It’s some years since Mailbox Movies started DVD rentals by post in the UK, now there are loads of companies offering the same kind of service and I have set out to review a couple of them.
DVD rentals by post work on a monthly fee basis. Once you have paid your fee you can rent an unlimited number of DVDs per month within the limits of your package. You are sent a number of DVDs in the post and once you have watched them you return them, there is no maximum duration for your rental. Once you have returned the DVDs some new ones are sent out to you. DVDs are chosen by creating a wish list of films to watch, the company then choose DVDs from your list and send them to you, it is often possible to state further priorities within the list. This wish-list system is probably the greatest down-side of all DVD by post monthly subscription services, can you think of 20 films you have a burning desire to watch right now?
With Blockbuster you get a one month free trial, this is twice the length of the trials that most companies offer and each DVD is sent out under separate cover so you can send back the first DVD you watch before watching all the others. Blockbuster boast over 18,000 titles in their catalogue, this sounds impressive but in reality there are a lot of films missing, particularly more artistic or foreign titles. When it comes to maintaining a wish list over a period of time you will soon have seen everything you had a burning desire to watch and the availability of less popular films that you are willing to take a chance on becomes quite important. Compared to some offerings this service does seem to be rather limited to very popular movies and may not satisfy the hungrier movie fanatic. Another drawback of Blockbuster’s service is the turn-around time for getting a new DVD. When you send a DVD back they almost always spend the day of their receipt “processing” your next DVD before sending it out the following, so it takes three to five days to swap a current DVD for your next one. Finally, the ability to specify priority requests in your wish list seems almost counter-productive with DVDs generally beinmg sent from quite far down the list.
Blockbuster are very good with their online accounting, opening and closing accounts is seemless. They have sleeve images for all their videos and user ratings out of 5 (which you can add to) to guide in your decision making process when choosing DVDs.
In summary Blockbuster’s DVD’s by post service is run by professionals and is very easy to use. The speed of processing DVDs could be improved and their library would benefit from being extended. If you want a subscription that will ensure you get to see every popular film at a steady pace and you like the idea of a known brand being in charge then this is a good service. If you want more artistic or foreign films, or a fast turnaround, then this may not be the service for you.