to instant).

      I’m currently bummed that the original Tron is only available on DVD and not Blu-ray on Netflix right now.  I can’t understand why; I got Tron Legacy Blu-ray in the mail from them today but I can’t do the original.  They just like to tease me.