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The Death of Physical Media and Why it Matters
Collection of DVDs – Credit:

Best Buy has recently announced that they will stop selling DVDs and Blu-rays in 2024. Is anybody else getting flashbacks to Blockbuster right now? Physical media like DVDs, CDs, and vinyl, have seen declines in production and sales So many stores have opted to cut back on selling them altogether. This is a very unfortunate thing because physical media still offers so much to consumers that online alternatives like streaming cannot.

In a physical DVD or vinyl/CD, the quality of your product is better than in a streaming alternative.

According to, Blu-ray discs store the audio and video quality onto the disk itself, making the picture very clear on a screen. When a movie or show is streamed, it gets compressed and the quality is suppressed to fit in the bandwidth of an internet connection. The same works for a vinyl record or a CD when compared to streaming or even a native digital copy. According to, the average bit-rate of a cd is 1411 kbps, while the average bit-rate of an mp3 is about 320 kbps. While a vinyl record may be less technologically advanced than a CD, there are many vinyl collectors like myself who still value this piece of musical technology.

Many cinephiles, audiophiles, or collectors of other kinds appreciate the quality of their products, whether that be visual, auditory, or otherwise. These collectors would find their passion to be much harder to keep if mainstream stores stop selling physical media. 

What’s more, in a product stored in the cloud or online, you technically don’t own the product itself. 

In any online storefront, whether that be Steam, Spotify, or Disney+, the product you want can be altered, changed, or outright removed from said service without any user choice in the matter.

In the case of music streaming, there are certain songs or albums that are locked from user listening for unexplained reasons. The same goes for video games on Steam. Publishers can remove their game from the storefront and even make the game unplayable to people who have already installed it. 

Others argue that in the internet era, convenience is the most important thing in media. While convenience is a valuable thing in today’s age, these pieces of physical media still have a place in today’s world.

One of the biggest reasons for choosing physical media is preservation. Preservation of physical media is an important thing in a time where censorship plagues society. Preserving physical media protects consumers from censorship when, like mentioned earlier, internet-based media can be altered or removed. 

“Lost Media” is a term seen a lot nowadays, used to describe a piece of media that is missing or nonexistent to the general public. There are many internet historians who work to recover these lost pieces of history, thanks to physical media being available forever.

In the end, physical media may not be as convenient as a streaming alternative, but it still contributes to society in many ways, and it still has a place in today’s world.

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