Are You Still Using DVDs? Here is What You Need to Know



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Some years ago, many of us collected our favorite films and TV shows on VHS tapes and then on disks (DVDs). At that time, the DVDs seemed like progressive technology, and the Blu-ray format that replaced DVD looked like something extraordinary. However, today there is no point in keeping the info on the disks – and we will try to explain why.

Are disks really a thing of the past?

There is no doubt. Neither music nor video is practically sold on discs, and the end of the game releases on Blu-ray is only a matter of time. With music and video, everything is clear – online media content services that sell music albums and films are much more convenient. Moreover, once you purchase a track or a movie, it is forever attached to your account, and you can download it at any time unless … a copyright owner will not delete it. However, it does not occur too often. In the end, you can store the most important files on a separate hard disk or a home network storage device (NAS). You can then connect it to your TV and enjoy the movie on a big screen. In case your TV is old and doesn’t accept a modern MP4 format, you can always use Freemake freeware to convert MP4 to AVI. Thus you will be able to watch purchased movies on your old TV.

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Some users prefer to store music in the cloud services – Dropbox, Google Drive, One Drive, and others. Even a small free volume is enough to save a variety of tracks. Besides, you will be able to access your music collection from any device and from any place where there is the Internet.

With games, everything is more complicated, but if in brief – you can also live without disks. For example, buying games in online stores like Steam, Origin, and many others is easier. For consoles — the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 — the disks are formally still needed, but it’s formally. In fact, the game does not start from the optical disk but from the hard drive of the console itself. And Blu-ray is merely used as a “key,” confirmation that you have bought the game. Of course, optical discs still have some advantages. For instance, you can resell the game if you don’t like it or give it to a friend, but subscriptions like the Xbox Game Pass are much more profitable. Some players share accounts or consoles with friends, buying games together.

Why do we not need the disks anymore?

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In fact, there are many reasons. But the main thing is that the disks are short-lived, and the price of their products is too high. If you are going to keep your DVD collection at home for years, be ready that you will also need to keep the old DVD player and be ready that some disks won’t play after all. You will have to store them very carefully.

The ability to extend the volume (or rather, its absence) is also an important drawback. Data volumes are growing while the disks are not upgraded. Today, the games can already occupy up to 100 gigabytes of space or even more, while today’s maximum for Blu-ray is 128 gigabytes. Moreover, not every Blu-ray drive is suitable for reading such discs.

By the way, the collection of old DVDs is also meaningless because all the films on these discs are recorded in a very low, by modern standards, resolution: a maximum of 720×576 pixels for the PAL standard. In the 4K HDR age, it sounds ridiculous. Moreover, an extremely inefficient MPEG-2 codec was used when recording a DVD. A two-hour similar quality film encoded with modern codecs will take about 1–1.5 GB. It means you can burn 3-4 such films onto a standard DVD, or one movie using DVD-Video standards.

Blu-ray already uses more efficient codecs, but they will soon become obsolete.

What can we use instead of a DVD?

Flash drives and memory cards, hard drives, cloud services – all of these options for storing information today are much more suitable than optical disks. Unless flash drives have the same relatively low reliability as optical discs, especially cheap ones. Therefore, if you really have a DVD collection in which you are more interested in the content, rather than beautiful covers, it is not too late to convert it into a more durable format.

At a minimum, you can just copy the contents of the DVD to your hard drive that you can watch as a regular DVD: the menu will work, you will be able to navigate through episodes, switch audio tracks. Many media players work fine with folders of files with DVD content. Or you can use the Freemake converter in MPEG-4 (H.264) and significantly reduce the volume occupied by the film without losing in quality (but the navigation through the menu will be lost).

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