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Is There Any Reason to Buy 'House of Cards' When You Can Stream it?

Do you prefer to own digital media, or is streaming and renting your preferred method of consumption?
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As evidenced by its Golden Globe, everyone loves the Netflix original series House of Cards, right? To jump on the band wagon, Verizon and Sony are selling episodes of the show through their proprietary media stores for $3 each — which may seem curious given the fact that a month of streaming at Netflix costs just $8.

It sounds like it makes financial sense to stream the show rather than buy, but in this brief — yet lively — video, our experts discuss if there is an argument to be made for owning digital media.

What about you, readers? When do you stream and when do you want to own? Tell us all about it, in the comments below!


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Dan Leadbetter is a Staff and Features Writer for DealNews. He enjoys comedy, playing drums, watching horror films, fine cigars, and Absinthe.
Please note that, although prices sometimes fluctuate or expire unexpectedly, all products and deals mentioned in this feature were available at the lowest total price we could find at the time of publication (unless otherwise specified).
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9 comments
tom.andrew.65
I poached my friend's Netflix for season 1 and 2. I bought season 1 on Blu-ray for $12 during the Christmas season. I liked the show a lot and when I like a season of a show, I want to own it on Blu-ray to support its makers. However, I will wait for it to come down to its lowest possible price, as I am a poor college student.
vwoom
I've seen the whole House of Cards S2 via Netflix HD. It looks superb, even at only 3Mbps wired Ethernet DSL speed, connected to my upscaling LG55LA6970. I call this thin bezel hdtv "3.5K" for it's outstanding and very sharp 1080p picture quality. For me, streaming on-demand $7.99 Netflix is the best bang for the buck. You can watch movies as frequently, as you want.
Crismodin
Actually my household had a serious issue not long ago about HD/Super HD streaming eating all of our bandwidth so now we've pretty much cut Netflix out of our lives and all is well again. We still have a couple movie channels on our cable boxes like HBO/Starz/EPIX and their on demand channel generally has 10x better movies than Netflix ever had anyways.
dog_man
And RedBox has the 2 set DVDS for $1.20/ea for $2.40 + tax.
Greg the Gruesome
>...our experts discuss if there is an argument to be made
>for owning digital media.

Don't you mean digital content? A medium is an optical disk, a hard disk drive, et al.
wlau89
@ski522 Have you ever watched House of Cards on Netflix via Super HD? It looks awesome, I was always under the impression blu-rays are the best quality, which they still are. But streaming has become very close to the actual thing, assuming you have at minimum 15/mbps downstream.
emailofadam
This conversation is based on faulty premises: You are not purchasing digital media; instead, you are purchasing a license to use it. The terms of this license often grant the seller the right to rescind the license. (see, e.g., Amazon deletes Orwell from Kindle http://goo.gl/D2gmq ). Unless you are buying a physical copy over which you have control (e.g. you can resell it - see 17 U.S.C. 109, first sale doctrine), then you are only the owner of a contractual right limited by the terms of the purchase contract/license.

To wit, a digital purchase is not a purchase like a physical purchase is. If you want to PURCHASE house of cards and receive all the rights of ownership, then you need to go find it on bluray. If you stream netflix, you have access as long as netflix includes the media in their catalog. If you purchase a digital copy, you have access to the media subject to the terms of the license (which may allow the removal of access under some circumstances). Ergo: stream.
nimer
You have to be careful about what you think is 'owning' digital media. Digital media, for example, is per user, meaning that you can't transfer it to someone else (vs physical media that you can give to friends or even put in your will). Also, there has been cases were users who BOUGHT media logged in one day and realized that they no longer have access to it because Amazon did not renegotiate the rights.

Add to that the disposable nature of music and TV shows nowadays, then you are really better of renting
ski522
For now quality will be much better on owned media than what you can get with streaming. This might not make a difference on smaller screens (30" or less) and/or tablets/phones, but will on larger screens...even on a subconscious level...the brain can pick out details that we many not be consciously aware is happening but contributes to the overall viewing experience. Personally if it's something I rewatch again or I want the best I can get in terms of video quality, I'd prefer to own, but if I know I'm going to watch once and forget, than streaming!
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