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If You LoveFilm's... Try This?!
Member Name: angeelu
Date: 11/04/05, updated on 27/05/05 (495 review reads)
Advantages: Wide choice of DVD's, Good prices, Easy to use website
Disadvantages: Not guaranteed your first choice of DVD, though you aren't anywhere...
My most recent DVD rental provider is lovefilm.com. I was swayed to LoveFilm.com from Tesco DVD Rentals through the offer of two month's free trial in order to regain my custom (I had previously been a member of moviechoices.com dvd rental who have fairly recently been taken over by LoveFilm). Not one to turn something free away I dropped Tesco and signed up!
I was impressed with my first visit to the Lovefilm.com site. The layout caught my eye and appealed to me straight away. Clearly set out with a tasteful colour scheme it was immediately obvious how to find everything I'd need on the site.
I signed up with the site, which was a very easy process - a case of giving your name, address and payment details and choosing a membership type. I went for a £9.99 option to have 2 DVD's at home at any one time, renting a maximum of 6 DVD's per month. Lovefilm offer a range of membership options to suit most budgets.
Once you're signed up and logged in to the site you are able to create a rental queue. You do this by surfing about the site and finding DVD's you wish to rent - once you've found a DVD you fancy adding to your list you click on the 'Rent' icon beneath the picture of the appropriate DVD cover - the 'Rent' icon immediately changes to an 'Added' icon so you can see it has been added to your list. When you access your queue the DVD's are listed in the order you added them to the list. This list is considered to be the priority order you wish to rent the DVD's in - you can quickly amend this order by retyping in a number next to a DVD title to move it to that position in the queue (e.g. if you've just added a film to your list and it's at number 10, type a 1 next to that title and it'll be moved up to rank one in your list and the ones beneath renumbered accordingly).
Navigating Around The Site
This is a really simple task! The left hand side of any page has plenty of ways for you to search for a DVD. If you know just what you're looking for you can type a title or actor's name into a search box and the site will bring up anything that matches.
Alternatively you can click on any of a number of links that list and display DVD's in other orders. For example - you can choose to display all DVD's by genre - there are plenty of genres to choose from to show you a specific range of films.
There is a 'Quick Picks' list comprising of a number of hyperlinks to various charts - for example, you'll find a link to the UK Top 50 Rental Chart, New Releases, Coming Soon, Editor's Choice, Top Rated, Most Popular, Indie Films and Soundtracks.
Beneath the Quick Picks list is a 'Moods' section. You can click on this to be taken to a Moods page, or choose from the few selected moods beneath the heading in the navigation bar. Moods lists basically say something like 'Love to gamble?', 'Love sport?', 'Love conspiracy?' etc etc and clicking on whatever mood you're in brings up films they think will suit your mood!
There are also links to news articles and reviews within the navigation bar, such as info from recent film festivals, and interviews etc.
The centre of the homepage also contains news and links to recommended titles. As you use the site you are able to give a rating to any film on a scale from 1 to 7. Based on the ratings you give you are recommended films to watch. Interestingly enough reasons are given as to why each film you are recommended has been recommended to you. Reasons usually tie in with ratings you have given to other films as the database looks at ratings you have given certain films, then looks at what other members have rated that film as, and if they liked it as much as you the database will recommend another film to you that was liked by other members rating in a similar way to yourself. For example, looking in my recommendation list at the moment I have The Fugitive recommended to me... I've seen this film already, but obviously haven't put a rating to it on the site hence them still recommending I see it. When I click on the 'why was I recommended this film' link I'm told it's "This was recommended to you because it was rated highly by other members who share your opinion of the films below: Swordfish, Silence of the Lambs, Total Recall and Mission Impossible 2".
I could go on forever in detail about all the sections to the site, but it would be easier to say if you're interested you need to take a look yourself.
As per most similar sites the standard turnaround on DVD's is literally a couple of days. Once you receive a DVD in the post you can return it in the freepost envelope provided. From the time of putting it in the postbox it's normally about 2-3 working days before you receive the next DVD through the door.
Unfortunately this site has the same problem that all DVD rental sites have. New or popular films towards the top of your list don't arrive in the priority order you list them in. This is one of those things I've learnt you have to live with with every site I've used.
On the positive side, the fact that you can add so many films to your list means you're bound to get set something you want to watch and all films will eventually get sent out.
The range of DVD's is great. There's everything you'd expect to find in any video rental shop plus a whole lot more. Categories range from the expected genres e.g. 'Horror', 'Thriller', 'Romance', 'Children', 'Comedy' etc. as well as such genres as 'War', 'Western', 'Gay/Lesbian', 'Foreign Language', 'Futuristic' and 'Adult'.
I like LoveFilm.com. I'm impressed with their website layout and how easy it is to browse new titles. I like the fact they have a rental chart as I like looking at this to select DVD's to add to my own list - this is something I missed when I was using Tesco DVD Rentals.
Service on the whole is as per other sites I've used, not particularly better, but no worse either. I've had to pay for one month's membership (£9.99) but because of the special offer I had on joining I got two months after this free... and as I recommended the site to my sister and got her to take up a month's free offer I get an extra month free myself... so 4 month's DVD rental for £9.99. I am certain that at the end of this period I'll swap to whoever is reasonably priced and offering a good trial period, but that's not anything against LoveFilm... that's me being economical.
If you're interested in taking out a DVD rental subscription I'd certainly recommend giving LoveFilm a go. All new members get 2 weeks free, though if you really want to take up the offer let me know and I can send you a link for a month's free offer instead by referring you to the site (not trying to use my opinion to gain referrals, but if you're truly interested it makes sense on a consumer site to let you know how to get the most from your money!)
Overall I'd award LoveFilm.com 4 stars. One knocked off for availability of new/popular DVD's. Certainly great so far as being up to date, easy to navigate, and having a wide range of DVD's.
* * * * out of 5!