Ottawa-based Zip.ca is seeking to take advantage of the demise of Blockbuster Canada, which is winding down its operations by the end of this year. The Ottawa Citizen reported that Zip will be installing DVD rental kiosks in 800 Metro locations across Canada.

The Zip kiosks are already available in many Ottawa-area Metro grocery stores. I visited one recently to try out a DVD rental. The process is really simple: select the movie you want to watch, pay with your credit card and when you are done return it to any Zip kiosk.

If you rent as many movies as we do, you can save a bundle by renting it from a kiosk instead of a local store. For example, we recently rented The Source Code from our local Rogers Video store. The cost was $4.99 plus HST for a 24-hour rental. We also rented The Lincoln Lawyer another new release from a Zip kiosk and the cost was just $2.00 plus HST. Recent releases are an even cheaper at Zip kiosks: just $1.00 plus HST for a recent DVD or Blu-Ray release.

The selection of movies available at a kiosk does appear to be somewhat limited. The Inside Job is on my list of movies to watch but our local kiosk did not have it. Then again even in a store the selection of classic or foreign language films will likely be limited and the public library is probably the best bet for these movies.

This article has 7 comments

  1. I’m a big fan of using the library for all my DVD rentals. The cost couldn’t be any better (it’s free), and they have a great online request system (at least here in Ottawa). However, the most popular recent movies always have long request lines (sometimes well over 200 people in line).

    To overcome that problem I just keep dozens of movies in my request list — ensuring that I’ll always have something interesting to watch. The only problem is, with a young family, I never have time to watch at least half of the movies I borrow…

    • @Raman: I usually borrow movies from the Ottawa library as well. If it’s not a new release, the waiting list isn’t too bad. And like you say if you have multiple holds at the same time, you are always getting something to watch.

      The waiting lists for new releases is a bit ridiculous. “The Inside Job” has me in position #481 in the list. Granted the library has 40+ copies but we are talking roughly a 40 week wait.

      Have you tried borrowing digital books out of the library? I find it even better because the waiting lists are much shorter even for new books and you don’t have to remember to return them because they automatically expire at the end of the borrowing period.

  2. @CC: I’ve yet to borrow digital books — I’m a bit of a Luddite when it comes to reading, and prefer the feeling of a dead tree in my hands to that of a Kindle or Kobo.

  3. I just recently rented from something like this… at a Safeway. It was awesome… and cheap. Convenient too… picking up groceries at the same time.

  4. I wonder if Zip’s investment into such a large physical media play is a good one long term. Movies (and other media) are moving more and more towards streaming and not the other way around. Granted, the studios don’t want that and that will surely slow things down, but it is difficult to imagine DVD’s or BlueRay disks being the main distribution medium longer term. As convenient as having one of those boxes at my local market might be, it can’t beat me turning on the Wii (or insert your favourite supported platform here) and picking something right off the television.

    Let’s not forget why Blockbuster is likely struggling so badly… Netflix is probably eathing their lunch in the states and somewhat in Canada. Heck, when I read about the BB bankruptcy I was surprised that they were still around. Seems to me that Zip should be spending their money on streaming services to compete head on with Netflix going forward. Just my two cents…

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