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Why Are 2 Million People Still Getting Netflix DVDs by Mail?

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Eric signed up for Netflix in around 2005—drawn in by the convenience. Instead of going to the local branch of Blockbuster to rent a movie, if you waited a couple of days it would arrive in the post, without your having to leave the house. And there was a huge selection of titles—much wider than a small local rental place would be able to stock. “I could sit at home and get almost any movie I wanted,” says the US-based project manager.

WIRED UK

This story originally appeared on WIRED UK.

By 2007, Netflix delivered its billionth DVD—a copy of Babel, dispatched to a customer in Texas from one of its 42 national distribution centers across America, which served 6.3 million subscribers. But the company’s business model was already starting to change. In January 2007, Netflix announced the launch of its streaming service—which quickly ballooned into a tech giant, with billions of dollars to spend on producing its own original content and 167 million subscribers across 190 countries.

But Eric, now aged 41, kept on getting DVDs and Blu-Rays by mail—sometimes he watched them and sent them back quickly, other times they sat unopened for months. For most of us, the idea of deciding you want to watch a film, and then waiting for a rental copy to be physically mailed to you seems almost comically quaint. But Eric is far from alone. Of all the huge numbers marking out Netflix’s rapid growth, perhaps this is the most surprising: There are still more than 2 million people in the United States getting Netflix DVDs by post.

Some subscribers value the wider range of options available on DVD. As Netflix has grown its streaming service, the selection of good films seems to have shrunk (even if the overall number has grown), as the company focuses its efforts on original television shows and documentaries.

For some customers, like Jennifer from San Francisco, DVDs represent the best way to see new releases as soon as possible. “There were more titles and newer movie releases than on cable premium channels like HBO and Showtime, and I wanted to watch more of those,” she says—although getting the most popular titles sometimes meant a long wait.

“The selection is much larger than on the streaming service,” says Eric, who also has a Netflix streaming account, as well as Hulu, Amazon Prime, and occasionally Disney+. “Streaming is great if I want to sit on the couch and watch something right now. However, streaming services may not be great if you want to watch a particular movie.”

Internet speeds are another factor. Some rural parts of the US still have poor internet infrastructure, and streaming eats up allowances for customers who may have a monthly data cap.

For film buffs, image quality is a further consideration. “There is still compression in streaming movies,” says Eric, who has just watched The Matrix Reloaded on Blu-ray and has Lawrence of Arabia and Sunshine in his queue. “I notice compression artifacts in streaming movies at times, and they are distracting. Also, I feel that certain movies are extremely appealing visually, and I prefer those in Blu-ray.”

None of the people we spoke to knew anyone else who was still getting DVDs by mail, and subscriber numbers to the service are falling at a rate of half a million a year. The company still makes a healthy amount of revenue from DVD rentals—almost $300 million in 2019 according to a recent SEC filing—though that’s dwarfed by the $20 billion it made from streaming subscribers over the same period.

It’s unclear how much longer Netflix will keep its DVD service operating. In 2011, it tried to spin it out into a separate brand (called Qwikster), which would have seen subscribers paying separately for DVDs and streaming. The company was forced to do a U-turn after customer outcry—it lost half of its stock value in two months and shed 800,000 subscribers. In December 2019, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said he was in no hurry to get rid of it—and that he could see it lasting at least another five years.

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Turns Out, Helsinki Airport Uses Dogs To Sniff Out Coronavirus And It’s Faster Than Lab Testing

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Are adorable, fluffy doggies going to be the ones to help save humanity from the global pandemic? There’s a big possibility that they are. I mean, they’ve been doing it for quite a while already, but in more of an emotional sense. But apparently, dogs are now professionally trained and they are able to sniff out COVID-19 faster than laboratory testing.

Yes, you read that correctly. Apparently, professionally trained dogs have recently started working at Helsinki airport in Finland to help detect COVID-19-infected passengers.

More info: finavia.fi

Research indicated that dogs are able to smell coronavirus with almost 100% certainty

Image credits: finavia.fi

Apparently, a research group at the Veterinary Faculty of the University of Helsinki recently conducted a study whose results indicated that dogs are able to smell the virus with almost 100% certainty. Moreover, they are able to detect the virus before the symptoms have even started, which is impossible with laboratory testing.

“It’s a very promising method. Dogs are very good at sniffing,” Anna Hielm-Bjorkman, a University of Helsinki professor, told Global News. “If it works, it will be a good (coronavirus) screening method at any other places.”

A passenger is asked to swipe their skin with a wipe which is then put into a jar and given to a dog

Image credits: finavia.fi

Unfortunately, taking this test doesn’t include direct contact with the dog. Apparently, those taking a test will have to swipe their skin using a test wipe and drop it into a cup. After that, the cup is given to a dog to do the sniffing job. It takes about 10 seconds for dog to sniff a sample.

According to Finavia, in the future, four dogs will work at the airport during a shift. “Dogs need to rest from time to time. While two dogs are working, the other two are on a break. The service is mainly intended for passengers arriving from outside the country,” says Susanna Paavilainen, CEO of Suomen hajuerottelu – WiseNose Ry, University of Helsinki’s DogRisk research group.

It takes about 10 seconds for dog to sniff a sample

Image credits: finavia.fi

Here’s what people think about this new COVID-19 testing method

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Watch the Trailer For Netflix’s Over the Moon Animated Movie

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An upcoming animated movie will encourage viewers of all ages to believe in the impossible and their own ingenuity. Coming to Netflix in October, Over the Moon tells the story of a young girl, Fei Fei, intent on building a rocket ship to visit the moon goddess from her favorite childhood folklore. The movie musical also deals with themes of loss and remembrance, as the first trailer alludes to the untimely passing of Fei Fei’s mother.

Over the Moon is based on the tale of Chang’e, the goddess of the moon in Chinese mythology. Phillipa Soo, who voices the goddess, said she’s very familiar with the story. “I remember as a kid, asking my dad to read it over and over and over to me,” the Hamilton alum told Variety. “Because I was just obsessed with this idea of the moon lady. And when I was asked to play her, I was of course honored because it’s so infrequent that I’m being asked to play specifically Chinese characters. And also even more rare that I get to be in a film with incredible Asian actors who are surrounding me.”

Also starring in the movie are John Cho, Ruthie Ann Miles, Sandra Oh, Kimiko Glenn, and Ken Jeong, while newcomer Cathy Ang voices Fei Fei. Over the Moon is directed by Glen Keane, who previously worked for Walt Disney Animation Studios and won an Oscar with Kobe Bryant in 2018 for their animated short, Dear Basketball. See the final trailer above and keep scrolling to see stills from the film before watching Over the Moon when it hits Netflix on Oct. 23.

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‘Schitt’s Creek’ cast dishes Emmy party, Sarah Levy’s reactions to their wins and more on ‘Jimmy Kimmel Live’

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Fresh from reaching numerous milestones on Sunday night’s Emmy telecast, the main cast of “Schitt’s Creek” were guests on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Eugene LevyCatherine O’HaraDaniel Levy and Annie Murphy joined Kimmel’s show to talk about each of their Emmy victories and what it was like to be at their Emmy gathering in Toronto.

Daniel Levy, who took home four trophies as an actor/writer/director/producer, admitted that the crowd gathered to celebrate the show’s wins was supposed to be much bigger. Canada’s guidelines for big gatherings had originally allowed for a larger crowd size to gather at the planned celebration, but those plans had to be reworked at the last minute. “In true 2020 fashion on the night before our Emmy party, the government had to minimize the party size in half, which meant that we had a last minute un-invitation ceremony that had to happen for our lovely crew.” When Kimmel asked who had the responsibility of alerting the crew members that they were un-invited to the party, Daniel quickly replied, “Not us!” Eugene added, “I was the first one to say, ‘Not me.’”

SEE The Emmys came up Roses! 6 ways ‘Schitt’s Creek’ made Emmy history

Murphy, who collected the prize for Comedy Supporting Actress, talked about the pressure she felt when her category came up after all her castmates had won. “It was awful. At no point was I like, ‘Oh, we’ve won this many, now I’m gonna win.’ It was more like an internal monologue of who am I going to apologize first when I lose.” O’Hara then goaded Murphy into talking about her initial plan for a speech if she won. Murphy told O’Hara that she hadn’t written anything down in the event of a victory. When O’Hara continued to press her about what she would say, Murphy suggested that she would just go to the microphone and make fart sounds using her armpit, which made O’Hara want Murphy to win even more than she already did.

SEE Here’s the full list of Emmy winners

Eugene Levy also took some time to talk about Elton John’s praise for the show during the telecast. During the presentation of Best Comedy Series, as the name of each nominated program was read, a celebrity would talk about why they loved that program and John talked about “Schitt’s Creek.” Eugene revealed that he first became aware of John’s love for the show while attending a Vanity Fair party a couple of years ago. Daniel cut in to reveal that he had been at that same party. “I got a text from my dad saying, ‘Were with Elton John. Come find us.’ And at that party, there’s so many people, you couldn’t possibly find anyone.” It was supposed to be a sort-of full-circle moment for Daniel as he’s named after John’s song of the same name. “When I ran into my parents at the end of the night, I was like, ‘What did he say when you told him that you named your child after one of his songs?’ And they said, ‘We didn’t tell him that. We forgot.”

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Watch the segment in the video above where you’ll also see the Eugene and Daniel talking about Sarah Levy‘s viral reaction to the show’s wins, O’Hara remembering her and Eugene’s Emmy win in 1982 as writers for “SCTV” and Eugene tearing up with laughter as each cast member does their best impression of him.

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