Netflix still has three million subscribers to the DVD rental service, the company’s precursor in the 1990s, according to Variety. The information reveals the attachment for an already outdated format, which represents a part of the audiovisual history. Since the 19th century, the desire to disseminate images has motivated the Lumière brothers to create a successful method: cinema.
From this, new technologies have revolutionized habits and the way of consumption until the arrival of streaming. Check the list below for the main features and transformations of video platforms, such as the emergence of TV, DVD and VHS, for example.
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Several scientific advances were necessary for the emergence of cinema at the end of the 19th century. Although the start date of the cinema is not a consensus, it is possible to say that this cinema as we know it today, with projectors and films, started in the 1890s with the work of the Lumière brothers.
Regardless of who was responsible for the first steps, film films would become the norm and the only way to enjoy long and short films until the arrival of TV. Only from the 1950s did the first film broadcasts become commonplace.
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«Flowers and Trees», from 1932, would be the first color film, using Technicolor – Photo: Reproduction / Disney
With more than half a century of success, the film on film has also undergone revolutions. The first of these was the sound, in 1927. «The Jazz Singer» would be the first spoken film in history, responsible for inaugurating a new phase in cinema.
Another innovation would come soon after: color. Similar to the case of sound, experiments with colored films have been carried out since the invention of cinema. However, one of the first landmarks of the colors is the animation «Flowers and Trees», short from Disney in 1932 and which used the centenary Technicolor method.
Until the 1950s, the only way to see a film was to go to the cinema. However, from that decade onwards, the popularization and advancement of TV allowed films to be watched in the comfort of home. Among the necessary conditions for this are videotape technologies and the popularization of televisions. Context influenced by the invention of the transistor, which enabled higher quality, stable and lower price electronics.
Although the videotape arrived only in the 1950s, the first film broadcast on TV was «The Crooked Circle» in 1933. Interestingly, the film aired on TV while it was still showing in the cinema and it was a experimentation of a station in Los Angeles, in the United States.
The first cassette format, magnetic tape capable of recording images and sound for home use, was unveiled by Sony in 1973: the U-matic. However, the major milestones of the period would be the VCR, instituted in 1972, and the format war between Betamax and VHS. It won the duel and remained in use until the 2000s.
Before, films were products by appointment for an audience, depending on the cinema sessions and the tuning of the TV set at the exact moment of exhibition. To fully modify this logic, VHS has arrived. With the device, it became possible to purchase – or rent – a tape and watch the work whenever, and as many times, it wanted. Perhaps, if it weren’t for him, Netflix wouldn’t even exist.
4. DVDs and picture and sound quality
DVDs would shrink the films, were safer, more stable, cheaper and had better quality. And they didn’t need to be rewound – Photo: Reproduction / Pond5
VHS sustained decades of films at home, until technological evolution, which indicated a path for high quality images and sound – and, thus, the DVD appeared in 1996. With digital support, the format guarantees superior sound and image resolution than hit by magnetic tapes and then conquered the pre-streaming market.
BluRay came up with the promise of high-definition video at home, to outperform DVD and 480p resolution. The technology fulfilled its commitment and was the industry standard, after triumphing in a new format war against HD DVD – the high-resolution DVD.
However, BluRay would be far from the dominance of previous formats compared to watching movies at home. The reason is simple to understand: the popularization of the Internet.
6. Netflix and the streaming era
Netflix is no longer alone – Photo: Marvin Costa / Tech
Netflix was not the first, but one of the pioneers in the idea of distributing video via the web to its subscribers. In 2005, Apple started selling movies and TV series via iTunes to iPod users, the same year that YouTube started its activities. Amazon launched a similar service in 2008, a direct predecessor of Prime Video.
Netflix would start its activities as a streaming platform only in 2007. But, at the time, with shares located only in the United States. In 2010, business expanded and the service began to operate internationally, with plans offered for Canada.