DVD displacing video means temporary deficiency of selection in the store

I have been noticing at Blockbuster the past 2 years, the gradual displacement of video by DVD. As of now the displacement looks about 55-60%. If this trend continues, eventually the store will become 100% DVD and 0% video. I’m not sure that video will vanish entirely from the store in the foreseeable future, but, I surmise, you reach a point (20%?) below which there’s no use in keeping such a small video selection on the shelves, so it just drops to zero.

I base this view on analogy with the similar displacement that happened in the late 1980s: CDs taking over from vinyl in the record store. I remember at the beginning of 1987 my friend remarking that it was getting hard to find titles in vinyl any more, because at that point the CDs had taken over more than half the record store. It wasn’t long thereafter that vinyl became totally obsolete (except for collector enthusiasts like the people who still listen to vacuum tube radios or drive refurbished Model Ts).

So what happens at this point when the store’s shelf space is divided about half and half? What was that about economics being the allocation of limited resources? Here, what’s limited is the store’s shelf space.

The DVDs have not yet expanded enough to allow you to find the less popular movies on the shelf. But the less popular movies have already been eliminated from the video shelves, to make room. All that remains is the recent major Hollywood stuff, but the more interesting indie and foreign films, and the good older films, are squeezed out. We can’t look forward to seeing a bigger selection of films until video is extinct and DVD completely takes over. That may be a long time; I don’t foresee video dying out as rapidly as vinyl records did in the 1980s. So meanwhile we’re stuck with a more boring, restricted selection. :frowning:

Best advice is to find a local indie video store. They have plenty of titles on video cassette as well as plenty of DVD’s. I’ve seen the DVD selection increase quite a lot recently and not just in the new release section. Those places are also a lot better at making recommendations, especially after you have been a customer for a little while. I always just walk up the counter at Into Video and ask the clerk which movie I should rent. Rarely do I get a bad one and never do I get a bad one without a warning…

Blockbuster is a horrendously bad video rental place. You shouldn’t expect to find “marginal” or “off the beaten track” movies there, no matter what format. They are in the business of block busters and best sellers.

As to old VHS tapes, there’s no reason for a store to toss them so long as they continue to generate revenue. Of course, they will wear out, and may not be available on DVD, or even VHS anymore. It’s not just the rental stores, but manufacturers also affected by the DVD invasion.

In theory at least a DVD should have a much longer lifespan than a VHS. Once it migrates from the “New Release” category, it should stay on a store’s shelf much longer.

I almost never watch VHS anymore, and I don’t miss it.

I have no idea whether this addresses your OP in a helpful manner.

It’s just that with half and half space allocation, neither side has room for anything but the most popular schlock. Blockbuster did used to have some marginal fare (not much, but some—one of my favorites was Pi [symbol]p[/symbol]), but when the space allocation goes half and half, that removes anything but the most mainstream films. You can find Dude, Where’s My Car? but you can’t find The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari. In fact, when I had been telling my daughter about the early history of film and suggested we check out The Cabinet of Doctor Caligari, the numbskull Blockbuster clerk had never even heard of it! <derisive, scornful tone of voice> Blockbuster. Sheesh!

It’s pretty much the same here. Our local stores are only getting the most popular new releases in both formats. Less popular releases are only stocked on DVD (which, ironically, has convinced my son that we DO need a DVD player after all - new wrestling releases are only being stocked on DVD).

No porn in Blockbuster and Hollywood video. And they swamped my favorite video place, a literal mom and pop.

Add to the mix the amount of shelf space given over to video games and pre-viewed movies for sale, and the situation is even worse than mentioned in this thread.

I especially like Asian movies, not only the martial arts ones but also the dramas and HK action. Just last week, I realized I had exhausted the limited supply at the local Blockbuster and went over to the other side of town to check out the non-chain video alternative.

“Hi. Can you direct me to the foreign section?”

“Oh, I’m sorry. The only ones we have are those few on the endcap over there.”

:frowning: :mad:

I guess I’ll try Hollywood Video. I don’t know about the one here in town; the one where I used to live had a much better selection than Blockbuster. Here’s hoping.

You could try Netflix, but they don’t have a tremendously better selection than Blockbuster, since they deal solely in DVDs.

I was recently introduced to Home Film Festival by a poster in a Blockbuster-bashing Pit thread. Now, there’s a place who will rent you virtually any classic, foreign film or documentary ever made. They’re a very low-tech place and rent only VHS, seemingly, but so far we’ve rented The Bicycle Thief, Hobson’s Choice, The Lower Depths (an obscure Kurosawa film), La Gloire De Mon Pere, Tampopo and The Third Man. There’s a nominal membership fee, and rentals are a bit higher, but it’s worth every penny, IMO.


I can only hypothesize that they have incredibly well-stocked Blockbusters in your neck of the woods.

Or that maybe the OP is looking for VHS tapes, meaning NetFlix is useless for his/her purposes…

Drastic, perhaps it is our narrow taste in movies, but we ran through everything we wanted to rent at NetFlix in about two months. Yes, it had a better selection than Blockbuster, but not a drastically better selection. Perhaps in the category of more mainstream movies, there was a lot more to choose from.

What I do is I shop at one video store until I have seen all of their stock I want, then
shop at another store & another, eventually back to the first one. Cuz stock varies by store.

I go to two video stores, one by where i lived for a month in SF run buy an old guy who knows me by name and wipes my fines because i rent so much from him. He’s a smaller store with usually only one copy of each film, and mostly videos, but some DVDs (and he searches out for older and OOP videos). The other store is a gigantic supersize indie store, 80% vhs, but has pretty much EVERYTHING!!! They do cost more, so i don’t get everything from them. Blockbuster can eat it, they killed most of the independent video stores in the Quad Cities.