(Renting) Movies in the mail

Life is busy enough, isn’t it? What if you could eliminate having to go pick up your next DVD rental from the video store, and not have to worry about dropping it off? What if you never had to pay late charges either? Well, now you don’t have to.

The number of DVD-by-mail rental services has been growing across Canada. Following the success of US-based Netflix, a number of entrepreneurial Canadian internet-based companies have been quietly going after the $1-billion film rental market. Choose from thousands of titles – Hollywood movies, TV shows, documentaries, cartoons, Canadian films, and indie titles – you name it. These services have many titles that won’t find at your local video store. Some even offer Playstation 2 and Xbox games.

So how does it work? Once you sign-up for the service, your movie selections are made online. Log-in with your account information and select the movies you’d like to watch (usually up to 20 movies can be selected). The list is prioritized, and your top three DVDs are placed in the mail for you. After watching each DVD, place it in the provided prepaid mailer that came with the rentals, and send it back. Postage is covered both ways by the rental service. As soon as the DVD comes back to the rental company, they mail the next one to you from your list. It’s that simple. The status of your rentals can be checked online.

At the average cost of $25 per month you can watch as many movies as you like, limited by how much time the DVD spends being shipped back and forth. The practical limit is about 3-4 movies a week, costing you less than $2 per movie. But even if you only watch a couple of movies a week, you’re paying just over $3 per movie. That’s still cheaper than going to the video store, where the average rental price is $5. Not to mention that you don’t ever have to make that double trip to the video store, which at today’s gas prices could cost you another few bucks. Instead, take a single walk to your nearest mailbox – it’s good for your pocket and your body.

Trying out this new way to rent your DVDs is easy. Most of these service offer free two week trials, so you can decide whether the service works for you.