If you’re anything like most people, as soon as streaming went mainstream, you stopped adding to your DVD collection. And while having access to any movie you want at any time you want on a single app seems like a preferable alternative to buying and storing a metric ton of plastic discs, it has some major downsides. Just ask James Cameron, who recently schooled Forbes on the importance of still buying physical media in 2023.
The Limitation Of Streaming
The famed writer-director was promoting the brand-new 4K restoration of The Abyss when he expressed his feelings on the importance of holding on to physical copies of media in a streaming world. “I think what we’re seeing is the limitation of streaming.” James Cameron told Forbes. “In the last year or so, we’ve woken up and realized, ‘Hey, we’re missing something where we’re all having the same conversation about a piece of media,’ because it was just such an endless stream.”
Killing The Movie Theater Industry
James Cameron is referring, of course, to the shared experience that used to come from having a more limited selection of movies and shows to choose from. Big event films used to get everyone out of the house and into the theater because A) there wasn’t the option to watch every other movie ever made at the push of a button and B) they knew that if they didn’t, they might have to wait up to a year before the movie was released on home video. With streaming windows shrinking and thousands of other pieces of content to keep them busy, cinephiles will often skip the movies in favor of waiting a month and catching the movie at home on Netflix.
But the decision to watch movies from the comfort of your own home isn’t in and of itself the problem. Clearly the filmmaker wouldn’t be overseeing the 4K restorations of the entire pre-Avatar James Cameron catalogue if he didn’t want you to sit back and pop that bad boy in your PS5. No, James Cameron is cool with you skipping the theater in lieu of staying home—as long as you’re watching his movies at the highest quality, which streaming often doesn’t offer.
Not Real 4K
While streaming services like Netflix and Max offer a smattering of 4K content—often at a higher price to stream—it’s often not actually the resolution it should be. That’s because streaming is dependent on your wifi signal, which can wax and wane for any number of reasons. How many other devices you have actively sharing your wifi, how strong your connection is, and many other factors determine whether you’re truly seeing a movie at its best.
Physical Media Offers A Better Picture
With a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray, none of that is a problem. As long as you have a player and a TV that supports 4K resolution, you’re going to get the best possible picture every time. “We want to celebrate them in this higher resolution format even if we’re not going to movies anymore.” James Cameron said, referring to watching films at home on a “4K flat panel TV,” as opposed to going to see them in a theater.
The Abyss Collector’s Edition Coming Soon
The Abyss Collector’s Edition will be available on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray starting Tuesday, March 12, 2024. Ironically, the film will be available to stream digitally on December 12, 2023—earlier than the physical release. Other 4K transfers of James Cameron’s classic films will be released later in 2024.