GreenCine is an upmarket DVD rental service which focuses very well on more obscure and highbrow genres, but also covers the mainstream well. In their own words, the focus on "indie, arthouse, anime, foreign, classics, documentaries, and other esoteric fare." Again, they do stock mainstream Hollywood blockbusters as well, but won't have the depth of copies for new releases as a Netflix or Blockbuster. But they really do shine on their niche offerings, with all sorts of anime and foreign films you simply won't find at the mainstream sites.
They list a whopping 38 genres (including good ones like Criterion Editions, Cult, Film Noir, etc), and many of these have subgenres (for instance, Fantasy has Classic Fantasy, Fairy Tales & Myths, Lost Worlds, and Swords & Sorcery). There are a total of 250 genres and subgenres--more than even Netflix--making browsing so much easier. And as you'd expect, to help with your search, they have an excellent Advanced Search option on title, studio, cast, director, other cast/crew, MPAA rating, genre, era, language, subtitle, and media type; pretty impressive.
They also have community features like polls, blog, forum, GreenCine on Myspace, Facebook, recent favorite lists by members, etc. They also have interviews with influential filmmakers, breaking news on film, and information about film festivals. A portion of their proceeds go to organizations that support the arts.
We particularly like that GreenCine shows the availability of titles in your queue and when you're likely to receive them, in a five-level scale from green to red. They also ship on Saturdays. In late 2007 they also introduced a Quick Return function to speed up deliveries. Just notify GreenCine when you've popped your discs back in the mail, and they'll mail your next discs immediately, without waiting to receive your last lot. This helps them to achieve their goal of 1-2 working day maximum shipping, and makes them viable for more than just West Coast subscribers.
Unlike most DVD rental companies, they send their DVDs out with a cardboard backing, which should reduce the prospects for damage in transit. Unlike many companies, they don't appear to throttle back high volume renters, a major plus.
In addition to online DVD rentals, GreenCine also sell DVDs and offer an impressive 10,000+ title Video On Demand (VOD) service, nearly as many as Netflix. This is a downloadable, near DVD-quality file, priced between $1.99 and $4.99 for a 10 day download (30 days for adult films).
As for customer service, as you might expect, they have a loyal niche follower, with broadly positive comments about them on the net and blogosphere. They have a strong sense of community, and with a bunch of cinephiles, their customer reviews are worth reading on their own. That said, even defenders of the service note that mailings often take a day long than Netflix, if not more for some areas outside the West Coast.
Prices: GreenCine do not offer a free trial, and their prices at the higher levels are are on the expensive side. They offer unlimited tariffs, one DVD out at a time for $9.95 per month, two discs out for $14.95 per month, three discs out for $21.95 per month, four discs out for $27.95 per month, five discs out for $ 33.95 per month, and a whopping eight DVDs out for $49.95 per month.