HD Rentals: The Art of the Impossible

Discussion in 'Blu-ray and UHD' started by Dave Scarpa, Feb 8, 2008.

  1. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Whether it might be My New Software update to the Apple TV, or the HD offerings of Direct TV, I'm being forced to look elsewhere for recent HD movies. It has become nearly Impossible to get any Recent HD offerings from Netflix. So I joined BB Online hoping for better Results, just as Bad. Getting any movies within 3 months of release does not seem to be Doable anymore. I Would rent far more HD-DVD and Blu Ray than buy, my hope when I got the A2 and now the PS3. But I see this was false Hope as attaining these as rentals are nearly impossible. I've been getting most of my new stuff from Redbox in SD and upconverting it, and that was not my Desire in the HD age. Anyone else battling for HD rentals now want to give me some tips?
     
  2. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    I feel your pain. I've been with Netflix for over 5 years and I'm getting to the point were I'm going to just cancel it very soon. I'm still waiting for the Simpsons movie 3 months later, new releases on Blu-ray? I haven't gotten one since October.

    My only other option is I have a Hollywood Video that stocks both BD and HD, problem is they only get one copy so unless you take Tuesday off from work and get there when they open the doors you might have to wait a week or two after it's released to get it.
     
  3. Jacob McCraw

    Jacob McCraw Stunt Coordinator

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    I know exactly what you mean. Ocean's 13 is finally coming today from Netflix on BD. The first 30 in my queue are long to very long waits.

    Anybody know how many BD or HDDVD copies Netflix usually acquires?
     
  4. Chris S

    Chris S Cinematographer

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    I've basically given up renting HDM from Netflix at this point. There hasn't been a title available in my list in HD for almost 2 months and a lot of the titles I have listed have been out for more than 3 months. Just a couple weeks ago I reset my preference back to SD because of all these issues. [​IMG]
     
  5. GlennH

    GlennH Cinematographer

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    Sounds like a strategy of buying online with preorder discounts, then selling online to recoup a majority of the cost may be an option. Of course, that takes a lot more work.

    I used to do this with some DVDs, using Amazon Marketplace. Often I could get as much or more back from resale as I spent new, making it a "free" rental. But the constant care and feeding of the process (listing, e-mailing, packaging, and mailing) gets tiring after awhile.
     
  6. schalkt

    schalkt Agent

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    I'm (somewhat) glad that I'm not the only one frustrated with Netflix. At one point, I had 20 Blu-ray/HD-DVD's in my queue, and only 2 of them (Casino and Kiss Kiss Bang Bang)didn't have a wait associated with them. And those two that were "available" were sent to me from across the country (meaning I had to wait an extra 3 days to get a disc).

    I actually called Netflix about this to see what their answer would be, and it was the pretty standard answer: they're looking at the demand and trying to meet it, but they couldn't tell me if they were planning on beefing up their supply anytime soon.

    I was tempted to try BB online, but it sounds like that's in the same boat.

    I haven't tried any online offerings yet, but from what I've heard the quality isn't going to quite as good as Blu-ray/HD-DVD anyway.
     
  7. Scott Jentsch

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    I guess I've been very fortunate with Netflix. Since I started renting HD DVD's back in November 2006, I've had few problems getting discs. I don't get real bent out of shape about getting new releases since there are so many movies to watch, but when I've wanted to get a new release, I haven't had too much of a problem.

    One trick that I've used with success is to make sure that they have a disc returned to them the day before the new release is released. Almost every time, I've gotten the new release sent to me and it arrives on the day of release.

    I've just begun renting Blu-ray discs, and just recently got 3:10 to Yuma and The Assassination of Jesse James is being sent out today. A quick look through my queue shows that few have any kind of wait. I added this past Tuesday's new releases to see what their status was:

    The Brave One: Short Wait
    Crimson Tide: Available Now
    The Jane Austen Book Club: Short Wait
    Across the Universe: Short Wait

    FWIW, The Assassination of Jesse James was on Short Wait last night, but it's shipping today, so I've been fortunate in that I haven't had long waits.

    I think one of the keys is patience. If everyone requests new releases right away, there's no way to satisfy that peak demand all at once without having a huge number of titles, which doesn't make economical sense for a rental organization. However, if you have had titles on your queue that have been waiting for a long time on a consistent basis, that's something worth griping about.

    I actually had an HD DVD come in from Hawaii or something like that once because they said that they didn't have any stock in their local distribution center. They are willing to ship the discs around, but I would imagine it's not their first choice.

    It would be interesting to see a geographical breakdown of the titles that are on wait -- some enterprising individual could make a Google Maps mashup to integrate everyone's Netflix Queue RSS feeds. There was a time in my life when that would be a great little free time project... so much for that!
     
  8. Dave Scarpa

    Dave Scarpa Producer

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    Well the Apple TV Downloads will be 720p still better than standard Def. I believe Direct TV's are 1080 but I have'nt tried any On Demand PPV offerrings from them yet. But I'll have to go this route if I ever want to see anything Near HD. Plus some New Movies like this week's The Brave one came out Day and date with the Disk release.
     
  9. Doug_H

    Doug_H Supporting Actor

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    I have to say I have been very lucky with HD-DVD on Netflix. I only use them for HD-DVD as I use Blockbuster for Blu and SD discs.

    I am going to cancel soon however as I have been much more prone to buying just in case HD-DVD is discontinued. I have gotten a lot of really good deals on Amazon but more often in the software for sale area here.
     
  10. schalkt

    schalkt Agent

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    I've noticed this trend too. If send a movie back on Saturday and Netflix receives it on Monday, there's a good chance of getting a new Tuesday release sent that day.

    Granted, that's about the only sliver of success I've had getting an HD new release though.
     
  11. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    This is basically what I have been doing with the twist that I have been selling off tons of SD DVD to finance those purchases. I keep what I like, sell what I don't, and continually recycle the funds to buy more HDM. Eventually, it will start coming out of my pocket more and more, but the hope is that by that time Netflix or Blockbuster will have gotten their act together. Its not a perfect solution, and it does require some extra work, but I haven't found a better solution yet.
     
  12. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    I don't think it's a matter of them "getting their act together," but rather a matter of the customer having realistic expectations. If you aren't willing to buy a new release, then you'll have to get in line to wait for a rental. It's like any rental outlet: new releases are gonna be tough to get at first. Netflix doesn't guarantee that a new release will always be available, so they certainly haven't dropped any balls in this regard. Further, I applaud Netflix for making HD-DVD and Blu-ray titles available without jacking their prices way up. Frankly, I'm expecting an increase at some point, given the higher cost of HD media titles. I'll gladly pay it.
     
  13. TonyD

    TonyD Who do we think I am?
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    i usually get the new releases on the week of release.
    i just time when i send in the envelopes.

    if i send it in on sat or even monday it usually gets there either the same day or tuesday.
    then they send out the same number of new releases as envelopes i have sent back.


    i did see a blurb somewere that netflix is considering raising the price for hdm
    once the whole thing comes to one format.
     
  14. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    Realistic expectations? They haven't dropped the ball? Dude are you serious? The wait times on BD titles are 5-6 months and more. That's not an exaggeration either.

    Netflix just sucks.
     
  15. Craig Beam

    Craig Beam Screenwriter

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    I've NEVER waited that long for any title from Netflix, SD, HD-DVD, or Blu-Ray. If they've made you so unhappy, close your account. One less person in line.
     
  16. Ric Easton

    Ric Easton Cinematographer

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    Well, I had been seriously thinking of re-opening a Netflix account, mainly for Hi-Def media (both formats). Now, I'm not so sure!
     
  17. RickER

    RickER Producer

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    Hmmm...it only costs me $8.XX a month, and no i never get a new release on Tues, even if they got my return on Mon. But ask me if i care? I have 180 movies and TV shows on my list. I will get to see them. If i HAVE to see it now, guess i could buy it. But as others have said, i can see Blu-ray movies, and its ONLY costing me 8 friggen bucks, and i bet i watch 8 or so movies a month! I only have to walk out to my mail box!
    I also have never waited 5 or 6 months for a movie. I have only been on NetFlix for 6 months, and everything i move to the top i get within a few weeks, month at the most. I guess patience is a virtue.
     
  18. Jim_K

    Jim_K Executive Producer

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    It'll probably work okay for the first month but don't exceed your monthly limit otherwise the throttling will begin.
     
  19. Paul Arnette

    Paul Arnette Cinematographer

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    Ultimately, this is exactly what it comes down to. How much do you care about how quickly you get to see a particular release? If, like me, you have a considerable backlog of your own HDM to watch coupled with a preferance of watching new releases over catalog releases where unseen titles are concerned, then right now I wouldn't recommend Netflix for someone in that situation.
     
  20. PaulDA

    PaulDA Cinematographer

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    I just joined the Canadian equivalent (Zip.ca) and their selection of titles is what incited me to join. They have almost the entire Criterion Collection (even a number of OOP discs) and they have several hundred HD DVDs (and about as many, if not more, Blu-ray). My local video store, which is pretty good for a suburban store in terms of titles, simply cannot compete with the variety. However, if I NEED to see a new release right way (in SD, for the most part), I can simply pop over. But I've put about 120 movies on my "ziplist" (a lot of HD DVDs and a lot of Criterions) and, fully understanding that they will arrive in order of availability rather than in the order I made the list, I'll happily wait a bit to see titles that I cannot otherwise get. Plus, the bonus is that it should significantly lower my purchasing numbers as I would often "blind buy" titles that I felt certain would not be carried by my local store. This will cost me a lot less in the long run. But I do agree that it is likely not a "gotta have it now" kind of service (though they do give me the option, for an extra fee, to expedite a shipment of a title that is not readily available--don't see the need, myself). As for getting "A" title (as opposed to the first title on my list) I got my first one in under 24 hours and the other two a day later. Plus, the ability to keep it as long as I like and the lack of late fees (and the door to door service) are offsetting benefits to getting them in a particular order.

    VOD and other "on-demand" services may rival mail order services for new releases, but I doubt I'll be finding too many Criterion titles on PPV or VOD anytime soon with my cable service. Nor do I think Rio Bravo or The Wild Bunch will appear in HD PPV with my cable service either.
     

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