By sophomore year I had seen every episode of Family Guy ever released, and the same went for just about every show on Lifetime. When it came to Temple’s cable lineup in the dorms, I could never complain. The problem was the closest things I saw on those channels to new releases were the previews during commercials.
Going to see a movie at 10 a.m. on a Tuesday to get the student discount seems pretty unfeasible, so the alternative is renting. Since Temple has no video store on campus, an exploration of my options revealed surprisingly positive results.
Read below for cheap and reliable options, or continue trying to solve those Unsolved Mysteries from 1988. It’s your call.
The Free Library of Philadelphia. The central library, located at 1901 Vine St., is easily accessible by the Franklin House shuttle. There are more than books and journals here, like plenty of videos and DVDs for your viewing pleasure. Browse the shelves and you will find everything from Sex and the City episodes to the screen adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. The best thing is that they are free. Of course, there are borrowing limits, and you need a library card, but those are small obstacles. Members are allowed to check out up to five videos or DVDs. Just remember, like any library book, overdue fines can be a big pain. A little pricier than book fines, the library will charge you $4 each day your stuff is late. Also, fines are applied even on days that the library is closed (something I learned the hard way). Do yourself a favor and make sure to return your flicks on time.
eBay. Though it’s not right for everyone, there are many success stories attributed to eBay. Started in September 1995, eBay is promoted as “The World’s Online Marketplace” and a Web site where just about anyone can buy just about anything. Among other things, videotapes and DVDs are found in excess on www.ebay.com. The old adage of buyer beware must be applied to purchases made through eBay, since there is the chance of receiving poor service and even poorer products. With time and practice you’ll be bidding on DVDs for a penny.
Netflix. Since its inception in 1998, Netflix has been providing a service via the Internet to all those who hate to rent. In the case of Temple students, this means everyone who can’t get to the video store. Here is the deal: Netflix allows you to rent as many DVDs as you want for a set membership price. After you order them, movies arrive shortly in your mailbox. When you get bored of the movie, simply return it in the prepaid envelope Netflix provides. This may sound too good to be true. Video stores across the country, however, did not benefit positively. Once their sales started dropping, Blockbuster got into the game of online rentals, and Wal-Mart soon followed. Each company has consistently kept its prices competitive and listed below are the current prices for these three popular companies. However, this kind of membership is not for everyone. If you watch about one movie a month, you are wasting your money.
Netflix: $17.99/month +tax; free trial period offered
Wal-Mart: membership plans start at $15.54/month; free trial offered
Blockbuster Video: $17.49/month +tax; free trial period offered, membership includes Blockbuster rental coupons each month
Video Stores. In a column about DVDs and videos, it just would not be fair to leave out those who still enjoy visiting the tried and true rental stores near Temple. Unfortunately, the lack of a video store travels beyond campus and expands to the surrounding neighborhoods. One ride on the Franklin House shuttle or a trip on the subway, however, will send you on your way to picking up tonight’s entertainment.
Hollywood Video: 2000 Hamilton St; 215-564-3103
TLA: 1808 Spring Garden St.; 215-751-1171
Blockbuster Video: 2900 N Broad St; 215-229-2999
Michelle Nicoletto can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.