Zip.ca

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.

Zip.ca Closes

Video rental service Zip.ca has closed after ten years of operation.

Members have until August 31st to return their discs to avoid a $25 fee per disc.

Click here for additional information.

Rogers Video Ends Renting Services

Rogers Video stores across Canada will no longer rent DVDs or Blu-ray discs tomorrow.

Starting this week this chain will offload their film stock at reduced prices leaving Canadian consumers with very limited options in regards to renting films.

Cable and satellite subscribers will continue being able to rent films on their digital boxes and Canadians with access to high speed connections have access to online film rental services like Cineplex, Cinemanow, iTunes, Netflix and Youtube. But it appears the mail services and kiosks are now the only viable options for people who do not have access to cable, satellite and high speed internet services.

Unfortunately the kiosk services offered by Zip and Best Buy are limited to major cities at the moment, though they will probably expand in response to the demand. And the cable, satellite and high speed internet options remain expensive.

The current rental fee for recent high definition releases on my digital cable service is $7.99. And if I were to rent these films online in 720p I would use an average of about 4 gigabytes worth of usage per film towards my usage limit.

I am hoping that the digital cable rental fee will be reduced in response to public demand. But at the moment I am also testing out The Movie Network and Moviepix as a cheaper alternative, though releases on The Movie Network still appear to be subjected to a considerable delay.

As it stands I appear to prefer Moviepix for the channel’s selection of classic films and will likely subscribe to this service until Bell’s Fibe TV service is introduced to my neighbourhood.

I will probably dabble in online film rentals, within strict limitations, and use Zip.ca‘s services as my main source for newer releases.

As previously reported on this blog, Zip will be expanding their kiosks. And I believe theater companies like Cineplex, Empire and AMC will eventually offer kiosk services in their locations in respond to the demand left by Roger Video‘s departure.

I am also hoping for a national expansion of the Best Buy branded kiosks to Best Buy and Mac’s locations through-out Canada.

Zip Delays Online Streaming

It appears there is a strong market in regards to film rentals in Canada. So much so that it appears that Zip.ca might be prioritizing their kiosks over online streaming.

In an article in the Ottawa Business Journal printed on March 13th, Rob Hall, the founder of Zip.ca, stated that he had delayed his company’s plans to offer rentals via streaming beyond this year, favouring the further expansion of kiosks.

Zip.ca‘s red coloured kiosks are currently expanding through Metro/Food Basic grocery stores in Ontario and offer rentals at $1 per older release per day and $2 per new release per day.

The kiosks were test marketed in the Ottawa area and Nova Scotia, the latter in Sobeys grocery stores, with great success. And sales remain strong with former Blockbuster Canada customers and people who use their internet sparingly.

In Canada it is still rather expensive to stream films online because of internet usage capping so many Canadians will continue to rent DVDs and Blu-Ray discs for years to come.

High Definition films in 720p are generally over 3 gigabytes in size while standard definition films are over 1.5 gigabytes in size. And many Canadians have had their internet usage capped dramatically recently.

Having rented from them in the past, I’m hoping to have one of their kiosks in my neighbourhood soon.