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Netflix expands into mobile while Blockbuster regresses to its old ways

03.02.2010

Two movie powerhouses both have interesting news bits out today, so I thought I’d mash them into one story. Netflix, the champion of the new era of movie rental is expanding even further, while Blockbuster, the dying behemoth is going backwards to try and avoid destruction.

Netflix is talking about a potential new service that will let subscribers stream movies directly to their iPhones with as little as 30 seconds of prep time. This is pretty cool tech no doubt, but honestly, the only time I’d ever consider streaming a movie to my phone would probably be on an epically long plane or car ride, where the necessary Wi-fi required is a rare commodity. What, you thought it would work with 3G? That would probably blow up AT&T’s data network once and for all.

And at the other end of the spectrum, Blockbuster is reintroducing late fees in a desperate way to produce cash before they submerge in the waters of bankruptcy for good. The late fees are $1 for the movie for up to ten days after its due, meaning theoretically you could keep a movie forever for $15. Or you know, you could use the aforementioned Netflix and never have to deal with any of that shit.

It’s hard to know whether or not to blame Blockbuster for their pending doom. Sure, you could say they could have seen this coming, but really, what were they supposed to do? Liquidate all their stores in 1999 and try to beat Netflix to the punch? I suppose, but at the time, it would have seemed idiotic for the world’s #1 movie rental outlet. But now they’re past the point of no return, and soon even DVDs will go the way of the VHS, and streaming and downloading will rule all.

Extra Tidbit: I wish Netflix would start carrying (and eventually streaming) video games. No, shut up, Gamefly sucks. I really hope OnLive ends up working.

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