The Changing Face of Movie Rentals

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Renting movies on VHS or DVD is, by far, the most popular form of entertainment in America. More Americans regularly rent movies than go to professional baseball, football, and basketball games combined! What’s not to love? With television screens growing bigger by the year and movies going from the theatre to VHS and DVD faster than ever, it’s no wonder movie rentals are at an all-time high. It’s also a lot cheaper than watching in the theatre, especially when you add in soaring gas prices and the $2.50 it takes just to get a small bag of popcorn!

Movies in the Mail? Flying under the radar in this growing phenomenon is the increasing popularity of movie rentals that are delivered through the US Mail. Over the past few years, two leading services – NetFlix and BlockBuster – have steadily grown in terms of the numbers of users and the variety of movies they stock. In an increasingly time-crunched world, where people feel they have less and less free time, getting movies in the mail just makes a lot of sense. Here’s how it works.

First, you need Internet access. You simply surf to the Netflix.com or Blockbuster.com web sites and sign up for their services. Both offer nifty free trials, so there’s literally no reason not to give one or both a shot! Once you’ve registered for movie rentals by mail, you simply browse through their online libraries of available movies and choose those you’d like to receive. This builds a personalized queue that you can change anytime you wish. You can add movies, remove others, and even set the order in which you want to receive them. Both services offer different levels of membership, where you can keep more movies out by paying a bit more each month (after your free trial ends). The prices are very reasonable ($10-$50 per month for 1-8 movie rentals at any given time). Perhaps the best thing about renting movies this way (aside from not having to drive to the store and hope they have what you want) is that there are no late fees! You can keep movies out as long as you want. How convenient is that!?

Which Service is Best? Both NetFlix and BlockBuster offer comparable prices for their movie rental plans. However, whereas Netflix is purely an online service, BlockBuster has a large network of walk-in rental stores all over the country. This gives the edge to BlockBuster because of one additional free service they offer that Netflix cannot match: free in-store rentals. BlockBuster issues its mail service members printable coupons they can download from their web browsers for free movie rentals in retail locations every week. As long as you live near one of their stores, this is a significant bonus that makes their service a better deal overall than that offered by NetFlix. If the in-store coupons are not a factor for you, consider that NetFlix has a better movie-queuing process which might make it the better option for those who do not live alone.

With NetFlix, you have the option of keeping more than one movie queue. This is very convenient for families, so that family members can choose movies that perhaps they like but no one else cares about. No one is left out! (As of the time of this writing, BlockBuster appears to be working on adding this option, but it is currently not available.) Regardless of which service you choose, most users report high rates of satisfaction. The one negative is the limiting factor both services apply to members who get and return the maximum number of movie rentals in their plan extremely quickly. If, for example, you pay for three movies at a time and don’t keep any of them longer than a day or two consistently, you may find that the companies begin to extend the time it takes to get subsequent movies in the mail. This is done to keep shipping costs down. Even if this does happen to you, however, you’ll still get a lot more movies for a lot less money than you would by paying visits to a local video store.


Source by Don Pasco

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