Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bye Bye Blockbuster

Technology becomes cheaper by the day, by the hour, even by the second. A single innovation can foster cheaper methods of production or easier profligation of content. As witnessed in the music industry, the advent of the computer and internet and music players of all sorts has made cd's obsolete. Of course, providers of music, namely Itunes, still reap profits in the billions from honest customers who still pay for music, as well as videos, podcasts, applications, books and audiobooks. Nevertheless, the music industry continues to suffer as teenagers and parents alike learn the ways of limewire and torrent and burning music. Free and music are nearly synonomous in the vocabulary of today's youth, and the monetary purchase of music will only become more foreign, more unusual, as technology augments and the young people of today age.
The dvd and vhs rental industry is experiencing a similar twist of fate. Websites such as hulu and youtube, which offer full-length television shows and will soon offer entire movies, subplant funds formerly directed towards monopolies as Blockbuster and Hollywood Video. The internet is both a cheaper medium of visual stimulation and also a more convenient one. In one's house, the computer is, at most, a few rooms away - not a few blocks, or more. And so former rental giants are feeling the burdens of technology, just as the music industry did, just as the pager industry did (with the cell phone), just as the horse did (with the car).
There is something quaintly comforting about renting a dvd and coming home to watch it with one's family. The process, though it may require extra dollars, time, and gas, is familiar and often rewarding. The dvd rental experience comforts a person a ways the computer (Netflix and the like) can not. It entails a clear task, the goal being to find a potent movie: a "winner." It encourages social interaction with strangers in the store, acquaintances one may see at the store regularly, and the family and friends one goes to the store with. And it is routine: find and rent the dvd, return home, put in the dvd and prepare food and drink, revel in two hours or so of action or horror, comedy or drama. The overall experience is a mission culminating with a rewarding visual plot (if the movie is a good one).
The dvd rental process is here to stay, for the time being. But that does not mean one is confined to the monopolist companies such as Blockbuster, which charges roughly $5 per dvd rental. The redbox is 99 cents store for dvd's. In your local Albertson's you will (or will soon be) able to locate a "red box." These machines carry roughly 100 of the newest released dvd's and rents them out for a dollar per night. There is a minimum rental of one day, and no limit on how many days one may hold the dvd. To purchase a red box dvd, one only needs his credit card. He pays with the credit card and, upon returning the dvd, he is billed for however many days the movie was rented. The experience is similar to that of a Blockbuster run, but less time consuming and often conventient. It is as simple as choosing a movie after shopping for groceries. I urge you all to locate a Red Box near you (check the Red Box website for locations) and reap the benefits of an extensive collection of cheap dvd's. For greatest utility, you should arrange to keep the dvd for just one night, costing, in turn, just a single dollar.

What is more, you can check the Red Box site for weekly coupon codes. Frequently, you can get one night free on any dvd rental. Thus, you still swipe your credit card, but pay nothing. Good luck on your foray into the world of red boxes, the beginning of the end for Blockbuster.

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