After a 25-Year Run, Netflix Will Be Ending Its DVD Service Later in 2023

An extreme close-up of one of the iconic red envelopes Netflix uses to send DVDs to customers. Against the red background of the envelope is the Netflix logo in white. In the upper left, where a customer's address would normally be, instead is the phrase
Courtesy of Netflix
The iconic red Netflix envelope will soon be a relic of the past.

It’s the end of another era for fans of physical media — Netflix has announced that later in 2023, it will be shutting down its DVD service after 25 years. Ted Sarandos, co-CEO of the streaming service, said in an announcement last week that the final discs from Netflix’s will be shipped on Sept. 29, 2023.

In case I buried the lede for some of you: Yes, Netflix has still been providing DVD rentals to subscribers, via, despite its now much-more-familiar association with streaming content.

With the success the service has had in the streaming area beginning in 2007, it is easy to forget Netflix’s origins as a mail-based business in late 1997, shipping its first DVD — the 1988 movie Beetlejuice — in March 1998.

The DVD of 1988’s Beetlejuice was the first one Netflix shipped, in March 1998. (© Warner Bros./Courtesy Everett Collection)

But Netflix clearly did not forget, continuing to provide those who still wished to rent physical copies of discs containing movies and shows to put in their DVD or Blu-ray players for enjoyment the old-fashioned way (in some respects, the late-’90s/early 2000s can be considered “old-fashioned” at this point) the chance to do so.

Now, however, that is apparently no longer tenable for the streamer, with Sarandos stating in his announcement (which you can read in its entirely at the bottom of the post) that the DVD part of the business has only continued to shrink.

On the plus side, subscribers will no longer have to worry about waiting in a queue to get the movie they want or checking the mailbox each day to see if that familiar red envelope containing it has arrived. Nor will they have to deal with the potential for misplacing their discs — or just altogether forgetting to mail them back to Netflix in those envelopes — for days or weeks.

On the other hand, a little bit of the fun in renting a movie is going away, just as it did with the demise of Blockbuster and local video stores.

But it’s been an interesting 25-year run for Netflix’s DVD service. Sarandos’ announcement came with the below graphic listing a few stats about that service over the past quarter-century:

A graphic that accompanied Netflix's announcement that it will be winding down its service later in 2023. Up top is the header normally seen at the site, with the " The #1 Online DVD Rental Service" in white lettering against a red backdrop in a thin strip running across the top. Below that, in a screen tab that says "Welcome," are two images, each taking up half of the rest of the graphic. The image on the left is a large graphic of a DVD, set against a red background that also has black silhouettes of palm trees and an ocean. The DVD is a metallic silver color, and on its top, in red lettering, are the words "Thanks for Watching." On the left side of the DVD, in a small white box, it reads: "Est. 1998." On the DVD's right side is another white box, in which reads: "25 Years." The bottom of the DVD has the logo in white lettering across a red background. The right half of the overall image lists some stats from's history, with stat categories in black lettering, and the stats themselves in larger red lettering below the categories. The five categories and their stats, reading from top down, are as follows: First DVD Shipped: Beetlejuice, March 18, 1998; Number of DVDs Shipped: 5.2+ Billion; Most Popular Title: The Blind Side; Number of Supported Genres: 20 Main Genres, 530 Subgenres; Unique Subscribers Over the Years: 40 million.

(Courtesy of Netflix)

So, how many of you have ever been — or still are — among the 40 million subscribers Netflix’s DVD service has had? Have you contributed to the success of its most popular DVD rental, 2009’s The Blind Side, or does that title kind of surprise you? Any interesting stories about misplacing, or losing entirely, any of your Netflix DVDs?

Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos’ full announcement about the end of the company’s DVD service: 

After an incredible 25 year run, we’ve decided to wind down later this year. Our goal has always been to provide the best service for our members but as the business continues to shrink that’s going to become increasingly difficult. So we want to go out on a high, and will be shipping our final discs on September 29, 2023. 

Those iconic red envelopes changed the way people watched shows and movies at home — and they paved the way for the shift to streaming. From the beginning, our members loved the choice and control that direct-to-consumer entertainment offered: the wide variety of the titles and the ability to binge watch entire series. DVDs also led to our first foray into original programming — with Red Envelope Entertainment titles including “Sherrybaby” and “Zach Galifianakis Live at the Purple Onion.” 

We feel so privileged to have been able to share movie nights with our DVD members for so long, so proud of what our employees achieved and excited to continue pleasing entertainment fans for many more decades to come.

To everyone who ever added a DVD to their queue or waited by the mailbox for a red envelope to arrive: thank you.

— Ted Sarandos