VAIL VALLEY - The days of walking down the aisles of a movie rental store are over - at least in Colorado's Vail Valley
The last-standing video store in the county, Box Office Video in Avon, has shut its doors. The sign in the window says the store lost its lease.
The practice of renting movies is practically an American pastime, but the Internet has changed how we rent movies in such a way that it has hurt the old-fashioned rental store business.
Blockbuster Video, a national movie-rental chain, has tried to catch up with the trend by offering mail delivery via the Internet, and even has a side-by-side comparison on its Web site to show how Blockbuster's prices stack up to Netflix, the most popular mail delivery movie rental companies in the United States.
The reason people would rather browse online than get dressed, drive to the rental store and browse the aisles is simple - it's more convenient.
"I get all my movies on Netflix," said Jay Lansing, a manager at the Riverwalk movie theater in Edwards. "(Movie rental stores) are getting phased out - nobody walks into stores anymore."
Lansing, 32, is old enough to remember the days where walking into rental stores was the only option for renting movies, but he said he doesn't miss it at all. The online stores have a much larger selection and the movies are rented and returned quickly, he said.
"You visually see everything as you would in a movie store," Lansing said. "And it's pretty affordable. I think there's more to (renting movies) than looking at (the descriptions on the) boxes."
Online, Lansing can read other user's reviews of certain movies. He can also see movie ratings and judge movies based on how many starts other users have given them. Movie rental Web sites also remember a user's preferences for particular movies and store that information so the site can recommend movies that users would also probably enjoy.
"I don't really know anyone who goes to a video store anymore," Lansing said.
For those up to date with the very latest in technology, like Chris Mihalick, 26, who also manages the Riverwalk movie theater in Edwards, there are even more options for getting movies.
Mihalick just bought an Apple TV, which holds up to 200 movies on it, as well as photos and music. He can hook it up to his TV wirelessly, and it automatically connects to the Internet so he can browse millions of movies. The cost to rent the movies for a 24-hour period is either $2.99 or $3.99.
"I used to spend tons of money on late fees at the video store," Mihalick said. "Now all of a sudden you have a movie right there for you."
Mihalick said he doesn't miss walking around a movie rental store because it always meant he'd be paying late fees. Most of the online rentals don't have late fees, he said, which gives them yet another advantage over the walk-in stores.
The only options left for renting movies in the valley are those vending machines, such as the Red Box, at area supermarkets, convenience stores and other shops.
"It's so much easier on the Internet," Mihalick said. "Once you get it figured out, then boom, you have the movies right there - and you don't get a late fee."
Community Editor Lauren Glendenning can be reached at 970-748-2983 or firstname.lastname@example.org.