Dodgy DVDs a thing of the past

Published 10:07 pm Thursday, September 12, 2013

There’s not a lot not to like about libraries.

You can read books and magazines, watch movies and listen to music and audiobooks for free, provided they’re returned in time.

If the overdue fines start to creep up, often you can wait for a library-fine amnesty day or wipe them out by donating some nonperishable food items.


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But there is one distinct downside related to borrowing DVDs.

My wife and I many a time have been in the midst of being thoroughly entertained by a borrowed DVD, when the dialogue starts to skip and shudder.

It normally happens mildly enough that you hold out hope you can reach the denouement with only very slight confusion about what’s going on.

Then a scene freezes. Sometimes, you can fast-forward past it. If that doesn’t work, you skip to the next chapter and use the rewind function, only missing 10 seconds or so if you’re lucky.

But quite often in our experiences of watching DVDs from the library, there comes a point when you just have to throw in the towel — no amount of manipulation with the remote control can overcome the deep crevices someone somehow scratched onto the disc’s surface.

When the act of borrowing a movie from the library rather than picking it up at Best Buy is generally motivated by an aversion to spending money on something that could turn out to be a waste of it, this can be a deeply troubling experience.

I like the sound of the Suffolk library system’s new digital service, giving members the ability to stream or download for free not only movies and television shows, but audiobooks and music as well.

Patrons can use their library card to do this at, where they’ll find more than 10,000 movies and TV shows, ten times as many music albums, and thousands of audiobooks.

Even better, there’s no need to wait for a fine amnesty. Material borrowed returns itself when the due date arrives, making late fines a thing of the past.

The service seems like it would be especially good for anyone planning to travel. Download a title on your mobile device, and you can take it with you.