Blockbuster Finally Dies, So What’s Next?
What video source has the brightest future?
The last 300 Blockbuster video rental stores are finally closing. What, you say, there are still 300 Blockbusters?
That’s right (on both counts). Dish Network, which purchased Blockbuster years ago for a battleship full of money, announced that the remaining stores are finally going to be turned into reefs off the New Jersey shore. Personally I was surprised to learn that it hadn’t happened already. While I feel bad for the Blockbuster employees who will now need to find replacement jobs (they had to have seen this coming), I can’t say I’m going to miss the stores.
In truth, I haven’t seen a Blockbuster in years. I can’t remember how long ago the stores in my area closed. I do have semi-fond memories of renting portable VCRs in college for movie bingeing, and then years later taking my little daughters to the rental store so they could pick out whatever puppy or princess movie they wanted for the weekend.
Like everyone else, we eventually outgrew Blockbuster. The minimal nostalgia I feel for movie rentals isn’t on the same level that people feel for record stores. I don’t hear any calls for Movie Rental Day. Still, there was something a little exciting, the wide gulf of potential, that came over us when we went through those doors and wandered the isles in hope that something special would make itself known.
I can’t say I get that same feeling when I open up the Netflix app on my Ruko and navigate through the same selections I saw the night before. But I am thankful for the savings in time and money.
Anyway, with that chapter in video history officially closed, here’s a roundup of some of our best video source alternatives. Which do you think will be the most lasting?
It started, more or less, with Netflix. Now there are many video streaming outlets, but Netflex is still the most widely used. Personally I also like Amazon, because it comes with my Prime membership and makes me feel a little better about spending $80 a year just to get free shipping on my book-a-week habit. VUDU rocks too.
Video on Demand
In my house, Netflix and VOD (via Verizon FiOS) are head-to-head rivals. I’m more of a Netflix/Amazon viewer, but the rest of the family racks up our bill with VOD movies. Since the picture/sound quality of Verizon’s VOD movies is pretty decent, that’s how we view most new releases unless it’s a must-own title.
Yay for Blu-ray. That disc format still delivers the best-looking images, so for movies which I know I’m going to want to watch over and over again (such as any Tolkien or Star Trek movie), I order the disc from Amazon, usually while it’s still in the theater. If I want a movie to truly look good on my 120-inch screen, it’s got to come from a Blu-ray disc.
Renting and purchasing movies from iTunes is huge with a lot of EH readers. We know that from the number of Apple TVs that appear in the home theater profiles we write about. Using iTunes is a great way to build up a video library if you don’t want discs.
Um, people use that? Really? Read more about UltraViolet here. I really wish UltraViolet worked better.
Here’s a service that’s new this year. Kaleidescape allows you to purchase full Blu-ray quality downloads, which populate the company’s servers, such as the Cinema One. No discs to mess with, plus you get all the standard extras that the physical disc would have provided. Read our Cinema One review here.
Apparently some people still use the Netflix mail service, though the company seems to want everyone to stop that. Clearly this is a model that’s doomed as well.
This is the vending machine equivalent of Blockbuster, but without the teenage clerk to offer recommendations. Personally, I’ve never used a Redbox, but I see them in the grocery store. I avoid those because there’s usually a family standing around slowly reading the titles and cast of every movie in the dispenser, and I don’t have time to wait around with ice cream melting in my grocery bags.
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