PROS / This service is well deserving of its stellar reputation for providing a wealth of streaming content, mailed DVDs and hassle-free ordering.
CONS / A larger selection of new releases available via streaming would be ideal.
VERDICT / If embarking on a search for an online DVD rental and live streaming provider, look no further. Netflix is the clear winning choice.
Netflix is the undisputed leader among online DVD rental services. Unlike many of its competitors, Netflix allows the "watch instantly" feature which streams television shows and movies directly to all of your electronic devices. The live streaming feature alone makes Netflix the No. 1 choice for online DVD rental providers.
Netflix's accessibility is superb and is a major reason that this online DVD rental provider is our TopTenREVIEWS Gold Award winner. Not only can you rent DVDs, but Netflix is accessible on: Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360, Roku, Windows and Mac laptops, as well as your regular television and internet-connected television, and all hand-held devices such as smartphones, the iPad, iPod Touch and iPhone.
But, of course, Netflix offers much more than live streaming. Quick and free shipping, unlimited DVD rentals and an easy-to-use website and no hassle ordering, not to mention a generous one-month trial of services to all interested parties.
For the low, low price of $4.99, you can become a member of the ever-growing Netflix fan club and the best online DVD rental service online.
Although only one DVD issues at a time, you have no limit to how many DVDs you can receive in a month. And there are no late fees. Once you drop your last DVD in the mail slot, you’ll get your next DVD just a day later. Plus, for an additional $7.99 per month, you also have access to the "watch instantly" sections of Netflix that offers thousands of different movies and television titles. The beauty of this? Nothing will stop you from sitting on your couch for an entire Saturday watching episode after episode of Doctor Who or Orange is the New Black because they, and so many other titles, are available at all times.
All you have to do is go online and sign up. Once you are a member of Netflix, you and your family and, if you choose, your neighbors, friends, boyfriend, coworkers or whoever can also use your account. And, after using all of Netflix's sweet features, you will see that keeping it to yourself will be pretty darn impossible.
It is easy to see why Netflix totally trumps the competitors in this category. Catering to the technologically dependent, Netflix movies and television shows are viewable on smartphones, the iPad, iPhone, iPod Touch, various Blue-ray players, Roku, the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360. With their "watch instantly" option, your favorite shows can also stream right to these devices.
Ranging from romance to horror to science fiction and documentary, Netflix has quite a lengthy list of genres to offer their customers. Along with the movie genres, they also offer the gamut when it comes to television shows.
With Netflix, it is OK to be a movie critic or snob because, with all of the genres offered, there really is no reason not to be. With millions of movie titles to choose from and thousands of titles to watch instantly with live streaming, Netflix distances themselves from the competition with ease.
Knowing the rating (e.g. TV-14), cast director, length, subtitle languages and format of the television or movie is pertinent when choosing which show you would like to watch. Netflix does a great job providing all of this information.
Not only does Netflix provide all of this important information, they also provide fantastic linkage. All of the cast and director names link to additional sites where both the actors' and directors' additional work is found and watchable. Take Steve Carell, for instance. Starring in "The Office," Carell's name links to his own page where all of the movies and television shows he plays in are featured. A short biography about Carell is also provided.
Another example: The genre of the movies or television show is provided and linked, as well. Under "The Office," "TV Sitcoms" and "TV Comedies" are links that bring you to other pages full of TV sitcoms and comedies you might like to view.
Help & Support
Honestly, we believe that anyone and everyone has the capabilities to use Netflix because of how simple it is to use. All you have to do is sign up, create an account and start searching for movies. Search through the sea of fantastic movie and television titles, find your favorite genre, actor or director or simply read the reviews of your fellow Netflix members to find that perfect Friday night movie or after-work relaxer.
Once the ideal movie is found, click the "+My List" button and it will send the selected option right to My List. Have a goal to watch 1,000 movies this summer? Search, pick, add to My List and have the movies shipped to you the very next business day. As soon as you are done with the movie, put the disc in your pre-paid envelope, pop it into the mail and the next movie in My List ships to you the next day.
Netflix has a great frequently asked questions section, telephone support service, and an upbeat, helpful live chat support, but they are missing email support.
To test out the waiting time for the telephone support hot line, we gave Netflix a call and connected to live support in about 15 seconds, which we thought was fantastic. When contacting live chat, we instantly connected to a representative who enthusiastically answered our questions thoroughly.
Although it has minor weaknesses with its lack of email support and a limited number of new release offerings for streaming, Netflix is by far the No. 1 choice for an online DVD rental service. No one can beat the fantastic membership benefits, useful movie information, superb accessibility, huge movie selection and easy-to-use website and mailing system.
We expect Netflix to remain at the forefront of the online DVD rental industry for many years to come, especially with their foresight to add live streaming and the capabilities to stream with any hand-held device.