Whatever happened to …

… Blockbuster?

I got thinking about this when I read the news today that BestBuy would stop selling Blu-rays and DVD media in 2024. The story is from CNBC but I suspect that it applies to us here in Canada.

Best Buy will stop selling Blu-rays, DVDs in 2024: ‘The way we watch movies and TV shows is much different today’ https://t.co/HirHG83Upe— CNBC (@CNBC) October 13, 2023

In the beginning, there were television stations from Wingham (Channel 8), London (Channel 10) and Kitchener (Channel 13) that we could totally rely on for good strong over the air signals. We watched what the programmers at the stations told us what we should. It did spawn the quote “There’s nothing on”.

Things sure have changed. Fast Forward …

Ah, but before BestBuy, there was Blockbuster. You could go in there and rent, not buy, a VCR tape or a game for your home system. It became a victim of technology and declared bankruptcy back in 2010.

Before that, it wasn’t uncommon to go to Blockbuster and rent a movie on VCR for the weekend or for a kid’s birthday party sleepover. The selection was overwhelming and I found it handy to know the name of the video I was going to rent before going in.

The yellow and blue logo sure stood out when you drove by and there were many, many stores. The company did try to keep up with the times and moved on from renting VCR tapes to other media.

It also started spinoffs because the ability to have a VCR on demand, pause for whatever reason, replay scenes, alternate endings, etc. that even the corner convenience stores offered them for rent.

We do live in a different world for entertainment these days. Let’s talk about it.

  • were you a frequent visitor to Blockbuster for your video or gaming entertainment?
  • if you were kind, what did you do?
  • did it bother you that the company could track what movies you rented?
  • sometimes, you just have to have your own copy – do you have purchased media from days gone by?
  • will BestBuy stopping selling media affect you or your family?
  • have you ever given a DVD or other media as a gift?
  • now, you can access movies and shows online with a television to access the services. Do you pay for a service? Which one(s)?
  • do you access free video on demand services like Plex on your television?
  • do you even use a television or do you watch shows on your computing or portable device?
  • now, you can record television using a PVR. Do you have a stockpile of things that you intend to watch? I just checked ours and I have 31 things to watch – movies, Formula 1, and a couple of television shows that we love – Law and Order SVU, Modern Family
  • do you have any concerns about the modern alternatives tracking your viewing habits? Or, do you appreciate suggestions for what to watch next?

Things indeed have changed but Bruce Springsteen notes that some things remain the same.


Blockbuster helped change that.

As I ask every Sunday, how about sharing your thoughts about this in the comments below.

This is a regular Sunday morning feature around here. You can read all the previous posts here.

Join the Conversation

  1. So, first off – I really enjoyed reading your piece here. It reminded me of some of the YouTube channels that my wife and I watch (i.e. History Lounge for one). As for your questions, there were way to many so I won’t attempt an answer other than a couple of comments. My wife and I decided several years ago to “cut the cord” on the tv. We no longer really watched much television other than the news and the truth was, we were getting sick of the nonsense parading as news these days so it was easy to save the $100 a month and cut that cord. Initially we went with Netflix but after several years with them and bearing the annual increase in price and the deteriorating movies offerings, we cancelled our subscription. For two years we continued with Hulu and then cancelled that as well… nothing worth the price. Today, most of our news is from YouTube channels and our movies from our Amazon Prime (most are free… Freevee and/or offered by Amazon) as well as the occasional free offering from YouTube’s movie selection and Tubi. All of this is streamed on a Firestick in our media room with a flatscreen tv and a Roku in our bedroom. There is NO cable whatsoever. As for games, just not into them so our xbox One (a gift from our son) gathers dust. We read and play games (i.e. Scrabble… love it) and take lots of walks.

    Yes, I remember browsing Blockbuster back in the day. Good memories. So much of what comes out of Hollywood and Disney these days is pure garbage so it doesn’t bother us that we seldom watch “newer” movies. I guess we’re beginning to show our age. As for tracking… that doesn’t really concern me other than on my computer where I use Firefox to block trackers. Amazon Prime offers movie suggestions based on your selection so that’s fine with us.

    Anyway, a great blog entry. Thanks.


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