A Wilson Times Co. publication · Serving Southern Nash County Since 1947

Technology changes the way we watch movies, TV

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VHS or DVD? There is an app!

It hasn’t been that long ago when I went through a time in my life to which I collected VHS tapes. At one point I owned more than 3,000 and that is quite the collection. I could have opened my very own movie rental store if I desired. Then again, a collection I considered to be quite an accomplishment was also quite silly, to say the least. Thankfully for a while, I kept most of the tapes in storage and never really thought they would be of any value.

It wasn’t until I went through the separation of my first marriage when I retrieved the collection to save money and used them for my television experiences rather than buying cable or satellite service. For several years I used them. Of course, with the advancement of technology and accessibility at our fingertips, they are all back into storage now.

Remember when Netflix only mailed your DVD to your home? That was something awesome and a bold move that no one at that time had done before. As time passed, movie rental stores began to become extinct and with the arrival of Redbox on nearly every corner of each town, the thought of watching the old VHS tape is further in the back of my mind than it ever has been.

I sometimes wonder what is going to happen to the multi-billion-dollar companies such as Netflix and Redbox. Will they too fall victim to their early grasp of the visual and audio world? Even now with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, Fire Sticks and so many other providers that you can pay money to use their services or purchase their equipment, many others are absolutely free.

This past week I explored several free apps that offer thousands of movies, TV shows and much more. The app PlutoTV was very nice for those who want that cable and satellite feeling with the guide. It also offers a variety of on-demand movies and TV shows categorized by the type of production and topic.

I tried several other apps such as Vudu, HD Movies, Crackle, Movies Anywhere and Tubi. Each offered different aspects of viewing pleasures although out of all of them, I will have to say PlutoTV and Tubi were my favorite. As the programming for each was almost completely different, each offered many options and for those like me who like to become engulfed in a binge-worthy show, Tubi has many that are based just upon that. PlutoTV offered nearly 1,000 channels and several that will be a great option when traveling, such as the Dora The Explorer Channel, Unsolved Mysteries and Nick Jr.

So when you become tired of paying that bill to Netflix or Amazon Prime, there are always other options out there. Just download an app. After all, the VHS and DVD store has just about become a thing of the past. 

My bet is the monthly subscriptions to the iconic and beloved on-demand digital providers will soon increase so much that they too will flounder and the generations that follow will ask what VHS and DVD were. All they will know is, “There’s an app for that!”

Rodney O’Neal is a resident of southern Nash County.