New Bohemian.

no gods, no masters, no idols.

Cancel Netflix and go to the library

I have a secret confession: I haven’t subscribed to a streaming video service in several years. I did have an Amazon Prime account up until this year and so would occasionally find myself mindlessly watching standup comedy specials there, but I can’t remember the last time I subscribed to the likes of Netflix or Hulu.

The biggest reason for this isn’t because I’m one of those crazy hippies with a “KILL YOUR TELEVISION” bumper sticker (although, admittedly, if I did find one, I’d probably put it on my bumper). It’s because I found a compelling and more enjoyable alternative: Borrowing DVD’s from my local library.

You see, for those of our readers who are too young to remember, there was a time (the “before times”) when, if you wanted to see a movie, you either had to go see it in a theater, or rent it from a video rental store. These were social occasions where you’d go into the world, talk to other human beings, and exchange paper money for a ticket or a videocassette.

In the age of streaming, our entertainment is on-demand. In fact, we’re living in a unique time in human history wherein our basic needs for food, clothing, income, and entertainment can be met without ever having to leave our houses. While this sounds like a positive development on the surface, we’re also in the midst of a loneliness epidemic. We’re more alienated from our local communities than ever. Renouncing on-demand video streaming services and walking to your local library for your entertainment needs is a way to help arrest this trend toward social isolation.

If you think the DVD selection at the library won’t rival what can be found on Netflix, think again. I’ve been quite surprised at how few titles I’ve been unable to find at my local library. And with the advent of online library hold systems, it’s easy to search for a title, place a hold, and pick it up at your closest branch. I’m lucky to have a library branch within walking distance, which means I get to take a joyful weekly walk to pick up my most recent holds.

Videophiles might scoff at the idea of watching DVD-quality video in the era of 4K video, but DVD quality is plenty. I project films on my $50 noname video projector. In some ways, it feels like I have a state-of-the-art home theater from 2005 for a fraction of what that would have cost at the time. When we embrace the luxuries of the past and let everyone else spend their hard-earned cash on new technologies, we come to find out that most of the missing out is all in our minds.

Try cancelling your streaming services, buy a cheap DVD drive, and see what happens.