As much fun as it is to bash the top of your DVD player each of the 135 times your Total Access movie skips during playback, Blockbuster has apparently decided to get serious about movie downloads – sort of. Back in November, Blockbuster finally announced its first set top box offering, allowing users to purchase OnDemand movies on a pay-per-view basis. Yay. Blockbuster’s set top offering, shall we say, hasn’t quite been greeted with open arms, nor has the PC-based download service available on blockbuster.com. That won’t stop the stumbling giant from moving forward and exploring new ways to stay relevant of course, and its latest move is just that. CinemaNow, a movie download service that continues to expand, will now be Blockbuster-branded. While this will make movies bearing the Blockbuster logo available on a new range of devices, it does little to advance Blockbuster in the digital realm – instead, the move simply slaps a more recognizable brand on the CinemaNow service. Offerings are still pay-per-view with titles available to rent or buy, and pricing will remain the same. Blockbuster Chairman Jim Keyes claims that the company is currently examining subscription options but stated nothing finite. Netflix, on the other hand, still offers unlimited movie downloads to all subscribers with a monthly DVD-via-mail plan of $8.99 or higher.
Every once in a while a startup comes along and offers a service that makes you sit back and think, “why didn’t I think of that?” Such is the case with Rentobile, a mobile phone rental company based in New Jersey. The premise is simple – people like new toys. Rather than sit around and wait for your 2-year contract to expire so you can purchase a new handset at an affordable price, Rentobile provides a wide variety of handsets on a per-month basis. Simply order up a new rental, pop in your SIM or activate it on your account and your done. Once you grow tired of the device, whether that be one month later or one year later, simply return it to Rentobile and rent a new one. Shipping totals $10 for each round trip and a fair insurance fee is applied to each handset in case your dog mistakes it for a chew toy. Rentobile membership costs between $5 and $10 per month and affords users a discount of up to $18 per month on handset rentals. Members are also notified as soon as new handsets hit Rentobile’s warehouse so they can be among the first to rent them. If you just want a taste however, there is also a member-ship free rental option.
Rentobile supplies handsets for each of the four major carriers – Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile and Sprint – and even has a selection of a few unlocked handsets for you to choose from. Oh and don’t worry, you’re not limited to one device at a time. If there are five handsets you want to play with and you want them all right away, Rentobile is happy to accommodate you. The only thing we see missing for the time being is a rent-to-own option; there should be a purchase price set for each handset and if you keep it long enough to reach that point, the handset should be yours to keep. Of course, we doubt the type of person who would use this service will ever keep a phone for that long but it would be nice to know the option is there.
[Via Phone Scoop]