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Posted by Donna Peng - Contact Authoremail icon

Streaming vs DVD? DVD is Better to Use in What Cases

With streaming skyrocketing in popularity and DVD sales dropping down in recent years, does this give a sign DVD is really fading away? Is DVD dead? Some people argue streaming is more convenient and cheaper than DVD, while some stick to physical media and insist even the best streaming experience cannot compete with the benefits of DVD, like its high quality. Here we compare streaming with DVD in availability, quality, features and ownership, etc. to show you why DVD is still around.

1. Availability and Accessibility

Compared with DVD, streaming lacks availability and permanence. This is because most streaming services feature a rotating library, wherein it's hard to find some old DVD movies you'd like to watch. For example, though Netflix streaming service keeps a massive movie library, many classics such as Planet of the Apes are only available on phycial media. This is also why millions of people still getting Netflix DVDs by mail. Even if the movie is available on Netflix or other streaming services, it won't be there for long as they constantly rotate, and worse still, the movie you are addicted to will vaporize overnight.

With physical DVD, the movie is there on the shelf without evaporation, ready for you to access whenever you need. Even if you want to declutter your DVD collection for space saving one day, you're allowed to sell old DVDs, donate DVDs or recycle them creatively. Anyway, you can turn "waste" into wealth.

dvd vs streaming
DVD vs streaming

Learn More: Top 10 hard to find DVD movies that aren't available on streaming services >>

Please note that every DVD has a shelf life and it is truly sucks when the disc gets a scratch or fingerprint. While collecting physical discs, be sure to backup DVDs, so that you can watch it without worrying about scratches.

2. High Cost on High Quality

In theory, streaming services offer substantially denser and sharper images than the older 480p-resolution DVD. But inferior quality is universally true to many streaming videos versus DVD, even when you paid for an HD or 4K subscription.

On one hand, streaming is beholden to the vagaries of underpowered home internet connection. When the bandwidth is weak, videos are often compressed from GBs down to MBs for efficient streaming over the internet. But the video compression used for streaming services is barely acceptable compared to that for DVDs. Therefore, information is inevitably lost along the way and you may end up watching movies with pixilated image and artifacts. What's worse, if you live in a rural area, you will have buffering issue despite having 5X the necessary speed for streaming. But if you watch movies with DVD, you will never struggle with broadband access.

On the other hand, the streamed version doesn't guarantee a 100% high quality compared with physical media. This is true especially when you watch some classics or old series. Many people respond that they get the original resolution (480p) whenever they stream the movie on a player's streaming feature or watch the same on the standalone player.

Meanwhile, the good streaming experience also relies on the hardware meant to handle the HD/4K streamed version or support newer codec like HEVC, the display screen and the viewing distance. When the hardware isn't capable of supporting 4K or other power-consuming content, playback will be choppy. And you'd better downgrade video resolution, change video codec or spend money on hardware configuration upgrade.

3. Ownership

There are times that your beloved movies or TV series suddenly disappear and end up on a totally different service, and you have to pay for another streaming service for them. Here is a case: Gone with the Wind got cancelled from HBO Max streaming platform, due to the depiction of slavery and Civil War-era South. Frankly, rather than owning the true movies or TV series, the monthly subscription you paid for, whether it is Disney+, Apple TV+ or Netflix, is more like an unlimited rental card. As soon as you cancel the streaming subscription, you lose the access to all the movies tragically.

But with DVDs, nobody can kick in your door and take away your favorite movie. You can watch the movie whenever you are as many times as you want in the highest possible quality. More than that, you can share the DVDs with friends and families.

Related: Where to buy DVDs and save money >>

4. Extras

Streaming is believed to lag behind physical media when it comes to the extra features. Compared with streamed version, physical DVD comes packed with extras, from theatrical cut, director's cut to commentary tracks. These behind-the-scenes featurettes help you understand how the movies are made, including the whole filmmaking process.

For the extras such as promotional materials, you are suggested to cut them off with a third-party DVD editor if you don't want to watch them.


People shunning DVD are on the opposite side of the price and convenience fence. They argue that they are limited to watching DVDs on TV, computer or gaming system, whereas streaming is available on almost any device that can connect to the internet. On the other hand, most streaming services are cheap, priced between $10 and $15, with which you can get access to a crap load of movies and TV shows. So many people are prone to video streaming, even though the quality falls short of DVD.

As far as I am concerned, if it is the first time you want a movie, streaming is preferred. But if you want to watch it multiple times and refuse to be seduced by the lower-quality streaming content, DVDs are still the go-to media.

Please note that DVDs aren't immune to the ravages of time. This is really a headache if you're rough with them. Plus, the DVD library does take up a lot of shelf space in their thick plastic cases. It's highly recommended to turn DVD into digital copy beforehand as a backup and make more room. This is a truly feasible solution especially when many manufacturers such as Microsoft and Apple ditches the disc drive and embrace the all-digital era.

To do the task, you can try WinX DVD Ripper Platinum - a 100% safe DVD ripper that can make 1:1 DVD copy and convert any DVD to digital MP4, MOV, AVI, etc without losing quality. Therefore, you can watch your movies on your TV, computer, smartphone, gaming system or media player anywhere anytime, without worrying about internet connection or taking up your house space.


author - Donna Peng

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Donna Peng's fascination with multimedia began at an early age - shortly after she licked the physical disc and then she's been obsessed ever since. Her decade-long career at Digiarty after the graduation has seen her unmatched expertise in the field of DVD, digital video, software and anything related to home theatre. She is currently fascinated with photography.

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