If you're like most Americans, renting a movie involves driving somewhere or, if you're a determined couch potato, reaching into your mailbox.
Then you fire up the DVD player and that's that.
Hollywood would be overjoyed if video discs continued to hold their cachet, because they brought in $24.2 billion last year for the studios. And right now getting our at-home flick fixes from the Internet has limited appeal. Most of us would rather head to the store than endure the technological learning curve necessary to move a film from a PC to a TV. Or the hour or more that it can take to download a standard-length movie in the first place. Or the expense of buying and subscribing to all the required stuff.
Simply put, the alternatives are "not as easy as the convenience of a DVD," says James L. McQuivey, an analyst with Forrester Research Inc.
But as Internet speeds get faster and superior devices and services become available, more and more consumers are willing to give it a try. The digital video store, after all, is always open. We can help you figure out how to shop there -- or how to decide whether you're ready.
For help unraveling it all, turn to Page C8.