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www.netflix.com

For $19.95 a month, you can rent as many DVDs from Netflix as you want. You can have three out at a time, and you return them at your leisure; there are no late fees. What’s not to like? Not much.

If you’re like me, you want to get every penny’s worth out of your $19.95. That may be the sole flaw in the system, at least from a user standpoint: To get the best value out of your money, you may find yourself feeling pressured to spend more time watching movies than you want to. But with this system, if you don’t get your money’s worth, it won’t be Netflix’s fault.

Netflix stores your list of gotta-sees, so that as you return each DVD, you’re automatically sent another. DVDs arrive by mail with a postage-paid return envelope, and it takes a day or two to receive them once you’ve requested them. (This was my experience in a major metro area. More remote communities might have longer mailing times.)

Everything else is simple, from adding DVDs to your rental queue to reporting lost DVDs. The interface for reporting problems is pleasantly uncomplicated, and customer service replies by e-mail to your queries swiftly (within 20 minutes) and completely.

In a few areas, their selection is a little thin, but the collection is well organized, broken out by sub-genre, and easily sorted by title, Netflix rating, or MPAA rating. Like Amazon, the site recommends new movies based on your ratings of the ones that you’ve already rented. The system is a little clumsy, occasionally recommending a movie that you’ve just returned. So far I haven’t rented a single DVD based on their recommendations.

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