What services offer DVDs to rent?
February 13, 2015 11:02 AM   Subscribe

What do you do when Netflix fails you? Netflix used to have a long tail of movies that weren't blockbusters. But they seem to be steadily chopping it off: the 'Saved' section of my queue keeps increasing.

It is harder and harder to find mid-budget cinema on Netflix. I'm not even talking about indie or foreign films.

Suggestions that I have tried:
* My library's selection doesn't cut it. It's just a little bit better than Netflix.
* Buying and reselling DVDs on eBay was a true hassle.

I like Netflix. I like having a queue. I like the subscription model. I like the ratings. I just can't find the discs I want.

I've heard of a couple other services (GameFly, GreenCine, Facets) but I don't want to sign up only to be met by a shallow catalog. What should I do?
posted by Monochrome to Media & Arts (14 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
Does streaming work for you? I have found I can often find this type of thing on Amazon, to rent. Particularly for less-blockbustery type of movies, the rental price is often very reasonable.
posted by rainbowbrite at 11:18 AM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Yes, I was going to suggest Amazon or Apple you can "rent" them and watch with an Apple TV or a Roku etc.
posted by saradarlin at 11:22 AM on February 13, 2015

Response by poster: I do subscribe to the big streaming services but I can never keep a queue that won't have movies disappear because they expire.

Renting from Apple would be a good solution except a lot of their VOD stuff is purchase-only. And even if it is rent, it's too expensive on a per-movie basis.
posted by Monochrome at 11:39 AM on February 13, 2015

This isn't a perfect solution, but you can have a queue on GoWatchIt. You can filter by various streaming services. It's not necessarily ideal, but I like to have a centralized queue for all the various websites.
posted by barnone at 11:52 AM on February 13, 2015 [5 favorites]

Also not a perfect solution, but does your library do interlibrary loan for DVDs?
posted by JanetLand at 11:55 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Maybe it's driven by region and market, but our local Redbox kiosks have all kinds of non-blockbuster DVDs for rent.
posted by TinWhistle at 11:56 AM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Had to chime in about RedBox. They have a good selection of recent movies but at least half the time, or maybe it's just here?, the discs are scuffed up and skip at a certain point in the movie. I'd say over 75% of the time I end up having to skip a couple of scenes because they freeze up. For that reason I don't recommend RedBox. Also you only rent the movie for a day and if you forget about it for a few days you wind up with a $4 bill for a movie that probably didn't even play through the whole way.
posted by atinna at 12:13 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

Where are you located? I've had a Facets subscription, with the caveat that I'm actually located in Chicago. I very frequently went into Facets to rent a movie, only to find that they didn't have a copy for me to rent because it was already rented, had been lost, etc.

Admittedly, I'm not looking for contemporary mid-budget stuff, more like weird cult and art house movies that are often very rare. If someone loses Facet's copy of some obscure out of print Mexican horror film, well, that was the only copy.

I've been renting from Odd Obsessions with a lot more success. However, they don't offer a subscription/shipping service.
posted by Juliet Banana at 12:33 PM on February 13, 2015 [3 favorites]

Response by poster: Good to know, Juliet Banana. Facets sounds like it has a huge catalog but if it's 99% art house then it's not for me.

I'm in the South so anything is going to have to be a mail order service.
posted by Monochrome at 12:42 PM on February 13, 2015

Depending on the movies you want to watch, you might find some of them on SwapaDVD. You list your DVDs and pay postage to send them to other members when they request them; when the DVD is received you get a credit you can use to order discs in the system. You can also set up a wishlist, but some titles move very slowly (if at all). Just thought I'd throw this out there in case it helps you find something you're looking for!
posted by phatkitten at 1:55 PM on February 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Greencine had a pretty good catalog of independent and art movies. Unfortunately, they are out of business (so sad).
CafeDVD looks ok, but I have no personal knowledge.
Let us know what you find
posted by H21 at 5:31 PM on February 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

My (northern) state library has a consortial agreement with academic and public libraries all over the state-it's possible yours does too. Just Google 'x state library' to find their contact info. They may have delivery even if you're not in the same city.
posted by PaulaSchultz at 5:51 PM on February 13, 2015

If you're looking at streaming only I've heard great things about Muvi.com.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:09 AM on February 14, 2015

The Warner Archives have a slew of old movies and independents. Some are ready to purchase, but most are burn to order. Allegedly you can download some. They have 3000 titles under 10 bucks
posted by Gungho at 11:27 AM on February 14, 2015

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