Oct 222003
Authors: Jeremy Anderson

Of all of the troubles people encounter in their lives, there

are few which seem to really tick people off. Americans seem to

collectively loathe such hassles as parking tickets, high gas

prices and video store late fees. If you cringed after reading the

third choice, rejoice in knowing that you can now eliminate that

hassle from your life.

While renting a movie from a video store is still the norm, a

few new companies give consumers alternative means to view films at

home. No longer are renters restricted to checking out movies from

their local video store. They can now turn to their computer or

mailbox for movie entertainment. And the best part– no late



Movielink, the newest of the alternative home video providers,

makes it possible for people to download movies from the Internet

onto their computers. Once a user downloads a movie, they have a

30-day window to first watch the movie and once they press play,

they have 24 hours to watch it as much as they want before it is

deleted from their hard drive.

Movielink charges $2.99-$4.99 per download and has over 400

movies to choose from. Once the movie is downloaded onto a

computer, it is not necessary to be connected to the Internet in

order to be viewed, and the movies will resume where you left off

if you shut down your computer.

“Movielink is a great option for students who want to get films

without leaving (home),” said Rachel Heffron, public relations

manager for Movielink.

Heffron calls the program a “legal alternative to piracy” and

points out Movielink’s “Movies in Minutes” feature, which allows

users to begin viewing a film without having to wait for the

download to fully complete.

Potential drawbacks: Downloading costs as much as renting a

movie from a store and must be viewed on a computer screen. There

is a good chance you will have to download several computer

programs in order to use the service on your PC, and you must have

either Window ’98, ME or XP. Also, the service is not intended for

dial-up Internet users. It can only be used for computers with

high-speed Internet access. Also, most video stores have a much

larger selection of titles.


A second and increasingly popular video rental service is

Netflix. According to netflix.com, for $20 a month, subscribers get

up to three DVDs at a time from a list of titles they choose from

in advance. DVDs are shipped to users via mail. Once they are done

watching their movies, they return them by mail and their next

choices are automatically shipped. No postage is required and the

next set of DVDs arrive in one to three days.

Netflix users never have to worry about late fees. They can keep

their rentals for as long as they want, or they can quickly switch

them out for new ones. The service provides over 15,000 titles and

can be canceled anytime.

“The reason why I like it is you never have to go to the video

store ever,” said George Sproule, CSU senior and Netflix

subscriber. “I also like it because it’s cheap.”

Potential drawbacks: The movies-by-mail service doesn’t allow

for the immediate viewing of movies you get by renting at your

local video store. Also, your number of rentals is limited to three

at a time and it doesn’t provide films on VHS.

Video Stores

Popular rental chains like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video have

recently responded with programs similar to these new alternatives.

Hollywood Video, at 4515 John F. Kennedy Parkway, has a program

that allows renters two videos, DVDs, or game rentals at a time,

which they can swap out at their leisure for a monthly charge of

$20 plus tax. There are no late fees and customers can cancel the

program at any time.

Each Blockbuster Video location in town has a similar program

allowing customers two DVDs or videos at a time for $24.99 plus tax

or three at a time for $29.99 plus tax. With the Movie Freedom Pass

customers can trade out their rentals an unlimited amount of times.

The pass does not work toward game rentals, but Blockbuster

provides a separate and similar program for gamers.

“The majority of video renters rent on impulse, and that isn’t

possible with the mail order process (Netflix),” said Blake Lugash,

a company spokesman for Blockbuster. “We’re always looking at ways

to better serve our customers.”

Blockbuster is also developing a new program, which will allow

renters to rent movies online as well as in-store for a flat

monthly fee. Members can then return their rentals by mail or at

their local Blockbuster location. This program will be available in

the middle of next year.

Potential drawbacks: Any additional rentals over the allotted

limit must be paid for separately.




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