jbard: I'm not sure what excuse people have right now, united video here in Dunedin has always had almost every dvd i have asked about and they are only $1 for 8 days - thats far cheaper than it would cost me in bandwidth to download it.
Plus their have been other movie services around in new Zealand for sometime now.
Is it fair to assume you are only interested in mainstream movies?
Are the following available? (Just picking a few at random, I assume these are available illegally.)
You say that had almost every DVD you asked for. Do you remember which ones they did not have?
I can't see how to get United Video's catalogue online, so can't tell how many older movies they have available.
I'm suggesting that while you may be a typical example, there are many cases where your experience is not sufficient to be a comprehensive example.
Buying DVDs on Amazon is an alternative, but there is the risk that a DVD is not one which has been cleared by the censor. (I'm not sure if they are covered under grey market laws.)