Blockbuster, on the Mat and Being Counted Out, Still Throwing Punches

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Blockbuster has closed thousands of stores. It has offered DVDs by mail and free DVDs from new Redbox-style kiosks. Even so, it just can’t seem to cope with rental competitors Netflix and Redbox.

But, as the Dallas News writes, Blockbuster refuses to die:

Renting DVDs by mail has been around for some time, although Blockbuster is adding a wrinkle by allowing in-store customers who can’t find the film they want on the shelf to have the movie mailed to their home without signing up for a monthly plan.

Blockbuster also is expanding its online video streaming service, which Netflix also offers.

Unlike Netflix, though, Blockbuster allows people to buy or rent individual first-run movies over the Internet.

Blockbuster users can buy or rent a movie on one device and watch it on another, such as an Internet-connected Samsung high-definition television or Blu-ray player.

For example, you could buy a movie through Blockbuster’s iPhone app while you’re riding the bus to work, and when you get home, the movie would be waiting for you to watch through your TV.

These are potentially neat initiatives, but I fear it’s all too little, too late. The consumer seems to have moved on, and going back to Blockbuster in any form would leave a bad taste in one’s mouth. After all, the company had years of a near monopoly of the video market, and the consensus opinion among consumers is that Blockbuster only began innovating and making the video rental experience better when it felt threatened by the competition. Remember late fees? They were Blockbuster’s gravy train for years.

There’s something sad about this game of catch-up that Blockbuster is playing. It’s sort of like watching your grandma try to start a blog. Using a typewriter.

Netflix vs. Redbox vs. Blockbuster: What’s the Best Movie Rental Deal?