It is a period of great uncertainty. For generations, the people of Earth have consumed movies and film. With the Internet generation becoming increasingly ADD, and the demand of instant gratification increases, the old brick and mortar video rentals have become increasingly irrelevant. Several factions have risen and are fighting to gain control of the future of video rentals. With so many alternatives, the people must be forced to choose alliances which may have unforeseen repercussions …

OK, I think I’ll stop with the Star Wars reference lest you think I’m some hardcore Star Wars uber geek nerd (which I am). This post was my thoughts on the CNET article about why Blockbuster should give up. I agree with the writer and also think Blockbuster will go the way of the dinosaur unless it makes some serious strategy changes. Aside from the fact that I don’t even go to Blockbuster anymore due to Redbox, I think it’s being left in the dust by some serious players who know exactly where the market is headed.

Although the author seems to focus on Netflix as Blockbuster’s Grim Reaper with its innovations and partnerships, it’s not just Netflix. It’s the whole industry. No one wants to actually leave the house, pick up a movie, watch it and then have to return it. Netflix has proven that with its business model and has certainly done its share of damage to Blockbuster’s stock. Many believe the battle of video rentals will be won not in the store, or on the PC, but rather the set top box. People don’t want to leave the house or watch their movies on their 17″ widescreen laptops, they want to see them on their 42″ LCDs.

The Factions

Netflix and Microsoft Alliance (and Roku too)

Netflix is not taking prisoners. Its first foray into the set top box world via the Roku has proven that people are definitely clamoring for such a solution. If that wasn’t enough, Netflix has partnered with Microsoft to provide their streaming movie service through the Xbox 360. This is a great foot in the door since it doesn’t require yet ANOTHER set top box device in the living room. It’s definitely made me think twice about reinstating my Netflix service and purchasing an Xbox 360even though I don’t watch that many movies or even play games anymore.

Apple

Apple’s success with the iTunes store has made their Apple TV set top box a natural evolution of their product offerings. The fact that it’s integrated to the iTunes store and all your mac content makes it a no brainer for mac aficionados.

Sony

Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Sony has just recently added movie and TV show rentals and purchases to their PlayStation 3 game console. Although PS3 market penetration in the US is questionable at best, the fact that they won the HD wars may prove useful for someone looking for an all-in-one set top box that will allow you to play games, watch BluRay movies, and rent movies on demand.

It will be interesting to see how the video wars will play out seeing as it has already spilled into the console wars. What are your thoughts?

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