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Why should I buy DVD/Blu-ray when I can stream it?

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 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.

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koga882668d ago

You bring up some good points here. Let's get the first obvious one out of the way though, a lot of people still enjoy owning the physical version of something compared to the digital version of something. This gets tossed around a bit for video games and movies as well, as many people can choose to download a game usually at a discounted price, there is always the attraction of actually owning that cartridge or disc.

That being said, it is also worth noting that unless you trade your shows in like you've said, those anime are always there in your closet or on your shelf for your viewing pleasure. Once you've bought them they are yours, unlike the subscription based services where as soon as you've stopped paying that monthly fee the anime instantly go away and unless you begin subscribing again to pay those fees then you're out those anime series.

Also as you've mentioned, some people have to deal with internet caps or slower-than-average internet speeds or even old computers that can't handle something like 1080p or even 720p without slowdown. I'll admit that if you're currently up to date with technology then perhaps streaming is the way to go and it is certainly a good option for those who are on a budget and don't mind picking up things digitally, but there is always a place for people who want to own the DVD or Blu-ray of a series.

Also many of those streaming services have restrictions of their own. Crunchyroll never offers FUNimation titles for example and also only features subtitled anime, while Netflix usually features only older anime series that don't seem to be updated often (not sure on this since I only used netflix a few months, but never saw many new series spring up) and the series on there are usually old. As for Elite, I'll admit I've never tried it so I can't say anything there and Neon Alley is kinda terrible thanks to the fact that it usually only replays re-runs of older shonen series and new episodes have to be monitored and caught at the right times thanks to the set-up. These newer episodes usually take forever to air as well and while it does seem that Viz's anime release schedule usually releases the whole part of a series after it has already debuted on Neon Alley, the service's limitations are a set-back for may.

So while each of those streaming services do offer the ability to see anime on the cheaper end of the spectrum and have a number of pluses to them, they also feature a number of negative drawbacks.

SynGamer2668d ago (Edited 2668d ago )

The more I re-read my post, the more I feel the need to separate the discussion between movies and sets/seasons. I will still continue to buy the movies (anime and others) that I feel I will enjoy multiple times. I'm frugal so I usually wait until I can find these for $10 or less anyway. With sets/seasons, those don't generally come down in price a considerable amount. At least, not very quickly.

For me, it comes down to "how often am I going to watch every episode of [title] season 1?" Sets are something I watch *maybe* once a year, if I'm lucky. So really, the cost just isn't worth it for something I will only enjoy a few times. That's why, for me, these streaming services are perfect. I can watch as much as I want during the month and the selection is great. Again, while FUNimation's Elite Roku app is...disappointing feature-wise, their selection of shows/movies is quite good. I highly recommend the 14 day trial to at least get an idea of where I am coming from when I tout the service/selection. Having multiple seasons at my disposal for only $7.95 a month is hard to pass up compared to buying sets individually.

Regarding Neon Alley, it's true that it's quite terrible in its current format. It's predefined shows and episodes, the video quality isn't HD in many cases, and re-runs galore! BUT, I do like the idea of an "channel" where I don't have to pick what to watch if I'm just craving anime. That said, I REALLY hope they offer a VOD option (without upping the price) in the near future. Why should I pay $8 a month for NA when I can get Elite for the same price. Or Netflix. Or Crunchyroll, which has A LOT of the latest anime from Japan, it's simply subtitled. I'm OK with subtitles, but I prefer dubbing simply so I can enjoy the animation.

My household currently subscribes to Netflix and Crunchyroll. We use FUNimation Elite on our Roku, it just has ads and not every show is available since we aren't a subscriber. So we're considering adding that in as well at some point in the future. Still, $24 a month for those 3 services is a great deal versus buying 1 or 2 sets a month...

ExCest2666d ago (Edited 2666d ago )

Well, Blu-rays and DVDs come with the extra bonuses (say OVAs and uncensored goodness) and tend to be of higher video quality than its streamed counterpart. So that's why we have fansubbers and rippers!

SynGamer2664d ago

As I mentioned above, FUNimation (and others) do have some of those features online via the Elite service. And if all else fails, Youtube generally has most of them. That said, you bring up a great point about the streaming video quality, or there lack of at times. However, most of the videos I watched via FUNimation and Crunchyroll were quite good on our HDTV. Naturally the older shows and movies don't hold up quite as well.

D3acon2665d ago

I like having a physical disc myself. The quality of blu ray is just better and with the quality of internet service in the united states you can't get true 1080p streaming.

Through my research for a good streaming service I chose crunchyroll premium. Getting shows just hours after airing is awesome but it does spoil you. Funimation however would be the winner with english dubbs but with no smart tv app and only services through computer or roku device I had to pass.
I have netflix as well but it seems they have been skimping on new anime so I may need to write an angry letter.

SynGamer2664d ago

If you get a chance I highly recommend trying out FUNimation's Elite service (14-day free trial:

I know you said you passed because it's computer/roku-only, but at the very least check out the selection. I was thoroughly impressed with how many offerings they had online (roku app was slightly limited at release). And as I said to ExCest, they offer "Interviews, con footage, and other extras" just like those that come packaged with the DVD/Blu-ray sets.

So for me, Crunchyroll and FUNimation Elite offer the best of both worlds for a fairly reasonable price.

Yokai2658d ago

The problem with the roku/website for Funimation's roku app is it blows really hard right now. Lag galore, not available to watch on so many dubbed titles and i seriously doubt that they give a damn about the service. Also the elite service sign up is seriously stupid you either have to try your luck with a debit card and hope it works, use a credit card or use paypal. While i use the service i find funimation's lack of support or caring it seems about their streaming a major issue. Another issue with streaming is that sentai, Viz media?, and media blasters dont have a VOD type service. Funimation titles are uncensored fyi. Netflix is ditching most of its anime, hulu blows with commercials.

WIth that said disks can eat up your proffit quite quick and its a pain to switch between disks and the likes depending if you go blu ray or dvd route. Altho the buying of new disks will make or break a series getting dubbed in the future, if there are more seasons.
Disks are great if your under a cap, traveling or dont have access to a computer/roku.

Be wary of Funimation streaming right now, wouldn't suggest signing up for it and using your 2 week trial till its been fixed a bit.