Tuesday, September 8, 2009

The Current and Future of DVD Rentals

I used to be a big proponent of Netflix. In fact I got in at the beginning before the company's mail system was revamped to send movies in a day or two. I suffered through the 3 to 4 day waiting period of the initial service offering and then basked in the shear delight of the near instantaneous return rate. I became addicted to the service and tried to see just how many movies I could watch per month. Netflix was cinematic heaven for a movie buff like myself.

Then I had a kid, then another and another. Shortly after my eldest son was born, Netflix had to go. Lori and I just didn't have time to watch as many DVDs as we used to. I still think the service is great, but with the limited free time I currently have and the growth of DVR viewing in my household, it just doesn't make sense to subscribe anymore.

Enter Redbox. I stumbled across the automated DVD vending kiosk system a few years ago. There are several reasons why Redbox makes more sense than Netflix for busy families:

1. $1 rentals - You can't get much cheaper and unless you watch 10 movies a month, you'll probably be saving money over having a Netflix subscription.

2. Impulse renting - It's Friday night, you just got off from work and decide it may be a good night for an impromptu rental. Simply head to the nearest kiosk location and pick up a movie. Which brings me to...

3. Location - There are 10 Redbox locations within 5 miles of my house. Super convenient to pick up a movie on the way home from work or drop one off as I head to the gym. The closest one to us is in the Giant grocery store we normally shop at. I know Netflix is even MORE convenient but you have to plan your movies in advance.

4. Online Renting - Netflix has this too of course but it is pretty easy to reserve a DVD online and with 10 locations nearby it's rare that we find a movie we want to see that is out of stock.

Don't get me wrong, I still love the concept of Netflix and for singles and couples without kids it makes a lot of sense. On Demand is really the only better option for us right now but the $5 price tag for new releases doesn't seem as appealing. From what I've heard and read, Redbox is doing very well in the DVD rental marketplace. The location at our Giant shopping center forced the adjacent Blockbuster Video store to go out of business. I recently came across this post on a Redbox blog that mentions the upcoming advent of video game rentals. This will be a key addition for us as from time-to-time I can treat the kids to a $2 per-day rental of the latest Wii game. Blu-Ray is also a rental option at select Walmart locations. I still have yet to jump on the Blu-Ray train but will probably do so in the next few years. For now, I'll continue to enjoy the instant gratification of a last-minute Friday night dollar rental.

1 comment:

Mommy, Esq. said...

We do 3 Netflix disc - one for me and I'm always up to date (I go through series) and one for Aaron (movie I don't want to watch) and supposedly one for both of us but that is on Aaron's queque so we end up with TWO of his movies which is frustrating. I also like newer releases so the redbox makes sense there - but I like having my staple Netflix on hand when I do chores to pop into the portable DVD player (currently working through How I Met Your Mother). I wonder if the cost stavings of going to 2 Netflix would make up for Redbox. Something to consider.