‘DVD 2 GO’ new in the SSU

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A new DVD rental machine that might give on-campus residents something more to do on the weekends now operates inside the Satellite Student Union at 9651 Zelzah Ave.

The privately owned machine, installed this summer, will rent new and classic DVD titles for $1.49 per 24-hour period from its new location next to La Tienda, a student convenience store frequented by on-campus residents and international students. Customers will also have the option of buying any DVD title rented from the machine.

The machine rents new releases and popular titles. It now features new releases like “Sin City,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “Hitch” “Constantine,” “Hide and Seek,” and “Guess Who,” among others. New DVDs are loaded into the DVD 2 GO machine every week, and customers can preview the front and back cover of the DVDs they want to rent.

It is easy to operate the machine. DVD 2 GO requires an individual to use a debit or credit card and choose the title of the movie they want to rent. Next, the customer must decide whether to buy or rent the movie. If a customer elects to keep the movie past a period of 25 days, his or her debit or credit card is charged $25 and the customer can keep the DVD.

If a potential user can’t see the machine, he or she can probably hear it, as its outfitted with stereo speakers and a monitor that shows previews of rentable DVDs. Businesses may use the machine as an advertising tool to get exposure to students, like the machine does in the Satellite Student Union, located at 9651 Zelzah Ave.

“The top monitor of the machine will be used for advertising commercials or still promotional spots,” said Oleg Pekar, the private owner of the DVD 2 GO machine in the SSU.

Pekar said eight percent of the profit made from the rental machine goes to CSUN.

The DVD 2 GO machine marks another step in the evolution of movie rentals. At first, there were old-fashioned video stores, typically owned by a single owner. Then came Blockbuster and Hollywood Video, which overtook many of the privately owned small-scale video stores. The chain stores made sure that they always had everything in stock at all times. Then, Netflix and the other online rental services got hold of the market, and snail mailed DVDs for a monthly fee became the next hottest thing.

Now, it’s the strategically placed, privately owned DVD rental machine.

A supermarket in Glastonbury, Connecticut called Stop and Shop is one of the 550 test sites in the United States where customers can get newly released DVDs from a Redbox rental machine, which is very much like the DVD 2 GO machine currently operating at CSUN. All movies are stored in a cylinder-shaped DVD vending machine in front of the store that looks more like a soda machine than a Blockbuster Video.

Redbox, a DVD rental machine company that is owned by the McDonald’s Corporation, owns the vending machine at the Shop and Stop in Connecticut. Now, Redbox will challenge video rental stores by making the process as simple and as cheap as buying soda from a vending machine.

Redbox charges $1 a day for every movie, plus local taxes. There are no late fees unless the renter keeps the movie more than 25 days. In which case his or her debit or credit card is charged $25 and they’ve technically purchased the DVD.

To return the movie, the renter does not need to go back to the original rental location. Instead, they can return the DVD to any of the 550 Redbox locations in United States. All of the machines are connected to the Redbox headquarters through a broadband digital network, so the company can know which DVDs are most popular and which machines need servicing. There are 181 Redbox machines located in Houston alone, and another 145 machines located in Minneapolis. Most are located inside McDonald’s restaurants, but the company is testing them in alternate locations.

Armen Rostami can be reached at ane@sundial.csun.edu.