Video rental opportunities have been around for four decades. In the mid 1970's, the introduction of the home use VCR (Video Cassette Recorder) changed the way people were able to watch movies. Once limited to television and movie theater viewing only, people could watch movies in the privacy of their own homes. Over the years, the video rental industry has taken some major turns.

Types of Media

By the late 1970's there were video rental stores spattered in many downtown locations throughout the world. This was a hotbed for people to rent movies to watch at home. At the time, video rental stores carried both Betamax and VHS style types. Eventually, the VHS (video home system) style tape would prevail and was made almost exclusively by the middle of the 1980's.

Video rental stores continued to carry VHS tapes for years to come. However, in 1997, the industry would change course yet again, this time with the introduction of the DVD. Many Video rental stores carried both types of movies for years to come. In fact, there are still some stores that rent older VHS movies, despite the increased popularity of the DVD.

Blu-ray was introduced for consumers in 2003. While it is increasing in popularity, many are still simply renting DVD's to this day. For this reason, many video rental stores carry both DVD and Blu-ray.

Rental Locations

To this day you can find many physical store locations that are renting videos. They can range from mom and pop stores to national chains, like Blockbuster or Premier Video. While this is still an accepted way to rent movies and videos, the industry has changed, just as the media has.

As the video rental industry media changed, so did the way people rented movies. While the 80's and most of the 90's required people to travel to a physical store location to rent a movie, the gaining popularity of the internet quickly began to change the way people rented movies. Several companies would allow people to rent videos online to have them shipped to their homes. The customer could return them when done, generally with a postage paid package included in the rental fee. This was a major convenience for many movie lovers.

As internet video rental sites gained in popularity, so did the instant rental market. Essentially, you could visit an online site, pay a fee for rental, and view a movie right on your computer screen, almost instantly. This was born of necessity, since so many people in all areas of commerce were demanding convenience for shopping.

The video rental industry took another turn in the 90's as cable and satellite companies allowed consumers to order movies using their remote control, without leaving their home, or even moving off the couch. Consumers could watch what they wanted, included new releases, when they wanted. It was a truly impressive turn in the industry.

In addition to all these methods, consumers can now rent movies from a vending machine. With a credit card swipe, you can rent a movie of your choosing, often for just $1 per night. These were so popular at one point in the mid 2000's, that even McDonalds Restaurants installed the machines in many of their lobbies. Today you will find them in the entry way of many large retail chain stores. It's just another way the video rental industry has changed with the times.

What's Next?

It's really tough to foresee the changes coming. The industry changes so rapidly that it's almost difficult to keep up. With each change, however, the experience seems to get better. The quality of the picture is far superior today with DVD and Blu-ray than it was with Betamax or VHS. In addition, the avenues for renting are so much more convenient.

The future will certainly hold additional twists and turns in the video rental industry, most likely for the better.