With green issues dominating the headlines at this week's Detroit auto show, you may find yourself wondering how much it costs to assuage the gas-guzzling guilt you feel when picking up your next rental car. The convenient answer is $1.25 (plus applicable taxes). That is the price at which Enterprise, National, and Alamo are selling carbon offsets to their customers in a carbon-offset program launching today. According to the companies, the $1.25 offset charge represents the cost of offsetting the CO2 impact of the average rental vehicle operating in the company's fleet. TerraPass, the company responsible … Read more
The long-anticipated set-top box from Netflix is headed toward your living room this summer, according to several major news providers including the Associated Press, The New York Times, and Reuters. The good news is that unlike the optical supremacy battle going on between HD-DVD and Blu-Ray, the capability to tap into Netflix's movies-on-demand service could become a standard option on many upcoming consumer-level DVD players and set-top boxes as an added feature--not the sole purpose. Boxes equipped with the Netflix service (including the purported next revision of LG's flagship BH series of dual HD-DVD and Blu-Ray players) will … Read more
Ever since Apple enabled users to download movies on iTunes, the world waited with bated breath to see if the company would launch a movie rental service. Unfortunately, those people are still waiting.
But with a renewed sense of importance toward getting movies through iTunes into your hands, Apple may finally pull the trigger and create a full-fledged movie rental business.
Even better, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster believes that launch could happen at Macworld. As Munster points out, his team expects Apple to announce new partnerships with at least one more movie studio, and this may be followed by the immediate availability of a movie rental service.
If that's not enough to whet the appetite of Apple fanatics all over the world, Munster also believes the Apple TV will play a key role in the launch.
"If Apple begins renting movie downloads on iTunes, we expect a related software update to the Apple TV enabling movie rentals direct to the Apple TV. In fact, the Apple TV software currently includes 'iTunes Store settings' in its settings menu, but the option is essentially inactive," he wrote. "We expect this setting to be activated soon; users will likely be able to log into their iTunes accounts directly from the Apple TV and browse movie rentals, then download them directly to their Apple TV."
Of course, the story doesn't end there. Simply put, should Apple even consider movie rentals, and if so, what good will it be for the company? Suffice it to say, if Apple decides to give movie rentals the green light, it'll be one of the company's most intelligent moves in years.… Read more
I'm a big fan of selling things through Craigslist, which is why a pitch from a service called Zilok piqued my interest. The premise of the site is that you can make money by renting stuff you've got laying around the house instead of parting with it once and for all. For folks who have something like a $500 Dyson vacuum that you bought and use once every six months, this service could theoretically help take a chunk out of the original purchase price by letting you rent it out to people who live near you.
The service … Read more
I hardly think we've seen the last of Blockbuster, but they do have a tough road ahead of them. Blockbuster Chairman Jim Keyes is just getting started, and he might have saved the company by pulling out of the expensive online war with Netflix. With Movie Gallery out of the way, refocusing on stores and getting more revenue (from) their 20 million monthly customers makes sense in the short term. Keep in mind that it's going to be a while before DVD goes away (and my Dad watches a movie online).
This latest round of the Blockbuster deathwatch was largely kicked off by Blockbuster's Q3 earning Webcast during which it was revealed that the company had lost about 500,000 Total Access (DVD by mail) subscribers. CEO James Keyes suggested that some were unprofitable subscribers, but then you'd probably expect him to say that. In any case, Blockbuster appears to be pulling back (but likely not exiting) from its mail operation to concentrate on its brick and mortar stores.
One often hears about B&M being dead or the DVD being replaced by online downloads. I don't buy either assertion, at least for any reasonable planning horizon. The reason is in the table below.Latency Effort Consumer Tech Supplier Cost Store Low High Low High Mail High Low Medium Medium Download Low Low High Low
They're fast disappearing in my neighborhood. The Blockbuster shuttered a while back and only two of the five independent shops are left, but their days are numbered. For me it's like deja vu all over again, I remember in the '80s and '90s when record stores were dropping like flies. The real death knell came last year when Tower Records slid into oblivion, and I really miss the two NYC stores.
I think it's sad when local businesses whither and die, and we customers send our dollars and those lost jobs out of state. NYC is turning … Read more
Rentometer is a useful mashup, one that's part scientific, and another pure speculation. The idea is simple: just plug in your ZIP code, the size of your dwelling, and how much you're paying, and Rentometer will cross-check your price with local property listings pulled in from parent company iiProperty. Results show up on two screens, one that's a little bit like a speedometer, and another that's simply a Google Map with nearby property listings.
This is a great service if you're apartment hunting, since you can see if the price is higher or lower than … Read more
Last week I took a look at TextBookFlix, an invite-only service that ships loaner text books at a sizable discount to cash-strapped college students. This week I've been browsing BookSwim, a similar service that's been around a little longer, and is open to everyone.
BookSwim makes strong self-comparisons to Netflix, with its own books-by-mail turnaround service that lets you keep anywhere from 3 to 11 titles out at a time with five different subscription plans ranging from $20, all the way up to $36 per month. Like Netflix, BookSwim gives each user a queue of books, and will … Read more
iLetYou is a new rental marketplace for DVDs and video games. If you want to rent a disc but don't want to sign up for a membership service like Netflix or Blockbuster, it's a good option. Most rentals are $2 or $3 for a week, with no recurring fee. It's also likely to be more reliable than a user-to-user swapping service like PeerFlix (which I use and like, although I've learned not rely on it).
The service also looks like a good bet for mom-and-pop video stores that want to put their rental inventories online. Many … Read more
In the face of the juggernaut that is Netflix, lagging movie rental giant Blockbuster has tried many an incentive to convince viewers that it's no dinosaur. Since entering the online DVD rental business in 2004, Blockbuster has instituted "Total Access," a system of online-and-offline rentals geared toward Netflix users who may be disgruntled by the fact that they can't just hop in their cars and pick out movies on the fly.
This week, Blockbuster is taking a sharper jab at Netflix. With the President's Day long weekend underway, the rental company is attempting to capitalize … Read more