No More Scratchy DVDs

I am sure this blog will sound crazy to people who don’t watch DVDs as much as we do in my family. I don’t mean the occasional adult classic like Casablanca or It’s A Wonderful Life that you might break out around Christmas. Those are classic movies that I could understand owning and watching now and again (although why does it seem we only watch our movies once?). I am thinking instead of the DVDs I have purchased over the years for my kids. It started with Baby Einsteins, then graduated to Disney movies and now contains everything in between. I love the convenience of having a kid’s favorite movie available anytime, anywhere, playable on the home DVD player but also on my laptop computer. But no matter how hard I try, these DVDs ultimately get scratched to the point of no return.

True, this is because my kids settle on a particular movie and have to watch it 400 times. I understand how that could cause some wear and tear. But it’s also because my 3 year old is fascinated by the idea of taking one DVD and sliding it into my computer while I am working, then pressing Eject to take it out and try another selection. No wonder these DVDs are scratched!

Just when I thought I was too frustrated to buy another DVD again, I decided to try renting a movie from itunes. I have to admit, I was skeptical at first-how could I possibly download a movie for 24 hours and then have it magically go away? I was worried it would leave and take my hard drive with it. Feeling confident that Apple wouldn’t make that big of a product error, I tried it and believe it or not, it worked and it was easy! This way I can rent a movie online for something like $3 and return it just as I would if I went to a rental store, but I don’t have to worry about scratching up the actual DVD. If I decide to actually buy a movie, they are the same price as the DVDs in stores ($9.99-$14.99) but again, no DVD, it just lives on my computer.

There are downsides to this idea. This isn’t ideal if you want to watch movies on your TV. Also, the DVD is only going to live on the machine where you download it, so you can’t watch it one day in the living room and then share it with a friend the next day. However, if you have a laptop that you use for road-trips with the kids or flights, or if you let them watch on your computer, this is a sensible alternative to the scratchy DVDs that were once so cool and innovative but have now become more wasteful plastic, at least in my house. Although I shouldn’t quite call scratched-up DVDs completely useless when they make sure a nice flying saucer for my daughter’s tiny dolls.

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