Death to Video Stores, Long Live the V.O.D.

by Ryan Miller


Get ready to shit bricks.

I've had two movie rental experiences in the last few years, the both of them at Blockbuster Video. The stores were closing and I was looting the place for all it's treasures.

And you know what? I'm cool with it.

Going to a video store was never really that much an exciting time for me as it happened so seldom and my choices were very limited. My parents were strict to a level of near cruelty when it came to movie restrictions and because of it, I may be playing catch-up for the rest of my life. Forget R-rated movies, I was rarely allowed to enjoy a PG-13 rated movie in my younger days. So I became addicted to video games and they became the only reason for me to even take the time to go. To make matters worse, they rarely had a video game worth checking out. It was as if I should have camped out for the new releases if I didn't want Elmo's Adventures in Number, or some equally depressing piece of garbage.

Keep in mind, I am in no way insulting Elmo.

As an adult, or at the very least a boy masquerading as an adult, I've gone to the video store very few times. The magic and adventure of video rental just never inspired me the way one would expect. Two of my roommates even worked at video stores, and that did nothing to improve the market's interest for me. They did nothing but complain, regardless of it's necessity, about the newest inane attack on their character by some co-worker of boss. As unfortunate as it is, video rental stores became a casualty because of it.

But I do have a netflix account. I am, as they say, of the new school.

It is a fallacy to claim there is no adventure on netflix. Though I usually save the word adventure for something more closely resembling taking PCP and climbing into a McDonald's drive-through window to steal all their hamburgers, I often do find it adventurous to sort through the instant queue section.

For those that don't have a Netflix account, and some that do, the website features a vast selection of movies that can be instantly streamed to your computer, and some televisions. It can also be streamed with XBOX live.

Since I've already explained my love for video games, I shouldn't be hard to figure with previous information that I use my XBOX to view movies through the Netflix. I've never even sent away for a movie, at least not yet. No wait, no hassle.

It's a pretty simple operation to set this up. Of course, it does require the proper materials to initially get going. One XBOX, a live account, a netflix, and the internet with a working computer. I'd like to imagine that if you're reading this, you have the latter. This is just a single way to enjoy the netflix movie experience as nowadays, many a television set come equipped to also be computer monitors, allowing you to skip the first two material steps. Moreover, if you're feeling sassy, and happen to have a decent computer monitor, you could just enjoy it that way.

You'll notice the new school has benefits, and they are numerous.

We of the new school have also discovered video on demand, offered by cable and other packages. There are a vast amount of on-demand channels that your sticky fingers can access by groping a remote. These channels used to be exclusive to the pornographic element, but now are capable of displaying a wide variety of choices. Most of them are free with your subscription. Through my cable company I have HBO on demand, Sundance on demand, and many more. These channels do not require a credit card, and they are far sexier than any pornography to the movie addict.

Of course there are video on demand channels that do offer the latest DVD releases, as well as some pornography, for a small fee.

Another increasingly popular method of recieving a film for a night is the Red Box. For a dollar you get a new release for 24 hours. This is clearly intended to be an impulse purchase as their strategic location placement would imply. Usually at the supermarket, a Red Box can be found very close to the exits, similar to the way gumball machines once were located. Combine that with the fact that you were there already to purchase your weekly provisions and/or booze for the evening, so you may as well enjoy a quick movie also. Enjoy your consumption America, you've earned it.

We no longer need video stores.

In the vast evolving market that is film, it was only a matter of time before they could no longer house everything we wanted. Or needed, to be more precise. It no longer offers that which we desire or what we crave. There is no failure here on our parts, nor on the part of the stores that housed all our rentals. It's merely evolution. Video stores keep us in a box, and it's time to take off the nostalgia goggles.

We are of the new school, ever evolving.