So recently my wife and I have been shopping around for a new system for renting movies. We've been faithful subscribers of Netflix for about 3 years. However, with the most recent pricing and company changes that I have seen in the past year have changed my feelings about the direction of Netflix and whether I want to be a part of it (Company changes have since been dropped yet still shows unsettling changes within the company). In the coming weeks I will be cancelling part or all of my subscription to Netflix.
In the past couple of weeks I have been trying out Redbox as a potential replacement/supplement to the Netflix streaming. So far we've rented 5 or six movies using this service and I have to say, I'm generally pleased with the service. I haven't had a bad experience yet and they generally seem to have a decent selection around my area. I can either go to a kiosk and see which movies are available at that location or I can go online either from a smartphone or from my PC and see all movies that are available at all locations and then figure out the closest location to me for pick up. If you choose to go online to find your movie rentals, you can prearrange the pickup for the movies so that all you have to do is show up to the designated location and swipe your card. Within a few short seconds you are given your movies that you've requested.
My one problem with Redbox is that, like Netflix and many other streaming/rental options, you have to wait the mandatory time period after a movie is released in order to be able to rent it. However, this little issue is easily overcome by the fact that you do not have a monthly subscription fee regardless of use and allows you , the user, to control your costs.
In the end, I do believe that physical media for video consumption is almost certainly dead. In the future I think you will no longer go to a big box store and browse hundreds of titles setup in nice concise aisles and then walk to the front to pay for your choices. More and more video will go the way music has and move online for on demand streaming and purchasing rights to view content online. There are many advantages to this model for both sides. The problem will be in breaking the current paradigm and getting consumers and publishers to see the advantages to scaling back, if not completely stopping, physical media production.