(NEXSTAR) — It may be hard to remember but there was once a time when the future giant of streaming video was a DVD/BluRay-by-mail service. First launched in 1998, Netflix operated successfully via mail delivery for several years before shifting its focus to streaming video in February 2007.
These days, Netflix is synonymous with on-demand streaming content — so much so that many new users may not even know the DVD/BluRay service is still around. While it still exists, it now operates under the name DVD.com.
There are currently three plans through DVD.com, all of which are billed separately from Netflix’s streaming service:
- Basic — Cost: $9.99 per month. Benefits: Unlimited number of rentals per month but only one disc out-at-a-time
- Standard — Cost: $14.99 per month. Benefits: Unlimited number of rentals per month but only two discs out-at-a-time
- Premium — Cost: $19.99 per month. Benefits: Unlimited number of rentals per month but only three discs out-at-a-time
Netflix did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the number of disc-by-mail subscribers, however, tech outlet Wired reported in 2019 that over two million people were still subscribed. As of the same year, Netflix filed a $300 million annual revenue report with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company notes that one of the benefits of the service is that it’s DVD/BluRay library includes titles that may not be available for streaming.
Recent changes in offerings to several major streaming services, like HBO Max, have created renewed conversation about streaming vs. physical media. In the wake of an announced merger with the Discovery+ streaming service, several movies and shows disappeared from HBO Max, including the Seth Rogen vehicle “An American Pickle” and the teen romcom “Moonshot.”
Additionally, with each new month of the year, a slate of several streaming options is removed and replaced with others across all services.
While DVDs and BluRays may seem antiquated to some, the discs have never really gone away. New movies and TV shows are still released on discs each week, often with exclusive commentaries, features and supplemental materials.
For the streaming weary, it’s also important to remember your local library may have a robust DVD and BluRay catalog. While streaming isn’t going anywhere soon, there are still options to track down movies you can’t find online.