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Netflix DVD & Blu-ray Rental Service Review

DVD & Blu-ray rentals by mail & instant streaming movie service


article last updated on 11.24.2010   

Overview: What is it?

Netflix offers:

  • DVD & Blu-ray Disc movie rentals through the mail

  • Instant streaming movies and TV programs to your computer or Netflix-enabled devices such as a Blu-ray Disc player, video gaming console, or a set top device

the Netflix concept

 

Pros:

  • Movies arrive fast, typically in one day.  No need to drive to and from your local video rental store

  • Keep the movies for as long as you like - never any late fees

  • Excellent streaming quality: some movies available in high definition

  • "Unlimited" plans allows unlimited streaming

  • Excellent user interface to load up and prioritize your Netflix rental queue

Cons:

  • Cannot browse movies by strolling the aisles of your local video rental store

  • Limited TV programming and movie content available for video streaming.  Not all titles are available for streaming.

  • Nit: First discs did not get mailed out until day #2 of our free trial period

 

How It Works

Step 1: Sign up for the free one-month trial period.

Step 2: Then load up your Netflix rental queue.  This enables Netflix to send your next DVD rental when they receive your returned DVD.  The user interface is simple to navigate.  You can search for specific titles or browse by genre.  You can also rate movies that you have seen, and Netflix will automatically suggest movies that you may enjoy, based on your viewing preferences.

click to enlarge

Rate movies that you have seen (click to enlarge)

Step 3: After you load up your queue, you can re-order your selections by simply dragging and dropping the the movie in the order that you want:

click to enlarge

Netflix rental queue (click to enlarge)

Step 4: Netflix sends your selections, based on your queue and what is currently available at their regional mailing center.  It arrives promptly in about a day in a red envelope.

click to enlarge

Netflix rentals arrive in a red envelope (click to enlarge)

Tear off the left edge to access the DVD or Blu-ray disc.  Tear off the address flap and discard.  This leaves the pre-paid postage return envelope.

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An opened envelope revealing the movie title and a postage-paid return envelope
(click to enlarge)

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Blu-ray movie and protective sleeve (click to enlarge)

Step 5: When you done viewing the movie, simply put the disc back into its labeled protective sleeve, and insert into the pre-paid postage return envelope and drop it in any outgoing mail slot.  What could be more convenient?  No trips to the local video rental store!  The process begins again with Step 2.

       click to enlarge    

Return the Netflix rental disc into its protective sleeve,
then insert into the pre-paid postage return envelope
(click to enlarge)

Our First-Hand Account of the Free Trial Period

We wanted to see how fast the Netflix rental service and theoretically how many movies you can cycle through during this period.  Here is our first hand account of the Netflix free trial period:

  • Monday, August 2: We signed up for Netflix free trial.  Though we signed up right around noon local time, we were slightly disappointed to see that the first titles were not send out until a day later. 

  • Tuesday, August 3: Netflix sent the first three Blu-ray movies (titles #1, #2, and #3)

  • Wednesday, August 4: we received the first three Blu-ray movies (titles #1, #2, and #3)

  • Thursday, August 5: we sent back titles #1 and #2.

  • Friday, August 6: we sent back title #3

  • Saturday, August 7: we received titles #4 and #5

  • Monday, August 9: we send back titles #4 and #5, and received title #6

  • Tuesday, August 10: we sent back title #6

  • Wednesday, August 11: we receive titles #7 and #8

  • Thursday, August 12: we received title #9; we sent back titles #7 & #8

  • Friday, August 13: we sent back title #9

  • Saturday, August 14: we received title #10 and #11.  We cancelled the free trial period, terminating our free trial period.  No charge, no fuss.  We have a week to send back the titles.

  • Thursday, August 19: we sent back titles #10 & #11.

During the two-week trial period, we were able to get 11 rentals.  Netflix was able to send and receive Blu-ray discs from us with only a single day turn-around.  As advertised, they sent out the next available movie in our queue, on the same day that they received a returned movie.  Netflix sent an e-mail confirm each title as it is sent out, with a projected receive date.  When you send it back, they confirm with an e-mail when the title received.  Surely, 11 titles were a lot of movies to watch during a two-week period.  You must have a lot of "time to DVD" to turn around these rentals this quickly.  But we were able to confirm the speed and efficiency of the Netflix service.  We believe most movie buffs would be very pleased with the speed and efficiency in which Netflix ships DVDs.

If you wish to continue using Netflix after the free trial period, you just need to select a price plan before the end of the free trial, as Netflix will continue your service into the subscription period based on the selected package.  You can only change plans for the subsequent subscription month.

If you find that Netflix was not for you or if you do not want to start the paid subscription service right away, simply cancel your account prior to the last day of the trial period.  It was easy.  There was no fuss.  You have about a week to return any outstanding movies back to Neflix.

When are Movies are Available to Rent from Netflix?

Only a few studios allow Netflix to offer DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals on the same day/date for purchase:

  • Paramount: DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles are available as Netflix rentals on same day/date for purchase.  This includes movies such as Ironman 2.

To maximize their sale potential to consumers buying DVDs and Blu-ray Discs, most studios restrict Netflix from renting DVDs and Blu-ray Discs of newly released movies until 28 days after the release date.  These include:

  • Twentieth Century Fox: DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles are available for Netflix rentals after 28-day period after release for purchase.  This includes movies such as Avatar.

  • Universal Studios: DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles are available for Netflix rentals after 28-day period after release for purchase.  This includes movies such as It's Complicated.

  • Warner Brothers: DVD and Blu-ray Disc titles are available for Netflix rentals after 28-day period after release for purchase.  This includes movies such as Sherlock Holmes.

What's in it for Netflix?  They get the rental DVDs and Blu-ray Discs at discounted prices.  What's in it for consumers?  For Netflix members, while it delays the enjoyment of newly released titles, it does keep our Netflix membership subscription lower than otherwise.  For buyers of the newly released titles, it gives them a little exclusivity for about a month.  So everyone should be happy, right?

Tips to Maximize Your Netflix Trial

  • Netflix offers three basic packages at the start of your trial: 1, 2, or 3 DVDs out at-a-time.  Start your free trial with the 3 DVDs out-at-a time package, to get the most DVD and Blu-ray Disc rentals out of the the free trial period.  You can always change the Netflix Pricing Plan before your trial period ends.  Suggest you change this during day #12 or #13 of the trial period.  A word of caution: Netflix access each month's subscription charge at the beginning of the month.  Once the month of subscription begins, you cannot change the current month's plan.  You can only change the Netflix Pricing Plan prior to the start of the next month's subscription service.

  • Blu-ray rentals are also free during this trial period.  Do activate this option, if you have a Blu-ray player.  It will cost a few extra dollars after the free trial period to keep the Blu-ray option as part of each Netflix Pricing Plan.  See the different Pricing Plan.

  • Always keep your queue loaded with at least a dozen titles, to ensure that new movies arrive.

  • Sign up by Wednesday morning if you want to enjoy your first rentals by the weekend: The first discs did not get mailed out until day #2 of our free trial period.  So start the free trial by Wednesday if you want to receive the first set of movies by Friday to enjoy over the weekend.

Netflix streaming

Finally, as great as the mail service rental service that Netflix provides, Netflix tops it off with its instant streaming of 20,000 movies and TV show through the internet.  You can view the streaming content on your computer or any Netflix-enabled deviceRead more about the streaming service.

On November 22, 2010, Netflix rolled out a streaming only "unlimited plan" for only $7.99/mo.

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In This Article

 

> Overview

> How It Works

> Our First-Hand Account

> Tips

> Netflix streaming

> Free trial

 

 

Netflix Information

 

> Free 1-month trial

> Netflix price plans

> Netflix rental review

> Netflix streaming review

> Netflix news

 

Netflix Links

 

> Netfix: add new releases to your Netflix queue

> Netflix: blog

> Netflix: tech blog

 

 


DVD & Blu-ray Release Dates

 

> August 2010

> September 2010

> October 2010

> November 2010

> December 2010

> January 2011

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