Paradise has arrived with NetFlix service, at least from the perspective of movie buffs. What could be more convenient than reserving movies online and then finding them in your mailbox in a couple of days? And that's if you do not opt to watch them on your computer immediately instead.
Nobody can deny that NetFlix and similar services optimize convenience by letting us skip the trip to the video store. Even more important to some people these days, though, is the saved gasoline. Who can answer with saved time and saved money? And if you're looking for an obscure movie you are more likely to find it amongst this video service's immense selection than anywhere else.
On that note, the NetFlix subscription is a bargain in itself, as the various plans cover rental cost as well as shipping in both directions. Subscribers pay by the month and can choose from four plans, some with a limited number of rentals and some without. Other variables include how many DVDs can be rented at one time, and whether or not the subscriber plans to watch movies instantly on their PC. Most people opt for the 3 DVDs-at-a-time plan. Postage-paid envelopes arrive in the package with the movies, making return as easy as pie. If there are titles remaining in the user's queue they are sent out as previous ones are received back at the warehouse.
The movie-loving consumer has other options, too. Blockbuster Video, the largest video-rental chain, began offering mail delivery in response to NetFlix's huge success. Videos could then be returned in the physical store and the customer could take home a new movie from that location's inventory without having to wait for the Pony Express. Blockbuster's subscription plans are similar to those offered by its largest competitor, but the number of rentals allowed at a time is capped at three.
A slightly different service, Redbox, lets renters reserve videos online to retrieve at an automated kiosk, usually located inside a supermarket, or they can simply visit the kiosk and see what it holds. The major difference is in selection; Redbox specializes in recent releases, and instead of having a vast array of titles the units will hold multiple copies of popular rentals. After viewing, the subscriber still has to get into the car to return the movies, but since the kiosks are located in shopping areas (and sometimes McDonald's restaurants) this errand is easily combined with others.
Which online DVD rental option is the best choice depends on the individual, but the NetFlix service is the clear winner in popularity, unduly because of its superlative selection and ease of use. As with anything else, you should take a look at the movie selection and cost of each, weigh the pros and cons, read through the policies, and then decided which one you prefer.