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Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Was chatting with DMc, who's contemplating the large stacks of DVD's piling up in his living room, and observing that at the point where you can't find DVD's you know you have, you probably have too many.

I recommended Zip.ca, Canada's version of Netflix. (UPDATE: Too bad I can't recommend them any more.) The obvious benefits of having a video store that mails you disks are (a) don't have to go out in the cold (b) can keep them out indefinitely, so no late fees (c) internet video stores have 10x as many dvds as even more your most comprehensive brick-and-mortar (or, in SoCal, stucco-and-cement) video store. If you watch your videos within a day or two of receiving them, you can easily watch 12-15 movies a month for your $25 fee, bringing the cost down to under two bucks.

The less obvious benefits are that you actually wind up seeing stuff you wouldn't take home from a video store. Stuff like The Motorcycle Diaries or anything by Todd Solondz. You look at it and go, hm, am I really up for that? The critics liked it, but maybe it sucks.

If you're like me, you're not going to pay $5 to rent something that might suck, but it nags at you that you don't know for sure. Then you do rent the disk, but it sits on your TV for a couple of days while you wait for the right moment to experience incestuous masturbatory fantasies and suicidal angst, or whatever. And the moment doesn't come. So you return it and you're out the $5. Or worse, you return it late, and now you've paid $8 for a movie you don't watch.

With Zip or Netflix, you just rent it, and it's one of four movies you could see, and if it sits around for four or five days, you know you're never going to watch it and you can just cross it off your list.

You also get a lot more TV shows on Zip and Netflix than you do at the store. And you don't have to cram all four episodes into one night, you can watch them one per night with, again, no late fees.

Oh, and I can look movie ratings up on the IMDB while I'm shopping for things to watch.

As I told Denis, since I got Zip, I'm probably watching twice as much stuff, but five times better stuff, and for half the cost. And since watching stuff is part of my job, that is a damn fine thing.

Now ask me about my DVR!

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3 Comments:

Yep, I love Netflix. I also watch a lot more than I did before. And at lower cost. Plus, when I know I'm busy, I just cancel service and start it up again, so I don't pay without watching DVDs!

By Blogger Fun Joel, at 7:51 PM  

Ah, Alex overlooks the best benefit of all. When we go to the video store together, we're always compromising on what we'll watch. He knows I hate Big Guns and Things That Go Boom. I know that any film involving toe shoes or empire waist dresses isn't going to make the cut with him. But with Netflix, we each order films we actually want to see. No more compromise comedies.

Some of his picks involving the supernatural and Things That Go Boom don't actually suck, and he even sat through about 30 minutes of The Turning Point with me before deciding he urgently needed to walk the dog, or organize his paperclips or whatever.

By Blogger lisa e, at 8:04 PM  

I love the idea of Zip, but I'm a little disillusioned with the reality. I'll probably stick with them, anyway, for all the benefits you mention, but I originally signed up with another company that got bought out by Zip soon after, and I was spoiled by their service. They gave you discs in the order you specified, whereas Zip doesn't always send my ASAP choices very S, and they've sent me disc 2 of a multi-disc set before disc 1. Plus the mailing time to Vancouver, even from their Calgary depot, makes the turnaround time pretty long sometimes. Still ... more DVDs for less, no agonizing decision-making at the video store, and more "what the hell" choices is a good thing.

By Blogger Diane Kristine, at 8:38 PM  

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