You Can Still Get DVDs From Netflix (and Maybe You Should)
Am I the only one who didn’t know Netflix still offered DVDs? The company has been all-in on streaming for so long, I guess I assumed its physical media fell away at some point between House of Cards and...
Photo: karen roach (Shutterstock)
Am I the only one who didn’t know Netflix still offered DVDs? The company has been all-in on streaming for so long, I guess I assumed its physical media fell away at some point between House of Cards and Squid Games. However, even in 2022, you can mail yourself movies and TV shows directly from Netflix, so long as you have a device that play discs. And if you do, you might actually want to.
Depending on your age, it might surprise you to learn that Netflix started out as a DVD service way back in 1997. You placed an order online for the movies you wanted to watch, and Netflix would mail you the DVD, one at a time. You watched the DVD, mailed it back, and another would magically appear in your mailbox. It was Blockbuster without leaving your home, which is why everyone blames Netflix for killing the video store chain (even though Blockbuster had their own DVD mail-in service, as well).
Once their streaming service took off in popularity, they tried to split the two into two distinct options: Netflix (streaming), and Qwikster (DVDs). If you’re wondering what the hell Qwikster is, that’s because Netflix abandoned the name after less than a month. Now, Netflix owns the domain dvd.com, which is a much better name.
Although Netflix’s current DVD service isn’t well known (or, at least, not well known to me), it isn’t all that cheap. There are three tiers, with the only difference being the number of DVDs you receive at any given time. For $9.99 per month, you get one DVD; $14.99 nets you two; and $19.99 earns you three. Universal perks include unlimited discs per month, no due dates or late fees, and no charge for shipping or returns (although there is an asterisk next to that entry with no explanation anywhere on the support page).
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Screenshot: Jake Peterson
Still, it might be worth the money depending on who you are. For starters, it restores Netflix’s status as the service with “everything.” We used to think that of Netflix: Just about anything you could think to watch, you could find. In recent years, however, as more and more studios want their own streaming services, Netflix lost more and more shows and movies. Now, you search for something to watch, and, more often than not, Netflix recommends you “similar” titles, since it doesn’t have the thing you’re actually interested in.
That doesn’t change when something leaves Netflix, either. Breaking Bad, a show propelled by Netflix, will eventually leave the platform. But even after that, you can order up the show, season by season, and enjoy it one disc at a time. Netflix doesn’t report how many titles they have to offer you, but they do say you can watch “almost every movie and TV show you want to,” with movies from the 1910s until now. That’s a lot of discs.
Speaking of discs, it’s not all DVDs over at Netflix. While DVDs still have their place, Netflix also offers Blu-rays for no extra charge. It doesn’t seem like Netflix offers 4K Blu-rays, so you will miss out on the extra resolution and HDR. However, 1080p Blu-rays still look excellent, and are way more of a visual jump from 480p DVDs than 1080p is to 4K. Plus, with physical media, there’s no need to worry about a slow internet connection ruining your movie night. There’s no buffering with a Blu-ray.
While the price is a little steep on the surface, it isn’t that bad if you’re someone who watches a fair amount of movies. If you’re constantly renting the latest flicks from services like Apple TV or Google Play, you’ll find Netflix’s offering to be much cheaper. For example, if you rent Where the Crawdads Sing and Jurassic World Dominion for $5.99 each, you’re already spending more than a month’s worth of discs from Netflix. Those titles are currently available on Netflix’s DVD service, by the way, so you can watch much of the same content for less.
As we’ve talked about before, there’s still a place for physical media. Netflix might not advertise its DVD service much in 2022, opting instead to spend its marketing budget on its streaming content. But dvd.com is something every movie and TV buff should consider. You can choose to add the service to your current Netflix plan, or subscribe to it by itself. $9.99 per month doesn’t sound so bad if you ditch Netflix proper for $19.99/month.
If you already have a Netflix account, sign into netflix.com, click your profile in the top right, then choose “Account.” Click “Add DVD plan,” and follow the on-screen instructions. If you don’t have a Netflix account, you can simply sign up for a Netflix DVD account through dvd.com or dvd.netflix.com.