Lots of people are just now getting into DVD viewing & building their own DVD Library. They are ready (at long last!!) to admit the the age of VHS tapes is long since past... but what to buy? How do I know what is ok, good, great, a sleeper, or just a big ol fat DOG!? There is a NO RISK option that is easy to access and is known to be safe and user/customer friendly. (besides reading countless movie reviews that leave you totally reliant upon that particular viewers tastes.)
There are several DVD by mail rental companies sprouting up that are substantially less expensive (if you are a true Movie addict), than the old fashioned Rent-At-The-Store, then worry when you rented it, to make sure you get it back on time, oh no! I left it in the car all day and now the case it melted to the disc, what do I do now?!? Method. (lets face it, this way of renting movies just plain sucks)
Make sure that the firm you use is reputable!! (Mainline online, rent-by-mail, companies are going to be; A) cross promoting with other major retailers, usually electronic stores and/or music or DVD rental stores. B) Contracted with one or more Movie Production houses... this is necessary in order to list top-line movies for rent, unless they are featuring a whole lot of 'bootleg' titles. AVOID COMPANIES THAT OFFER BOOTLEG MOVIES!!! If they are not legit enough to have contracts with Production houses (MGM, Paramount, etc), they are almost certainly going to rip you off too!!! (Remember the old adage, if it seems to good to be true, ((ie; a top line box set normally running $30 to $45, suddenly available from ABC Movies...for only $9.99!!!)), it probably is too good to be true.
Hook up with one of these 'on-line rental' outfits and start watching movies first, BEFORE you start buying!! These on-line rental Co's usually only run $14 to $19 a month, for UNLIMITED rentals, (usually only 3 to 4 out at a time), with no mandated return times. AND they provide postage paid return envelopes for easy return of the movies when you're done. Following this advice will save you from spending WAY TOO MUCH on your DVD library, only to have it half (or more than half) full of DOGS that you didn't like the first time, and you will certainly never watch again, (this too, really sucks). And if you're counting on "just selling the movies you don't like, back on eBay...or down at the Movie Rental store, or to the used Record/CD/DVD store down by the University... think again! The marketplace is GLUTTED with used DVDs and you can rest assured, these used DVD sources WILL KNOW which movies are DOGS! And you'll be lucky to get a buck or two for that DVD that you paid $19.95 for...(such a deal you got).
NETFLIX is one of the pioneers in this "rent online" industry, but sometimes their available movies list leaves something to be desired (as they are working without an existing fixed Retail chain or long background with the movie industry, they are constantly having to negotiate and re-negotiate their contracts with the movie production companies, in order to offer those production houses movies).
BLOCKBUSTER OnLine, is (obviously) an off-shoot of the long standing movie rental houses, nationwide. Their selection is a pretty strong, but they have to play second fiddle to their own rental houses, as they are quite aware that they make ALOT more money when you rent from their stores...
Either of these, or any of the constant upswing of new companies are your best bets.
By viewing movies before you buy, you will eliminate the age old problem of a bunch of movies that you just HATE and wind up in the garage, waiting for the next garage sale in a fruitless search for a way to recoup that money that you spent on such an AWFUL movie!!! (They do launch beautifully from the standard skeet-shooting catapults, if skeet shooting is one of your pastimes).
Once you KNOW what you want to buy... eBay, or Half.com, or any number of on-line entities are just fine to try and get your best deal. (ther are several DVD shops available from the 'Stores' lists on PayPal, for example)... just don't venture into shady cyber-realms where "unbelievable" deals are baiting you onto their web-sites...ESPECIALLY if you are considering responding to an eMail offer. (RESIST THESE EMAILS!!!) and whatever you do, DON'T buy a "bulk' purchase of 900 DVD's for only $299.00 plus shipping...where you can only see a couple or four of the DVD titles included. ALL YOU'LL BE DOING IS GUARANTYING THAT YOU GET 896 DOGS!!! And shipping that many DVD's in one bulk shipment will wind up costing almost as much (if not more) than the "Killer Bulk Deal" that you thought you were getting to begin with.
Take your time!!! Enjoy yourself!! DVD's are NOT going anywhere anytime soon!! (Despite what the tech junkies at the local Best Buy store tell you). Just start out by renting stuff you know you'll probably like, then keep a notepad by your entertainment system to jot down the title you watched and your "mini self review" of your VERY OWN Opinion of the flick! Do this for some time BEFORE you buy ANYTHING!!! Then you'll very quickly amass a list of movies to 'go after' that you KNOW you'll be happy to have in your collection... this method is especially useful when you want to branch out into "new realms" of Indy's and foreign films...and awesome sleepers galore!! Before you know it, you'll be a movie officianado!!
Of course it's fine to go ahead and buy movies, and/or movie box sets that you already know and love! Just get thet the heck out of the electronic stores to buy them!!! You'll find (and in short order) that by buying via eBay and/or Half.com, you WILL save LOTS and LOTS of money!!! And, if you're not already doing so, REGISTER with PAYPAL!!! For pete's sake!! Any perceived "hassle" value that you have attached to the idea of using PayPal, is FAR, FAR outweighed by the SAFETY and strong protection that you recieve from PayPal!! Even on the rare occasions that you do get "snookered" by some unsavory eBayer... PayPal will almost ALWAYS get you your money (or at least a substantial portion of it), BACK FOR YOU!!!
Using this method, in only about a year, I have personally built a DVD library of nearly 3,000 DVD's, at an average cost of $7.50 per DVD (including shipping!!) And i am proud to say that my "DOG" pile is only about 20 DVD's strong (I plan to take up skeet shooting very soon). My reason for amassing such a ridiculously large library? 1) IT'S STILL NOT BIG ENOUGH. I and my beloved bride are simply insatiable when it comes to Movies (& yes, our very favorite TV shows on DVD too).
2)My wife is confined to her bed for medical reasons and she deserves the very best in pastime entertainment... at the same time, it is my responsibility as the head of the household to be as frugal as possible.
I hope this helps, GOOD HUNTING!