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  • Writer's pictureA.H. Plotts

RIP Netflix DVDs

Am I alone in remembering what life was like before streaming?

Those of us of an age, before the Internet took over, remember when DVD rental stores were our only option and how hard it was to get hold of good movies without buying them. Oh, and how hard it was to buy them because this was the time prior to the behemoth market we now know as Amazon.

Those were also the days of going to the movie theater so see a film on the large screen before, if ever, it was shown on television. When you had to time it just right, when and where you would go to see the latest blockbuster films to avoid long lines snaking outside and around the movie theater.

Yes. Long lines.

Some of us stood in them for hours. The craziest of us film goers even stayed overnight at times to be first to see the films we’d been waiting weeks – months – years for.

Then along came Netflix.

Netflix started as one company out of my hometown of San Jose, in the heart of Silicon Valley. I just drove past their sadly quiet headquarters the other day. The idea was revolutionary when it started in 1998. Instead of having to venture out of your home and/or office to rent a DVD out of a store, which cost us a lot in terms of time as well as money, why not receive your DVDs in the mail, on a regular basis? For a small fee – I think we paid $10.00 a month for two movies at a time at first – we could watch as much and as often as the mail service could return and deliver our films.

Two movies at a time? My film-loving hubby and I could watch two movies in a single day. Let's just say Netflix might have lost money on us. We definitely got our money's worth out of the service these past 25 years.

Netflix was a lifesaver when it came to entertainment options during some of our roughest times. My hubby and I traveled a lot in those days. Lived overseas, both together and apart, and Netflix helped keep us sane. Before streaming we were able to receive Netflix films in other countries by way of the U.S. government’s mail service for embassies and military. Receiving Netflix films by mail was a respite from some harsh living conditions and work stresses. Those red envelopes were a welcomed piece of America and meant we had to make time to sit and relax and forget where we were or why we were there for just a little while.

We get so much of our film entertainment through multiple streaming services these days. There's little room for innovation. We don't collect DVDs like we used to, and we can buy anything with one click through Amazon. Everything is so easily acquired, and so few movies are even available on DVD. We think we don’t need a DVD rent-by-mail service any longer.

I hope we're right.

I'll miss re-ordering our Netflix cue every now and then, moving movies up to the top of the list. I’ll miss the excitement of receiving the red envelope in the mail, anticipating which movies we received until reading the tiny description on the white inner sleeve. I'll miss putting the movie right into the DVD player and being pleasantly surprised when the title comes up on the screen.

I’ll miss you, Netflix DVDs. Life would never have been this good without you.

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