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Netflix will ship its final DVDs this fall

Netflix announced today in its first-quarter earnings letter — and in a note to, well, everyone — that it will stop shipping DVDs on September 29, 2023. That’s a big deal because Netflix has had its legacy DVD service all this time — and it’s what allowed the company to become the global leader in streaming entertainment in the first place.

“After an incredible 25-year run, we’ve decided to wind down later this year,” Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos wrote in its letter to shareholders. “Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members, but as the DVD business continues to shrink, that’s going to become increasingly hard. So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final DVDs on September 29, 2023.”

Netflix final DVD envelope.
Netflix / Netflix

Netflix, of course, started as a DVD rental company. You’d pay a monthly fee and then get a DVD (or two or three) in the mail, along with a return label. You’d watch the movie as much as you wanted, then ship it back and get the next thing in your queue. It was a phenomenal idea in a time in which individual DVDs would cost as much (or more) as a Netflix subscription, and it made countless flicks and series available outside of cable reruns.

While Netflix ushered in the streaming era, it never actually got rid of its plans that shipped DVDs and Blu-ray discs. You could still get a single disc at a time for $10 a month, two for $15 a month, or three at once for $20 a month. And while that may sound a little crazy in 2023, it’s also perfectly sane for those who don’t have broadband connections (and that’s still far more people than you might think), as well as those who just want the better quality that’s often available on Blu-ray.

“From the very beginning,” the letter to shareholders continued, “our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered, including the variety and quality of our titles and the ability to binge-watch entire series. DVD paved the way for streaming, ensuring that so much of what we started will continue long into the future.”

Netflix gave some stats along with the sad news. The first DVD it shipped was Beetlejuice, on March 10, 1998. Since then, it’s shipped more than 5.2 billion DVDs to some 40 million unique subscribers. Its most popular DVD was The Blind Side.

In other news, Netflix announced that the company grew to 232.5 million global paid memberships, up 4.9 percent year over year.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
Where to rent DVDs and Blu-rays as Netflix ends disc rentals
Redbox DVD rentals.

After a formidable 25-year run, Netflix has announced that it will shutter its DVD-to-mail rental service, DVD Netflix, aka Citing the shrinking DVD business, Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos told shareholders on April 18 that the rental service would be shipping its last DVD on September 29, 2023.
And while most of the 230 million Netflix subscribers won’t miss the service -- or perhaps even knew it still existed in the first place -- DVDs and Blu-rays are still a preferred method for watching movies and TV series if you really care about quality or just don't have broadband internet.
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Well, as the news hit Twitter, two of the best alternatives chimed in, reminding their followers that they, too, still existed. GameFly -- which primarily rents video games, but also has a selection of movies for rent -- tweeted at popular kiosk-rental company Redbox with a Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid gif and the text “Out here with @redbox like … .” The two services exchanged clever gifs and tweets (Redbox and Blockbuster even exchanged jabs) about being the last ones standing, but it still might be unclear to many DVD Netflix renters where they can go to fill the void.
That’s where we come in with this rundown of where you can rent DVDs and Blu-rays now that Netflix is shutting down its DVD rental service. Oh, and if you need a Blu-ray player, check out our roundup of the best ones to buy.


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