To Download, To Rent or To Recycle?

August 07, 2009

dvd intro

I have to be honest, I'm never one to watch a ton of movies but I know that there are a lot of people who love going to the theater, people that rent, download and even buy DVDs.  In the past we've seen the big box video rental stores pray on the customers who fail to return their DVDs in a timely fashion; surviving on a business model that thrived because of late fees. 

Then along came online companies like Netflix who found a market to let customers keep movies as long as they like and provide them an "all you can eat" model depending on how many DVDs they want to keep at a time. 

Big Box video retail stores like Blockbuster and Hollywood Video took it one step further by offering the same type of service as Netflix but with no downtime waiting for your new movie to arrive.  Then there were the cable companies wanted a piece of the action and provided yet one more step of convenience; Download the latest and greatest films from the comfort of your own couch!  Personally speaking, I have a great local video store within walking distance from my house that has the latest films, as well as, a great variety of independent and hard to find documentaries.

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With airlines cutting back on everything from meals, carry-on luggage and even movies, it's no surprise that retailers are now renting portable DVD players, movies, etc to travelers of the "friendly skies".  Haven gotten stuck in the Dallas airport last night, I spent much of my time browsing in the only retail book store that was still open at 10pm.   I couldn't help but notice  a display that read "Eco DVDs".  My first thought was a recycled DVD packaging or a kiosk with down-loadable movies.  When I read further, I found that this company flexplay was offering Time-Limited DVDsfor sale.  So, you had a choice of buying a DVD for $10-18 that you could watch forever or buy a $4.99 flexplay DVD that was only good to watch for two days.  The eco part, I was still unsure about, but then I noticed the drop box customers could drop your old flexplay discs into.  Looking more into their recycling partner , GreenDisc (who repurposes old e-waste) the recycling part appeared to be legitimate.  To flexplay's credit, they have also done away with the plastic clam shell DVD case and replaced it with a paper one.  The problem I have is that we are just creating products for short term use and disposal. It's likely that the customer buying a Time Limited DVD is choosing this option because they like the convenience and the price, but unlikely they going to be to remember to recycle their used discs, which will find their way to a landfill. Weigh in on your thoughts. 

Is flexplay a good solution?  How do you access your movies? Buy, Rent, Download?


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