Hey Lifehacker, Back in the day (2010!), I could go to my local Video Busters and rent a new release Blu-ray for $3. I could browse, select my movie, and watch it that night. Life was good.
Of course, that store no longer exists. Streaming a HD movie will set me back $7 from every service I know of, and no how matter how streamlined the process, nothing is simpler than inserting a disc, pressing play and kicking back on the couch for buffer-free entertainment. Kiosks don’t help either — their Blu-ray range is minute. So my question is this: what is the single simplest, easiest, subscription-free, contract-free, hassle-free, pirate-free way to rent and watch a new release HD movie in this country, and can it be done for less than seven exorbitant dollars?
Harking (For The Glory Days)
Picture: Getty Images/Jerod Harris
There is only one constant in the world of home entertainment: things change. When our family got its first video recorder back in the 1980s, you had to pay a membership fee to even join the local video store. The rental fees back then were around $3 each — which would equate to a lot more now. There was only one copy of every movie, and because they were VHS tapes, the picture quality was often variable. It was a massive improvement on just being able to watch the two local TV channels, but it’s not necessarily an experience I’d want to hark back to.
Streaming isn’t perfect, especially if your connection is slow, but you don’t need to leave home, the store never runs out of titles and the range is wider than any video store was ever able to manage. At the same time, physical media is much cheaper to purchase (both outright and in inflation-adjusted terms) than it has ever been — another factor which led to a decline in the popularity of renting even before streaming became a possibility. Even so, all the evidence suggests that Blu-ray sales have already peaked — it’s a format in decline, though that doesn’t mean it will disappear immediately.
If you want to rent Blu-ray titles in Australia, the cheapest and most flexible option is to use Quickflix’s DVD and Blu-ray only option. For $30 a month, you can have three discs out at once. If you regularly watch the movies and change them over, you’ll easily be able to drop the cost below $7 a viewing. However, you won’t always get the movie you want immediately — something that isn’t a problem with streaming services. But you’ll have your physical discs (and no late fees if you fail to return them). Other than that, you’ll need to live with the reality: times change.
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