State of Video, as I see it. Part IV: Blends of Physical and Web

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There are many options for consuming video on your computer or even on your High Definition TV. Whether it’s a Mac, Windows or even a Linux flavor. The options for video have expanded exponentially over the past several years. Back in the early 2000’s online video was a figment of many people’s imagination. Video was compressed so horribly that nothing more than a few minutes of video could be tolerated or downloaded. Now, with the explosion of broadband and the increased speeds available to consumers, the video market has grown to include the masses. There are several ways to consume video on the Internet. Throughout this multi-part article you’ll learn about many of the differing ways to get your video fix.


Physical rental stores have been around for quite a while now. Big chains like Hollywood Video and Blockbuster seem to dominate the landscape, but a new and cheaper competitor, NetFlix , has come around. NetFlix is a warehouse that allows you to queue up any physical format of movies and will send them to you typically within one business day. This has quickly become the most popular way of renting videos. You can pay as little as $4.99 a month for 2 discs, one at a time, per month. Despite starting as a physical distribution warehouse, Netflix has become a streaming medium as well, with unlimited streaming on all plans but the cheapest (PC Only, SUPPOSEDLY they’re working on a Mac Client). However, like most streaming clients, you must have a fairly significant broadband connection in order to stream video to your PC.

The biggest reason for Netflix ‘s success is the fact that there are no shipping fees, no late charges and you can keep the DVDs as long as you like. This makes it much easier for those who cannot finish a movie within a given rental time. Netflix also offers the streaming of TV Shows.


Being one of the last major brick and mortar rental stores Blockbuster has decided to throw its hand into the streaming section of movies. Blockbuster has the ability to offer one feature that none of the other services can offer: the ability to return the movie rented online to a physical store. This can add some convenience for users if they do rent a film via BlockBuster online and end up finding out that the video that they rented completely sucked and was not worth their time. It would then be a quick stop by the store to pick out a film that they actually did want to watch. Blockbuster did this in response to the slow decline of rental figures after Netflix started taking off and becoming a success.

Blockbuster added streaming content through their purchase of Movielink in August 2007. Movielink offers movies for purchase or rent, but is currently Windows only. This is due to the digital rights management (DRM) that has been applied and agreed on by the movie studios in order to allow Movielink to provide the content. Movielink does allow you to purchase an additional 24-hour rental period for a nominal fee. This is something that most of the rental places do not allow.

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