Why I Can Live Without Blu-ray

There was a time in my life, not too long ago, that I thought I couldn't live without the Blu-ray player sitting in my living room. I reasoned that since I'm such a big film and television buff, not having Blu-ray available to me would be a major issue.

But over the weekend, I had an epiphany.

I sat down on Sunday and decided to revisit Battlestar Galactica from the beginning of the series. But rather than go to my Blu-ray box set, I instead went to Netflix, found the episode I wanted to watch, and turned it on. At no point did I get up out of my chair to watch the show.

In that moment, I realized what had just occurred. And I started to thinking back at the recent times that I have ditched Blu-ray in favor of a streaming option. When those thoughts came back, I came to one unlikely conclusion: I don't really need Blu-ray.

If I take into account all of my entertainment viewership each month, the amount of time I spend watching a movie or television show on Blu-ray is extremely limited. For the most part, I watch some of my favorite shows while they air. And if I happen to miss them, I can typically go to Hulu Plus and watch an episode.

When it comes to movies, I typically go to theaters to see films I'm really interested in. If I want to watch a movie at home, though, I've found myself going to Netflix more and more. When new films aren't available on Netflix, I've found it easier to simply go to my cable provider's on-demand channels and pick the film I'd like to watch.

In the last month, I didn't even touch a Blu-ray disc. And I didn't mind it one bit.

When I started talking to friends about my discovery, I was surprised to find that many of them didn't even own a Blu-ray player, and quite shockingly, they didn't have any desire to get one. One friend told me that with all the streaming he does, Blu-ray is an additional expense that he doesn't need to take on.

He makes a good point. Good Blu-ray players are still quite expensive — I bought my last player over the winter for $169 — and buying Blu-ray content is not cheap either. Considering Netflix and Hulu Plus cost just $8 per month for unlimited streaming, and Redbox is available for those who want to rent a film for just $1 a day, it turns out many of us don't necessarily need Blu-ray.

Of course, I'm sure there are some out there that would disagree with that sentiment. They will quickly point to Blu-ray's 1080p video quality and outstanding sound, and say that it's an integral part of any home-theater set-up. Others would point to Blu-ray storage capacity as a key feature.

But as of late, I haven't been as willing to admit those benefits as I have in the past. Sure, 1080p is nice, but for many folks, 720p is just fine. And the improved sound can only be enjoyed with the proper set-up — something many consumers don't have. And considering how cheap external storage devices are nowadays, I'm not so quick to jump on the Blu-ray bandwagon.

Maybe my interests are changing or perhaps I'm just jumping to a premature conclusion. But I'm starting to think that I don't need Blu-ray in my home. With all the other options available to me, it seems like an extra addition that costs too much over the long-term for the added benefit it provides.