Grab the remote: On Demand reinvents Saturday nights

By Liz Kerstetter
November 3, 2006

Shane Evans

For those who subscribe to Comcast Cable Network, viewing a movie is as easy as ever; so easy that it is putting movie-rental-stores out of business.

The On Demand feature that is included with most Comcast Cable packages allows the viewer to pick a show or movie from the On Demand menu and watch it whenever they want. On Demand is a digital library of movies and past episodes of television shows.

Once the viewer decides what they want to watch, they follow the directions prompted on the television screen to find their choice. The majority of the television shows and older movies are included in the package price. New releases cost $3.99 and the viewer can then watch their selection at any time within the next 24 hours and utilize the rewind and pause features.

The ease with which a Comcast subscriber can watch a movie is undeniable. Plopping down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, choosing a movie and watching it all with a three minute time-span is easier than driving to the video store these days.

On Demand is becoming increasingly popular among many Americans who are too busy to find time to stop at the rental store. The feature begs to be used with its simplicity.

The remaining group of people who do not subscribe to Comcast cable can find their way around the rental store by any number of online rental stores. Most online companies have a monthly fee that covers an unlimited number of rentals per month.

A plan through Netflix, for example, costs $17.99 per month. The customer compiles an online listing of the movies they wish to see and Netflix sends them right to their door. Although the plan includes unlimited rentals, movies are only sent three at a time and the following movie will not be sent until one is returned.

Getting in the car and driving to a movie rental store is just not a habit anymore. One can only wonder, how much longer will an actual movie rental store stay in business? With today’s technology and convenience, it is hard for anyone to compete.

Chris Rhodes, freshman history major, has subscribed to Comcast for over a year. “I only go to the rental store for video games,” Rhodes said. “That is probably how rental stores are staying open, their video game sales.”

Marie Hartke, professor of psychology, said, “I never go into any rental stores anymore.” Although there were no rental stores in the area willing to comment, it is clear that the people in this area are no longer renting their movies in-store if they can help it. “If Comcast doesn’t put them out of business, Netflix will,” Hartke said.

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Liz Kerstetter

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