The death of Netflix discs

Exclusive to MeierMovies, April 20, 2023

Netflix announced on April 18 that it is ending its disc-by-mail program ( This is the thing that started it all: easy access to tens of thousands of movies and TV shows in the comfort of your own home. It changed the world of cinema. Now, with its demise, it is changing cinema again – for the worse.

Hundreds of thousands of film lovers, critics and historians rely on this program to watch classic films and TV shows. These titles simply can’t be found anywhere else, unless you’re lucky enough to still have a great rental store in your hometown. But few of those exist anymore thanks in part, ironically, to Netflix. Of course, one can always spend thousands of dollars buying these titles or try to find them on streaming services that specialize in classics, such as Kanopy. But the former idea is too costly and impractical, and the latter service offers only a small fraction of the titles that Netflix discs offer.

Newer titles will be more difficult to get too, as the Netflix disc customer will now have to subscribe to multiple streaming services to get the same content currently offered by Netflix discs.

The news is shocking but not entirely unexpected, as the disc service has been declining in recent years. (See my article from June 2022.) But the death still feels too soon, and too sudden.

Though we’ve enjoyed, with eager anticipation, the arrival of our iconic red envelopes over the last two decades, it’s not really about the DVD or the Blu-ray. Many Netflix disc customers would be just as happy to stream these titles – if they were available. But they aren’t. Case in point: Of the 180 titles currently in my Netflix disc queue, only three are available to stream. So I implore Netflix to add as many of their disc titles to their streaming service as they can. If they don’t, the world of cinema will suffer an inconceivable, devastating blow when the service is discontinued on September 29 and the last envelope is mailed. It will be like losing our best friend.

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