Streaming blues: Or how I never learned to worship Netflix and buy CDs instead

By Tomas Gerardo T. Araneta
Streaming blues: Or how I never learned to worship Netflix and buy CDs instead

Last week, I was stuck in an unusual conundrum: what should I give as a wedding gift to my friend? Being the usual anti-social person, I immediately thought of resorting to my usuals: a book, or, say, a well-curated DVD.

I realized neither option would be appropriate, as my friend is usually mired and prematurely buried in brain-altering work to appreciate a good read. Also, I intuited he didn't have a DVD player anymore.

I was right.

So, the plan to give him a pristine copy of “Gone with the Wind” was gone with the wind, replaced by the easier (and costlier) proposal of a bottle of Japanese whisky.

After the occasion, I was left to ponder: Is the age of giving movies to friends as gifts gone? What would replace it? Movie tickets? A promissory note to pay your Amazon Prime subscription for a year?

This predicament did not exist before. In ancient times (about 2005-2012), I could recall a family friend giving her child a VCD copy of “The Amazing Spider-Man” as a gift.

I had a teacher who swore that all he wanted as a gift was a copy of the Dolly Parton comedy movie “Straight Talk.”

Both wants were remediable by a visit to your nearest home media provider. Now, I'm not sure how to address these particular wants.

Maybe the people moved with the times, and I got left behind. After all, one consequence of innovation has been eradicating the former status quo.

But then I remember the radio and the countless people in the hinterlands and the cities still listening to disembodied voices spouting local humor.

The massive popularity of Spotify and Apple podcasts hasn't eradicated the antiquated charm of the radio. So, the question stands: Is there any love for home media left in any sector of modern Filipino society?

Probably not. Aside from the die-hard collectors, the majority of the hoi polloi have forgotten what the dusty rectangle beneath their photo albums does.

Who needs it when all it does is force one to get out of their homes to search for individual titles and to feel the resulting frustration when that hunt turns fruitless? The time spent on this ordeal could have been used for more productive activities like shopping, working, bar-hopping, etc.

The bottom line is that hunting for home media is more of a chore than an actual chore and is not as fulfilling as other earthly vices. And there's streaming.

But let's return to my example above: What would you do if your friend or colleague wanted a copy of “Straight Talk?” A search for it on Netflix will do you no good: it's only available on Amazon Prime or Apple TV. That's another subscription to pay for just a single movie.

Also, you better hurry before the aforementioned streaming services lose their rights over the movie, rendering the latter unwatchable and floating in streaming limbo. I guess your friend has to settle for the latest Zack Snyder monstrosity on Netflix.

I miss the times when other options were still available for the average home viewer. I also miss giving movies as gifts, a way of sharing my appreciation with other people. Now look what this streaming generation has wrought: I'm running out of whiskey to give!*


Tomas Gerardo T. Araneta's passion is writing what interests him the most. Those things include movies, books, and other unnoticed social phenomena.


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