Online DVD Rentals

Tuesday, September 15, 2009 at 5:04 am
By Shane Rivers

Online DVD rentals are currently all the rage, and the movie rental industry has come a long way since George Atkinson opened the first video rental store in 1977. By renting movies online, the customer never has to leave their home, and most services offer DVD movie rentals, Blu-ray movie rentals, HD DVD movie rentals, and VCD movie rentals. In this age of convenience, renting movies online is one of the easiest things you can do.

In the following article, we’ll take a closer look at the online DVD rental industry, offer online movie rental reviews, and even compare DVD rentals so that you can find the service that’s best for you. Netflix, Blockbuster Online and Redbox will be examined in detail, and we’ll also give an overview of online DVD rental services (and online video game rental services) from around the globe. For those with a hardcore interest in online movie rentals, we’ll even take a look at important dates in the rental industry.

If you find yourself wanting to be part of the online movie rental craze, you can join either Blockbuster Online or Netflix by following the links conveniently provided on this site. It’s the future of the movie rental business, so why not go ahead and get with the program?.







Netflix Online Rental Blockbuster Online Rental RedBox DVD Online Rental
Does the online movie rental service offer more than 90,000 titles?
Are movie rentals available by mail?
Are multiple pricing plans available for movie rentals?
Are there any late fees?
Can online movie rentals be picked up at a physical location?
Can online movie rentals be exchanged in-store for video games or movies?
Are some movies available for online viewing?
Are personalized movie rental recommendations available online?
Are video games available for online rental?
Are DVD and Blu-Ray movies available for purchase?
Does service offer Blu-Ray movie rentals?
Is there an extra fee for Blu-Ray movie rentals?

Netflix – Online DVD Rentals

In my opinion, Netflix is currently the best thing going when it comes to online DVD rentals and online Blu-ray rentals. They are a publicly traded company, have a solid reputation for customer satisfaction, and their number of available movies continues to increase each year. They don’t offer online video game rentals, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see that policy change at some point in the future.

The company was established in 1997 in Los Gatos, California by Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph. Hastings had been charged a large late fee for Apollo 13, and he was inspired to start a company that offered customers the incentive of no late fees. Their website launched in 1998, and by 1999 they were implementing their subscription-based service.

Netflix sends out over 1 million DVDs and Blu-ray discs each day. It is estimated that they pay over $300 million in postage each year. Besides renting movies online, Netflix also dabbled in distributing select films through their Red Envelope Entertainment division. This division was closed in 2008, however, as Netflix didn’t wish to compete with the various studios that they rely on for business.

For even more details, see our individual Netflix Movie Rentals article on the leading online movie rental service in the United States. Or, you can just click here to give their free trial membership a try.

Blockbuster Online – Online DVD Rentals

Blockbuster Online, owned by the largest video rental chain in the world, offers online DVD rentals, online Blu-ray rentals, and also provides customers with the option of exchanging movies at in-store locations for discounts on movie and video game rentals. They first entered the online rental business in 2004, following the growing success of Netflix. Since that time, the two rival companies have continually engaged in a price war to better compete with the other.

Blockbuster was sued by Netflix in 2006 over claims that their subscription service violated patents held by the plaintiff. This included Blockbuster Online’s queue system and their method of delivering movies to customers. The legal action was settled in 2007, but both sides refused to make public the terms of their settlement. Later reports indicated that Blockbuster paid Netflix $4.1 million.

In 2007, Blockbuster was sued by one of their largest franchise operators. The plaintiff argued that Blockbuster was undercutting their brick-and-mortar franchises by introducing their online rental service. That same year, Blockbuster purchased Movielink, allowing customers of Blockbuster Online to download movies and watch them on their computer.

While Blockbuster Online boasts millions of subscribers, the Blockbuster company routinely reports annual losses. In February of 2009, this prompted U.S. News and World Report to list Blockbuster as one of their “15 Companies That Might Not Survive 2009.”

Blockbuster also leases their name to a number of movie rental kiosks similar to the Redbox model ($1 per night rentals). These machines were formerly known as The New Release, but they are now called Blockbuster Express.

For even more details, check out our individual Blockbuster Movie Rentals article on the subject.

iReel – Online DVD Rentals

iReel offers movie which can be streamed right to your computer, so there’s never any need to deal with actual DVDs or Blu-ray discs. You can also get available movies immediately, while services such as Netflix sometimes have a long wait for hot new releases. All you’ll need to take advantage of their offer is a high speed connection and Adobe Flash 10.

You can try their service for free for five days, but you’ll be charged their regular monthly fee after the trial period expires. In addition to their monthly membership, you can also choose from a three-month and twelve-month option. Monthly charges run $34.95, while you can receive a full year for just $89.99 (which works out to $7.50 per month).

iReel offers an ever-expanding library of movies, including foreign films, war films, horror films, action films, and many, many more. All movies are streamed in high definition quality, so you can be assured that the picture will always be crystal clear.

Online movies can be rented for around $3.99 to $4.99 (depending on the title). This allows you to keep the movie on your computer for no longer than a month. You can also choose to purchase a film, allowing you to watch it anytime you please. The cost to purchase a movie online usually ranges from $12.99 to $19.99. With the proper setup, you can even hook your computer to your television and watch iReel movies on a larger screen. As of this writing, iReel does not support movies being transferred to a portable device or burned to disc, but they plan to offer these services in the future.

For more details, see our individual iReel Movie Rentals article devoted to the topic.

Redbox – Online DVD Rentals

Redbox kiosks started appearing at McDonald’s in the Denver area in 2002. Since that time, they have grown to include convenience stores, grocery stores, pharmacies and other retail centers. As of this writing, Redbox is listed as the fifth largest DVD rental company in the U.S., and that ranking will no doubt continue to rise in the coming years.

Each Redbox kiosk holds over 600 DVDs, and the selection is updated each week. DVD movies can be reserved online, and they can then be picked up from a designated kiosk. In some cases, used DVDs can also be purchased from a Redbox kiosk for $7. McDonalds and Coinstar used to co-own Redbox, but Coinstar purchased the entire thing for $175 million in February of 2009.

For more information, be sure and read our Redbox Movie Rentals article.

Online DVD Rentals – How They Work

When it comes to online DVD rentals or online Blu-ray rentals, most companies use a similar business model. That means Blockbuster Online, Netflix, eHit, LoveFilm and others are all similar, with a few differences here and there. Redbox is quite different, as movie rentals are picked up and dropped off at kiosks located in such businesses as McDonalds and Wal-Mart. Here’s how the majority of online movie rental services work:

Membership plans can vary from company to company, but there are five basic plans which dominate the market. Each online movie rental membership plan is listed below.


Customers who subscribe to an unlimited plan and rent enough movies in a month can cause a loss for the online rental company. This is due to the amount of postage paid for movie rentals in a month exceeding the amount of the customer’s subscription. When this occurs, an online rental service may engage in “throttling,” which is designed to slow down the amount of movies which high volume customers receive in a month. This may be accomplished by infrequent renters receiving higher priority on new releases, or movies being shipped from distribution centers further away when the local warehouse is out of a particular film. Both LoveFilm and Netflix have been accused of this practice, and Netflix has referred to it as a “fairness algorithm.” Blockbuster Online has denied the practice of throttling, but their terms and conditions for new customers gives them the right to determine product allocation any way they see fit.

Important Dates in Online DVD Rental History

Before we take a look at the major online movie rental services in the United States and abroad, let’s pause for a moment to look at some of the most important dates in online DVD rental history.

Worldwide Online Movie Rental Services

In this section, we’ll be looking at worldwide online movie rental services. Whether you’re renting Blu-ray discs or DVD discs, this section should give you an idea of the major services in most parts of the world.

United States

United States residents looking to rent movies online or movie watch online have a number of options to choose from. The major DVD and Blu-ray movie rental services in America include:

Netflix – The largest online movie rental service in America. Offers over 100,000 movies and 10 million customers. Look for more details on Netflix later in this article, including a comparison of the Netflix, Blockbuster and Redbox services.

Blockbuster Online – Supported by the brick-and-mortar Blockbuster stores, customers can receive movie by mail or choose to take advantage of in-store exchanges. Has millions of customers and over 90,000 movies to choose from. Look for more info on Blockbuster Online later in this article.

GreenCine – Located in California, GreenCine has over 50,000 movies available,with an emphasis on animated movies, foreign films, and indie projects. If it’s obscure or has a cult following, you can depend on GreenCine to carry it.

iReel – An online movie rental service which offers movies streamed to your computer in high definition quality. A monthly subscription fee is required to take advantage of the service, and there’s an additional fee for each movie rented or purchased. Rented movies are available on your computer for a limited amount of time, while purchased movies are available permanently. While they currently don’t offer as many films as Blockbuster Online or Netflix, their library of titles is steadily growing.

Redbox – DVD and Blu-ray rentals can be reserved online and then picked up at a Redbox kiosk. Movies cost $1 for each day that the movie is kept out. The movie is then dropped off at any Redbox kiosk. Many Redbox kiosks are located at McDonalds, Walgreens, and Hardee’s. Additional info about Redbox will be provided later in the article.

HindiFlix – Only available in the United States, HindiFlix serves customers looking to enjoy movie from India (also known as Bollywood). – While eHit also offers English movies, their specialty is in providing Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Taiwanese, Thai and Hong Kong movies for rent online. There are no late fees, shipping is prepaid, and monthly subscription fees start as low as $14.99. They’ve been in business since 2001.

CinFlix – The largest provider of Asian and foreign online DVDs, CinFlix charges $19.95 per month for their standard membership. There are no late fees, and thousands of DVD movies are available. – This service offers adult DVD rentals for a monthly fee with no late charges. Thousands of erotic films are available, and most movies can also be purchased by customers. Movies can also be viewed over your computer, with a Video on Demand rental being available for 30 days.

Adult DVD Empire – Another online movie rental service which specializes in adult films. Adult DVD Empire has over 80,000 DVD and Blu-ray movies available, and they’ve been honored as the best adult retail site by AVN for five straight years. Download and streaming options allow you to watch movies on your computer, and pay-per-minute packages are also available. Shipping is discreet and 24-hour customer service is available.


If you live in Mexico, you can have DVD or Blu-ray rentals delivered to your home by motorcycle deliverymen courtesy of DVD2GO and Blockbuster Online (apparently the postal service in Mexico really sucks). DVD2GO is only available in the Guadalajara and Monterrey areas, while Blockbuster is attempting to expand into other sections of the country.


The largest online movie rental company serving Canada is, which is estimated to serve over fifty-percent of the country’s subscribers. Three other options include,, and One difference between Canadian and American movie rental services is the refill feature. With this option, customers can notify the rental company as soon as they’ve placed a viewed movie in the mail. Before it arrives back at the company, a replacement DVD has already been sent out to the customer.

Netflix is also available in Canada, although the only option is a $7.99 per month subscription that lets you stream an unlimited amount of movies on your computer.


In the country of Argentina, the leading online movie rental company is known as Musimundo Videoclub.


Residents of Kingston, Jamaica can now enjoy DVD and Blu-ray rentals in the comfort of their own home. Movies can be returned to drop boxes located throughout the city, and new movies will be delivered to the customer’s address. It is unknown if this service will be extended to additional areas of the country, but the nation’s poor economy will probably limit growth.


Cineadomicilio is the leading provider of online rentals in Colombia. In business since 2007, the service has brick-and-mortar support stores and a constantly expanding database of both movies and customers.


Blockbuster once operated in the country, but they sold their stake in 2007. An online video game rental service does exist, however. Named EasyPlay, it allows customers to rent Xbox 360 games online, Xbox games online, Wii games online, Playstation 2 games online and Playstation 3 games online.

United Kingdom

The two major UK services of online movie rentals are LoveFilm and Blockbuster. The latter has been offering movie rentals online since 2002, but no in-store exchanges are available. Smaller companies which offer online movie rentals in the United Kingdom include Cinema Paradiso and OutNow!. While Blockbuster continues to grow in popularity, LoveFilm is still the largest provider of movie rentals in the UK (it’s also the most popular throughout Europe). once provided online movie rentals in the UK, but their interests were eventually purchased by LoveFilm.


LoveFilm is the largest DVD online rental service in Germany, while and also provide the same services. Until 2008, offered online rentals, but they eventually sold their interests to LoveFilm.


The people of Belgium can use for their DVD online rental.


FilmExpress is one of the oldest and most popular DVD movie rental services in Switzerland. Besides paying as you go, customers can also opt for a subscription plan.


LoveFilm is easily the most popular online DVD rental service in Denmark.


LoveFilm is the leading company for renting online movies in Sweden.


Like in Sweden, LoveFilm dominates the online movie rental market in Norway.

Ireland is the major company when it comes to Irish online movie rentals. It is owned by the UK-based LoveFilm. A smaller competitor exists named OnlineDVDRentals.


Surprisingly, a number of online DVD rental services exist in Turkey. These include: DVD Sokagi, Film Servisi and Evde Izle.


As of this writing, it’s unknown if any services exist for online movie rentals. Igromat does provide a video game rental service, however.


FilmAmora is Spain’s leading company for renting movies online.

New Zealand

While several online DVD rental services once existed in New Zealand, only Fatso now remains (following the merger of the three leading services). In addition to Fatso, fans of video games can rent them online and have them delivered to their door through There are no late fees for this service, and they stock the latest Wii, Xbox360, Xbox, PS2, and PS3 games.


The largest online providers for movie rentals in Australia are BigPond Movies and Quickflix movies. The latter is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange and offers over 35,000 movies. Australia enjoys a high number of Russian emigrants, so the company RussianMovies offers online DVD rentals specifically for this group.


Gaming How offers online video game rentals to the citizens of Singapore. This service was started in 2007 by a group of gamers.


If you live in India, you have a number of online DVD rental services at your disposal. Keep in mind, however, that none of these services rely on the less-than-dependable postal service to deliver movies. Rental services include: BigFlix, Cinesprite, Catchflix, SeventyMM, Madhouse, Cinebox and Clixflix.

South Africa

The three major DVD online rental services in South Africa include BigPix, PushPlay and DVDs Online. PushPlay and BigPix deliver via the postal service, while DVDs Online use a courier service for online movie rentals. This makes it the fastest of the services, but it’s also more expensive than its competitors.


For Japanese movie fans, the following services offer DVD and Blu-ray rentals: Posren, Tsutaya Discas, and Rakuten Rental.

Compare DVD Rentals

To close out this article, let’s compare DVD rentals from Netflix, Blockbuster Online and Redbox. We’ll take into account such elements as pricing plans, movie selection and convenience. Which of the three major U.S. online movie rental services is the best? Check out our chart and decide for yourself.