Illegal downloads are completely free, but they bring a great deal of trouble with them, in the form of potential legal problems and viruses. Stores like Blockbuster need to take notice of this growing trend, but they are not in any danger of being replaced immediately by downloadable movies.
The advantages of downloadable movies start with the convenience factor. Today's world is very fast-paced, leaving very little time to do things like go to the video store. The video store is also a very crowded place on weekends. This leads to a great deal of hassle for anyone who is attempting to rent a movie, as there are constant line-ups and there is no guarantee that the movie that the customer wants will be in stock. This can lead to a wasted trip to the video store or the customer travelling around to various video stores in an attempt to find the desired movie. Downloadable movies take this hassle away from the equation, as they allow for the customer to download any movie at any time. Another key feature of downloading movies is that it gives the customer the option to buy it later on. For example, if a customer chooses to rent a movie, he or she can pay an additional fee to have the movie unlocked permanently, as the original version that is downloaded will have a time limit. This can all be done by home, so it eliminates the problem of returning to the video store in order to find the movie again and buy it. This convenience is one of the factors that downloadable movie companies rely on, since people enjoy finding the easiest way to do things. The price is also a selling feature of downloadable movies, as "some movies will only be available as purchases and others as rentals, depending on what the distribution gods of Hollywood have deemed allowable. Most purchase movies we saw went for $9.99, but some were as high as $19.99; rentals were mostly $2.99 or $3.99" (ExtremeTech, 2006). Another advantage of this system is that the customer can set a movie to download before he or she leaves for work and it will be finished by the time he or she gets home from work. This is important because the movie will, in essence, be waiting for him or she after work. This type of convenience is very important because after a long and hard day of work, a person can simply return home and relax while watching the movie of his or her choice. Finally, late fees are something that every movie renter hates, as "Netflix exists thanks to the one thing about Blockbuster that many people hate: late fees. You rent a movie, you forget to take it back on time, and Blockbuster adds fines until you return it. Rack up big late fees, and you feel mad and stupid for not avoiding the avoidable. Late fees generate a big chunk of Blockbuster's revenue while giving its customers all the warm and fuzzy feelings of a parking ticket" (Maney, 2004). With this system, there is never the threat of any late fees, since movies are infused with a time limit when they are rented. Once this time limit runs out, the movie will no longer work, so there is no return necessary. This eliminates a hassle for both the customer and the business, as late returns are costly for both.
As with anything, however, there are disadvantages with this system. The first disadvantage is the amount of time these movies take to download, as "online movies have a long way to go before they're as easy-to-use as