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DVD rental via mail and JavaRanch

 
Trailboss
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A while back I got the bug to sign up for one of those affiliate program things. You make a link from your site to some commercial site and if anybody buys it, you get a buck or two. It was a horrible flop.
Anyhoo, the e-mail still comes to me and I usually delete it. but I got one from walmart where walmart seems to want to take over the whole netflix thing.
I tried ntflix once. It was pretty cool. You go to their website, pick out a bunch of movies, prioritize them and they start sending you DVD's in the order you want. When they arrive you watch them when you want. They come with a pre-paid thing to mail them back so when you are done, just stick them back in the mailbox. Never a late fee.
The only thing I didn't like about netflix was the turnaround time. I figured out that it was ten days from the time that I put it in the mailbox until the time the next one came to me. That seemed a little too long. So I cancelled.
Here's Walmart's ad for their product:
Unlimited DVD Rentals for $15.54 per month!
I suspect that if the mailer goes to and from a local walmart, turnaround could be as short as three days. Making this program well worth the money.
Anybody ever tried it?
 
paul wheaton
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Oooooo, check it out. 30 day free trial! At the 2 DVD's at a time thing, and assuming that there is, say, a four day turnaround, that would be 14 DVD's for free. And if you keep doing it, it comes out to a little over a buck per DVD.
AND! If you get it in September, JavaRanch gets a ten dollar kickback.
 
paul wheaton
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Hmmm ....
This thread is moved to Meaningless Drivel ...
 
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Netflix turnaround for me is about three days. They have opened up several more distribution centers around the country apart from what they had when they first started up. I have been nothing but extremely pleased with Netflix and would highly recommend their service to anybody.
As far as Walmart goes... I wonder if they censor the DVDs their service carries like they censor the movies and music they sell in their stores?
 
paul wheaton
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Ouch! Good point! Do you suppose they would ban an R rated movie?
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Ouch! Good point! Do you suppose they would ban an R rated movie?


I would doubt that, but I wouldn't be surprised if there were some R rated movies that Walmart won't carry that others will. Netflix for example carries several foreign films, indy films, documentaries, and anime for example that I can't picture Walmart carrying due to content that I can't picture meeting up to Sam Walton's version of family values.
[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
paul wheaton
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I just checked. Walmart does carry the "Sex and the City" stuff.
I can't imagine a regular walmart carrying art films. But maybe a centralized thing would.
I just did a search for "unbearable" and came up with one of my favorites "The Unbearable Lightness of Being" on walmart. Netflix won't let me search.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
Netflix won't let me search.


Hmm... I guess you have to be a member first? That doesn't seem very smart on their part. But anyway this got me wondering how good Walmart's selection really is.
Yes, Netflix does have The Unbearable Lightness of Being. Here are a few DVDs I found on Netflix but not on Walmart: Caligula (almost smut), Hell House (documentary), Devil's Playground (documentary), Now and Then, Here and There (outstanding anime), Cinema Paradiso (token foreign flick). Those were just some that quickly came to mind. I'm not saying it's necessarily because of censorship, it could just be that their selection isn't yet quite as extensive. Their selection does seem fine for the average viewer though.
[ September 03, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
paul wheaton
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One of the coolest things about this sort of thing is bypassing the wandering around the video store for fifteen minutes trying to find a movie you haven't seen. Or deciding that while you might watch that movie someday, just not today. With netflix, I think I spent an hour one time picking out a hundred movies and getting them in the order I wanted to see them (including putting some movies that were not out yet at the top of the list). Then they just came in the mail. In order.
Since I now live out in the sticks, it would save me about an hour of driving (round trip). Double that to return the movie.
(gotta get my DVD player fixed!)
 
paul wheaton
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I just tried to get more info on netflix and I find their page to be kinda creepy/greedy. They refuse to tell you about their rates other than to say "about $20 per month". If you look at their information for the press, it turns out that the $20 per month is for 2 DVD's to be out. The Walmart thing is for $15 per month for 2 DVD's to be out. And walmart gives you a month free and netflix gives you two weeks for free.
Netflix just kinda has that smell of sleaze to it. The walmart thing seems really open and honest.
 
Jason Menard
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Originally posted by Paul Wheaton:
I just tried to get more info on netflix and I find their page to be kinda creepy/greedy. They refuse to tell you about their rates other than to say "about $20 per month". If you look at their information for the press, it turns out that the $20 per month is for 2 DVD's to be out. The Walmart thing is for $15 per month for 2 DVD's to be out. And walmart gives you a month free and netflix gives you two weeks for free.
Netflix just kinda has that smell of sleaze to it. The walmart thing seems really open and honest.


I got this info from Netflix by clicking on "Learn More" on the front page:

Rent All You Want
With Netflix you can rent as many DVDs as you want for just $20 a month. You keep a revolving library of up to 3 DVDs at a time and can exchange them for new available DVDs as often as you like. The number of DVDs you rent depends on how quickly you watch and return each of your DVDs.
More Than 15,000 Movies
We have virtually every DVD published � everything from classics to new releases. As a member, you'll be able to choose from any of our 15,000 titles � five times the selection of a typical video store. Our web site is available 24 hours a day and makes finding movies simple and convenient.
Cost
Our standard rental program is $19.95 (plus tax) per month. This flat monthly fee allows you to watch as many movies as you want. There are no additional charges. There are no late fees or due dates � even shipping is free.


So it's actually $19.95 plus tax for unlimited rentals with 3 DVDs out at a time. Walmart is $1.19 cheaper per month for 3 DVDs, but Netflix has a wider selection. You are correct about the free trial period. Netflix used to be 30 days but now they are at 2 weeks. It probably doesn't matter though because anyone who tries a mailorder DVD rental service will recognize it as the second coming anyway and keep it longer than a month.
There are tradeoffs you make with either service when compared to the other probably, and I hear Blockbuster wants to get into this line of business as well so it will be interesting to see what they come up with (although they also make corporate decisions on what they will and won't carry similar to Walmart). All I can say is that I have been a Netflix customer for a couple of years, I'm extremely satisfied with their service, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I guess if I had never tried either I would take advantage of both free trials and see which I liked best.
 
paul wheaton
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I missed the three dvd's. My error.
Netflix still doesn't mention anything other than their $19.95 program unless you act like you're from the media.
On the bright side of Netflix: Their turnaround is much faster than it used to be. I would even guess that their turnaround is currently the best. It sounds like they are the king when it comes to selection.
Up side of Wally: Price. More open before you sign up. Longer freebie.
 
Jason Menard
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Just for info, if there's anyone watching this thread besides Paul and I , I figured I'd explain how these things work ni case anyone is curious. My experience is with Netflix, but we can assume that Walmart works pretty much the same way.
Once you sign up for the service, you look through their site, find movies that you'd like to see, and add them to your rental queue. Your rental queue can have as many movies in it as you'd like. The service will send you the top three movies in your queue that are in stock (there's rarely an issue with things being out of stock unless it hasn't been released yet). You get the DVDs in your mailbox in a couple of days. They let you keep them as long as you want. Once you are done, you place the DVD back in the mailer you received it in and drop it in the mail, postage is already paid. Once they receive it, they send the next DVD at the top of your list.
It's really pretty cool and definitely worth it if you like renting movies, particularly since the selection of DVDs far surpasses anything you can find at Blockbuster or Hollywood Video.
[ September 04, 2003: Message edited by: Jason Menard ]
 
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Walmart DVD only has 1 distribution center. It is in Amarello(sp?) Texas. So depending on where you live, turnaround time could be very lengthly.
Netflix has several distribution centers. So not only might you get your movies faster, but there will be more movies available. AND, if netflix doesn't have a movie, you can request one from another distribution center (though this is probably not worth the hassle as I remember).
I used Netflix for a while. Thought about doing the walmart deal until I learned about their 1 dist center.
Now, I just don't know what I will do.
 
paul wheaton
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One of the google things that popped up compared the different programs.
I think they said that netflix has 10 distribution centers and walmart has 6.
Both claimed they were adding more.
 
paul wheaton
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Here's the link: http://www.dvd-clubs-easy-comparison.com/?source=GOL030608
netflix has 20! distribution centers and walmart has 6.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Well, I just called Wal-mart today, and the lady on the phone said they only have 1. So someone doesn't know what they are saying.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Well, I just called them back, and the lady I talked to this time said she would have no idea how many dist centers they have. And that the web site I found "...I would imagine is pretty accurate <chuckle><chuckle><chuckle>...".
So I guess it is anyones guess.
The first lady I talked to actually put me on hold and asked someone else.
 
paul wheaton
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Any feedback on how long wally's turnaround is?
 
Gregg Bolinger
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I think no matter who you go with, it depends on the distribution center you get. When I was with netflix, my dist. center was in Colorado, so my turnaround was 4 to 5 days. 2.5 days for DVD to get back, 2.5 days for me to get the next one. I don't think I ever waited more than 5 days, and on some occasions, I got one within 3 days. It also depends on when you get your DVD in the mail.
The way I figure it, if you watch at least 5 movies a month, and are paying $20 a month, you are breaking even. Because most places like Blockbuster and Hollywood, DVD's rent for about $4.
So even with as little as 5/month, I think it is worth the $$. The only problem I had is I never could get New Releases the SAME week they came out. So I always had to wait for 1) the movie to be available because the demand was so high, or 2) the mail.
 
paul wheaton
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FWIW: Wally's web site says they have over 13,000 DVD's to choose from and netflix claims over 15,000.
 
paul wheaton
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It was my wife's birthday and I signed up for the walmart thing. I picked out a bunch of stuff to get her started. That was two days ago. Yesterday "Anger Management" showed up.
So that was ONE DAY!! Pretty impressive. We watched it last night and popped it in the mail this morning. It will be interesting to see how fast the turnaround is.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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Keep me posted. My wife has been wanting to do Netflix again, but I might alt for Walmart since it is a bit cheaper.
 
paul wheaton
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I thought about going back to Netflix too, but Netflix has been spamming me lately. I just hate to support that.
 
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What happens if a DVD doesn't work?
I rented one from blockbuster that I almost had to give up on because it was so badly scratched. It took a lot of work to get through the whole movie.
 
Gregg Bolinger
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If the movie is damaged, there is a form online that you can fill out to the let them know the film is damanaged. Then you just mail it back. Since you can't just run to the store, there isn't much more you can do. 1 of the very few cons of doing one of these programs.
I went ahead and signed up for the 30 day trial from wal-mart. I am expecting movies on Monday. We'll see..
FYI - when I was with netflix, I never recieved a movie that was unwatchable.
 
paul wheaton
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FWIW: turn around time seems to be a reliable 4 days.
 
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it could well be Walmart has 6 distribution centers for their stores but only 1 for their DVD service
 
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