movie

Alternatives To Zip.ca

Now that Zip.ca has closed its doors I’m sure some of you are looking for alternatives, so I thought I’d provide a few.

Unfortunately there are few alternatives when it comes to rentals by mail now that zip.ca is gone.

It appears that only DVD Link is offering a mail rental service at the moment. But their rates are pretty good at $9.95 to $54.99, depending on how many DVDs or Blu-Rays you want to rent per month. And unlike zip.ca, this Vancouver based company rents games and don’t charge more for Blu-Ray rentals.

People who like renting from kiosks will of course fare better because Redbox  just recently expanded into the Atlantic Provinces and Western Canada.

Redbox kiosks have pretty much invaded my city (Ottawa), and can be found at most Sobeys, Loblaws/Real Canadian Superstore, Walmart and Giant Tiger stores.

They’ve placed kiosks at quite a few of those stores through-out Canada, both indoors and outdoors. And I like them because you don’t need to return your discs at the specific Redbox kiosk they were rented from.

I believe they’ve replaced most of the Bestbuy Movie Kiosk locations at the 7-Eleven, Mac’s, Safeway, Real Canadian Superstore and Walmart stores in western Canada. And possibly the Moviemagic kiosks in Ontario as well.

In the Montreal area they have opened locations at IGA stores. But until they expand further the best solution for rentals in the province of Quebec are the Superclub Videotron stores.

Independent stores can still be found in the largest cities, through-out Canada. But the largest video rental store chain in Canada is now Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron, which operate stores in Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes.

Quebecor Media owns both of these chains along with Microplay, a chain that rents videogames from some of the Jumbo Video/Superclub Videotron locations. But whether these chains will fold like Rogers Video and Blockbuster Video is unknown.

High speed internet remains prohibitively expensive in many areas, especially in rural communities, so renting individual films from iTunes, Netlix, Cineplex or Cinemanow may still not be a viable option for some.

Another option is to bite the bullet and rent films via the on demand and pay per view services offered by the cable and satellite companies. But at $5.99 to $7.99 per film this can get quite expensive.

They do occasionally offer some discounts on The Movie Network/TMN Encore and Super Ecran but the delays on new films remain on those channels and I’ve found that the Hollywood Suite package is much better if you’re mostly interested in classic films. The later is much more affordable at the moment.

Those are pretty much my suggestions on this matter. I will of course post updates, if some occur. I hope that you found this information useful.

UPDATE : Redbox left the Canadian market in Early 2015, significantly reducing our options. Some public libraries have limited selections of rentals offline but it appears that online film rentals have killed off the physical rental market in Canada. Click here for my first impressions on the Shomi service.

Netflix To Hike Rates ?

It appears that Netflix may be raising their monthly subscription fees to $8.99 soon for new members.

Current members will continue to be able to pay $7.99 until May 2016 and the company claims the hike is necessary to add more content to their service.

DVD To Digital

I’ve just noticed a neat feature at Cinemanow Canada. A Disc to Digital conversion service that allows people to add their DVDs to their Ultraviolet accounts, either in standard definition or high definition.

The Disc to Digital menu option can now be found on their new player software, which is compatible with the latest Windows and Mac operating systems.

To add a title to their online collection all a person needs to do is to insert a DVD into their computer’s CD-Rom or Blu-ray player and click on a button to receive an option to purchase a standard definition version for $2 or high definition version for $5.

Individuals who have unlimited internet and stream HD movies now have a relatively cheap way to up-convert their DVDs. But it should be noted that this program is relatively new so the titles are limited and I’ve encountered a glitch that I’ve just emailed Cinemanow Canada about.

I don’t know if this happens to any other DVD or if it’s a glitch limited to my Windows 7 machine. But my Spider-Man DVD registers as being “burned” when it is actually an authentic DVD. I purchased it new from a major retailer.

Blu-ray discs are not yet supported. But I’m assuming they’re working on this. And many titles already have free Ultraviolet codes on them, though I recommend you redeem them as soon as possible because some of them have expiry dates.

Empire Theaters Is No More

It looks like my local theaters will again change owners, within a year of it’s conversion from an AMC Theater to an Empire Theater.

Empire Theaters west of Ontario have been sold to Landmark Cinemas whilst the Atlantic Canada locations have been sold to Cineplex Inc. But in Ontario itself all but two Empire Theaters have been purchased by Landmark Cinemas, the Kanata and Whitby locations having been purchased by Cineplex Inc.

Redbox Expands In Canada

Redbox kiosks have now been placed in more retailers in Canada.

These kiosks, which are either located in a retailer or outdoors near the retailer’s entrance, offer movie rentals in both DVD and Blu-Ray. But unlike the Zip kiosks, they take reservations online and offer game rentals for Xbox 360, Wii and Playstation 3.

Though more expensive than Zip for DVD rentals at $1.50/day, Redbox also offers Blu-Ray rentals at $2/day so I will probably rent my Blu-rays from them when they decide to expand to my local grocery store or Walmart. The Zip kiosk location I currently rent from is some distance from my home.

Zip Kiosks Leave Nova Scotia

I have just found out that Zip had removed their movie rental kiosks from Nova Scotia a few weeks ago. But Redbox is slowly expanding to Walmart Superstores, Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacies and Loblaws brand grocery stores through-out Canada so Nova Scotia residents could regain access to a movie rental kiosk service next year.