I have been intrigued by the number of sites that have recently been sprouting up on the Internet that are running online video rental services and so have taken the liberty of signing up to several trials to try and establish whether signing up to such a service is worthwhile.

One particular site stood out as being one of the most promising and this was provided by a company called ‘ScreenSelect’ so hence I will be reviewing this site today and ignoring some of the smaller players in the market. The idea of the service is relatively simple; you pay £14.99 a month and in return you visit www.screenselect.com and make a list of the movies that you want to watch which they will then send you at a rate of three movies at a time. Once you have finished watching a particular movie you simply send it back using the prepaid envelope and you will be sent another.

The site itself has over 24,000 titles for you to choose from and once you have received a DVD there is no rush to send it back as there are no late fees but it is worth remembering that you can only have a maximum of 3 DVD’s at any given time so it is always worth getting watched movies back to them as soon as possible so that you can be sent the next from your selection.

Picking titles to add to your list is easy; you can simply type in the name of the DVD you are looking for, pick it from a category or select from a list of titles recommended by genre. Most impressively the website keeps a track of what you have ordered in the past and so if you do run short on ideas you can ask them to present you with a list of movies that you may like.

So far the majority of film buffs out there will be thinking that this is too good to be true as for the equivalent price of 5 movie rentals at Blockbuster you can see as many titles as you like in any given month without having to leave the house. Unfortunately these people would be right with their suspicions as all the sites that I tested found it impossible to send me copies of newly released titles due to obvious customer demand. Instead of receiving titles that have been out for days you are instead forced to watch movies that have been out for many months or even years as they can of course only send you what they have in stock in the warehouse.
Another major disadvantage is that because they send you DVD’s picked in no particular order from a list of several dozen titles that you have composed in advance you often don’t receive the type of film you are in the mood for. For example, let’s say you want to take it nice and easy on a slow weekday evening by watching a romantic comedy; you may find that the only selection of films you have been sent from the list you created several weeks ago are three horror movies. This is of course a problem that you’d never encounter by popping down to Blockbuster and renting the movie the old fashioned way an hour before you want to start watching.

I can see this site being heaven for those of you with DVD writers but of course copying the movies that you rent is illegal and so with this in mind I am unsure as to quite how many people this site would be suitable for simply due to the two fairly major problems described above. Most the sites of this kind include free trial periods so it is certainly worthwhile giving them a go to see if you can see any advantage in becoming a member. It is worth bearing in mind that as well as checking out www.screenselect.co.uk you should also visit www.dvd-online-rental.co.uk to view a list of other companies entering this new market.

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