To stream or not to stream: Are box sets a thing of the past?

Natalie Chigariro and Lou Siday battle over which format provides the best TV experience

Natalie Chigariro
11th March 2019
Image- Wikimedia Commons- Kosboot

There is a myriad of logistical and practical reasons why physical box sets are superior to streaming.
Firstly, boxsets don’t have the bloody auto play feature. There’s no opportunity for any of that ‘just one more episode’ nonsense. Once a season is over, it’s over. You’re forced to take a break from the TV binge and re-evaluate your life, which is impossible in the 6 or so seconds Netflix gives you before plunging you into the following episode.

The faff of swapping discs over means you’ll opt for slumber instead, hereby saving you from the inevitable, self-destructive sleep deprivation that is enabled by auto-play. A 2017 survey by Ofcom revealed that 32% of British adults lose out on sleep (and subsequently productivity) because of streaming services. Whether you like it or not, physical box sets create boundaries which stop you from binge-watching until you hate yourself. Furthermore, physical box sets don’t and can’t live in your pockets the way streaming apps do so are far less likely to encroach on your productivity.

Secondly, with physical box sets, you don’t have to wait for your shitty Wi-Fi to buffer as all your housemates simultaneously attempt to stream things. With a trusty DVD or Blu Ray, you can enjoy immersive, uninterrupted viewing experiences.

As an added bonus, over and above their entertainment function, physical box sets are great for their decorative value when they’re sat on your shelf. The pink hues of The Sex and the City box sets; the metallic shimmer of Orange is the New Black. As students, our finances are tight so finding a product with multiple possible uses is essential and ingenious. Also, what a great conversation starter for new houseguests. No one (other than psychology students) can read your mind to know what shows you might both be into!
Ditch the streaming, head back to old school DVDs to save your degree!

-Natalie Chigariro

Nobody owns a DVD player anymore. I think I am the only person I know whose laptop has a disk drive, and that’s only because I bought it years ago. So who is still buying boxsets?

People obviously are. Go into HMV or a supermarket and shelves are stacked with recent releases. On amazon you can buy the complete boxset of The IT Crowd for twenty quid. The most recent series of Luther sets you back thirteen pounds if you want the cardboard box with Idris Elba looking suave on the front. I mean, fair enough, who doesn’t want a picture of Idris Elba looking suave, but do we want the DVDs that come with it?

For the twenty pounds you have spent on the complete boxset of the IT Crowd you could get a takeaway, a few bottles of wine, and enjoy them while you stream the IT Crowd on Channel Four’s website. For free. Luther can be found on the internet, also iPlayer has every single episode available to stream.

Most people are buying these DVD boxsets as a gift. Stop. It is the equivalent of buying soap or bath bombs. Yeah, thank you, but this will sit on my shelf for years until I finally chuck it out or give it to a charity shop. Nobody who is a fan of Luther wants to get the most recent series on DVD, because they have just watched it on telly. Buy them something else, anything else. Nobody who has never seen the IT Crowd wants the entire boxset because, if they wanted to watch it, they would have. And, they probably don’t even have a DVD player to watch it on. It will go on their DVD shelf with the other boxsets still in cellophane, by the TV, where they stream good telly they want to watch for free.

-Lou Siday

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