Jeff and Colleen discuss the documentary, “The Last Blockbuster,” as well as thoughts on the past of renting VHS movies as video rental stores.

The Blockbuster documentary

The Last Blockbuster documentary

The videotape war (you may not have heard about)

Betamax vs VHS war

How Blockbuster won the Video Rental war

Initially, studio produced VHS videos were cost prohibitive to most small video rental stores. Blockbuster made a deal with studios to pay less for videos and give studios a cut of the rental profits. Because of that, Blockbuster dominated the video rental space for many years.

Jeff’s grief with Blockbuster

Jeff had to adjust his expectations of getting the videos that he wanted, because someone was always there ahead of him and got the new movie he wanted to watch (even though Blockbuster had 50 copies…). Jeff also experienced the joy of finding the new video he wanted, then realizing it was a similarly titled video, the wrong video in the right video cover, etc.

The slow death of Blockbuster Video

Stores like Costco, Target, Best Buy and others started offering VHS tapes at a discount. People would rather own VHS tapes instead of renting them. This began to take traffic away from Blockbuster Video.

As video playing platforms shifted from VHS to DVD and Blu Rays, the discounted prices continued to lure people from Blockbuster to big box and discount stores.

The Death Knell of Blockbuster Video

Jeff would watch the DVD/Blu Ray section of Costco and Target to gauge the health of video playing platforms. Streaming platforms like Roku, Amazon Firesticks and ultimately, Smart TVs (to Jeff) caused the death of Blockbuster Video.

Platform fatigue

The toughest part of watching videos was keeping up (and paying for) with the next physical format. Now that Smart TVs are now in 4K, people are having to make a decision – Do I buy 4K versions of all the movies that I owned as VHS, DVD, and Blu Ray, or move to the streamed version?

Easy 4K Streaming (and upgrading)

Most streaming platforms (Amazon Prime Video, Hulu, Netflix (with an upgraded plan), Disney+ and others) these days offer 4K TV and Movie content without having to upgrade to physical 4K discs and a 4K video player. To Jeff, it is an easier decision once you get a 4K TV to leave the physical discs behind and get the best quality versions by streaming them.

What about you and 4K?

Will you be upgrading your TV to 4K and stream content through apps like Amazon Prime Video and others or will you be buying a 4K player and 4K discs?

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