Gizmodo is reporting on the price drops at Netflix, presumably in response to Blockbuster's influence in the DVD-by-mail business. I don't care much about this war. I've long had a anti-Blockbuster stance because of their censorship policies (much like Wal-Mart, they don't stock anything that they don't happen to like and pressure media companies to comply with their tastes), and, after a freezing period, I recently completely canceled my Netflix account. I simply felt it was a good opportunity to point out that there's another, much better option: GreenCine.
GreenCine is a multi-faceted film service: the SF-based company sells and rents a massive catalog of DVDs, publishes in-depth movie articles and interviews, and maintains a fantastic blog about the film industry. Here, in no particular order, are some reasons why GreenCine rocks:
- The Catalog: GreenCine's movie selection is huge and diverse. They stock the classics, the contemporary, the popular and the obscure. They have TV series. Their anime collection is unmatched. They even rent you porn! Take that, Blockbuster.
- The Website: Beyond their great blogs, GreenCine's website is also a repository for a wealth of genre information, primers, top lists, and knowledgeable recommendations.
- The Community: GreenCine encourages a much stronger community than I felt Netflix did. The site is full of customers who know movies, and the forum, polls, and member reviews are a places for rich debate and reference.
- The Schedule: They process DVDs on Saturdays.
- The Service: If you are looking for a little-known movie, they'll help you track it down.
- The Principles: Without a doubt, my loyalty to GreenCine stems primarily from their own loyalty to independent film. They donate to various film organizations, festivals and worthy filmmakers. They care about film as an art, and celebrate those who push its boundaries.
Of course, especially in comparison to the other rental services, there are some down sides. Since it's a smaller, more hands-on operation, there is only one West Coast facility, so East Coasters may have a longer turnaround time. (Personally, my own turnaround times have never been longer than what I experienced with Netflix, and I'm in Ohio.) Their rental prices are slightly higher. Finally, sometimes new release availability is poor (but again, not much different from Netflix).
For me, it's all worth it to have access to the variety of films I want and to deal with a company that I can side with and believe in. Sometimes, the best deal is not necessarily the lowest price.