Off Topic: Movie rentals for the new economy ($free)

Sun, Apr 26, 2009


(Even Batman has made some cutbacks)

In the spirit of the Tata Nano (I had to tie this in some way), I’ve been looking for ways to save money.  I recently disconnected my cable television service… first time in decades.  It’s a strange feeling at first… not having access to hundreds of useless channels.  Unemployment is taking its toll on my entertainment budget, if you call a bunch of crappy commercials “entertainment”.  So, what do I do now for a little vegetative downtime?  Netflix? Blockbuster? NO!  We’re trying to save money here.  I want something for nothing.  Can I rent movies for free?  Yes I can!  Well, not exactly “renting”, but good old fashioned neighborhood borrowing is what I’m talking about. 

Now, what’s the best way to organize a lending system to allow listing, searching, tracking, reserving and returning?  Sure there are some really sweet desktop apps like Delicious Library 2, granting you’ve got a Mac and $40, but allow me to emphasize my goal here – it’s saving some green… holdin’ on to my loot…  being downright CHEAP!

Once, back in 2006, I found this really slick online neighborhood lending library system that allowed the creation of a community that others could join (just your subdivision for instance), easy inventory management (you could just use a modified CueCat scanner and bulk scan your DVDs and CDs and the system would enter all the descriptive info and cover art), it was brilliant.  Alas, I have no idea what t was today, so I decided to do some digging around.  Here’s what I’ve found:


and some other swap site here.

What good is this link list to you?  Well, it’s a starting point.  It’s too early in the game for me to a dozen reviews outlining the pros and cons of each.  I’m hoping to get YOUR feedback.  Have you used any of these?  Do you know of some good lending / borrowing apps that aren’t listed above? 

Now, if you don’t have friends or neighbors, you could always take advantage of the Redbox Free Movie Wednesdays or take your chances on YouTube.

10 Responses to “Off Topic: Movie rentals for the new economy ($free)”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I gave up my cable about a year ago, keeping just the basic feed that also provides my internet access, and connected a Mac mini to my TV. I now stream Hulu to my living room on a near-daily basis. So much is available there, even movies, that I barely miss the TiVo.


  2. Gomisan Says:

    If you and your friends have a big collection, and someone has a website you can tack a small PHP script onto then DVDdb is a great DVD database which caters for lending between friends and tracking your DVDs.

    You van find it here:


  3. Jason Nelms Says:

    If you want to give up cable and you own a mac, I suggest using a program called TVSHOWS along with uTorrent and

    The only thing you will miss is watching sports. Other than that you can get pretty much everything you want.

    If you own a PC there is TED(Torrent Episode Downloader), uTorrent and XBMC(until Boxee comes out of private alpha for the PC).

    BTW, this is potymouth from Twitter.


  4. Tim Says:

    I don’t have a computer connected to my TV, but I do have an Xbox 360 there so I use a product called PlayOn to stream internet based video to the 360. It streams video from hulu, youtube, most of the network websites. There are plugins for this software available here as well .

    Also, don’t forget you can “rent” DVDs free from your local library.


  5. William Says:

    I go to the public library. It is free and close by. They may not have a gajillion of the latest titles, but I can always find something to watch.


  6. agentzero Says:

    William is right, the library is made for that purpose, between internet access and being the source of cds and dvds the library has it all going on.

    In fact, give the library your collection that you no longer watch, if about 20 people do that they have a great collection. If 50 people do that they can ramp up pretty damn fast.

    Next year the internet and media collide big time, and you can get what you want more often over the internet.


  7. Orin Says:

    I got the $40 coupon for a DTV converter, and got one (~$22 out of pocket). I’ve discovered a wealth of digital subchannels, most of which show old movies and off-network TV shows. I can even get a station from Bellingham (~90 miles north), though I live on a hilltop.


  8. Jim Says:

    I’m strictly lo-fi with the library. Philadelphia has over 6,000 or so dvd’s in their system. I even gitty up on the bicycle and save some gas while I’m at it.


  9. Jayengbaya Says:

    great blog


  10. Sploader Says:

    How many extra channels are you getting on that thing Orin? I’d love to see all of the strange local stations that comcast doesn’t carry. The whole of Federal Way is a big hilltop, but I doubt I could reach all the way up to Bellingham! Free DTV sounds awesome!


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