On Sunday I signed up to the Lovefilm.com DVD rental service which I believe is the biggest in the UK with over 1 million subscribers. They have over 65,000 titles you can choose from and also allow you to rent Blu-ray DVD’s and Computer console games. So why did I sign up. Well I don’t really go to the cinema that much, call me old fashioned but I remember when a trip to the cinema would cost £3 per ticket and now my local cinema is charging £8.50 per ticket while Video / DVD prices haven’t increased! Also while watching at home you miss out on the effect of a huge screen and Dolby surround, you don’t have to put up with everyone playing with their mobile phones, kids, and lots of rustling popcorn!! (rant over)
So why LoveFilm?
I randomly saw a Lovefilm return envelope on a colleague’s desk at work and this spurred me on to investigate the current rental market. When I started I had no idea what the cost would be or how it works and I was pleasantly surprised.
What does it cost?
The question of cost was at the top of my mind, because you’re signing up to a monthly scheme (though a individual rental is available) rather than just popping to the video shop to rent one DVD I would want it to be worth while, as their wouldn’t always be films that I “have” to see. If you only want to rent DVD / Blu-ray’s Lovefilm has 6 cost plans, sounds complicated but it’s not. They are split into Light use plans and unlimited use plans.
The light plans limit you to x number of films per month, 4, 3 or 2 discs, and depending on the option you can have either 2 or 1 DVD’s at any one time. I have signed up to most basic light plan which is 2 discs a month, 1 disc at anyone time for £3.91 per month.
The Unlimited plans as the name suggests allows you an unlimited number of discs each month, the difference in cost affects how many you have in your home at any one time (1,2 or 3 discs). The 2 disc unlimited plan is their most popular at £12.72 per month.
How does it work?
You create a list of films that you wish to rent and prioritise them High, Medium or Low. Then when it’s time to send you a film (when you return the one you have) Lovefilm will pick one from your list to send you. This continues until you reach your monthly limit (if you are on a limited plan). It couldn’t be simpler!
Choosing my list
I was surprised how hard it was initially to choose my list. Lovefilm recommend that you have a minimum of 10 films (or TV shows) on your list at anyone time, this will make turnaround times quicker as it gives a much higher probability of them being in stock. When choosing my list I wanted to make sure that I really want to watch and struggled to find 10, but then I relaxed slightly and used the features that Lovefilm have to help you choose films, I went through my DVD collection, rating the films in Lovefilm, then Lovefilm can recommend films much more suited to you (I assume based on other users choices). I found this worked really well and soon had my collection up to 10.
I have managed my collection by keeping most films priority Medium and a few Low. In a perfect world I would like to say “I want to watch this film next” or give a numeric order to the films I want to watch. But with a million users I understand that if a new film comes out on DVD they won’t have a million copies of it to cover each of their users. Quite helpfully on my rental list they indicate if their is a short wait for films. Of 10 films on my list only 3 are showing “short wait”, surprisingly to me only one of them would I consider a New “Blockbuster film” that everyone would want, the others are quite old films.
My other concern is that if I keep adding films to my list does that mean that I will never receive my Low choices, or will they randomly send me a low even though I have several high’s? Only time will tell – I think these concerns are more born out of a traditional approach to rental rather than fully accepting the internet age!
Well I’m impressed so far, I signed up Sunday, Monday they posted the disc (they include a freepost return envelope) and Tuesday it arrived so that’s first class next day delivery. Talking to others who use the service they are very quick to turn around discs.
Included in the price is Blu Ray Discs, and aswell as films they offer TV shows on DVD – Where (particularly TV series) go over several discs you can select to add all discs and they will send them in order (one disc at a time), or you can select a specific disc if you just want to watch one disc.
Games – for a small extra fee (they are different billing plans) you can have the ability to rent console games too.
Reviews -I have touched that you can rate films, which helps Lovefilm recommend films to you, you can also review films, and on the film’s page read reader and press reviews and see the trailer.
Multiple lists – I haven’t looked into this in detail but you can have multiple lists so you and your partner could set up a list each and if you are on a 2 disc (at any one time) you could allocate a disc to each list so you will both always have something you want to watch!
My first film
The first film I have recevied is “Michael Clayton” described as
Arthur Edens (Wilkinson), a lawyer defending an agro-chemical corporation against a class-action suit, is overwhelmed by guilt and cracks up. Michael Clayton (Clooney), his law firm’s “fixer”, is sent to sort Arthur out, but the corporation deploy even dirtier tricks to solve the problem.
It looks like a good film from the trailer but I’ll soon find out! I’m thinking Friday night is Film night.
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I honestly think the concept of DVD rental by monthly tariff rather than the traditional per disc DVD store concept is excellent. I can’t understand how Lovefilm make money since my tariff works out at £2 per disc, once you factor postage, handling, the disc! Though my sceptical side says they make their money from people who never return discs and therefore keep paying for nothing new.
If you sign up using my refer a friend link you can get your first 30 days free rather than the standard 14 days. Click here to find out more and join Lovefilm
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I realise this post is very pro Lovefilm, and I’ll be honest that I am new to the concept of Online DVD rental so many of the above statements is applicable to other DVD rental providers but I think the price and service of Lovefilm makes them a good choice, agree or disagree? Leave a comment with your view.
Also I’d love to know what DVD’s you recommend I queue up! Let me know