DVD online rental companies

I

Icarus

Guest
Hi,

I thought it may be a good idea to have a discussion regarding the above. How they compare for service, number of individual titles and number of copies etc. Price is of course important but as they all appear to charge about the same this is probably less important.

I made a shortlist of the following:

http://www.screenselect.co.uk/welcome/home.html

http://www.dvds365.com

http://www.dvdtohome.co.uk

http://www.moviemine.com

http://www.lovefilm.com/

http://www.mailboxmovies.com

http://www.qflicks.co.uk

http://www.videoisland.com

I decided on Screenselect for no obvious reason other than it appeared very easy to sign up.

I did this on Sunday evening and got my first two DVD Tuesday morning. They were individually packed in a strong flat plastic custom made sleeve and enclosed it a red envelope that is very easy to return the DVD back to them when required. Like all these places 1st class postage both ways is included in the monthly cost.

So far I would give them 10/10

Does anybody else have other experiences?
 

ferris57

Standard Member
out of about 9 dvds so far from screenselect and videoisland, 5 have been so badly scratched they skipped and froze all the way through.

Not particularly bothered as most have still been watchable and it hasn't cost me anything.

Certainly won't be carrying on my subsciption with either though.

On the other hand, to give them their dues screen select have started putting protective material on one side of the clam cases so in future things shouldn't be as bad. They have both also been pretty good with regard to sending first choice movies and new releases quickly (which haven't been marked).
 

cjking

Active Member
I was thinking of signing up with VideoIsland. One thing that marked them out in my mind as more professional than other (superficially) equally professional looking web sites was that their search facility works on actors and directors, not just titles. That Tesco are planning to form an alliance with them also added to their credibility.

While all sites appear to allow you one CD at a time for £10, only VideoIsland and Boxchoice let you have 2 for £13 - with others it's a bigger price jump to the next level of subscription. (I was only choosing between sites with well in excess of 10,000 titles, not the small ones.)

I must say that the site that impressed me the most overall was Qflicks - however they are not the cheapest.

I'd be extremely concerned if the amount of damaged disks was anything like as high as suggested above. Is it possible to watch a disk and only hit the damage halfway through? If this happened to me on a good movie I'd be livid - you can only watch a move for the first time once, and if the experience is spoiled it's gone forever.

Can anyone else comment on how reliable VideoIsland disks are?
 

cjking

Active Member
I've just been having another look at DVD Showtime (www.diskexchange.co.uk) and reading between the lines it seems they have a different business model from the rest - the disks are presumably retail copies that "members" are exchanging, not rental copies they've paid a higher price for. There is a form on their web-site where you can get a quote for any unwanted CDs you might want to sell them.

They are the cheapest site if you sign up for a whole year. Not sure if I would be tempted - if the way they do business is challenged legally they could go under - maybe that wouldn't matter if you paid by credit card? I guess the real risk of paying for a years subscription is that you would be tied in if they were/became crap. Anyone know how good they are? (How reliable are the disks, how quick the turnaround.)

They claim to have a lot of region 1 disks - I presume other places only rent out region 2 disks. I have a multi-region player, however I was thinking that I would be better off watching only region 2 disks to get the extra resolution - my overriding concern is I want the best quality picture. Am I right to shun region 1 disks?
 

cjking

Active Member
got my first two DVD

I ruled out Screenselect because I couldn't find any mention of a 2 disk subscription - another site told me they offered a variety of subscriptions at quite good prices, but their own site only shows a three disk subscription. Are other subscription levels available?
 

keiths

Standard Member
Originally posted by cjking
Can anyone else comment on how reliable VideoIsland disks are?

I've used Video Island for a few weeks now and out of 18 discs so far I had not experienced any that won't play or show any freezing, skipping etc - however, most of the discs are covered in fingerprints and surface scratches. I don't know if it is just that most people don't handle DVDs carefully, or if it is due to the clam-shell cases that they use not being fastened securely - which allows the disc to slide around in the case.
 

ferris57

Standard Member
Is it possible to watch a disk and only hit the damage halfway through? If this happened to me on a good movie I'd be livid - you can only watch a move for the first time once, and if the experience is spoiled it's gone forever.

Yup, in fact in every case this is what happened. I got spellbound yesterday, and surprise surprise it started freezing up about 30 mins into it before refusing to play compleletly. To be honest the vast majority of the problem titles were older ones, which I imagine have done the rounds for ages. So it's not surprising they are scratched (even when the casses are properly closed the discs can still spin around- all the scuffs and marks are in a circular pattern around the disc).

This is the first new title I've had problems with.

The strange thing is I have a lot of dvds which are more scratched than these appear to be but still play o.k. I believe the problem is that the scratching is much more uniformed on the rental disks compared to what happens normaly with dvds. All the scratching is running around the disc making them look like a record underneath, which causes far more problems than scratches running from the center out.

As I said before though, screenselect has made a very good move by adding protective material to their clam casses, it's just that I imagine it'll be a while before all the dodgy dvds are weeded out of their library. New stuff from them should be fine though.
 
I

Icarus

Guest
I ruled out Screenselect because I couldn't find any mention of a 2 disk subscription - another site told me they offered a variety of subscriptions at quite good prices, but their own site only shows a three disk subscription. Are other subscription levels available?

I agree that it could be easier and more up front, I discovered that once you have signed up you can change your subscription level
 

chaddlad

Standard Member
hi

i have been with screenselect now for about 5 months i am going to cancel this month end the service is disgracefull to say the least, the customer service is terrible the email reply if just as bad, i have the 3 dvd subscription for 14.99 and i am throwing money away i have had 2 dvd`s this week, they even admit they have a problem with deleveires but do nothing in the way of compensation for the customers.

stay clear

if you want to try a good site try mailbox movies my friend is with them and they are excelent.



chaddlad
 

dr_mabuse

Active Member
Have to agree with chadlad - screenselect suck balls when it comes to customer service.
Also you will not receive any "new" releases from them, no matter how highly you prioritise them. Both my mate and I put POTC on our list on the day of release and neither of us received it.
They are the only one to offer 3 at once for £14.99, but you'll do very well to get more than two out at once - and they won't be any of the ones you flagged as priority.
Binned em last week and currently on a month long trial with movietrak.co.uk. So far their turnaround time is extremely quick (only two out at once) and every title I have asked for has arrived. Only downer is their range of titles is much smaller than screenselect.
I was curious to know if anyone uses qflicks - they appear to have the widest range of titles of all of them.

IMHO, forget screenselect.

dr_m
 

Matthew Attoe

Active Member
I'm fed up with screenselect, too.

I get through my disks pretty quickly, being off work at the moment. I often get to send them back the day I get them.

It seems forever for them to send out discs. I'm on the 2 disc level and get 2 discs a week.

Never had any of the new releases on my list. Going to finish out the month and cancel them altogether and try somewhere else.
 
B

barneypooch

Guest
Yep, I'm about to blow off ScreenSelect, too. Never seem to get recent releases or popular titles. Plus a lot of postal problems and quite a few discs that are scratched and won't play.

But I love the idea. So, is there a better alternative? I think I'll try Maibox next.
 

Rob

Active Member
Have to say, I've been really happy with screen select. I signed up for a free 28 day trial two weeks ago. So far Ive had 16 discs, as I tend to watch them & send them back the same day. Only had one which wouldn't play. They have usually sent the highest priority ones, although it doesn't worry me as long as I have something to watch and they have been sent quicky.

I also had a trial with DVDs on tap (now lovefilm.com) and was simelarly impressed, although it was only 2 discs at a time, meaning you may have to go a day with nothing to watch. Haven't tried anyone else yet.

There are enough companies out there who offer free trials, so you may as well make the most of it. Whether you end up continuing or not is up to you, but its a good way to see alot of movies very cheaply.

Cheers Rob.
 
I

Icarus

Guest
Seems ScreenSelect is liked by some and hated but others, so far for me they have been ok.

I have had probably 8 DVD's so far and one of those would't continue to the next chapter properly but it was a crap film anyway, no real hardship.

At present I will mark them down as 9/10
 

chaddlad

Standard Member
to rob and icarus,i to had no problem with screenselect when they are good they are good but the slightest problem and it goes completly pear shaped, you would not believe the trouble i have had with them. the last two weeks of my subscription i was sent 2 dvd`s hows that for a bad turnaround.

anyway make your own mind up, i can only try to streer you away from them.


chaddlad
 

kwijibo

Standard Member
I'm signed up with DVD365. 10/10. Service is very fast. I have the 3 disc subscription, and am watching more films than ever before, and saving a fortune to boot. They also had some issues with scratched discs due to the packaging they all seem to use, but that has been improved and is now no longer a problem. From when I return a DVD, it takes no more than 3 days for me to have another one from my list with me. I always have 2 films at home I am yet to see. First class.:smashin:
 
M

mikeq

Guest
Joined ScreenSelect on Friday (trial) afternoon, first 3 DVDs there on Saturday morning. No issues with the discs playing.

So far excellent service.
 
P

parkender

Guest
Just done a Free Trial with Screenselect and had all my top choices sent out and very quick turnaround - saw 9 films in 11 days. However I've a feeling these companies prioritise Free Trial members so that you sign up for full membership when you get the good service and then it drops off after you've signed up. Theres a definite pattern building up of Free Trial - satisfied, Full Members - not satisfied.
 

cwick

Active Member
Have to agree with Parkender's conspiracy theory on this one, my experience has been much the same.

I was with Movietrak for ages and was quite happy. Steady stream of DVDs coming from them and I seemed to be getting value for my subscription. Then the new releases started drying up .. ok, I figured, must be a lot of demand. So I filled my queue with older stuff so that at least I'd have something to watch while waiting for the new ones. Weeks would pass without a single DVD arriving (are there really that many people wanting to watch Mullholland Drive ? Or, perhaps, do they only have one copy ?).

Recently switch to VideoIsland (I'm still on trial, although I've taken up a 3-at-a-time sub) ... going ok so far, received all of my new releases pretty much straight away. So I guess only time will tell if they're using the same tactics (crosses fingers that the Tesco-VideoIsland deal means they'll have lots of copies of stuff, rather than just lots of customers !).

Cheers, Carl.
 
I

Icarus

Guest
Hmm.

Well it's in their interest to maximize their profits but at the same time keep the punters happy. If the speed of delivery slows down then I spose we can all vote with our feet.
 

Rob

Active Member
These companies should have enough copies to go round. Its in thier interest to keep thier customers happy, especially after the trial has ended.

I can remember lovefilm.com quoting that they purchased around 500 copies of each top title which you would have thought would be sufficient. They also said that if a title you wanted was not on thier list, they would aim to get it where possible which seems good customer service.
 

father alice

Active Member
sorry to bring this one back to life.
I must say I agree with opinions about poor screenselect service.
When I first joined they were great, and sorted out broken or lost discs no problem, but since Feb, there service has been woeful. Regularly taking 2 days before they dispatched a new title, ie a 4 day turn around at best, not including weekends when they don't work - unlike blockbusters!

I wrote to them several times during March, and on every occasion they acknowledged a delay, initially blaming the gpo, or server errors, but refusing my demand for reduced subs, as the service was not that which I signed up to.

Anyway, stopped with them now, and switched to tesco (video island) - so far v good. Lots of latest releases which I never got from screenselect, but will wait and see if service level drops after a few months. (Perhaps they have a threshold ie over 30 discs, above which they slow down your service, so you don't get too much vfm?!)

Btw, only had 1 unplayable disc from over 40 with screenselect, so wouldn't worry too much about that, unless your player is fussy.

Interested to hear from others about screenselect poor service etc.

Alistair
 

keiths

Standard Member
Well I've been with Video Island now for almost 2 months and am very impressed with the service. Have only had 3 discs exhibit playing problems out of 40 odd and each time they have credited my account as compensation. Also a few recent discs have had protective material stuck inside the clamshell cases to protect the playing surface which, I would think, should mean less damaged discs in future.

Turnaround has been extremely good - post one back today, they get it tomorrow and I receive another the next day. Pretty good at getting new releases out as well.

As I say, I'm still impressed
 
M

mikeq

Guest
Have been on the ScreenSelect trial and so far have been impressed, I will keep my membership on and see how their service fairs.

Had one bad disk out of 10 so far.

Mike
 
S

Stephen J Jones

Guest
I'm another conspiracy theorist.
Started free trial with lovefilm and initially I'd get film day after dispatch, and they'd receive my returned ones next day too.
Now I'm paying it's always at least two days either way.
One film I sent back first thing Thursday wasn't shown up as received by them till the next Tuesday.
Trouble is it seems too much hassle to cancel (better the devil you know, etc) which I suppose is how these companies make their money.
 

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