I still remember when the only way to rent a movie was to go to the local video store and check out a VHS tape. Things have changed unbelievably fast and now there is a wide range of options for renting movies. Best of all, many of these sources are very inexpensive. Here are your best bets for free or cheap movie rentals.
FREE: The Library When I first heard that anyone could rent movies from the library I thought, “I’ll keep that in mind the next time I want to watch an educational documentary.” (Which I actually love educational documentaries, but that’s beside the point.) What I didn’t realize is that the movie selection covers a much broader range. At my local library they have everything from recent hit movies, old classics, lesser known but equally interesting films, TV show series, kids cartoons, work out DVDs, and of course plenty of educational films from travel shows to historical documentaries. Once I discovered this treasure trove of entertainment, all for free (as long as returned on time), I now check the library first before considering paying for rented entertainment. Each library’s selection will vary greatly, but you can’t beat the price of free so check out their movie collection first.
Cheap: Redbox A movie rental vending machine, the Redbox kiosks are popping up everywhere. For just one dollar a night you can rent the latest DVDs and catch up on the Hollywood hits. How does it work? You select the DVD you want to rent, you slide your credit card, when you are finished with the DVD you return it to the machine, and your credit is billed for the number of nights you kept the DVD. It tracks your account via credit card so it knows who has what movie and who to bill when it is returned. Easy and cheap! However, the downside is that with Redbox being very popular sometimes the movie you want to rent is out-of-stock. Furthermore, a few movie studios refuse to allow Redbox to carry their movies and now the other movie studios are trying to delay new releases from being immediately available through Redbox. But if Redbox happens to have the movie you want to rent, you can’t beat the price of a dollar a night and the convenience of the nearly 20,000 Redbox kiosks.
For those that rent movies on a regular basis, Netflix is a fantastic deal. For as little as nine dollars a month you can rent DVDs through the mail and even receive instant access via the internet to a plethora of movies and TV shows. That’s a whole lot of entertainment all for the price of one movie theater ticket.
Most people I know prefer Netflix, but I do know some that prefer Blockbuster Total Access because it includes in-store movie rental exchanges in addition to mail order. However, they have yet to include instantly available movies via the internet in their rental plan. They have begun to provide downloadable movie rentals on their website, but these are pay-per-rental and not in the Blockbuster Total Access plan (hopefully they’ll soon change that since the competition is fierce). But for those that prefer actual DVDs with the convenience of using the in-store facility as well, you may find Blockbuster Total Access a good deal (currently plan prices vary from $12 to $20 a month).
Cheap: Local Video Stores They do still exist! They are quickly becoming extinct but for those still in existence they are fighting hard to stay alive, therefore they offer some great deals in order to compete. So if you happen to still have a video store in your area, it could be worth stopping by and finding out what deals and membership plans they offer. But be careful of the fine print.
Free: Apparently Family Video offers free rentals of “family films” such as older Disney movies. So if you’re lucky enough to have this video store in your area here’s another free movie rental options.