CompareTheMarket commemorates 35 years of ‘Blockbuster’, releases animated video exploring home entertainment trends


Believe it or not, but 2020 marks not only 35 years since the opening of the first iconic Blockbuster store in Dallas, Texas, but it also marks the 10th anniversary of the home entertainment giant filing for bankruptcy. The timing seems ironic considering how much time is being spent binge-watching movies and TV shows in the comfort of our own homes this year.

To mark these milestone dates, compare the market have created an animated timeline video that explores key home entertainment trends from the past, taking viewers back to the times of winding videocassettes, traipsing the aisles of video rental stores, and downloading the latest CD onto the nostalgic iPod Nano.

Hasta la vista, video rentals

The road to video rental stores more or less began during the 1970s and 80s, when videocassette recorders (VCRs) became more popular as the cost of movie tickets was rising. And, when DVDs were introduced in the late 1990s, video rental stores dutifully kept up with the times, adding the shiny new discs to their collections.

However, despite doing their best to keep up with the times, video rental stores were not destined to live forever.Video on demand was becoming increasingly popular throughout the 2000s, and Netflix paving a new path with its rent-by-mail DVD service.The launch of its streaming service in the mid-2000s could be argued as the final nail in the coffin.

Smells like stream spirit

Although the ability to listen to music in your own home came about in 1857 with the invention of the phonautograph, 1963 saw the next major development in home audio by means of the cassette tape,followed by the Sony Walkman in 1980.

It wasn’t long after those, however, before the compact disc (CD) came out on top with convenience and better sound quality than those that came before it. Road trips soon became incomplete without a CD wallet full of your favourite albums.

Home audio took a big leap in the 1990s when MP3 burst onto the scene, enabling audio to be compressed and stored into tiny, handheld players.

But soon enough, music began to shift online. In 1999, music sharing website Napster was taking off in the USA, closely followed by Apply iTunes in 2003 and Pandora in 2005.Nowadays, home audio seems to be almost completely dominated by music streaming.

There’s no place like home…video

Arguably one of the most important trends in home entertainment, home video has had quite the competitive journey over the years. The days of watching a movie in the family living room are prevalent in many people’s minds when they reflect on the good ol’ days. One of the more notable advancements came when Sony introduced the Betamax videotape in 1975.

However, Betamax was quickly followed by JVC’s Video Home System (VHS), released in Japan in 1976.Within the first year of VHS’ release in the USA, it had stolen around 40% of Betamax’s business. By 1987, VHS had taken over 90% of the USA’s VCR sales.

The mid-1990s saw a new competitor emerge: Digital Video Disc (DVD). Released in 1997, DVDs quickly overtook VHS as the preferred format of home video andhad almost entirely replaced its predecessor just a few years after they were introduced.

Back to the future

Technology and entertainment are always evolving and changing. As such, there are a couple of trends that may see some expansion over the coming years. Choose-your-own-adventure TV was first seen in 2018 with Netflix’s Black Mirror: Bandersnatch, as an interactive episode that allowed viewers to pick which direction they wanted the story to go. 2020 and the likes of COVID-19 have also seen a new trend arise: the digital release of new movies (initially intended for cinema).

Universal Pictures’ decision to release Trolls World Tour straight to digital rental proved to be a smash-hit success– the film was downloaded five million times in the USA and Canada in the first three weeks of release.

Visit to see the full list of home entertainment trends, including other notable anniversaries and an animated timeline video.

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