September 7 2007 - I've updated the Search page for Videomatica and Premieres (and deleted some obsolete ones).
July 16, 2007 - I've added preliminary numbers for Videomatica to the chart. There's also a new version of the ZIP high-definition listings, sorted by date added to their database.
July 13, 2007 - ZIP has revised their ZipList, merging the old "Pending" list of titles into the main ZipList. They've also recently indicated they've got rid of the old ZipRefill suspension nonsense, and made lost disc reports more customer-friendly.
February 27, 2007 - A new small-fry company, Premieres.ca, is now operating. There is a discussion thread at ODG, and I'll probably have them included in my charts shortly. Also, ZIP has introduced (in beta-test) their new Community features, including expanded profiles, discussion forums and (currently non-functioning) blogs.
February 13, 2007 - Canflix is starting to ship from an Ontario warehouse this week. I've dropped DVD-Rental.ca from the chart, and added brief links to Videomatica, DVDZap and Pyasa, although I haven't been inventory-tracking them. There is a second Canflix "recent" page linked in on the main menu - the previous one tracked items (including backlist) where actual inventory had been acquired, and is now labelled "arrivals". The new one shows recent additions to their database, including "Ready To Order" virtual titles, and is labelled "listings"; it is similar to the ZIP listing. I've also added a "Recent" page for Cyberflix.
February 12, 2007 - Today is ZIP's 3rd anniversary.
January 30, 2007 - I've added Blu-Ray and HD DVD counts to the main chart (for ZIP and Canflix).
January 8, 2007 - Happy New Year! I'm back from holidays and will resume updating the "Newly Added" and hi-def lists. In other news, the DVDsToYourDoor website seems to be shut down (except the front page), and I'm assuming they are now defunct.
December 12, 2006 - I've been informed that DVD-Rental.ca is slowly exiting the rental business (thus the lack of new purchases), although they are still servicing customers with existing stock.
December 10, 2006 - I've added Blu-Ray and HD DVD lists for ZIP, and a combined list for Canflix, linked from the home page. Also, DVD-Rental.ca seems not to have added anything since the fall, and may wind up in the Moribund section.
November 28, 2006 - I've put CineDVDMax and DVDsToYourDoor in a new "moribund" section - both seem to have stopped adding new releases.
July 27, 2006 - ZIP is getting ready to convert to a straight numeric priority list (see ODG forum thread). DVDsToYourDoor added 9 titles in July, so they aren't completely dead.
April 26, 2006 - I've added the barebones start of a "Glossary" page to have a place for definitions of things like "virtual inventory", etc., which might otherwise be obscure. I've also linked in a "Recent Additions" page for Canflix, although this still needs some work.
April 23, 2006 - DVDsToYourDoor added 7 titles in mid April after going 10 weeks without adding any. I've moved them out of the Doghouse section, but left the yellow warning triangle on their company notes link. I've also tweaked the chart to show the "virtual" inventory numbers for Canflix and DVD-Rental.ca (the count of what they have listed), as well as the actual inventory estimate.
March 11, 2006 - There was a Toronto Star article in February which mentioned this website and had a couple of quotes from myself - the reporter came across the site and eventually gave me a call.
I've updated my notes on Starflix, and will make further revisions as I get a chance.
March 4, 2006 - A bunch of news and changes recently. VideoMovieHouse has left the rental business - a sentence from one of their recent SEC filings read "revenues to date [from online rentals] have been negligible", so this isn't too surprising.
Following a chat with one of the owners of Canflix, and some major improvements in how they display items they don't yet own, I've removed them from the "Doghouse" section of my chart - right now I'm putting the inventory estimate at 7-9000 titles, and I'll try and refine it later. Further information can be found in the ODG posting I made.
DVDsToYourDoor appears not to have added any titles at all to their site since the end of January, and their "Coming Soon" page is broken. They have never been highly active in adding titles, but there are always a handful of new releases and other items each month. I thought it might simply be a programming glitch, but in response to my inquiry they sent back a long complaint about how misleading this website's publishing of inventory estimates was, and asking that I remove them. They didn't, however, address the actual issue of their purchasing freeze. Needless to say, they'll remain listed here (unless, of course, this is actually the first sign that they are ceasing operations).
The issue of Starflix's actual inventory flared up recently. They are now claiming 30,000 titles, with as little evidence as ever. I'll be updating my Starflix notes shortly.
Jan 27, 2006 - ZIP introduced their long-awaited (or dreaded) shipping limits and extra shipping charges yesterday (annoucement). I've updated the calculator for the new rates (which take effect Feb 27 for existing customers). Also, I've added inventory text files for Cinemail and Canflix for those interested.
Jan 12, 2006 - I did a general inventory estimate chart update (except ZIP, whose number is from November). For VMH it is no longer possible to get an accurate estimate, as they have gone to a "virtual inventory" approach, and I've frozen their number at 4000.
Oct 31 - JurassicDVD has been confirmed as closed. MovieMembers didn't last long, and now reports being "temporarily" out of service. I've removed them both from the chart.
Oct 28 - Back from holiday, and two new entries to the DVD marketplace sprang up while I was gone. I've added Cyberflix and MovieMembers to the chart, but as both don't allow non-members any way of searching their complete inventory, getting numbers will have to wait until I want to go the trouble of doing trials with them. Presumably these are both small startups - MovieMembers claims "over 30,000 titles", but presumably this is a virtual inventory type of setup. They also reportedly require PayPal instead of a credit card, although I haven't confirmed this yet.
I've updated inventory counts for everyone. The ZIP number of 32,968 is from the end of September before I left - I'm awaiting an updated number from Rick. Also, to give the devil his due, the egregious prevaricators at Canflix seem to be ordering a goodly number of actual titles from their virtual inventory, presumably as requested by customers.
JurassicDVD seems not to have added any new inventory since the middle of August, and doesn't show new releases like "Batman Begins". I'm assuming they are quietly dying, and will move them to the doghouse after I try to get in touch with them.
Sept 22 - The ZIP juggernaut has now bought out Movies For Me in Mississauga.
Sept 20 - There is now a "Recently Added" page for Cinemail.ca. I've also updated the ZIP shipping information page for their new Calgary warehouse.
Sept 5 - I've updated the DVD-Rental.ca inventory. They seem to have had a substantial increase, but I'm still checking into this, as they appear to have added almost the entire Criterion line, which seems somewhat improbable. They've also reduced some of their pricing to industry norms, and also have mixed DVD/game memberships.
I've also listed my estimate of the number of video games for the companies that rent these, since with my DVD-rental update I now wind up with this data for them all anyway. I don't expect to provide breakdowns by videogame console type. Also, for technical reasons (and programmer sloth), the Sony Playstation Portable "UMD" format movies carried by Jurassic are included in their game count. MoviesForMe also carries UMD movies, but I currently don't reflect this.
Sept 1 - I've updated the chart and company notes to reflect the ZIP purchase of VHQonline. Time for a redesign, I think.
Aug 31 - The big news is that ZIP.ca has bought out VHQonline.
Aug 5 - MovieBuffs.ca seems to have decided to shut down operations, and sold its customer list to ZIP, and I've removed them from the chart.
Aug 2 - After running checks against the new Canflix inventory indicators, I've finalized my negative report on them (they seem to have around 2500 titles). I've also added Video Movie House to the chart, although I don't know much about them.
July 19 - I've updated my Canflix notes after an email exchange with a Canflix partner, but my negative opionion of their inventory claims remains unchanged. I've also added a "recently added to VHQ" page, although this, like the one I maintain for ZIP, will hopefully trigger both companies to improve theirs and make mine unnecessary. Finally, Morgan's onlinedvdrentalguide.ca site has had a facelift.
July 3 - The Rogers online rental site is now up and running - it is "powered by" ZIP, which haven't yet brought in their own version of the proposed pricing changes.
June 22 - Updated ZIP numbers (they've crossed 30,000 actual titles) and most of the rest. Also, lots of discussion over at the onlinedvdrentalguide.ca on a proposed new pricing structure for ZIP (Rick's initial post and later announcement, as well as interesting (but unconfirmed) rumours about a tie-in with Rogers.
May 31 - I've added Canflix to my chart, in the Doghouse section. They've repeatedly claimed 20,000 titles, but the reality seems to be rather different (see Company Notes for details). The Company Notes page itself is revised, and I'm starting to update some of the entries. Inventory estimates should be up to date, including a new number (29, 297) from ZIP. Added MovieBuffs and CineDVDMax to the Search engine (and fixed Cinemail).
May 10 - RentaDVD has closed down. I'll soon have an update on Canflix, and I'll be doing some more site updates once I get some time.
Mar 16 - Updates to the estimates, and CineDvdMax.ca has been added.
Mar 7 - Back from my Australian holiday. Updated inventory estimates where I could, including a new number from ZIP, which has recently restored telephone support.
Jan 18 - Chart updates, including a new number for ZIP (22, 686). I've added Cinemail to the search page, and fixed ZIP as best I can (you have to be logged into a ZIP account for it to work). I've updated my RentaDVD notes to reflect my recent time with them.
Jan 5, 2005 - I'm back. Also, Morgan's discussion forums at onlinedvdrentalguide.ca are back up online on a new server.
Dec 18, 2004 - No more updates until January. Happy holidays.
Dec 14 - I've added Cinemail to the chart, and there is some info on the Company Notes page.
Dec 13 - ZIP has introduced some major upgrades to their service today (although they seem to be having problems and the site has been slow or down most of the day). The ZipRefill feature that lets qualified customers report their returns on the website and get replacements sent out within 24 hours should be a popular feature.
Someone pointed me to another rental company, CINEMAil.ca, in Winnipeg. I took a quick look at their site, and I'll see if I can add them to the chart before I go off on Christmas holidays.
Dec 1 - I've got notes on Starflix, which seem to indicate their claim of 23,000 titles doesn't hold up. I'll leave them in the doghouse for now...
Nov 24 - An updated inventory number for ZIP (over 20,000), and the other majors ones should be current as well. Some updated RentaDVD and Starflix experiences will be coming along in the next couple of weeks.
Nov 15 - Happy birthday to your humble host, yours truly. Not necessarily as a present to myself, but I've now got some webspace of my own, and I'm moving these pages off the Geocities site. They have a domain of their own at http://www.dvdinfo.ca. I'm updating the two in parallel, and will probably shut down the Geocities by the end of the month. You can currently tell the new site as I've changed the homepage color from sickly yellow to hideous green.
I've got some preliminary numbers on Starflix on my chart. I still want to check for any errors in my parser or their search site, but their results on my particular set of movies certainly doesn't reflect expectations their "23,000" inventory claim would raise.
I'm currently doing a short stint with RentaDVD, and will post my experiences later this month.
By request, there is now a "Recently Added Titles" link in the ZIP section, which lists recently added inventory items in their database. It is a little ugly right now, but should do the job for those interested. I'll try and update it daily (eventually it will get automated).
Oct 27 - Back from some travel. I've updated most of the major company inventory estimates. DVDsToYourDoor has changed their website to eliminate the genre subtotals I was using to estimate for them, so their number will likely be frozen at the current value unless I can find an alternative estimate.
I also rescanned Relay and DVD-Rental for the first time in a while, to pick up any backlist they may have added over the last couple of months. For some of the larger companies (VHQ/DVDHype/RentaDVD/Jurassic) I have the database set up to read the titles of their newly added stock so I don't have to do this for them. I can't do this for DVDflix and DVDsToYourDoor, but I've informally kept an eye on their "Recently Added" page.
I've also slightly altered the formula for the "percentage" calculation. Previously the extra discs from some multiple-disc sets were being included the denominator, but eliminated from the numerator. I now consistently use only the first disc, so the percentages will be a bit higher for everyone, but less so for companies like ZIP which already had most of the titles anyway. This works for bonus discs, but I'll look at tweaking this back again for "box set" items, since if you don't have that item, you really are missing multiple distinct titles.
In other notes, ZIP now has new mailing envelopes and an automated "report a problem" website feature (details in the ZIP section), and DVDflix is offering a 4-disc package to go along with their existing 3 and 5 packages.
Oct 1 - I got an updated "actual" inventory number from the ZIP folks - now at 18286 unique discs. I've also run the updater on most of the other companies.
Sept 3 - VHQ makes their price reduction permanent, and an unknown new company Starflix.com shows up (see Company Notes).
Aug 15 - I've finished the Jurassic checks (I think), and have moved them and RentaDVD out of the doghouse. I'd love to hear from any current customers of either as to how things are (also MoviesForMe customers).
Aug 12 - I updated the Criterions to include all current and upcoming releases. I've also added a link for some of the larger companies to an automatically generated list of titles from my testing database that they are missing.
Aug 5 - Hollyweb has been bought out by ZIP, updates on the new MoviesForMe expansion, JurassicDVD added - see the Company Notes page for more details. I've also weeded out some more false Criterion matches, so the Criterion numbers for some of the companies will have gone down. I took the now unnecessary "on order" notes out of the ZIP columns. The Jurassic numbers will be updated further over the next couple days - their search engine is painfully slow and I've deferred checking some of the out of print stuff.
Aug 3 - Some updates on the Company Notes page - VHQ now has video games (separate membership), while MoviesForMe has apparently tripled their title count (still unconfirmed).
July 14 - I found a free messageboard hosting site, and have created a forum there for people to post - there is a link from my homepage. I've also moved RentaDVD (at least temporarily) into the newly named "doghouse" section of the results table, based on the unanswered problems some of their customers have mentioned. Finally, the company notes include mentions of any other companies I've run across but for whatever reason haven't bothered looking into in detail.
July 11 - I've tweaked my database to catch some cases where it mistook a "vanilla" version of movie for the Criterion version, so the Criterion counts should be a bit more accurate.
July 5 - I've added my best guess on the inventory size for some of the companies, and moved the company notes to a separate page.
June 30 - I've added my best guess as the actual inventory count for some of the companies.
June 10 - I've put the homepage inside a frameset for easier navigation. Also, I've added the comparison results for DVDsToYourDoor.com to the "smallfry" section.
June 9, 2004 - RentaDVD has changed its pricing plans a bit, and added a new return feature. As I understand it, from their website members can "check-in" a rental once they have mailed it back. Your next disc will go out within a specified maximum time period after that, no matter how long Canada Post takes to get the first disc back to them. This has the effect of giving you more discs per month (you can't have more than twice your membership level of discs out at once.) . The time period is 48 hours for standard memberships, but for a premium you can get 24 or 12 hour processing. I've updated the calculator page pricing, but there is not yet any way to indicate a faster return time.