DVDs - Buying vs. Renting


Driving into work this morning, I heard a story on NPR's Morning Edition about DVD rentals. Apparently, people are deciding to buy rather than rent their movies. This is a marked change from the times when video cassettes roamed the Earth. The reporter cited the durability and the smaller size of DVDs making storage convenient. These almost seem to be the least compelling arguments. Are the cases really any smaller in volume? And I practically need to put on silk gloves and take my DVD into a dust-proof clean room to keep those things from getting scratched. Video cassettes were built like tanks.

But apart from that odd observation, the segment was pretty interesting. You'll be able to listen to the story by noon ET from the website. Tomorrow they will be talking to movie directors about their opinions on DVD commentaries. Do you buy or rent? At ~$15 vs. ~$4, I still rent more than buy. But I also can't think of any movie outside of the Star Wars Trilogy that I've seen more than 4 times.

Update: The story is available for listening now.


I won't pay more than $20 for a movie, but I also won't buy a movie if it doesn't have special features that I'm going to watch. Case in point: I didn't buy X-Men, rented it on NetFlix, but I did buy X-Men 1.5 to watch the commentary, deleted scenes, documentaries, and the movie when I want to. I also paid under $20 for it with a discount I had at the time.

DVDs I will go over $20 are the television shows, but for those, I will usually max out at $50. For example - Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 3, I paid $45 for, which in my opinion is well worth the price. I've never seen the show (only on DVD) so now I can watch it when I want, and I also avoid about 5 1/2 hours of commercials.

I'll buy a DVD of a movie I've seen, but rent the others. I'm more likely to buy a DVD of a movie I kinda liked than I would've been to buy a tape of it. Durability is definitely one factor, but so is the picture quality. It's the same reason I bought so few audio casettes.

While DVDs are certainly more physically fragile than Video Cassettes, I think there is a feeling that as long as you treat them with care, buying will provide you with a copy of a film that will never deteriorate in image quality. Furthermore, you rarely watch a DVD as often as you may listen to an audio CD, so the risk of scratching seems more remote.

I personally buy more than I rent, but I'm kind of a packrat in the first place. Part of that packrat nature though insists that if I hoard something, it remains pristine: and that's why the DVD with its digital nature is so attractive. I never did buy many Video Cassettes.

I buy much more than I rent simply because by the time I get any rented movie back in it costs me almost as much as it would have to buy it. I should just get Netflix but I can't think of 3 movies to rent every month.

Cool! Another NPR Fan! I also heard this story, and found it interesting. I don't rent movies, and only purchase the few I enjoy. Thus said, DVD's kick the ass out of tapes in every way, so I really don't care if the Blockbuster's or the 20/20 Video's take a hit.

For me it depends. If it's a movie I liked (or figure very strongly that I will like), I buy it. If it's something I'm not sure about, it gets a rental (and maybe a buy later if it ends up being something I think I'll want later down the road).

But the really cool thing about NetFlix is that you build a queue of movies and they keep shipping them out to you. I didn't think I would be able to think of movies to put in there, but right now I've got 55 movies on my list. I'll just hop into NetFlix every once in a while, check out my queue (move things around if I feel the need), browse their movies and just add the interesting ones into my list. If I hear about a movie and say, "Hmm, that sounds interesting." I get on a computer and add it to my list.

It's also got this rating system which sometimes works. I've rated about 700 movies on there, so their reccomendations are usually pretty good.

picture quality, and convenience go a long way.  the extra content from deleted scenes and commentary combined with no picture degredation, language selection, superior picture quality, no rewinding and accessing whichever scene you want to play make it worth ownership.