Thank you for your recent e-mail announcing the closure of your LoveFilm DVD postal service at the end of October. However, you have made me rather sad. And a bit cross. Your excuse for the demise of LoveFilm is that you've apparently seen decreasing demand for DVD and Blu-ray rental "as customers increasingly move to streaming". Streaming? Streaming what? Colds?
Some of us, you see, have no idea what you are talking about. Some of us are technically inept and technologically decrepit. Some of us just don't always have the money to upgrade to the latest thing. Some of us are still barely coming to terms with the demise of VHS. And the closure of our local Blockbuster.
I have a DVD player. In fact, only last year I upgraded it to a Blu-ray player. It's been a long haul into the 2010s in this household. So what? As far as I'm concerned, I've got it and I still want to use it. Why should I chuck it out and waste all that plastic and circuitry just because a lot of your customers have got streaming colds?
Oh, wait, you mean Internet streaming. There, I'm not such a luddite after all. Yeah, online streaming. We do that with Netflix. I signed us up in desperation for a free month's trial when our daughter got chicken pox at the end of reception, which housebound us for the best part of a week. And it's shit. It buffers a lot, crashes regularly, and has very little on it that we want to watch. Some good TV box sets, yes, but we're probably only interested in about one film in a hundred, none of which were released in cinemas in the past three years. Besides, our daughter has completely hijacked our account by watching My Little Pony and Paw Patrol on a loop.
It's not often that we get an uninterrupted evening with enough time and energy to actually sit through a whole film, but when we do, it's a proper treat, and we want therefore to treat it properly. Do the cinema thing. Turn the lights off, and the sound up. Have a glass of wine. Maybe even make popcorn. We bought a bigger telly to enhance our experience. We wanted to replicate the Picturehouse in our house. We're not bothered about being able to watch things on our phones. But I'm certainly regretting how few uninterrupted evenings we have, which meant we sat on The Hateful Eight for three whole months, now that we only have two months left to get through the rest of my LoveFilm list. I'm trying to up our game now, with the nights drawing in at the close of summer, but it won't be easy. I just had to quarantine my husband in the spare room for two days because he threw up everywhere on Monday night and I selfishly didn't want our daughter (or me, because I have a piece of plastic fork stuck in my intestine) catch it.
The DVD still has something that Internet streaming doesn't. What you get on DVDs or Blu-Rays are (1) extras and (2) subtitles. Extras that tell you something about the background to the movie you just watched - how it evolved from concept to completion, how special effects were achieved. Deleted scenes sometimes show you how thought directions were abandoned, for better or worse. You may catch some silly bloopers or other funny incidents that occurred during filming. You will undoubtedly see actors, writers, producers and directors gushing about how brilliant they all are. You may even capture some handheld footage of the wardrobe department. Many extras are total dross, but I always watch them. Because I spent years of my life subtitling them, or getting other people to translate subtitles for them. So a lot of effort has gone into the behind the scenes of your behind the scenes and I for one want an opportunity to appreciate it. And of course the main feature will have subtitles too - for the deaf and hard-of-hearing, and in up to 38 different languages, depending on which regions the disc will play in. The subtitles will have been put together by poorly paid professionals, mostly doing it for love, because translating a movie is more interesting than translating a washing machine manual, even if it's paying you less than minimum wage and has a turnaround so fast you almost have to translate in real time.
How will the deaf community access movies now, with so little online being subtitled properly, if at all? And, more importantly, how will I watch the latest releases in Norwegian or Brazilian Portuguese?
It was kind of annoying that you didn't have much control over what you were sent next with LoveFilm, but the mystery envelope winging its way from Peterborough was part of the thrill. Now you are offering me Amazon Prime instead of my LoveFilm subscription. I try so hard not to accidentally click on that big yellow Prime icon every time I order a book or CD (yes, yes, I'm so prehistoric, but it is surely clear to you by now that I prefer objects to computer screens), but now you have really upped your ante. Will you actually have any of my LoveFilm list on your Prime selection, cos you certainly didn't the last time I checked? Or will I have to do a pay-per-view for my more obscure choices that will cost way more than my LoveFilm subscription ever did? Are you even going to e-mail me my LoveFilm list before you delete it, because I'm not going to be able to remember ten years of film choices by myself? Actually, since you are about to have a warehouse full of unwatched DVDs that you can't sell, why not use me as your charity shop and send all the ones on the list my way? I'll sit in my ark, gradually working my way through them.
And I don't want your discounted Firestick, thanks, because you let Jeremy Clarkson advertise them.
I think that ditching LoveFilm and making us all take Prime was always your plan. You said otherwise, but who ever believes a word that large tax-avoiding corporations say?
Yours, except I'm not,
A disgruntled LoveFilm by Post viewer.