A New Tool for Cordcutters: The Library

We all know the feeling after ditching cable: there’s something you want to watch, so you google around to see which of the myriad of apps and streaming sites it’s on; Netflix, Hulu, Amazon? Maybe a one-off site like Syfy or Comedy Central? What do you do if it’s not on any of them, or one you aren’t subscribed to?

Check your local library.

I don’t know why it took us so long to realize that in addition to reserving books and audiobooks for free, they have a whole selection of DVDs and Bluerays just waiting to be checked out. At ours, they even transfer it from another library and keep it on hold for $0.25.

library dvds
We’ve started getting into it. Here’s $1.50 worth of library holds – compare that to Red Box…

Many of them also have apps like OverDrive and/or online catalogues where you can check what they have, place a hold, and even download an audiobook on the go. While you’re there check out one of the recent books that have been adapted into shows and read the original before streaming it (everyone loves hearing about how much better the book was).

2 library dvds
The selection is pretty good too.

It’s a file transfer

A DVD is 4.7 gigs, 9.4 for a double-sided disc, so if you take 20 minutes to go pick it up from the library, you’ve just effectively transferred 9,400 megabytes in 1,200 seconds, or 7.8 Mbps, per DVD. Pick up 6 and you’ve just transferred at 47 Mbps without using any of your data cap (not to mention if you pick up some groceries on the way) – a “sneakernet” that’s faster than many people’s net.

Never underestimate the bandwidth of a station wagon full of tapes hurtling down the highway.
–Andrew Tanenbaum, 1981

All you need is a library card. Your local taxes are probably paying for it already, so you might as well use it. There’s a reason library use is on the rise among millennials – maybe it’s time to get in on the trend.

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One thought on “A New Tool for Cordcutters: The Library”

  1. See, this is what get’s me. You go and check out a music\audiobook for free. Stick it in the dvd drive and the content is added to iTunes. No one cries foul. I download the same content and run the risk of becoming a criminal. So I can use the government and gasoline, it’s ok. I use my internet connection, it’s not ok. What the heck? Why should I have to burn gasoline to get the same content? If a CD is good, I’ll buy it to support the band and even go to their shows, which is where they make the most money. What a world.

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