OutNow went out of business on 29 November 2011, but this review is left exactly as it was for posterity.
OutNow is the new name for MyMovieStream, a company which rapidly grew since its early 2005 launch, attracting many customers disgruntled with Lovefilm. It had been an excellent site, and worked its way to third on our charts, but we knocked it down to six following the 2008 re-branding when it appeared to suffer from rapid growth (evidenced by many negative customer comments)--however, as of 2010 it had recovered significantly for us to put OutNow back to third.
We still like the simple web design,and their DVD info layouts are comprehensive, with hyperlinked entries for actors, director, and genre. We also find their simple 5-level rating system with big stars refreshing. The impressive 19 genres to search and browse, plus a separate keyword search function (which seeks out actor names and such as well as titles), are also plusses. They're one of the few companies to offer a handy Account Pause feature for 1, 2, or 3 weeks for when you go on holiday.
Again, the site design is good, and the customer service appears to be improving toward its previously high levels. In March 2006 OutNow came in a close second in a Webuser test of top UK DVD rental services. They acquired rival Moviemine in April 2007 and in early 2008, Which? even gave them their top rating of all companies surveyed.
OutNow also powered the Wilkinson Sword and Sun Movieclub DVD rental sites before they closed, and currently powers Lidl and Empire white label rental sites--these are pure clones of the original, and we'd skip the middlemen and stick with OutNow if you like their system.
OutNow is well known for their swift DVD turnarounds, and if new customers sign up and add movies to their list by 3pm weekdays, they still promise to dispatch the first available free trial titles the same day, so they should arrive by the next day.
However, looking through their new terms and conditions we note they do have a "fair use policy", something other companies have used to "throttle" back on DVDs to high volume customers, so we'd be wary if you are a very high volume user.
They claim that game rental is on the horizon, but it's been "coming soon" for over a year, and implementation may well have been delayed by the recession. We love that they are the only DVD rental company who states that if you return multiple DVDs in a single mailer, you'll be prioritised higher for high demand DVDs. One poor change since the rebranding is their queue management system used to let you rank your choices by number--top choice, second choice, third choice, etc., and now it only lets you set high, medium, and low priority.
OutNow claims a 65,000-strong DVD inventory just as Lovefilm does, but an actual totting up of Lovefilm's genre numbers show 61,000 DVD titles, and that includes 2,500 adult films, which Outnow do no stock, so we think an estimate of around 58,000+ is probably more accurate. With numbers like this, they basically have just about every Region 2 DVD released in the UK, so it's not useful to quibble about a few here and there--chances are they have what you want.
We hear from our sources that they have many new features soon to roll out, and we'll detail them here as they're implemented.
We still like their availability system; each film is listed as Available Now, New Release (may take awhile given high initial demand), Short Wait (short delay), Medium Wait (2-4 week delay likely), Out of Print (will buy when they can), and Low Demand (as more people add to their queues, they will purchase a copy, but not until then). However, this can be misleading when you sign up, as these very useful descriptors aren't listed, saying only Sign Up Now until you subscribe. So you may find some titles you'd really wanted when initially browsing the site are unavailable"Low Demand" or "Out of Print"--a minor point, but something to keep in mind. Likewise, as a slightly smaller outfit, they don't buy as many new releases as quickly as Blockbuster/Lovefilm, and they're not the choice if you want Blu-ray High Definition discs, with only a small inventory (200+ films) compared to the market leaders.
Outnow Entertainment Limited's management is based in Windsor and their Distribution Centre is in the centre of the UK, at Northampton.
Prices: OutNow offer a free trial of 14 days. Their tariffs are £12.99 for two discs out at a time, £15.99 for three discs, £19.99 for four discs, and a whopping six disc tariff for £24.99. The have also started smaller capped rental plans; 2 total per month for £4.88 and 4 total per month for £7.82.