Blockbuster Closing: The End to Renting Movies?

Recently, the Blockbuster on El Monte closed permanently. The news didn’t seem to shock me–I hadn’t stepped into the store in over a year. The only memory I retained was when I had come to rent a last-minute movie for a friend’s birthday party.

The El Monte Blockbuster is not alone, as the recent economy has hit the the now obsolete video renting market especially hard. In 2010, Blockbuster announced its bankruptcy and in April of 2011, it was bought by Dish Network.

Ever since then, many Blockbusters nationwide have locked their doors and have been replaced by other stores. Out of desperation, one can even purchase a book shelf from Blockbuster–if it wasn’t already clear that the age of the video store is over. But why is that?

There are many alternatives to Blockbuster, and the major competitor is online streaming networks. Netflix, which has recently increased its prices by about 60 percent, is the number one network when it comes to online streaming. With an account, users can be hook up their Netflix Instant Queue onto their XBox or Playstation 3 (or even your Roku) to play movies on your TV. All of this along with the most popular moive mail service to date.

HuluPlus also streams movies and TV shows at a low flat rate. Many people use Hulu to catch up on missed episodes of their favorite TV shows. Though Blockbuster also has an online streaming network, it isn’t as well known as Netflix or HuluPlus.

When I watch movies, I watch them online or through a online streaming network. Who wants to drive all the way to a local store when all the movies that you want are available at the press of a button? And while Blockbuster offers only a limited number of movies, on any online streaming network you can get the movie without the hassle of worrying that it won’t be there–to some degree, of course.

Netflix does leave some newly released movies unavailable for direct streaming and only accesible via the mail service, but, for the most part, online streaming is a quick and easy alternative to the typical video store. DVDs usually come into the market four months after the movie has been released in the theatres. VuDu, another online streaming network, allows movies to be watched right after they stop playing at the theatres.

Regardless, Blockbuster, like the current American press, must try and keep up with an ever-expanding online market that practically takes the whole point of having stores entirely pointless.

So as the doors of Blockbuster close, so do the doors of renting movies from stores. The Internet and online streaming of Netflix have proved to be more convenient and appropriate for our demanding (and lazy) society.