Apps and Software

After 25 years, Netflix will finally stop shipping DVDs to people

End of an era.
By Alex Perry  on 
Netflix DVDs
A big blow to physical media. Credit: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Hello, youth. Did you know that Netflix still mails physical DVDs to people? Well, they do! But soon, they won't.

For those of us who remember this practice (which Netflix did for years before streaming was a thing), it's time to say goodbye. CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in a company blog post(opens in a new tab) on Tuesday that Netflix will ship out its final DVDs on Sept. 29. The move comes after a quarter century of Netflix sending discs to people.

Sarandos talked a bit about how important DVDs are to Netflix's history in the blog post:

Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming. From the beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered: the wide variety of the titles and the ability to binge watch entire series. DVDs also led to our first foray into original programming — with Red Envelope Entertainment titles including Sherrybaby and Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion.

Netflix started out in 1998 as a mail-order alternative to video rental stores like Blockbuster, Hollywood Video, and Family Video. Instead of physically traveling to a store and hoping they had whatever you wanted to watch in stock, you'd request something and Netflix would send it to you.

Some 5.2 billion (according to a graphic in Netflix's blog post) shipments later, it's coming to an end. Streaming has obviously become ubiquitous in the last decade and physical media has become the domain of purists. That said, there are still lots of movies that are only available on DVD and can't be easily streamed, so this is sort of a bummer in that respect.

You might want to hold onto that red Netflix envelope. It could become a collector's item someday.

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