DVD rental by post in the UK.
February 21, 2004 8:55 AM   Subscribe

One for the UK. I was thinking about joining a DVD rental by post site and it would be helpful to know about other reader's experiences and what site's they use. I know there was a thread in blue not too long ago on this subject but that seemed to mostly cover the US market. How are things in the UK?
posted by feelinglistless to Shopping (10 answers total)
 
Here's a discussion about some of them in the UK.

I just switched from Screen Select to DVD365. Not sure how this will go. Screen Select appears to have the best website, but they don't seem to be able to send popular titles very quickly. And for my last 4 returns, they waited an extra day to send replacements. Before that, the replacements were shipped the same day.

Here's a chart with some useful information. (self link)
posted by Goofyy at 11:22 AM on February 21, 2004


I'm using screenselect just now. It seems to be alright, I'm getting the titles I want rapidly, but many of the discs are scratched and don't play well.
posted by bonaldi at 1:40 PM on February 21, 2004


I've tried LoveFilm, ScreenSelect, Movietrak and VideoIsland. Out of these I think LoveFilm is the best.

I think the flaw in all of them is that you don't really get the films you want. You have to wait for them to deliver films from your list - and it's normally the crappy ones that they send.

I quite like the fact that you can just pay as you go on Movietrak if there's a particular film you want to see. Similarly Blockbuster.co.uk allows this too.
posted by skylar at 3:56 AM on February 22, 2004


Skylar: Thanks for the advice. But why would you put a crappy film on your list? Can't you just pick lots of good ones? Or are there degrees?
posted by feelinglistless at 9:37 AM on February 22, 2004


I've just started with screenSelect, and they've been OK so far. Of the six discs I've had, one has been slightly scratched, but it played OK. I've not received any **new** releases from them though. All DVD's received so far have been older (and probably less popular) titles. Apart from this friday, all new Discs have been sent out the day my previous discs were returned.
posted by seanyboy at 3:36 PM on February 22, 2004


Feelinglistless: Some of the sites request that you select about 20 or so DVDs that you'd like to receive; they then ask that you rate these choices by reference to how quickly you'd like to see them - for example 'Urgent', 'Soonish' and 'Whenever'.

Now the first problem is that, given the limitations of the catalogues available to each of these sites, it can be quite difficult to pick 20 excellent films. The second is that in my experience it tends to be the ones marked 'Whenever' that arrive first! I suppose this irony can be put down to the fact that most people probably want to see the same few movies. Those films that I'm not so fussed about are probably the ones which are most often available.

You could choose not to play by the rules, and only put excellent films into the list. I worry that would mean that I would be waiting ages for each DVD to arrive, but perhaps I'm mistaken.
posted by skylar at 4:22 PM on February 22, 2004


I had a pretty shite experience with LoveFilm for two reasons:

First, it took ages for them to process returns, etc., thus it took a lot of time to actually get the DVDs I had in my queue. Though I had the "2 at any time option" (£14.99 per month) I rarely actually had a DVD -- most of the time I'd check my queue and it would say "In Process" or "Sent" or something. So basically, I'd get a DVD in the post, watch it that night, drop it in the post the following morning and it took at least 4-5 days to get the next one.

Second, apart from once, I never ever ever got a single DVD that I really wanted. Let me explain: LoveFilm do this incredibly annoying thing where if a DVD set comprises 2 DVDs, you have to get them separately. So for example, I ordered M*A*S*H discs one and two, thinking that I might actually get them either together, or in order. Nope -- I got Disc 2 first; so I had outtakes, missing footage, etc. before I saw the actual movie. Same thing happened with The Office, same thing happened with Lagaan, same thing happened with every fecking DVD set I had in my queue. And handily, out of the 25 or so movies I had in my queue, the first 5 were "Disc 2"s. I finally did get Amelie (#23 in my queue) but was so frustrated with the whole thing I just cancelled and went back to renting from Blockbuster or Prime Time. Far easier and *shock* you actually get what you want!

Decide for yourself, though -- when I signed up, LoveFilm had a "one month free" promotion going. As always, it's worth checking it out for yourself.

(You may wonder why I'm bitching about the service when I didn't pay for it -- well, the butt dumplings at LoveFilm sent out Amelie the day before my month trial period was up. So I had no choice but to go over the one month free period and had to pay for the second month. I did keep Amelie for about 22 days after cancelling my account, though. Hey, it made me feel better . . .)
posted by lazywhinerkid at 3:43 AM on February 23, 2004


I've been a member of quite a few of these things, so feel qualified to comment.

These things are often a victim of their own successes... they're great until they offer loads of promotions, get loads of members, and then offer a very poor service under the weight of all those members.

I'm about to terminate my membership with screenselect.co.uk. Although they have the best selection of DVDs, there's no point if you can never get the ones you want. In my experience, there are always companies where you get the films right at the top of your list consistently. I've joined another one recently, and this is the case there.

The customer service at Screenselect has been terrible, they had a 2 week email backlog recently. Louise is a great help though, phone her if you need anything. The postal service to their depot is terrible, they say they have changed the loaction and things have improved, but it still isn't a patch on the other company I've joined. Also, on several occasions Screenselect have sent me only 1 DVD of a 2-part set (where the 2nd part is the 2nd half of the film, not extras), being completely unaware of the existence, or location of the 2nd disk. As a last straw, they recently changed their official policy so that they will wait a full day in between receipt of your old DVD, and sending you a new one. For example, you send your watched film back to them on a Wednesday, they receive it (if you're very lucky!) on Thursday. They will wait until they send you a new one on Friday, and you receive your next film on a Monday. Given the terrible postal service, this is just unacceptable.

I won't tell you the name of the company I'm using right now, but it is ridiculously better and has almost as many titles as Screenselect. However, when more people suss this out in the future, I'm sure I'll have to move again when the members/DVD ratio becomes too unmanageable.
posted by BobsterLobster at 4:01 AM on February 23, 2004


Bob: You've actually said many of the things I was thinking about the service, especially the speed with which the DVDs are dispatched. If I do sign up to one of these things I'm going to try and use it for the theoretically less popular titles, the foreign and art house films, the idea being that I wouldn't want to buy them but by the same token they're less likely to appear on TV or in rep cinema any time soon either (things like obscure Bergman, French New Wave etc) I knew there would be an issue with two discs sets and I suppose the best policy on that is just not to go there. I've slowly come to conclusion that for the most part it's the film I'm most interested in -- the artist's final vision (assume the studio has mucked them about) -- and that extras are interesting but not always essential (with exceptions).

If you feel like letting me know which service you're using, a private email would be lovely. I promise not to spread it around. It's like your favourite holiday spot. Having lots people turn up and trample the grass just spoils it.
posted by feelinglistless at 2:05 PM on February 23, 2004


"Obscure" Bergman and French New Wave are surprisingly popular amongst rental companies, I think you'll find! If you think that way, think of all the other people who are reasoning the same way.
I'll let you know privately who I've started using recently.
posted by BobsterLobster at 2:47 PM on February 23, 2004


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