At one time, during the era of video tape cassettes, independent video rental stores proliferated in American communities. Chain operations, like Blockbuster Video and Hollywood Video, soon followed as home video viewing became increasingly popular. Technology moved on, however. Online video rental and television movies-on-demand cut deeply into the business of videos (now, usually DVDs). DVDs also became much less expensive to buy outright.
The popularity of Netflix, however, truly sealed the doom of Hollywood Video (and many independents) and seriously threatened Blockbuster. The Netflix concept is simple: for a set monthly fee, users order the DVDs they wish online, receive them in the mail (or now online), return them when they are finished, and order more. Netflix has become so pervasive in the United States that the company’s name has actually become a verb, as in “I missed that movie at the theater, but I will Netflix it,” meaning rent it from Netflix later on, or “I’m going to Netflix all night” indicating that the person will watch Netflix videos instead of regular television.
Despite Netflix and the Internet, however, in ethnic and immigrant areas, specialized video stores exist to meet the needs of their communities. In some areas, independent video stores and remnants of the chains still exist. Some shops, of course, specialize in pornographic videos that are not available through other means. All these video shops rent DVDs or video tapes for a small fee per day or per weekend. Customers give their credit card numbers or cash as a guarantee of return. Some shops also rent video games on the same basis.
One source for videos that many people overlook is the public library. Libraries let their members borrow videos at no charge, usually for a shorter period than for books.
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