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Club DVDnet - Netflix for Finland?
I have been testing <a href="http://www.dvdnet.fi/club/">Club DVDnet</a> for one month now - it's like Netflix but in Finland. You pay a fixed price per month and they send you two (plastic) DVDs per (snail) mail. Once you have watched the movies and returned them, they will send you two new ones. You need to keep a "wish list" with at least 15 movies in it and they will then pick two from that list whenever they send you movies. After one month I still have not gotten my top-options, only movies further down on the list.
Club DVDnet seems to have been around for several years already but I have never heard of them before and I found them only after quite some googleing. I believe they have very few members. The hand written envelopes kind of implies this as well.
The real question of course is how quickly you will get the movies. Club DVDnet uses normal next day mail for their deliveries (and a return envelope with postage payed is included when you get the disks). They promise a three-day turn-around time where you, for example, watch your movies during the weekend and return them by dropping them in the mail by afternoon on Monday. Using next day delivery Club DVDnet gets the disks on Tuesday morning and they send you two new movies by Tuesday afternoon. The following day, on Wednesday morning, you get your next movies. During February 2010 I tried this service and always returned the disks the day after I got them - maximising the number of movies I could get during one month for my fixed membership fee.
I joined on the first of February and got my first two movies on the third. After that I always got the movies acording to the three-day turn-around principle and I got my last two movies on the last weekday for February, Friday 26. All in all I got seven deliveries for a total of 14 movies. At 19,99€ that makes about 1,43€ per movie. At my local glass-and-steel video rental a five minute walk away I can get movies quicker and either cheaper or more expensively depending on if they are new or old. Unfortunately, my local video rental have very few old movies, no long-tail appreciation here. The local video rental have very little shelf space and this is why Club DVDnet is attractive - they have lots of interesting classics (if you can call 80's and 90's action movies classics). My local video rental has got the new Terminator Salvation movie, Club DVDnet has got the original one. If fact, they don't seem to be that big on the newest movies but they do have some BluRay movies as well.
All in all ClubDVD net works as advertised. Their web site is not impressive and filled with contradictions, they advertise a one-disk-at-a-time option for 17,99 but once you sign up the cheapest option is a 19,99 two-disks-at-a-time. The biggest drawback is perhaps the use of ordinary non-padded envelopes. They simply place both disks inside a normal DVD case intended for one disk and put it in an envelope. My first delivery contained two double disks for a total of four DVD's in one case and you can see the result. Several cases have been a bit broken on arrival but fortunately the disks have always been ok.
Club DVDnet is unimpressive compared to Netflix but it works and they are the only one on the market in Finland. I'll stick with them for another month or two.