Consumer Alert: Movies by mail - - Columbia, South Carolina

Consumer Alert: Movies by mail

(National-Consumer Reports) Jan. 11, 2006 - "King Kong" is no longer the king of the jungle. It came in third at the box office last weekend. Still, many of you might consider renting it once it's out on DVD.

There are several services that ship movies right to your door, allowing you to return whenever you want, without a late fee.

Shawn Roberto and her daughter, Elizabeth, rent plenty of movies, but they haven't paid a late fee in a very long time. That's because they use Netflix, the online DVD movie delivery service, "We really wouldn't go back to a regular movie store. We love it."

Consumer Reports sized up Netflix and four competitors, Blockbuster, Intelliflix, GameznFlix, and DVD Avenue.

Lisa Lee Freeman ordered movies from each one, "We looked at selection first. Second, we looked at how quickly the movies arrived. And finally we looked at price, which ranged from $17 to $20 a month."

Some services flopped. DVD Avenue's website is confusing, and at $20 a month it's the most expensive.

Consumer Reports says the movie selection at GameznFlix was lousy, and when they tried to take advantage of the free trial sign up, the DVDs never arrived.

The best deal in DVD delivery, according to Consumer Reports, is from Intelliflix. It costs $16.95 a month for three movies at a time. Intelliflix has a great selection, but the website is strictly no-frills.

Netflix and Blockbuster cost a little more, at $18 a month. But they also have a great movie selection.

Freeman says, "We found every movie we wanted, including older movies, like the original 'Ocean's 11,' with Frank Sinatra. That's not a movie you're going to find down the block at a retail store."

And you also get plenty of bells and whistles on the sites. For instance, Netflix has lists of Academy Award winning movies, while Blockbuster offers "the 1001 movies you must see before you die."

And if you're not sure you'll watch as many movies as Shawn and Elizabeth, both the services have a two-week free trial so you can check them out.

Consumer Reports says if you're a real movie buff, you may want to get more than three movies at a time. The services offer different rates depending on the number of movies you have out at a time.

Posted 8:35pm by Chantelle Janelle

Consumer Reports has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor appearing on this website. Copyright © 2000-2005 Consumers Union of U.S., Inc.

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