When Netflix introduced a new way to watch and rent movies, it saw success that traditional movie distribution couldn’t match.  Consumers were flocking to the idea that they barely had to leave the house to fetch a rented movie, instead shipping it directly to their door.  As they started rolling out their ‘watch instantly’ library, demand continued to grow.  However, brick and mortar rentals are still managing to stay in business and people are still willing to pay per movie they rent.  So which is best?


Netflix existed for far longer than it’s seen the success of recent.   It took nearly 10 years to ship their billionth DVD between 1997 and 2007 but shipped its second billionth only two years later.  Blockbuster took note and soon netflixfollowed suit – clearly this was no fad.  Today, both operate with online subscriptions where users choose a plan based on how many rentals they want access to at once.  Blockbuster matched Netflix pricing pyramid, pushing further to allow in-store exchanges with select plans.  Like GameFly, Blockbuster allows customers to pay the difference for a movie they’ve rented, purchasing it on the spot.  Plans for Netflix and Blockbuster start at $8.99.


Amazon on-demand video rentals began back in 2006, though it required a software player to stream movies.  In 2008 they allowed any Adobe Flash capable browser to play on-demand videos.  Apple entered the game with iTunes 8.0 that enabled streaming movie rentals.  Unlike Amazon’s 48 hour window to view a movie, Apple’s rentals must be watched within 24 hours of purchase.  Through both Amazon and iTunes, movies can be bought and downloaded as digital copies.  Rentals for both start at $2.99 with the exception of iTunes’ ‘Movies of the Week’ which start at $0.99.

Brick & Mortar/Redboxrebox

Until fairly recently, consumers relied on brick and mortar rentals like Blockbuster, Movie Gallery, and Hollywood Video for their movie fix. They’d normally charge an easy $5.00 for a few nights and could sometimes reach $10 for new releases.  Seems pretty crazy to me. Rental kiosks like Redbox came along, allowing customers to pay $1 per night.  Blockbuster began to follow with plans to introduce 10,000 kiosks by mid 2010.

Now that we’ve got a slew of renting options, movie rental pricing has certainly dropped.  Do you subscribe to Netflix or Blockbuster?  Or do you take your chances with the insanely cheap Redbox?  Maybe you’re among the more tech savvy and get your movie fix through less than legal means?  Let us know who gets your business in the comments.