Jonathan Melville: Rose-tint the lens of my VHS memories

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I FELT a pang of nostalgia on Monday when it was announced that US film rental company Netflix had launched in the UK, providing LoveFilm with real competition at last.

Rather than complicate things by offering DVD and streaming deals, Netflix is online-only.

The nostalgia kicked in when, just a few hours after signing up, I spotted a lonely Blockbuster rental store through the window of the bus and remembered the good old days of video rental.

Most of us will recall the days of having to venture out to the local video store to see what was available to rent that week.

Forget the internet, we had film magazines and posters in the window and standees of actors in various poses to help part us from our hard-earned cash.

VHS soon became DVD and the stores seemed safe enough, until the arrival of Sky Movies, iTunes, LoveFilm and high-speed broadband. Now we can watch movies on our mobile phones while Edinburgh DVD stores are as rare as working trams.

Looking back I’m not sure I miss the walk to the shop, the arguments over what to watch and having to return films 48 hours later. The choice was never that great and the best ones always seemed to be on loan.

I still like owning physical copies of favourite films on DVD or Blu-ray, lining them up on the shelf and watching my library grow.

But, while I’m happy to watch some films online, I hope streaming doesn’t replace DVD releases completely, otherwise I’ll really have something to get nostalgic about.

@jon_melville

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