Netflix Movie Rentals
By Shane Rivers
Whether you’re looking for a DVD rental, movie rental, Blu-Ray rental, or just want to browse movies online, Netflix is the Internet rental site that can meet all your needs. With over 10 million customers being served, Netflix is the largest online movie rental service in the world. Movies are delivered by mail, and you can also view streaming movies via your television, computer, or one of many other available devices. Over 15,000 movies are available for instant viewing, and another 100,000 DVD titles are just waiting to be delivered straight to your home. If you find a movie that you really love, you can also choose to buy DVDs at the Netflix website. With all these options, it’s no wonder that Netflix stock is going through the roof. And did I mention that there are never any late fees with Netflix?
Instantly watch unlimited TV episodes & movies over the Internet right on your TV, computer and various mobile devices. Watch instantly on your TV via your Wii™ console, PS3™ system, Xbox 360, network connected Blu-ray players, HDTVs and more. Watch as much as you want, as often as you want for only $7.99 a month. Start your free trial today!
How Netflix Works
If you’re looking for details on how Netflix works, then your quest is at an end. I’ll be explaining it all in just a moment, and you’ll no doubt be amazed at how simple the process is. Remember, Netflix is all about making your online movie rental experience as painless as possible.
- Signing Up and Creating a Queue – To sign up, you’ll need to enter information like your mailing address (so you can receive your movies) and credit card number (so you can be billed each month). You’ll also need to select a pricing plan, and I’ll go into more detail on that in just a bit. After you’ve taken a few minutes to do the above, it’s then time to start stocking your queue with movies. Basically, you browse through all (or part) of Netflix’s 100,000 plus movies online and click the “Add” button when you find one you want to see. That DVD rental will immediately be placed in your queue. Each day, over 2 million movies are added to Netflix queues.
- Movies Are Sent – Based on your pricing plan, you’ll be able to have a certain number of movie rentals at home at any given time. After you return a movie, Netflix will immediately send out the next film at the top of your queue. Don’t worry, you can also move items around in your queue if your ever change your mind. Postage is pre-paid, so sending and receiving Netflix movies doesn’t cost you a penny. You’ll also be glad to know that Netflix has over 58 distribution centers in the United States, which means that 97 percent of their customers will receive their movies one day after they’re sent. In fact, Netflix ships an average of two-million DVDs each and every day.
- Watch Movies – When you receive your movies in the mail, it’s then time to watch them. But don’t get in a hurry, as there are no late fees with Netflix. If you want, you can literally keep a movie for months without incurring any extra charges. Just keep in mind that an at-home movie counts against the maximum number of DVD rentals you can have at any given time. If you decide to watch one of the 15,000 films available for instant viewing, you’ll be enjoying it within seconds (and it doesn’t count against your at-home limit).
- Return Movies – When you’re finished with a movie, just place it inside the packet it came in, remove the adhesive strip to seal it closed, and drop it in the mail. It’s just that easy. And don’t worry if the post office loses a Netflix movie rental; you won’t be charged for it.
- Lather, Rinse, Repeat – That’s all there is to it: get movies, watch movies, and return movies. As long as you’re a Netflix customer, you’ll repeat these same steps over and over.
Netflix Pricing Plans
When you first become a customer, you’ll need to choose from one of the many available Netflix pricing plans. First up are the unlimited pricing plans, which mean there are no monthly limits to the amount of movies you can receive at home or stream.
- 8 DVDs out at-a-time for $55.99
- 7 DVDs out at-a-time for $48.99
- 6 DVDs out at-a-time for $41.99
- 5 DVDs out at-a-time for $34.99
- 4 DVDs out at-a-time for $27.99
- 3 DVDs out at-a-time for $19.99
- 2 DVDs out at-a-time for $14.99
- 1 DVD out at-a-time for $9.99
One of the Netflix plans that’s also available is the “Netflix limited plan”. This Netflix plan only costs $4.99 per month, and it allows a maximum of 2 DVDs each month and two hours of streaming time to your PC. Movies cannot be streamed to your television with this limited plan, and only one movie can be at-home.
You can choose to upgrade or downgrade your Netflix pricing plan at any time via the company’s website. It literally takes two clicks of your mouse, so it really couldn’t get any easier (unless you consider telepathy easier).
Blu-ray on Netflix
If you’ve recently upgraded to Blu-ray, you’ll be glad to know that Netflix also offers over 1,000 Blu-ray titles. When watching a film on a Blu-ray disc, you can expect improved audio and more vibrant picture quality. To take advantage of this option, you’ll need one of the many Blu-ray players available on the market, plus you’ll be required to pay Netflix an extra fee of $8 per month. And if you want your Blu-ray collection to really shine, it’s recommended that you upgrade your television to a high definition model.
Instant Viewing on Netflix
While many subscribers enjoy receiving DVDs through the mail, a growing number of customers prefer to only watch movies online. For this reason, Netflix is slowly expanding the size of their streaming library, and a subscription option exists where you can watch unlimited movies online in the U.S. and Canada for only $7.99 per month.
Instantly watch unlimited TV episodes & movies over the Internet right on your TV, computer and various mobile devices. Watch as much as you want, as often as you want for only $7.99 a month. Start your free trial today!
If you’ve subscribed to one of the Netflix Unlimited Plans, then you’ll be able to instantly watch a select number of movies and television shows on your TV or computer (and, yes, it does work on the Mac). While watching on your computer doesn’t cost extra, viewing on your television will mean a one-time purchase of a Netflix ready device. The following devices support Netflix instant viewing (with the Netflix Xbox 360 hookup being especially popular):
- Roku Digital Video Player (starting at $99)
- Xbox 360 (starting at $199)
- LG Network Blu-Ray Players (starting at $299)
- Samsung Network Blu-Ray Players (starting at $299)
- LG HDTVs with NetCast Broadband (starting at $1499)
- TiVo HD DVR (starting at $299)
- LG Network Blu-Ray Home Theater Systems (starting at $549)
- Samsung Blu-Ray Home Theater Systems (starting at $549)
To watch on either your TV or computer, you’ll also need a high-speed internet connection. Computers will also need to meet the following system requirements:
- Windows XP with Service Pack 2, or Vista
- Internet Explorer 6.0 or higher; or Firefox 2 or higher
- 1.2 GHz processor
- 512 MB RAM
- An Intel-based Mac with OS 10.4.8 or later
- Safari 3 or higher; or Firefox 2 or higher
- 1 GB RAM
In most cases, firewalls and anti-virus systems shouldn’t affect your ability to watch movies instantly. Pop-up blockers shouldn’t interfere, either. If any of these cause a problem, contact Netflix customer service at the number listed later in this article.
Additional Netflix Services
Besides all the features listed above, a number of additional Netflix services are also available. The following section should give you a good idea of what you can expect when you become a Netflix member.
The average member of Netflix has rated around 200 movies, but there’s no upwards limit (for example, I’ve rated over 5,000 films). This is a great way to see which movies are popular and which are gathering dust on the imaginary shelves of Netflix.
Ratings are as follows:
- 1 star – Hated It
- 2 stars – Didn’t Like It
- 3 stars – Liked It
- 4 stars- Really Liked It
- 5 stars- Loved It
Movies can be rated in one click of the mouse, so there’s really no reason not to do it. It increases your involvement in the Netflix community, and it might be a big help to anyone considering that movie in the future. In addition, Netflix will automatically make movie recommendations for you based on the ratings you give. Sixty-percent of members make their selections based on these suggestions.
There are plenty of movie categories on Netflix, but the basic genres are as follows:
- Action & Adventure
- Anime & Animation
- Children & Family
- Faith & Spirituality
- Gay & Lesbian
- Music & Musicals
- Sci-Fi & Fantasy
- Special Interest
- Sports & Fitness
Each genre will also include a number of sub-genres which help customers narrow their searches. In the Action & Adventure genre, for example, you’ll find sub-genres for Action Classics, Espionage Action, Martial Arts, Heist Films, Westerns, and many more.
By clicking on the title of a movie, you can also read reviews of the film from critics and Netflix users. In many cases, a trailer for the film may also be available for viewing.
The Netflix Top 100 reflects the current most popular movies on Netflix. It’s a good way to keep up with what’s hot, and the list changes all the time, with upward or downward positions being indicated. Other helpful categories include Award Winners and Critics’ Picks.
Netflix has also joined the popular Facebook movement, allowing users to share their movie ratings on their Facebook page. Ratings will appear on your Wall.
Netflix Gift Subscriptions
If you’d like for a friend to try Netflix, why not get him or her a Netflix gift subscription? You can select the plan they’ll receive and sign them up for a predetermined number of months. Just keep in mind that gift subscriptions are non-refundable, so if your friend winds up hating Netflix, you’ll still be stuck with the bill (although it‘s hard to imagine that happening).
Available Gift Plans
- $4.99 per month for 1 DVD at a time (limit 2 DVDs per month)
- $9.99 per month for 1 DVD at a time (no limit on monthly DVDs)
- $14.99 per month for 2 DVDs at a time (no limit on monthly DVDs)
- $19.99 per month for 3 DVDs at a time (no limit on monthly DVDs)
You can also purchase the gift to last from 1 month to 12 months. The available options include:
- 1 month ($16.99)
- 2 months ($33.98)
- 3 months ($50.97)
- 4 months ($67.96)
- 5 months ($84.95)
- 6 months ($101.94)
- 12 months ($203.88)
If you need to contact Netflix with a question about your subscription, you can reach them at 1-866-579-7116. A customer service representative is available 24 hours a day, and you‘ll be glad to know they‘re located in American and not India. If you really want to praise Netflix or complain, you can contact their corporate headquarters at 1-408-540-3700. Their corporate mailing address is: Netflix Inc., 100 Winchester Circle, Los Gatos, CA 95032.
Pros and Cons of Netflix
In closing, let’s review the pros and cons of Netflix. Hopefully, this will sum up nicely all the material presented before (at least that’s the goal).
- Vast number of movie titles available.
- Most customers receive movies within one day.
- Continually expanding, with services now available in Canada.
- Excellent customer service.
- Numerous pricing plans are available.
- Movies can also be streamed over your computer, television, or other devices.
- Blu-ray discs are also available.
- Gift subscriptions are available for holidays, birthdays, or anytime.
- Video games are not available for rent.
- Customers must pay an additional $8 to rent Blu-ray discs.
- When popular DVDs are released, the customer may have to wait days or weeks for the title to become available (although this is becoming less of a problem as Netflix continues to grow).