What? Rent a DVD Online?

Instead of operating retail stores (with the exception of BlockBuster), Online DVD Rentals house their DVD's in central warehouses. Because they have more room to store DVD's, you have a much bigger selection than you can ever hope for in a retail store. Registration, selecting the type of plan that works for you, and ordering your choice of DVD's all take place online, in the comfort of your own home. When you register online, you'll have a variety of plans to choose from, based on the number of DVD's you rent each month and the number you have mailed to you at at one time. Most companies offer "Unlimited," "Limited," or "Package" plans. If you hate visiting your local video store or finding that your local store does not have the movie you want, this may be just what you're looking for. Follow along as we tell you about the major rental outlets, plans, pricing, how to sign up and rent DVD's, movie choices, and more.

Major Players in the Online DVD Rental Business

  • NetFlix:
  • Shares top billing with Blockbuster. NetFlix invented online movie rentals in 1999, and has been number one ever since. They offer more than 70,000 movie titles, and rates range from $4.99 for the "one at a time-limit 2 per month" plan, up to $23.99 for 4 movies at a time, unlimited number of movies per month. They have 41 distribution centers throughout the US, and usually have your selection to you in 1 business day, 2 days at the most. They have excellent customer service, utilizing web self-help service as well as email and telephone.
  • Blockbuster:
  • Well known as a retail outlet for rentals and purchases, Blockbuster is one of the top online DVD rental sources. Because they also operate actual stores, you can return your movies to your local store if you chose, rather than mail them in. This allows you delivery on your next title faster than mailing them back. Their plan prices range from $5.99 a month for 1 DVD at a time--monthly limit of 2, up to $23.99 for 4 DVD's at a time, and an unlimited number you can rent. Shipping is free, your selections are mailed within one business day of ordering, and as mentioned before, you can return them to your local Blockbuster for faster service. Blockbuster also offers a free 14-day trial. More than 65,000 movie titles to choose from, classics to new releases.
  • Intelliflix
  • is a nice alternative to Netflix and Blockbuster, and offers lower prices and some other plans that the top two do not have. They also rent video games. Customer support is handled via a self-help web form or email, their response time is good for support. Shipping is free, new rentals arrive in your mailbox from 1-3 business days after ordering. Pricing ranges from $3.99 a month for the "one at a time, maximum two rentals a month" plan, to $16.99 a month for 3 rentals at a time, no monthly limit. With Intellifix there is also the option to prepay for a year at a time, saving you even more money.
  • Peerflix
  • is a little different that the other three companies we've mentioned. Instead of renting DVD's from their company, they have created a community where you trade DVD's with other members of the community. You pay $.99 each plus postage. If you trade very many DVD's, this could end up costing you nothing because you earn credits to receive DVD's every time you send one out. Peerflix does a good job of matching up traders who live in the same general area, thus keeping shipping costs down to a minimum. There are no membership fees, and may be worth a try for this reason alone.

How It Works

Once you've made your choice of DVD rental services, signing up is as easy as locating the registration form on their web site. If you're still unsure about committing to this, both Netflix and Blockbuster offer 14 day free trials, so you can see how you like getting your DVD's through the mail before committing to membership. If you decide you don't want to continue, cancel anytime before the 14 days are up and you are charged nothing. If you want to continue, no need to do anything else, your membership will automatically continue.

After signing up, select your movie choices from the company library and they will be kept in your own personal library, or rental queue. The first one(s) will arrive at your door in about one to three business days after you've signed up. As you receive, view and return each DVD, the next available one on your list is automatically shipped to you. There are no late fees or due dates, so you can keep the DVD's as long as you wish. Keep in mind, however, that no more will be shipped to you until you return them. And shipping is free for all but Peerflix. As long as you keep your library updated with your viewing choices, DVD's are automtatically mailed to you based on your rental plan.

Parting Thoughts

If you find yourself dreading the visit to your local video store, unable to find your choices of movies available, or just want to choose your DVD's in your own home at any hour of the day or night, we recommend looking into one of these DVD Rental services. You can have your choice of DVD's delivered to your door for less than the cost of renting from your retail store, free shipping, and videos delivered within a couple of days. You can make selections to add to your rental queue at any time of the day or night. And if something comes up to change your movie viewing plans, you don't have to worry about returning your DVD's without having watched them because of the due date of your local retail rental store. And with free trials available from the top two renters, what have you got to lose?

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