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Official Online DVD Rental Stores Thread

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#1 of 46 Scott Hanson

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Posted November 26 2001 - 07:56 AM

Since there seem to be a lot of questions/comments frequently on this board about the online rental sites, I decided to share my thoughts and experiences since I seem to be on a "quest" of sorts for the perfect online DVD rental store. Moderator - anyway this thread could be placed in the "Home Theater Software" forum as well?

Here are the online rental services that I have now tried with my comments and score:

Netflix - The one that started it all. I was there when they first opened their doors (before they even had the "unlimited, monthly fee" system). It was great for about the first year and half, but as of the beginning of 2001, titles were never in stock, and most of them were "Long Wait". They probably do have the largest selection of all of the online rental stores. CANCELLED. Score - 4/10

RentMyDVD - Just about as good of a selection as NetFlix, but had a poorly designed website (as of three months ago anyway). In the beginning, allowed you to put movies in your queue that had just come out in the theater (which I liked a lot), but eventually they took that ability away. They also limited you to 50 movies in your queue which was a drag. Being on the east coast, having a warehouse in NJ was nice, but it still seemed to take a while for them to process the movies going out. It seems pretty obvious to me now that we'll never see those "additional" warehouses that they had been talking about from the beginning. In any event, what ultimately did it for me (once again) was too many movies being out of stock. CANCELLED.
Score - 5.5/10

DVDBarn - Smaller selection than the others, I like the website design though. Newer movies seem to be in stock more frequently, but still not great. I was able to get Phantom Menace from them the week it came out. They seem to be the only one left that allows you to mark a title as "already sent back", and will then ship out your next selection in your queue. You can do this for up to two titles (in the 4 movie plan). I think this is a HUGE benefit for them. Still a member. Deciding between this one and the next one...read on...
Score - 7/10

NumberSlate - Selection comparable to NetFlix and RentMyDVD. Website design very similar to NetFlix. Customer service even better than RentMyDVD. Availibility of titles is still not great, but better than NetFlix or RentMyDVD. My one major complaint is that turnaround of titles seems longer than the others. They are supposedly adding a "mark delayed" feature in the future, but who knows. I like how they have a "5 movie out" option for a couple bucks more which is perfect for me. That somewhat makes up for the longer turnaround. Still a member, just deciding between them and DVDBarn. Just the fact that I received "The War Zone" from them the other day might be the dealbreaker. I had that movie in my queue(s) since September of last year back when I was with NetFlix.
Score - 7/10

DVDOvernight - Don't have enough experience with them to fairly rate them, but last time I checked they didn't have an unlimited rental program. The few DVDs that I have rented from them arrived well-packaged in a timely fashion.
Score - Inconclusive

So there you have it. I should also mention that all four of these services are comparable in price. In other words, none of them separate themselves from the others based on price alone, although NumberSlate offers a wider range of options.

If anyone has anything to add, please do so. Remember these are just merely my opinions and are based solely on my experiences. If your experiences have been different, please share them. Also, if anyone has tried any others, please share your experiences with that as well.

#2 of 46 Gary Rhine

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Posted November 26 2001 - 08:42 AM

I have been with Netflix for a year and a half now and it is steadily going downhill. My screen still has a "Mailed Back" option but it seems to do nothing.
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#3 of 46 DeborahK


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Posted November 27 2001 - 05:46 AM

I have used Netflix and Rentmydvd.com. I cancelled Netflix when they went to the marquee system -- I need to be able to rent disks one by one -- and moved over to Rentmydvd.com. At first Rentmydvd.com. was great but my last three rentals from them froze, skipped, and jittered so much that they were unwatchable. I have just received a replacement disk for one of these and I bought myself a Disk Doctor device to see it that would help with problematic rental disks. Still, shouldn't they be cleaning the disks before they mail them out? I agree that they have good and responsive customer service but having to constantly return disks that won't play and wait for replacements really defeats the whole rental "thing" in my eyes.


#4 of 46 PS Nystrom

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Posted January 08 2002 - 02:43 PM

Does anyone offer something in the 6 DVDs at a time and $30 range. I'm not seeing as many movies as I'd like with 4 at a time from Netflix, but 8 sounds like too many. For some reason I'm still paying $20/month for my 4 at Netflix (I'm not complaining!), so going to 5/month for $30 seems silly.


#5 of 46 RandyRush


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Posted January 09 2002 - 05:52 AM

I too was in the very first group of Netflix members; was great for a while, but steadily went downhill; I finally cancelled after they supposedly never received about 4 movies back and wanted me to pay for them; like I can control them or the USPS! I'm still looking for another online provider and will try a couple listed above; for the most part, I've just started buying my dvd's either online or at local outlets.

#6 of 46 Michael Reuben

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Posted January 09 2002 - 07:42 AM

This thread is a great idea. Thanks, ScottH!

I've been with RentMyDVD for a year now. The big appeal for me is the proximity of the NJ warehouse to my home; mailing generally take 2 days, sometimes 3, rarely more. I agree that their turnaround seemed to be slowing a few months ago, but it's picked up considerably. Within the last week, I've returned 3 titles, and each time a replacement disc was sent out the day they received the returned title. The only real drawback is that certain titles seem to be perpetually checked out.

I've used DVD Overnight twice, and I've been impressed with them both times. It's the place to go when there's a specific title you want, and you don't want to deal with the "lottery" aspect of queues and wishlists. They do, however, tend to favor mainstream fare.

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#7 of 46 Doug Pyle

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Posted January 09 2002 - 07:04 PM

Thanks for starting this thread! How about some http: links to the vendors mentioned?

I now rent locally-owned brick & morter (not BB). I gave up on online rentals after being a Netflix fan way back. I remember the good old pre-marquee days of Netflix. Back when you could prepay X number of rentals (the higher the X, the lower per rental). You could rent whenever you were ready, due back 7 days after receiving them. I'd like to see that kind of program again.

#8 of 46 felix_suwarno



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Posted January 10 2002 - 04:35 AM

whats the best service for people who live in chicago? ( me )


#9 of 46 Patrick Sun

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Posted January 10 2002 - 08:04 AM

I've used DVD Overnight with no complaints. While they have mainstream fare, they also rent porn, so if that's a "priority" for you, give them a shot. Rentals are $3/title with $3 for shipping. I usually rent 5-6 titles at a time if I do rent from them.
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#10 of 46 Ross Williams

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Posted January 10 2002 - 09:05 AM

I've been with Netflix for more than a year now. I can't really complain about decline in service that everybody else seems to be saying. But I do wish that they still had the "already mailed back" feature. That's my only complaint, is it takes too long to get a disk in return (a week is about average).

However something has changed for the positive very recently. I keep about 70 films in my queue at a time. A month or so ago, I'd say a good percentage of those were out of stock. But today I look and 2 are a short wait, the rest are available now. So I don't know if they dramatically increased their stock or what. But I've recieved my top choice for about the last 10 films in a row, for the first time ever. Anybody else noticing an increase in stock?
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#11 of 46 Gregory Vaughan

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Posted January 11 2002 - 04:14 AM

I noticed the increased availability as well. Maybe all these other guys canceled and left the films for us to rent.

#12 of 46 Scott Hanson

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Posted January 14 2002 - 09:08 AM

Since this thread seems to have been brought back to life, I guess I should post a followup...

I ended up going with Numberslate (http://www.numberslate.com) and have been relatively happy with them. The turnaround is slower than RentMyDVD was (I too am much closer to NJ), but they did just recently add an "already mailed back" option. The option states only to use it if the title was mailed back more than 4 days ago, but you know how that goes...Posted Image

I should also add, another drawback to Numberslate is the website. There is no way (at least that I could find) to just browse 'New Releases' or 'Upcoming Releases'. You basically just have to know exactly what you want, or browse the different categories (i.e. action, drama, etc).

PS Nystrom - Numberslate offers a 5-at-a-time program (which is what I'm on) for $30/month, but then it jumps to 8. I haven't seen anyone off a 6-at-a-time deal.

This news that Netflix seems to have improved their stock intrigues me though...keep us updated on if it actually stays that way.

#13 of 46 NickSo



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Posted January 14 2002 - 11:11 AM

Do any of these stores ship to canada?! I have a couple DVDs i may want to rent...

#14 of 46 Brett Jason

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Posted January 14 2002 - 02:22 PM

I don't use any of these services, but is it true that Netflix doesn't send both discs in a 2 disk set?!?! My friend who is relatively new to DVD said that when he ordered Shrek and Moulin Rouge he only got one disk for each one. I can't believe that's true, but that's what he said.

#15 of 46 Scott Hanson

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Posted January 14 2002 - 03:22 PM

NickSo, as far as I know, they don't ship to Canada. If any of them do, DVD Overnight would probably be the most likely. http://www.dvdovernight.com

Brett, yes, it is true. None of the rental services that I've used have ever sent both discs of a 2-disc set (unless the movie itself actually takes up both discs, such as Pearl Harbor). Usually you can rent the second disc with the extras separately. This has never been an issue for me as I was never a big "extras" guy, and if I like a movie enough that I would WANT to see the extras, I would just buy the DVD to own.


#16 of 46 John_Bonner


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Posted January 15 2002 - 02:39 AM


In November, in your original message you graded DVDOvernight as "inconclusive" have you rented from them since? They would seem the best choice for me since I don't really want a monthly account with one of the other guys.

#17 of 46 Scott Hanson

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Posted January 15 2002 - 06:20 AM

I haven't used them since, as I prefer the "unlimited" monthly programs, but I was very satisfied the two or three times I did use them. And as you see above, Michael was satisfied with them the two times he used it.

I don't know if they still offer it (perhaps Michael can jump in here), but back when I was with RentMyDVD, they offered the option to do a movie-by-movie rental where you just paid per rental and returned it within a week.

#18 of 46 Michael Reuben

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Posted January 15 2002 - 07:45 AM

(jumping in whenever invited Posted Image)

Yes, RentMyDVD still offers a rent-as-you-go option. I've never used it, though, so I can't offer an evaluation. I wouldn't be surprised to find that the "flat fee" renters with wishlists provide serious competition for popular titles.

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#19 of 46 James RD

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Posted January 15 2002 - 12:23 PM

I've used Netflix for over a year now. I had some problems with them several months ago but IMO their service is much better as of late. I do have a bit of an advantage, however, since their mailing site is only about 30 miles from where I live. But the turnaround is quicker now.

#20 of 46 TreyP


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Posted February 09 2002 - 04:42 PM

Well, I finally tried one of these out today. I chose DVDbarn because they were the only one's that had AVIA available. So I signed up, only to find it says "unavailable." I guess I'll see how it goes. I kinda felt mislead by the big "rent now" button though.