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Online movie rentals vs the neighborhood video store: which one is right for you and your family?

By Edited Aug 15, 2016 0 2

Would you benefit  by receiving your movies in the mail?

In the last few years, the option to order your movies online through an online video rental service provider has become a viable alternative for many people, whether their preference is for DVDs or the more recent Blueray format. Because of this development, everyday someone is making a decision on whether to rent their movies through the more traditional brick and mortar storefront or to instead go with the online option, which appears to be growing in popularity in leaps and bounds.

Obviously, there are a number of factors one needs to consider before making a decision either way. For the single person, a decision on whether to go with an online video service or a regular storefront really comes down to their own rental habits and preferences. Of course for those with families there is more than just one's own movie rental preferences to consider. An easy way to figure out the best option for you and your family is to ask yourself a few basic questions about your video rental habits:

*Do I like to rent many movies over the span of a month or do I usually only rent a few?

*Am I renting for a family household(ie children)or just for adults?

*How disciplined am I when it comes to actually watching the movies once I have rented them?

*And lastly, do I live in a major city or population center, or in a more remote location?

The way that you answer these questions should pretty much tell you which alternative would most likely be right for your household.

How many DVDs or Blueray format movies does your household rent in a month? If you are someone who only really watches a couple of videos in a month when the urge strikes them, then you would probably not be the ideal customer for an online video rental service; people who use an online service are for the most part people who like to watch a fair number of movies each month, several in a week, and look forward to new films arriving regularly in their mailbox. If you are someone who just occasionally rents a movie when the mood strikes them, then the traditional video store outlet is probably a better option for you. You can easily brake it down by cost factor, too. Most online rental services offer a range of differently priced plans to customers to reflect differing rental preferences. There are high and low volume rental plans available. One of the most popular kinds of plans that has caught on online is the unlimited monthly rental plan, and it is now offered by most online providers for aprice in the low $20 range. The basic idea behind it is that the customer can rent out as many movies as they can watch in a month for a fixed monthly price with the only restriction being that they can only have a few out at any one time (usually 1, 2 or 3 at once). Obviously this kind of plan can work out to be quite a money saver for those that would normally rent a larger number of movies in a month. However, if your turn around time on watching the movies you rent is slow then such a plan would not likely be of much benefit to you and would work out to cost you more per rental than someone who watches a few films each week. For such a customer, this kind of plan could mean an average cost per rental of around $2.

The next thing to decide is what kind of household you are renting for? For the single individual or a couple, it is pretty easy to go online and put together a list of movies that you want to receive in the near future, however for a household with kids, it might not be as simple as that. In fact you can almost guarantee that it won't be that easy! With a child's decision-making habits to contend with, often movie choices are made last minute while in the video store. This practice is not necessarily conducive to using an online movie rental service, however this does not mean that the adult members of the household would not benefit from an online rental service, just that the local video store might still be where you go to rent for your kids.

The next question is one of discipline: once you get your rental movies home, how long does it take you to actually watch them? This is another factor that can help you decide which route to go for getting your movies. If you rent and watch soon after, then the traditional store return policies won't usually cost you. However if you are tardy in watching what you rent (and if there are any ugly loopholes in your stores advertised 'no late fees' policy - if they even have one) then the traditional practice of renting from a local store could be the more expensive way to rent. It is pretty much a given that all online rental service providers offer their customers no late fees (for obvious reasons of practicality) keeping in mind that the longer you take to watch, the less movies you will work your way through in a month, so there is a natural balance in play for the online video rental companies. The important thing though is that you won't end up paying any annoying late fees.

The last question here, 'where do I live?', is relevant because most online rental companies will have distribution centers in major cities/population centers, and this fact benefits those that live in such centers because your turn around time for receiving new films after returning watched films will likely be significantly shorter than for someone living in a more remote locale who has to wait longer for a new movie to arrive in the mail. For someone in a more remote location a local video store might be the more practical alternative - assuming that such an outlet is even available to them.

Well, there you have it. Your answers to the above questions should pretty much help you to decide whether it would make more sense to continue renting from your local neighborhood video store, or maybe consider switching to an online movie rental service. I have presented the above considerations as someone who has switched over to an online video rental service a few years ago and has never looked back, however I understand that it is not necessarily the best choice for everyone and I have tried to reflect that in my presentation. I should also mention that I am a resident of Canada who uses an online dvd rental Canada wide service (Zip.ca) that is not currently available in the United States. However, in the US there are a number of national video rental service providers to choose from, such as Netflix and Blockbuster, so lack of choice is not a factor here. When it comes down to it, the important thing here to remember is that you need to choose a way of renting your movies that makes the most sense for you and your family.



Apr 6, 2010 8:52pm
Thank you for a well written article. You have many good points, and the choice is now easier for me.
Aug 30, 2010 12:15am
Gla dI could help make the choice a little easier. =)
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