Video Renting Services

February 11, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
Long gone are the days when renting a movie meant actually going to a nearby video store. Variety, convenience, flexibility, and price make these online subscription services appealing. For $4-dollars to $20-dollars, you can get your monthly movie fix.

Two-million Netflix movies arrive in mailboxes every day, including Peter Kaplan's. "After we're done we return it, no late fees, ever," said Kaplan.

Now movie-rental giant Blockbuster is advertising a similar online service called total access.

To find out which is better, Consumer Reports national research center surveyed more than 6,000 people. "We asked readers to weigh in on price, convenience, selection, and service," said Donato Vaccaro with Consumer Reports.

Also included in the survey, Redbox, a movie-rental kiosk service you see in stores, like supermarkets. You use a credit or debit card to rent a movie for a dollar a night.

"With Redbox, the selection is mainly limited to popular, mainstream movies, but as far as convenience and price go, most respondents were very satisfied," said Donato.

Another possibility for renting movies, and not paying a dime, is to check out your library. Although selection may vary, you can't beat the price, especially if you're on a tight budget.

When it comes to selection, consumer reports' survey shows that both Netflix and Blockbuster total access shine, with thousands of movie titles to choose from.

Both offer several different plans at different prices, but blockbuster total access tends to be more expensive.

In the end, of all the rental options surveyed, Netflix came out on top for overall satisfaction.

Netflix supplements mail delivery with the ability to stream movies to a computer or TV with an Ethernet port. But the selection is smaller, and the titles are older, than what's available on disc.

Blockbuster also offers streamed videos, but as a service separate from total access.

Streaming to a TV requires additional hardware with access to a broadband connection, usually a wired one.



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