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A lot has changed since the Fall of 1998 when I wrote “Will Our Media Wear Out?“. In addition to “floppy” diskettes of the 8″ and 5.25″ variety, 3.5″ diskettes, and cassette tapes of various sizes, most of us have also accumulated piles of CDs, and now DVDs. In time they will all be artifcats of the past.

This past summer I converted more than 400 CDs that I collected over the years into a MP3 digital collection which I can now select and play from a Lansonic digital audio system. It is clear that in time it will be just as easy to convert DVDs into digital format. It can be done already but it is not as easy as with music. I decided I don’t want to go through the painstaking process when the time comes and so I signed up for Netflix.

The Netflix proposition is not inexpensive but it is compelling. The sign-up process on the website is eary and the cost of the service is $29.95 per month. To get started you select three DVDs of your choice. They claim to have a selection of 12,000 — it wasn’t that long ago there were only a handful to choose from. The DVDs are sent to you and each DVD arrives in a remailer package — self addressed with pre-paid postage. You can keep the DVDs as long as you want — really. When you send back a DVD, Netflix automatically sends you the next DVD from the list of choices you make on their website. You can make the list as long as you like and you organize the list in the sequence in which you would like to receive them. You get new DVDs as fast you send back the ones you have watched — and so on.

Why not own the DVDs instead of renting them? Many people like to collect them but haivng converted more than 400 CDs, I don’t want to go through the process again. It won’t be long and you will be able to set up the list of DVDs that you want to watch and download them to a very large RAID5 storage system in your basement or closet where the movies can reside with your music and photo collections.