Skip

What is the best DVD rental service?
September 19, 2004 12:16 AM   Subscribe

DVD rental filter: I'm looking into signing up with one of the dvd by mail services. [MI]

Either Blockbuster, Netflix or Walmart. Is there a consensus of which one is best? Or do experiences tend to depend more on luck?
posted by borkencode to Media & Arts (25 answers total)
 
in the UK, I use screenselect. I've found it fine.
posted by seanyboy at 12:23 AM on September 19, 2004


I use and like Netflix, they have a really wide and deep catalogue and I've found a number of films I'd had trouble finding elsewhere. But how useful it is does depend on where you live. We must be close to a distribution centre, since they always get the discs we mail back the next day and get our new ones to us the day after that (or at most the day after the day after that).

caveat: I've only tried Netflix out of the three you mention.
posted by biscotti at 12:47 AM on September 19, 2004


I always plug Greencine because they are a similar service to Netflix and the others, but are not connected to a corporation. They're local (to San Francisco) and give money to independent film organizations and film festivals. They'll ship DVDs anywhere, though it may take an extra day or so for where you are. My experience with them has been great - no problems with billing or with changing my plan and in the year+ since I've been a member, only one disc has been lost in the mail. Reviews, ratings and member input are all there. If your tastes run at all toward non-mainstream I recommend them highly.
posted by bendy at 1:05 AM on September 19, 2004


My downstairs neighbor and I split a Netflix account which is about $10 each. And each time our DVDs come in the mail, I immediately "back up" copies for each of us so that we are free to watch them at our leisure instead of having to return them on a deadline. Works pretty well.
posted by dhoyt at 1:24 AM on September 19, 2004


"The best thing in entertainment since cave paintings!" - Metatalk posting

-From the GreenCine Sign up Page
posted by tenseone at 5:19 AM on September 19, 2004


I'm quite fond of Netflix. Fast, helpful, more than willing to bend if a disc gets lost or broken, great selection.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:16 AM on September 19, 2004


I had netflix and it was ok. I don't know if they changed the policy or not but frequent watchers were penalized by having their priority lowered in the queue. Wh
posted by substrate at 6:31 AM on September 19, 2004


I've liked Netflix pretty well. I worry about the slowdown thing, but then again I probably get about 12 movies a month from them. It was such an improvement over Blockbuster that I cut them some slack; I mean, I quit Blockbuster at a time when they had decided to carry only 4:3 formatted rentals in their new releases; their selection was crap, their stores unkempt and their employees almost comically rude & unhelpful.

I can't find the link but Roger Ebert had written that Blockbuster had so much market power that they were beginning to influence content. That's the main reason that I personally would stay away from Wal-mart. I mean, if they ever control the market...
posted by coelecanth at 7:08 AM on September 19, 2004


I'm a passionate Netflix fan - love seeing that red envelope in the mail - but that Greencine seems way cool too.
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:14 AM on September 19, 2004


I immediately "back up" copies for each of us so that we are free to watch them at our leisure instead of having to return them on a deadline

Waaaaait a minute...I thought netflix didn't have return deadlines?

What's your preferred backup method?
posted by mecran01 at 7:20 AM on September 19, 2004


I don't care if Blockbuster or Walmart are *giving* away their DVDs. Netflix has my money because of its relative position on the ghoul meter. Greencine is cool, too. I've tried them both.

I am currently living in Vietnam, where you can buy perfect bootlegs of thousands of titles, new and obscure, for about a dollar each. Maybe one in ten is a little freaky, though, like Chinese subtitles that you can't turn off.

And for anyone who wants to come at me or dhoyt with that "what about the profits of Miramax and Sony Corp?" argument, I have two words, (with one repeated): "Die, Hollywood, die."
posted by squirrel at 7:28 AM on September 19, 2004


(That's German for "The Hollywood, the".)
posted by coelecanth at 7:55 AM on September 19, 2004 [1 favorite]


I'm using Greencine and I'll be damned, I'm going to keep using Greencine in the face of all competition.
posted by majick at 8:26 AM on September 19, 2004


I've used NetFlicks for a while. One thing I am not so crazy about is that it feels like you are in BlockBuster. Its hard to find movies off the beaten path (e.g. Good documentaries, theatre pieces, alt, foreign films). I just took a look at Greencine, and I think I'll give it a go. Seems to have a lot more of what I am interested in.

But I should say that you will be very happy with the service if you use NetFlicks. Movies are delivered like clockwork.
posted by xammerboy at 9:45 AM on September 19, 2004


Maybe xammerboy is looking for more obscure movies than me, but I've rarely had a problem with finding what I want, within reason, and what I mostly use Netflix for are foreign, obscure, independent and documentary films precisely because Blockbuster is so useless in that department.

Anecdotally, I once tried to convince a film studies professor of mine to give Netflix a try (which I guess does prove me a zealot), and as part of the process he e-mailed me a list of pretty rare DVDs (15-20 I think) that he was having trouble finding, and Netflix had about half of them. Which ain't bad. $.02.
posted by Hildago at 10:28 AM on September 19, 2004


It's so insanely easy to rate & queue films in Netflix that shopping on other websites now gives me physical pain. Seriously, I think the first time I sat down at the computer after subscribing I ranked like 200 films without batting an eyelash. The recommendations are quite good once the system knows what you like and dislike.

Greencine looks really good to me, too, but Netflix had the right combination of speed & catalog depth to hook me.

Plus they have RSS feeds now. Mmm, RSS.
posted by bcwinters at 11:27 AM on September 19, 2004


Its hard to find movies off the beaten path (e.g. Good documentaries, theatre pieces, alt, foreign films).

Seriously? I've found the exact opposite to be true - the only films I've wanted they they don't stock aren't out on Region 1 DVD yet. Perhaps your tastes are substantially more obscure than mine, or perhaps Netflix has improved their catalogue since you last tried them, but I've consistently found them to be the reliable go-to source for really hard to find films, especially foreign and independent ones.
posted by biscotti at 11:43 AM on September 19, 2004


i've been trying the free trial sof netflix and blockbuster. I decided to keep netflix which is surprising good at sending, recieving, the site and having things i want. Blockbuster is a MESS. I 've been having problems with them since trying to sign up and i've been trying to end it since. The only movie that arrived (24 hour part people) I watched stopped working after an hour, turning to digital sludge. They haven't been able to send Firefly or the Jerk and every thing else i have tried to get and I think they are going to try to charge me.
(it's gonna get so ugly--)
posted by ethylene at 11:55 AM on September 19, 2004


We've used Netflix for almost a year and really like it. We signed up for it instead of getting cable. There aren't any deadlines, so I'm not sure what dhoyt meant. I like being able to have a long queue of movies that I know I want to see since I always forget titles of films I'm interested in. I've found all sorts of movies--foreign, documentaries, etc.--that Blockbuster would never have or that I'd have a hard time locating in our good, local, independent rental store. It's just much easier to find them using Netflix. They have a fast turn around, so we get things quickly.
posted by lobakgo at 12:31 PM on September 19, 2004


I'm currently a happy Netflix customer, but I took a look at Greencine and quickly found DVDs that I can't find on Netflix (for example: Three Businessmen by Alex Cox, The Eel by Imamura). I thought some of them just weren't available on Region 1 DVDs, like biscotti said, but a little followup searching on IMDB and Amazon proved me wrong.

I have been really satisfied with Netflix, though, so I'll have to decide whether the selection at Greencine is more important than the speed and ease of use I get at Netflix.
posted by hashashin at 1:44 PM on September 19, 2004


The only thing that's changed about my opinion of Netflix since this post is that my complaint about the bad interface has been nixed.
posted by grrarrgh00 at 1:46 PM on September 19, 2004


I'm currently a happy Netflix customer, but I took a look at Greencine and quickly found DVDs that I can't find on Netflix (for example: Three Businessmen by Alex Cox, The Eel by Imamura).

I love Greencine, but be warned: even at the top of your queue it can take a looooong time to get some of the "rare" titles. It took me around 6 months to get Guy Maddin's Tales from the Gimli Hospital and it was always in one of my top three slots.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 2:25 PM on September 19, 2004


I had netflix and it was ok. I don't know if they changed the policy or not but frequent watchers were penalized by having their priority lowered in the queue.

That theoretically bothered me too (here's the site about it), but I have had netflix for a year or so and have been completely satisfied, even surprised with the quality of the service. I suspect that I am seldom competing for the popular titles anyway, and I did get "bubba ho-tep" within a day or two of it's release to DVD. At last check they didn't have "the secret life of walter mitty", but they do have a "request this title" page so I sent in a request.
posted by milovoo at 4:35 PM on September 19, 2004


I've been using Netflix for a month and haven't had to wait more than a day for most DVD's. They've had everything I've been looking for, and earned my infinite love when the clerk at Blockbuster didn't know what "Freaks and Geeks" was...
posted by drezdn at 6:16 PM on September 19, 2004


I've used Peerflix and while it's not a substitute for Netflix, I have received over 30 movies through them at almost no cost (about $2 a movie). If you have an existing collection it's a good way to put it to work to get even more movies.
posted by stbalbach at 8:11 PM on September 19, 2004


« Older Now that you've an Ipod, what ...   |  This earlier post has made me ... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.


Post