Should You Have a Blu(-ray) Christmas?

I got into a teeny Twitter debate during the holiday weekend over buying a Blu-ray player. I’ve been firmly against physical formats for awhile now, preferring the simplicity and elegance of over-the-top streaming delivered by the likes of Roku, Xbox, and even widget-enabled TVs themselves. But Blu-ray player prices have dropped like a stone and finding a decent movie to stream on Thanksgiving was surprisingly a hassle, so I’m starting to reconsider my harsh anti-DVD stance, and am wondering whether you’re getting one this holiday season.

First, I’m not a hardcore cinephile with a high-end home theater system, so I’m not as worried about high-tech specs and codecs and getting the absolute most pristine picture. I’ve been reluctant to pick up a Blu-ray player because the whole video industry is moving to direct, over-the-top streaming soon enough. Why junk up the house with one more gadget that’s just going to wind up in a landfill? (Our sister site Earth2Tech would be so proud.)

According to Retrevo, 14 percent of consumers were looking to buy a Blu-ray player over the Thanksgiving shopping holiday. That, no doubt, is being spurred by how cheap Blu-ray players have gotten, with top brands going for roughly $130. That’s the same as the Roku XR, and those Blu-ray players come with Netflix streaming as well. The format has established itself, so there’s little risk it will disappear quickly.

The real kicker for me was trying to find decent movies to stream over the holiday break. While the Netflix catalog is growing, the streaming options are still packed with a bunch of stinkers. And because the Hollywood studios are being such jerks about keeping DVDs on life support — many of the new releases weren’t available on Amazon VOD (no Up, no Star Trek, etc.). And that’s a problem that won’t be going away any time soon as studios look to wring every last dollar out of the physical formats that they can.

This could just be the eggnog talking, but given all that, is it time to just cave and get a Blu-ray player? It’ll be cheap, it will let me still stream Netflix and I’ll have access to new releases (hopefully). What do you think? Is a Blu-ray player on your holiday wish list? If so, how come?

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