Blockbuster and HMV: Victims of Technology

digitalMarc Weisblott just wrote about Blockbuster and HMV in his Daily Brew blog. Both Blockbuster and HMV are facing uncertain futures resulting in a sudden wave of store closings.

As a teen, there were only a few stores I gave a shit about. Both Blockbuster and HMV appeared on this very short list. VHS cassette rentals was a key source of entertainment, and my Blockbuster membership was well used. Buying CDs was a monthly ritual, and HMV and Sam the Record Man downtown were my go-to spots... unless the disc was cheaper at A&A.

Both Blockbuster and HMV are disappearing because technology has destroyed them. Our digitized universe not only makes piracy easy for a complete n00b but presents more convenient legitimate channels for music and movies as well. Blame iTunes and Netflix as much as The Pirate Bay.

I'm as guilty as anyone. I can't remember the last time I visited a Blockbuster, and HMV is strictly for browsing these days.

Do you still buy CDs or rent DVDs?

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Comments (19 - click here to join in!)


I rented DVDs regularly, until recently when both the Blockbuster and Rogers Video closed down near my place. Now I usually resort to on demand, although if I'm at the grocery store I may use one of the DVD rental machines there. It's extremely frustrating when it comes to finding older movies/TV shows I want to watch, though.

March 8, 2011 @ 2:31 PM


At least the HMV by my place sells video games at a decent price. The Blockbuster...not so much.

March 8, 2011 @ 2:31 PM


HMV might be ok, at least in some form. In my opinion opening that mp3 download store was the smartest thing they could have done. It's convenient,the prices are good and the selection is better than you'd think.

March 8, 2011 @ 2:40 PM


I rent from and love it. Total dinosaur move - using both physical discs and snail mail. HA!

March 8, 2011 @ 2:57 PM

Down Goes Brown

I actually bought some CDs on the weekend for the first time in years. I was at a mall with my family while my daughter attended a birthday party, and I got half an hour to walk around and kill time. I ended up in an HMV, and bought some CDs so I could listen to better-than-ipod versions of some music in the car.

Then I went home and watched the Leafs fight for a playoff spot. I felt like it was 2004 again.

March 8, 2011 @ 3:02 PM


We used to take the time to go to Rogers and rent a DVD so we could watch the special features that often were included, now there are rarely any and the ones they have are lame so we are pretty much on demand only now...when it works, but that's another story! Haven't been to an HMV for over 5 years, don't even think my kids know there is such a place!

March 8, 2011 @ 3:42 PM


Over the past 5 years I've gone almost completely digital and on-demand. I haven't bought a CD in years, and add only 1 or 2 DVDs to my collection each year -- usually as a result of gifts. Between iTunes, Netflix, and Rogers onDemand, I have no use for physical media.

March 8, 2011 @ 3:50 PM


CDs have been replaced by iTunes, easily.

DVD rentals and purchases have been replaced by TMN and TMN onDemand.

March 8, 2011 @ 4:10 PM


I still buy the odd cd. I wanted to buy the new Elbow cd today and called Future Shop, Best Buy, and HMV with no luck until I went to the Beat Goes On. It is becoming harder and harder to actually buy cds of artists that are not top 40. I have had to resort to EBAY to buy back-catolog music that is not on Itunes. I know my cds are worthless now for resale but I am finding hard to part with them and go digital.

Regarding dvds, I rent the odd one from our local store, but my satellite DVR has taken the place of renting pretty much.

March 8, 2011 @ 4:39 PM


LOVE the Netflix ad on this entry. haaha

March 8, 2011 @ 4:53 PM


I buy music from iTunes...haven't bought a CD in years.

I tend to "rent" movies from Rogers on Demand, or more recently, Apple TV. Although it is hard to find movies with Closed Captioning from either of these two options.(too many loud concerts in my youth). When buying DVD's/Blu-ray...Best Buy or Amazon often have the best prices.

March 8, 2011 @ 6:13 PM


New Elbow Cd? I didn't even know, I'd buy that. I still love owning the real thing, but only after they prove themselves worthy. Recent Cd purchases have been
-Black Keys
-Rural Alberta Advantage
-The Roots
-RadioHead (digital dload)|
-Ke$ha (as if)

When are we going to get HIDEF audio already?!?! I want 3D sound!

March 8, 2011 @ 7:27 PM

Ryan G

interesting post Mike.

i haven't bought a CD in years, nor rented a movie.

i'm a giant music fan so i will either buy from itunes or Blackbeard 'em from the 'net.

as for dvd's, it's funny because when i was setting up my big screen tv and surround sound system i thought i needed a blu ray player immediately, but i haven't.

i can rent from rogers on demand in HD, although i must say the new titles are often quite limited and they need to have a more extensive back library.

i find that generally, i have so many options that the culture of heading to hmv or a rogers plus store, is completely unnecessary.

i never buy those dvd's from pacific mall or wherever though. every single time i've gotten one of those the quality sucks, and not even worth the two bucks i pay for them.

i find it amazing that a person will spend two hours watching an aesthetically inferior product just because it's still in theatres and they paid a couple of bucks for it. what are you, ten? you can't wait to see it how it was meant to be presented?

March 9, 2011 @ 6:56 AM


I refuse to pirate anything. My distaste for pirating reaches no bounds and I don't get how anyone can rationalize downloading movies for free.

But to be on point, I was never an HMV fan. I always found them over-priced (especially their DVDs). I bought my CDs at CD Warehouse and it was usually a better deal.
All my music is now bought through iTunes. The convenience of it is remarkable. Although, I can't seem to find the full Black Celebration album. My tape cassette just doesn't cut it.

I still rent from Blockbuster. However, I am looking at going to Netflix or something.

March 9, 2011 @ 7:52 AM


I still buy CDs. I order online from If I go over $30.00, I get super saver shipping which is free shipping. I rip my CDs onto my computer so I have a big library of MP3's. That way I have the original commercial CDs around and my MP3's.

March 9, 2011 @ 6:14 PM


I would much rather buy the hard copy of a CD, but it is getting harder and harder.
Try buying a hard copy of the Avett Brothers.
I live in Guelph, 100,000 people give or take.
Only place to buy a CD are...
Wal Mart
Future Shop
Beat goes on
and a few very small places downtown.
None of these places, except for maybe Beat goes on, carry any selection of CDs. What percentage of an HMV is music now.
15 - 20%...maybe?
It wont be long before you have to visit 'a big city' to find a place that sells Cds.

March 9, 2011 @ 8:00 PM


I gave up on DVDs a few years ago, in preparaton for HD... unless there's a really good deal in the bargain bin. I gave up on CDs even before that.

However, I do still buy Blu-rays, if I really love the movie (of if it's a bargain.)

We've been renting movies through our PlayStation 3. It's a bandwidth heavy task, so we don't do it much. But once we switch from Rogers to a more bandwidth-liberal ISP, we'll have zero reason to go to Blockbuster. (It's not very convenient without a car.)

March 10, 2011 @ 9:58 AM


I have been pirating less and less as the years have gone on, it's become sort of a hassle to pirate, all that searching and filtering out files that look like they aren't real.

I have the movie network, and rent through my cable box. I also have netflix which i use for the limited selection they have right now.

for music i download from itunes. i'd rather have an album right away then have to take a shot in the dark that the store even has it.

i'm not sure why stores like this haven't embraced technology. if i could digitally download products from their websites i totally would.

i also am not sure why they haven't branched out into hardware. i know blockbuster sort of has, but even something as simple as headphones.

March 10, 2011 @ 1:36 PM


I figured making movies in 3D was a ploy to get people back in the theatres (see Avatar) so I wonder if the same objective can be accomplished with renting & purchasing movies.

March 11, 2011 @ 5:18 PM

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