Over the past few months I have begun to go through my anime collection of DVDs and Blu-rays. Admittedly I've gotten a lot of use out of my sets over the years. But with the advent of online streaming services such as Amazon, Netflix, FUNimation Elite, Crunchyroll, and Neon Alley, my sets now gather dust. It was by chance that I came across the trade-in value for Summer Wars on blu-ray at Amazon.com. I recall paying about $15 when this came out and here Amazon was offering roughly $8. I've watched the movie about a handful of times, great movie too, but I felt the trade-in value was too good to pass up.
This got me interested in other movies and sets I own. One thing led to another and soon enough my blu-ray collection had been cut in half (not all of it anime). I bring this up because I've found FUNimation's Elite service on Roku to be primitive in features but quite pleasing in the number of titles they offer. Instead of paying $35 for season 1 of "Baka and Test", I can watch it on Elite. And this goes for countless other shows.
Now, I'm sure a lot of people will say "but what about the special features and opening/ending songs?" That's a great point and thankfully FUNimation offers some of these specials/extras for viewing. And the opening/ending credits for almost every anime can be found online via Vimeo or Youtube. When it comes to the core show itself, it just doesn't make sense to buy sets anymore. I'm sure there are a number of people who like their collections at home and I'm one of them. But with the economy where it is right now, my money goes far further with monthly streaming services than it does buying the movies and sets individually.
And that brings up my final thought on the matter; buying individually. I'm positive we have all been faced with the dilemma of what to buy. "Do I buy [this] or do I buy [that]?!" I can pay $35 now for a DVD/Blu-ray set OR that same $35 I could subscribe to Netflix, Elite, Crunchyroll, and/or Neon Alley for roughly four months. Factor in the convenience of streaming (aside from possible data caps) and I honestly believe this is the future of anime releases.