Do not ever buy another DVD. Ever.
I finally realized that although there are some DVDs that our family would like to own, there is a far easier solution.
If you can afford it, join Netflix and use as your own private DVD source. If, say, I want to watch a favorite movie a few times, or at certain holidays and so forth, that by treating Netflix as a library I don't have to "own" the DVD. You request your favorite DVD and you can order it over and over again, as often as you like, the same ones each year or season or holiday.
Netflix (for those who can afford) is a great "library" of thousands of DVDs, at the cost of less than one DVD purchase. Also your library is a library. Check out the same book as frequently as you like. Over and over again.
I have found Netflix to be the best value as I do not waste any gasoline to get the DVD that I want to watch.I will never have to buy a DVD again.
You could also check your local library for DVDs. The one in my town has new and older movies, free to check out. If it isn't too far, take a walk with the family and pick some up. (08/14/2009)
We discovered Netflix over 3 years ago and couldn't do without it now. We used to spend $150-200 a week buying movies, and many times we'd get it home and either not like it or watch it once or twice and never again. Now we spend $18.14 a month and get to watch as many as we want. We rent an average of 30 every month and watch online 40-75 average over and above the ones we rent! So we average between 70-100 movies a month for less than $19! (I know, I really need to get a life! But I love my movies!)
We only buy maybe two or three movies a year now. I couldn't begin to even estimate how much money we've saved in the last 3 years.
So I agree that they are a fantastic site. It's rare that I find one that Netflix doesn't have. And when I do, sometimes I'll write to them and they'll do a search. And they are very good about letting me know whether they found it or not too, instead of leaving me wondering the way most sites will do.
The library is a fine place to get them too, but their selection is very very limited compared to Netflix. (08/14/2009)
I use Netflix, too. In fact, I've tried both Blockbuster and Netflix, and Netflix is the superior value even though their 3-at-a-time costs $1 per month more, as they get you your next selection far faster and, due to a suggestion I made to them, they now send me an extra title if I have one that's coming from far away and will be delayed. Here are my secrets to getting the most out of Netflix:
1. Use http://www.payphone-project.com/mailboxes/zip_codes/9/98155.html to give you an idea where the mailboxes in your area, on your way to work, school, and/or your favorite store pick up. These do change with today's times, so be sure to verify what you saw on the website is still accurate. Netflix somehow processes on many Monday holidays and now has Saturday processing, the latter meaning a title dropped off in time on Friday will get me a replacement on Monday!
2. For TV series, check what's available on free online sources, e.g. Hulu.com and IMDB.com before you put that title in your queue.
3. Utilize Netflix's Instant Viewing option. All you need is a laptop - plus the right connections if you want to port the picture to a TV - OR a Roku box ($99) OR certain DVD players. There are quite a few mostly-older shows from this, and the quality is decent, not spectacular.
4. Supplement what you get from Netflix with what's available at your local library. Mine used to even ship the movie to and from you at no extra charge, but now I have to go get 'em. Still a bargain! Mine holds the title on the shelf for a # of days, so time your pickups to your viewing schedule, and I also bunch it with a trip to the nearby Post Office for my Netflix mailer.
5. If you can wait, use Netflix for titles that aren't available at the library, Hulu.com, IMDB.com. For many old TV shows, you could say, "why pay when you can get it for free?" For new releases, book them at the library before they come out. Use http://www.tvshowsondvd.com/releasesmonth.cfm to determine when that is. My library has them available for reserving ~ 4-6 weeks ahead of time, and they even have some old TV shows!
6. On Netflix, consider using Account Profiles to segregate your movies, e.g. each family member can have their own list, or you can separate genres if you like to always have a mix.
7. Be sure to put your account on hold if you know that you're going to be out of town for an extended period, timing it so that it's the day before your account is charged for the next month's worth of service, for they give no refunds for partial months used. This means going "cold turkey" until you return, no Instant Viewing either. The library and the free online sources will have to do! Or, the TV!
8. Consider the bargain theater for a change of pace. One near me charges $3/film; they get new releases after the full price movie houses are done with them.
9. If you still want to buy, a source such as Amazon is great. Augment this with http://wishradar.com/account/login to get notified via email when someone is selling the item for your price. Keep in mind that Amazon's positive ratings are for 4's and 5's; 3's - which I'd consider average, doing what you're supposed to - are considered the same as a negative vote (1,2) while 4's and some 5's are doing just what they're supposed to do. (08/16/2009)
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